Category Archives: Russia

What is a “Name Day”

A name day is a tradition in many countries in Europe and Latin America that consists of celebrating the day of the year associated with one’s given name.

The custom originated with the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints and Roman Catholic calendar of saints, where believers, named after a particular saint, would celebrate that saint’s feast day. In many countries, however, there is no longer any explicit connection to Christianity.[1][2] It remains more popular in Southern and Eastern (Catholic and Orthodox) rather than in Northern (predominantly Protestant) Europe.

A name day is a tradition in many countries in Europe and Latin America that consists of celebrating the day of the year associated with one’s given name.

The custom originated with the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints and Roman Catholic calendar of saints, where believers, named after a particular saint, would celebrate that saint’s feast day. In many countries, however, there is no longer any explicit connection to Christianity.[1][2] It remains more popular in Southern and Eastern (Catholic and Orthodox) rather than in Northern (predominantly Protestant) Europe.

Με λενε Κωνσταντια. Γιορταζω στις 26/12 και κανεις δεν με θυμαται γιατι ολοι ειναι ψιλοσουρωμενοι απο τα Χριστουγεννα. ΔΕΝ πιστευω σε προφητειες. ΔΕΝ γνωριζα καν ποτε γιορταζα,με “γιορταζα” μαζι με τους Κωνσταντινους χαχα.. Σημερα βρηκα αυτα , ψαχνοντας για τον Κωνσταντιο τον Ρωσο(γιορταζει 26/12) ΔΕΝ πιστευω στο τελος του κοσμου παρα μονον στο τελος του υπαρχοντα πολιτισμου μας,εαν αυτο το συνονθυλευμα απο σκεψεις,ιδεες και αλογιστες πραξεις μπορει να ονομαστει Πολιτισμος .Δεν πιστευω στον κοκκινο πλανητη ουτε στην αναστροφη των πολων,Θα ηθελα ομως να πιστεψω στην αναστροφη της σκεψης των περισσοτερων.

Άγιος Κωνστάντιος ο Ρώσος : Πρόκειται για Ρώσο νεομάρτυρα († 26 Δεκ. 1743, στην Κωνσταντινούπολη) που εμόνασε και στην Ι. Μονή Μεγίστης Λαύρας του Αγίου Όρους, ή για Ρώσο επίσκο- πο (†1806) κατά χειρόγραφο της Ι. Μονής Κωσταμονίτου Αγίου Όρους, που μας άφησε κάποιες προφητείες: Το διαβάσαμε από το: Άγιος Κωνστάντιος ο Ρώσος προβλέπει ισως την αρχή και το τέλος του αρμαγεδώνα με ημερομηνίες!!! http://thesecretrealtruth.blogspot.com/2012/11/blog-post_1292.html#ixzz2DdbwpvxO
ΚΕΦ. Α ΘΕΛΕΙ ΓΕΝΕΙ ΕΝΑΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΚΑΙ ΑΠΟΘΝΗΣΚΕΙ. ΚΕΦ. Β ΕΝΑΣ ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΥΘΕΝΤΗΣ ΘΕΛΕΙ ΕΤΟΙΜΑΣΕΙ ΔΙΑ ΤΟΝ ΕΑΥΤΟΝ ΤΟΥ ΕΝΑ ΑΙΜΑΤΩΔΗ ΛΟΥΤΡΟΝ. ΚΕΦ. Γ ΕΝΑΣ ΜΕΓΑΛΥΤΕΡΟΣ ΜΟΝΑΡΧΗΣ ΘΕΛΕΙ ΛΥΠΗΣΕΙ ΚΑΤΑ ΠΟΛΛΑ ΤΟΝ ΕΑΥΤΟΝ ΤΟΥ. 

ΚΕΦ. Δ ΣΗΚΩΝΟΝΤΑΙ ΟΙ ΚΑΤΑΦΡΟΝΕΜΕΝΟΙ ΚΑΙ ΑΠΟΚΤΟΥΝ ΔΥΝΑΜΕΙΣ. 

ΚΕΦ. Ε Ο ΦΘΟΝΟΣ ΔΕΙΚΝΥΤΑΙ ΑΠΟ ΤΟΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΙΣΜΟΝ. 

ΚΕΦ.ΣΤ ΔΙΑ 3 ΗΜΕΡΑΣ ΘΕΛΟΥΣΙ ΦΑΝΕΙ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΝ ΟΥΡΑΝΟΝ ΑΠΕΡΙΓΡΑΠΤΟΙ ΚΟΜΗΤΑΙ ΚΑΙ ΒΡΟΝΤΑΙ. 

ΚΕΦ. Ζ ΣΥΜΒΑΙΝΕΙ ΦΘΟΡΑ ΔΙΑ ΞΗΡΑΣ ΚΑΙ ΔΙΑ ΘΑΛΑΣΣΗΣ. 

ΚΕΦ. Η ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ 18 ΜΑΡΤΙΟΥ ΘΕΛΟΥΝ ΑΥΞΗΣΕΙ ΟΙ ΑΙΜΑΤΩΔΕΙΣ ΠΟΛΕΜΟΙ ΚΑΙ ΝΙΚΑΙ. 

ΚΕΦ. Θ ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ 8 ΙΟΥΛΙΟΥ ΣΥΜΒΑΙΝΟΥΝ ΔΥΟ ΑΝΗΚΟΥΣΤΟΙ ΠΟΛΕΜΟΙ. 

ΚΕΦ. Ι ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ 12 ΑΥΓΟΥΣΤΟΥ, ΑΝΥΠΟΦΟΡΟΣ ΖΕΣΤΗ ΓΕΝΗΣΕΤΑΙ. 

ΚΕΦ. ΙΑ ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ 18 ΔΕΚΕΜΒΡΙΟΥ ΧΑΝΕΤΑΙ ΤΟ ΗΜΙΣΥ ΤΗΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΤΗΤΟΣ*. 

ΚΕΦ. ΙΒ ΘΕΛΕΙ ΕΚΛΕΓΕΙ ΕΝΑΣ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΟ ΗΜΠΕΡΙΟΝ. 

Το διαβάσαμε από το: Άγιος Κωνστάντιος ο Ρώσος προβλέπει ισως την αρχή και το τέλος του αρμαγεδώνα με ημερομηνίες!!! http://thesecretrealtruth.blogspot.com/2012/11/blog-post_1292.html#ixzz2Ddc7U94z

Saint Namedays Each Month In Greek Alphabetical Order
A – B
G – D – E – Z
Achilleus Achilles 24 APRIL
Adrianos Hadrian 26 AUGUST
Aemilianos Emil 18 / 8 JULY / AUGUST
Agathi Agatha 5 FEBRUARY
Agapi 17 SEPTEMBER
Aggelos Angelo 8 NOVEMBER
Aglaia 19 DECEMBER
Agni Agnes 21 JANUARY
Aikaterini Catherine 25 NOVEMBER
Agathaggelos 23 JANUARY
Akilas 14 JULY
Alexandros Alexander 30 AUGUST
Alexios Alex 17 MARCH
Alkiviadis 16 AUGUST
Anargyros 1 / 1 JULY / NOVEMBER
Anastasia Anastazia 22 DECEMBER
Anastasios 22 / 27 JANUARY – APRIL
Andreas Andrew 30 NOVEMBER
Andriani Andriana 30 NOVEMBER
Adrianos 26 AUGUST
Andronikos 17 / 30 MAY / JULY
Anthi 12 /15 APRIL / DECEMBER
Anthimos 3 SEPTEMBER
Antigoni Antigone 1 SEPTEMBER
Anna Anna 25 / 9 JULY / DECEMBER
Antonis Anthony 17 JANUARY
Apollon Apollo 5 JUNE
Apostolos 30 JUNE
Argyrios 1 / 1 JULY / NOVEMBER
Ariadni Ariadne 18 SEPTEMBER
Artemios 20 OCTOBER
Aristeidis 13 SEPTEMBER
Asklipios 27 FEBRUARY
Aspasia 1 SEPTEMBER
Athanasios 18 JANUARY
Athina Athina 1 SEPTEMBER
Avgoustinos Augustine 15 JUNE
Baia 8 APRIL
Balentini Valentine 14 FEBRUARY
Basileios Basil 1 JANUARY
Bartholomaios Bartholomew 11 JUNE
Beroniki Veronica 12 JULY
Biktor Victor 11 NOVEMBER
Biktoria Victoria 11 NOVEMBER
Blasios 11 FEBRUARY
Gabril Gabriel 8 NOVEMBER
Galini 16 APRIL
Gerasimos 16/ 20 AUGUST / OCTOBER
Georgios George 23 APRIL
Glykeria 13 MAY
Grigoris Gregory 25 JANUARY
Damianos Damien 1 / 1 JULY / NOVEMBER
Daniil Daniel 17 DECEMBER
Despoina 15 AUGUST
Dimitrios 26 OCTOBER
Dimosthenis 10 APRIL
Diomidis 16 AUGUST
Dionysos Dionysus 3 / 17 OCTOBER / DECEMBER
Dorotheos 5 JUNE
Eirini Irene 5 MAY
Eleni Ellen, Helen 21 MAY
Elevtherios 15 DECEMBER
Elisabet Elizabeth 24 APRIL
Elpida Hope 17 SEPTEMBER
Emmanouil Emmanuel 26 DECEMBER
Epameinondas 10 APRIL
Ermioni Hermione 14 SEPTEMBER
Evagellos 25 MARCH
Evanthia Eve, Eva 11 SEPTEMBER
Evgenia Eugenie 24 DECEMBER
Evgenios Eugene 7 MARCH
Evdokia 1 MARCH
Evdoxia 31 JANUARY
Evfimia 11 / 16 JULY / SEPTEMBER
Evfrosini 25 SEPTEMBER
Evthalia 2 MARCH
Evthimios 11 / 16 JULY / SEPTEMBER
Evthimios 20 JANUARY
Evlampia 10 OCTOBER
Evlampios 10 OCTOBER
Evsebios 15 / 22 FEBRUARY / JUNE
Evstathios 20 SEPTEMBER
Evstratios 13 DECEMBER
Evtixios 6 / 24 APRIL / AUGUST
Zaxaria Zachary 8 / 5 FEBRUARY / SEPTEMBER
Zinobia 30 OCTOBER
Zinon 22 JUNE
Zoi Zoe 20 APRIL
Saint Namedays Each Month In Greek Alphabetical Order
H – TH – I – 0 – K – L
M – N – X – 0 – P
Hlias 20 JULY
Hraklis Hercules 10 APRIL
Hsaias Isaiah 9 MAY
Theano 1 SEPTEMBER
Thekla 24 SEPTEMBER
Themistoklis Themistokles 21 DECEMBER
Theodosia 29 MAY
Theodosios 11 / 13 JANUARY / APRIL
Theodora Theodora 11 FEBRUARY
Theodoros Theodore 3 MARCH
Theologos 8 MAY
Theofanis 6 / 12 JANUARY / MARCH
Theofilos 8 JULY
Thomas Thomas 22 / 4 / 6 APRIL / MAY / OCTOBER
Iakovos Jacob 21 /23 MARCH / OCTOBER
Iason Jason 29 APRIL
Ieremias Jeremia 1 MAY
Ierotheos 4 OCTOBER
Ignatios Ignatius 20 DECEMBER
Iordanis Jordan 6 JANUARY
Ioulia Julia 18 MAY
Ioulianos Julian 21 DECEMBER
Ioulitta Juliette 15 JULY
Iounia June 17 MAY
Isidoros Isidore 4 / 14 FEBRUARY / MAY
Ioakeim Joacim 9 SEPTEMBER
Ioannis John 7 JANUARY
Isokratis 10 APRIL
Kalliopi 8 JUNE
Kirykos 15 JULY
Kleio Cleo 1 SEPTEMBER
Kleopatra Cleopatra 1 SEPTEMBER
Kosmas 1 / 1 JULY / NOVEMBER
Kyprianos 2 OCTOBER
Kyriaki 7 JULY
Kyriakos 29 SEPTEMBER
Konstantinos Constantine 21 MAY
Lazaros Lazarus 7 APRIL
Lampros 15 APRIL
Lavrentios Lawrence 10 AUGUST
Leonidas Leonidas 15 APRIL
Linos Linus 5 NOVEMBER
Loukas Luke 18 OCTOBER
Loukia Lucy 4 / 13 JULY / DECEMBER
Loukianos Lucien 15 OCTOBER
Lydia Lydia 20 MAY
Magdalini Magdalene 29 / 22 APRIL / JULY
Margarita Margaret 1 SEPTEMBER
Maria Maria, Mary 15 / 21 AUGUST / NOVEMBER
Marina Marina 17 JULY
Markella 22 JULY
Markos Mark, Marcus 25 APRIL
Martha Martha 4 JUNE
Mathaios Matthew 16 NOVEMBER
Maximos Maximus 21 JANUARY
Meletios 12 / 1 FEBRUARY / SEPTEMBER
Merkourios Mercury 25 NOVEMBER
Miltiadis 10 APRIL
Minas 11 NOVEMBER
Mixail Michael 8 NOVEMBER
Natalia Natalie 26 AUGUST
Nektarios 9 NOVEMBER
Neofytos 21 JANUARY
Nestor Nestor 27 OCTOBER
Nikitas 15 SEPTEMBER
Nikiforos 9 / 2 FEBRUARY / JUNE
Nikodimos Nikodemus 14 JULY
Nikolaos Nicholas 6 DECEMBER
Xeni 24 JANUARY
Xenofon 26 JANUARY
Olga Olga 11 JULY
Olympia 25 JULY
Orestis Orestes 10 NOVEMBER
Palladios 28 JANUARY
Panagiotis 15 AUGUST
Panteleimon 27 JULY
Paraskevi 26 JULY
Parthenis 7 FEBRUARY
Pasxalis 15 APRIL
Pavlos Paul 29 JUNE
Pelagia 4 / 8 MAY / OCTOBER
Periklis 10 APRIL
Petros 29 JUNE
Pigi 20 APRIL
Platon Plato 18 NOVEMBER
Polikarpos 23 FEBRUARY
Polixeni 23 SEPTEMBER
Porfirios 26 FEBRUARY
Prodromos 7 JANUARY
Prokopios 8 JULY
Saint Namedays Each Month In Greek Alphabetical Order
S – T
F – X
Sarantis 16 AUGUST
Savvas 5 DECEMBER
Serafeim Serafim 6 / 8 / 4/ MAY / NOV / DEC
Sergios 13 / 7 MAY / OCTOBER
Simeon 3 / 1 FEBRUARY / SEPTEMBER
Simon Simon 10 MAY
Smaragdos 9 MARCH
Sofia Sophia, Sophie 17 SEPTEMBER
Sofoklis Sophocles 10 APRIL
Spiridon 12 DECEMBER
Stamatis 3 / 16 / 8 FEB / AUGUST / NOV
Stavros 14 SEPTEMBER
Stefanos Stephen 27 DECEMBER
Stylianos 26 NOVEMBER
Sokratis Socrates 27 OCTOBER
Sotirios 6 AUGUST
Sozon 7 SEPTEMBER
Taxiarxis 8 NOVEMBER
Tatiani 12 JANUARY
Timotheos Timothy 22 JANUARY
Titos 25 AUGUST
Triantafyllos 8 AUGUST
Trifon 1 FEBRUARY
Fanourios 27 AUGUST
Febrona 25 JUNE
Filimon 6 / 22 JULY / NOVEMBER
Filippos Philip 14 NOVEMBER
Filothei 19 FEBRUARY
Foibi Phoebe 3 SEPTEMBER
Fokas 22 SEPTEMBER
Foteini 26 / 13 FEBRUARY / MARCH
Fotios 6 / 6 JANUARY / FEBRUARY
Xaralampos Harold, Harry 10 FEBRUARY
Xarikleia 10 / 1 FEBRUARY / SEPTEMBER
Xaritini 5 OCTOBER
Xristina Christine 24 JULY
Xristodoulos 16 / 21 MARCH / OCTOBER
Xristos Christopher 25 DECEMBER
Xristoforos 9 MAY
Xrysa 25 DECEMBER
Xrysafios 25 OCTOBER
Xrysanthos 19 MARCH
Xrysostomos 27 / 13 JANUARY / NOVEMBER

Eurasian Energy Games

Source

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

BP May Open Britain to Russian Gas

Additional ramifications of the BP-Rosneft deal are now coming to light.  With the purchase of TNK-BP by Rosneft, BP’s Russian partners have agreed to end their legal battles with British Petroleum.  Sources claim that the two sides agreed to settle all their disputes after BP  made a $325 million payment to the Russian consortium AAR.  Supposedly, this move has been taken to give BP the freedom to pursue the development of Arctic oil.  “BP is not taking an equity position in Rosneft as a portfolio investor,” said chief strategist at Sberbank CIB Chris Weafer.  “they are looking at a future relationship through which they can grow production and reserves in Russia.”

It appears, however, that this deal has also cleared the boards for BP to work with Gazprom to bring Russian natural gas to Great Britain.  AAR had previously taken the position that their partnership with BP mandated all BP business opportunities in Russia be run through TNK-BP.  With all claims settled, sources report that the consortium has relinquished all claims on BP’s future Russian activities.  That could include moving into the natural gas market.  Gazprom’s  Chief Executive Alexi Miller reported in June that BP was interested in participating in an expanded Nord Stream pipeline, one that would carry product to Britain.

Such a move is a  questionable investment decision by the British company, given the plummeting price natural gas is commanding, and the large quantities of liquified natural gas (LNG) coming on the market to compete with pipeline gas.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Reprecussions from the sale of TNK-BP

With the recent decision of OAO Rosneft to purchase TNK-BP from its various owners, one of the most strained partnerships in Russian economic history comes to an end.  Rosneft has agreed to pay a total of $54.8 billion to BP plc and the Alfa-Access-Renova consortum (AAR) controlled by four Russian billionaires.  These oligarchs–Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Viktor Vekeselberg and Len Blavatnik– defied the stated policy of the Kremlin last year to prohibit BP from entering into an artic exploration agreement with Rosneft.  With ill feelings all around, it was apparent that this business union was headed for a divorce.

Initially, AAR offered to buy BP’s 50% ownership in TNK-BP, but this offer was withdrawn when Rosneft offered to purchase AAR’s shares instead.  AAR is slated to receive $28 billion for it’s half of the company.  Rosneft then offered BP the chance to sell its shares, as well.  Anxious to raise capital to pay its Gulf spill-related expenses, BP agreed to accept $10-$15 billion in cash,and a 12.5% share in Rosneft.  BP plans to use part of the cash payment to purchase an additional 5.66% of Rosneft which, combined with the 1.5% share they already hold, will bring their share of ownership to approximately 19.75%.  75% of Rosneft is owned by the Russian state, while the remainder is sold in the market.

Analysts believe that the majority stock holder Russian state will help finance the purchase.  “For Rosneft to buy both AAR and BP to form a fully state-owned oil champion would be the cleaner solution for the Russian state, and is likely to require further state injection into Rosneft, given that the company had previously been sounding out the market for a loan to buy part of BP’s share,” said RBC Capital Markets Corporation’s Peter Hutton.  Not as much cash is required for the deal as the original figures would indicate, since BP and AAR are owed about $2.5 billion in dividends from TNK-BP.  According to journalist Paul Whitfield, this means the cash proceeds from the two deals are actually $26.75 billion for AAR and $15.85 billion for BP, falling to $11.05 billion for BP after its acquisition of Rosneft stock.

Russian President Vladimir Putin appears happy with the deal.  “This is a very good signal for the Russian market.  It is a good, large deal.  I would like to thank you for this work,” he told Rosneft CEO and longtime ally Igor Sechin.  Putin should be happy:  the deal gives Rosneft a seat on BP’s board.  This will give Russia a voice in BP operations outside of Russian territory such as in the Caspian where BP is the lead oil company.

The deal puts Rosneft ahead of Gazprom as the leading energy producer in Russia.  After the deal is consummated, Rosneft will produce 4 million barrels of crude oil a day.  This does not appear to be the result of any inside-Kremlin politics, but economics.  As the price of natural gas declines in the face of the shale revolution, it should be anticipated that Gazprom’s importance would also decline.  Moscow needs revenues, however, and the price of oil remains high.  Igor Sechin, driven out of the cabinet by former President Medvedev, is back in the cat bird seat.

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Bulgaria Playing Both Sides

Against all expectations, Bulgaria has emerged as a key player in the battle for control of the Southern Energy Corridor.  This Black Sea country is astride the most logical route between the gas fields and European markets for both South Stream and TANAP.  Bulgaria has agreed to cooperate with both consortiums, while playing for maximum advantage.
In August 2012, Bulgaria and Gazprom announced they would conclude an investment contract in November for the construction of South Stream.  Simultaneously, Bulgarian Minister of Energy and Economy Delyan Dobrev announced a new gas-supply contract that featured an 11% price in gas for the remainder of 2012.
Once having achieved its goal of obtaining Bulgarian cooperation, however, the Russians appear to have upped the ante.  For construction of South Stream to begin, the Russians declared they wanted $1.3 billion in compensation for the Belene nuclear plant.  This was a project that the former Bulgarian government had contracted with Russia, but that current Prime Minister Boiko Borisov cancelled when he took office last year.  Borisov was outraged.  “We are observing all our commitments on South Stream.  For Belene we continue to negotiate…That is why I think we have been absolutely treacherously surprised by that claim.”  Bulgarian observers pushed back, threatening that the government would be forced to cancel South Stream.  Ilian Vassilev of Innovative Energy Solutions said, “There is no way Bulgaria can pay both the claim and let South Stream happen.”
The dispute has led to a delay in a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was supposed to be present in Sofia on November 9 for the signing of the South Stream papers.  Instead, Putin has postponed his trip until December, possibly signalling his unhappiness with Bulgaria’s recalcitrance.
Meanwhile, in September 2012 the European Union criticized Bulgaria for  supporting South Stream while lacking sufficient commitment to the EU’s version of a Southern Energy Corridor.  The EU’s concern was that South Stream only diversifies supply routes from Russia, but does not diversify the ultimate, Russian source of supply.  “Bulgaria needs to complete the ongoing investment projects on gas interconnectors with Romania, Serbia and Greece, and make reverse flows possible on its interconnector with Turkey…Bulgaria also needs to play a more proactive part in opening up the Southern Gas Corridor, which has the potential to diversify supply sources,” said a leaked document.

EC Report Slams Bulgaria’s Failure to Commit to Southern Energy Corridor

Energy | September 18, 2012, Tuesday| 1215 views

Bulgaria: EC Report Slams Bulgaria's Failure to Commit to Southern Energy Corridor
Мap of the so called Southern Energy Corridor from REEE

Bulgaria must commit more thoroughly to the development of the EU-sponsored Southern Energy Corridor (also known as Southern Gas Corridor) aimed at diversifying natural gas suppliers to Europe, according to a leaked report of the European Commission.

The draft report of the EC, which is still to be released, criticizes Bulgaria for throwing its weight mostly behind the Russian-sponsored South Stream gas transit pipeline, while lacking sufficient commitment to EU’s attempts to develop the Southern Energy Corridor, EurActiv reported Tuesday citing the leaked report.

Bulgaria needs to complete the ongoing investment projects on gas interconnectors with Romania, Serbia and Greece, and make reverse flows possible on its interconnector with Turkey, the EU executive says.

“Bulgaria also needs to play a more proactive part in opening up the Southern Gas Corridor, which has the potential to diversify supply sources,” the paper reads.

The Southern Gas Corridor is a key element of competing projects to bring natural gas to Europe from the offshore Shah Deniz II field in Azerbaijan.

Up to now, Bulgaria has made commitments to South Stream, a Gazprom-favoured project widely seen as a competitor to the Southern Gas Corridor.

The South Stream pipeline is intended to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of natural gas to central and southern Europe, diversifying Russian gas routes away from transit countries such as Ukraine.

The pipes will go from Russia to Bulgaria via the Black Sea; in Bulgaria it will split in two – with the northern leg going through Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia to Austria and Northern Italy, and the southern leg going through Greece to Southern Italy. Recent reports have indicated, however, that Russian energy giant Gazprom may give up on the construction of the offshore section of the South Stream gas pipeline to Austria.

The Black Sea underwater section of South Stream between Russia and Bulgaria will be 900 km long, and will be constructed at a maximum depth of 2 km.

The construction of the South Stream gas pipeline will begin in December 2012, and the first supplies for Europe are scheduled for December 2015.

The pipeline’s core shareholders include Gazprom with 50%, Italy’s Eni with 20% and Germany’s Wintershall Holding and France’s EDF with 15% each.

Gazprom has already established national joint ventures with companies from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece, Hungary and Serbia to manage the onshore section of the South Stream pipeline.

Bulgaria has committed itself to speeding up the construction of the Russian-sponsored pipeline on its territory, since on January 1, 2013, the EU is introducing new requirements for the access to energy networks.

In the draft gas supply report of the EC, Bulgaria is also urged to increase cross-border network capacity.

Regardless of its more favorable geographic location, Bulgaria is also singled out as one of the energy infrastructure black spots on the EU map.

The Bulgarian Prime Minister was non-plussed.  In an interview with Euronews, Borisov said he was commited to the European vision.  “It is very important that the Turkish Tanap-pipeline reaches Bulgaria and that Nabucco-West and the South East Europe Pipeline move closer to Europe…Regarding the Nabucco project, Bulgaria has done all it can:  the parliament approved its construction.  We have signed all the documents that are required and we can start construction work tomorrow if necessary.  I am looking forward to the launch of the Nabucco project.”
Despite any agreement with Nabucco, however, as of 30 September 2012 there was no agreement between Bulgartransgaz and Turkey’s Botas to connect with the Turkish pipeline network.  Without such a connection, any discussion of Tanap or Nabucco is moot.  To give the country some negotiating room, Bularia delayed its plans one year to connect its gas network with neighboring Balkan countries.  Bulgartransgaz announced the connection would take place in 2014, instead of the originally-planned 2013.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Transcaspian Back on the Board

Recent armed spats between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea placed the future of the Trans Caspian Pipeline in doubt, but European Union-backed talks in Ashkabat appear to have put things back on track.  According to EU spokeswoman Marlene Holzner, the Turkmenistan Energy Minister Myrat Artykow and Azerbaijan Minister for Industry and Energy agreed with EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger that the project could be an important part of efforts to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russian gas supplies.
Holzner said both Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan had expressed a desire to supply Turkmen gas to Europe, but neither country was willing to make any firm commitments.  “Turkmenistan said it continues to be interested in delivering gas to Europe.  Azerbaijan also confirmed its interest in being an ‘enabler’, meaning it would also be a transit country for gas.”

Despite the expressions of good intentions, who moves first to make the pipeline a reality remains in doubt.  Holzner said that the EU was waiting for a gurantee from Turkmenistan on supply (despite the fact that Turkmenistan President Gurbangulu Berdimuhammedov is on record as promising 40 bcm per year for the project).  At the same time, she said that the EU would neither own the pipeline nor pay for it.  For his part, Berdimuhammedov has previously said that while he would sell the gas to Europe, it would be up to the Europeans to figure how to get it from Turkmenistan.  So, all good wishes aside, no progress appears to have been made other than to get the parties talking again.

Turkmenistan appears to have turned its attention east, with most of its gas sales going by pipeline to China.  For Azerbaijan’s part, the pipeline could be seen as either competition for its own future gas production, or for Gazprom’s South Stream.  In either case, the benefits of a Trans Caspian Pipeline do not appear to be overwhelming.  The one country that would benefit is Turkey, who would like to see Turkmen gas made available to expand the proposed TANAP pipeline.

“With the TANAP project we have created a structure that will allow gas to transit across Azerbaijan and facilitate trade.  This structure is also targeting Turkmen gas.  We are seeking Turkmen gas,” said Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yilmaz.

According to Gulmira Rzayeva of the Center for Strategic Studies of Azerbaijan, an expanded TANAP could increase Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union.  “Turkey can achieve political gains with this pipeline; it can be an ace in terms of its European Union membership negotiations.  With the finalization of this project, Turkey will have a whole new position within the region.”  Whether Turkey wants to join Europe is, of course, an open question.  Turkey’s annual growth continues at around 7%, while Europe continues to stagnate and — possibly–sink back into recession.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Potential Backers Lose Interest in TAPI

Despite support from both the United States and the Asian Development Bank, potential investors are backing away from the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline.  This proposal has been beset with concerns over security of the pipeline route, which passes through some of the most violent prone provinces in Afghanistan.

In the latest development, China has expressed new interest in Turkmen gas.  First, Chinese President Hu Jintao has proposed a new pipeline route that would bring Turkmen gas to China via Afghanistan.  The benefit of this latest proposal is that the pipeline route would traverse a safer route in Northern Afghanistan.  Second, China also signed in May 2012 an agreement with Turkmenistan to increase deliveries through the East-West Gas Pipeline from 30 bcm  per year to 65 bcm.  This pipeline does not pass through Afghanistan, has no security isues, and has been relatively trouble free since it opened in 2009.  Finally, China has assured Turkmenistan that its demand for natural gas will constantly increase over the next five years.  As a result, Turkmenistan’s enthusiasm has “softened” for TAPI, according to Pakistani correspondent Iqrar Haroon.

The Russian National Energy Institute has recommended the Russian government should avoid investing in TAPI because of security concerns, and questions over the viability of the project.  According to the Indian Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the proposed increases in Chinese purchases of Turkmen gas will have a negative impact on Russia.  Turkmenistan offers lower-priced gas to China, bringing downward pressure on Russian gas prices.  Russia and China have been in talks since at least June 2009 to import 68 bcm of gas per year, but have not been able to agree on a price.

Monday, August 27

Trans Adriatic Pipeline Receives Funding Commitment

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), the southern competitor for carrying Caspian gas from the Turkish border to Europe, has received an economic boost.  British Petroleum and Total have signed an agreement with the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (Socar) to fund the pipeline, designed to bring natural gas to Italy.   (The proposed Nabucco West would carry gas from the Turkish border to Baumgarten, Austria).  “These funds will contribute toward continued work in several important areas during the period running up to the final routing decision, expected in 2013,” said a TAP spokesman.

Kjetil Tungland, TAP’s managing director, issued a statement, “The signing of this agreement is a significant vote of confidence in the quality of TAP’s technical and commercial solutions from key industrial players, and underpins the cooperation agreement that was signed between TAP and Shah Deniz in June.”

While the Shah Deniz consortium has not yet decided between TAP and Nabucco West, TAP’s chances have been improved by both the funding, and by the pipeline obtaining government support.  Both the Greek and Italian governments have agreed to support the pipeline, something they previously had not done.  According to the Greek Foreign Ministry, Greek Deputy Energy Minister Makis Papagergiou and his Italian counterpart reached a “close cooperation agreement” to support the pipeline.  The Italian Foreign Ministry added, “Athens and Rome have decided to back the project after Aszerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2 consortium chose TAP to transport gas to western Europe.  Nabucco West remains an alternative…”

With the Shah Deniz consortium sitting on the fence, other interested parties are also trying to cover all their bets.  the European Commission, which had previously said that Nabucco was a priority European project, has backed away.  It now says that it does not favor any project or route over another, as long as it carries Azeri gas, would diversify EU supplies, and would reduce EU dependence on Russian resources.  Similarly, BP is trying to support both TAP and its rival, Nabucco West.  “Our aim is to be involved in all aspects of the project so the aim is to be involved in Nabucco and TAP as well, and this is still being negotiated,” BP spokesman Toby Odone said.

Wednesday, August 22

Gazprom May Punish Hungary for Supporting Nabucco

Faced with Hungary’s approval of an environmental permit for the construction of the Nabucco pipeline, Gazprom may be considering moving west the route for the rival South Stream pipeline.
Reinhard Mitschek, managing director of Nabucco, announced on August 14 that Hungary was the first country to issue the project all its permits.  “The granting of this permit is a substantial step forward in Hungary and signifies the advanced stage of development of Nabucco West,” he said.
Within a week, Gazprom announced they were in talks with Croatia over the South Stream pipeline route.  “An intergovernmental agreement between Russia and Croatia on joint participation in the South Stream project was signed in 2010,” a spokesman commented.  “Currently, based on the results of a pre-investment stage, Gazprom and Plinacro Ltd. are discussing the terms of a shareholder agreement for a joint compnay project with a view to its subsequent establishment.”
The Croatian side is optimistic.  “At the moment the chances are 50:50 that we get the transit route of South Stream,” said a source involved in the Gazprom negotiations.  The reasons for changing the route are uncertain.    According to the Voice of Russia, a Croatian list serve, Jutarnji, listed a number of possible concerns:  lower costs, differences between Gazprom and the Hungarian leadership, uncertainty over ownership shares of various Hungarian companies, and slow work on the Hungarian economic feasibility stateement.  Gazprom’s board chairman Alexei Miller minimized these reasons, however, calling them “not significant.”  An unnamed Plinacro source added that there could be no official confirmation on the status of the talks, as both sides are bound by a mutual confidentiality pledge.
Timing would indicate the talks are retribution for Hungary’s cooperation with South Stream’s rival, Nabucco.  Whether the talks will result in the route change, or are merely a pressure tactic on Hungary by Gazprom officials, is yet to be seen.

Classified Nord-Ost Unknown Details [updated]


Deadly gas use haunts Moscow theater hostages 10 years later

A man crosses himself in 2010 in front of portraits of the victims of the Dubrovka Theatre crisis in Moscow.  File photo via AFP.
Topics:

A decade after Chechen militants seized a Moscow theatre in a hostage crisis which left 130 people dead, victims’ families are still seeking answers about use of a deadly gas by Russian forces to end the siege.

A total of 912 people, many of them children, were held hostage in the Dubrovka theatre for three days after coming to watch Nord Ost, a popular musical, on October 23, 2002.

The crisis ended on October 26 when Russian special forces filled the building with an unknown gas to neutralise the attackers, who had threatened to blow up the venue unless Russia pulled its troops out of Chechnya.

The effects of the gas killed 125 people, as well as the 40 attackers who were shot after being knocked out by the gas. The hostage-takers themselves killed five people.

The bloody end to the siege, two years into Vladimir Putin’s presidency, damaged his image as it appeared his regime had not made it a priority to prevent the deaths of the trapped civilians.

Survivors and victims’ relatives remain highly critical of how the authorities handled the crisis.

“We sat without moving in our seats right next to the stinking orchestra pit which had been transformed into a toilet,” a former hostage who wanted to be identified only as Oleg told AFP.

“We were exhausted after three days without food or water,” and were waiting for an assault as “our only chance to be liberated from that nightmare”.

But what followed was “chaos,” he said.

“Ten years have gone by, but so many questions are still unanswered,” said Natalia Kurbatova, whose 13-year-old daughter Kristina, one of the young stars of the musical, was among those killed.

“Why didn’t the authorities negotiate with the militants’ leader, at least to let the children go? What was the gas that killed our loved ones?” Kurbatova demanded.

“I still don’t know how she died,” she said in an interview with AFP. Her daughter was only found in the morgue the day after the security forces stormed the building.

Medical aid to the exhausted hostages who inhaled the gas was poorly organised, said survivors, with most of the deaths resulting from suffocation rather than from explosions or gunshots.

Russian courts however have systematically rejected lawsuits from the former hostages, who have blame the authorities and demanded compensation.

Last December, the European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to pay 1.25 million euros ($1.6 million) to 64 claimants, including ex-hostages and relatives of those killed during the siege.

“The gas didn’t kill people right away, and many people died because they weren’t properly tended to,” said lawyer Igor Trunov, who represented the Nord-Ost victims in court.

“The doctors didn’t know the composition of the gas. To this day it is classified. There wasn’t enough of the antidote. The ambulances didn’t have access to the building, and the hospitals weren’t ready to accommodate so many ex-hostages.”

While the Strasbourg court did not criticise Russia’s use of force and the noxious gas, it did highlight the lack of preparation for the rescue operation.

The European court ordered Russia to reopen its investigation into the victims’ deaths and possible negligence by officials, but Moscow’s powerful Investigative Committee has refused to do so.

Moscow has experienced more horrifying attacks since Dubrovka. A 2011 suicide bombing in its main Domodedovo airport killed 36 people and a double suicide bombing in the metro in 2010 killed 40.

A recent poll by the independent Levada Centre pollster found that 53 percent of Russians expect more acts of terror and hostage-takings.

“The main way to protect ourselves from attacks is the work of the special forces, using agents to infiltrate terrorist networks to prevent attacks,” said military analyst Alexander Golts.

“But I wouldn’t say Russia’s special forces have advanced far on that front,” he added.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

 


Golden Dawn Immigrants-Fake NeoNazi’s

All those links were sent to me on Twitter and I am more than glad to post them,I do beleive I will find more on those people due time.No threats allowed according to the WP policy or the HR declaration. So please stay vigilant of what you are going to post :)I checked all blog categories so that the post can get the most views possible. Regards!

“##Spiros Macrozonaris## IMMIGRANT Golden Dawn Deputy leader in Montreal, Canada” :

Facebook profile :

INTERESTING FACEBOOK POST MR. MACROZONARIS, HE CANNOT EVEN WRITE GREEK! BAD NAZI BAD! :

His NON 100% PURE GREEK son’s Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/macrozonaris?ref=ts&fref=ts

1. Greek Immigrant who married a “foreigner” >>>>>French-Canadian Doris Morrissette, they bore a son, Nicolas Macrozonaris (World-Class Sprinter – CANADIAN Olympian 🙂 ..who unfortunately is not 100% Pure Greek…

2. Conversations with Nicolas on Twitter, lead to nothing, he is ‘pretending’ that he has NO knowledge of what Golden Dawn supports and believes YET he states that he does not condone his fathers “actions”

Twitter @Macrozonaris TWEETER CONVERSATIONS with Nicolas –>

###### MUST WATCH #####
Video from CBC Montreal, from week of Oct 12th – INTERVIEW with Spiros Macrozonaris – next to him sits LOOSER Ilias Hondronicolas : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-3rbLI4K78

#Ilias Hondronicolas ———> on PHOTO second guy from the left :

#MORE HONDRONICOLAS:

(FRIENDS WITH ELENI ZAROULIA SHARING HER PHOTOS!)
( MUST SEE )

#MORE PAPAGEORGIOU:


US upset about Iran-Iraq-Syria alliance-US meddling fuels violence in Syria

Hezbollah Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah confirms the Lebanese resistance movement has sent a drone deep into the Israeli airspace evading radar systems.

The operation code-named Hussein Ayub saw Hezbollah’s drone fly hundreds of kilometers into the Israeli airspace and getting very close to Dimona nuclear plant without being detected by advanced Israeli and US radars, Nasrallah said during a televised speech late on Thursday.

“This is only part of our capabilities,” he stressed, adding that Israelis have admitted to their security failure despite being provided with the latest technologies by Western powers.

 

 

Hezbollah secretary-general stated that Hezbollah’s drones are made in Iran but assembled by the resistance movement.

Hezbollah plans to send more drones over Israel in the future, he added, adding that the operation shows the resistance movement is ready to defend Lebanon.

The resistance leader further dismissed Western accusations of Hezbollah's intervention in the Syrian unrest, describing the allegation as "sheer lie."

"Hezbollah has not fought alongside Syrian forces.... It is not true that Hezbollah is going to take some land from Syria," Nasrallah stated.

Hezbollah's leader also rejected allegations that Abu Abbas was the movement's commander in Syria, and condemned insurgents in Syria for threatening Lebanon.

"Threatening Hezbollah is of no use," he emphasized.

MRS/SS

Lebanon President Michel Sleiman says Hezbollah’s ability to send a drone over Israel shows the need for a new national defense strategy that uses the party’s strength in safeguarding the country.

“The process of dispatching a drone over Israeli enemy territory shows a dire need to approve a defense strategy that would look into the benefits of managing and making use of the resistance’s capabilities,” Sleiman said in a statement on Friday.

He added that Hezbollah’s potential should be used to “safeguard Lebanon and establish a mechanism for issuing a decision to use these capabilities exclusively and under any circumstances in line with national interests [of Lebanon] and the military's defense plans and needs.”

Sleiman’s comments came shortly after Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that the Lebanese resistance movement has sent a drone deep into the Israeli airspace evading radar systems.

The operation code-named Hussein Ayub saw Hezbollah’s drone fly hundreds of kilometers into the Israeli airspace and getting very close to Dimona nuclear plant without being detected by advanced Israeli and US radars.

"This is only part of our capabilities," Nasrallah said on Thursday.

Sleiman noted that daily Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty was a matter “of continuous complaints” made by Lebanon to the UN Security Council.

Israel violates Lebanon's airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.

Lebanon's government, the Hezbollah resistance movement, and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of UN Resolution 1701 and the country's sovereignty.

PG/JR/SS

A prominent military analyst says the United States is deeply concerned about the alliance among Iran, Iraq and Syria and their stand against Israel, Press TV reports.

“There are deep concerns within the US that a coalition between Iran, Iraq and Syria will stand against Israel and Turkey which frankly is their long-serving surrogate since Ottoman times,” Gordon Duff said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.

He further stressed that there needs to be a no-fly-zone over Turkey “since they seem to have difficulty following international convention.”

Turkey has beefed up military defenses on its border with Syria over the past weeks, stationing tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, and additional troops in the area.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on October 9 that Turkey’s armed forces would not hesitate to strike back in response to any strike on Turkish soil after the Turkish parliament authorized cross-border military action against Syria “when deemed right” On October 4.

Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Turkey -- along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- of backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011.

Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factors behind the unrest and deadly violence, but the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in August that the country is engaged in a “crucial and heroic” battle that will determine the destiny of the nation.

TNP/JR

A prominent military analyst says the United States is deeply concerned about the alliance among Iran, Iraq and Syria and their stand against Israel, Press TV reports.

“There are deep concerns within the US that a coalition between Iran, Iraq and Syria will stand against Israel and Turkey which frankly is their long-serving surrogate since Ottoman times,” Gordon Duff said in an interview with Press TV on Friday.

He further stressed that there needs to be a no-fly-zone over Turkey “since they seem to have difficulty following international convention.”

Turkey has beefed up military defenses on its border with Syria over the past weeks, stationing tanks, anti-aircraft missiles, and additional troops in the area.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on October 9 that Turkey’s armed forces would not hesitate to strike back in response to any strike on Turkish soil after the Turkish parliament authorized cross-border military action against Syria “when deemed right” On October 4.

 

Tensions have been running high between Syria and Turkey, with Damascus accusing Turkey -- along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar -- of backing a deadly insurgency that has claimed the lives of many Syrians, including security and army personnel.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011.

Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factors behind the unrest and deadly violence, but the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in August that the country is engaged in a “crucial and heroic” battle that will determine the destiny of the nation.

TNP/JR


Iran,Iraq,Syria,Russia :Mission NOT accomplished for Big Oil

23 August 2012

 

Published (with an intro by Tom Engelhardt) on TomDispatch

In 2011, after nearly nine years of war and occupation, U.S. troops finally left Iraq. In their place, Big Oil is now present in force and the country’s oil output, crippled for decades, is growing again. Iraq recently reclaimed the number two position in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), overtaking oil-sanctioned Iran. Now, there’s talk of a new world petroleum glut. So is this finally mission accomplished?

Well, not exactly. In fact, any oil company victory in Iraq is likely to prove as temporary as George W. Bush’s triumph in 2003. The main reason is yet another of those stories the mainstream media didn’t quite find room for: the role of Iraqi civil society. But before telling that story, let’s look at what’s happening to Iraqi oil today, and how we got from the “no blood for oil” global protests of 2003 to the present moment.

Here, as a start, is a little scorecard of what’s gone on in Iraq since Big Oil arrived two and a half years ago: corruption’s skyrocketed; two Western oil companies are being investigated for either giving or receiving bribes; the Iraqi government is paying oil companies a per-barrel fee according to wildly unrealistic production targets they’ve set, whether or not they deliver that number of barrels; contractors are heavily over-charging for drilling wells, which the companies don’t mind since the Iraqi government picks up the tab.

Meanwhile, to protect the oil giants from dissent and protest, trade union offices have been raided, computers seized and equipment smashed, leaders arrested and prosecuted. And that’s just in the oil-rich southern part of the country.

In Kurdistan in the north, the regional government awards contracts on land outside its jurisdiction, contracts which permit the government to transfer its stake in the oil projects — up to 25% — to private companies of its choice. Fuel is smuggled across the border to the tune of hundreds of tankers a day.

In Kurdistan, at least the approach is deliberate: the two ruling families of the region, the Barzanis and Talabanis, know that they can do whatever they like, since their Peshmerga militia control the territory. In contrast, the Iraqi federal government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has little control over anything. As a result, in the rest of the country the oil industry operates, gold-rush-style, in an almost complete absence of oversight or regulation.

Oil companies differ as to which of these two Iraqs they prefer to operate in. BP and Shell have opted to rush for black gold in the super-giant oilfields of southern Iraq. Exxon has hedged its bets by investing in both options. This summer, Chevron and the French oil company Total voted for the Kurdish approach, trading smaller oil fields for better terms and a bit more stability.

Keep in mind that the incapacity of the Iraqi government is hardly limited to the oil business: stagnation hangs over its every institution. Iraqis still have an average of just five hours of electricity a day, which in 130-degree heat causes tempers to boil over regularly. The country’s two great rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, which watered the cradle of civilization 5,000 years ago, are drying up.  This is largely due to the inability of the government to engage in effective regional diplomacy that would control upstream dam-building by Turkey.

After elections in 2010, the country’s leading politicians couldn’t even agree on how to form a government until the Iraqi Supreme Court forced them to. This record of haplessness, along with rampant corruption, significant repression, and a revival of sectarianism can all be traced back to American decisions in the occupation years. Tragically, these persistent ills have manifested themselves in a recent spate of car-bombings and other bloody attacks.

Washington’s Yen for Oil

In the period before and around the invasion, the Bush administration barely mentioned Iraqi oil, describing it reverently only as that country’s “patrimony.” As for the reasons for war, the administration insisted that it had barely noticed Iraq had one-tenth of the world’s oil reserves. But my new book reveals documents I received, marked SECRET/NOFORN, that laid out for the first time pre-war oil plans hatched in the Pentagon by arch-neoconservative Douglas Feith’s Energy Infrastructure Planning Group (EIPG).

In November 2002, four months before the invasion, that planning group came up with a novel idea: it proposed that any American occupation authority not repair war damage to the country’s oil infrastructure, as doing so “could discourage private sector involvement.” In other words, it suggested that the landscape should be cleared of Iraq’s homegrown oil industry to make room for Big Oil.

When the administration worried that this might disrupt oil markets, EIPG came up with a new strategy under which initial repairs would be carried out by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton. Long-term contracts with multinational companies, awarded by the U.S. occupation authority, would follow. International law notwithstanding, the EIPG documents noted cheerily that such an approach would put “long-term downward pressure on [the oil] price” and force “questions about Iraq’s future relations with OPEC.”

At the same time, the Pentagon planning group recommended that Washington state that its policy was “not to prejudice Iraq’s future decisions regarding its oil development policies.” Here, in writing, was the approach adopted in the years to come by the Bush administration and the occupation authorities: lie to the public while secretly planning to hand Iraq over to Big Oil.

There turned out, however, to be a small kink in the plan: the oil companies declined the American-awarded contracts, fearing that they would not stand up in international courts and so prove illegitimate. They wanted Iraq first to have an elected permanent government that would arrive at the same results. The question then became how to get the required results with the Iraqis nominally in charge. The answer: install a friendly government and destroy the Iraqi oil industry.

In July 2003, the U.S. occupation established the Iraqi Governing Council, a quasi-governmental body led by friendly Iraqi exiles who had been out of the country for the previous few decades. They would be housed in an area of Baghdad isolated from the Iraqi population by concrete blast walls and machine gun towers, and dubbed the Green Zone.  There, the politicians would feast, oblivious to and unconcerned with the suffering of the rest of the population.

The first post-invasion Oil Minister was Ibrahim Bahr al-Uloum, a man who held the country’s homegrown oil expertise in open contempt. He quickly set about sacking the technicians and managers who had built the industry following nationalization in the 1970s and had kept it running through wars and sanctions. He replaced them with friends and fellow party members. One typical replacement was a former pizza chef.

The resulting damage to the oil industry exceeded anything caused by missiles and tanks. As a result the country found itself — as Washington had hoped — dependent on the expertise of foreign companies. Meanwhile, not only did the Coalition Provisional authority (CPA) that oversaw the occupation lose $6.6 billion of Iraqi money, it effectively suggested corruption wasn’t something to worry about.  A December 2003 CPA policy document recommended that Iraq follow the lead of Azerbaijan, where the government had attracted oil multinationals despite an atmosphere of staggering corruption (“less attractive governance”) simply by offering highly profitable deals.

Now, so many years later, the corruption is all-pervasive and the multinationals continue to operate without oversight, since the country’s ministry is run by the equivalent of pizza chefs.

The first permanent government was formed under Prime Minister Maliki in May 2006. In the preceding months, the American and British governments made sure the candidates for prime minister knew what their first priority had to be: to pass a law legalizing the return of the foreign multinationals — tossed out of the country in the 1970s — to run the oil sector.

The law was drafted within weeks, dutifully shown to U.S. officials within days, and to oil multinationals not long after. Members of the Iraqi parliament, however, had to wait seven months to see the text.

How Temporary the Victory of Big Oil?

The trouble was: getting it through that parliament proved far more difficult than Washington or its officials in Iraq had anticipated. In January 2007, an impatient President Bush announced a “surge” of 30,000 U.S. troops into the country, by then wracked by a bloody civil war. Compliant journalists accepted the story of a gamble by General David Petraeus to bring peace to warring Iraqis.

In fact, those troops spearheaded a strategy with rather less altruistic objectives: first, broker a new political deal among U.S. allies, who were the most sectarian and corrupt of Iraq’s politicians (hence, with the irony characteristic of American foreign policy, regularly described as “moderates”); second, pressure them to deliver on political objectives set in Washington and known as “benchmarks” — of which passing the oil law was the only one ever really talked about: in President Bush’s biweekly video conferences with Maliki, in almost daily meetings of the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, and in frequent visits by senior administration officials.

On this issue, the Democrats, by then increasingly against the Iraq War but still pro-Big Oil, lent a helping hand to a Republican administration. Having failed to end the war, the newly Democrat-controlled Congress passed an appropriations bill that would cut off reconstruction funds to Iraq if the oil law weren’t passed. Generals warned that without an oil law Prime Minister Maliki would lose their support, which he knew well would mean losing his job. And to ramp up the pressure further, the U.S. set a deadline of September 2007 to pass the law or face the consequences.

It was then that things started going really wrong for Bush and company. In December 2006, I was at a meeting where leaders of Iraq’s trade unions decided to fight the oil law. One of them summed up the general sentiment this way: “We do not need thieves to take us back to the middle ages.” So they began organizing. They printed pamphlets, held public meetings and conferences, staged protests, and watched support for their movement grow.

Most Iraqis feel strongly that the country’s oil reserves belong in the public sector, to be developed to benefit them, not foreign energy companies. And so word spread fast — and with it, popular anger. Iraq’s oil professionals and various civil society groups denounced the law. Preachers railed against it in Friday sermons. Demonstrations were held in Baghdad and elsewhere, and as Washington ratcheted up the pressure, members of the Iraqi parliament started to see political opportunity in aligning themselves with this ever more popular cause. Even some U.S. allies in Parliament confided in diplomats at the American embassy that it would be political suicide to vote for the law.

By the September deadline, a majority of the parliament was against the law and — a remarkable victory for the trade unions — it was not passed. It’s still not passed today.

Given the political capital the Bush administration had invested in the passage of the oil law, its failure offered Iraqis a glimpse of the limits of U.S. power, and from that moment on, Washington’s influence began to wane.

Things changed again in 2009 when the Maliki government, eager for oil revenues, began awarding contracts to them even without an oil law in place. As a result, however, the victory of Big Oil is likely to be a temporary one: the present contracts are illegal, and so they will last only as long as there’s a government in Baghdad that supports them.

This helps explain why the government’s repression of trade unions increased once the contracts were signed.  Now, Iraq is showing signs of a more general return to authoritarianism (as well as internecine violence and possibly renewed sectarian conflict).

But there is another possibility for Iraq. Years before the Arab Spring, I saw what Iraqi civil society can achieve by organizing: it stopped the world’s superpower from reaching its main objective and steered Iraq onto a more positive course.

Many times since 2003 Iraqis have moved their country in a more democratic direction: establishing trade unions in that year, building Shi’a-Sunni connections in 2004, promoting anti-sectarian politicians in 2007 and 2008, and voting for them in 2009.  Sadly, each of these times Washington has pushed it back toward sectarianism, the atmosphere in which its allies thrive.  While mainstream commentators now regularly blame the recent escalation of violence on the departure of U.S. troops, it would be more accurate to say that the real reason is they didn’t leave far sooner.

Now, without its troops and bases, much of Washington’s political heft has vanished. Whether Iraq heads in the direction of dictatorship, sectarianism, or democracy remains to be seen, but if Iraqis again start to build a more democratic future, the U.S. will no longer be there to obstruct it.  Meanwhile, if a new politics does emerge, Big Oil may discover that, in the end, it was mission unaccomplished. [source]

Putin backs Russian push for Iraqi oil

 

President Vladimir Putin lobbied Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday to support Russian energy investment, as the oil arm of gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) pushes for a foothold in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

Gazprom Neft (SIBN.MM) is still interested in Kurdistan’s oil, company sources and the province’s spokesman said, rebutting reports it had frozen projects in the Iraqi province.

Putin, a vocal opponent of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, called for Russia to strengthen its presence in the OPEC oil producer state at talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at his residence near Moscow.

“Our companies are boosting their activities in Iraq – the whole list of our large energy companies,” Putin said. “I hope their work will develop step by step and we are very much hoping for your support, Mr Prime Minister.”

Russia’s second-largest crude producer LUKOIL (LKOH.MM) is developing the vast West Qurna-2 oil, while mid-sized Bashneft (BANE.MM) is teaming up with Britain’s Premier Oil PLC (PMO.L) after they won the right to tap oil in the Middle East country.

LUKOIL bought Norway’s Statoil (STL.OL) out of their partnership in West Qurna-2 in March, and CEO Vagit Alekperov said he would be open to taking on board a new partner.

“We bought it, 100 pct, if there is a good offer we can sell part of it, so far we feel comfortable with it,” Alekperov told Reuters. Asked if there was an offer in the works, he said “at the moment no, only outline ideas.”

Russia signed $4.2 billion worth of arms deals with Iraq on Tuesday.

DEAL NOT FROZEN

Late on Tuesday, the International Oil Daily cited Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul-Kareem Luaibi as saying Baghdad had received a letter from Gazprom, in which the company said it had frozen its contract with Kurdistan.

Baghdad has been angered by the plans of some international majors, including ExxonMobil (XOM.N), to tap oil and gas in the northern region. The central government says the deals are illegal.

A spokesman for the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said Gazprom Neft had informed the KRG on Wednesday that it remains committed to its contract in the Kurdistan region.

Sources at Gazprom Neft also knocked down the report.

In August, Gazprom Neft acquired interests in two blocks in Kurdistan.

“Gazprom Neft is still working on these projects. The company keeps its interest in Kurdistan,” a Gazprom Neft source told Reuters.

Another source at the company said Gazprom Neft would be able to go ahead with the projects once the Iraqi central government and KRG resolve their differences.

He also said Gazprom Neft management will travel to Kurdistan before year-end to discuss oil development in the province. A company spokeswoman declined to comment.

Gazprom Neft already has a project in Iraq, near the Iranian border, where it expects to produce about 15,000 barrels per day from 2013. [source ]

 

And the other side “de la moneda” Judge for yourselves

 

October 11, 2012 

Iraq today stands on the brink of total control by Iran and the establishment of a new dictatorship. 

The dream for which so many American soldiers believed they were fighting is slipping away as Iraq moves in the opposite direction – toward Iran. 

Iran’s presence is already visible in Iraq, from the droves of pilgrims at Shi’ite holy sites to the brands of yogurt and jam on grocery shelves, and Iraqis see clear Iranian influence since the US troops left at the end of last year. 

It could be considered a natural step for the only two Shi’ite Muslim-led governments in the Sunnidominated Middle East to expand their relationship. However, many Iraqi Shi’ites are cautious of intrusion of their country’s sovereignty and afraid of being overrun by the Iranian theocracy. 



Iraqis are accusing Iran of meddling in Iraqi affairs to destabilize the new democracy and strengthen Iran’s influence over it and its neighbors. Top Iranian officials maintain they are only strengthening diplomatic and economic ties with Iraq, as they have sought to do since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein. On the other hand, head of Iranian al-Quds Brigades General Qasim Sulaimani announced recently that Iraq and South Lebanon are submissive to Tehran’s will, stating that his country could regulate any movement with the aim to form Islamic governments in both countries. 

Not to mention the close relationship between Iran and Syria. This is the goal of the Iranians: to form the Shi’ite crescent – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Southern Lebanon – controlled by Hezbollah. The aim is to encircle Israel. Israel should worry about Iraq acquiring F-16 aircraft from the United States, especially since their pilots will be selected from among the Shi’ites most loyal to the regime in Tehran. “Iran wants to make Iraq a weak state,” said Maj.- Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, a US military spokesman in Iraq, a few years ago. 

This issue has also worried many American officials who have long feared what they described as Iranian meddling in Iraq and its potential to sow unrest across the Middle East. Those worries were a chief driver of failed efforts to leave at least several thousand American troops in Iraq beyond the end of last year’s withdrawal deadline. 

“The more you think about it, the more examples there are of Iranian influence,” says Buchanan. “They’re circumstantial, but that’s how behind-thescenes influence works.” Since Iraq’s 2010 election, Iraqis have witnessed the subordination of the state to Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki’s Iranian-backed Da’awa party, the erosion of judicial independence and intimidation of opponents. All of this happened during the Arab Spring while other countries were ousting dictators in favor of democracy. Iraq has become a sectarian battleground in which identity politics have crippled democratic development. 

Maliki has laid siege to his political opponents’ homes and offices, surrounded them with his security forces, all with the blessing of politicized judiciary and law enforcement systems that have become virtual extensions of his personal office. 

This is a typical textbook definition of “lawfare.” His national security adviser has complete control over the Iraqi intelligence and national security agencies, which are supposed to be independent institutions but have become a virtual extension of Maliki’s Da’awa Party; and his Da’awa loyalists are in control of the security units that oversee the Green Zone. The Iraqi prime minister uses secret prisons under the supervision of his elite security apparatus, and the Red Cross has conclusive evidence about these prisons. 

It was stated in its recent report that there is evidence detainees being tortured to extract confessions and information. The report mentioned that some of the torture sessions were attended by Iraqi judges. The Red Cross reported that there are three secret prisons in the Green Zone alone that are linked to Maliki’s office. The political process in Iraq is going in a very wrong direction; it’s going toward a dictatorship, while Iran views Maliki as its man in Baghdad and has dictated the shape of the current government. 

This Shi’ite Islamist government bodes ill for the country’s future. Today in Iraq, we see Maliki silencing and eliminating his opponents, using the law as a silent weapon for a quiet war. MALIKI IS using the judicial system to attack his political opponents, and the security services in Iraq have become part of the problem as they have been proven to be managing secret detention centers where torture is practiced under the personal supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister. It was revealed recently that 36 out of 38 inspectors-general at Iraqi ministries are from Maliki’s Da’awa Party. 

What we also see in Iraq now is that Iraq supports Syria, weapons from Iran being transported to Syria through Iraq, violations of UN security council resolutions against Iran and money laundering through Iraqi banks in favor of Iran with the full knowledge and support of the Office of the Prime Minister. The Iranian government played an important role in the revitalization of money laundering in Iraq by private banks in coordination with the Office of the Prime Minister. Armed groups backed by Tehran receive millions of dollars monthly in salaries and benefits from Iraqi banks under the guise of bank transfers or investment projects or grants to civil society organizations. It has been confirmed that Tehran-backed armed groups present in southern, central and northern Iraq are dealing with specific banks in these areas and receive their funds facilitated by the Da’awa Party. By consistently thinking of Maliki as a Shi’ite rather than an Iraqi Arab, American officials overlooked opportunities that once existed in Iraq but are now gone. Thanks to their own flawed policies, the Iraq they left behind is more similar to the desperate and divided country of 2006 than to the optimistic Iraq of early 2009. When American forces withdrew from Iraq at the end of last year, it was thought that they would be leaving behind a country that was politically unstable, increasingly volatile, and at risk of descending into the sort of sectarian fighting that killed thousands in 2006 and 2007. Nothing like this actually happened or will happen; instead we see Iraq falling under the full control of Iran. It is controlled by Iran’s embassy in Baghdad and its many consulates in other Iraqi cities. From a strategic standpoint, one can say that Iraq, with all its territory and capabilities, has become Iran’s strategic depth, supplementing its regional expansion. 

Iran controls the political decision-making and economy of Iraq. For all of its potential, Iraq has become merely an advanced strategic base for Iran. Iran may want to strike Israel via Hezbollah, and Iraq, due to its geographical location and the nature of the ruling powers, will be a key player in this regard. 

This is especially true when we observe in Iraq today that there is education, promoted by the Shi’ite parties linked to Iran, saying that the expulsion of Jews from the land of Palestine will be only at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Iran. It should also be noted that Iran is not crazy enough to attack the Gulf States and risk losing its legitimacy, as happened with Iraq when it invaded Kuwait. Iran must not be seen attacking Muslim states, which will antagonize the Muslim world. Iran will certainly target Israel first; this is the issue, aided by warmongering media campaigns, that would garner sympathy for Iran among the ignorant people of the Islamic world.[source]