Saturday, 6 April 2013

ANALYSIS: How the Cyprus-Greece-Israel energy triad is being quickly dismantled

Israel/Turkey rapprochement as everyone wins except the Cypriots and Greeks
I made a boob yesterday by thinking the arrest of Michael Sarris by Turkish officials for allegedly ‘cruising’ with a rent-boy in Turkish Cyprus (TRNC) was contemporary. In fact, it took place in 2011. The arrest was highly questionable given that the TRNC is not recognised by any government entity except the state of Turkey itself…..which funnily enough invaded the island in 1974, and seized the northern bit.
sarrisexptSoon after Sarris was arrested (left) two Cypriot members of the European Parliament, Eleni Theocharous and Ioannis Kasoulides, demanded the immediate release of the three men. “These arrests are in full breach of international law and the human right to private life,” they said in a statement. “Charging them is illegal under human rights law, denies their most basic rights and is wholly unnecessary as no harm was done. Consenting adults have the right to engage in sexual intercourse with people of the same sex”. Something with which even I agree.

Sarris never appeared in court in the north, and most observers saw the arrest as an Ankara setup. But given the Turks’ idiotic desire to be in the EU, it backfired. In December 2011, two months after Sarris’ arrest, the leader of Northern Cyprus, Dervis Eroglu, said he would sign legislation to repeal the anti-gay law. A year afterwards, he still hadn’t. An EUCHR complaint was lodged against the law in February 2012, but as of the last report I can find – Nov 25, 2012 –  homosexuality remains illegal in the TRNC.
So anyway, here we have this really terrific bloke Recep Erdogan who is not an Islamist threat in general and has no expansionist ambitions, and is a loyal member of NATO and if only I’d stop going on about what a dangerous madman he is. However, his predecessors seized Northern Cyprus by force, three years ago Turkey set up Sarris, and only ten days ago Ankara said it would rigorously challenge the Greek EEZ. Anyone spot a trend here? No? OK, have a look at this recent map of ‘Greater Turkiye’ salted into the Turkish media two weeks ago:
Still not getting it? OK, try this one on for size: the Hürriyet Daily News in Ankara has Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız saying the Eastern Mediterranean natural gas and oil supply to international markets would be not be feasible unless they were pipelined through Turkey. “I’m telling you this both for Israel and Greek Cyprus,” he said, “discussing energy deals before the restoration of ties between Turkey and Israel has been finalised is impossible. As relations normalise with Israel in the future, then we can discuss if natural gas could be transferred by a pipeline through Turkey.”
Gee thanks, Taner. You might expect the Israelis (who already have a tripartite energy exploitation agreement with Greece and Cyprus) to tell Mt Yildiz to stick his pipeline somewhere dark and painful. Not a bit of it: herewith the most diaphanous piece of spin-bollocks this year so far: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered an apology to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 22, over the Israeli raid on Gaza-bound flotilla the “Mavi Marmara” in 2010, which killed nine Turks.
The reason why Israel apologised to Turkey was “not the energy projects,” he said, but those projects could form part of the outcome. Waydergo Benny, subtle you ain’t.
You would have to be a blind member of the Flat Earth Society (it’s the only way to be on that issue) not to spot the rapid geopolitical isolation of Cyprus that is now being cemented. I’m afraid it only adds to my view that the ‘outcry’ about the rape of Cyprus was muted thanks to a lot of preparation and cynical horse-trading beforehand. I first predicted the game plan last January 22nd, and most of that speculation has come to pass: the Energy Triad that once looked so promising for the Greeks is now being effectively dismantled.
On March 26th I expressed the strong view that all the ‘interested parties’ around Cyprus had been quietly bought off: the Russian money got out, Erdogan was given a free hand to harass Cyprus with bellicose threats, the US prefers an isolated Hellas/Cyprus axis, two US allies Turkey and Israel are reconciled, and the British get to keep their naval base. It was and remains all about a German energy grab – having first neutralised the chances of a geopolitical row. Everybody won except the innocent.
Something predicted that comes to pass is, I would contend, more likely to be conspiracy fact than conspiracy theory. Lest anyone forget, Wolfgang Schäuble is a former Minister of the Interior – a spook. Once alles in Ordnung has been achieved – and only then – is alles klar declared. Not for nothing to some CDU MPs call him Mr Ether.
It remains very likely that the Russians feel their aims can be achieved via malign technology and espionage, without the need for recourse to military action. Naval exercises in the region play well with Putin’s macho image, but cloak, dagger and cyber attacks cost fewer lives and are just as effective.
Keep Talking Greece posted about an example of this only two days ago. A link between two ‘dark cases’ in Greece – the phone tapping scandal during 2004-2005, and a plan to assassinate Kostas Karamanlis, who was prime minister at that time – was uncovered last year by the National Greek Intelligence service (EYP), the documents making references to “Russian agents” and attempts to destabilise the country. But in the light of later events, one further element linking the two cases intrigues me. It involves the illegal interception of phone conversations between Karamanlis and Putin about the construction of a pipeline from Burgas to Alexandroupolis.
Cyprus has for some time been the equivalent of Lisbon in the 1940-42 period, and Cuba from 1954-58. It’s a meeting place for stinky money, mafia hoodlums, and spy intrigue – and it will continue to be so. What it won’t have from here on is an economy. There are only three things that matter today in geopolitics: control, control, and control. And there are only three things the sociopaths want to control: access to energy and raw materials, money flow, and the innocent citizen. Brussels-am-Berlin has won again, and the Troika is already proceeding to the next stage of plunder….as The Slog exclusively revealed last night. 

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