August 15, 2008
Georgia's War Furthers Re-balancing
Saakashvili's splendid little war is already changing the calculations of U.S. allies.
When British Petroleum shut down the natural gas pipeline from Azerbaijan, through Georgia into Turkey because of the war, Iran increased its gas exports to Turkey by 60% to make up for the difference.
An second pipeline form Iran to Turkey is planed and an Memorandum of Understanding had been signed some time ago. This week the Iranian president Ahmadinejad visited Turkey and both sides had planed to use the occasion to finally sign the deal.
But suddenly the deal was "difficult" and Turkish media reported about alleged unacceptable Iranian price condition. The Financial Times was more frank and wrote:
The US on Wednesday warned Turkey not to strike an energy deal with Iran that undermined diplomatic efforts to halt Tehran’s nuclear programme, on the eve of a visit to Ankara by Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the Iranian president.
The US state department said it expected Ankara to avoid a deal that would harm diplomatic efforts but made clear its opposition to any agreement that eased pressure on Tehran.
The pressure (applied how exactly?) from the U.S. did for now what it was supposed to do. The deal was not signed.
But what is Turkey to do?
It gets most of the natural gas it uses from Russia through two Black Sea pipelines (map (pdf)). One is routed north around the Black Sea towards west Turkey and one is running underwater through the Black Sea to north-east Turkey. The second source for natural gas in Turkey is a pipeline from Iran and the third and smallest source is the line that runs through Georgia.
The U.S. is constantly warning European countries not to become too dependent on Russian energy sources. The U.S. does not want European countries to make gas deals with Iran. Now the U.S. neocon puppet in Tbilisi has proven that his country is unstable and not a reliable pipeline partner.
Ankara will take a while to digest the situation, but as the U.S. is unable to deliver reliable energy to Turkey it will have at a point to decide against the U.S. The Turkey-Iran deal will be signed silently at the next possible occasion.
Comments the Turkish daily Hurriyet:
Ankara now has to define a new balance for its relations with its traditional allies in the West and its emerging energy partner, Russia.
The task is becoming far more difficult given the recent international row with another regional energy player, Iran, over its nuclear program. Turkey and Iran had failed to agree on the deal to build a new pipeline as some speculate the failure was to avoid further unease with the U.S.
Turkey should develop a new strategy in the new grand chess board with longer term planning if it is to maintain the balance and not jeopardize its aim of becoming a key energy transit country.
The language is bit veiled, but the phrase "to maintain the balance" when Turkey is a NATO country with a huge U.S. airbase on its ground, i.e. not balanced, tells that Turkey will need to move into a more Russia/Iran and less U.S. friendly direction. Similar calculations will be made in northern Europe countries.
The U.S. has supported and advertised the gas and oil pipeline projects through Georgia as an alternative to Russian and/or Iranian supply. This was an argument to keep U.S. allies in Europe away from deeper connections with Russia and/or Iran. The alternative and that argumentation has now proven to be unreliable.
A lot of re-balancing of relations will have to follow Saak's lunatic little war.
Posted by b on August 15, 2008 at 11:44 AM | Permalink
The U.S. does not want European countries to make gas deals with Iran.
So far, it hasn’t been able to prevent that. In fact the whole ‘sanctions’ on Iran story is a joke, or just hype for the US public (even US cos. that sell whatever consumer goods like sports shoes get their ‘permits’, or they are just unlucky as they are small, some stand has to be made, etc.) or ineffective, as they cut down trade between US+EU and Iran - and they have worked in some measure I can’t tot up. Result: Iran turns to Asia and trades there, doing better, etc.
The Iranians are quite correct when they say all this sanctions BS is empty, is no problem for them.
What the US (uk, isr, etc.) does not want, and will go to any lengths to prevent, is Europe (not the EU but geographical Europe as a continent with its satellites which includes Switz, Norway, the Mahgreb, Turkey in some measure, etc.) actually getting closer to Russia, that great rich land. Any wedge between these two territorial units is good to go and has to be pushed as far as possible.
And lunatic little wars fulfill that purpose.
Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 15, 2008 12:46:33 PM | 2
Saakashvili's Chalabi Smirk
Georgia signs cease-fire with Russia
TBILISI, Georgia (CNN) -- A grim Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said Friday he signed a cease-fire agreement that requires the immediate withdrawal of all Russian forces from Georgian soil.
Que? [Only problem, this is the US version, not the French-brokered one!]
The agreement includes a provision for independent monitors and an eventual reconstruction plan for Georgia's economy, said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who brought the documents to Tbilisi, Georgia's capital.
?Has anybody else has read the agreement?
Meanwhile, alleged US "humanitarian aid" flights in C-17 military transports continue to pour into Georgia military distribution centers, and Israeli-brokered US arms shipments continue to seek any soft point of entry into Georgia.
"Start a small war!" Darth Cheney
Posted by: Ahmed Chalabi | Aug 15, 2008 12:52:14 PM | 3
Surely by now the Americans have learned to stay away from Russian tanks....
Posted by: alabama | Aug 15, 2008 1:14:12 PM | 4
Hearing that America is now involved in the War in Georgia,
the Peach Tree State Volunteers militia have loaded their
muskets and marched for Tuscaloosa, to join in the fracas.
"IDIQNB contracts for the Georgia reconstruction have been
issued to the Hallibani's KBR D Company, 1st of the 15th,"
Hallibani Chairman in Exile Darth Cheney said, from Dubai.
In WADC, a fundamentalist sect of Democrats were seen
marching in wide contretemps circles at the Washington
Monument, Pelosi singing, "I Dreamed I Saw St Augustine".
I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine
I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive as you or me,
Tearing through these quarters
In the utmost misery,
With a blanket underneath his arm
And a coat of solid gold,
Searching for the very souls
Whom already have been sold.
"Arise, arise," he cried so loud,
In a voice without restraint,
"Come out, ye gifted kings and queens
And hear my sad complaint.
No martyr is among ye now
Whom you can call your own,
So go on your way accordingly
But know you're not alone."
I dreamed I saw St. Augustine,
Alive with fiery breath,
And I dreamed I was amongst the ones
That put him out to death.
Oh, I awoke in anger,
So alone and terrified,
I put my fingers against the glass
And bowed my head and cried.
(c) 1968 Bob Dylan
Posted by: Charise Bueller | Aug 15, 2008 1:21:30 PM | 5
From the eager Guardian.
Georgia agrees to ceasefire with Russia
Saakashvili's signature formally ends hostilities as Condoleezza Rice calls on Moscow to withdraw tanks
Droll. The Guardian, perhaps overcome by a bout of shyness, does not inform us about the details of what the President of All Georgia, Lion of Lions, Sun to His People, signed.
Instructive that Rice will not visit Russia to hear it first hand. For that, there's the slightly unreliable Sarkozy (what a disappointment to the US/Israeli neocons this guy's turned out to be.)
This reluctance of Rice to confront the Russians makes me suspect that Sarkozy's six points have been modified. The propaganda onslaught (but, but, but the Lion signed! Waaaaaah!) will be tremendous over the weekend.
Former U.S. diplomat Richard Holbrooke told CNN it was not yet clear if Russia had agreed to the version of the cease-fire signed by Georgia. He said until that was known he could not say whether Georgia's signature was an achievment or theater.
DOA in Moscow is my guess.
Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 15, 2008 1:28:15 PM | 6
Has anyone in the State Dept been reading Pravda recently? If the tone there (e.g. here) is indicative of feeling in the Kremlin, then DOA is exactly the case.
Posted by: Helena | Aug 15, 2008 1:45:14 PM | 7
i was wondering about the document, too
this criminal administration has a long history of belittling its 'allies' so i wouldn't be surprised if it is a different document - & i wouldn't be surprised if the eu & its president sarkozy are given the bum's rush
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 15, 2008 1:46:33 PM | 8
Furthermore, all that finger wagging the past two days, building to a crescendo as Rice and the Lion signed the "ceasefire" agreement, is clearly meant to threaten the Russians into accepting. This makes me think that the Russians are not on board via Merkel in Sochi. Still haven't found the details of the "ceasefire".
This is going to be a fascinating two days.
Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 15, 2008 1:47:35 PM | 9
Slightly OT -
Dan of Steele in on of the older threats asked for pictures from damage in Tshkinvali
There are lots of war pictures in this russian thread. Of the damage in the city click through to page 4. More general war pics form a russian photojournalist are here.
Posted by: b | Aug 15, 2008 1:49:59 PM | 10
I'm waiting for lavrov to call this the birth pangs of a new central Asia. C'mon lav! Do it for ol' Lysander
Posted by: Lysander | Aug 15, 2008 2:21:07 PM | 11
I continue to be astounded by the open arms with which the US is welcoming Cold War II. UK too, less so the Europeans. We're going to be cold in Europe next winter. Denk's reference on the Pressing Russia thread to "enemy shortage", I thought particularly apposite. It is as though they're sliding more easily into Russia as the great enemy, than they ever did with Islam. Perhaps because Russia can be depicted as a real enemy, with tanks and armoured personnel carriers in the imagery, rather than the odd jihadi with an RPG.
Of course, as someone who works on the Middle East, I'd be only too happy if the US took its eye off the region for a bit. It will give the Iraqis and Afghans a chance to sort out their problems. Israel will not be happy though.
I don't think I 100% believed before that Washington was consciously following the Orwellian model of permanent war, with changing enemies between Eurasia and Eastasia. Now I am convinced.
But still, knowing politicians, the aim is more likely to be short-term advantage. Either to lever McCain into power - though if it is the case, I don't understand the scenario fully, the neocons have not been enthusiastic about McCain, possibly nevertheless better than Obama. Or, to cover up for the fact that the US is apparently now nearly ready to sign an agreement with Iraq which gives a timetable for full withdrawal. Iraq will not sign anything less.
Posted by: Alex | Aug 15, 2008 2:53:31 PM | 12
First, I want to thank you for this amazing site and its coevrage of this unfolding mess in Georgia.
Secondly, (at the risk of being a concern troll) I want to say how nervous I am about the prospects of this becoming some kind of propaganda war. Obviously Russia couldn’t give a flying f**k what Fox news watchers think of their actions. They aren’t trying to convince anyone in Britain or the US about the appropriateness of their actions.
But, it is going to become another way for the right to challenge the rationale of anyone who dares to question the veracity of the Saakashvili government’s position. And of course, the fact that no one is meddling with the facts on the ground if they contradict the spin as commanded from the Network Corporate office goes unnoticed.
This all underscores the complete disintegration of our Media, and the stupidity of our political leaders.
Posted by: Escariot | Aug 15, 2008 2:56:58 PM | 13
Some neo-con bloke supposedly of vast experience in diplomatic and intelligence circles in Washington was dredged up by the Beeb coupla nights ago, barking mad, raving about American victory over Russia in Georgia affair: seemingly, Russia's dug itself into hole and can't see way out, quaking before stern strong words of all-wise Bush and Rice and Washington's implacable stance ("Russia in international isolation.... may not stage Winter Olympics..... maybe to be expelled from G8....."You bet Putin's pukin' shit scared to hear all that. Russia not a significant power,chaotic,corrupt and ruined, obsolete military, no economy, only got oil and gas - "Russia = Saudi Arabia with trees". American diplomatic and military pressure has achieved cease fire and Russian withdrawal, freedom and democracy saved , mission accomplished blah blah blah.
Trouble is, he really believes all this delusional crap; and almost certainly represents the thinking (thinking??? - wrong word - should be what? = insane fantasies?)of Bush and Cheney and co. They probably do really believe and will claim a great victory has been won and the world made safe for democracy by the shining city on the hill......Problem for us is - the insane can be dangerous. Now we've won in Georgia, next great triumph to be achieved - Tehran......
Posted by: Drongo | Aug 15, 2008 3:16:08 PM | 14
Well, after the German-Italian force in Tunisia surrendered to the Allies in 1943, headlines in Italy allegedly ran: "all fighting to cease in Africa by order of the Duce." So history keeps repeating.....
Posted by: kao-hsien-chih | Aug 15, 2008 3:29:07 PM | 15
@Alex - It is as though they're sliding more easily into Russia as the great enemy, than they ever did with Islam.
There were 60+ years of constant anti 'Sowjet' propaganda in 'western' media, movies, TV, comics, whatever, versus only seven or so decisively against 'Islamists'.
It is much cheaper to relaunch the old stuff, Rambo etc., than to produce a new tale.
Posted by: b | Aug 15, 2008 4:12:01 PM | 16
"The U.S. has supported and advertised the gas and oil pipeline projects through Georgia as an alternative to Russian and/or Iranian supply."
This would make the Georgian War a folly, not only from the Georgian, but also the US point of view.
Who is going to invest in oil infrastructure that the host and operators THEMSELVES deliberately put it at risk?
When in doubt, kick over the table. Only strategy they know.
Sometimes it works. I don't think it is working now.
Posted by: Gaianne | Aug 15, 2008 4:12:46 PM | 17
The Russian state will not accept this American pact with Poland except at a very steep price to the American Empire and NATO.
It may come in the form of reduced oil coming to market from Russia, which will put oil above $200 bbl in short order, which will collapse the American and European economies.
It may come in the form of a defense pact with Iran.
It may come in the form of missiles in Cuba, or in Venezuela.
But it is going to cost Mistah Cheney and his Amazing Meat Puppet far more than they can possibly pay.
Russia can heat its homes, feed its people, and profit nicely as oil goes way, way above $200 bbl.
We can't. Putin knows that very well.
Posted by: Antifa | Aug 15, 2008 4:29:45 PM | 18
helena on fair's counterspin this week (mp3 @ link)
Posted by: b real | Aug 15, 2008 5:13:04 PM | 19
I choked this morning watching The Call,
when some X-ian preacher stood at the microphone, telling a quaint ad hominid (sp)
about Haiti, about helping "backward people" there, and "you know, they
just had some old pots and pans, and stick furniture", but "they all had TVs,
and rather than watch their Spanish (D.R.) TV, they were all tuned to CNN,",
because even there (in that banana capitalist backwater), the Haitians really
"admired the Great Christian nation of America, and just wanted to be like US."
Exceptionalism rearing it's boars' head, "dakin alla time wanbe exceptionalist!"
So I quick flipped the dial past the jewelry and watches, to a Jewish TV ad,
asking viewers to "send $350, so a Jewish Ethiopian can fly home to Israel",
even though these Ethiopians are wearing donated prayer shawls and "reading"
from donated Torah's, and when they get to Israel, they'll have no paying job,
no place to live except in an Israeli's servants quarters, and because they
aren't "born of an Israeli mother", can never, under Israeli law, be citizens.
Extralegal, paid-per-viewer, apartheid slave trade, live on US daytime TV.
For the real lost tribes in Afghanistan? Well, they converted to Islam, so f'-em.
So I quick flipped the dial to Today, and there is SuckAssVita bleating his
Exceptionalist bile out, how Georgians love America, they all just wanbe like
Americans, Land of the "well-intentioned and deserving" John Birchers and DAR.
No balanced reporting there, just an open-mike pogrom for war against Eurasia,
and more of that "they all just want to play for Team USA" Go-Go 90's crapola.
Then it occurred to me, staring at the pay-it-backward loan on our future tax
revenues, propaganda "economic stimulus tax rebate" check we haven't cashed,
that we're gonna be paying origination fees and interest on our own taxes
until the End Times of USury. That's what the End Times are. Being bled white.
When you're bankrupt, and you're out of cash, and government-corporate socialist
elites are draining your tax revenues, even unto your future harvests, growing a
domestic gulag system and their colonial military on your blood and powdered bone.
US R NEO-SOVIET, and there can't be two Soviets on the same planet! On to Mocva!
Posted by: Anatol Mocva | Aug 15, 2008 6:01:59 PM | 21
Guardian interview with the Turkish President: US must share power in new world order, says Turkey's controversial president
The conflict in Georgia, Gül asserted, showed that the United States could no longer shape global politics on its own, and should begin sharing power with other countries.
"I don't think you can control all the world from one centre," Gül told the Guardian. "There are big nations. There are huge populations. There is unbelievable economic development in some parts of the world. So what we have to do is, instead of unilateral actions, act all together, make common decisions and have consultations with the world. A new world order, if I can say it, should emerge."
He rejected the idea, promoted by the United States and Israel, that the best way to deal with Iran was to isolate, sanction and punish it. "There are so many important issues, like the nuclear issue, Iraq, the Caucasus, Afghanistan," he said. "Iran is definitely having some influence of these issues, so we are talking."
Gül said Iran had a right to develop nuclear energy but not nuclear weapons. "We don't want to see weapons of mass destruction in this region," he said. "If it's in our neighbourhood, we definitely don't want to see it."
Posted by: b | Aug 16, 2008 5:20:40 AM | 22
The national boundaries drawn up and laid down in, basically, the post-1945 era, are in many places highly imperfect. (Especially throughout Africa!) But the system of boundaries and sovereignty that they represent acquired its own logic, however imperfect. Tinker with one, and the whole system threatens to unravel. I tried to argue that point-- among others-- back in February, when I expressed my criticism of the move that many western nations made toward recognizing (and even encouraging) the Kosovars' declaration of independence. Lots of food for thought there for the Iraqi Kurds, too...
would'nt it be better to commit to supporting autonomy & peaceful boundary adjustments as conducted in Quebec for example. No offense intended but to do otherwise is no different than the slave-owner who takes comfort in believing that he/she treats his/her human chattel very well. Regardless of what the slaves actually aspire for. Cultural/Moral superiority/domination poorly masked as pragmatic benevolence.
its the colonizers attitude that needs major tinkering with, not the natives.
Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 16, 2008 8:44:42 AM | 23
the Mad Little Emporer of All Georgia now says he signed a different ceasefire than the russians did - cretinism on a collosal scale & the even madder bush at his ranch showing his profound understanding of the caucasus - telling the worl that south ossettia & abkhazia will remain georgian - are indicisible from georgian 'sovereignty' - & this stultifying amnesiac then repeated you don't invade others borders
perhaps he has forgotten the monroe doctrine of which he is the 21st century's principal proponent
Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16, 2008 12:22:31 PM | 24
You know, rg, maybe Saak conducts his 'important' daily business like Bush does: never reads anything but gets 'briefed' each morning by his trusted advisers. Could be that his 'briefers' gave him an overview and didn't go into the points of the agreement too deeply (possibly deliberate); and the dipshit didn't bother to actually read what he signed and now is whining about the fine print.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Posted by: Ensley | Aug 16, 2008 1:42:54 PM | 26
b 22, A new world order, if I can say it, should emerge."
let's hope he doesn't get assassinated.
Posted by: annie | Aug 16, 2008 2:10:23 PM | 27
Has anyone come across any reports of Chechen fighters involved in the conflict?
Posted by: | Aug 17, 2008 8:31:18 PM | 28