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Originally posted by maloy
Putin is warning US/Israel not attack Iran because Russia wants to halt the expansion of US interests throughtout Middle East, and the world for the matter. So Putin is speaking on behalf of Russia. But the fact is, that in the long term Putin's warning is also for the benefit of the US itself. Why? Because attacking Iran might only solve some short-term problems for Israel and US, but will create far bigger long-term problems.
Russia also benefits from the tense relationship between Tehran and the West: because of Western sanctions, Tehran cannot sell its gas to the lucrative European market. Instead, Russia and Gazprom remain Europe's dominant suppliers.
Were Iran to break out of its international isolation, either by abandoning its weapons program or undergoing regime change, European governments and energy companies would rush to complete deals that would reduce their dependence on Moscow. The consortium behind the planned Nabucco gas pipeline, which would bring 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas a year to Europe while bypassing Russia, are already clamoring for permission to do a deal with Tehran. The Kremlin has little incentive to do anything that would undermine its ability to use gas supplies as leverage with their European customers.
It is unlikely the US will be able to convince Russia to take any meaningful steps against Iran (Washington has already all but conceded its strongest bargaining chip, the planned anti-ballistic missile system in eastern Europe that Moscow opposes).
At this point, continuing to seek agreement with Moscow merely drags out the process while the Iranian program moves forward. The US should stop emphasizing the need for Russian cooperation, focus on developing a common front with key allies in Europe and the Middle East, and continue offering to negotiate directly with Tehran. Though Russian help might be useful in the abstract, Washington will have to find ways to solve the Iranian nuclear problem on its own.
But if Russia was so interested in having Iran attacked, it should stand to reason that it wouldn't be so vocal about speaking against such an attack. It would just stand on the sidelines quietly and add fuel to the fire. However Russia has continuously expressed concern about the strike on Iran and warned against it. Maybe thats just words, but I think there are genuine reasons why Russia wants to avoid such conflict.
Europe fears winter energy crisis as Russia tightens grip on oil supplies
Russia's stranglehold over dwindling global energy resources was dramatically confirmed yesterday when new figures showed that the country has become the world's biggest exporter of oil.
With production in August hitting record levels, Russia toppled Saudi Arabia from the number one spot. It is already the world's largest exporter of gas, and supplies around a third of the European Union's consumption.
The news is likely to heighten unease in EU capitals over the Kremlin's tightening grip on energy reserves. There are fears of a repeat of January's debilitating gas war between Russia and Ukraine – which saw winter supplies to EU consumers cut off for weeks. Members of Opec agreed to cut oil production last year in response to the economic crisis. Moscow indicated last December that it would follow suit but instead ramped up production in the second quarter of 2009, as new fields in Siberia came on stream.
Russia produced almost 10 million barrels of oil a day in August, according to International Energy Agency figures – a post-Soviet record. Relations with other oil producing countries are likely to come under increasing strain, since Russia is now profiting from Opec production cuts.
"The fear is that Russia will get a big head," Andrew Neff, an oil analyst with Global Insight in Washington, told the Observer. "Not only is it the world's largest gas exporter but now the world's biggest oil exporter as well. The question is will Russia want to exploit its feeling of superiority and demand a seat not just at the table, but at the head of the table."
Originally posted by ZeroKnowledge
Russia needs Iran as an ally. This is why it is not acting behind backstage alone, it does all it can to show Iran who its only real ally is. With all current very good relationship between Russian and Iran, Iranians do not feel the need to do whatever Kremlin wants. South Osetia, Abkhazia are not recognized - as an example. Or issue with non-military Russian airplanes....
Iran wants to be a player,not a pawn, and if Russia would be too much in the shadows it would stay a player even if attacked by Israel. Chavez is ok as a pawn, but Ahmadinejad can be a rook on the board.
I feel that current Russian leadership wants Russia to be superpower again (which is ok) ,but they feel that to do this it is easier to destabilize the situation and then look for easy prey then to slowly rebuild empire by investing a lot of time and money in economy and science - and this is not ok.
Russia, one of the main members of the P-5+1, already has made clear it opposes sanctions under any circumstances. The Russians have no intention of helping solve the American problem with Iran while the United States maintains its stance on NATO expansion and bilateral relations with Ukraine and Georgia. Russia regards the latter two countries as falling within the Russian sphere of influence, a place where the United States has no business meddling.
To this end, Russia is pleased to do anything that keeps the United States bogged down in the Middle East, since this prevents Washington from deploying forces in Poland, the Czech Republic, the Baltics, Georgia or Ukraine. A conflict with Iran not only would bog down the United States even further, it would divide Europe and drive the former Soviet Union and Central Europe into viewing Russia as a source of aid and stability. The Russians thus see Iran as a major thorn in Washington’s side. Obtaining Moscow’s cooperation on removing the thorn would require major U.S. concessions — beyond merely bringing a plastic “reset” button to Moscow. At this point, the Russians have no intention of helping remove the thorn. They like it right where it is.
In discussing crippling sanctions, the sole obvious move would be blocking gasoline exports to Iran. Iran must import 40 percent of its gasoline needs. The United States and others have discussed a plan for preventing major energy companies, shippers and insurers from supplying that gasoline. The subject, of course, becomes moot if Russia (and China) refuses to participate or blocks sanctions. Moscow and Beijing can deliver all the gasoline Tehran wants. The Russians could even deliver gasoline by rail in the event that Iranian ports are blocked. Therefore, if the Russians aren’t participating, the impact of gasoline sanctions is severely diminished, something the Iranians know well.
Tehran and Moscow therefore are of the opinion that this round of threats will end where other rounds ended. The United States, the United Kingdom and France will be on one side; Russia and China will be on the other; and Germany will vacillate, not wanting to be caught on the wrong side of the Russians. In either case, whatever sanctions are announced would lose their punch, and life would go on as before.
There is, however, a dimension that indicates that this crisis might take a different course.
After the last round of meetings between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, the Israelis announced that the United States had agreed that in the event of a failure in negotiations, the United States would demand — and get — crippling sanctions against Iran, code for a gasoline cutoff. In return, the Israelis indicated that any plans for a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be put off. The Israelis specifically said that the Americans had agreed on the September U.N. talks as the hard deadline for a decision on — and implementation of — sanctions.
Our view always has been that the Iranians are far from acquiring nuclear weapons. This is, we believe, the Israeli point of view. But the Israeli point of view also is that, however distant, the Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons represents a mortal danger to Israel — and that, therefore, Israel would have to use military force if diplomacy and sanctions don’t work.
For Israel, the Obama guarantee on sanctions represented the best chance at a nonmilitary settlement. If it fails, it is not clear what could possibly work. Given that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has gotten his regime back in line, that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad apparently has emerged from the recent Iranian election crisis with expanded clout over Iran’s foreign policy, and that the Iranian nuclear program appears to be popular among Iranian nationalists (of whom there are many), there seems no internal impediment to the program. And given the current state of U.S.-Russian relations and that Washington is unlikely to yield Moscow hegemony in the former Soviet Union in return for help on Iran, a crippling sanctions regime is unlikely.
Obama’s assurances notwithstanding, there accordingly is no evidence of any force or process that would cause the Iranians to change their minds about their nuclear program. With that, the advantage to Israel of delaying a military strike evaporates.
And the question of the quality of intelligence must always be taken into account: The Iranians may be closer to a weapon than is believed. The value of risking delays disappears if nothing is likely to happen in the intervening period that would make a strike unnecessary.
Moreover, the Israelis have Obama in a box. Obama promised them that if Israel did not take a military route, he would deliver them crippling sanctions against Iran. Why Obama made this promise — and he has never denied the Israeli claim that he did — is not fully clear. It did buy him some time, and perhaps he felt he could manage the Russians better than he has. Whatever Obama’s motivations, having failed to deliver, the Israelis can say that they have cooperated with the United States fully, so now they are free by the terms of their understanding with Washington to carry out strikes — something that would necessarily involve the United States.
The calm assumptions in major capitals that this is merely another round in interminable talks with Iran on its weapons revolves around the belief that the Israelis are locked into place by the Americans. From where we sit, the Israelis have more room to maneuver now than they had in the past, or than they might have in the future. If that’s true, then the current crisis is more dangerous than it appears.
Netanyahu appears to have made a secret trip to Moscow (though it didn’t stay secret very long) to meet with the Russian leadership. Based on our own intelligence and this analysis, it is reasonable to assume that Netanyahu was trying to drive home to the Russians the seriousness of the situation and Israel’s intent. Russian-Israeli relations have deteriorated on a number of issues, particularly over Israeli military and intelligence aid to Ukraine and Georgia. Undoubtedly, the Russians demanded that Israel abandon this aid.
As mentioned, the chances of the Russians imposing effective sanctions on Iran are nil. This would get them nothing. And if not cooperating on sanctions triggers an Israeli airstrike, so much the better. This would degrade and potentially even effectively eliminate Iran’s nuclear capability, which in the final analysis is not in Russia’s interest. It would further enrage the Islamic world at Israel. It would put the United States in the even more difficult position of having to support Israel in the face of this hostility. And from the Russian point of view, it would all come for free. (That said, in such a scenario the Russians would lose much of the leverage the Iran card offers Moscow in negotiations with the United States.)
An Israeli airstrike would involve the United States in two ways. First, it would have to pass through Iraqi airspace controlled by the United States, at which point no one would believe that the Americans weren’t complicit. Second, the likely Iranian response to an Israeli airstrike would be to mine the Strait of Hormuz and other key points in the Persian Gulf — something the Iranians have said they would do, and something they have the ability to do.
Some have pointed out that the Iranians would be hurting themselves as much as the West, as this would cripple their energy exports. And it must be remembered that 40 percent of globally traded oil exports pass through Hormuz. The effect of mining the Persian Gulf would be devastating to oil prices and to the global economy at a time when the global economy doesn’t need more grief. But the economic pain Iran would experience from such a move could prove tolerable relative to the pain that would be experienced by the world’s major energy importers. Meanwhile, the Russians would be free to export oil at extraordinarily high prices.
Given the foregoing, the United States would immediately get involved in such a conflict by engaging the Iranian navy, which in this case would consist of small boats with outboard motors dumping mines overboard. Such a conflict would be asymmetric warfare, naval style. Indeed, given that the Iranians would rapidly respond — and that the best way to stop them would be to destroy their vessels no matter how small before they have deployed — the only rational military process would be to strike Iranian boats and ships prior to an Israeli airstrike. Since Israel doesn’t have the ability to do that, the United States would be involved in any such conflict from the beginning. Given that, the United States might as well do the attacking. This would increase the probability of success dramatically, and paradoxically would dampen the regional reaction compared to a unilateral Israeli strike.
Originally posted by spacebot
I expect, completely unexpected moves (no pun) or alliances under the table from regional controllers of the global scene, like Israel. In this philosophy of things I am not too sure how global powers that are in the forefront like the US would handle such a new reality. Somehow I can only see betrayal and treachery. Once the cow has been milked dry it can be used as a cannon fodder. I really feel uneasy about the US and it might not be just them. Maybe the whole current system needs to undergo a radical change in order for the TPB to advance their plans on us. That is why talks about offensives and hard headed politicians scare me. Something is going on behind our backs and I am sure that is not something we could welcome with open arms if we knew about it.
I feel that the PTB hasn't much choices left. Either stagnation (for them) or everything unexpectedly is to turn upside down in a blink of an eye someday.