Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Upright Army Chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh Fights Back, Refusing to fade away

Upright Army Chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh Fights Back, Refusing to fade away
'Prime Minister had assured his wife that General Bikram Singh would be the next COAS'- An IAS officer's Claim (See at the end)
Unwarranted Intervention in Military's internal Domain
Personal Note; The author spent the year 1976 at New Delhi's prestigious National Defense College , the highest level institution on security threats and strategic affairs ,composed of majority of Indian and foreign brigadier level military level officers from all branches and some civil services officers too.
The author hosted General Vaidya's first ever visit abroad in 1983, when posted as ambassador at Bucharest (Romania) .He also hosted two NDC delegations at Ankara in 1990s .Taking advantage of the visits and his NDC background, for the first time he established relations with Turkey's powerful Chiefs of General Staff and organized the visit of General Ismail Hakki Karadayi to India in 1996, thus initiating military level exchanges and interaction with a powerful NATO member.
The author regularly attends NDC annual dinners for its Alumni and has maintained close contacts with his course mates , with many reaching the level of Lt Generals .The author has studied, lectured all over India and written extensively for foreign and Indian media on the role of military in politics , especially in Turkey and Pakistan .
The author began his career in early 1960s as Assistant Press Attaché in Cairo, after learning Arabic and has been associated with the media for half a century. He  spent more time in media offices and with journalists in his 35 years as a diplomat, half as head of mission and saw the transformation of media unfortunately into a communication technique from the noble calling it once was .Since retiring in 1996, he stayed abroad as a freelance journalist till 2007 .
After writing a few dozen articles for print media in India, Turkey, Dubai and Beirut, he has written over 400 in depth online articles mostly on international affairs, which have been translated into a dozen major languages of the world and copied by scores of websites/blogs including think tanks and universities around the world commented and quoted in books and articles by among others Frederick Starr, Graham Fuller, Tom Engelhardt and William Engdahl etc.
Try some samples;
Led by military-industry complex, energy and other corporate interests under corrupt bankers and financiers, US media has been reduced to disseminating corporate handouts. In India too corporate owned media and trivia and celebrity obsessed TV channels with Radiia tapes compromised, shrieking, ignorance based arrogant anchors keep spewing official and corporate viewpoint .The discussions on the Gen VK Singh by officially approved IAS and IFS officers has been biased, pathetic and slavish to earn brownie points, specially by a former spokesman, who can hardly speak coherently.
The vigorous one day fast by Anna Hazare at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, 26 March was boycotted by most TV channels , at the behest of the establishment and corporate owners .Only the brave and challenging statements and barbs by Bhiwani district origin Arvind Kejriwal and the unhealthy and impotent rage in Indian Parliament against him brought the fast held to highlight the crushing murders of whistleblowers like IPS officer Narendra Kumar in Morena back to channels and media ( Gen VK Singh's family also comes from Bhiwani district , where too yours obediently was born and had early education . Haryana has provided a huge number of sturdy and upright military men and officers.)  
The brazenly corrupt and arrogant ruling classes in India composed of politicians, corporate fat cats, conniving officials and hangers on have reduced the Indian republic to a laughing stock , almost a Banana Republic .Whether it is corruption with almost daily revelations of mega scams involving politicians or anything else the political class will neither introspect nor come out with correctives .Instead it is heavily trying to squelch  even criticism of its crimes .The whole political class is up in arms in the Parliament making scenes unworthy of peoples' representatives .Whether the LokPal act will resolve and curb corruption is another matter , but the political class , after having dillydallied on it for almost half century , continues to do so . The tyranny of the elected and electable will continue (P.S; Manish Tewari, MP, should read Greek history to comprehend the word Tyranny, which fits the current ruling political dynasties across the political spectrum)
There seems no attempt to be serious about a decent Ombudsman bill. One Member of Parliament had honestly claimed that they do not want to pass a bill which will consign many of them to jails.
India is a feudal polity in the grip of political feudal barons like the state leaders and corporate barons who have acquired spectrum, oil, gas and other resources of the people for nothing.
Even the Egyptians, as lazy as Indians, have rebelled against tyranny and loot by the rulers but not Indians .They have made sacrifices and continue to do so, against US machinations to highjack a revolt against Washington's puppet of four decades Hosni Mubarak .India is unlikely to have a revolution and hence no equality before law or the rule of law.
Everyone knows that fat contracts for equipment , specially for the military are used to collect commissions for fighting elections and amassing huge wealth for lavish lifestyle of the ruling class , apart from daily Maratha rule style extorted contributions like Chauth and Sirdeshmuki .Like the most Indian rulers in history , the current ones hardly provide any protection from outsiders , say against the 2611 rape .The government is still discussing details of the publicly televised 3 day rape of Mumbai with Pakistanis. Yes, security of the political class has been further augmented and ministers like Vilasrao Deshmukh and R.R Patil are back into saddles of power.  .
The revelations of a bribery attempt of an honest Army chief Gen Vijay Kumar Singh shows that the armed forces have been infected with the cancer of corruption, cronyism, caste and religious virus.
In the wake of revelations of corruption within the Army i.e. Gen V.K. Singh's allegations that he was offered a bribe of Rs. 14 core by a lobbyist, Red Lt Gen Tejinder Singh, the former Army Chief, Shankar Roy Chowdhury, said on Monday, 27 March that attention should not be restricted to the Army alone.  "Other quarters," including the Ministry of Defense, should also be examined.
"Why focus attention particularly on the Army? The Army has very little scope for corruption as it has a limited role in procurement. The whole process of procurement, where these alleged payments change hands, takes place in the Ministry of Defense," Gen. Roy Chowdhury, who served as the Army Chief between November 1994 and September 1997, told The Hindu.
Asked about Gen. Singh's assertion that the row over his age was "a manufactured controversy," Gen. Roy Chowdhury said although it was "all speculation," there were many who still believed it to be so.
"When the present Chief took over the office, he did say he was seriously going to clean up the system. There are many linkages outside the system as well. May be this could be a reaction to that…But this is all speculation," he said.
Gen. Roy Chowdhury said Gen. Singh could be facing conflict "as he pushes against these outside agencies" in a bid to clean up the system.
Referring to the current controversy, Gen. Roy Chowdhury said a person's refusal to accepting bribe showed that "everyone is not corrupt and the whole system cannot be subverted."
Below is a perceptive and courageous article by M.G. Devasahayam, a retired IAS officer, who had served in the Indian army before he joined the civil service. So he is an insider from both the words.
The public must insist on a Supreme Court monitored inquiry under a senior judge since the whole episode concerning Gen Singh vitally affects the defence of India and its sovereignty and security.
Former army chief J Singh worked out the plans to make way for Bikram Singh to take over
By M G Devasahayam
Vol 3 Issue 11, Mar 16 - 22, 2012
As is well known, bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a government or organization who are rule-bound and function under institutional norms and standards. Adhocracy operates in opposite fashion and cater more to individual or group agenda rather than functioning under institutional norms and standards.
In the last few years, Indian Administrative Service, the bulwark of India's bureaucracy, has been mutating itself into an agenda-led adhocracy. This 'liberalisation' agenda, co-promoted by Government, Multi-National Corporations and India's Corporate Sector, include 100 percent FDI by real-estate; land-grab license for SEZ; surrendering tribal forests to mining giants; billions worth of nuclear bonanza and feeble civil liabilities for energy behemoths; ramming GM-cotton and food down people's throat; mortgaging India's farming to US interests through 'Knowledge Initiative in Agriculture' and 'Agriculture Cooperation and Food Security' MoUs; globalizing retail trade and grand entry of foreign universities into India!
This agenda is in vast variance with the 'growth aspiration' the country started with at independence. In the vision of the Father of the Nation, Independent India would be sui generis, a society unlike any other, in a class of its own.
Gandhi's India would not go for gigantic, FDI-funded development projects and large-scale industry and mining, typical of market-led growth under capitalism. Instead, India would pursue an equitable, participatory, small-is-beautiful, need-based, inclusive, balanced development while conserving nature and livelihoods. It is to nurture this socio-economic ethos that IAS was established and covenanted in the constitution.
The present-day neo-liberal agenda is just the opposite, seeking an India of market-making MNCs, millionaires and billionaires, a middle class of 300 million providing that market and the rest of 800 million Indians surviving as barely literate, malnourished multitude. This agenda is being driven by a new breed of adhocracy within the IAS that has come about through inbreeding and rank favouritism.
Ever since UPA government under Manmohan Singh assumed power (2004) two kinds of adhocracy have been shaping up. One was born of the 'clan-within-clan' inbreeding being practiced by a 'linguistic-parochial' group that at one point of time occupied almost every top-job in Delhi's corridors of power.
The other is the 'loyalist-core' put together to implement the neo-liberal agenda. With the active participation of PMO patriarchs, spread of 'clan-within-clan' adhocracy was fast and furious capturing several key positions of 'might and money'. And barring honourable exceptions, other coveted positions went to agenda-men anointed by the 'Moneyed and the Mighty'.
Bureaucracy was meant to administer through laid down rules. The ICS was called the steel frame, precisely for this reason. ICS men viewed any deviation from the rules as a misdemeanor. Its successor, the IAS endeavoured to keep up the standards. Though there were hiccups, the bureaucratic system by and large ensured that men/women with merit were not denied their due place in promotions and postings.
Adhocracy on the other hand is being nurtured through blatant violation of processes and procedures to ensure that the top positions of Government, Joint Secretaries, Additional Secretaries and Secretaries, are held only by the clansmen and their agenda-abiding loyalists. Such adhocracy, which is antonymous to rule-bound bureaucracy, has substantially skewed and compromised the decision making process and standards. The result is for all to see; policy failure in almost all fronts, suffocating corruption and near total collapse of governance.
As if by intent, adhocracy seem to have permeated the Army Headquarters also as it did in the civil citadel. Sometime in 2005, out of the blue, the then Chief of the Army Staff (General JJ Singh) initiated the unique 'look down policy' to determine the 'line of succession' to the top position in the Army.
He was not looking for immediate succession but was looking deep-down to the year 2012 and found one favourite - Brigadier Bikram Singh. The Chief also realised that events and dates relating to the then Major General VK Singh, who was sure shot to become Army Chief in 2010, needed to be manipulated if Bikram Singh was to succeed him in 2012!
Once this sub-agendum was set, things started moving. Someone in the MS Branch 'discovered' VK Singh's UPSC application form mentioning 1950 as his year of birth and this was the 'brahmastra' to be used to truncate and restrict VK Singh's tenure as the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to a two year period, so that the passage could be cleared for Bikram Singh to take over in May 2012. The massive documentary proof establishing 1951 as General's YoB was ignored. A dismal charade of seeking 'acceptance' of 1950 from VK Singh as his YoB was played out.
But there were more hurdles. At that point of time, this favourite was not a front-runner as there were other officers ahead of him, who needed to be 'eliminated' at the COAS's level itself with a bit of deft manoeuvring. A list was prepared, nick-named 'Op MOSES' which implied that the Chief would part the waters like in the 'Ten Commandments' for Bikram Singh to smoothly walk through! Like a family tree in reverse, Op MOSES listed few potential threats - Brigadiers and Major Generals of higher calibre - who were dealt with and pushed out one by one either through supersession and non-empanelment! For this purpose even 'records of service' were tinkered and tampered with and some even made to disappear.
The fallout of this crude manipulation indulged in by the military adhocracy was the sordid age-row of VK Singh that has rocked the nation. The actual DoB is a matter of record as rightly observed by the Supreme Court. But what is of concern is the manner in which the controversy was first stoked, then fanned and finally, brought into play. This calls for thorough investigation.

This is all the more urgent because it is alleged that TKA Nair, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister was behind this brazen manoeuvring. Well before the age controversy came out in the open, Nair is reported to have told his confidants that VK Singh had to go in May 2012 because the 'Prime Minister had assured his wife that General Bikram Singh would be the next COAS'. Incidentally this gentleman was the chief mentor of the civil service adhocracy!
We have seen the neo-liberal agenda for creating and nurturing the civil adhocracy. But what is the agenda for the military adhocracy? This begs the question. But corruption and carpetbagging could be a possible answer. It is believed that there are IB reports about massive kick-backs in the still-born Eurocopter deal and a top Army brass has reportedly transferred 22 million Euros (Rs. 145 crores) to his relative in Paris through hawala post. But unfortunately for him the deal fell through and he had the consternation of returning the moolah! As if to compensate, this man was rewarded with a coveted civil position with powers to award thousands of crores worth of construction contracts! Now, with huge weapon/equipment purchase deals either being processed or pending in the Army HQ a pliable adhocracy is needed to serve the MNC agenda.
With the state turning into a non-functioning kleptocracy, corruption is the common denominator between civil and military adhocracy. Of late we have seen several cases of swindling and misappropriation in which General Officers have been court-martialed and dismissed from service. Many more must be lying buried.
Sensing danger the civil-military adhocracy has combined to hound out General VK Singh who does not fit into the adhocracy mould. Bulk of the media including 'reputed' scribes and defense analysts partnered with the kleptocrats in this despicable task, which indeed is the real tragedy!
(M.G. Devasahayam is a retired IAS officer, and had taken part in the Indo-Pak War of 1965 and counter insurgency operations in Nagaland. The views expressed in the above article are based on information from his sources in the defence establishment.) 

Also Read

 When the army records have one date, it is just 'political lying' to decide on another 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

West and Arab Clients Losing Geopolitical Battle in Syria

West and Arab Clients Losing Geopolitical Battle in Syria
"New Phase in Syria Crisis: Dealmaking toward an Exit"
The 3rd Millennium crusaders US, UK ,France and other NATO members along with their 'democracy lover' Arab clients in Gulf Cooperation Council, Riyadh and Qatar with an Islamists ruled Ankara have been halted at Homs in Syria with stiff military ,political and strategic resistance internationally by Moscow and Beijing in UNSC and elsewhere. The delicate task of defusing the violent conflict situation and then working out some solution to save face has been entrusted to Kofi Annan; former secretary general of UNO, not Washington's favorite .Kofi had described US led 2003 invasion of Iraq against the UN Charter and hence illegal .So an agreement on Annan is a significant trend in itself.
In the Arab- Israeli conflict in the Middle East, it has been said that you cannot begin a war against Israel without Egypt (now in the throes of a revolution) and cannot have peace without Syrian participation .The conflict in Syria has many dimensions and very wide ranging ramifications .In the overall strategic balance between US led West and Russia and China; Syria, Moscow's old client state from Soviet era allows berthing of Russian naval warships at Syrian ports. Moscow will not give up its presence in Eastern Mediterranean  .For Shia Iran and Shias of Lebanon , Syria is crucial link and corridor for self defence against US led West and its nukes possessing implant Israel .China with its huge investments in Iran will rely more and more on Tehran for its expanding energy requirements and any weakening of Tehran via the demise of the minority Shia Alawite elite Assad regime in Damascus would be detrimental to its economic and long term strategic interests .
New Delhi administration remains in disarray at home and under the malevolent influence of IMF pensioners and the powerful US/India corporate interests and lobbies and has been dithering but has not caved in entirely on Iran and Syria .It is a good sign that the new powerful Uttar Pradesh Baron Mulayam Singh Yadav whose support the government needs ,has called for the removal of Montek Singh Ahluwalia , a recent contender for the top IMF job as the current head of the Planning Commission of India. India's neoliberal policies at home have led to the loot of public resources , whether in 2G wireless spectrum or in iron ores or coal .
More than anything else, Syria is also a key battle ground for Shia - Sunni conflict led by Riyadh and Tehran, a conflagration which West has done its best to ignite? It will be terrible for the Muslim Ummah, the region and the world. Washington has partially succeeded in Iraq but with unpleasant outcome i.e. Tehran has been strengthened.
Greater West Asia, land of civilizations including the Mesopotamian, mother of almost all, has been the battleground of many historic battles since ancient times. In Turkey's Haraan, across the border with Syria ,the Parthians had defeated the Roman emperor Crassus Marcus Licinius in 53 BC, capturing the legion standards and taking the loot to Ctesiphon (near Baghdad-now under Shia Iraqis , Tehran's allies ), then the winter capital of the Parthians and later of Sasanians. Crassus, had attacked the Parthians with a large force to gain military glory and be at par with the other triumvirs, Julius Caesar and Pompey. After he lost the war at Carrhae near Harran, he was killed.
The present day Western emperors, Obama of USA and Sarcozy of France have stoked the conflict in Syria after their 'successes in destroying Libya to augment their electoral chances in forthcoming presidential elections at home. Reportedly 7000 Syrians including a few thousand members of security forces have been killed in Syria so far .It has been estimated that before the NATO invasion of Libya , five thousand Libyans had lost lives .After the Nato bombing and the regime change in Tripoli , some estimates put the number of dead , including brutal lynching of Col Kaddafi , between sixty to one hundred thousands have been killed .The country has been divided and a civil war is enfolding , with Al Qaeda and many Muslim extremists getting into positions of power .The last have got hold of Kaddafi's missiles which can be employed anywhere in the world.

West loses geopolitical battles in Ukraine and central Asia
In the current era ,after the Fall of the Berlin Wall, a triumphant US led capitalist West went about dismantling the Union of Socialist Republics and 'induced' Moscow's erstwhile allies in Europe to join NATO and EU in spite of the promises to the contrary made to Gorbachev . US & NATO forces dismembered the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-lingual Slav and orthodox Yugoslavia, which with religious and ethnic affinities was strategically closer to Russia.

Using as pretext the 119 attacks on US symbols of economic and military might in New York and Washington, which more and more people are now coming round to believe was an inside job,  Washington, instead of attacking Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from where most of the hijackers originated, first bombed Afghanistan, coercing ally Pakistan into joining it or get bombed to stone age and installed a former UNOCOL consultant Hamid Karzai as the new ruler in Kabul after the Taliban leadership disappeared into Pakistan and northern Alliance marched into Kabul. Then on flimsy grounds Washington illegally invaded Iraq in 2003 for its oil. Almost a million and half Iraqis have died since then; the country divided, devastated, destroyed and poisoned with depleted Uranium waste.
Taking advantage of the unraveling of USSR into many states now in utter disarray, under the pretext of US led 'War on terror' in Afghanistan, Washington acquired bases in the heart of central Asia; in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, the last next door to China's turbulent Turkic speaking Uighur province of Xinjiang.

Washington then organized US franchised (like McDonalds, KFC outlets) street revolutions financed by US non-governmental fronts and organizations, CIA and Washington's envoys in former Russian allies in Europe and in Moscow's near abroad. It succeeded in Serbia (from which Montenegro was detached making it landlocked), Georgia and Ukraine, but failed in Belarus. In Uzbekistan, where the regime change was attempted a few weeks after Kyrgyzstan regime change in March 2005, feisty Islam Karimov expelled the US forces from its air force base.

The February 2010 results of Ukraine's bitterly fought presidential elections giving victory to Victor Yanukovich, a pro-Russian former prime minister, against maverick 'Orange Revolution' heroine prime minister Yulia Timoshenko, Washington favourite, confirmed the US roll back from Kiev.http://tarafits.blogspot.in/2010/02/ukraine-elections-confirm-rollback-of.html
Pro-Moscow April 2010 'Revolution' in Kyrgyzstan

Then the Geopolitical Battle in Kyrgyzstan over US Military Lily pond in central Asia was lost after Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital Bishkek on 7 April, 2010 in the wake of wide spread violence in which 75 people were killed and 400 wounded. Ms. Otunbayeva, a former foreign minister, took over .The new regime, dependent on a resurgent Russia is pro Moscow .US still remains an unwelcome 'guest' at the Kyrgyz Manas airbase.
Assad's Stand at Baba Amr, Homs; a Turning point in Middle East!
In 1982 when the Sunni Moslem Brotherhood rose and assassinated over 100 Alawite officers and Baath party officials in the Syrian town Hama ,Bassar Assad's uncle ,Rifaat was sent by late president Hafez Assad to pacify the town .He had allegedly butchered between 20,000 to 40000 inhabitants ,creating a new phrase ."Rule or die" .Any further continuation of Western intervention would resulted in 'you haven't yet seen anything 'violence.
In this continuing struggle, with the West losing ground, the battle at Baba Amr. Homs could become a historic turn around.
I am copying below a very well researched and cogently written account of the current situation in Syria based on reliable sources, giving military and diplomatic moves and countermoves in Syria, the region and around the world.
K.Gajendra Singh 22 March 2010.Mayur Vihar, Delhi.



New Phase in Syria Crisis: Dealmaking toward an Exit

By Sharmine Narwani
Published 21 March 2012 in English.al-akhbar 
In recent weeks, there has been a notable shuffle in the positions of key external players in the Syrian crisis. Momentum has quite suddenly shifted from an all-out onslaught against the Assad government to a quiet investigation of exit strategies.
The clashes between government forces and opposition militias in Baba Amr were a clear tipping point for these players – much hinged on the outcome of that battle. Today, the retreat of armed groups from the Homs neighborhood means one thing: the strategy of militarizing the conflict from within is no longer a plausible option on which to hang this geopolitical battle. Especially not in an American or French election year, when anything less than regime change in Syria will look like abject failure.
And so the external players are shifting gears – the more outspoken ones, quietly seeking alternative options. There are two de facto groups that have formed. Group A is looking for a face-saving exit from the promised escalation in Syria. It consists of the United States, European Union and Turkey. Group B, on the other hand, is heavily invested in regime-change at any cost, and includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some elements of the French, US, British, and Libyan establishments.
Before Baba Amr, these two groups were unified in maximizing their every resource to force regime change in Syria. When the UN Security Council option was blocked by Russia and China, they coalesced around the General Assembly and ad-hoc "Friends of Syria" to build coalitions, tried unsuccessfully to bring a disparate opposition fighting force (Free Syrian Army) under central leadership, pushed to recognize the disunited Syrian National Council (SNC), and eked out weekly "events" like embassy closures and political condemnations to maintain a "perception momentum."
But those efforts have largely come to a standstill after Baba Amr. A reliable source close to the Syrian regime said to me recently: "The regime eliminated the biggest and most difficult obstacle – Baba Amr. Elsewhere, it [eliminating armed militias] is easier and less costly at all levels. Now both political and military steps can continue."
Dealmaking Begins in Earnest
The first clear-cut public sign of this new phase was the appointment of Kofi Annan as UN envoy to Syria. Annan is an American "concession" that will draw out this dealmaking phase between the Syrian government, opposition figures and foreign governments potentially until the May 2012 parliamentary elections.
This phase is what the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, and other BRIC countries have sought from the start: the creation of a protective bubble around Syria so that it has the time and space necessary to implement domestic reforms that will not harm its geopolitical priorities.
Syria threatens to blast open a Pandora's Box of newly-motivated "soldiers of God." And while sectarian anger may be the fuse, the conflagration will take place on a major geopolitical fault line in the Mideast, at a delicate time, on one of Israel's borders.
Dealmaking and dialogue can be seen everywhere suddenly. Annan is only a figurehead masking these multilateral efforts. Reports are coming in that the US has kept a steady dialogue with the Syrian regime throughout. Opposition religious figures – mostly Muslim Brotherhood in their day-job guises – have met with the regime in recent weeks. And prominent Syrian reformists who reject military action and are open to dialogue with the regime, are now being sought out by various European governments.
The European Union (EU) kicked things off in March in a joint foreign ministerial communiqué rejecting military intervention in Syria. This was swiftly followed by Kofi Annan's strong warning against external efforts to arm the Syrian opposition, with various Americans making similar soundings in his wake.
One very prominent Syrian reformist who has remained engaged with both sides of this conflict, confided that the externally-based Syrian opposition are now "looking over each other's shoulders – none yet dares to speak out." The fact is, says the source, "They are getting military assistance, but nowhere near enough. They need much, much more that what they are getting, and now the countries backing this opposition are developing conflicting agendas."
Three high-level defections from the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) were announced within days of that conversation, hinting further at the fundamental policy shifts occurring in all circles, behind the scenes.
The game has changed along Syria's borders too. Turkey, a ferocious critic of the Assad government this past year, is reconsidering its priorities. A participant in a recent closed meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reveals the emptiness of Turkish threats to form a "humanitarian corridor" or security zone on their Syrian border. Davutoglu says my source, insisted in private that "Turkey will not do anything to harm Syria's territorial integrity and unity because that will transfer the conflict into Turkish territory."
Recent deliberations with Iran also seem to have resonated with the Turks. During Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi's January visit to Ankara, a source tells me that an understanding was reached. The Iranian FM is said to have warned Turkish leaders that they were leveraging a lot of goodwill – painstakingly built up in the Muslim/Arab world – in return for "no clear benefit" in Syria. According to my source, the Turks were encouraged to strike a bargain to regain their regional standing – the key concession being that Assad would stay through the reform period.
A Hard Dose of Realpolitik
Although Turkey has backtracked from its belligerent public posture, there are still elements in the country that remain rigid on Syria. The same is true for the US and France. The fact that 2012 is an important election year in both countries plays a part in the strategy shuffle, but there are other pressing concerns too.
One major worry is that there aren't a lot of arrows left in the quiver to fire at Syria. Without the UN Security Council granting legal authority to launch an offensive against Syria, there are only piecemeal efforts – and these have all been tried, if not yet exhausted: sanctions, demonstrations, arming militias, cyberwarfare, propaganda, diplomatic arm-twisting, and bribing defectors. But a whole year has passed with no major cracks in support from the regime's key constituencies and that has caused some debate about whether this kind of tactical pressure may ultimately backfire.
In Washington in particular, alarm bells have been ringing since militant Islamists infiltrated the Syrian opposition militias, some pouring in from Iraq where they were only recently targeting American interests. The US has spent the better part of a decade focusing its national security apparatus on the threat from Al Qaeda and militant Islam. The execution of Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda-related figures was meant to put a seal on this problem – at least in the sense that the organization has shriveled in size and influence.
But Syria threatens to blast open a Pandora's Box of newly-motivated "soldiers of God." And while sectarian anger may be the fuse, the conflagration will take place on a major geopolitical fault line in the Mideast, at a delicate time, on one of Israel's borders – and changing winds could fan those flames right back in the direction of the United States and its allies.
That is a red line for the US military and a sizeable chunk of the Washington political establishment. There are other Americans, however, who are unable to view the Syrian crisis outside the prism of Iran and its growing regional influence. US Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman, who has spent years now orchestrating the defeat of the Iran-led "Resistance Axis," is one such player in the capital.
Feltman is part of Group B, alongside Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The battle in Syria has become an existential one for Group B. They have played too hard and revealed too much, to be able to re-assert themselves into any impartial regional role in the future – unless there is a changing of the guard in Syria.
As Group a moves toward a face-saving exit from the crisis, we are going to witness a re-telling of events in Syria. The Western "mainstream media" and major international NGOs, which have served as little more than propaganda tools for various governments seeking to escalate the Syrian crisis and vilify the Assad government, are suddenly "discovering" dangerous elements in the Syrian opposition. This scene-setting is just as deliberate as the false narratives we have witnessed from Group A since the start of the crisis.
Group B, on the other hand, remains unable to take its eye off the Syrian brass ring and may continue to employ increasingly brazen and foolhardy tactics to stimulate chaos inside the country. Syria may be Group B's graveyard unless they are brought into these deals and promised some protection. I suspect, however, that they will instead be utilized as a valuable negotiating tool for Group A – brought into play if dealmaking is not working to their advantage.
While negotiations plod on over Syria, we can be assured that most external players have little or no consideration for actual Syrians. The regime will be focused on the long haul, which includes ridding the country of armed groups, ensuring that major roadways are free of IEDs and snipers, implementing a watered-down reform program with token opposition members to give lip service to progress, and becoming even more entrenched in the face of regional and foreign threats.
Meanwhile, the West and its regional allies will happily draw out a low-boil War of Attrition in Syria to keep the Syrian regime busy, weakened and defensive, while further seeking to cement their hold on the direction of the "Arab Spring." They will pull levers to create flare-ups when distractions or punishments are warranted, with nary a care to the lives and livelihoods of the most disenfranchised Syrians whose blood is this conflict's main currency.
It will never be certain if there was a revolution in Syria in 2011. The country became a geopolitical battleground less than a month after the first small protests broke out in various pockets inside Syria. And it is not over by a long stretch. Syria will continue to be the scene of conflict between two regional blocs until one side wins. This may be a new phase in Syria today where players are converging to "cut some losses," but be assured that they are merely replenishing and repositioning their reserves for a broader regional fight.
Sharmine Narwani is a commentary writer and political analyst covering the Middle East. She is a Senior Associate at St. Antony's College, Oxford University and has a Master of International Affairs degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in both journalism and Mideast studies.
 You can follow Sharmine on twitter@snarwani.
The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The New Mediterranean Oil and Gas Bonanza & Rising Tensions

The New Mediterranean Oil and Gas Bonanza
A New Geo-political Curse in Israel's Levant Basin?
Rising tensions among Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Lebanon & Syria
In 1970s after the Arabs' use of the oil weapon with their coffers brimming with petrodollars , Israel's formidable prime minister Golda Meir famously quipped that prophet Moses had led the Jews to the one place in the Middle East where there was no oil.
But her statement has now been turned on its head .Israel sits on the second largest recorded shale oil deposit in the world .Last month Israel Energy Initiatives' office , located ironically at 1 Golda Meir Boulevard in Jerusalem , extracted oil from shale by heating the shale underground until it became  liquid .It turned out to be of a very fine quality oil. The company hopes to produce 50,000 barrels a day by 2020.
But more sensational energy discoveries have been within Israel's coastal waters in eastern Mediterranean ; two natural gas fields. One could supply Israel's domestic market for decades. The other, a "supergiant", could be used purely for export. Who knows Israel could become one of the world's leading energy exporters?
The Levant Basin, encompassing approximately 32,000 square miles, covers onshore and offshore territory including the Gaza Strip, Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus. The US Geological Survey estimated in 2010 that the area holds a mean of 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil and a mean of 122 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of recoverable gas. 
The economically fast growing energy short China , has already made a bee line and a deal for transporting liquid gas home via a pipeline from Israel's Mediterranean coast to port Eilat on the Gulf of Aqaba exiting into the Red Sea . The proposed rail-cum-road links would facilitate transfer of liquefied natural gas via the Indian Ocean to China. This communication link would also enhance China's exports to central and southern Europe and the Balkans, bypassing Egypt's congested Suez Canal.
The author when posted at Amman ( 1989-92) drove along the desert road south of the Dead Sea to the Jordan port of Aqaba, from where one could see Eilat with its glittering lights and resorts . He never imagined such a commercial rail track or pipe line in the region. Jordan too has ample shale oil rock deposits but as yet no oil or gas reserves. Before the 2003 US led illegal invasion of Iraq , Jordan relied on concessional oil supplies from Iraq , which used an excellent highway from Baghdad to Aqaba via Jordan for Iraq's imports and exports bypassing the Gulf.
As can be seen ,the gas fields in Eastern Mediterranean  fall in an area where neighbouring countries have simmering tensions and have already staked their claims on the discovered energy bonanza .It could mimic the disputes and tensions over energy rich South China Sea islands .
Under Washington's influence , with US pensioners in key positions , India has yet to secure its energy security .Indian efforts have been stymied by Washington, which is now pressurizing Delhi to reduce oil imports from Iran .Like other public resources , minerals ,gas and oil , wireless spectrum have been parceled to rich fat cats and robber barons in India.
Energy is a vital strategic factors in a nations economic and strategic security with ramifications all over the world .
Below is an excellent article in two parts by William F. Engdahl , a renowned thinker and analyst on international problems , specially relating to economics and energy .
K.Gajendra Singh 10 March, 2010, Delhi
The New Mediterranean Oil and Gas Bonanza
Part I: Israel's Levant Basin—a new geopolitical curse?
By F. William Engdahl*, author of A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics
                                                                                                                  13 Feb ,2012    
Recent discoveries of not just significant, but huge oil and gas reserves in the little-explored Mediterranean Sea between Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Syria and Lebanon suggest that the region could become literally a "new Persian Gulf" in terms of oil and gas riches. As with the old Persian Gulf, discovery of hydrocarbon riches could as well spell a geopolitical curse of staggering dimension.
Long-standing Middle East conflicts could soon be paled by new battles over rights to oil and gas resources beneath the eastern Mediterranean in the Levant Basin and Aegean Sea. Here we explore the implications of a gigantic discovery of gas and oil in offshore Israel. In a second article we will explore the implications of gas and oil discoveries in the Aegean between Cyprus, Syria, Turkey, Greece and Lebanon.
An Israeli Leviathan
The game-changer was a dramatic discovery in late 2010 of an enormous natural gas field offshore of Israel in what geologists call the Levant or Levantine Basin. In October 2010 Israel discovered a massive "super-giant" gas field offshore in what it declares is its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The find is some 84 miles west of the Haifa port and three miles deep. They named it Leviathan after the Biblical sea monster. Three Israeli energy companies in cooperation with the Houston Texas Noble Energy announced initial estimates that the field contained 16 trillion cubic feet of gas—making it the world's biggest deep-water gas find in a decade, adding more discredit to "peak oil" theories that the planet is about to see dramatic and permanent shortages of oil, gas and coal. To put the number in perspective, that one gas field, Leviathan, would hold enough reserves to supply Israel's gas needs for 100 years.[i]
Energy self-sufficiency had eluded the state of Israel since its founding in 1948. Abundant oil and gas exploration had repeatedly been undertaken with meager result. Unlike its energy-rich Arab neighbors, Israel seemed out of luck. Then in 2009 Israel's exploration partner, Noble Energy, discovered the Tamar field in the Levantine Basin some 50 miles west of Israel's port of Haifa with an estimated 8.3 tcf (trillion cubic feet) of highest quality natural gas. Tamar was the world's largest gas discovery in 2009.
At the time, total Israeli gas reserves were estimated at only 1.5 tcf. Government estimates were that Israel's sole operating field, Yam Tethys, which supplies about 70 percent of the country's natural gas, would be depleted within three years.
With Tamar, prospects began to look considerably better. Then, just a year after Tamar, the same consortium led by Noble Energy struck the largest gas find in its decades-long history at Leviathan in the same Levantine geological basin. Present estimates are that the Leviathan field holds at least 17 tcf of gas.[ii] Israel went from a gas famine to feast in a matter of months.
With the Tamar and now Leviathan discoveries, Israel was beginning to discuss how to become a major natural gas export nation as well as whether to significantly tax s and oil revenues and place it into an Israeli Sovereign Wealth Fund that would make long-term investments in the Israeli economy as China and many Arab OPEC nations do.[iii]
"The Levant Basin Province is comparable to some of the other large provinces around the world," noted a spokesperson from the US Geological Survey's (USGS) Energy Resources Program. "Its gas resources are bigger than anything we have assessed in the United States." [iv]
Perhaps sensing that major oil and gas discoveries were being confirmed with potential to change the geopolitics of the entire region, the USGS launched its first-ever estimate of the total reserves of oil and gas in the broad region encompassing the Eastern Mediterranean including the Aegean Basin offshore Greece and Turkey and Cyprus, the Levant Basin offshore Lebanon, Israel and Syria, and the Nile Basin offshore Egypt. Their conclusion was impressive to put it mildly.
The USGS, using all data from previous drilling and geologic surveys of the region concluded, "undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Levant Basin Province amount to 1.68 billion barrels of oil, and 122 tcf of gas. Additionally, according to USGS estimates, "undiscovered oil and gas resources of the Nile Delta Basin Province (bounded by the Nile Cone to the west, by Strabo to the north, by the Pytheus and Cyprus Trenches to the east and by the Levant Basin to the south) are estimated to be approximately 1.76 bbl (of oil), and 223 tcf of natural gas." [v]
The USGS calculated the total for the eastern Mediterranean as a whole currently at 345 tcf of gas and 3.4 billion barrels of oil. Suddenly the entire region is facing completely new geopolitical challenges and conflict potentials.
To put the numbers into perspective, the USGS estimates that Russia's West Siberian Basin, the world's largest known gas basin, holds 643 tcf of gas. As well, the Middle East and North Africa regions have several natural gas-rich areas, including the Rub Al Khali Basin (426 trillion cubic feet) in southwestern Saudi Arabia and Northern Yemen; the Greater Ghawar Uplift in eastern Saudi Arabia (227 tcf) and the Zagros Fold Belt (212 tcf) along the Persian Gulf and into Iraq and Iran.[vi]
Just months earlier, securing foreign gas was a national security priority of Israel as existing domestic gas supplies dwindled dangerously low. Further adding to the energy crisis were the so-called Arab Spring protests sweeping across Egypt into Libya in early 2011. The revolts toppled Mubarak, under whose regime Egypt had supplied some 40% of Israeli natural gas. With Mubarak toppled and the ban lifted on Egypt's Islamic parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and the radical Salafist Al-Nour Party, the gas pipeline delivering Egypt's gas to Israel was target of repeated sabotage and disruptions, the most recent February of this year in northern Sinai. Israel was becoming more than nervous about its future energy security.[vii]
Lebanon reaction fuels new frictions
Discovery of Leviathan by Israel in the waters offshore immediately triggered a new geopolitical conflict as Lebanon claimed that part of the gas field lay in Lebanese territorial waters in Lebanon's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Lebanon delivered maps to the UN to back its claim, to which Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman retorted, "We won't give an inch."
The fly in the Mediterranean energy soup is the fact that Israel, like the USA, has never ratified the 1982 UN Convention on Law of the Sea dividing world subsea mineral rights. The Israeli gas wells at Leviathan are clearly within undisputed Israeli territory as Lebanon affirms, but Lebanon believes the field extends over into their subsea waters as well. The Lebanese Hezbollah claims that the Tamar gas field, which is due to begin gas deliveries by the end of this year, belongs to Lebanon.
Washington has lost no time adding political gasoline to the natural gas dispute between Lebanon and Israel.  In July of 2011 as Israel prepared to submit its own proposal to the UN as to where the offshore demarcation line between Lebanon and Israel should run, Frederick Hof, US diplomat responsible for special affairs regarding Syria and Lebanon, told Lebanon that the Obama Administration endorsed the Lebanese document, adding to the growing tensions reported since outbreak of the Arab Spring between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Obama.[viii]
Netanyahu has reportedly recently urged America's eighth wealthiest person, his close friend Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson to pour millions directly into the campaigns of Republicans, including Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. It represents an unprecedented direct Israeli intervention into US presidential candidates' campaigns, in order to try to defeat a second Obama term.[ix] New issues of control of the vast energy reserves being discovered off Israeli and Lebanese, Cypriot, Turkish and Greek shores will clearly play a growing role in one of the most entangled political regions on Earth.
Part II: Rising energy tensions in the Aegean—Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Syria;  3 March, 2012.     
                                                                                                                                                                    The discovery in late 2010 of the huge natural gas bonanza off Israel's Mediterranean shores triggered other neighboring countries to look more closely at their own waters. The results revealed that the entire eastern Mediterranean is swimming in huge untapped oil and gas reserves. That discovery is having enormous political, geopolitical as well as economic consequences. It well may have potential military consequences too.
Preliminary exploration has confirmed similarly impressive reserves of gas and oil in the waters off Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and potentially, Syria.
Greek 'energy Sirtaki'
Not surprisingly, amid its disastrous financial crisis the Greek government began serious exploration for oil and gas. Since then the country has been in a curious kind of a dance with the IMF and EU governments, a kind of "energy Sirtaki" over who will control and ultimately benefit from the huge resource discoveries there.
In December 2010, as it seemed the Greek crisis might still be resolved without the by-now huge bailouts or privatizations, Greece's Energy Ministry formed a special group of experts to research the prospects for oil and gas in Greek waters. Greece's Energean Oil & Gas began increased investment into drilling in the offshore waters after a successful smaller oil discovery in 2009. Major geological surveys were made. Preliminary estimates now are that total offshore oil in Greek waters exceeds 22 billion barrels in the Ionian Sea off western Greece and some 4 billion barrels in the northern Aegean Sea.[x]
The southern Aegean Sea and Cretan Sea are yet to be explored, so the numbers could be significantly higher. An earlier Greek National Council for Energy Policy report stated that "Greece is one of the least explored countries in Europe regarding hydrocarbon (oil and gas-w.e.) potentials."[xi] According to one Greek analyst, Aristotle Vassilakis, "surveys already done that have measured the amount of natural gas estimate it to reach some nine trillion dollars." [xii] Even if only a fraction of that is available, it would transform the finances of Greece and the entire region.
Tulane University oil expert David Hynes told an audience in Athens recently that Greece could potentially solve its entire public debt crisis through development of its new-found gas and oil. He conservatively estimates that exploitation of the reserves already discovered could bring the country more than €302 billion over 25 years. The Greek government instead has just been forced to agree to huge government layoffs, wage cuts and pension cuts to get access to a second EU and IMF loan that will only drive the country deeper into an economic decline. [xiii]
Notably, the IMF and EU governments, among them Germany, demand instead that Greece sell off its valuable ports and public companies, among them of course, Greek state oil companies, to reduce state debt. Under the best of conditions the asset selloffs would bring the country perhaps €50 billion.[xiv] Plans call for the Greek state-owned natural gas company, DEPA, to privatize 65% of its shares to reduce debt.[xv] Buyers would likely come from outside the country, as few Greek companies are in a position in the crisis to take it.
One significant problem, aside from the fact the IMF demands Greece selloff its public oil interests, is the fact that Greece has not declared a deeper exclusive economic zone like most other countries which drill for oil. There was seen little need until now. An Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) gives a state special mineral rights in its declared waters under the Third United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which came into force in November 1994. Under UNCLOS III, a nation can claim an EEZ of 200 nautical miles from its coastline.[xvi]
Turkey has previously stated it would consider it an act of war if Greece drilled further into the Aegean. [xvii] Until now that did not seem to have serious economic consequences, as no oil or gas reserves were known. Now it's an entirely different ballgame.
Evangelos Kouloumbis, former Greek Industry Minister recently stated that Greece could cover "50% its needs with the oil to be found in offshore fields in the Aegean Sea, and the only obstacle to that is the Turkish opposition for an eventual Greek exploitation."[xviii]
Hillary dances the Sirtaki too…
In July 2011 Washington joined the Greek energy Sirtaki. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Athens with energy on her mind. That was clear by the fact she brought with her her Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, Richard Morningstar. Morningstar was husband Bill Clinton's Special Advisor to the President on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, and one of the Washington strategic operatives in the geopolitical battles to dismember the Soviet Union and surround a chaos-ridden Russia with hostile pro-NATO former states of the USSR. Morningstar, along with his controversial aide, Matthew Bryza, have been the key Washington architects of Washington's geopolitically-motivated oil and gas pipeline projects that would isolate Russia and its Gazprom gas resources from the EU. Bryza is an open opponent of Russian Gazprom's South Stream gas pipeline that would transit the eastern Mediterranean states.[xix] Clearly the Obama Administration is not at all neutral about the new Greek oil and gas discoveries. Three days after Hillary left Athens the Greek government proposed creation of a new government agency to run tenders for oil and gas surveys and ultimate drilling bids.
Morningstar is the US specialist in economic warfare against Russian energy diplomacy. He was instrumental in backing the controversial B-T-C oil pipeline from Baku through Tbilisi in Georgia across to the Turkish Mediterranean port of Ceyhan, a costly enterprise designed solely to bypass Russian oil pipeline transit. He has openly proposed that Greece and Turkey drop all historic differences over Cyprus, over numerous other historic issues and agree to jointly pool all their oil and gas reserves in the Aegean Sea. He also has told the Greek government it should forget cooperation with Moscow on the South Stream and Bourgas-Alexandroupolis gas pipeline projects. [xx]
According to a report from Greek political analyst Aristotle Vassilakis published in July 2011, Washington's motive for pushing Greece to join forces with Turkey on oil and gas is to force a formula to divide resulting oil and gas revenues. According to his report, Washington proposes that Greece get 20% of revenues, Turkey another 20% and the US-backed Noble Energy Company of Houston Texas, the company successfully drilling in the Israeli and Greek offshore waters, would get the lion's share of 60%.[xxi]
 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's husband, Bill, is a Washington lobbyist for Noble Energy. [xxii]
And some Cyprus complications…
As if these geopolitical complications were not enough, Noble Energy, has also discovered huge volumes of gas off the waters of the Republic of Cyprus. In December 2011 Noble announced a successful well offshore Cyprus in a field estimated to hold at least 7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Noble's CEO, Charles Davidson remarked to the press, "This latest discovery in Cyprus further highlights the quality and significance of this world-class basin." [xxiii]
Cyprus is a complicated piece of real estate. In the 1970's as declassified US Government documents recently revealed, then-US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger actively encouraged and facilitated arms to the Turkish regime of Kissinger's former Harvard student and then- Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, to stage a military invasion of Cyprus in 1974, in effect partitioning the island between an ethnically Turkish north and an ethnically Greek Republic of Cyprus in the south, a division which remains.  The Kissinger strategy, backed by the British was believed intended to create a pretext for a permanent US and British military listening post in the eastern Mediterranean during the Cold War.[xxiv]
Today the ethnically Greek south, where Noble has discovered large gas deposits, is a member of the EU. Its President, Demetris Christofias, is the only national leader in the European Union who is a communist. He is also a close friend of Israel, and of Russia. In addition, he is a major critic of American foreign policy, as well as of Turkey.[xxv]
Now Israel is planning to build an underwater gas pipeline from the Israeli Levantine fields across Cyprus waters onto the Greek mainland where it would be sold on the EU market. The Cyprus and Israel governments have mutually agreed on delimitation of their respective economic zones, leaving Turkey in the cold. Turkey openly threatened Cyprus for signing the agreement with Noble Energy. That led to a Russian statement that it would not tolerate Turkish threats against Cyprus, further complicating Turkish-Russian relations. [xxvi]
Turkish-Israeli relations, once quite friendly, have become increasingly strained in recent years under the Erdogan foreign policies. Ankara has expressed concern about Israel's recent ties with its historic antagonists, Greece and the Greek side of Cyprus. Turkey's ally the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, fears it could miss out on its fair share of the gas after Israel and Nicosia signed an agreement to divide the 250 kilometers of sea that separate them.[xxvii]
It becomes evident, especially when we glance at a map of the eastern Mediterranean, that the oil and gas prospective bonanza there is a rapidly unfolding conflict zone of tectonic magnitude involving strategic US, Russian, EU, Israeli and Turkish, Syrian and Lebanese interests.

[i] Charles Levinson, Guy Chazan, Big Gas Find Sparks a Frenzy in Israel, The Wall Street Journal, December 30, 2010, accessed in http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204204004576049842786766586.html#printMode.
[ii] Offshore Energy Today Staff, Israel:  Leviathan Holds More Gas Than Previously Estimated, Offshore Energy Today, December 19, 2011, accessed in http://www.offshoreenergytoday.com/israel-leviathan-holds-more-gas-than-previously-estimated/.
[iii] AFP, Israel has enough gas 'to become exporter,' 29 December 2010, accessed in http://www.france24.com/en/20101229-israel-has-enough-gas-become-exporter.
[iv] US Department of the Interior, Levant basin holds 122 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2010–3014, March 2010-April 10, 2010.
[v] Ibid.
[vi] Ibid.
[vii]  Avi Bar-Eli and Itai Trilnick, Forecast Blackout Israel is about to run out of natural gas: Shortage expected to last at least until next year, when the Tamar gas field starts production, February 2, 2012, Haaretz, accessed in http://english.themarker.com/forecast-blackout-israel-is-about-to-run-out-of-natural-gas-1.410513. See also Reuters, Blast Hits Gas Pipeline Between Egypt, Jordan, Israel, 4 February 2012.
[viii] Barak Ravid, US Backs Lebanon on Maritime Border Dispute with Israel, July 10, 2011, Haaretz.com
[ix] Reuters, Sheldon Adelson Probe: Donations From Casino Owner Could Embarrass Republican Candidates, February 8, 2012, accessed in http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/08/sheldon-adelson-donations-casino-probe_n_1263945.html?ref=email_share. For more on the Adelson-Gingrich-Romney-Netanyahu connection see, Max Blumenthal, The Bibi Connection, January 12, 2012, accessed in http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/bibi-connection.
[x] Ioannis Michaletos, Greek Companies Step Up Offshore Oil Exploration—Large Reserves Possible, December 8, 2010, accessed in http://www.balkanalysis.com/greece/2010/12/08/greek-companies-step-up-offshore-oil-exploration-large-reserves-possible/.
[xi] Ibid.
[xii] Hellas Frappe, Hillary came to Greece to seal oil exploration deals!, July 21, 2011, accessed in http://hellasfrappe.blogspot.com/2011/07/special-report-hillary-came-to-greece.html.
[xiii] Chris Blake, Drilling for oil in the Aegean nay help ease Greece's debt crisis, July 7, 2011, accessed in https://www.hellenext.org/reinventing-greece/2011/07/drilling-for-oil-in-the-aegean-may-help-ease-greeces-debt-crisis/
[xiv] Ibid.
[xv] John Daly, Greece Considering Plugging Aegean Islands into Turkish Energy Grid, 22 November 2011, accessed in http://www.businessinsider.com/greece-considering-plugging-aegean-islands-into-turkish-energy-grid-2011-11.
[xvi] United Nations, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982: PART VI: CONTINENTAL SHELF, Article76, Definition of the continental shelf, accessed in http://www.un.org/depts/los/convention_agreements/texts/unclos/part6.htm.
[xvii] Chris Blake, op. cit.
[xviii] Ioannis Michaletos, op. cit.
[xix] Hellas Frappe, op. cit.
[xx] Ibid.
[xxi] Ibid.
[xxii] Hugh Naylor, Vast gas fields found off Israel's shores cause trouble at home and abroad, January 24, 2011, accessed in http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/vast-gas-fields-found-off-israels-shores-cause-trouble-at-home-and-abroad#full.
[xxiii] Noble Energy Press Release, Significant Natural Gas Discovery Offshore Republic of Cyprus, December 28, 2011, accessed in http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/significant-natural-gas-discovery-offshore-republic-of-cyprus.
[xxiv] Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane, New documents link Kissinger to two 1970s coups, June 26, 2007, accessed in http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Intelligence_officers_confirm_Kissinger_role_in_0626.html.
[xxv] Yilan, Cyprus conflict defies ready solution, May 30, 2011, accessed in http://turkeymacedonia.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/cyprus-conflict-defies-ready-solution/.
[xxvi] Stephen Blank, Turkey and Cyprus Gas: More Troubles Ahead in 2012, Turkey Analyst, vol. 5 no. 1, 9 January 2011, accessed in http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/inside/turkey/2012/120109B.html.
[xxvii] Hugh Naylor, op. cit.