The Politics of Oil and Gas __ No. 1, “New Middle East”?

Posted on January 29, 2013

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As the most important energy source, oil was king for over a century. The evidence suggests that King Oil is about to be deposed by King Gas. Because energy cost are such an important factor in the economies of every country, the possibility of a cheaper source of energy, due to huge discoveries of shale gas in many parts of the world, could have enormous impacts not only on individual countries; but on the geopolitics of the world, as well. For that reason, this will be a recurring topic at Asylum Watch.

Politics and oil have been inseparable. Let´s look at some important examples.

* 1943 when Venezuela, then the second largest producer in the world after the United States demanded and got a fifty percent interest in all their oil production. They would totally nationalize their oil in 1976.

* Prior to 1951, Iran’s oil industry was controlled by the British owned Anglo-Iran Oil Company (the predecessor to British Petroleum, BP). From Wikipedia we learn:

In 1951, Iran’s oil industry was nationalized with near-unanimous support of Iran’s parliament in a bill introduced by Mossadegh who led the nationalist parliamentarian faction. Iran’s oil had been controlled by the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company(AIOC), now known as BP. Popular discontent with the AIOC began in the late 1940s, a large segment of Iran’s public and a number of politicians saw the company as exploitative and a vestige of British imperialism.  Despite Mosaddegh’s popular support, Britain was unwilling to negotiate its single most valuable foreign asset, and instigated a worldwide boycott of Iranian oil to pressure Iran economically. Initially, Britain mobilized its military to seize control of the Abadan oil refinery, the world’s largest, but Prime Minister Clement Attlee opted instead to tighten the economic boycott  while using Iranian agents to undermine Mosaddegh’s government.

In 1953, British Prime Minister, Churchill, and US President, Eisenhower, authorized their intelligence services to orchestrate a coup against the Irani’s Prime Minister, Mossadegh and turn the government over to Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The Shah would be forced from power in 1979 and Iran was declared to be an Islamic republic.

* The oil exporting countries: Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kuwait met in Baghdad in September 1960 to form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The goal of OPEC was to stabilize world prices by preventing over production.

* However, the Persian Gulf members of OPEC decided in 1979 to raise oil prices 70% and place an embargo against countries who were friends of Israel. This event became known as the 1973 oil crisis. Oil prices, and thereby gasoline prices, would skyrocket in the United States and Europe. This event would define the administration of President Jimmy Carter.

New Middle East

Anti-globalist and others have long believed that the US and its allies developed a strategic plan to redraw the map of the Middle East to break hold that a few Persian Gulf countries have on oil prices and, therefore the economies of the Western powers.

Global Research, an anti-globalist think tank and alternative news source based in Montreal, Canada, claims the following: (Bold was added by Asylum Watch)

The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

{…}

The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives.

{…}

A relatively unknown map of the Middle East, NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, and Pakistan has been circulating around strategic, governmental, NATO, policy and military circles since mid-2006. It has been causally allowed to surface in public, maybe in an attempt to build consensus and to slowly prepare the general public for possible, maybe even cataclysmic, changes in the Middle East. This is a map of a redrawn and restructured Middle East identified as the “New Middle East.”

Asylum Watch can not vouch for the veracity of the claims made by this Global Research article. But, it seems to your humble observer that if such a strategy and map exist, that it would be more reasonable to assume that such a strategy would have been developed much earlier. I would speculate that such a srtategy would be the work of Zebignew  Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter. Speculation or not, the map provided by Global Reasearch of the “New  Middle East” is worth looking at in light of the changes that are likely to occur in the Middle East as a result of the Arab Spring that is currently in full bloom in Syria and is spreading into Iraq. Let’s look at the “New Middle East” map.

According to the quotes above, the strategy to unleash “destructive chaos” in the region hinged on a crisis that was to develop in Lebanon. That has not happened. However, Asylum Watch finds this “New Middle East” map very interesting because some of the changes it depicts, are very similar to what yours truly postulated might happen as a result of the Arab Spring as it progresses in Syria and Iraq on our January 8, 2013, post. In that post, it was suggested that the end result of the Arab Spring in Syria and Iraq could lead to a partitioning of those countries into autonomous Sunni, Shi’a, and Kurdish areas. The so-called ‘New Middle East” map above goes even further. It shows that Syria, Iraq Turkey, and Iran would lose territory to a new Kurdistan state.

So, here is a question to ponder, dear friends. Whether the Arab Spring happened by accident or by design, could it eventually result in a new Middle East not all that different from what the map above suggest. If the Arab Spring eventually reaches Saudi Arabia. could we see changes similar to what this map indicates? Are our strategic thinkers that good?

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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