Tag Archives: Public Statements

US Shale Gas Boom Undermining Putin’s Gazprom | Via Meadia

The Russian energy firm Gazprom is increasingly off its stride in Europe, its largest export market. Bulgaria has managed to negotiate a 20 percent price cut in its new ten-year contract with the gas giant, an unprecedented reversal of fortune from only a short time ago. Gazprom had cut off gas to the Ukraine in 2006 and 2009 during contract negotiations, which left Bulgaria freezing for several days as they were on the same pipeline. Bulgarians are probably relishing their success now with no small amount of schadenfreude.

The cause of the turnaround, the Wall Street Journal reports, should come as no surprise: the shale gas boom in the United States. The US has begun exporting gas to Europe, and has also ramped up coal exports by more than 250 percent since 2005. The net result has been to knock Gazprom back on its heels. The WSJ reports that the negotiations with Bulgaria were heated, with Gazprom’s negotiators shouting in frustration on several occasions.

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In public statements, however, the Russian company remains defiant (and perhaps in a state of denial) about the implications of the shale gas boom:

US Shale Gas Boom Undermining Putin’s Gazprom | Via Meadia

In Reversal, Neighbors Squeeze Russia’s Gazprom Over Natural-Gas Prices – WSJ.com

In Europe, where Gazprom once had a reputation for hardball tactics and dictating prices, customers are tapping new sources. Booming shale-gas production in the U.S. has freed up vast quantities of other fuel from around the world, including American coal no longer needed at home. With that new leverage, Gazprom’s European customers have squeezed billions of dollars in discounts from the company, and they are pressing for more.

In Reversal, Neighbors Squeeze Russia’s Gazprom Over Natural-Gas Prices – WSJ.com

How China enables North Korea’s mischief – NY Daily News

Washington is looking to China to rein in the North Koreans. Unfortunately, Beijing has been busy giving the Kim regime the means to rock the world. The weapon at the heart of this story is called the KN-08 — an intermediate-range ballistic missile that Pyongyang could not launch without Beijing’s direct assistance.

The KN-08, however, is a different story. It sits on a large vehicle that can hide and shoot, ruling out the possibility of reliably destroying launchers before they unleash their missiles.

And guess what? It is China that recently transferred to North Korea those mobile launchers, a clear violation of UN Security Council sanctions. Ted Parsons of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, a leading analyst of the industry, said the sale of the launchers for the KN-08 “would require approval from the highest levels of the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army,” and that conclusion is surely correct given China’s top-down system.

Beijing’s transfer of the equipment, which Pyongyang showed off in its April 15 military parade last year, is an indication that — China’s public statements to the contrary — the Chinese are not trying to restrain North Korea.

Why not?

How China enables North Korea’s mischief  – NY Daily News

War With Iran Appears More Imminent

But according to DebkaFile, Israel has several major requirements that the Obama administration would need to meet for delaying an attack on Iran. DebkaFile describes those requirements as follows:

1. President Obama will formally inform the two houses of congress in writing that he plans to use military force to prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon. He will request their endorsement….

2. To underscore his commitment, President Obama would pay a visit to Israel in the weeks leading up to election-day and deliver a speech to the Knesset solemnly pledging to use American military force against the Islamic republic if Tehran still refuses to give up its nuclear weapons program….

3. In the coming months up until Spring 2013, the United States will upgrade Israel’s military, intelligence and technological capablitiies so that if President Obama (whether he is reelected or replaced by Mitt Romney) decides to back out of his commitment, Israel will by then be in command of the resources necessary for inflicting mortal damage on Iran’s nuclear program with a unilateral strike….

4. If points 1-3 can be covered — and Netanyahu and Barak are convinced the US really means to strike Iran next spring — our Washington and Jerusalem sources report that Jerusalem may be coming around to agreeing to hold back a lone Israeli attack this autumn.

Those sources report that President Obama has not rejected the plan.

Israel is looking for more serious and straightforward rhetoric out of the Obama administration, an unnamed senior Israeli official told Reuters. “Tehran doesn’t see a U.S. strike on the horizon and is confident Washington will prevent Israel from attacking,” the official was quoted saying. “So Israel is looking for stronger public statements from Obama, either at the U.N. General Assembly or some other forum, that would change Iran’s assessment,” he added.

War With Iran Appears More Imminent

Frankly, I would be really surprised if Obama agreed to the above points. Will Obama agree to any of them? Even that is not clear.

Obama accepts prospect of nuclear-armed Iran

During the four days between Thursday March 4 and Monday March 7, the Obama administration switched its Iran policy. As rocketing oil prices triggered by the Arab Revolt wiped out the damage caused the Iranian economy by sanctions, Washington confirmed the worst Saudi and Israeli suspicions that America had no intention of acting to stop the Islamic Republic attaining nuclear weapons, although it held Israel back from doing so when it was more feasible.
This discovery has dealt America’s allies in Riyadh and Jerusalem their second letdown in three months, on the heels of White House encouragement of the uprisings againsta select number of Arab rulers.
The White House laid the ground for its change of heart on Iran with public statements that drew little attention from international media during the Libyan crisis.

DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security

IAEA: Iran crosses critical line for nuclear-arming missiles

Best friends rope in Lebanon

Iran has crossed the critical nuclear threshold taking it nearer to being able to arm ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads, weapons inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency reported last week.

When this finding failed to elicit any response from the US or Israel, debkafile’s military sources report, NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen hurried over to Washington Sunday, Sept. 12 with a call to action for President Barack Obama: “Based on their (Iranian) public statements we know that Iran already has missiles with a range sufficient to hit targets in Europe, and they don’t hide the fact that they want to further develop their capability.”

DEBKAfile, Political Analysis, Espionage, Terrorism, Security

One-Sided War of Words Erupts Over US-China Military Posture | Epoch Times

While the United States has sought in a recent Pentagon report and other public statements to be conciliatory toward China, prominent statements in the Chinese press have been aggressive, if not bellicose.

Analysts have posited a number of explanations for the Chinese regime’s rhetoric, including that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is playing the nationalism card to boost its legitimacy or taking advantage of the United States’ accommodating approach to seize the geopolitical upper hand, or the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is seeking to increase its influence on the Chinese leadership.

One-Sided War of Words Erupts Over US-China Military Posture | Epoch Times

The 1967 Soviet-Egyptian intervention in Israel is a lesson in how not to block a Mideast bomb

You are the leader of a strong Middle Eastern state. You have fairly solid intelligence that your most formidable adversary is about to acquire nuclear weapons. The leaders of this rival nation, while uttering pious but ambiguous statements to the contrary, have spared no effort to ensure that no one believes them. The superpower friendly to this incipient nuclear state goes through the motions of opposing the nuclear project, but it is unlikely to exert meaningful pressure or enforce effective sanctions. To your consternation, your own superpower ally has abruptly shifted its approach and has tried to engage this hostile neighbor—to no avail. A bomb in your enemy’s possession will change the rules of the neighborhood rivalry dramatically and irrevocably to your disadvantage; in public statements, you charge that it will pose an existential threat to your country. Now that you have learned the program’s fruition is imminent, should you take advantage of the shrinking window of opportunity and strike, regardless of any collateral consequences?

In mid-1966, this was the dilemma faced by Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, when he received—from his Soviet backers and others—convincing reports that Israel was about to cross the nuclear threshold.

Bomb Proof – by Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez > Tablet Magazine – A New Read on Jewish Life