Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov, Chief of Turkey’s General Staff Necet Ozel and his Georgian counterpart Vakhtang Kapanadze met in Ankara in early May to discuss forming a trilateral group for coordinating contacts among the Azerbaijani, Turkish and Georgian armies, with priority to be given to the security of the region’s transport and energy infrastructures.
Almost at one and the same time, the oil ministers of Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and EU officials met in Ashgabat to sign a declaration to develop energy cooperation, this, particularly, implying that the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan via the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan may become reality. This is a high priority for the Europeans who seek to get gas bypassing Russia and Ukraine.
One more symptomatic fact is that on the same day Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told the Asian Development Bank managers that Azerbaijan would continue its national energy strategy and that in the following 100 years it would be one of the key supplies of gas to the region and Europe.
He said that Azerbaijan’s national energy strategy was the first step to transform the energy map of the region. “We are the authors of the South Gas Corridor, a pipeline we are already building to connect almost ten countries in the region and Europe,” the Azerbaijani president said.
In the meantime, Iranian Ambassador to Bulgaria Abdullah Norouzi said that his country might increase gas supplies to Turkey from 12bn c m to 70bn c m a year. Obviously, Turkey does not need so much gas and big part of it will go to Europe.
No doubt that the alliance Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia are forming is meant to protect not only existing but also projected oil and gas pipelines. Nor is there anything extraordinary in the EU’s wish to diversity its gas imports and to insure itself against possible Russian-Ukrainian collisions.
But the question here is whether these long-term plans are practicable. Many people believe that they are lobbied by the West (the US and the EU). The EU’s interests here are obvious, but the Americans’ game is much more cunning and is aimed to weaken Russia and to nullify its natural strategic advantages as the major oil and gas supplier to Europe. Consequently, the Russians must try to prevent such attempts and to curb new gas pipeline projects in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. But this is not all.
The Americans do not have any social or historical hatred or hostility for anybody, at least, because they have no serious history and have never been forced to protect themselves from anybody’s invasions. But their key concern is their own interests and in pushing them, they ignore the interests of other nations and do all they can to change the picture of the world. In this light, the forecast of Secretary of Iran's Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei that in the next few decades the Middle East will be unstable seems to be well grounded.
Iraq’s Shafan News quotes Resaei as saying that the Americans (with the Saudis’ support) are planning to disintegrate Syria, Iraq and Yemen and to create new puppet states in their territories. This instability started in summer 2006, after the launch of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline and the announcement of plans to build Baku-Erzerum gas pipeline and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Tunisia was the first victim of the “Arab spring.” The next in the list were almost all Arab nations. And even though not all of the Arab springs have resulted in changed regimes, the face of the region has changed.
What the Americans want is to have influence on fuel costs and to be able to regulate oil and gas prices in line with their interests and with a long-term aim to turn from a fuel importer into a fuel exporter. So, they need fuel prices that would serve the interests of their energy companies, first of all, shale oil and gas producers.
More specifically, the prices should be neither very low no very high so they could prevent key rivals (the Russians, the Arabs and the Iranians) from investing big money in own energy and social-economic projects. This is supposed to become a long-term factor and this can be effected only if the Middle East becomes disintegrated and only if the potential dangerous “competitive” regions are faced with constant threat of instability.
Instability in Ukraine is part of this concept as is the growing criticism of the Azerbaijani regime. The Americans seem to have no fear that this policy may throw Azerbaijan into Russia’s arms. Their key goal is to create one more instability spot so as to prevent the Azerbaijanis from becoming “one of the key suppliers of gas to Europe” - as their Aliyev said. The Americans believe that only their own selves can be the key supplier and regulator of prices in the region. This would also help them to control development rates in China and India.
All this may mean that the world is facing an attempt to change the traditional paradigm of international relations and is on the threshold of big changes. As we all know, no single long-term plan can meet its initial goal, so, these changes may well become uncontrollable and therefore unpredictable.
Gai Borisov, EADaily political observer