THE WISDOM FUND: News & Views
July 26, 2006
Centre for Research on Globalization

The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil

by Michel Chossudovsky

Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan - Tblisi - Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which links the Caspian sea to the Eastern Mediterranean, took place on the 13th of July, at the very outset of the Israeli sponsored bombings of Lebanon. . . .

Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben - Eliezer was present at the venue together with a delegation of top Israeli oil officials.

The BTC pipeline totally bypasses the territory of the Russian Federation. It transits through the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia, both of which have become US "protectorates", firmly integrated into a military alliance with the US and NATO. Moreover, both Azerbaijan and Georgia have longstanding military cooperation agreements with Israel. In 2005, Georgian companies received some $24 million in military contracts funded out of U.S. military assistance to Israel under the so - called "Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program".

Israel has a stake in the Azeri oil fields, from which it imports some twenty percent of its oil. The opening of the pipeline will substantially enhance Israeli oil imports from the Caspian sea basin.

But there is another dimension which directly relates to the war on Lebanon. Whereas Russia has been weakened, Israel is slated to play a major strategic role in "protecting" the Eastern Mediterranean transport and pipeline corridors out of Ceyhan.

Militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean

The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and coordinated military road map. The extension of the war into Syria and Iran has already been contemplated by US and Israeli military planners. This broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil and oil pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil giants which control the pipeline corridors. In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks Israeli territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline. . . .

In April 2006, Israel and Turkey announced plans for four underwater pipelines, which would bypass Syrian and Lebanese territory.

Water for Israel

Also involved in this project is a pipeline to bring water to Israel, pumping water from upstream resources of the Tigris and Euphrates river system in Anatolia. This has been a long - run strategic objective of Israel to the detriment of Syria and Iraq. Israel's agenda with regard to water is supported by the military cooperation agreement between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

The Strategic Re-routing of Central Asian Oil

Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean (under Israeli military protection), for re - export back to Asia, serves to undermine the inter - Asian energy market, which is based on the development of direct pipeline corridors linking Central Asia and Russia to South Asia, China and the Far East.

Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken Russia's role in Central Asia and cut off China from Central Asian oil resources. It is also intended to isolate Iran.

Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a new powerful player in the global energy market. . . .

At this particular juncture, the replenishing of Israeli stockpiles of US produced WMDs points to an escalation of the war both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon.

FULL TEXT

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Daniel Howden and Philip Thornton, "The Pipeline That Will Change the World," Independent, May 25, 2005

"U.S. - Backed Israel Pounds Lebanon, Thousands Flee," The Wisdom Fund, July 13, 2006

James Bamford, "Iran: The Next War," Rolling Stone, July 27, 2006

Robert Fisk, "A Nato-led force would be in Israel's interests, but not Lebanon's," Independent, August 1, 2006

Margaret Griffis, "Sheba'a Farms: Much Ado About Nothing?," Independent, August 12, 2006

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