Explosive pipeline in the Mediterranean

Explosive pipeline in the Mediterranean

Manlio Dinucci

In the eastern Mediterranean, where large offshore natural gas fields have been discovered, a bitter dispute is underway for the definition of the exclusive economic zones, inside which (until 200 miles from the coast) each of the coastal countries has the rights to exploit the fields.

 The countries directly involved are Greece, Turkey, Cipro, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine (whose deposits, in the waters of Gaza, they are in the hands of Israel), Egypt and Libya. The confrontation between Greece and Turkey is particularly tense, both members of NATO.

 The stakes are not just economic. The real game being played in the Eastern Mediterranean is geopolitical and geostrategic, and involves the major world powers.

 EastMed fits into this framework, the pipeline that will bring much of the gas from this area to the EU. Its realization was decided at the summit, held in Jerusalem on 20 March 2019, between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras and Cypriot President Anastasiades.

 Netanyahu stressed that "the pipeline will extend from Israel to Europe via Cyprus and Greece" andIsrael will thus become one«energy power» (which will control the energy corridor to Europe),

 Tsipras stressed that «cooperation between Israel, Greece and Cyprus, reached its sixth summit, has become strategic ". This is confirmed by the military pact signed by the Tsipras government with Israel five years ago (the poster, 28 July 2015).

 At the Jerusalem summit (whose documents are published by the US Embassy in Cyprus) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was present, emphasizing that the EastMed project launched by Israel, Greece and Cyprus, "Key partners of the US for security", it is "incredibly timely" since "Russia, China and Iran are trying to set foot in the East and the West ".

 US strategy is declared: reduce and ultimately stop Russian gas exports to Europe, replacing them with gas supplied or otherwise controlled by the USA. In 2014 they have blocked the SouthStream, that across the Black Sea would bring Russian gas to Italy at competitive prices, and try to do the same with the TurkStream that, across the Black Sea, brings Russian gas to the European part of Turkey to get it to the EU.

 At the same time, the US is trying to block the New Silk Road, the infrastructure network designed to connect China to the Mediterranean and to Europe.

 In the Middle East, the US has blocked the energy corridor with the war, under an agreement of 2011, would have carried, through Iraq and Syria, Iranian gas as far as the Mediterranean and in Europe.

 Italy is attached to this strategy, dove (in Puglia) EastMed will arrive and will also take the gas to other European countries. Minister Patuanelli (M5S) defined the pipeline, approved by the EU, one of the "European projects of common interest", and Undersecretary Todde (M5S) led Italy to join the East Med Gas Forum, seat of "dialogue and cooperation" on gas in the eastern Mediterranean, in which they participate - in addition to Israel, Greece and Cyprus - Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

 Jordan is also part of it, which has no offshore gas fields not overlooking the Mediterranean, but he imports it from Israel. Instead, they are excluded from the Lebanon Forum, Syria and Libya, to which part of the gas of the eastern Mediterranean belongs. They announced their membership in the United States, France and the EU.

 Turkey does not participate in the dispute with Greece, that NATO, however, is committed to resolving: "Military delegations" from the two countries have already met six times at the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

 in the meantime, in the eastern Mediterranean and the neighboring Black Sea, an increasing deployment of US naval forces in Europe is underway, with headquarters in Naples Capodichino. Their "mission" is "to defend US and Allied interests, and discourage aggression ". Same "mission" for US B-52 strategic bombers, flying over the eastern Mediterranean flanked by Greek and Italian fighters.

 (the poster, 29 September 2020) 

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