The Arctic has in recent weeks become a focal point of geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States. Given the present rate of global warming, scientists anticipate that the region will be ice-free by the summer of 2030. It is believed to contain a large portion of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas reserves. It is also an important maritime route, one that is increasingly accessible due to the thawing of its ice cover.
The Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions of the world. According to a study commissioned by the US government, some 30 percent of unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of undiscovered oil and gas condensate are located there. Only Russia has a greater supply of raw materials.
The Northeast Passage, which extends beyond the Arctic, is regarded as an alternate sea route from Europe to Asia to the southern route, which runs via the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and on to India. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, traffic using the Northeast Passage collapsed, but in recent years it has significantly increased again with the progressive melting of the region’s ice.
What is a disaster from an environmental standpoint could allow for the exploitation of raw material reserves and the region’s increased use as a maritime route. Conditions for the extraction of raw materials, however, will be extremely difficult.
According to one estimate, the cost of oil production in the part of the Arctic apportioned to Alaska would be between 50 and 100 percent higher than in Texas.
Environmentalists and scientists criticize attempts to extract Arctic oil and gas. In January, in a letter to the scientific journal Nature, Christophe McGlade and Paul Ekins warned that the extraction of oil and gas in the Arctic was “incompatible” with attempts to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
Nevertheless, the bordering states––Russia, Norway, Canada, the US and Denmark (which owns Greenland)––are aggressively penetrating the Arctic and establishing military presences there.
The US, in particular, is increasingly vehement in its efforts to secure its claims in the region. Earlier this week, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to make an official visit to the Arctic. After a long debate, the Obama administration this year issued permits for the energy group Royal Dutch Shell to undertake oil production in parts of the Arctic apportioned to the United States.
In the course of his visit, Obama announced the deployment of more icebreakers and marine vessels to the region, ostensibly to ensure “safety at sea” and to document the effects of climate change.
For weeks, the US military, assorted think tanks and numerous media outlets have been agitating for the US to act more aggressively in the Arctic.
In mid-August, the Harvard International Review called the “opening of a new sea route in the Arctic” the most significant change on the planet “since the last Ice Age.” The publication urged the US government to raise territorial claims in the Arctic and increase its military presence. It argued that energy extraction in the region was worthwhile financially because the global demand for energy resources would rise and the existing supply decline. It also noted that production sites in the Arctic would be closer to Asian markets than the gas and oil extracted in the Gulf region.
The front page lead item in Sunday’s New York Times was a long article lamenting the lack of US involvement in the Arctic and warning that Russia and China might benefit as a result of American inaction. Both China and Singapore have in recent years invested heavily in energy projects in the region. The Times spoke of a renewed Cold War with Russia in connection with a “new race to the Arctic.”
It cited a certain Admiral Zukunft, who said at a conference in Washington this year: “The United States is actually not even in this game there … When Russia sent the Sputnik into space, we sat there with our hands in our pockets, marveled, and said, ‘Good for Mother Russia.’”
In May-June, NATO held one of its largest military exercises of the year in the Arctic. It lasted for 14 days and was clearly directed against Russia. (See:NATO begins anti-Russian air drill in Arctic). More than 4,000 soldiers and over 100 planes participated in the “Arctic Challenge” exercise. In response, the Kremlin mobilized its forces in the region for unannounced military exercises.
In July, Moscow published a revised military doctrine for the navy. The most important change was a higher weighting of the Arctic in Russia’s naval strategy.
In August, Russia held military exercises on the Arctic’s Taimyr Peninsula, in the far north of Siberia. More than 1,000 soldiers and 50 special vehicles participated in the manoeuvres. A representative of the navy insisted that the exercises had a purely defensive character.
In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, the Russian military expert Viktor Litovkin explained Russia’s increased focus on the Arctic as follows:
“The shortest route for ICBMs is via the North Pole. Russia is concentrating its naval forces here in order to take out American sea-based anti-missile systems in case of conflict. Also to protect natural resources on its northern coast, and the sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, which is opened up by the warming of the seas.”
In early August, the Russian government submitted a petition to the United Nations that Russia be granted sovereign rights over an area of 1.2 million square kilometres around the North Pole. A similar petition had already been rejected by a UN commission in 2002. In February or March 2016, the UN will begin the examination of the current application.
Russia hopes to gain control over the energy resources of the region. The Russian economy has been highly dependent on income from the sale of energy on the world market since the restoration of capitalism in 1991. Nearly 50 percent of revenues in the Russian state budget are derived from energy exports. But the easily extracted oil and gas reserves in Russia are being depleted. According to the Kremlin, the parts of the Arctic to which Russia has made territorial claims would provide access to approximately 4.9 billion tons of fossil fuels.
But it is widely questioned whether Russia, whose energy businesses utilize poorly developed technology, can extract the reserves in the Arctic. The sea in the region is 500 to 2,000 metres deep. At such depths, Russian companies cannot even undertake test drilling.
In addition, US and European Union sanctions mean that Russian corporations are largely cut off from foreign companies and their technology. Recently, the American energy giant ExxonMobil had to withdraw from a joint venture with the Russian state company Rosneft to develop oil production in the Russian Arctic.
Even companies such as Shell and ENI are having technical problems with exploratory drilling in the Arctic and are not yet able to go deeper than 60 meters.
An important calculation on the part of Russia, as well as its rivals, is not only increasing its own energy holdings, but also depriving others from exploiting the Arctic’s reserves. The extraction of shale oil and natural gas in the US has already changed the structure of the world energy market to Russia’s detriment.
According to the Berliner Zeitung, the Kremlin wants to expand the Russian fleet in the Arctic. The Russian navy has been a presence in the region since Soviet times, but Moscow wants to deploy it commercially to accompany foreign freighters in the Northeast Passage.
Besides these economic and geo-strategic considerations, Russia is preparing for a possible military conflict with the US. NATO has advanced further into Eastern Europe since the Ukraine crisis and it is provoking Russia once again with its latest military exercises in the Arctic.
While the American media agitates against Russian military exercises in order to justify Washington’s own military buildup, most of the Russian Navy vessels are in a miserable condition. The Berliner Zeitung writes that most military experts believe a large part of the Russian navy operating on the oceans of the world, is “ripe for the scrap heap.” Taken together, the rival countries bordering the Arctic, all of which belong to NATO, possess a much more powerful and technically superior military presence in the region.
By Clara Weiss
Originally published at: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/02/arct-s02.html
We all know how the story goes. The Golan Heights is Syrian territory that has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. It was then controversially annexed in 1981, despite the UN calling the efforts “null”, “void” and “without international legal effect”. Today it is still internationally and legally recognised as Syrian land, but Israel persists with its possession.
Of course, such persistence can prove to be quite lucrative when the land is abundant in resources – especially land as fertile as the Syrian Golan – a generous source of gushing waters and game changing oil reserves.
In fact, the Golan Heights contributes a quenching one-third of Israel’s entire water supply. Its catchments leading to the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret – Israel’s main water source – receive long bouts of heavy rainfall, particularly during the colder months and occasionally during stormy season in the summer.
But the Golan Heights does ...
Dear Readers and Friends:
The distinguished and knowledgeable international commentator William Engdahl, in a superb statement, has expressed the view I gave you that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 28 at the 70th anniversary of the United Nations changed the balance of power in the world. Until Putin’s speech the world was intimidated by the Washington Bully. Resistance to Washington brought swift retribution. In the Middle East and Africa it brought economic sanctions and military invasions that destroyed entire countries. In France and other US vassal states it brought multi-billion dollar confiscations of bank net worth as the price of not following Washington’s policies toward other countries.
Other countries felt powerless in the face of the arrogant hegemonic Unipower, which from time to time replied to noncompliance with threats, such as US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage delivered to Pakistan, to bomb noncompliant countries “back to the stone age.” ...
This article was first published in September 2014. Can we believe Hollande and Cameron? Evidence confirms that NATO is behind the recruitment of “jihadist terrorists
While NATO leaders in Newport Wales [September 2014] debate the Atlantic Alliance’s role “in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East”, it is worth recalling that in 2011 at the outset of the war in Syria, NATO became actively involved in the recruitment of Islamic fighters.
Reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO headquarters in Brussels in liaison with the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, was involved in the enlisting of thousands of terrorists:
“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish ...
This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech’s first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war.
That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, the war to end all wars, the war without which the conditions for the next war would not have existed.
As well recounted in Michael Kazin’s War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918, a major peace movement had the support of a great deal of the United States. When ...
The words “possible criminal actions” by CIA employees are used in the report.
The terms unethical and immoral are mentioned. The criminality of those who ordered these actions at the highest levels of government, however, is not acknowledged.
The actions directed against alleged jihadists are categorized as ineffective in the process of revealing intelligence. This in itself is a red herring. The objective of torture was not to reveal intelligence.
What of course is not acknowledged is that the alleged terrorists who were tortured were framed by the CIA.
Known and documented the Al Qaeda network is a creation of US intelligence.
The jihadists are “intelligence assets”.
Torture serves to perpetuate the legend that the evil terrorists are real and that the lives of Americans are threatened.
Torture is presented as “collateral damage.” Torture is an integral part of war propaganda which consists in demonizing the alleged terrorists.
And the Senate committee report ultimately upholds the ...
We ”know” how evil the Russians and Putin are, yet most Americans know little about this area of the world: a recent poll found only 1 in 6 Americans could locate the Ukraine on a map. Beyond geography, the US, a historical “newcomer”, has often underappreciated the importance of history and related cultural differences.
Russians and Ukrainians, comprising the “Eastern Slavs”, are ethnically related. Were it not for some tragic history, they would have had closer ties today than those afforded by the US/UK “special relationship”. Their history stretches back at least 700 years before the first settlers landed in America when Kiev was the center of power of a nascent Russian state. In the early 15th century, as the center of power shifted north-eastward, Moscow assumed the mantle of power.
After Mongol domination ended in the early 15th century, Russia has had to fend of numerous threats – then powerful Poland/Lithuania union in ...
First published on September 12, 2015
Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror
In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally, in writing, or through photographs or videos:
(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria.
This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasionsadmitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this.
(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the ...
Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.
The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.
Actually, the lines are not quite so clear-cut. Political choices never correspond completely to economic interests, and the ideological factor intervenes to blur the class lines. Globalization is not merely a process of economic integration regulated by flows of capital, which is deepening the polarization between rich and poor in the Western countries. It is also ...
MP3 & SHOW NOTES: http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/… Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy) returns to the programme for an extended interview on the ongoing tensions between Washington and Moscow.
Drawing upon his extensive experience in government, academia and journalism, Dr. Roberts explains how Washington’s current hostility towards Russia, with its demonization of Vladimir Putin, is a bitter fruit of the neoconservative ideology of world hegemony that came to dominate US centres of power from the early 1990s onwards. Assessing the geopolitical landscape with an eye to historical, economic and political realities, Dr. Roberts judges there to be only two hopes for the world to avert nuclear Armageddon: a Europe decisively resistant to Washington diktat, or economic collapse of the US empire itself.
We also discuss the murder of Boris Nemtsov, prospects for Washington-agitated colour revolutions in Central Asia/Caucasus, MH17 and the growth of the police state ...
THE GLOBALIZATION OF NATO
Author: Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Clarity Press (2012)
Pages: 411 with complete index
Available to order from Global Research
The world is enveloped in a blanket of perpetual conflict. Invasions, occupation, illicit sanctions, and regime change have become currencies and orders of the day. One organization – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) – is repeatedly, and very controversially, involved in some form or another in many of these conflicts led by the US and its allies. NATO spawned from the Cold War. Its existence was justified by Washington and Western Bloc politicians as a guarantor against any Soviet and Eastern Bloc invasion of Western Europe, but all along the Alliance served to cement Washington’s influence in Europe and continue what was actually America’s post-World War II occupation of the European continent. In 1991 the raison d’être of the Soviet threat ended with the collapse of the USSR and the ...
A complex geopolitical situation in the region forces the Baltic States and their NATO allies to take unprecedented efforts to increase defence capabilities to counter potential aggressors. A new Lithuanian military strategy approved in March describes Russia actions along with terrorism as the main threats for the security of Lithuania, as reported by Delfi.
Unfortunately for pacifists, the Alliance and Russia today are arming and demonstrating their military power. They constantly compare their armed forces' strength and capabilities, conduct large-scale military exercises, respond to each other by deploying new contingents and military equipment closer and closer to the NATO-Russian border.
The Baltic States have become such a border.
Moscow has placed Iskander-M launchers in Kaliningrad. The Russian Iskander is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and has never been made available to any foreign army for operational use. The weapon affords Russia the ability to use its Baltic exclave to threaten US missile ...
Macedonia is about to experience Democracy American Style. The nation’s misfortune is simple. It occupies strategic territory of keen interest to the United States and Russia.
“Russia’s Stroitransgaz said on Thursday it will build a gas pipeline across Macedonia, which could eventually be used as part of a route to supply Europe with Russian gas via Turkey”. Reuters, Mar 12
In January, Russia fired Ukraine as its natural gas transit for Europe. The pipeline across Ukraine was ideally positioned for this function. However, Ukraine’s practice of failing to pay for the natural gas it used and the outright hostility of the Kiev junta toward Russia were simply too much. Russia gave notice that the spigot would be turned off permanently in 2019. (Image: WikiCommons)
As an alternative to the Ukraine pipeline, Russia struck a deal with Turkey to sell it all the natural gas it wanted. In addition, Turkey agreed to put a ...
Let’s imagine for just a moment that a people was forcibly dispossessed of its homeland.
Let’s imagine that a portion of this people had rotted in refugee camps for some seven decades while others had lived under a brutal military occupation for almost five decades.
Let’s imagine that the people living under this military occupation were systematically tortured, abused, stolen from, and prevented from exercising their most basic and universally ratified human and political rights.
Let’s imagine that for nearly a decade, a part of this people was placed under an inhuman and illegal siege that brought about the complete collapse of their already desperate economy, and rendered their environment borderline unfit for human inhabitation.
Let’s imagine that, on top of the expulsion, military occupation, and inhuman and illegal siege, these people suffered periodic massacres, the most recent of which killed more than 2,200 people, including 550 children, and destroyed or rendered uninhabitable fully 18,000 homes.
Let’s imagine ...
Even those in Donetsk who originally supported Kiev have come to realize that Ukraine is waging a war against its own people
The Ukrainian army’s shelling has turned many formerly pro-Ukrainian locals against Kiev
Although this article tries to make the people of Donetsk appear gullible and indoctrinated, it does make one incredible admission: Kiev is waging a vicious war against its own people—something that East Ukrainians will never forget, and probably never forgive. This article originally appeared in Financial Times
As world leaders convened in Minsk this week to decide the fate of east Ukraine, Tatiana Prussova, a teacher at Khartsysk school number 23, stood in front of her class, a map on the wall behind her.
For 10 minutes, she led a group of 15 and 16-year-old students through the day’s lesson: a review of the recent developments in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). She explained a new local holiday — ...
On May 18th, Britain’s Guardian headlined “West and Russia on course for war, says ex-Nato deputy commander” and reported that the former deputy commander of NATO, the former British general Sir Alexander Richard Shirreff (who was Supreme Allied Commander in Europe from 2011-2014), expressed outrage that Britain isn’t urgently preparing for war against Russia, and also reported that “He describes Russia as now the west’s most dangerous adversary and says Putin’s course can only be stopped if the west wakes up to the real possibility of war and takes urgent action. … In a chilling scenario, he predicts that Russia, in order to escape what it believes to be encirclement by Nato, will seize territory in eastern Ukraine.” (That’s the Donbass region, where there has been a civil war.)
This encirclement by NATO is, apparently, about to be expanded: Shirreff will now be satisfied by NATO, even if not by its member the UK, of which Shirreff happens to be a citizen. ...
Israel is in a class all by itself when it comes to perpetuating some of the worst human rights violations of any country on earth today. For decades, Israel has had a policy of ethnically cleansing and robbing the indigenous Palestinian population of its lands and resources and killing them when they resist the atrocities committed against them under the guise of self-defense. Now, an Israeli military general, someone who is one of the leaders of Israel’s killing machine, has come out and admitted that Israel today shares many of the same elements as Nazi Germany.
Addressing an audience at Tel Yitzhak in central Israel on Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel Defense Forces Major General Yair Golan dropped a bombshell on the Israel’s racist establishment when he said:
“It’s scary to see horrifying developments that took place in Europe begin to unfold here.”
“The Holocaust should bring us to ponder our public lives and, furthermore, ...
“There was no battle and no resistance (and no Egyptians). The first conquerors killed from eighty to a hundred Arabs [including] women and children. The children were killed by smashing of their skulls with sticks. Is it possible to shout about Deir Yassin and be silent about something much worse?” For the first time ever, a letter quoting one of the Israeli soldiers who were part of the Al-Dawayima massacre in October 1948 is published in full.
On Friday, February 5th 2016, Haaretz published an article in Hebrew by Israeli historian Yair Auron, which covers one of the biggest massacres of 1948. The massacre is of Al Dawayima, west of Al-Khalil (which is often referred to as Hebron). In a 2004 interview with Haaretz, Israeli historian Benny Morris refers to this as a massacre of “hundreds”.
After the massacre, a letter was sent to the editor of the leftist affiliated newspaper Al-Hamishmar, but ...
The facile and indiscriminate use of the term fascism has led to a widespread misunderstanding and misuse of its meaning. Asked to define fascism, most people would respond in terms such as dictatorship, anti-Semitism, mass hysteria, efficient propaganda machine, mesmerizing oratory of a psychopathic leader, and the like.
Such a pervasive misconception of the meaning of the term fascism is not altogether fortuitous. It is largely because of a longstanding utilitarian misrepresentation of the term. Fascism is deliberately obfuscated in order to sanitize capitalism. Ideologues, theorists and opinion-makers of capitalism have systematically shifted the systemic sins of fascism from market/capitalist failures to individual or personal failures.
Thus, the origins, the rise and the ravages of the classic European fascism are blamed largely on Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, not the socio-economic circumstances that gave rise to those instrumentally “useful” characters. An obvious flaw of this interpretation of fascism is that it cannot ...
Chris Hedges is on vacation and will return to writing his weekly Truthdig column on Sept. 5. While he is on break, we are republishing some of his past columns. This one originally appeared Nov. 10, 2008
We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and clichés. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically ...
Vladimir Putin has harmed no American. Russia has not stood in the way of any American’s dream. As for the billionaires though, those American and British money bags, the Russians are posing an insurmountable hurdle for their investments. And we all know nothing can stand in the way of their progress. Unfortunately for the human race, mediocrity cannot rule either. Here is a prophesy as real as any newsreel you will view today, the “end all” conclusion for American “exceptionalism”.
Do you know where Crimea is? Seriously now, a gaff by presidential hopeful Gary Johnson the other day proved once and for all, not even educated Americans have a very big “mental map” of our world. I was a geography student first and teacher second, and I can tell you categorically that very few of America’s leaders know US history and geography, let alone world names and places. If Johnson had ...
The Occupied Golan Heights: How Israel Thrives from Syria’s Natural Resources
The Atlantic Alliance’s “Holy War” Against The Islamic State (ISIS): NATO’s Role In The Recruitment Of Islamic Terrorists (According To Israeli Intelligence News Source)
100 years of using war to try to end all war
The Role of 9/11 in Justifying Torture and War: The Criminalization of the US State Apparatus. Senate Report on CIA Torture is a Whitewash
Russia And The Ukraine – The Other Side Of The Story
False Flag Terror. A Historical Overview
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Paul Craig Roberts 2015: Washington’s Path to War with Russia
NATO: Proudly Delivering Death Since 1949 – A Book Review
Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: Defence against Russia or target for terrorists?
Democracy American Style – Macedonia
Financial Times Finally Prints The Unvarnished Truth: Kiev Is The Violent Aggressor In East Ukraine
NATO Announces War Policy Against Russia
Israeli Military General Compares Israel To Nazi Germany At Holocaust Remembrance Day Event
‘Barbarism by an educated and cultured people’ — Dawayima massacre was worse than Deir Yassin
Distorting Fascism to Sanitize Capitalism
The Empire of Mediocrity and the End of the World
Categories: Politics, Russia, USA
Tags: Arctic, gas, imperialism, oil, Russia, USA