The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil
By Michel Chossudovsky
--- - Is there a relationship
between the bombing of Lebanon and the inauguration of the World's
largest strategic pipeline, which will channel more a million
barrels of oil a day to Western markets?
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.
One day before
the Israeli air strikes, the main partners and shareholders of
the BTC pipeline project, including several heads of State and
oil company executives were in attendance at the port of Ceyhan.
They were then rushed off for an inauguration reception in
Istanbul, hosted by Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in
the plush surroundings of the Çırağan Palace.
British Petroleum's (BP) CEO, Lord Browne together with
senior government officials from Britain, the US and Israel. BP
leads the BTC pipeline consortium. Other major Western
shareholders include Chevron, Conoco-Phillips, France's Total
and Italy's ENI. (see Annex)
Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was
present at the venue together with a delegation of top Israeli
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.
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
In this context,
the BTC pipeline dominated by British Petroleum, has
dramatically changed the geopolitics of the Eastern
Mediterranean, which is now linked , through an energy corridor,
to the Caspian sea basin:
pipeline] considerably changes the status of the region's
countries and cements a new pro-West alliance. Having taken
the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington has
practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia,
Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)
Israel is now
part of the Anglo-American military axis, which serves the
interests of the Western oil giants in the Middle East and
official reports state that the BTC pipeline will "channel oil
to Western markets", what is rarely acknowledged is that part of
the oil from the Caspian sea would be directly channeled towards
Israel. In this regard, an underwater Israeli-Turkish pipeline
project has been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the
Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through Israel's main
pipeline system, to the Red Sea.
The objective of
Israel is not only to acquire Caspian sea oil for its own
consumption needs but also to play a key role in re-exporting
Caspian sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red Sea
port of Eilat. The strategic implications of this re-routing of
Caspian sea oil are farreaching.
In April 2006,
Israel and Turkey announced plans for four underwater pipelines,
which would bypass Syrian and Lebanese territory.
and Israel are negotiating the construction of a
multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will
transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by
pipelines to Israel, with the oil to be sent onward from
Israel to the Far East,
Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see the
transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to
Israel via four underwater pipelines.
can be transported to Ashkelon via this new pipeline and to
India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]"
and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon are situated only 400
km apart. Oil can be transported to the city in tankers or
via specially constructed under-water pipeline. From
Ashkelon the oil can be pumped through already existing
pipeline to the port of Eilat at the Red Sea; and from there
it can be transported to India and other Asian countries in
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.
Re-routing of Central Asian Oil
Central Asian oil and gas to the Eastern Mediterranean (under
Israeli military protection), for re-export 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.
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.
Israel has emerged as a new powerful player in the global energy
War and Oil
Prior to the
bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the
underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon.
These underwater pipeline routes did not overtly encroach on the
territorial sovereignty of Lebanon and Syria.
On the other
hand, the development of alternative land based corridors (for
oil and water) through Lebanon and Syria would require
Israeli-Turkish territorial control over the Eastern
Mediterranean coastline through Lebanon and Syria.
implementation of this project requires the militarisation of
the East Mediterranean coastline, sea ways and land routes,
extending from the port of Ceyhan across Syria and Lebanon to
the Lebanese-Israeli border.
Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the war on Lebanon?
Open up a space which enables Israel to control a vast territory
extending from the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.
minister Ehud Olmert has stated that the Israeli offensive
against Lebanon would "last a very long time". Meanwhile, the US
has speeded up weapons shipments to Israel.
strategic objectives underlying the "Long War" which are tied to
oil and oil pipelines.
The air campaign
against Lebanon is inextricably related to US-Israeli strategic
objectives in the broader Middle East including Syria and Iran.
In recent developments, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice
stated that the main purpose of her mission to the Middle East
was not to push for a ceasefire in Lebanon, but rather to
isolate Syria and Iran. (Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2006)
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.