Iran to Surge to a Hegemonic Position in the Middle East Without a Major War

Despite the lingering demonstrations and disorder in Tehran, Iran’s ruling mullahs are confident anew in their country’s ability to surge to a hegemonic position in the Middle East without a major war. The main reason for the mullahs’ confidence is their interpretation of the appeasement policies of the US Barack Obama Administration.

Sharoudi Emerging as Candidate to Replace Khamene'i as Iranian "Supreme Leader"

Very senior officials in several Persian Gulf states have confirmed to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs a growing volume of whispers coming from Tehran since mid-December 2009 which identify Iranian Ayatollah Sayed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi (born in 1948) as the new candidate-successor to Iran’s ailing “Supreme Leader”, “Ayatollah” Ali Hoseini-Khamene‘i. (1)
The mere floating of Shahroudi’s name is a major development with both domestic and regional ramifications.

Gazprom: Angel or Demon?

Gazprom faces regular opprobrium for its bullying ways of using energy as a pressure and political tool. Seen by some, mostly Russians, as the symbol of a successful and strong Russia, others see it as a dominating juggernaut, economic right arm of the Kremlin implementing, or should we say, imposing its policies by using energy as a weapon.

Land-locked Central Asian Oil Country Plays Important Role from Vancouver to Vladivostok

2010 is starting with a decision that faced heated debates: Kazakhstan will hold the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) for one year, despite what many considered as a questionable political and democratic track record. With 56 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world. The Organization deals with three dimensions of security - the politico-military, the economic and environmental, and the human dimension.

Afghan War a Subset of U.S. Efforts to Secure Central Asian Energy Riches

Operation Enduring Freedom, on Oct. 7 will begin its ninth year. At $4 billion per month, a National Priorities Project has determined that the total cost of military operations in Afghanistan by the end of the year will be almost $200 billion. Thoughtful American taxpayers may ask why the Obama administration has not only embraced the Central Asian ground war that it inherited from Bush, but is seeking to expand not only the U.S. military footprint, but subject its NATO allies to contribute more troops and funding as well.

Georgia - Energy Bridge To Conflict

U.S. foreign and energy policies are inextricably linked, closer than Siamese twins. Since the 1991 collapse of the USSR, Washington’s foreign policy has been to advance NATO up to the borders of the Russian Federation while converting former Soviet Caucasian and Central Asian nations, along with Central and Eastern European countries into energy transit nations en route to the ultimate prize, the vast and largely untapped oil and natural gas riches of the three former Soviet republics ringing the Caspian – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

America's Best Ally in Afghanistan - Russia

As the Obama Administration ponders how to produce something resembling victory from the Afghan quagmire, it faces a number of foreign policy choices, few of them palatable.
Despite the earnest entreaties of the first Bush Administration and now those of America's 44th president, the rest of the world and NATO in particular have turned a deaf ear to the myriad pleadings, blandishments and veiled threats to increase their troop presence in Afghanistan, a pattern that is likely only to intensify over time.

Turkmen Gas - Caveat emptor

Of the five nations surrounding the Caspian – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, Russia and Turkmenistan, the hydrocarbon riches of Turkmenistan remain the last great prize, sought and fought over by Russia, China, Iran and Western investors. A recent scandal involving the country’s immense natural gas reserves has brought home the truth of the old Latin adage, “caveat emptor.” Turkmenistan's President Gurbangeldy Berdymukhammedov has dismissed gas officials for allegedly overstating the country's reserves by a factor of two to three times.

The US Finds its Superpower Structure and Capital are Insufficient to Cope with a Transformed World

The United States of America, in global strategic terms, is tumbling down a series of misadventures, declining in a “step of sighs” through frustrating economic and military endeavours as it discovers that its superpower structures and massive capital wealth are insufficient to cope with a transformed world.

The Caspian Fortune Cookie - $12 trillion at Stake; Beijing Happy With "Multiple Pipelines"

One of the major irritants for international oil companies is when parochial national policies get in the way of their quest for profits. Nowhere is this more evident than in the global feeding frenzy to develop the Caspian’s energy assets.