June 6, 2013 By Greg Richards
In testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Monday, we heard from Alexis de Toqueville’s “little battalions” of social relationships, political pedagogy, and cultural argument — i.e., the soul of American civic society. These are the ones who were abused by the IRS in being denied timely consideration of their applications for tax-exempt status to put them on a level playing field with the forces of the left. And shocking testimony it was, well worth watching on C-SPAN (www.c-span.org, then look for “Conservative Groups Testify on IRS Scrutiny”).
In an essay three days ago in American Thinker, Herbert E. Meyer (who, as vice chairman for National Intelligence Estimates at the CIA, in the face of overwhelming conventional wisdom, including from the Agency itself, identified for William Casey and President Reagan that the Soviet Union, far from being a permanent presence on the world scene, was in fact decaying from inside and on the verge of collapse, thus providing the basis for Reagan’s strategy to win the Cold War) suggested that there would never be a smoking gun in the IRS conspiracy because (a) it is not necessary and (b) that is not the way things work at the top. The leftists are all working from the same playbook.
Sander Levin, the ranking Democratic member of House Ways and Means, in what is doubtless his understanding of what went wrong, said in his opening statement, “The handling of these applications was gross mismanagement by the IRS Exempt Organization Division.”
But it wasn’t. It was a well-executed mission.
Remember the status of the Tea Party. It had sprung up spontaneously after Rick Santelli on CNBC struck a nerve by articulating the unfairness of the bailouts by the federal government. The Tea Party had no organization. It had no single leader or leadership structure. And yet it struck the 2010 elections like a tuna hitting a fishing line and returned control of the House to the Republicans.
So when the left in all its components — and remember that there are no stronger advocates of high bureaucratic pay and big government than those who work for it — looked out at the coming landscape for the 2012 election, what was the greatest threat? Another strike at the polls by the Tea Party, which at that time did not show up on conventional measurements of political activity and power.
The Tea Party and its confrères represented a real but unmeasurable threat not just to the Obama administration per se, but to the leftist project in general. It was a new, anti-leftist force that had to be brought under control.
What is the real attitude of the IRS to conservatives? Contempt. Which we saw from both Mr. Shulman and Mr. Miller, former and removed acting commissioners of the IRS, last week.
Question to Douglas Shulman, IRS commissioner for five years until late last year: “It appears you visited the White House 95 times [since increased] during your tenure as IRS Commissioner. What did you do on those visits?”
Mr. Shulman: “Participated in the Easter Egg Roll with my children.”
But if we are not likely to get a smoking gun and if the IRS has a culture of contempt for conservatives, what can we expect to get from these hearings? A lot. Not least the vocabulary to deal with the crisis.
Targeting of conservative groups and suppressing of conservative participation in the public forum by the IRS…
…is not “a mistake.”
…is not “a failure.”
…is not “due to incompetence.”
…is not “a breakdown.”
Rather, it is a manifestation of the leftist project. A leftist storm has blown through the IRS, and we are seeing in the hearings the debris line left by that storm. But now that the IRS has been infested by the leftist project, cleaning up the debris is not enough.
If conservative cultural and political activity is to continue unmolested in this country, the IRS must be eliminated. It is too disdainful of American mores, and it is too powerful. Neither of those things will change with a new commissioner and whatever is the final disposition of Lois Lerner.
Of course, the nation must have a revenue collection agency. As a first cut, perhaps the new agency would have six regional and independent divisions. They would be located in offices around the country, and there would be no single IRS commissioner in Washington.
The six agency heads would report to Congress every six months on the activities of their agencies on penalty of perjury. There would be new offices of ombudsman for each regional agency. The ombudsmen would testify to Congress along with the agency heads every six months as to the number and type of complaints they had received and what had been the disposition of those complaints.
All salaries in the new six agencies would start at 10% below the equivalent levels in the current IRS. There would be no union in the six agencies, because the agencies must represent the interests of the country and that alone. Something like that.
The current IRS is sick and corrupt. This is what the Democrats, even the ones appalled by the activities just revealed, do not understand. They think this behavior is isolated. It isn’t. It is the leftist project come to fruition, promoting unlimited power for government and brooking no opposition.
The limited government of enumerated powers created by the Founding Fathers and embedded in the Constitution is illegitimate in the eyes of the left. That is why this mission was not “a mistake.”
We must act on this knowledge, or we will be complicit in the dispossession of our liberty. They say about power, “Use it or lose it.” We must act while we still can.
19.11.2012 By Xavier Lerma
Putin in 2009 outlined his strategy for economic success. Alas, poor Obama did the opposite but nevertheless was re-elected. Bye, bye Miss American Pie. The Communists have won in America with Obama but failed miserably in Russia with Zyuganov who only received 17% of the vote. Vladimir Putin was re-elected as President keeping the NWO order out of Russia while America continues to repeat the Soviet mistake.
After Obama was elected in his first term as president the then Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January of 2009. Ignored by the West as usual, Putin gave insightful and helpful advice to help the world economy and saying the world should avoid the Soviet mistake.
Recently, Obama has been re-elected for a 2nd term by an illiterate society and he is ready to continue his lies of less taxes while he raises them. He gives speeches of peace and love in the world while he promotes wars as he did in Egypt, Libya and Syria. He plans his next war is with Iran as he fires or demotes his generals who get in the way.
Putin said regarding the military,
“…instead of solving the problem, militarization pushes it to a deeper level. It draws away from the economy immense financial and material resources, which could have been used much more efficiently elsewhere.”
Well, any normal individual understands that as true but liberalism is a psychosis . O’bomber even keeps the war going along the Mexican border with projects like “fast and furious” and there is still no sign of ending it. He is a Communist without question promoting the Communist Manifesto without calling it so. How shrewd he is in America. His cult of personality mesmerizes those who cannot go beyond their ignorance. They will continue to follow him like those fools who still praise Lenin and Stalin in Russia. Obama’s fools and Stalin’s fools share the same drink of illusion.
Reading Putin’s speech without knowing the author, one would think it was written by Reagan or another conservative in America. The speech promotes smaller government and less taxes. It comes as no surprise to those who know Putin as a conservative. Vladimir Putin went on to say:
“…we are reducing taxes on production, investing money in the economy. We are optimizing state expenses.
The second possible mistake would be excessive interference into the economic life of the country and the absolute faith into the all-mightiness of the state.
There are no grounds to suggest that by putting the responsibility over to the state, one can achieve better results.
Unreasonable expansion of the budget deficit, accumulation of the national debt – are as destructive as an adventurous stock market game.
During the time of the Soviet Union the role of the state in economy was made absolute, which eventually lead to the total non-competitiveness of the economy. That lesson cost us very dearly. I am sure no one would want history to repeat itself.”
President Vladimir Putin could never have imagined anyone so ignorant or so willing to destroy their people like Obama much less seeing millions vote for someone like Obama. They read history in America don’t they? Alas, the schools in the U.S. were conquered by the Communists long ago and history was revised thus paving the way for their Communist presidents. Obama has bailed out those businesses that voted for him and increased the debt to over 16 trillion with an ever increasing unemployment rate especially among blacks and other minorities. All the while promoting his agenda.
“We must seek support in the moral values that have ensured the progress of our civilization. Honesty and hard work, responsibility and faith in our strength are bound to bring us success.”- Vladimir Putin
The red, white and blue still flies happily but only in Russia. Russia still has St George defeating the Dragon with the symbol of the cross on its’ flag. The ACLU and other atheist groups in America would never allow the US flag with such religious symbols. Lawsuits a plenty against religious freedom and expression in the land of the free. Christianity in the U.S. is under attack as it was during the early period of the Soviet Union when religious symbols were against the law.
Let’s give American voters the benefit of the doubt and say it was all voter fraud and not ignorance or stupidity in electing a man who does not even know what to do and refuses help from Russia when there was an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Instead we’ll say it’s true that the Communists usage of electronic voting was just a plan to manipulate the vote. Soros and his ownership of the company that counts the US votes in Spain helped put their puppet in power in the White House. According to the Huffington Post, residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the Unites States. We’ll say that these Americans are hostages to the Communists in power. How long will their government reign tyranny upon them?
Russia lost its’ civil war with the Reds and millions suffered torture and death for almost 75 years under the tyranny of the United Soviet Socialist Republic. Russians survived with a new and stronger faith in God and ever growing Christian Church. The question is how long will the once “Land of the Free” remain the United Socialist States of America? Their suffering has only begun. Bye bye Miss American Pie! You know the song you hippies. Sing it! Don’t you remember? The 1971 hit song by American song writer Don McLean:
“And, as I watched him on the stage my hands were clenched in fists of rage.
No angel born in Hell could break that Satan’s spell
And, as the flames climbed high into the night to light the sacrificial rite, I saw…
Satan laughing with delight the day the music died
He was singing, bye bye Miss American Pie
Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry
Them good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye, singing…
This’ll be the day that I die
This’ll be the day that I die
So, the question remains:
How long will America suffer and to what depths?
- Pravda: Bye, Bye, Miss American Pie… The Communists Won in America With Obama (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Pravda: Obama re-elected by ‘illiterate society’ (wnd.com)
- Soviet Media “Pravda” Lectures US on Its Choice of Obama (usdailyreview.com)
- Pravda: ‘Communist’ Obama Reelected By ‘Illiterate Society’ (mikesright.wordpress.com)
- Obama’s Soviet Mistake (english.pravda.ru)
- Irony: Russian News Claims ‘Communists Won In America With Obama’ (freedomoutpost.com)
Dredging up Dickensian horrors of child labor, the Obama administration has ordered the Labor Department to apply child labor laws to family farms. The new rules would make it illegal for children to perform a large number of labor tasks that have been performed by farm families for centuries. Traditionally, adults and children alike helped with planting and harvesting in the spring and fall, but the federal government is now determined not only to make this a historical footnote, but a criminal offense.
April 25, 2012
Under the rules, children under 18 would be prevented by the federal government from working “in the storing, marketing and transporting of farm product raw materials” and prohibited “places of employment would include country grain elevators, grain bins, silos, feed lots, stockyards, livestock exchanges and livestock auctions.”
In addition to making it far more difficult for families to work their farms, the new rules will revoke the government’s approval of safety training and certification taught by independent groups like 4-H and FFA and replace them with a 90-hour federal government training course, the Daily Caller reports.
In other words, the federal government will forcibly insert itself in the business of teaching animal husbandry and crop management, disciplines traditionally passed on by families and local communities.
Government apparatchiks will now oversee the business of local farming the same way Stalin did when he collectivized farms and “socialized” production at gunpoint in the Soviet Union. Resistance by farmers and peasants to Stalin’s efforts resulted in the government cutting off food rations, which resulted in widespread famine (the “terror-famine in Ukraine” killed around 12 million people) and millions were sent to forced labor camps.
The Labor Department’s effort to further erode the family farm falls on the heels of an unconstitutional executive order Obama issued last year establishing so-called rural councils.
“According to this new executive order, the Obama administration plans to stick its itchy little fingers into just about every aspect of rural life,” the Economic Collapse Blog noted at the time. “One of the stated goals of the White House Rural Council is to do the following….”
Coordinate and increase the effectiveness of Federal engagement with rural stakeholders, including agricultural organizations, small businesses, education and training institutions, health-care providers, telecommunications services providers, research and land grant institutions, law enforcement, State, local, and tribal governments, and nongovernmental organizations regarding the needs of rural America.
Obama’s plan to make life miserable for family farmers coincides with an effort by the United Nations under Agenda 21. Section one of the executive order mentions “sustainable rural communities,” language right out of Agenda 21. (For more on the draconian aspects of Agenda 21 and the plan to roll back modern civilization under the aegis of “sustainability,” see Rosa Koire’s Behind the Green Mask: U.N. Agenda 21.)
The federal government has recently moved to clamp down on family farms. For instance, last year the Department of Transportation proposed new burdensome rules for farmers. Incidentally, DOT Secretary Ray LaHood holds a seat on the newly created White House Rural Council.
“In Late May, the DOT proposed a rule change for farm equipment, and if it this allowed to take effect, it will place significant regulatory pressure on small farms and family farms all across America – costing them thousands of dollars and possibly forcing many of them out of business,” writes Mike Opelka. “The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), wants new standards that would require all farmers and everyone on the farm to obtain a CDL (Commercial Drivers License) in order to operate any farming equipment. The agency is going to accomplish this by reclassifying all farm vehicles and implements as Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMVs).”
Late last year, House Republicans moved to prevent the EPA from further burdening farmers with a rule that would ban “farm dust.” Outrage in response to the proposed regulation came fast and furious and EPA boss Lisa Jackson was forced to back down as Democrats complained that the government was not targeting small family farms with the proposed regulation.
A concerted effort by the federal government to attack small family farms cannot be denied. Infowars.com has covered dozens of efforts, including the attack on Rawesome Foods in California, numerous efforts by the feds to attack raw milk and dairy farmers (including attacks by the FDA on Amish farmers), and a recent effort by the Department of Natural Resources in Michigan to destroy open-range pig farms.
In addition to attempting to micromanage – and run out of business – family farms through federal labor regulations, the government is trying to insert itself in the relationship between parents and their children.
The ongoing attacks on family farming are not merely misguided efforts by control freak bureaucrats. They are part of a larger “comprehensive plan of action” to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations to institute “sustainable development,” a philosophy designed to bring humanity under tight control of the global elite.
As George H. W. Bush said on September 11, 1990, the plan is “based entirely on social control mechanisms.” For the elite, controlling food – especially healthy and natural food produced by family farms – is a primary objective in their plan for global conquest.
- Rural kids, parents angry about Labor Dept. rule banning farm chores (mb50.wordpress.com)
by ROBERT HADDICK
Washington Post columnist David Ignatius created a tempest last week when he reported U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s prediction that Israel will attack Iran and its nuclear complex “in April, May or June.” Ignatius’s column was as startling as it was exasperating. When the sitting U.S. defense secretary — presumably privy to facts not generally available to the public — makes such a prediction, observers have good reasons to pay attention. On the other hand, the international community has been openly dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue for nearly a decade, with similar crescendos of anticipation having occurred before, all to no effect. Why would this time be different?
Further, an Israeli air campaign against Iran would seem like an amazingly reckless act. And an unnecessary one, too, since international sanctions against Iran’s banks and oil market are just now tightening dramatically.
Yet from Israel’s point of view, time really has run out. The sanctions have come too late. And when Israeli policymakers consider their advantages and all of the alternatives available, an air campaign, while both regrettable and risky, is not reckless.
1. Time pressure
In his column, Ignatius mentioned this spring as the likely deadline for an Israeli strike. Why so soon? After all, the Iranian program is still under the supervision of IAEA inspectors and Iran has not made any moves to “break out” toward the production of bomb-grade highly enriched uranium.
But as a new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center discusses, Iran’s uranium enrichment effort continues to advance, even after the Stuxnet computer attack and the assassination of several of its nuclear scientists. According to the report, Iran seems to be successfully installing advanced, high-efficiency uranium-enrichment centrifuges, which foreshadows a significant increase in enrichment capacity and output in the near future. More ominously from Israel’s perspective, Iran is now installing centrifuge cascades into the Fordow mountain site near Qom, a bunker that is too deep for Israeli bombs to penetrate.
On-site IAEA inspectors are currently monitoring Iran’s nuclear fuel production and would report any diversions to military use. As Tehran undoubtedly assumes, such a “breakout” (tossing out the inspectors and quickly enriching to the bomb-grade level) would be a casus belli, with air strikes from Israel likely to soon follow. Israeli leaders may have concluded that Iran could break out with impunity after the Fordow site is operational and the enrichment effort has produced enough low-enriched uranium feedstock for several bombs. According to the Bipartisan Center report, Iran will be in this position later this year. According to the New York Times, U.S. and Israeli officials differ over their calculations of when Iran will have crossed into a “zone of immunity.” Given their more precarious position, it is understandable that Israeli policymakers are adopting a more conservative assessment.
2. Alternatives to military action now fall short
Israeli leaders undoubtedly understand that starting a war is risky. There should be convincing reasons for discarding the non-military alternatives.
The international sanctions effort against Iran’s banking system and oil industry are inflicting damage on the country’s economy and seem to be delivering political punishment to the regime. But they have not slowed the nuclear program, nor are they likely to have any effect on the timeline described above. And as long as Russia, China, India, and others continue to support Iran economically and politically, the sanctions regime is unlikely to be harsh enough to change Israel’s calculation of the risks, at least within a meaningful time frame.
Why can’t Israel’s secret but widely assumed nuclear arsenal deter an Iranian nuclear strike? Israel’s territory and population are so small that even one nuclear blast would be devastating. Israel would very much like to possess a survivable and stabilizing second-strike retaliatory capability. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union achieved this mainly with their ballistic missile submarine fleets, which were always on patrol and held each others’ cities at risk. Israel does not have large numbers of submarines or any nuclear-powered subs capable of long submerged patrols. Nor can it be confident that its policymakers or command-and-control systems would survive an Iranian nuclear first strike.
Even if Iran sought a nuclear weapons capability solely to establish its own defensive deterrent, the outcome would be gross instability in the region, very likely leading to one side or the other attempting a preemptive attack (the Iranian government denies that its nuclear program has a military purpose). Very short missile flight times, fragile early-warning and command systems, and no survivable second-strike forces would lead to a hair-trigger “use it or lose it” dynamic. An Israeli attack now on Iran’s nuclear program would be an attempt to prevent this situation from occurring.
3. The benefits of escalation
A strike on Iran’s nuclear complex would be at the outer boundary of the Israeli Air Force‘s capabilities. The important targets in Iran are near the maximum range of Israel’s fighter-bombers. The fact that Iraq’s airspace, on the direct line between Israel and Iran, is for now undefended is one more reason why Israel’s leaders would want to strike sooner rather than later. Israel’s small inventory of bunker-buster bombs may damage the underground uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, but they will likely have no effect on the Fordow mountain complex. Iran has undoubtedly dispersed and hidden many other nuclear facilities. An Israeli strike is thus likely to have only a limited and temporary effect on Iran’s nuclear program.
If so, why bother, especially when such a strike risks sparking a wider war? Israel’s leaders may actually prefer a wider escalating conflict, especially before Iran becomes a nuclear weapons state. Under this theory, Israel would take the first shot with a narrowly tailored attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Paradoxically, Israel’s leaders might then prefer Iranian retaliation, which would then give Israel the justification for broader strikes against Iran’s oil industry, power grid, and communication systems. Even better if Iran were to block the Strait of Hormuz or attack U.S. forces in the region, which would bring U.S. Central Command into the war and result in even more punishment for Iran. Israel’s leaders may believe that they enjoy “escalation dominance,” meaning that the more the war escalates, the worse the consequences for Iran compared to Israel. Israel raided Iraq’s nuclear program in 1981 and Syria’s in 2007. Neither Saddam Hussein nor Bashar al-Assad opted to retaliate, very likely because both knew that Israel, with its air power, possessed escalation dominance. Israel’s leaders have good reason to assume that Iran’s leaders will reach the same conclusion.
What about the rockets possessed by Hezbollah and Hamas, Iran’s proxies north and south of Israel’s population centers? Israel’s leaders may believe that they are much better prepared to respond to these threats than they were in 2006, when the Israeli army struggled against Hezbollah. There is no guarantee that Hezbollah and Hamas will follow orders from Tehran to attack — they understand the punishment the reformed Israeli army would inflict. Hezbollah may now have an excellent reason to exercise caution. Should the Assad regime in Damascus collapse, Hezbollah would likely lose its most important protector and could soon find itself cut off and surrounded by enemies. It would thus be a particularly bad time for Hezbollah to invite an Israeli ground assault into southern Lebanon.
4. Managing the endgame
An Israeli raid on Iran’s nuclear complex would probably not lead to the permanent collapse of the program. Iran could dig out the entrances to the Fordow site and establish new covert research and production facilities elsewhere, perhaps in bunkers dug under residential areas. Israel inflicted a major setback on Iraq’s program when it destroyed the unfinished Osirak reactor in 1981. Even so, Saddam Hussein covertly restarted the program. Israel should expect the same persistence from Iran.
So is there any favorable end-state for Israel? Israeli leaders may envision a long term war of attrition against Iran’s program, hoping to slow its progress to a crawl while waiting for regime change in Tehran. Through sporadic follow-up strikes against nuclear targets, Israel would attempt to demoralize the industry’s workforce, disrupt its operations, and greatly increase the costs of the program. Israeli leaders might hope that their attrition tactics, delivered through occasional air strikes, would bog down the nuclear program while international sanctions weaken the civilian economy and reduce political support for the regime. The stable and favorable outcome for Israel would be either Tehran’s abandonment of its nuclear program or an internal rebellion against the regime. Israel would be counting more on hope rather than a convincing set of actions to achieve these outcomes. But the imperative now for Israel is to halt the program, especially since no one else is under the same time pressure they are.
Israel should expect Tehran to mount a vigorous defense. Iran would attempt to acquire modern air defense systems from Russia or China. It would attempt to rally international support against Israeli aggression and get its international sanctions lifted and imposed on Israel instead. An Israeli assault on Iran would disrupt oil and financial markets with harmful consequences for the global economy. Israel would take the blame, with adverse political and economic consequences to follow.
But none of these consequences are likely enough to dissuade Israel from attacking. A nuclear capability is a red line that Israel has twice prevented its opponents from crossing. Iran won’t get across the line either. Just as happened in 1981 and 2007, Israel’s leaders have good reasons to conclude that its possession of escalation dominance will minimize the worst concerns about retaliation. Perhaps most importantly, Israel is under the greatest time pressure, which is why it will have to go it alone and start what will be a long and nerve-wracking war.
- At the Pentagon and in Israel, Plans Show the Difficulties of An Iran Strike (newsworldwide.wordpress.com)
- Panetta believes Israel may strike Iran this spring (telegraph.co.uk)
- Panetta believes Israel may strike Iran this spring: reports – Reuters (reuters.com)
Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the nations that border the Caspian Sea – namely Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan – have quarreled over how to properly divide its waters. With as much as 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil, 200 billion barrels of potential reserves and 9.2 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas, at stake, tensions have risen over recent moves by Russia to develop its offshore resources.
A Geo-Political Storm Could Be Brewing Over The Caspian Sea’s Energy Resources
Photo Credit: mwanasimba
On 16 November in Astrakhan Lukoil president, Vagit Alekperov told journalists that his company will spend over $16 billion over the next decade to develop the country’s Caspian offshore Korchagin and Filanovskii oil and natural gas fields in the Caspian, at the signing of a cooperation agreement with the Astrakhan Region.
An equitable division of the Caspian’s offshore resources have bedeviled the region since the December 1991 implosion of the USSR, putting the Soviet Union’s previous cozy arrangements with the Shah’s Iran “into the dustbin of history,” to quote Leon Trotsky.
Related: Russia Oil and Gas Industry
Related: Iran Oil and Gas Industry
Before the collapse of the USSR, the Soviet Union and Iran effectively divided the inland sea amongst themselves, according to the terms of the 1940 Soviet-Iranian treaty, which replaced the 1921 Treaty of Friendship between the two countries, which awarded each signatory an “exclusive right of fishing in its coastal waters up to a limit of 10 nautical miles.” The treaty further declared that the “parties hold the Caspian to belong to Iran and to the Soviet Union.”
Since 1991 three new nations have arisen in the Caspian basin to contest this bilateral arrangement – Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. For the past two decades the five nations have wrangled about how to divide the Caspian offshore waters, and little has been achieved.
Amidst the disagreements Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan have tentatively moved cautiously to develop their offshore reserves in sectors that they believe would be indisputably within their future assignations under an eventual five-state agreement.
Even within these cautious offshore margins, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have increased their output in the last 15 years by 70 percent.
Related: Azerbaijan Oil and Gas Industry
Related: Kazakhstan Oil and Gas Industry
But at issue are the diametrically opposed positions of Iran and the Russian Federation about how to develop an international Caspian consensus beyond the now moribund 1921 and 1940 treaties. Iran insists that all Caspian nations should receive an equitable 20 percent of the Caspian, while the Russia Federation has consistently maintained that the five Caspian riverine nations should receive their portion based on the length of their coastline. Under the Russian formula, Iran’s sector would consist of 12 percent to 14 percent of the Caspian’s waters and seabed.
The stakes are high – in 2009 the U.S. government’s Energy Information Administration estimated that the Caspian could contain as much as 250 billion barrels of recoverable oil along with an additional 200 billion barrels of potential reserves, in addition to up to 9.2 trillion cubic meters of recoverable natural gas.
Accordingly, all five Caspian nations have been delicately developing their offshore Caspian reserves in areas that will undoubtedly remain theirs whatever eventual agreement is hammered out between Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation and Turkmenistan. The Russian Federation and Iran are the last two nations to move “offshore.”
Alekperov said, “Five hundred billion rubles ($16 billion) will be invested in development. This huge amount will provide an opportunity for sustainable development in the region.”
Astrakhan Region Governor Aleksandr Zhilkin waxed lyrical on the importance of the agreement for the long-term development of Astrakhan’s shipbuilding industry, situated on the lower Volga, the Russian Federation’s major river emptying into the Caspian.
Zhilkin commented, “All shipyards in Astrakhan Region will have work for the next ten years. Vagit Yusufovich (Alekperov) mentioned that Lukoil is investing more than 500 billion rubles ($16 billion) over the decade.
Zhilkin’s remarks to reporters are hardly an idle boast, as he stated that Lukoil had paid more than $16.1 million in taxes last year to Astrakhan’s regional budget.
So, the Russian Federation, like its four Caspian neighbors, is now beginning to tiptoe into its offshore waters, all the while insisting that its vision of divvying the inland sea prevails.
Related: The New “Great Game” in Central Asia
The last two decades have seen an apparent pragmatism slowly evolve over the Caspian offshore resources, first in Baku, followed by Astana, Ashgabat and more recently and reluctantly, Tehran and Moscow. While the issue of a final disposition of the Caspian’s offshore waters remains significant if for no other reason than the various proposed undersea pipelines such as Turkmenistan-Baku, which could be an influential element in the European Union’s projected $15 billion Nabucco natural gas pipeline reverie, all five nations seem to be moving cautiously towards planting their offshore flags in areas unlikely to arouse their neighbours.
It will be interesting to see if they meet in the middle.
By John C.K. Daly, OilPrice.com
- Auditor: Turkmenistan has second-largest gas field (sfgate.com)
- Petronas draws first gas at Turkmenistan field (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Turkmens slam Russian bid to hinder gas pipeline (seattlepi.com)