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Battle for NABUCCO

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, July 15
July 13 was a remarkable day for the entire Eurasian geopolitical system. An agreement launching fulfilment of the NABUCCO project was signed by the Prime Ministers of five countries. Georgian President Saakashvili also attended the signing ceremony.

On the same day, all of a sudden, Russian President Medvedev appeared in Tskhinvali and met the leaders of the puppet regime of the ‘sovereign state’ Russia had established on occupied Georgian territory. Of course the President of mighty Russia is not really interested in the criminal Kokoity regime. This action is to be understood as a challenge to the international community. It is a warning to the West that the Kremlin, with all its neo-imperialist ambitions, is here and ready to fight to extend its influence.

At first glance it is strange that Moscow has fought so fiercely to frustrate NABUCCO. The project is very costly and will eventually satisfy only around 20% of the gas needs of European countries. So why was the Kremlin so aggressive? Because it does not want even a small amount of natural gas to enter Europe under anything but Russian control. It wants to be always able to manipulate Europe with its energy supply just like it did last winter. However it was last winter which woke Western leaders up and showed them that they should not ignore Russian greed. The NABUCCO project was thus accelerated, precisely because NABUCCO is unacceptable for Russia.

Russia took very obvious steps against NABUCCO. It attempted to block off or buy up all its sources of natural gas. It started blackmailing Central Asian countries, sometimes engaging in stick and kick politics. Moscow has expressed its readiness to buy the whole Azeri natural gas output at a very high price for example. But the NABUCCO partners have frustrated Russia’s wicked plans.

Moscow understands the NABUCCO project in the context of global geopolitics. Russian analysts admit that the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline cost Russia the South Caucasus. Moscow is afraid of ‘losing’ Central Asian countries through the NABUCCO project. This kind of thinking proves once again the nature of the aggressive politics of Russia and its obsession with effectively ruling the whole post-Soviet space. The Kremlin continues to call NABUCCO a pipeline without gas, but if this is true why is it so upset by it? Mainly because Turkmenistan as well as Azerbaijan has expressed a readiness to supply NABUCCO. In Moscow’s mind, another circle of enemies is forming under its nose.

Most probably President Medvedev’s visit to Tskhinvali was provoked by the utmost irritation. Russia is threatening Georgia again, showing it and the rest of the world that it will protect its own interests and influence in the post-Soviet area. Medvedev’s Tskhinvali visit made people ponder the real meaning of Obama’s statements about defending Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Moreover it showed that a new military assault, which seemed unrealistic after Obama’s remarks, could be back on the table. Russia will not be stopped by remarks only, they must be followed by serious action, which is very unlikely in the current circumstances.

Now US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine and Georgia gains a very particular importance. Georgians expect some concrete and clear statements from this visit. Georgian analysts meanwhile think that Russia will increase its provocations around the administrative borders of the breakaway regions. Moscow will do its utmost to find any reason to continue its annexation of Georgian territories and create a ‘new reality’, as it calls the occupation of another country’s land. So it looks once again as if Russia’s grudge against the whole of Europe and the civilized West will claim Georgia as its first casualty.

If Moscow manages to prevent Georgia from acting as a transit country the NABUCCO project will be frustrated. The absence of Georgia would leave it only two possibilities, neither realistic. One is Armenia, which is under complete Russian control, and another is Iran, which is not acceptable to the West. So the battle for NABUCCO is underway.