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
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 ...
Only when we refute the monolithic interpretation of Zionist theory and practice can we approach an understanding of the contested relationship between anti-zionism and antisemitism.
Israel - BDS. Flickr/ Takver. Some rights reserved.The relationship between anti-Zionism and antisemitism is a vexed and controversial question. My starting point is to elucidate an understanding of the meaning of Zionism; a term and a political concept which is rarely defined and frequently misunderstood. This is hardly surprising given that today in the 21st century, Zionism/ist is construed as an insult by some and is often equated with apartheid and even worse, Nazism. My understanding of Zionism seeks neither to exonerate, praise nor condemn. Rather we must seek to comprehend the Zionist movement and concomitant ideology in its historical, material and constantly evolving context.
A form of nationalism
Put simply Zionism is a form of nationalism which developed under two sets of linked influences in the ...
Liberal Democratic Party calls on to all Russian citizens to boycott Ukrainian confectionery company “Roshen”, owned by the country’s President Peter Poroshenko.
Ukrainian authorities continue punitive operation against its own citizens! Now abandoning their country in thousands for refugees fleeing to Russia, mostly old men, women and children. People are forced to leave all their belongings for years! Horror, fear, hunger and humiliation – that is what has prepared Kiev junta civilians southeast. From the illusory hopes that the election of President Ukraine peace returns, no trace – she melted like candy chocolate baron Poroshenko. Having full power, he actually gave the nod to the destruction of innocent people by declaring them bandits, separatists and extremists.
Killed Russian-speaking civilians in Donbass region by Kiev Nazi junta
Russian Liberal Democratic Party urges citizens to support the civilians of southeast. Each of us can now express their civic position by taking part in fundraising for ...
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 ...
Exclusive: Few Americans understand the ugly history behind the Nazi-affiliated movements that have gained substantial power in today’s U.S.-backed Ukrainian regime. Western propaganda has made these right-wing extremists the “good guys” versus the Russian “bad guys,” as Jonathan Marshall explains.
By Jonathan Marshall
The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine, one of the leading journals in its field, offers a two-page photo essay on “what to see, do, and buy” in Lviv, a picturesque city in the Western Ukraine. “Amid the turmoil that has rocked Ukraine over the past two years,” the article gushes, “Lviv has stood firmly as a stronghold of national culture, language, and identity.”
That’s one way of putting it. Another, less charitable way would be to note that Lviv has for nearly a century been a breeding ground of extreme Ukrainian nationalism, spawning terrorist movements, rabid anti-Semitism, and outright pro-Nazi political organizations that continue to pollute the country’s politics.
Sen. John ...
Andrew Bacevich has written a series of books on the topic of U.S. imperialism and U.S. military power. His latest work, America’s War for the Greater Middle East [the GME War] is the latest in this series and as with the previous works is clearly written and logically presented. It covers more narrowly than the previous works the military aspects of U.S. military endeavours in the Middle East (greater – as in including East Africa and Afghanistan et al). Generally he succeeds well and this work is a good ‘primer’ for anyone interested in a quick historical overview of U.S. military actions in the region.
However it is not one of his better works, and perhaps that is because of the narrowness of focus and the resulting tie ins that could have been made and that without do not provide a perspective of this war amongst all the other wars instigated ...
A hegemonic power never says sorry.
Three recent episodes underscore this truism.
When US President Barack Obama offered a floral wreath at the cenotaph of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park on 27 May 2016, some peace advocates in the United States, in Japan and in other parts of the world hoped against hope that he would say “sorry” for the Atom bomb that the then US President, Harry Truman, had ordered to be dropped over Hiroshima on the 6th of August 1945. The deadly bomb claimed 140,000 lives. Three days later a second Atom bomb destroyed the city of Nagasaki killing another 80,000.
There is a view advanced by a number of scholars and activists that based upon documentary analysis Japan had already indicated to the US Military Command in the Pacific a couple of months before 6th August that it was prepared to surrender if there were some safeguards for the position ...
Boris Nemtsov, a Russian dissident politician highly critical of President Vladimir Putin often sounded like an agent of Washington. He was shot and killed today on a street near Red Square.
If Nemtsov wasn’t assassinated by the CIA in order to blame Putin, most likely Nemtsov was killed by Russian nationalists who saw him as Washington’s agent.
Remembering the Magnitsky affair that resulted in sanctions imposed on Russians as a result of the US Congress over-reacting to a jail death in Russia, Nemtsov’s death will likely be blamed on Putin. The Western media will repeat endlessly, with no evidence, that Putin had his critic killed.
I can tell you one thing, and that is that Putin is much too smart to play into Washington’s hands in this way. Moreover, Nemtsov, although a loud mouth, had no impact on Putin’s 85% approval rating. Nemtsov’s support resided in the Washington-funded NGOs in Russia. If the ...
This article was first published on August 1, 2010
“It isn’t just conspiracy theorists who are concerned about HAARP. The European Union called the project a global concern and passed a resolution calling for more information on its health and environmental risks. Despite those concerns, officials at HAARP insist the project is nothing more sinister than a radio science research facility.”
– Quote from a TV documentary on HAARP by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) is a little-known, yet critically important U.S. military defense program which has generated quite a bit of controversy over the years in certain circles. Though denied by HAARP officials, some respected researchers allege that secret electromagnetic warfare capabilities of HAARP are designed to forward the US military’s stated goal of achieving full-spectrum dominance by the year 2020. Others go so far as to claim that HAARP can and has been used ...
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.” ...
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 ...
Historically and intuitively, Russia has fought for the survival of humanity. Of course, things are not always pronounced or defined in such terms. However, already on several occasions, this enormous country has stood up against the most mighty and evil forces that have threatened the very survival of our Planet.
During the Second World War, the Soviet people, mainly Russians, sacrificed at least 25 million men, women and children, in the end defeating Nazism. No other country in modern history has undergone more.
Right after that victory, Russia, alongside China and later Cuba, embarked on the most awesome and noble project of all times: the systematic dismantling of Western colonialism. All over the world oppressed masses stood up against European and North American imperialist barbarity, and it was the Soviet Union that was ready to give them a beacon of hope, as well as substantial financial, ideological and military support.
As one oppressed ...
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 ...
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 ...
U.S. jets are bombing Syria again this month, part of an overall pattern of military expansion during the Obama administration that’s seen military involvement in dozens of conflicts.
As the United States renews a bombing campaign against ISIS forces in Syria, it seems like America’s penchant for waging war knows no bounds. During the first seven years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. bombed seven countries while supporting other destabilizing military actions throughout the Middle East.
Here’s a look at these seven countries and the effects of bombing:
Afghanistan — Despite the announced “end” of the Afghanistan War, significant U.S. military presence in Afghanistan remains. Drones are a frequent presence in Afghan skies. One strike earlier this month killed 12 people, according to Iran’s PressTV.
Iraq — The Obama administration has conducted over 5,000 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria in just the past year, David Lerman reported for Bloomberg Business. Despite ongoing U.S. military ...
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. ...
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 ...
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 ...
“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 objectives of the US military presence in Africa are well documented: counter Chinese influence and control strategic locations and natural resources including oil reserves. This was confirmed more than 8 years ago by the US State Department:
In 2007, US State Department advisor Dr. J. Peter Pham commented on AFRICOM’s strategic objectives of “protecting access to hydrocarbons and other strategic resources which Africa has in abundance, a task which includes ensuring against the vulnerability of those natural riches and ensuring that no other interested third parties, such as China, India, Japan, or Russia, obtain monopolies or preferential treatment.” (Nile Bowie, CIA Covert Ops in Nigeria: Fertile Ground for US Sponsored Balkanization Global Research, 11 April 2012)
At the beginning of February, AFRICOM’s “head General David Rodriguez called for a large-scale US-led ‘counterinsurgency’ campaign against groups in West Africa during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC:
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
Contestation between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism
Boycott bloody President!
NATO: Proudly Delivering Death Since 1949 – A Book Review
Nazi Roots of Ukraine’s Conflict
America’s War for the Greater Middle East – A Military History
Hiroshima, Vietnam, Cuba: A Hegemonic Power Never Says Sorry…
The Boris Nemtsov Assassination: A Propaganda Attack On Vladimir Putin?
HAARP: Secret Weapon Used For Weather Modification, Electromagnetic Warfare
Distorting Fascism to Sanitize Capitalism
Why The West Can Never Defeat Or “Forgive” Russia
Democracy American Style – Macedonia
The Occupied Golan Heights: How Israel Thrives from Syria’s Natural Resources
Barack Obama: The Nobel Peace Prize Winner Who Bombed Seven Countries
NATO Announces War Policy Against Russia
Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: Defence against Russia or target for terrorists?
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
‘Barbarism by an educated and cultured people’ — Dawayima massacre was worse than Deir Yassin
Is Boko Haram a CIA Covert Op to Divide and Conquer Africa?