30 Ekim 2012 Salı

Is the new Cyprus-Greece-Israel energy triangle casting a net for Turkey?

George STAVRIS       Hürriyet Daily News

Long-running speculation over massive natural gas reserves in the tumultuous Southeastern Mediterranean and Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) became a reality in December 2011 when official research and scope reports were released.

Today, the Republic of Cyprus finds itself grappling with this mixed blessing. These rich findings can provide long-term benefits for the country but Cyprus is more like a novice treading a very slippery floor in the major leagues of global diplomacy.

A new but familiar player, the state of Israel, has made a thunderous entry into the traditionally loud trio of Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, causing significant ruptures to the balance of the neighborhood. The event that sparked Israel’s newfound interest in Cyprus was the definitive signs of massive natural gas reserves in Cyprus’ Plot No. 12 (fittingly codenamed “Aphrodite”), right next to Israel’s own EEZ and massive reserves in its “Leviathan” plot.

It became apparent right from the start that Israel naturally considered every issue as highly imbued with its own national interest. Thus the decision to collaborate in treating the extracted natural gas and then transporting it to Europe (from both countries’ plots) came as a complete formula: pipelines would be part of a joint network, a vast specialized storage terminal, valued at 10 billion euros and funded almost completely by Israel. They would be built at the Vassilikos port near Limassol and the majority of the approximately 10,000 highly skilled personnel needed would be Israelis. Naturally, additional issues have come up in the logical process of things. The project will take about six or seven years to complete and inevitably the thousands of Israeli personnel engaged in it will need to have their families near them, so the total number of Israelis in Cyprus would become even greater, at least 15,000. These Israeli citizens will need to be housed in safe and secure conditions near the working site. Any analyst can easily run the math on the size and nature of this security force.

12 Ekim 2012 Cuma

Russia-Iraq arms deal $4.2 billion, incl anti-aircraft missiles & radar for Kurdistan to address Turkish air ops targeting PKK

Nidal al-Laythi  Al Monitor

Russia’s Council of Ministers issued a press release on the meeting held by Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is currently on a visit to Russia.

The press release said that Iraq has signed arms deals worth over $4.2 billion with Russia during the second half of 2012. The deal was described by observers as the biggest move to help the Russian arms industry avoid recession after it lost its markets in Libya and Syria.

It marks the biggest single weapons transaction Moscow has conducted for 30 years, except for deals with Algeria and Venezuela.

MP Hakim al-Zamili, a member of the security and defense committee in the Iraqi parliament, told Azzaman that the Russian arms deal, signed by the Iraqi prime minister during his visit to Moscow, includes the purchase of anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems that will be installed in the Kurdistan region to address violations by Turkish aircraft of Iraqi airspace as part of their operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is carrying out military operations against the Turkish army from and through Iraqi territory.

UAE may Join Turkey Nuclear Power Plant Project


The United Arab Emirates could join a project to build Turkey's second nuclear power plant if South Korea is involved, Turkish energy minister said today.

"Officials from the United Arab Emirates said they could be a partner in the project if South Korea undertakes the building of the nuclear power plant plant," in northern Turkey, Taner Yıldız was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency.

The government plans to build three nuclear power plants within five years in hopes of preventing a possible energy shortage and reducing dependence on foreign energy supplies.

Turkey struck a deal with Russia in 2010 to build the country's first power plant at Akkuyu in the southern Mersin province.

The government plans to build a second reactor in northern Turkey, near the Black Sea city of Sinop. But it has not yet announced a location for a third reactor.

Ankara is negotiating with a number of countries including South Korea, China and Japan for the second power plant