Friday, August 08, 2008
Ossetia? Where’s that? Georgia invades the site of the “James Bond” pipeline
by Larry Geller
Israel, the US and Russia are suddenly involved in a battle in the Caucasus over oil. Georgia has invaded Ossetia, where a strategic oil pipeline is located.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline was featured in James Bond film The World is Not Enough, but even if you missed that film, you will now be learning more about this pipeline. 1% of the world’s oil flows through it. Last week the pipeline was attacked in Turkey by PKK rebels. Now Georgia has invaded Ossetia for control over it.
The BTC pipeline, which cost $3 billion to build, is a key plank of US foreign policy because it reduces Western reliance on oil from both the Middle East and Russia. [Analysis: energy pipeline that supplies West threatened by war Georgia conflict,Times of London, 8/8/2008]
Last year, the Georgian president commissioned from private Israeli security firms several hundred military advisers, estimated at up to 1,000, to train the Georgian armed forces in commando, air, sea, armored and artillery combat tactics. They also offer instruction on military intelligence and security for the central regime. Tbilisi also purchased weapons, intelligence and electronic warfare systems from Israel.
These advisers were undoubtedly deeply involved in the Georgian army’s preparations to conquer the South Ossetian capital Friday.
In recent weeks, Moscow has repeatedly demanded that Jerusalem halt its military assistance to Georgia, finally threatening a crisis in bilateral relations. Israel responded by saying that the only assistance rendered Tbilisi was “defensive.”
This has not gone down well in the Kremlin. Therefore, as the military crisis intensifies in South Ossetia, Moscow may be expected to punish Israel for its intervention. [Israel backs Georgia in Caspian Oil Pipeline Battle with Russia, DEBKA File, 8/8/2008]
The US connection? The attack on Ossetia is being led by Georgia’s 4th Motorized Infantry Brigade. This is the same unit that the US has trained for years, right up to the invasion, and which has supplied troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. So US troops have been working hand in glove with the Georgian brigade just prior to the invasion.
Now, Venezuelan President Chavez will certainly benefit from this, because Russia doesn’t like US intervention in a region they consider their own. It will likely try to get even. Maybe this is one way:
Fresh from his trip to Moscow, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is brandishing his new batch of freshly delivered Suhkoi fighters. According to AFP, Chavez said the Su-30s should be a deterrent to the U.S. Navy. [Chavez: Russian Planes Can Sink 'Gringo Ships', wired.com, 8/5/2008]
Feel any safer today? Not me.