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The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil

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    The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil by Michel Chossudovsky July 26, 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2006
      The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil
      by Michel Chossudovsky
      July 26, 2006

      Is there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the
      inauguration of the World's largest strategic pipeline, which will
      channel more than a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets?

      Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC)
      oil pipeline, which links the Caspian sea to the Eastern
      Mediterranean, took place on the 13th of July, at the very outset of
      the Israeli sponsored bombings of Lebanon.

      One day before the Israeli air strikes, the main partners and
      shareholders of the BTC pipeline project, including several heads of
      State and oil company executives were in attendance at the port of
      Ceyhan. They were then rushed off for an inauguration reception in
      Istanbul, hosted by Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the plush
      surroundings of the Çýraðan Palace.

      Also in attendance was British Petroleum's (BP) CEO, Lord Browne
      together with senior government officials from Britain, the US and
      Israel. BP leads the BTC pipeline consortium. Other major Western
      shareholders include Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, France's Total and
      Italy's ENI. (see Annex)

      Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
      was present at the venue together with a delegation of top Israeli oil

      The BTC pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian
      Federation. It transits through the former Soviet republics of
      Azerbaijan and Georgia, both of which have become US "protectorates",
      firmly integrated into a military alliance with the US and NATO.
      Moreover, both Azerbaijan and Georgia have longstanding military
      cooperation agreements with Israel.

      Israel has a stake in the Azeri oil fields, from which it imports some
      twenty percent of its oil. The opening of the pipeline will
      substantially enhance Israeli oil imports from the Caspian sea basin.

      But there is another dimension which directly relates to the war on
      Lebanon. Whereas Russia has been weakened, Israel is slated to play a
      major strategic role in "protecting" the Eastern Mediterranean
      transport and pipeline corridors out of Ceyhan.

      Militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean

      The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and coordinated
      military road map. The extension of the war into Syria and Iran has
      already been contemplated by US and Israeli military planners. This
      broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil and oil
      pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil giants which control the
      pipeline corridors. In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks
      Israeli territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline.

      In this context, the BTC pipeline dominated by British Petroleum, has
      dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean,
      which is now linked , through an energy corridor, to the Caspian sea

      "[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the region's
      countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken the
      pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has practically set up a new
      bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant,
      Moscow, 14 July 2006)

      Israel is now part of the Anglo-American military axis, which serves
      the interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and Central

      While the official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel
      oil to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of
      the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards
      Israel. In this regard, an underwater Israeli-Turkish pipeline project
      has been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the Israeli port of
      Ashkelon and from there through Israel's main pipeline system, to the
      Red Sea.

      The objective of Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its
      own consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting
      Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea port of
      Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of Caspian sea
      oil are farreaching.

      What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel
      Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline, from Ceyhan
      to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. In April 2006, Israel and Turkey
      announced plans for four underwater pipelines, which would bypass
      Syrian and Lebanese territory.

      "Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a
      multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will transport
      water, electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel, with
      the oil to be sent onward from Israel to the Far East,

      The new Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see the
      transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel via four
      underwater pipelines.


      "Baku oil can be transported to Ashkelon via this new pipeline and to
      India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]"

      "Ceyhan and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon are situated only 400
      km apart. Oil can be transported to the city in tankers or via
      specially constructed under-water pipeline. From Ashkelon the oil can
      be pumped through already existing pipeline to the port of Eilat at
      the Red Sea; and from there it can be transported to India and other
      Asian countries in tankers. (REGNUM )

      Water for Israel

      Also involved in this project is a pipeline to bring water to Israel,
      pumping water from upstream resources of the Tigris and Euphrates
      river system in Anatolia. This has been a long-run strategic objective
      of Israel to the detriment of Syria and Iraq. Israel's agenda with
      regard to water is supported by the military cooperation agreement
      between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

      The Strategic Re-routing of Central Asian Oil

      Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean
      (under Israeli military protection), for re-export back to Asia,
      serves to undermine the inter-Asian energy market, which is based on
      the development of direct pipeline corridors linking Central Asia and
      Russia to South Asia, China and the Far East.

      Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken Russia's role in Central
      Asia and cut off China from Central Asian oil resources. It is also
      intended to isolate Iran.

      Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a new powerful player in the global
      energy market.

      Russia's Military Presence in the Middle East

      Meanwhile, Moscow has responded to the US-Israeli-Turkish design to
      militarize the East Mediterranean coastline with plans to establish a
      Russian naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus:

      "Defense Ministry sources point out that a naval base in Tartus will
      enable Russia to solidify its positions in the Middle East and ensure
      security of Syria. Moscow intends to deploy an air defense system
      around the base - to provide air cover for the base itself and a
      substantial part of Syrian territory. (S-300PMU-2 Favorit systems will
      not be turned over to the Syrians. They will be manned and serviced by
      Russian personnel.)

      (Kommerzant, 2 June 2006,

      Tartus is strategically located within 30 km. of the Lebanese border.

      Moreover, Moscow and Damascus have reached an agreement on the
      modernization of Syria's air defenses as well as a program in support
      to its ground forces, the modernization of its MIG-29 fighters as well
      as its submarines. (Kommerzant, 2 June 2006). In the context of an
      escalating conflict, these developments have farreaching implications.

      War and Oil Pipelines

      Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the
      underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These
      underwater pipeline routes do not overtly encroach on the territorial
      sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria.

      On the other hand, the development of alternative land based corridors
      (for oil and water) through Lebanon and Syria would require
      Israeli-Turkish territorial control over the Eastern Mediterranean
      coastline through Lebanon and Syria.

      The implementation of a land-based corridor, as opposed to the
      underwater pipeline project, would require the militarisation of the
      East Mediterranean coastline, extending from the port of Ceyhan across
      Syria and Lebanon to the Lebanese-Israeli border.

      Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon? Open
      up a space which enables Israel to control a vast territory extending
      from the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.

      "The Long War"

      Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert has stated that the Israeli
      offensive against Lebanon would "last a very long time". Meanwhile,
      the US has speeded up weapons shipments to Israel.

      There are strategic objectives underlying the "Long War" which are
      tied to oil and oil pipelines.

      The air campaign against Lebanon is inextricably related to US-Israeli
      strategic objectives in the broader Middle East including Syria and
      Iran. In recent developments, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
      stated that the main purpose of her mission to the Middle East was not
      to push for a ceasefire in Lebanon, but rather to isolate Syria and
      Iran. (Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2006)

      At this particular juncture, the replenishing of Israeli stockpiles of
      US produced WMDs points to an escalation of the war both within and
      beyond the borders of Lebanon.

      Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best seller
      "The Globalization of Poverty " published in eleven languages. He is
      Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the
      Center for Research on Globalization, at www.globalresearch.ca . He
      is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most
      recent book is entitled: America's "War on Terrorism", Global
      Research, 2005. To order Chossudovsky's book America's "War on
      Terrorism", click here.



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