Silence of the Lambs-Refugees, EU and Syrian Energy Wars
New Eastern Outlook / Вильям Энгдаль
One of the most bizarre phenomena in a very bizarre situation over the past year or longer is the refusal of any leading European Union political figure to openly discuss the reality behind the catastrophic social disruption being caused by the crisis from the influx of more than one million war refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries of the Middle East and North Africa. The EU debate on refugees, because of this silence, or refusal to talk about real causes and possible remedies, is leading to completely absurd statements by political veterans who know far better. It’s also feeding energy wars around the world, a good development not.
The refugees are a consequence of war. The war is a consequence of the decision by certain oil and military interests in NATO to retake or take new control of the world energy markets in oil and now, natural gas. As well, the war is a consequence of the reactions of other nations, including China and Russia and Iran, to the attempt by the United States and other Western countries to control global energy flows. Additionally and related, there is the reaction of extremist neo-Nazi elements in Ukraine, following a US-backed coup in 2014, to join that energy war with EU support, on completely fabricated grounds.
As a result of EU leaders’ silence, a tragic drama is unfolding that brings eerie echoes of the Thomas Harris novel, The Silence of the Lambs.
A prime example of the idiocy having to be invented by serious politicians to justify their silence on the real issue at hand is a recent comment by German CDU Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble.
Wolfgang Schäuble is a European politician who has endured more than most, and clearly thought more deeply than most on many issues of life. In many areas he is clearly not a shallow thinker. He guided Chancellor Helmut Kohl through the contentious and dangerous German reunification in 1990, a time when covert assassins’ acts eliminated two key German unification figures in the process, Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen and Treuhand head, Detlev Rohwedder, and clearly crippled Schäuble as well, though it was officially declared a “lone gunman.”
So what says Schäuble today regarding the most serious social crisis and disruption since the end of World War II in Germany?
In an interview with the German Zeit newspaper, opposing the idea that Europe can isolate itself from the flow of refugees from North Africa and the Arab Middle East, Schäuble declared, “That isolation is actually what would break us, would lead us into the degeneration of inbreeding. For us, Muslims in Germany enrich our openness, our diversity.” Then he added the following strange comment: “Just look at the third generation of Turks, precisely the women! This is indeed an enormous innovation potential!”
The last and, so far as I know, the only German politician to even point to the financial truth of who is behind creating the Islamic State or DAESH Said the truth and was promptly silenced. German Development Minister, Gerd Mueller, in a ZDF German national TV interview in August 2014, accused Qatar of financing Islamic State militants: “You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar – and how do we deal with these people and states politically?” Mueller was silenced by the Merkel coalition afterwards.
To further insure avoidance of any embarrassing comments that might point to the truth about whose money is financing terrorists in Syria and the Middle East, Angela Merkel recently fired her chief of the German BND intelligence, Gerhard Schindler, for an internal memo he allowed to be leaked to the press expressing grave concern about the role of Saudi Arabia’s monarchy in the growing terror conflicts in the Mideast and of the instability of Saudi Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Defense Minister and today de facto King under a father gravely ill with a reported form of dementia.
The EU silence over the reality of the situation today with Russia and with Ukraine is equally deafening, as much as the silence over the cause of the wars in the Middle East and Libya.
The impotent public silence of EU politicians when confronted in early 2014 with a verified telephone intercept in an insecure phone call between US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eastern European Affairs, Victoria Nuland and her Kiev Ambassador Pyatt. The two were caught on tape, discussing her planned choices for installing people in a post-Yanukovych regime, in which she told Pyatt regarding the preferences of the EU governments, “Fuck the EU!” The silence from every EU government then was an ominous and remarkable a sign of the growing silence of the lambs. As is the slavish obedience of EU governments, unanimously, to continue economic sanctions against Russia though the EU economies suffer greatly. Germany alone has lost some €120 billion in trade with Russia since the protests in Maidan Square at end of 2013.
The Taboo Reality
What is it that leads intelligent politicians such as Schäuble to babble nonsense about dangers of German inbreeding and the capabilities of third generation Turkish women? It’s not what the EU leaders say, but what the refuse to say, largely out of fear of US reprisal, that’s important here.
What Schäuble and Merkel, and others across the EU well know, but keep silent to their people about, is that since years the United States government, its CIA, State Department and Pentagon, along with key elements of the same in Great Britain, in France, in Erdogan’s Turkey, in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, have a Grand (or not-so-grand) Strategy. It involves a complete global reorganization of the control of most world oil and now natural gas.
The strategy is simple and goes back to the previously cited 1999 London speech by Dick Cheney as then-CEO of Halliburton, and even back to Cheney’s draft 1992 Defense Policy Guidance as US Defense Secretary, a strategy to insure no other nation or group of nations could in the future challenge America as sole superpower.
Central to this US strategy that Cheney seems to be the implementer for is not merely pre-emptive wars, but energy wars. They are energy wars, often masquerading as religious wars, to control–provide or deny–vital oil and increasingly, gas resources to the world’s nations. The Syria war initiated five years ago during the so-called Arab Spring– a series of US-steered regime changes that were promoted by State Secretary Hillary Clinton–is a central part of who will control the energy future, and therefore the economies, of the 28 nations of the European Union. That decision, in turn, would decide who dominates the world or not. For Cheney’s Washington friends it’s a life and death game.
EU Gas Prize
The EU is potentially the world’s largest future market for natural gas, as a result of their already adopted CO2 emission reduction goals. I won’t argue here the science or lack of science behind global warming. Relevant for the world energy markets is that it’s a legal fact that the member states have agreed to the following: By 2020 a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990; by 2030, at least 40% cut in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990. All parties agree that the only presently feasible way to reach those targets is through massive substitution of natural gas for coal and oil. In Germany we must add Merkel’s post-Fukushima decision to phase out nuclear electricity. The EU gas market going forward is for world energy the Golden Fleece for gas suppliers such as Qatar not only.
Now enter Washington, stage far right.
Until the February, 2014 US coup d’état in Ukraine, Russia, using Soviet-era gas pipelines through Ukraine for the most part, was the major supply source for EU gas from the huge Russian gas fields. Washington’s goal was and is to break that link between Russia and the EU states via gas supply. The Obama Administration, guided by Nuland and Vice President Joe Biden, installed a vassal regime in Kiev and ordered their pawns to defy Russia’s Gazprom on payment for delivered gas in the billions. They ordered their vassals in Kiev to initiate a shooting war in the Russian-speaking Donbass in Eastern Ukraine bordering Russia. Kiev obeyed.
This provoked a strategic crisis in terms of the vital Russian Black Sea naval base, which was administratively since Soviet times, part of Ukraine, but historically Russian and Tatar. A referendum in which over 90% of citizens in Crimea voted to annex into Russia, was used as a pretext for Washington to arm-twist the EU into self-defeating economic sanctions against Russia. The sanctions went after key persons and companies in Russia’s oil and gas industry.
The escalating, engineered propaganda war from NATO and controlled EU mainstream media made it possible for the Brussels EU Commission to throw bureaucratic roadblocks to make a second major non-Ukraine gas pipeline, the South Stream, impossible.
Together with the newly completed Nord Stream undersea Russian pipeline from St. Petersburg Oblast to north Germany, South Stream would have eliminated the ability of Washington, via Ukraine, to blackmail or harm Gazprom. Bulgaria, the intended docking point for transmission into south east Europe and Italy, was pressured by Brussels to step out of the Gazprom South Stream and in December, 2014 Russia’s President Putin announced South Stream was dead.
Now in Syria, Bashar al Assad, and to a lesser degree, Shi’ite-dominated Iraq, stand as an obstacle to get US-controlled gas into those major EU markets.
Back to 1991
The US plans, developed by a cabal of neo-conservative war-hawks–backed by the US military industrial complex, Big Oil and their Wall Street banks–go back at least to 1991. NATO retired 4-star General Wesley Clark described a meeting he had in the Dick Cheney Pentagon with Paul Wolfowitz, who was Cheney’s Undersecretary of Defense for Policy – the number three position at the Pentagon:
“And I said, ‘Mr. Secretary, you must be pretty happy with the performance of the troops in Desert Storm.’ And he said: ‘Yeah, but not really, because the truth is we should have gotten rid of Saddam Hussein, and we didn’t … But one thing we did learn [from the Persian Gulf War] is that we can use our military in the region – in the Middle East – and the Soviets won’t stop us. And we’ve got about 5 or 10 years to clean up those old Soviet client regimes – Syria, Iran, Iraq – before the next great superpower comes on to challenge us.‘ “ (emphasis added-w.e.)
Following the March 2003 US invasion of Iraq during the Cheney-Bush Presidency, with Paul Wolfowitz again at the Pentagon, this time to execute the removal of Saddam and full military takeover of Iraq, General John Abizaid made a reveling statement. Abizaid–the former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq–said, “Of course it’s about oil, it’s very much about oil, and we can’t really deny that.”
Few may recall that on day one in office as Vice President, in January 2001, Dick Cheney, who had just left Halliburton, the world’s largest oilfield services company, headed up something called President Bush’s Energy Task Force. What is less known is that the task force was looking not just at US oil and energy needs.
Cheney invited the heads of Big Oil–ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP others–to his closed door strategy sessions. They ordered detailed oil maps of Iraq and other Mideast countries. Condi Rice, Presidential National Security Adviser and former member of the board of Chevron, ordered her staff to fully cooperate with Cheney’s task force. When asked by public interest organizations to make public the minutes of those meetings, Cheney simply refused, in violation of US law. According to a leaked top secret NSC document, the mission was: “The review of operational policies towards rogue states,” such as Iraq, and “actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.” (emphasis added-w.e.)
To put it in clear text, the policy strategists around Dick Cheney at the highest levels of the Pentagon, the NSC, the CIA and State Department have a detailed blueprint for “the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”
And as Cheney declared in his 1999 London speech to the Institute of Petroleum, “…by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies…
What emerges is a picture that puts Dick Cheney as the central point man, heading a kind-of secret parallel government apparatus, independent of who is President–whether G.H.W. Bush, Sr. or Clinton (Bill) or W. Bush or Obama. He obviously does so using his networks throughout the US Government, intelligence and Big Oil, since at least 1991, to covertly reorganize control of world oil and more recently world gas, into the hands of those around Cheney. This is a huge project, a geopolitical Grand Design. It is also doomed to fail.
Qatar Gas or Russian?
Fast forward to 2009. As the EU natural gas market became defined as the largest potential gas import market around, all eyes of major gas producers turned to Brussels and to various EU member states as potential major customers. As pipeline networks and LNG terminals spread around the world, gas was slowly becoming more and more like oil as a global or at least, regional market.
In 2009 Ronald Dumas, former French Foreign Minister, revealed that British military were preparing for invasion of Assad’s Syria. This was a full two years before allegations of mass killings by Assad’s military and security that gave the green light to the US-backed war against Assad. Dumas told French TV, “I was in England two years before the violence in Syria, on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain, not in America. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”
Leaked e-mails from the private US intelligence firm, Stratfor, revealed notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials which confirmed that as of 2011, US and UK special forces’ training of Syrian opposition forces was well underway. The goal then was to bring about the “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.”
In August 2009 the Emir of Qatar had paid a visit to Assad in Damascus. Qatar owns North Field, the world’s largest gas field, in the middle of the Persian Gulf. The Emir proposed that Assad agree to route a Qatari gas pipeline through Syria, from there on to Turkey to pipe Qatari gas to the EU gas market. Shortly before that Damascus meeting, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, told Turkish media following talks with then-Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, “We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey (via Syria-w.e.). We discussed this matter in the framework of co-operation in the field of energy. In this regard, a working group will be set up that will come up with concrete results in the shortest possible time.”
Assad declined the Qatar offer, stating that his reason was, “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.” This was the beginning of the NATO decision to militarily destroy the Assad regime beginning 2011 on the Libya model.
Adding insult to injury for the long-planned Cheney Middle East energy plot, the next year, 2012, President Assad began negotiations with neighbor Iraq, Cheney’s original target for military occupation of the oil fields, and with Iran, America’s bête noire. The Qatari gas field is part of the world’s largest known gas field formation which also extends into Iran’s territorial waters, where the gas field is called South Pars. Because of western sanctions the Iranian gas is so far largely undeveloped.
Iran, Iraq and Syria signed a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly construct a $10 billion pipeline from Iran’s South Pars offshore gas field, through Iraq and on through Syria, bypassing NATO Turkey by going via Lebanon or a Syrian port, to the Mediterranean, to feed the growing EU gas market. It was signed in July of 2012.
Shortly after agreeing the South Pars gas pipeline project, the three–Syria, Iraq and Iran– agreed a deal to run petroleum from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil field to the Syrian port of Banias. Both the Kirkuk-Banias oil pipeline and the Iran South Pars-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would leave Turkey and Israel out of the game.
That was the point where Washington and NATO decided to launch their covert proxy “civil war” with the fighting spreading to Damascus and Aleppo.
Qatar without energy resources would be an island backwater of feudal sheikhs, camels and falcons. Its brand of Islam is the same fundamentalist Sunni Wahhabism as Saudi Arabia, its only neighbor. Beheading, death penalties for homosexuals, stoning to death for audeltry, all are permitted under their strict Sharia law. Owing to the gas and oil, it is also the world’s richest country per capita, so the West politely ignores all that.
The country was selected by Britain, whose territory it was from World War I until 1971, and later by the United States, to be site of one of their most important military bases in the entire Middle East, in Doha.
Only 13% of Qatar’s 1.8 million population are Qatari citizens. Fully 1.5 million are foreign “guest-workers” typically working in slave conditions. Qatar is home to the exiled Muslim Brotherhood and to the CIA and NATO-tied Al Jazeera TV. In short, Qatar is the ideal partner for the CIA and MI6 and NATO to advance their Middle East oil and gas agenda.
For fundamentalist Sunni Qatar, its despised foe, Shi’ite Iran, suddenly was a deadly rival for EU gas sales.
Russia’s Unforgivable Sin
Then Putin’s Russia entered the situation in Syria, twice vetoing UN Security Council resolutions aalong with China, which would have allowed the USA and NATO (largely via Turkey) to set up a Libya “no fly zone” that would have led to a swift military toppling of Assad. That was to have made possible the dismemberment or Balkanization of Syria. That in turn would open the door for the Qatar-Syria-Turkey gas pipeline to the EU. Russia at that point became a prime target for Washington. Putin’s Russia was threatening the entire US Grand Strategy to control world energy flows, whether she knew it or not.
George Friedman, founder of Stratfor, often referred to as the “shadow CIA,” admitted as much in an unusual January, 2015 interview with a leading Russian newspaper. Friedman, whose major clients include the Pentagon and US intelligence agencies, stated “Russia had begun to take certain steps that the United States considered unacceptable. Primarily in Syria. It was there that Russians demonstrated to the Americans that they are capable of influencing processes in the Middle East…The United States thought that it was Russia’s intent to harm them. It is in this context that we should be evaluating the events in Ukraine. “
In that same Kommersant interview, Friedman described the Ukraine events that toppled the regime of Viktor Yanukovych in February, 2014, as a US organized and financed coup d’ etat: “Russia calls the events that took place at the beginning of this year a coup d’etat organized by the United States. And it truly was the most blatant coup in history.”
Doomed to fail
The consequences of Dick Cheney’s mad, mad plot to try to control the oil and gas of the world are becoming clear. Russia has in the last days, following a brief cease-fire agreement with Washington over Syria, made clear militarily that it will not allow the US to continue arming Al-Qaeda (Al-Nusra Front) terrorists in Syria, despite pleas from John Kerry that US-backed “moderate” fighters are side by side with al-Nusra. That is now exposed as another Washington lie. Russian forces have again demonstrated their resolve to destroy the terrorists fighting in and around the battle for Aleppo and other key Syrian points, whether “moderate” terrorists or Al Qaeda/Al-Nusra.
The US bombing of Libya in 2011 and the attempt to take control of that African country’s oil riches has been an abysmal failure. The once-stable and prosperous North African country of Muhammar Qaddafi is today swarming with armed bands murdering each the other for a piece of the oil riches. The US use of Saudi Arabia and her oil riches to finance its Grand Design in Syria and elsewhere is proving a disaster. The Kingdom is rapidly exhausting its financial reserves as oil prices remain in the $50 range. The failed US-backed Saudi war in Yemen has made Riyadh a laughing stock. Former US and EU-ally Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is driving the once prospering Turkish economy to ruin and alienating most everyone with his mad pursuit of absolute, fanatical power.
Most dramatically, the US-backed ethnic cleansing in Syria that has driven millions to seek refuge, first in Turkey, and since spring of 2015, in the EU, most notably in Germany and Sweden, has ripped the fabric of EU social stability wide open, even threatening the very future of the European Union itself.
This is the deafening silence of all EU leaders, most especially of German Chancellor Merkel or Wolfgang Schäuble. They all know that that ethnic cleansing in Syria and Iraq that is creating the refugee flows is designed by Washington and Erdoğan to make way for US-controlled gas pipelines to the EU that will force out Russian gas sources. This is the real story being hidden by EU politicians like Merkel or Schäuble.
The silence of the lambs in the novel of Thomas Harris describes the sound when the last lamb is led to slaughter and there is no more bleating. Silence in front of the truth is a form of communication just as destructive as the lies used to cover up that silence, like Wolfgang Schäuble’s recent silly remarks about inbreeding dangers and third-generation Turkish women. Needed is one single truth-telling leader with moral courage, the type on occasion demonstrated by France’s President Charles de Gaulle, as when he refused to demonize the Soviet Union and took France out of NATO in 1966, rather than bow before Washington and throw France’s fate to incalculable US politicians.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”