Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 15, 2008

Europe's Interests - According to Rightwing Bloggers

Saak's latest propaganda stunt: "It's the European's fault!"

He lashed out at “most of the European countries” for their “muted and quiet” reaction to what he called was Russia’s preparation of Georgia’s invasion in recent months.

Oh well ...

But for some rightwing U.S. bloggers that certainly is a good occasion for the regular Europe bashing.

Zenpundit argues that (western) Europe interest in Georgia is bigger than U.S. interest:

Isn’t Saakashvili America’s “special project” ( to quote Russia’s Foreign Minister - some Putin toady, name unimportant, he warms a chair). Well, not really. My friend Dave Schuler has an outstanding post on Europe’s stake in Georgia. It’s a lot larger than is ours:

….Germany’s ties with Georgia are, if anything, closer. Georgia is Germany’s fifth largest trading partner. I presume that much of this trade is a consequence of Georgia’s two pipelines. Energy independence is as much a political hot topic in Germany as it is here but the term means mostly not being so terribly dependent on Russia. The path to greater energy independence for Germany lies through Georgia.

….In 2007 FDI in Georgia exceeded the $1 billion mark. A substantial proportion of that was EU countries.

What outstanding nonsense. The source that Dave Schuler dude cites is a Georgian foreign ministry site which says:

Germany is Georgia’s 5th biggest trade partner.

Is there a difference between "Germany is Georgia’s 5th biggest trade partner" and "Georgia is Germany’s fifth largest trade partner"?

You bet:
(all numbers 2007 (pdf))

  • German total imports: €771 billion
  • German total exports: €967 billion
  • German imports from Georgia: €54.7 million
  • German exports to Georgia: €215 million
  • Georgia country rank in German imports: 119
  • Georgia country rank in German exports: 95

Direct investment from Germany to Georgia in 2007 was $20 million according to the Georgian government link above. Total German foreign direct investment is around a trillion bucks or so.

So Georgia imports 0.2% of total German exports, a few Mercedes limousines for Saak's friends (payed with U.S tax dollars btw) and Germany buys some vegetables from there. Is that a sound reason for Germans and other Europeans (their numbers look similar in proportion) to get involved in a stupid border war?

But facts don't bother such strategic thinkers as Zenpundit all that much.

Another example: The Small War Journal starts with the wrong assertion that Putin was leading the war on the Russian side. It also asserts that Russia won the media campaign. That must be the reason why most U.S. MSN sources forget to mention that Georgia started this war. The solution against such wars, as SWJ argues, is to pump more arms into countries with lunatic leaders like Georgia.

C'mon folks. Even as rightwing nuts you can do better.

Georgia is a border province of Russia and a U.S. neocon ideology project. It has zero to do with Europe. There is zero economic or ideologic interest in the major European states to get seriously involved in the current brawl. The major BTC oil pipeline through Georgia the U.S. continuously jumps up and down about is ending at the south coast of Turkey, not in central Europe, and its purpose is to feed Israel. Except for transit fees to Turkey it is completely irrelevant for European strategies.

Get real. This border skirmish is about Russia's undeniable realm of interest. Internationally there is nothing realy at stake at all.

Posted by b on August 15, 2008 at 20:00 UTC | Permalink


Bloggers, not ‘right wing’, a good read:


“One of the delightful parts of the current humanitarian disaster in Georgia is that certain neoconservatives get to return to their old stomping ground and rehearse the old fight song. Indeed, one may say that the shrieking about ‘Islamo-fascism’ over the last few years suggested this motley crew was not entirely satisfied with the Middle East as a stage to advance their personal, political and financial ambitions. Too complex, too difficult, too irrelevant to the exercise of global power.

Energy, you say? Well, there are easier ways. Israel, you say? Well, again, not much of a challenge when the entire political class in the United States moves in lock-step.

The hunt for the Russian bear, however, now there is a man’s game ...”

end quote.>Remarkz

Posted by: Tangerine | Aug 15 2008 20:18 utc | 1


they are the most imbecilic of morons. they are not worthy of a single breath on your part

they are so fucked up trying to fuck up other people - that they deconstruct themelves

i wouldn't shit on them if i was dying of dysentry

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 15 2008 20:24 utc | 2

Thanks for the correction, b. I've corrected my post accordingly and linked here.

If you'd read a little more closely you might notice that I'm not right wing, I don't support any sort of intervention on behalf of Georgia, and I'm neither anti-Russian nor anti-Europe.

My larger point remains: European countries have substantial economic interests in Georgia and whatever strategic importance Georgia has (which I think is minor) is of more concern to European countries than it is to us.

Posted by: Dave Schuler | Aug 15 2008 21:02 utc | 3

b, you're forgetting Georgian wine, brandy, and champagne. Whatever its qualities - deadly as far as I remember, from my time in Kazakhstan - I am sure it must be a Georgian major export to Germany.

Posted by: Alex | Aug 15 2008 21:10 utc | 4

Don't forget the peaches and all those Allman Brothers albums...

Posted by: ralphieboy | Aug 15 2008 21:59 utc | 5

beq linked to this paul craig roberts analysis in an earlier thread. i think it encapsulates europe's enthusiasm for the georgia conflict.

For readers too young to know, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was a military alliance between the US and Western European countries to resist any Soviet move into Western Europe [and to ensure European countries lined up behind the US, and bought its weapons systems. Editors] . There has been no reason for NATO since the Soviet Union’s internal political collapse almost two decades ago. The neocons turned NATO into another tool, like the NED, for US world hegemony. Subsequent US administrations violated the understandings that President Reagan had reached with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, and have incorporated former parts of the Soviet empire into NATO. The neocon goal of ringing Russia with a hostile military alliance has been proclaimed many times.

Western European members of NATO balked at the admission of Georgia, as they understood it as a provocative affront to Russia, on whom Western Europe is dependent for natural gas. Western Europeans are also disturbed at the Bush Regime’s intentions to install ballistic missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic as the consequence will be Russian nuclear cruise missiles targeted on European capitals. Europeans don’t see the advantage of helping the US block Russian nuclear retaliation against the US at the expense of their own existence. Ballistic missile defenses are not useful against cruise missiles.

Every country is tired of war except for the US. War, including nuclear war, is the neoconservative strategy for world hegemony.

The entire world, except for Americans, knows that the outbreak of armed conflict between Russian and Georgian forces in South Ossetia was entirely due to the US and its Georgia puppet, Saakashvili. Americans, alone in the world, are unaware that the hostilities were initiated by Saakashvili, because Bush, Cheney and the Israeli-occupied American media have again lied to them.

Posted by: annie | Aug 15 2008 23:01 utc | 6

dave 3, OT. you may not think you are rightwing but i believe your comments speak for themselves.

i’m extremely pleased that Wolf Howling’s fine post won outright,

the 'fine post' you are referring to considers little things like torture and creating false documents to drag us into war political dissent against their dogma comparable to Aelxander Solzhenitsyn. it isn't. it is a war crime. if the author believes his own assertions he should welcome trials, for it will expose cheneyco for what they are.

continually referring to Obama and the far left won't make it so. obama is not the far left. b was being generous, he could have said 'extreme rightwing'. actually there used to be a difference between extremists and the rightwing. there isn't any more. there is nothing whatsoever 'moderate' about that piece you call fine. what does that say about your mind?

Posted by: annie | Aug 15 2008 23:24 utc | 7

Oh Ralphieboy!! I'm rolling on the floor laughing at #5!

And I'll just pile on with the sentiments already expressed on earlier Ossetia threads here - thanks, Bernhard, for the sane, intelligent reporting and analysis.

Posted by: Maxcrat | Aug 15 2008 23:34 utc | 8

This Times Online article, Georgia forced to accept a Russian occupation, gives a good look at what really went down during Condi's visit to Tbilisi. Totally different account from the bullshit in the NYT and WaPo.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Aug 15 2008 23:42 utc | 9

Rivals say they plan to remove Georgian president

Levan Gachechiladze, Mr Saakashvili's former campaign manager, who ran against him in January's presidential elections, said Georgia's political opposition would campaign for elections to be held "at the earliest opportunity", perhaps within two months.

"This government has no chance of establishing trust with Georgians," he said.

Kakha Kukava, secretary-general of the opposition Conservative party of Georgia, similarly criticised the president for the war.

"Saakashvili was personally responsible for the military operation, and for starting a war we could not win," he said, adding that his party would wait until the situation had cooled and then call for mass demonstrations aimed at removing the government.

Seems to me a cushy job at a well-heeled neocon think tank in Washington is in the stars for the President of All Georgias, Mikheil Nik'olozis dze Saak'ashvili.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 15 2008 23:47 utc | 10


yes i think The Plentiful King of All Kingdoms of Georgia, Father To His People, Englightened Harvard Degree of Law Holding Helmsman, He Who Will Mention Finland 1939, Hungary 1956, Prague 1968 At The Drop Of A Hat Any Hat, Gilded Lighthouse Against Soviet Tyranny - will be seeking a new title in the Time-to-Come - but he will have to do something about the hair but john bolton will be telling him that down at Plato's Retreat - where puerto ricans girls teach ancient philosophy to these warrrior kings

or perhaps the vori v'kazone will deal with him as they would any of their partners who have failed

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 0:06 utc | 11

I may have missed it in the comments but has anybody suggested that this may be Randy Scheunemann's personal war. From everything I've read he's a certified 100% neocon who helped bring us the mess in Iraq. With both McCain and Saak on his client list he should have been able to convince Saak that his only chance to get his NATO was to start a war. He would only have to convince him that Obama would abandon Georgia. Once Russia reacted McCain could posture as a great champion of Georgian democracy. Struting around like a boistrous buffoon and, with the help of the media passing it off as foreign policy expertise. If US "advisors" were involved it would mean that Cheney was in the plot.

McCain's interference in US foreign policy durring what everybody in the Gov and the media are refering to as a time of crisis, even sending his own envoys should have earned him a strong rebuke. Bush was either in the know or he got stuck with a fait accompli. Telling your party's nominee to keep his senile ass out of Presidential business wouldn't be good for his chance in November.

This seems a little far fetched but Scheunemann may have concluded that it would take something like this to push McCain's percieved foreign policy advantage and he would be in a unique possition to kill a couple of birds he really wanted(McCain as prez and a new cold war) with one stone.

The amount of anti Russian rhetoric on the media here(SoCal) is astounding. It plays well to people my age who remember nuclear attack drills in grade school. I guess now that we're friends again with those losers in old Europe we need new enemies. Unfortunatly, a multi decade big money campaign waged by a lot of old John Birchers who went underground has pushed the dialogue in this country so far to the right that this new cold war may become a reality.

Posted by: Sgt Dan | Aug 16 2008 0:24 utc | 12

It isn't that Bush & Co. have lost this particular fight (though they have); it's that they'd lost it long before they lost it. Everyone knows this--including that delightful administration official who said that Bush was writing cheques that he couldn't pay (or words to that effect).

There's a headshot in the WaPo of the Hotshot--an old man, deeply irritated at being totally out of it.

"Mr. President, now that you're totally out of it, will you feel free to start drinking again? And, Sir, will the First Lady also be heading out the door?"

Posted by: alabama | Aug 16 2008 0:25 utc | 13

Well, for a starter, there is one thing people shouldn't forget: Georgia isn't in Europe. It's in Asia. Europe stops at the Caucasus' peaks. Even if Armenians and Georgians are Christian and their elites speak English and even other fanciful European languages, that doesn't make them any more European.
Beside, I'm just laughing at the nutcases who push the "Christian Georgia" angle. As if Russians weren't Christians. Both Georgians and Russians are, mostly, Orthodox, to begin with.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Aug 16 2008 0:29 utc | 14

the Russians are going to keep this fracas going until November. Knowing Bush/Neocons/McCain can stress & sound-off only so much until they start to look impotent.

Obama of course will have no choice but to keep pace in order to demonstrate and re-earn (over & over again) that so elusive & unending-ly scrutinized credential that only true red-blooded Americans are born with.

if Obama wins, the Russians will ease off just enough to grant him major props with the American public. And when Obama goes to Moscow, it may be as much a highlight as when Nixon did.

But If McCain wins, its back to the the cold-war, this time Russia with far greater affinities world-wide & USA far less

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 16 2008 0:35 utc | 15

and its only a matter of time before we hear Obama say something to the effect:

"we dealt with a massively nuclear-armed Soviet Union for fifty years & thanks to Ronald Reagan, we triumphed over them. We are going to have to find a way to do the same with the Russians"

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 16 2008 0:50 utc | 16

youtube: Ghost Recon In Georgia? An exact scenario?

Ghost Recon In Georgia

Watch this 2002 trailer for Tom Clancy’s video game ‘Ghost Recon’. It appears to be an exact scenario of the Ossetia invasion by US led Georgian forces. Even the year 2008 is correct in the trailer. Could it be that kids who watched this in 2002 might actually be of the age to be on the ground executing the plan as magically predicted by Tom Clancy?

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 16 2008 0:55 utc | 17

a curious thing to find in the times

Posted by: | Aug 16 2008 0:56 utc | 18


Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter

Check out the latest Ghost Recon installments:
in which the squad is sent into Mexico in order to put down an uprising which is a response to the loss of sovereignty under the NAU. The teens playing this Teen-Rated game will be 18 in 2014, which is conveniently when the games takes place.

Even more frightening is the forthcoming Tom Clancy game "End War":
End War which takes place in 2020 and WWIII has been triggered by Peak Oil!

Life imitating art, and all that...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 16 2008 1:04 utc | 19

my link at 18

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 1:05 utc | 20

at which point McCain says "Senator Obama. with all due respect, you are no Ronald Reagan"

Obama: "well, I am not running as Ronald Reagan. I am running as Barack Obama and my plan for America is ..."

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 16 2008 1:17 utc | 21

another article by paul craig roberts - he's angrier than us

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 1:46 utc | 22

Slightly OT:

In the interest of reframing the debate I propose we replace the term "neoconservative" with the term "aggressionist." The "neocon" tag is a bit too esoteric, intellectual, smarmy, elitist even. However, "aggressionist" is much more approachable by the average Joe, and is a much more directly descriptive term.

I'm just sayin'...

BTW, b, thanks again. I turned one of my co-workers on to this site when he asked me if I'd seen any of the news on the Russia-Georgia thing. I swear he was dead silent and absorbed for the next hour straight!

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Aug 16 2008 1:56 utc | 23

thought it was kinda interesting that this (2006) article on GEOINT just happens to use a "notional" brigade combat team in tbilisi to illustrate the potential in the application of GEOINT products for the u.s. military - a new image for geospatial intelligence

Posted by: b real | Aug 16 2008 3:14 utc | 24

very interesting b real @#24...

Reminds me of Robert David Steele and Open Source Intelligence (OSINT)

and here's a very short interview with him here entitled: Good to know... Robert David Steele explains the merits of Open Source Intelligence (OPSINT) and why you can learn a lot more by scrutinizing publicly available data than you can with expensive, high-risk, cloak and dagger shenanigans.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 16 2008 4:23 utc | 25

This mp3 is rare and refreshingly reasonable commentary.>George Freidman CEO of Stratfor on Chicago Public Radio

Posted by: YY | Aug 16 2008 7:53 utc | 26

Good portrait of Saak from the Globe and Mail: Crisis in Georgia: How Misha messed up

A year after he was made justice minister, he resigned, declaring that Mr. Shevardnadze was complicit in the criminality bedevilling Georgia.

In opposition, he caught the eye of George Soros, the American billionaire and philanthropist who had initially become involved in Georgia at Mr. Shevardnadze's request. Mr. Soros also had become irritated by the Silver Fox's go-slow approach, and he decided that Mr. Saakashvili was the embodiment of Georgia's future.

The Soros foundations began pouring millions of dollars into organizations that were nominally interested in free media and democracy building but mainly served to undermine Mr. Shevardnadze's rule and push for Mr. Saakashvili to succeed him (including the youth movement Kmara, which would provide the backbone of the protests during the Rose Revolution).

Even the WaPo has someone now who makes sense: MISFIRE - We Are All Georgians'? Not So Fast.
He has presented himself as the successor to the medieval Georgian king, David the Builder, and promised that the country will regain its lost territories by the time he leaves office, by one means or another. American commentators tend to overlook the fact that Georgian democracy is inextricably intertwined with Georgian nationalism.

The restoration of Georgia's traditional borders is an understandable goal for a Georgian leader, but it is a much lower priority for the West, particularly if it involves armed conflict with Russia. Based on their previous experience with Georgian rule, Ossetians and Abkhazians have perfectly valid reasons to oppose reunification with Georgia, even if it means throwing in their lot with the Russians.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 10:37 utc | 27

Hmmm ---

Experts from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) began arriving Friday to assess the needs of the war-torn country, joining a US military assessment team that arrived the day before, officials said.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 11:03 utc | 28

and no outrage whatsoever from anywhere when (USA-backed) Ethiopia invades Somalia with no mandate whatsoever from the UN or AU or whomever. This at a time when Somalia was actually starting to self-stabilize.

so much for all the talk of double-standards. Theres also the standard for African/Black especially when Muslim

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Aug 16 2008 11:34 utc | 29

It seems that a main bridge in the railroad line that traverses east-west Georgia has been destroyed. The bridge is located just west of Gori. I guess if the georgians want to invade again something east of Tbilisi they will have to go walking and slowly ...

I was wondering why the russians never bothered to blockade Batumi. That was in another 'autonomous' region that got on good relations with Georgia (after a bit of briving) a year ago or so. I wonder if with the change of the tide it won't be as friendly with Tbilisi as it has been lately.

Saak small empire is looking smaller by the day.

On another topic I wonder if the US imperalists are not really being hypocrites as they look with their declarations like 'in 21th century nations don't invade other nations'. It may that in their mind imperial provinces can't go on war with each other. But the empire can impose its control over any province it wishes. Too bad that the russians didn't learn yet that the are just another province in the Reich At The End of History (as much as the empire tried to explain them in the 90s). So it's not as much hypocrisy but a difference in mind set. You see there are still some uneducated people around the world that don't understand that we are at the End of History and ruled by True One And Final World Empire.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 16 2008 12:05 utc | 30


It's actually pretty laughable to describe the BTC's purpose as being to "feed" Israel. Geopolitically, it has always been a case of "not-Russia" and "not-Iran", with the added bonus of a payoff to Turkey; I very much doubt that BP, as the lead company in the international consortium that developed the pipeline, ever gave the Israelis a moment's thought throughout the entire project.

The bulk of Israel's 250kbpd oil consumption is actually supplied by Russia, which, as a spin-off, uses the Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline, at a hefty discount, to bypass the Suez canal and its tanker size limitations - why do you think that Olmert, Livni et al have been as quiet as church mice this past week?

The BTC was, until last week, shipping 850kbpd of Azeri crude, the overwhelming bulk of which goes to Europe - this is hardly a surprise, as BP and a clutch of other Euro oil majors are the principal foreign equity partners ( about 55% ), with ANOC owning 25%, and the rest being divvied up between Asian and American equity partners. Unless one is going to assert that Israeli "secretly" owns the Azerbaijani national oil company ( and by extension, Azerbaijan as well ), there is absolutely no Israeli ownership - either governmental or private - of the pipeline or the oil transhipped. The Israelis are, natch, perfectly free to bid for whatever spot cargoes are available out of Ceyhan.....which, given that most of the oil is "contracted" to European, US and Asian refiners, is probably not as much as they'd like.

Posted by: dan | Aug 16 2008 12:46 utc | 31

The other wonderful thing about the Georgian crisis is that most political commentators don't have a clue as to the situation, which makes it easier to sieze on a few isolated points (Georgia as a Christian nation, Georgia as a NATO candidate, etc.) and stress them while ignoring the entire context of the collapse of the USSR and the fate of its various and dispersed minorities.

A very cynical side of me is of the opinion that the USSR should be forcibly reconstituted and the member nations compelled to come up with a solution that ensures minority rights, freedom of movement and basic physical and intellectual property rights, including the exploitation and sale of natural resources before being allowed to dissolve again.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Aug 16 2008 13:13 utc | 32

@Dan - pretty laughable? sure?

Israel and Turkey plan energy pipeline

Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by pipelines to Israel, with the oil to be sent onward from Israel to the Far East, Antalya Mayor Menderes Turel said this week.

The proposal was confirmed by senior officials in the National Infrastructure Ministry.

"We are talking about a global energy project, which would be a very important engine of peace in the region," Turel said in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

Turel, who was here to take part in an International Conference of Mayors held in Jerusalem, said that the grandiose project had received tentative approval from both Turkey and Israel and would greatly enhance an abrogated landmark 2004 proposal to export water to Israel using large tankers, which proved to be prohibitively expensive.

The new Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see the transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel via four underwater pipelines.

"The whole premise is based on the assumption that Turkey is becoming a major hub for energy in the region," said Gabby Levy, the Director of International Relations at the National Infrastructure Ministry.

The water would be earmarked for Israel as well as for the Palestinian territories and Jordan, who are all suffering from chronic water shortages.

The natural gas and electricity would be geared for Israeli use, at a time when Israel hopes that 40 percent of its energy needs by the end of the decade will be met by natural gas, Levy said.

According to the most elaborate part of the proposal, the oil sent to Israel from Turkey would then be transferred by tankers to the Far East, including to India, China and South Korea, he added.

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 14:00 utc | 33

B, the Bob Killerbrew piece at SWJ you cited is far more toxic and dangerous than you indicate. Last three paras in particular...

But thanks for pinpointing it. I just might have to do a critique of it over at JWN...

Posted by: Helena | Aug 16 2008 14:35 utc | 34

The Poor Man Institute has a funny and realistic take on this. I nominate:

...but if you’re wrong on the fundamentals you are (right!/wrong!) (x3) AND you have a huge boot jammed up your ass, which is arguably more significant, especially for your ass...

For foreign policy statement of the year on Georgia...

Posted by: Butch | Aug 16 2008 15:14 utc | 35

my link @36

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 16:03 utc | 37

B - 100%.

I wouldn't take the statements of a local authority mayor to be exactly gospel - this isn't the kind of project that is going to get financed by district council taxation. Neither the Turkish state nor the Israeli state have the financial resources to do such, and there's absolutely no commercial rationale for any of the oilco's to get involved - they already ponied up for the BTC, and as the Asians only have a 10% stake, this means that, maximally, they have 100kbpd to play with - not worth the expense of another pipeline.

Saying nice things to a JPost reporter, who, frankly, is probably desperate to believe all this guff, whilst on a jolly in Israel is one thing; when you can show me the finance in place, and the contractors ready to go, I'll revise my skepticism.

This has the exact same likelihood of happening as the trans-Afghan nat gas pipeline that was first touted in 1992, when Bridas, Pakistan and Turkmenistan signed a memorandum of agreement which committed all the parties to the project. There have now been a further 2 such memoranda signed, but there has yet to be a single inch of pipeline laid, let alone any work on developing the Turkmenistani gas resources that would feed the pipeline. Beware of pipe dreams.

Considering that in excess of 65% of the flow from the BTC is already contractually committed to US and European commercial operators, that there's a brand spanking new loading terminal at Ceyhan that delivers the crude to them, that the vast majority of the 25% ( at best ) of flow that is available on a spot basis will always end up in Europe, which can easily outbid Israel for crude, there is simply no commercial rationale for a hideously expensive sub-sea pipeline for a 100kbpd trans-shipment via Israel. The idea that Turkey will have any excess natgas from any source to send to Israel along another hideously expensive sub-sea pipeline is equally laughable; never gonna happen. FWIW, the bulk of Israel's natgas requirements come from Egypt.

The silliest part of the whole thing is the idea that Turkey would willingly pipe water, that it itself will require, to a third party, via another hideously expensive pipeline. Again, if you're an Israeli, you desperately need to believe that "cheap" hydrological salvation is around the corner, as it sure beats conservation and the unpleasant expense of desalination projects.

At the end of the day, Israel is a tiny market of some 6 million or so inhabitants with a GDP that is probably smaller than most of the major oil co's - they have no commercial "power" to in this game, no resources to bring to the table, and a pretty dubious proposition regarding Israel as a transit route to Asia ( especially China ).

Posted by: dan | Aug 16 2008 16:04 utc | 38

@Helena - the Bob Killerbrew piece at SWJ you cited is far more toxic and dangerous than you indicate.

Well the "Small War Journal" guys always dream of BIG wars ...

@Dan -

Neither the Turkish state nor the Israeli state have the financial resources to do such,

Maybe that is why the Israeli lobby-shop Washington Institute for Near East Policy has that pipeline on their map (pdf)? Would the U.S. pay? Eventually?

and there's absolutely no commercial rationale for any of the oilco's to get involved - they already ponied up for the BTC, and as the Asians only have a 10% stake, this means that, maximally, they have 100kbpd to play with - not worth the expense of another pipeline.

If there is one pipeline, it is relative easy to put another one next to it. (In Russia they have up to 8 running next to each other on some routes.)

Oh, and it is not only some mayors talking about this.

From today's Hurriyet: Turkey-Israel agree to start works on pipeline project

Turkey, Israel agreed to start to feasibility studies on the Mediterranean Pipeline Project (Medstream) that would consist of five pipelines that would carry water, natural gas, oil, electricity and fibreoptics from Turkey's Mediterranean coast to Israel.

Feasibility studies on an accompanying oil pipeline will be done in 10 months, said Turkish Energy Minister Hilmi Guler after meeting with Israeli Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, adding that the pipeline could carry at least 40 million tons of oil annually.

Think about all the military trainers and weapons Israel delivered to Georgia. Could some energy context be a motive for that?

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 17:05 utc | 39

Think about all the military trainers and weapons Israel delivered to Georgia.

Well, you won't read about these military phantoms in the Guardian. Knock me down with a feather.

The American "train and equip" mission for the Georgian military is six years old. It has been destroyed in as many days. And with it, Georgia's Nato ambitions. "There are a few countries that will say 'told you so'" about the need to get Georgia into Nato," said Andrew Wilson, Russia expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "But many more will want to walk away from the problem. And for the next few years, Georgia will be far too busy trying to pick itself up."

If Georgia and Nato are the principal casualties of this week's ruthless display of brute power by Vladimir Putin, the consequences are bigger still, the fallout immense, if uncertain. The regional and the global balance of power looks to have tilted, against the west and in favour of the rising or resurgent players of the east.

Read the whole thing to savor Ian Traynor's bitterness. He can barely contain his disgust with Old Europe. Lol!

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 16 2008 17:37 utc | 40

traynor's tears are waves in a sea of anti russian hysteria

i hope you witnessed richard holbrooke & the estonian foreign minister weep their way from tbilisi to gori offerring press conferences along the way to the equally teary members of the press - to be describes by that saddened bunch as 'courageous'

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 18:09 utc | 41

& judenfrei estonia is well known as a freedom loving people & quite neutral

"Since 1991 after the formation of Estonia as an independent state ex-Estonian fascists conduct annual rallies and marches of the veterans SS.

As well as in Riga this meeting is carried out with the sanction of the official authorities. The representatives of the Estonian authorities participate in the action and congratulate former soldiers and officers SS with this event. The majority of the veterans were rewarded by iron crosses of Fascist Germany. The only difference is that in Tallinn "the triumph" is celebrated not in spring, but in the middle of summer.

The Estonian Legion SS was formed on the order of Adolf Hitler in 1942 and since January 1944 is more known as the 20-th Division SS. The Estonian Legion was remanned by the local fascists. They, when the German army had come to Estonia, organized Jewish pogroms. On October 25, 1941 Walter Stahlecker, SS-Brigadier General and Major General of the Police, reported that extermination of the Jews in the Baltic states was conducted by police and forces of self-defense and had a nature of "self-cleaning". "The report on the number of executed" and a map with the indication of places of the execution were sent to Berlin. By January 1942 all Jewish population of Estonia was exterminated.

The Nazis planed to use the Estonian fascists in realization of the "Wannsee protocol" - the project of wiping out of 11 million Jews on occupied territories by the Fascist Germany. Not accidentally the territory of Estonia was selected as a place for 140 camps of death, where prisoners from many countries of Europe were contained. Some of them specialized on Jews only. The Estonian fascists have managed "to modernize" a procedure of getting "an economic effect" from destruction of people. If in Osvencim special commands extracted golden crowns and removed golden rings from dead bodies, the Estonian "rationalizes" pulled out golden teeth of the victims with the help of pliers on the edge of graves before their execution.

In 1944 Estonian fascists in the composition of the 20-th Division SS fought against the Soviet Army near Narva.

In 1992, on the Day of Independence of Estonian Republic, the Minister of Defense invested former fighters of the Estonian legion SS with military crosses and memorable medals established by the ministry. Openly, on the state level, the words of confession and gratitude were said to those who served in the Division SS under the general command of Himler.

On the 11-th of July, 1998 after the solemn meeting the former fascists went to the military units to give the lessons of history to young soldiers and officers of the Estonian armed forces.

Today Estonian fascists represent themselves "as the noble fighters for the freedom of Estonia". But the word-combination "the struggle for freedom" can not stand near the swastika and two horrible letters "SS"."

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 18:14 utc | 42

No, r'giap, I haven't had the pleasure. They're showing the flag to shore up the Lion of Lions, President of All He Surveys. I only saw Holbrooke once, and that was enough. I mentioned before that he was desperate to shore up the Lion, and that told me all I need to know about Holbrooke's program.

Look for Joe Lieberman to follow suit. The neocons have just seen their project in Georgia near collapse, and are trying to salvage what they can. Traynor's article is useful because it shows the extent of American military involvement (with Israel the silent (of course) partner). Like I said, savor the bitterness.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 16 2008 18:23 utc | 43

"We are busy, in accordance with an oddly enthusiastic mourning process, smoothing out the salient events of the century, whitewashing the century, as though all that had occurred therein (revolutions, partitions of the glove, extermination, the violent transnationalism of states, or nuclear cliffhanging)--in short, History itself in its modern stage--amounted to nothing but an imbroglio with no exit." jean baudrillard

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 18:35 utc | 44


The BTC has a capacity of 1 mbpd - this constitutes the bulk of Azeri exports in toto; the big problem for the BTC is that in about 10 years from now Azeri production is projected to start declining. The "hope" is that Kazakh production, currently being "developed" by ENI, although with ever-expanding delays and problems, will come onstream at some point in the post-2015 world and ( yet another ) pipeline will be built to connect with the BTC at Baku, thereby extending the BTC's life into the 2020's. The nightmare is, natch, that the Chinese will build a pipeline from Kazakhstan to China, which pretty much guarantees that the BTC will be running "light" from 2015 onwards. When you can show me a project to build another pipeline in parallel to the BTC ( at treble the cost of BTC1 ) I'll revise my skepticism. FWIW, I doubt that anyone is going to build such a pipeline without a guaranteed flow of oil to go with it, let alone a redundant sub-sea pipeline extension to Israel, to satisfy someone's fantasies. The BTC took more than a decade to build and was possibly the most complex oil pipeline project ever undertaken; "BTC2", for which there are no plans, and for which there is no supply, can hardly be described as an easy follow-up.

I love the Hurriyet headline - "start work" suggests that something is being built; feasability studies aren't "work", they're just a fancy name for talk. There have been endless feasability studies on endless pipeline projects that are gathering dust; this will be the same.

The key thing that is being missed here is that with natgas and oil pipelines there have to be a number of factors that coalesce to make them viable from a commercial perspective. For starters, Turkey has no oil and gas reserves of its own - until you have a producer committing to a putative project you have no project, just paper and hot air. No natgas producer ( ie Russia, Iran or Azerbaijan in this instance ) is going to bother building a very expensive pipeline, over a very long distance, to satisfy a market of 6 million people that already has a short pipeline connection to another local gas producer; it's a guaranteed money-loser as the destination market simply lacks the necessary mass to make it wothwhile, especially when there are massive local Turkish and European markets that will always be able to outbid the Israelis in terms of price and, more importantly, in terms of volumes, and the existing competition, that has already amortised most of its capital costs by the time your spiffy new project comes onstream, can always undercut you on the price as long as they have the volume.

Israeli motives for doing military related business with Georgia are purely monetary - whilst there was no "cost" to this, they were perfectly happy to sell their US-financed expertise and kit to the US-financed Georgian defence forces. I suspect that the Russians have had a quiet word in the Israelis' ears and told them in no uncertain terms that if they want to generate transit fees for the Ashkelon-Eilat pipeline and enjoy long-term supply contracts for Russian crude then it might be a good idea to curb their arms and training sales to Georgia, and, above all, make as little public fuss about things as is humanly possible.

Posted by: dan | Aug 16 2008 18:50 utc | 45

This signing of agreements bets a bit confusing.

1. Sarkozy goes to Moscow, Medvedev dictates the agreement.
2. Sarkosy goes to Tblisi, Saak signs the agreement but with some changed parts.
3. Rice goes to Tblisi and presents a different(?) agreement and Saak signs it but does not sign the first page introductions (the "Whereas ..." litany)
4. Someone sends that to Medvedev and he signs the whole paper including the introductions.
5. Russia again expends a bit in Georgia to make the issue clear. SIGN THE COMPETE PAPER!
6. ?

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 18:52 utc | 46

again you have to wonder if this is incompetence or intentional

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 16 2008 19:00 utc | 47

'Israeli military aid still flowing in'

Saakashvili tried to project confidence during the interview, but could not completely hide the stress he is under. A few hours earlier, refugees from Gori held a spontaneous demonstration in front of parliament, calling for Saakashvili to resign.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 16 2008 19:27 utc | 48

'Israeli military aid still flowing in'

Saakashvili tried to project confidence during the interview, but could not completely hide the stress he is under. A few hours earlier, refugees from Gori held a spontaneous demonstration in front of parliament, calling for Saakashvili to resign.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 16 2008 19:28 utc | 49

again you have to wonder if this is incompetence or intentional

An intentional media ploy to show Russia doesn't agree, or doesn't "confirm to the signed cease-fire" or such nonsense.

Not that Russia will care ...

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 19:30 utc | 50

@Dan - there seem to be some folks working on this pipeline - I am not saying that it is the reason for Israels involvement in Georgia, I am asking "Is it?"

@39- Could some energy context be a motive for that?
@33- pretty laughable? sure?

You assert that the pipeline feeds Europe. Well, it ends in the south east of the Mediterranean. Israel is in south east of the Med. European core consumers are quite north west of that.

Do you really know whereto that oil form the Ceyhan is shipped? The Free On Board (FOB) price is essentially auctioned to the highest bidder. After that transportation costs are the main issue.

Take a map and estimate those ...

Posted by: b | Aug 16 2008 19:40 utc | 51


Foreign Ministry seeks lower profile for Israel in Georgia-Russia conflict

"The Foreign Ministry's approach demonstrates a naively simplistic view and a lack of understanding of the complex world of the security deals which Israel is conducting with foreign partners," a defense official told Haaretz on condition of anonymity.


"The ministry should stick to its mandate and not involve itself in a public discussion that can only compromise Israel's position," another defense official said.

Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Aug 16 2008 19:50 utc | 52

i have read more than i wanted to tonight from from the belly of the beast - finishing with a scandalously stupid article by david remnick in the new yorker

it is obvious that hatred is soldered into the dna of american political culture. it is a hatred spken vulgarly on foxtv or in the more refined tones of the new yorker

to read it as i have done tonight in a 7 hour jag - from local journals, daily papers, 'newspapers of record', journals & commentaries is to read an america that has divined itself to become the enemy of humanity

ignorance is blindness. it is not an excuse. it is in fact a crime

we have heard a bush, a mcain, a rice speak of a 21st century full of slaughter of which they are the principal architects

i read something tonight from australia where a civil servant who worked for a ministry in commemorating the monuments for fallen soldiers had to resign because he had been a draft resistor & he was accused of 'helping' the vietcong - i thought again 'poor fellow my country' - if i have done one thing in life - the active aid i gave to the vietcong is one if not the most proud of my achievements - my identification with the vietnamese was total - their struggle against us imperialism & all its puppets including the australians was the spain of my generation - it was a remains for me the defining moment - politically, in human terms even spiritually. this heroic people exposed for me once a for all the lies they tell bout the ideal state was just another word for empire. the strategy against russia is simply another expression of empire & an elucidation of the hatred that lies at the core of the american heart - the violence that malcolm x saw so clearly - & which he died for articulating

i do not envy my american friends here who live inside that beast - at 16/17 somewhere in vietnam i witnessed american violence in all its vile fury - & it is sad to say in 2008 that that america remains & it continues its crimes without cease & for that, we should all fear

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 2:02 utc | 53

whitney at counterpunch, a number of strong pieces

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 2:47 utc | 54

Good forensic of the fighting in Georgia by WaPo: A Two-Sided Descent Into Full-Scale War

Fits to my earlier analysis ...

For this alone Saak should go to jail:

By 2 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 8, Kezerashvili said, Georgian ground troops had advanced to the edge of Tskhinvali, and Georgian units had unleashed the BM-21 multiple rocket system, which can launch 40 rockets in 20 seconds.

Kezerashvili said the system was used to target separatist government buildings in the center of Tskhinvali, including the Defense Ministry and the Interior Ministry, where police forces have their headquarters. "It's not like a very open and big city, and I can tell you that we only targeted the places, the governmental organizations," Kezerashvili said.

But military experts said the BM-21 is a weapon for battlefield combat and not for use anywhere near civilians. "The BM-21 was designed to attack forces in large areas, and, as a consequence, if you use them in an urban environment, the likelihood of collateral damage is high," said retired Army Maj. Gen. William L. Nash, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The artillery fire on the city continued until daylight, according to the reports of three OSCE monitors who were there in a cellar; their building was shelled and damaged. The three got out of Tskhinvali on Friday afternoon during a lull in fighting.

Posted by: b | Aug 17 2008 7:21 utc | 55

b @ 55

Do you think there is any chance that Saakashvili fully understood the consequences of his actions and willingly sacrificed his country, people, and military in order for the US to be able to start a very strong (and effective from what I am seeing on corporate media) propaganda campaign aimed at putting US military bases in Georgia?

Merkel looked very sour at her press conference with Medvedev and will probably support NATO membership for Georgia. Obama stated that Georgia will become a member of NATO. You know that wrinkled old dude McCain will insist on it as well. What looks like foolishness and stupidity could be a very coldly calculated action with an eye on the long game.

these people are like cockroaches, as soon as you shine a light on them they scatter, shift your attention somewhere else and they all come back.

wonder what is going on elsewhere while the world is looking at a made for teevee war in a faraway place in western Asia.

Posted by: dan of steele | Aug 17 2008 10:42 utc | 56

What is going on elsewhere? Well, for a start, just follow the money.

Posted by: DM | Aug 17 2008 11:00 utc | 57

@DoS Do you think there is any chance that Saakashvili fully understood the consequences of his actions and willingly sacrificed his country, people, and military in order for the US to be able to start a very strong (and effective from what I am seeing on corporate media) propaganda campaign aimed at putting US military bases in Georgia?

Possible but unlikely in my view. The U.S. still needs Russia. U.S. bases in Georgia would be a big threat and Russia would react to them.

Merkel looked very sour at her press conference with Medvedev and will probably support NATO membership for Georgia.

Merkel said "No change with regard to Georgia's NATO status." I hope she'll stick to that. It is absolutely not in west-European interest to have the country within NATO.

Posted by: b | Aug 17 2008 12:23 utc | 58

Since when Merkel, Sarkozy, the Blair-and-co right wingers and all the troup of US socket puppets in the old russian protectorates have bothered about the interests of Europe? The age of independant leaders in Europe, like Chirac and Schröder in the start up of the Iraq 'friendly visit of foreign troops' (as no nation invades other nations in the 21st century), is over.

Europe as a whole will become a full fledged US protectorate, just as Canada, UK and the ex soviet european states already are in less than 10 years.

Posted by: ThePaper | Aug 17 2008 13:40 utc | 59

C'mon folks. Even as rightwing nuts you can do better.

You actually believe that SWJ is "right wing"? Wow.

Posted by: SWJED | Aug 17 2008 13:45 utc | 60

You actually believe that SWJ is "right wing"?

No, no, we suspect you are a murder merchant...nothing more than, thugs dressed in ballistic nylon and qualified immunity.

But I'm quite sure instead of a rebuke, you take that in stride and glorify in it.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Aug 17 2008 16:14 utc | 61

yes, uncle they are ponced up psychopaths who draw from the poisoned well of power. they imagine themselves scholars - they are blood drenched scratchers who neither understand the real dialectics of power in our time nor possess the courage to offer even an interesting commentary. it is crude thinking spoken crudely

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Aug 17 2008 16:24 utc | 62


I'm well aware of the geography of the region, and, frankly, I think that you're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole here.

The bulk of the oil arriving at Ceyhan gets loaded onto tankers bound for Europe ( why else would they build a brand spanking new oil terminal there designed to handle large tankers - strategic deception? ), with about 10% going to the US and a further 10% going to Asia, whilst Turkey gets to keep 5-10%. One of the rationales for Ceyhan as a location is that it avoids the Bosphorus Straits, which is a major maritime chokepoint ( go back and look at the map ), and the older Black Sea oil ports that lack the capacity to handle the volumes that BTC delivers.

Given the location, most "spot" oil cargoes that ANOC has to sell will almost certainly go to Europe ( ie mostly France, Italy, UK ) as they have the proximity and the market power to ensure that - Ceyhan is a lot closer to Europe than both the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Guinea.

Remember, there are 6 million Israeli consumers, and some 500 million European consumers, a large percentage of whom are MUCH wealthier than the average Israeli; off the top of my head, Europe consumes about 70 times more oil than Israel, and it is a negligible market. AFAIK not one single major oilco has a presence in the Israeli market - partly for legacy political reasons, but mostly because it is commercially irrelevant. IF there had been any Israeli equity or contractual participation in the BTC I would have a slightly different view of the things; there isn't, so I don't - as ever, look at the monies.

Israel is a tiny market - consumption is about 250kbpd - and, just in case you hadn't noticed, they were importing oil from a variety of sources for decades before the BTC was even conceived, let alone built; their number one supplier has been Russia for nearly thirty years now.

Posted by: dan | Aug 17 2008 17:10 utc | 63

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