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General News    H3'ed 3/25/12

Russia rules Pipelineistan

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The leadership in Azerbaijan, for instance, knows very well that Russia is the only player capable of determining what goes on in the Caucasus -- and on top of it offers great energy deals. So here's the writing on the wall; Russia under Putin will be even more influential from the Caucasus to Central Asia.

For this to work, Russia had to torpedo Nabucco. In fact, the European-wide financial crisis took care of it. Nabucco may end up costing a staggering $25 billion -- and counting. Nabucco's construction "might" start by the end of 2014 and be finished by the end of 2017; but all dates have been incessantly postponed for years. Azerbaijan could only provide less than half of the gas. Nobody anywhere really knows what will be Turkmenistan's game. And Iran has been ruled out by His Master's Voice -- Washington.

Still, the TCP (Trans-Caspian Pipeline) -- between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan -- remains in the cards. That, in theory, would be the gate for Europe to finally have (indirect) access to the Central Asian energy wealth of the Caspian Sea. Ashgabat and Baku seem to be in synch about it -- the whole thing helped by EU-brokered negotiations. Turkey has also endorsed it. But Russia under Putin will do whatever it takes to bomb the TCP idea.

Still, the most pressing question seems to be whether anybody in Brussels will wake up from its masochistic haze, stop the sanction nonsense, and talk energy with Iran.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)
 

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