Here We Go Again

BTCRussia moves 8500 troops into northern Georgia region during ‘Caucasus 2009’ exercises.

June 30, 2009

IN WHAT could easily be construed as a prelude to war, the Medvedev/Putin Russian ‘phoenix’ has moved a massive military ‘exercise’ into the disputed region of Georgia. Called ‘Caucasus 2009’, the drill includes 8500 troops, 200 tanks, 450 armored trucks, and 250 additional items of ‘artillery’. The ‘drill’ commenced on Monday and will wrap just in time for President Obama’s Russian visit on July 6th, in advance of the G8 meeting in Italy.

All this comes on the heels of a NATO exercise (Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09), conducted in Georgia proper just last month. Considering that Georgia is not a member of NATO, isn’t it curious that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would conduct any exercises there?

Why is NATO in Georgia? Why does Russia care? Why are the innocent people of the entire area terrified that a new ‘Georgian War’ will break out any minute? Hint: It’s all about the oil.

According to RIA Novosti, the late May exercise featured no ‘weapons or tanks’ (what did they use?–harsh language?) and was administered through the Mediterranean Dialogue and Instanbul Cooperative Peace Initiative. Huh?

The MD (Mediterranean Dialogue–1994) arose from a need to bypass Russia and Iran in constructing a pipeline. After the discovery of mega-rich oil fields in the Caspian Sea, western companies lacked a safe route to transport the black gold to a friendly port. Normally, this would have included a deal with Russia, but at that time, Russia (fresh from a Soviet break-up) declined the invitation. Enter Turkey.

In the spring of 1992, the Turkish prime minister, Süleyman Demirel, initiated a dialogue to include his country in the deal. After a round of backroom meetings, a formal 1994 ‘dialogue’ commenced. More meetings followed, culminating with the official signing of the intergovernmental agreement on November 18, 1999.

The BTC Pipeline Co. (BP subsidiary) opened its doors in September 18, 2002. Construction commenced soon after. This massive marvel of modern engineering stretched over three countries, connecting the oil rich Caspian Sea fields to a port in Turkey (thanks to that Mediterranean Dialogue). It’s worth noting that Armenia was left in the cold–they just wouldn’t back down from those ‘genocide’ accusations against Turkey–go figure.

As the pipeline progressed and reached its Georgia phase, a second round of ‘talking Turkey’ took place in 2004, where the decision was reached to broaden the definition of ‘middle east’ to include Georgia (the Istanbul Cooperative Peace Initiative). No doubt, the fact that this allowed NATO to keep an eye on the construction had nothing to do with it. Russia, you see, had by now regretted its decision not to participate and looked upon the fat pipeline with greedy eyes. (He who controls the spice, controls the universe! — ‘Baron Harkonnen’ in Dune).

So here we are. Every day, one million barrels of oil pass through Georgia on their way to the Ceyhan port in Turkey. Russia and NATO both stage exercises there. Last August, war broke out–and it is likely to do so again.

It’s all about oil.

But there’s more. The Caspian also is rich in natural gas. But how to transport it?

Through Iran. Gee, isn’t it convenient that Iran is in such turmoil? I wonder if Turkey can put together a ‘dialogue’ on this one.

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