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Putin Eyes Middle East in Balance of Power
Israel - Middle East
Monday, December 17, 2012
Ed DeShields

Perhaps sanity has prevailed as Israel chose Australian oil producer Woodside over Russia’s bid to take-over 30% of the Leviathan natural gas exploration site just off Israel’s coast.

A Russian interest in the largest natural gas discovery in the eastern Mediterranean would have certainly tipped the balance of power towards the Russians.

Not only would Russia have tightened it two-fisted control over Europe’s energy market it would have gained an important new supply it will eventually needs to exercise its keen interest in the Arab world’s supply of energy.

But, don’t count out Russia’s strategy to dominate oil-power in the middle east – or the world’s for that matter.  Vladimir Putin owns the number-one publicly traded oil producer in the world - Rosneft. The company is looking to produce more than 4 million barrels per day -- more than that of Exxon Mobil.

According to Casey Research oil analyst, Marin Katusa, Putin has a master's thesis up his sleeve.  What Putin is looking for is to reestablish Russia as a major world power through the control of natural resources.  So far he has already done a good job, buying up and maintaining a strangle-hold on Europe's energy and has recently gained significant control in many other major world markets – right under the industry’s nose.   And, it’s in Arab resources he is most interested.

“It is true that a secular Russia and an Islamist Arab state would not be a match exactly made in heaven, but a common opponent (the United States) and a common goal (more revenues for the country's coffers through higher oil prices) could very well bring them together in a marriage of convenience, says Katusa.

In this thesis, Putin goes all in with the Arab oil-producing countries giving him control of over 40% of the world's oil supply, a figure that would be increased to more than half of all the oil production in the world if the rest of OPEC tagged along.

Katusa continues, “A unified front of Arab countries combined with the wiles of Vladimir Putin would create an unprecedented level of volatility in the energy markets.”

It could also recast how the world settles oil transactions and harm the reserve currency status the U.S. Dollar now enjoys while potentially causing a critical blow to the U.S. at a time when the Fed is addicted to a continuous money-printing debt binge.

But why would the Arabs suddenly want to cozy-up to Russia?  Because much of the traditional Arab oil producers are running out of their own natural gas supplies and need their output for their own use at home.

That leaves much of the middle east having to import their gas supplies from outside sources (Russia and Israel) – especially Egypt.

This substantially re-positions the geo-politics of oil power in the middle east for the foreseeable future.

Take Egypt for example.  Despite intense opposition, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi rescinded the decrees he issued on November 22, wherein he expanded his powers and protected himself from all judicial oversight.  Though this looks like a concession that will defuse the current political tension in Egypt, Morsi has already done what he needed to do: put forth a draft constitution that is heavily influenced by his Islamist allies.

No matter the outcome, Morsi is willing to twist the rules in order to benefit himself. And, even if he does not succeed this time, he will try again to monopolize the power in Egypt and reassert Egypt's place in the Middle East.

He’ll need the Russians on his side to do it.

Once Morsi becomes the new Mubarak of Egypt, he will undoubtedly begin pushing for more Islamist presence throughout the Middle East. The Islamists would seek to topple the governments in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the other countries in the Persian Gulf and replace them with Islamist regimes.  These governments would be vehemently anti-Israel and also hostile towards Israel's biggest ally - the United States.

So Putin and his Islamist allies will need those Israeli gas riches eventually.

Who stands to gain the most from the establishment of an Islamist, anti-US, pan-Arab state?

I believe it is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

About Ed DeShields

Last article: Russia to Israel: We Want 30% of Your Energy Riches!

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