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Why Lebanon? Think OIL, water, pipelines, and profits.

Why a war on Lebanon? Why now? A new article by Professor Michel Chossudovsky suggests it's about oil, water and pipeline routes, and offers insight into the war's impending expansion. The U.S. and Israel aren't the only nations with interests in this game. Other players appear to include the U.K., France, and Italy.
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You've probably read the reports that war on Lebanon was pre-planned, years in advance, by Israel's military, by the U.S. Pentagon, and, perhaps, by transnational corporate interests. (If you haven't, see the links at the end of this post.)

But do you know WHY? Why Lebanon? And why now?

The following article offers an aswer: it's not just a neocon war for war's sake; it's about OIL, WATER and PIPELINE ROUTES. And the U.S. and an apparently water-thirsty Israel are NOT the only nations with interests in this game. Other players appear to include the U.K., France, and Italy.

The article is by Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics at Canada's University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, www.globalresearch.ca. Chossudovsky is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most recent book is entitled 'America's "War on Terrorism".'

The corporatist media wants us to believe Israel's attack on Lebanon is part of a so-called "Global War on Terrorism." And given the corporatist media furor over Mel Gibson's drunken outburst, right now may be the worst time to expect the corporatist media to question (or to investigate) Israel's actions and true motivations.

So as you read Chossudovsky's article, keep in mind that no matter how long it lasts, a "War on Terrorism" will never end terrorism. Not even if politicians or pundits rename it The Long War, World War 3, or The Clash of Civilizations.

Clearly, the war against Lebanon is being waged for other reasons--as was true of the war's first two phases, the hostile takeovers of Afghanistan and then Iraq.

Chossudovsky lays out some of the reasons and offers insight into the war's impending expansion.

If Chossudovsky's article interests you, see "Eight More Good Links" at the end of this post.

(And whenever a Congressperson, a candidate for office, or a media personality speaks or writes with apparent earnestness about the so-called "War on Terror"--without using the qualifier "so-called"--that person is either (a) deliberately misleading you or (b) dangerously naive.)

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"The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil"
by Michel Chossudovsky, July 26, 2006

[Note that the original version of this article includes full-color maps of pipeline routes and oil reserves.]

Is there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the inauguration of the World's largest strategic pipeline, which will channel more than a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets?

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.

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.

Also in attendance was 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)

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.

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 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:

"[The BTC 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 Central Asia.

While the 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.

What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel's Tipline, from Ceyhan to the Israeli port of Ashkelon. In April 2006, Israel and Turkey announced plans for four underwater pipelines, which would bypass Syrian and Lebanese territory.

"Turkey 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,

The new Turkish-Israeli proposal under discussion would see the transfer of water, electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel via four underwater pipelines.


"Baku oil can be transported to Ashkelon via this new pipeline and to India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]"

"Ceyhan 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 tankers. (REGNUM )

> 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.

> Russia's Military Presence in the Middle East

Meanwhile, Moscow has responded to the US-Israeli-Turkish design to militarize the East Mediterranean coastline with plans to establish a Russian naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus:

"Defense Ministry sources point out that a naval base in Tartus will enable Russia to solidify its positions in the Middle East and ensure security of Syria. Moscow intends to deploy an air defense system around the base - to provide air cover for the base itself and a substantial part of Syrian territory. (S-300PMU-2 Favorit systems will not be turned over to the Syrians. They will be manned and serviced by Russian personnel.)

(Kommerzant, 2 June 2006,  link to www.globalresearch.ca)

Tartus is strategically located within 30 km. of the Lebanese border.

Moreover, Moscow and Damascus have reached an agreement on the modernization of Syria's air defenses as well as a program in support to its ground forces, the modernization of its MIG-29 fighters as well as its submarines. (Kommerzant, 2 June 2006). In the context of an escalating conflict, these developments have farreaching implications.

> War and Oil Pipelines

Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and Turkey had announced the underwater pipeline routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These underwater pipeline routes do 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.

The implementation of a land-based corridor, as opposed to the underwater pipeline project, would require the militarisation of the East Mediterranean coastline, 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.

> "The Long War"

Israeli Prime 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.

There are 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)

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.


Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best seller "The Globalization of Poverty " published in eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, at www.globalresearch.ca . He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His most recent book is entitled: America's "War on Terrorism", Global Research, 2005. To order Chossudovsky's book America's "War on Terrorism", click here.

Revised, 28 July 2006.



The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%); AzBTC (25.00%); Chevron (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO (6.53%); Eni (5.00%); Total (5.00%), Itochu (3.40%); INPEX (2.50%), ConocoPhillips (2.50%) and Amerada Hess (2.36%). (source BP)

For details on th[e] Campaign against the pipeline see  http://www.bakuceyhan.org.uk/more_info/bp_pipeline.htm


See related articles [NOTE: These are "live" links at www.globalresearch.ca]

The Militarisation of the Eastern Mediterranean: Israel's Stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

- by Michel Chossudovsky
Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran, by Michel Chossudovsky

Is Israel running out of Bombs? New Deliveries of WMD "Made in America" The Replenishing of Israeli WMD stockpiles points to escalation both within and beyond the borders of Lebanon, by Michel Chossudovsky


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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"Israel set war plan more than a year ago" by Matthew Kalman, San Francisco Chronicle, July 27, 2006
 link to www.sfgate.com
[Mr. Kalman writes: " 'Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared,' said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. 'In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000...' "]

"Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century: Report of an Independent Task Force Sponsored by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy of Rice University and the Council on Foreign Relations" Spring, 2001
[To sum it up, this policy paper is to the energy industry what PNAC's "Rebuilding America's Defenses" document (see next link) is to the Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz-Kristol-Jeb Bush neocon gang. It was written to advise Cheney's White House energy task force. Its contributors include representatives from numerous U.S. and non-U.S. oil companies. Contributors also include Enron's Ken Lay and at least one of Henry Kissinger's business partners. READ THIS POLICY PAPER, AND YOU'LL HAVE A ROUGH IDEA WHO CHENEY'S ENERGY TASK FORCE WORKED WITH. And you may get the sense that Cheney's "energy plan" is, in many ways, a war plan.]

"Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century" PNAC, September, 2000

"A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" by Richard Perle, et al of the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, 1996
[The Institute's website identifies the Institute as "a Jerusalem-based think tank with an affiliated office in Washington, D.C."]

"The Real Aim" by Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery, July 15, 2006

"Lebanon, Iran, Syria, Sudan: coldly premeditated neocon wars" July 27, 2006

"FBI 'has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11'" July 13, 2006
[Good info re: Afghanistan]

"The Enron-Cheney-Taliban Connection?" by Ron Callari (Albion Monitor), posted February 28, 2002
 http://www.alternet.org/story/12525 [Good info re: Afghanistan]
[More good info re: Afghanistan]