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Deep state versus nation state: The case of the KEERFA "anti-racist" movement

Petros Konstantinou is an Athens city councilman who heads a major “anti-racist” organization, while little is publicly known about his background.

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In Greece every year, the UN sponsors an “anti-racist” rally which is run by KEERFA (“Movement United Against Racism and the Fascist Threat”). Who are they and what do they stand for? They are an “anti-racist” unit that appears everywhere anytime an “issue” develops with illegal migrants.
What does one mean by the word “illegal”? No migrants in Greece were ever legal or did they ever arrive with an agreement prior to appearing in Greece (apart from a few under the military junta of the late 1960’s-70’s from Pakistan). Once the Soviet Union fell, tens of thousands of Albanians arrived. Decades later, the government started to “legalize” their status. The Greek population was never told that Albania had de-facto joined the Schengen zone, nor were they ever told when joining the EEC (precursor to the EU) that a regime of open borders would exist with neighboring countries such as Bulgaria or Italy. Hence, anyone and more often than not everyone who fancied coming to Greece arrived, from Bangladeshis to Pakistanis, and in the last two years according to Frontex (the EU’s “border force”) from over 70 countries. A neoliberal free-for-all.

The omnipresent Petros Konstantinou


KEERFA was set up as a front by a far-left group called SEK, whose leader Panos Garganas is the twin brother of the ex-central banker of Greece (under the PASOK-Costas Simitis government that introduced the Euro) and is currently led by a certain Petros Konstantinou. This individual has been involved in almost everything and pops up everywhere like a jack in the box. Konstantinou rallied the migrants when the Greek police allegedly burnt a Koran, he was outside Marfin Bank when it was burnt to smithereens by alleged “anarchists,” he was present when migrant strawberry fruit pickers were allegedly shot at, he attended rally after rally to open the borders in the Evros region adjacent to Turkey, and also made his appearance at all of the migrant squats that developed in Athens after German chancellor Angela Merkel invited half the planet to the EU. A characteristic example is that of the former Olympic Airways terminal at the decommissioned Ellinikon Airport in Athens. Konstantinou has also been instrumental in organizing anti-Trump rallies in Athens.

Petros Konstantinou (in white) near a young Alexis Tsipras (circled) at the G8 protests in Genova in 2001.


Indeed, Konstantinou has apparently been making the rounds going back quite a few years. In 2001, at the infamous G8 “anti-globalization” summit in Genova, which has long been a cause célèbre for the globalist “anti-fascist” left, Konstantinou is seen pictured with a young Alexis Tsipras, at a time when Tsipras was an unknown for the majority of Greeks. In 2005, Konstantinou appeared in court as one of the witnesses in defense of the alleged co-founder of the infamous November 17 terrorist group Giannis Serifis, at his trial.
Will the real Petros Konstantinou please stand up?
Who is he really? Despite being an elected councilor in the municipality of Athens, it is almost impossible to find an actual biography, resume, or CV of this individual. He originally hails from Cyprus, and his English is superb. He has appeared at British Labour Party sponsored rallies in the UK and with their affiliated trade unions, speaking about “racism” in Greece and fighting… Golden Dawn. Recently this famous “anti-racist” was published in the Avgi newspaper — a SYRIZA party organ — supporting the nationalism of Skopje (FYROM) whilst condemning the… “nationalism” of Greece.
Despite the murders of countless of Greeks at the hands of migrants, Konstantinou has never once organised a rally in defense of the Greeks murdered (as there have never been violent deaths of Greeks according to Konstantinou after torture for petty thefts!). Meanwhile, one of the two most infamous cases of murder by migrants against Greeks, the case of Manolis Kantaris — who was murdered inplain sight for his camera, leaving behind a wife that was about to give birth — never once reached the radar of KEERFA. After all, anti-racism works only in one direction. It can only be Greeks who are racist, no one else.

Petros Konstantinou at an ANTARSYA event


Konstantinou’s economic motives and the sponsors behind him are globalist big business who want wages adjusted downwards between the EU and Asia. If they can’t export all business to low cost zones, they import tens of thousands of workers to higher income regions. KEERFA is there to defend illegal migration, illegal business operations and a zero tax economy with slave labor wages. It’s that blunt.
For more than a decade, right in the middle of Greece’s main shopping thoroughfare in central Athens, Ermou Street, there were African migrants selling their wares (Chinese counterfeits of famous named brands). While Greeks who have been caught selling goods on the street without a licence are immediately arrested and fined up to €5,000 for tax evasion, no such laws apply to migrants. When shopkeepers began protesting and chasing migrants who were camped outside their shops they were immediately branded as “racist.” Paying workers wages and social insurance is obviously racist when maintaining a shop with legal employees and maintaining a license to operate.
KEERFA’s neoliberal free-for-all is from a dystopian future whereby anyone does whatever they want, irrespective of any given laws which have emerged over the course of history. They appear to be “progressive” whilst promoting absolute degenerate decline. If, for instance, dozens of migrants set up camp in a square (as they did in the infamous Agios Panteleomonas neighborhood in Athens) drinking booze and selling drugs all day and harassing local women, those who are seen to be complaining about such behavior (as for instance local Greek residents did) makes those people unwilling to accept migrants and their …shortcomings.
Globalism has its moral equivalence: everything is to be accepted, from female genital mutilation to the rapes of women, religious obscurantism, overt male chauvinism and sexism, and public displays of gross anti-gay prejudice all in the name of accepting any race of migrants from wherever they happen to arrive from. Nowadays, being part of an indigenous nation with its own issues and shortcomings is passé. Being a citizen of the world, footloose, with no concern as to how one affects others is the new fashion. “Tolerance” and “acceptance” are the new catchphrases. So in practice, to paraphrase George Orwell in Animal Farm, “[a]ll beliefs are equal, but some beliefs are more equal than others.” The result is extreme intolerance towards all nation state-based cultures.
One could argue that this range of global diversity in a city encourages people to stay put. They don’t need to go to Colombia to obtain cheap cocaine or fly to Indonesia to rape underage children. These services can be available right around the corner, and if you are still in a protected occupation like a successful author or a lawyer, you can always find a cheap builder who pays no taxes or social insurance contributions to service your housing needs, when not looking for small boys to service your… sexual needs. KEERFA caters for all tastes by branding individuals and entire groups of citizens as… “racists.” By sheer “coincidence,” these “racists” are always Greek. What else could they be?
In fact, certain studies that have been carried out show that too much ‘diversity’ leads to massive increases in mental health issues and what has been termed as “white flight.” Who would want their children attend schools where the overwhelming majority do not speak the main language of the country they are residing in, or where customs are so different whereby one cannot eat certain foods or drink alcohol without being branded an… “infidel”?
Konstantinou is apparently isolated, and politically is located on the “far left” in a group known as ANTARSYA, which receives around 1 percent in national parliamentary elections but is always in the media and always holds highly visible press conferences. Konstantinou himself always is protected wherever he goes.
Oddly enough, ANTARSYA proclaims itself as a leaderless party, governed collectively by committee instead of by one individual. In turn, Konstantinou, a public official via his position as city councilman in Athens, is a man without a past, with no public biography available. However, the CIA’s World Factbook in fact lists Konstantinou as the leader of the “leaderless” ANTARSYA. Slip of the tongue?

Did the CIA World Factbook reveal Petros Konstantinou as the leader of the “leaderless” ANTARSYA party?


In a new public rally by KEERFA (Socialist Workers Party, SWP) appeared alongside DEA (Sunday School for Migrants) and the occupation of City Plaza on March 17 against “Fortress Europe,” as their statement declares. This is the slogan raised three years ago by the SWP as a cornerstone of the anti-imperialist demand of the whole of the anti-imperialist movement (in relation, of course, to the pro-NATO “left”).
To be precise, once again there is an attempt of the Greek deep state and the migrant exploiters to place pressure to “open the borders” with Turkey in the Evros region. This is a demand of the arch-“philanthropist” and funder of the NATOist and deep state “left” George Soros.
Soros, via the pseudo-humanitarianism of “open borders,” aims for concrete things:

a) Getting employment for migrants
b) Abolishing labor standards and workers’ rights
c) Weakening the states where the migrants are trapped
d) Using the migrants as a “trojan horse” in fronts the deep state seeks to break
e) The rise of xenophobia and the far right, to serve as a “bogeyman.”
f) Organizing anti-Trump rallies in support of Hillary Clinton, as KEERFA has usefully done.

They have on their side all the organizations that are directed by Soros and function for the furtherance of his agenda, such as the deep state KEERFA, that uses the aid it provides to the migrants to exploit them later on. For instance, migrants have been used by KEERFA as an object for the promotion of the pre-electoral campaign of Petros Konstantinou. Another example is the migrants KEERFA has transported to Evros to demand the abolition of the border with Turkey, as without them, KEERFA would have no one to show up at these protests.
Now how can work be found when real unemployment in Greece is between 30 and 40 percent, and even those that allegedly are “employed” can’t find work for more than a few hours a day? How can they claim there is a border between Greece and Turkey now it has been revealed that Greek soldiers were allegedly caught wandering across the woods and ended up in Turkish territory? The media then was obliged to reveal that there is no actual physical border between Greece and Turkey, but that did not stop the globalists from marching with the slogan “down with the fence in Evros.”
Murder and rape of Greek nationals
No Greek government ever stated they would open the borders en masse to all and sundry. A study of neoliberal globalisation and the labour movement is encapsulated in an article here, and more extensively in a book on the purpose behind mass migration. Indeed, a Parliamentary Committee of all the main parties in 1992 did not agree to uncontrolled migration or migration specifically from Muslim countries, as that would endanger the Greeks’ way of life, but as with everything, political parties in Greece always go back on their word.

Placard reading “we are all Pakistanis” at a KEERFA rally


What becomes interesting is that KEERFA realizes that the opposition of the average Greek is massive against uncontrolled migration, and no opinion poll has ever shown otherwise. Realizing they are losing the globalist war of or propaganda in defense of all migrants under any and all conditions, KEERFA focused on the death of a Pakistani migrant and assigned “racist” credentials to it. So in other words, someone can arrive illegally in the country then start blaming the locals for… racism, irrespective of what they have done, or his other compatriots and how they have behaved.
Of course, none of the migrants ever hang out in any wealthy suburbs, so those blamed as being racist are always working class and that is the stick used to beat them into silence. The only alternative would be the dispatch of riot police and imprisonment, as in the famous cases of Ag. Panteleomonas, where a whole community was penalized for not wanting their public square to be turned into a latrine and their women accosted every time they went out. Konstantinou then held rallies with Pakistanis and started chanting in central Athens “we are all Pakistanis”! Konstantinou, of course, can allege to be whatever he wants.
Video of Petros Konstantinou chanting “we are all Pakistanis”:

When a young 15-year old Greek girl from the island of Paros by the name of Myrto was raped and bashed in the head by a Pakistani migrant and left to die, but ended up living in a vegetative state, the response from the “anti-fascist” globalists was that Greeks do much worse things.

15 year old Myrto, raped and brutally attacked by a Pakistani migrant in the island of Paros, now living in a vegetative state


That, of course, is why not these “antifa” and “anti-racist” groups have never once held a demo against the rape or torture of underage girls or pensioners. After all, Greeks are infamous for killing the elderly members of their society, its part of their tradition but they just don’t know it! And right on cue, we have Petros Konstantinou re-educating us, as he did over the Macedonian issue where the nationalism of FYROM is deemed “progressive”…
SEK – The Socialist Workers Party
SEK is a group which establishes various political fronts to promote pure globalism. The irony of the situation is that Konstantinou emerged from there to run their “anti-racist” front. Who runs SEK? None other than Panos Garganas, the twin brother of former central banker during the Simitis regime that introduced the euro to Greece. Not only are we talking Greek deep state here, but specifically its globalist wing which is allied with the shipowners who have no actual nation state-based address and act as footloose corporations in the world they have created: that of the offshore tax-free system that favors their operations. These are KEERFA’s political backers, for to believe that two sons of an ex-ERE (quisling right) member of parliament, the Garganas brothers are actually singing from a different hymn is like believing that KEERFA is interested in… stopping racism.
It was SEK that launched demonstrations in Greece against Trump when he was elected, but did not organize similar demonstrations against Obama who of course didn’t start… any wars. Their problems will magnify now that globalist corporations like Apple and Nike have begun criticizing the U.S. government for implementing protectionist laws against foreign imports, signifying the reversal of the process of globalization. They will be seen to be siding openly with the globalist wing of the ruling class. But they are on the retreat, as no one actually takes them seriously. Konstantinou’s eclipse is pre-determined, as it is part of the conflict between globalism and nation-states. If nations are to survive and thrive, globalism and all of its variants have to buried deep underground, as after all they originate from the shady deep state of politics.
The UN-sponsored anti-racism day

Poster advertising the March 17, 2018 KEEERFA “anti-racist day” rally, on an Athens street.


Every year in March, KEERFA organizes a demonstration alongside the UN’s anti-racism day. Taking into account that no one has never seen Konstantinou gainfully employed anywhere and no record exists of what he actually knows but that he is seen everywhere, one would assume he is on the payroll of various NGOs and is sponsored by some UN fund or other.
There are never any more than a thousand participants at any of the rallies for migrants, and they are specifically chosen to be held at around 3 pm on a Saturday to avoid contact with Greeks, as most would have left the center. In turn, the police, in order to ensure they can create maximum discomfort, block off all roads from Omonoia Square to Syntagma Square and alongside the Parliament all the way to the Megaro Maximou mansion (the prime minister’s official residence). This is done in order for the “demonstrators” to pretend they are railing against the government when, in fact, they are directly in favor of the government and the policy of open borders.
One also notices that Konstantinou readily has access to the global media. For instance, one reading such reports in the Chinese press might come away believing that the open border for the import and sale of Chinese goods in Greece has no repercussions on domestic production and unemployment. A similar argument was made when successive governments pushed hard to bring in Chinese companies and workers at Greece’s ports, operating on Chinese wages. The ideal world of Konstantinou and his “anti-racism” is all about a new global slave labour empire, whilst anyone who criticizes it is branded with the label of being a… racist.

KEERFA-sponsored “anti-racist day” rally at Omonoia Square in Athens, March 17, 2018


After this year’s anti-racist day march on March 17, which was supported by the SYRIZA breakaway party Popular Unity (LAE), KEERFA produced a statement on its website. It is noteworthy that they never publish an aerial view of their demos, as their size is minimal and the time chosen is when there are no Greeks in the vicinity. The statement claimed that they were again attacked by violent thugs from Golden Dawn. The fact is that KEERFA circulates leaflets bearing the name “Republic of Macedonia” just after the giant Macedonian rallies, while they allege Greece is being aggressive in the Aegean despite the kidnapping of the two Greek soldiers in full army uniform by Turkey, with accusations that they were spying (how could one be spying in military uniform!).
KEERFA demonstrators have been rounded upon by citizens in areas they considered their turf, such as Kallithea and Galatsi in Athens. KEERFA allege that the police didn’t intervene, as obviously they are all Golden Dawn supporters. The case may be that the “attackers” were instead average citizens who were provoked by the globalist garbage that spews out of the mouth of KEERFA.
Either way, this is perhaps a sign of things to come. Globalism is on the retreat in more ways than one.
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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Republicans call Justice Department’s Bruce Ohr to testify, but where is British Spy Steele? (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 78.

Alex Christoforou

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Representative Mark Meadows tweeted Friday…

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+ contacts with dossier author Chris Steele, as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth.”

Lawmakers believe former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr is a central figure to finding out how the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid PR smear firm Fusion GPS and British spy Christopher Steele to fuel a conspiracy of Trump campaign collusion with Russians at the top levels of the Justice Department and the FBI.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said Sunday to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo…

So here you have information flowing from the Clinton campaign from the Russians, likely — I believe was handed directly from Russian propaganda arms to the Clinton campaign, fed into the top levels of the FBI and Department of Justice to open up a counter-intelligence investigation into a political campaign that has now polluted nearly every top official at the DOJ and FBI over the course of the last couple years. It is absolutely amazing,

According to Breitbart, during the 2016 election, Ohr served as associate deputy attorney general, and as an assistant to former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. His office was four doors down from Rosenstein on the fourth floor. He was also dual-hatted as the director of the DOJ’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

Ohr’s contacts with Steele, an ex-British spy, are said to date back more than a decade. Steele is a former FBI informant who had helped the FBI prosecute corruption by FIFA officials. But it is Ohr and Steele’s communications in 2016 that lawmakers are most interested in.

Emails handed over to Congress by the Justice Department show that Ohr, Steele, and Simpson communicated throughout 2016, as Steele and Simpson were being paid by the Clinton campaign and the DNC to dig up dirt on Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the role Bruce Ohr played in Hillary Clinton’s Deep State attack against the Presidency of Donald Trump, and why the most central of figures in the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, British spy for hire Christopher Steele, is not sitting before Congress, testifying to the real election collusion between the UK, the Obama White House, the FBI and the DOJ.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via The Washington Times

Republicans in a joint session of House committees are set to interview former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr this month to gauge whether a complex conspiracy against Donald Trump existed among Hillary Clinton loyalists and the Justice Department.

“DOJ official Bruce Ohr will come before Congress on August 28 to answer why he had 60+contacts with dossier author Chris Steele as far back as January 2016. He owes the American public the full truth,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican and member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

His panel and the House Judiciary Committee plan to hold a joint hearing to interview Mr. Ohr, according to The Daily Caller.

FBI documents show that the bureau bluntly told dossier writer Christopher Steele in November 2016 that it no longer wanted to hear about his collection of accusations against Mr. Trump.

But for months afterward, the FBI appeared to violate its own edict as agents continued to receive the former British spy’s scandalous charges centered on supposed TrumpRussia collusion.

 

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The US-Turkey Crisis: The NATO Alliance Forged in 1949 Is Today Largely Irrelevant

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via American Herald Tribune:


There has been some reporting in the United States mass media about the deteriorating relationship between Washington and Ankara and what it might mean. Such a falling out between NATO members has not been seen since France left the alliance in 1966 and observers note that the hostility emanating from both sides suggests that far worse is to come as neither party appears prepared to moderate its current position while diplomatic exchanges have been half-hearted and designed to lead nowhere.

The immediate cause of the breakdown is ostensibly President Donald Trump’s demand that an American Protestant minister who has lived in Turkey for twenty-three years be released from detention. Andrew Brunson was arrested 21 months ago and charged with being a supporter of the alleged conspiracy behind the military coup in 2016 that sought to kill or replace President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has asserted that the coup was directed by former political associate Fetullah Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, but has produced little credible evidence to support that claim. In the aftermath of the coup attempt, Erdogan has had himself voted extraordinary special powers to maintain public order and has arrested 160,000 people, including 20 Americans, who have been imprisoned. More than 170,000 civil servants, teachers, and military personnel have lost their jobs, the judiciary has been hobbled, and senior army officers have been replaced by loyalists.

Gulen is a religious leader who claims to promote a moderate brand of Islam that is compatible with western values. His power base consists of a large number of private schools that educate according to his curriculum, with particular emphasis on math and sciences. Many of the graduates become part of a loose affiliation that has sometimes been described as a cult. Gulen also owns and operates a number of media outlets, all of which have now been shut by Erdogan as part of his clamp down on the press. Turkey currently imprisons more journalists than any other country.

It is widely believed that Erdogan has been offering to release Brunson in exchange for Gulen, but President Donald Trump has instead offered only a Turkish banker currently in a U.S. prison while also turning the heat up in the belief that pressure on Turkey will force it to yield. Washington began the tit-for-tat by imposing sanctions on two cabinet-level officials in Erdogan’s government: Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul. Ankara has now also been on the receiving end of a Trump tweet and tariffs have been placed on a broad range of Turkish products, to include steel and aluminum.

The view that economic pressure will force the Turks to yield could be mistaken and demonstrates that the Administration does not include anyone who knows that Americans have been unpopular in Turkey since the Gulf War. The threats from Washington might actually rally skeptical and normally pro-western Turks around Erdogan but U.S. sanctions have already hit the Turkish economy hard, with the lira having lost 40% of its value this year and continuing to sink rapidly. Foreign investors, who fueled much of Turkey’s recent economic growth, have fled the market, suggesting that a collapse in credit might be on the way. Those European banks that hold Turkish debt are fearing a possible default.

It is a spectacle of one NATO member driving another NATO member’s economy into the ground over a political dispute. Erdogan has responded in his autocratic fashion by condemning “interest rates” and calling for an “economic war” against the U.S., telling his supporters to unload all their liquid valuables, gold and foreign to buy the plummeting lira, a certain recipe for disaster. If they do that, they will likely lose everything.

Other contentious issues involved in the badly damaged bilateral relationship are conflicting views on what to do about Syria, where the Turks have a legitimate interest due to potential Kurdish terrorism and are seeking a buffer zone, as well as Ankara’s interest in buying Russian air defense missile systems, which has prompted the U.S. to suspend sales of the new F-35 fighter. The Turks have also indicated that they have no interest in enforcing the sanctions on Iran that were re-imposed last week and they will continue to buy Iranian oil after the November 4th initiation of a U.S. ban on such purchases. The Trump Administration has warned that it will sanction any country that refuses to comply, setting the stage for a massive confrontation between Washington and Ankara involving the Turkish Central Bank.

In terms of U.S. interests, Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, is of strategic value because it is Muslim, countering arguments that the alliance is some kind of Christian club working to suppress Islam in the Middle East. And it is also important because of its geographic location close to hot spots where the American military is currently engaged. If the U.S. heeds Trump’s call to cut back on involvement in the region, Turkey will become less valuable, but currently, access to the Incirlik Airbase, near Adana and the Syrian border, is vital.

Indeed, Incirlik has become one of the flashpoints in the argument with Washington. Last week, a group of lawyers connected politically to Erdogan initiated legal action against U.S. officers at Incirlik over claimed ties to “terrorists” linked to Gulen. The “Association for Social Justice and Aid” has called for a temporary halt to all operations at the base to permit a search for evidence. The attorneys are asking for the detention of seven named American Colonels and Lieutenant Colonels. General Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command based in Germany is also cited. If the lawyers are successful in court, it will mean a major conflict as Washington asserts the rights of the officers under the Status of Forces Agreement, while Turkey will no doubt insist that the Americans are criminals and have no protection.

Another trial balloon being floated by Erdogan is even more frightening in terms of the demons that it could be unleashing. Abdurrahman Dilipak, an Islamist columnist writing in the pro-government newspaper Yeni Atik, has suggested that there might well be a second terrorist attack on the United States like 9/11. Dilipak threatened that if Trump does nothing to reduce tension “…some people will teach him [to do] that. It must be seen that if internal tensions with the United States continue like this that a September 11 is no unlikely possibility.” Dilipak also warned that presumed Gulenist “U.S. collaborators” inside Turkey would be severely punished if they dared to go out into the streets to protest in support of Washington.

If recent developments in Turkey deteriorate further it might well suggest that Donald Trump’s instinct to disengage from the Middle East was the right call, though it could equally be seen as a rejection of the tactic being employed, i.e. using heavy-handed sanctions and tariffs to compel obedience from governments disinclined to follow Washington’s leadership. Either way, the Turkish-American relationship is in trouble and increasingly a liability for both sides, yet another indication that the NATO alliance forged in 1949 against the Soviet Union is today largely irrelevant.

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Is This The Most Important Geopolitical Deal Of 2018?

After more than 20 years of fraught diplomatic efforts, the five littoral Caspian nations agreed upon a legal framework for sharing the world’s largest inland body of water.

The Duran

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Authored by Olgu Okumus via Oilprice.com:


The two-decade-long dispute on the statute of the Caspian Sea, the world largest water reserve, came to an end last Sunday when five littoral states (Russia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan) agreed to give it a special legal status – it is now neither a sea, nor a lake. Before the final agreement became public, the BBC wrote that all littoral states will have the freedom of access beyond their territorial waters, but natural resources will be divided up. Russia, for its part, has guaranteed a military presence in the entire basin and won’t accept any NATO forces in the Caspian.

Russian energy companies can explore the Caspian’s 50 billion barrels of oil and its 8.4 trillion cubic meters of natural gas reserves, Turkmenistan can finally start considering linking its gas to the Turkish-Azeri joint project TANAP through a trans-Caspian pipeline, while Iran has gained increased energy supplies for its largest cities in the north of the country (Tehran, Tabriz, and Mashhad) – however, Iran has also put itself under the shadow of Russian ships. This controversy makes one wonder to what degree U.S. sanctions made Iran vulnerable enough to accept what it has always avoided – and how much these U.S. sanctions actually served NATO’s interests.

If the seabed, rich in oil and gas, is divided this means more wealth and energy for the region. From 1970 until the dissolution of the Soviet Union (USSR) in 1991, the Caspian Sea was divided into subsectors for Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – all constituent republics of the USSR. The division was implemented on the basis of the internationally-accepted median line.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the new order required new regulations. The question was over whether the Caspian was a sea or a lake? If it was treated as a sea, then it would have to be covered by international maritime law, namely the United Nations Law of the Sea. But if it is defined as a lake, then it could be divided equally between all five countries. The so-called “lake or sea” dispute revolved over the sovereignty of states, but also touched on some key global issues – exploiting oil and gas reserves in the Caspian Basin, freedom of access, the right to build beyond territorial waters, access to fishing and (last but not least) managing maritime pollution.

The IEA concluded in World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2017 that offshore energy has a promising future. More than a quarter of today’s oil and gas supply is produced offshore, and integrated offshore thinking will extend this beyond traditional sources onwards to renewables and more. Caspian offshore hydrocarbon reserves are around 50 billion barrels of oil equivalent (equivalent to one third of Iraq’s total oil reserves) and 8.4 trillion cubic meters of gas (almost equivalent to the U.S.’ entire proven gas reserves). As if these quantities were not themselves enough to rebalance Eurasian energy demand equations, the agreement will also allow Turkmenistan to build the Trans-Caspian pipeline, connecting Turkmenistan’s resources to the Azeri-Turkish joint project TANAP, and onwards to Europe – this could easily become a counter-balance factor to the growing LNG business in Europe.

Even though we still don’t have firm and total details on the agreement, Iran seems to have gained much less than its neighbors, as it has shortest border on the Caspian. From an energy perspective, Iran would be a natural market for the Caspian basin’s oil and gas, as Iran’s major cities (Tehran, Tabriz, and Mashhad) are closer to the Caspian than they are to Iran’s major oil and gas fields. Purchasing energy from the Caspian would also allow Iran to export more of its own oil and gas, making the country a transit route from the Caspian basin to world markets. For instance, for Turkmenistan (who would like to sell gas to Pakistan) Iran provides a convenient geography. Iran could earn fees for swap arrangements or for providing a transit route and justify its trade with Turkey and Turkmenistan as the swap deal is allowed under the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA, or the D’Amato Act).

If the surface water will be in common usage, all littoral states will have access beyond their territorial waters. In practical terms, this represents an increasingly engaged Russian presence in the Basin. It also reduces any room for a NATO presence, as it seems to be understood that only the five littoral states will have a right to military presence in the Caspian. Considering the fact that Russia has already used its warships in the Caspian to launch missile attacks on targets within Syria, this increased Russian presence could potentially turn into a security threat for Iran.

Many questions can now be asked on what Tehran might have received in the swap but one piece of evidence for what might have pushed Iran into agreement in its vulnerable position in the face of increased U.S. sanctions. Given that the result of those sanctions seems to be Iran agreeing to a Caspian deal that allows Russia to place warships on its borders, remove NATO from the Caspian basin equation, and increase non-Western based energy supplies (themselves either directly or indirectly within Russia’s sphere of geopolitical influence) it makes one wonder whose interests those sanctions actually served?

By Olgu Okumus for Oilprice.com

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