Russia has started threatening the use of the energy weapon once again. Turkey is involved in a Trans-Anatolian Pipeline project which will eventually bring gas to Europe, and Turkey into Russia's sights. Israel is also discussing a pipeline to Turkey to join in the venture.
Ukraine will not be Left Alone
Russia is not going to let the Ukraine out of its grip, even though it has now obtained the Crimea, the home of its Black Sea fleet, the “many ships” spoken of by Daniel the prophet:
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40)
When the Northern invader comes it is “like a whirlwind” and with “many ships”. Both of these require Russian control of the Black Sea and the Crimea, home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. It cannot come “like a whirlwind” with “many ships” all the way from the Baltic. It needs a port close by.
Not only this, but Ukraine is still a strategic goal of Russia whose resurgence has been tied to energy distribution.
The Arabic Media Al-Monitor reported:
One quarter of all energy consumed in the EU is gas, and 58% of this gas is imported. Of this, 42% comes from Russia, and around 80% of EU gas imports from Russia pass through Ukraine. Among the eight new Eastern European member states, dependence on Russian imports averages 77%
As Andrew Kuchins, director of the CSIS Russia and Eurasia program, stated in an interview with Bloomberg:
“There is no way Putin is going to win Crimea and lose Ukraine.”
Consequently, Russia is applying economic pressure. When terminating its Black Sea Fleet Agreement with Ukraine, it is holding Ukraine accountable for its debt. The Russian news agency ITAR-TASS reported on Thursday:
“The diplomatic note held that the Russian Foreign Ministry “assumes that termination of the effect of these international treaties does not affect financial liabilities taken during the term of the treaties and subject to repayment and confirms that Russia is prepared to settle issues related with practical consequences of termination of their effect through talks with Ukraine…. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said that Ukraine’s overall debt to Russia after the termination of the 1997 and 2010 Black Sea Fleet agreements stands at $10-11 billion.
We watch with great anticipation as Russia continues to make its grand move for the building up of its image empire, as predicted by the prophets and written about extensively by Author John Thomas in Elpis Israel, and Anatolia (see the current edition of the Bible Magazine).
The Energy Weapon
With the rising temperature of world events, Russia has started threatening the use of the energy weapon once again. Prices have already been cranked up in Ukraine, and Europe is very worried about the results. John Kerry stated on Wednesday,
"It really boils down to this - no nation should use energy to stymie a people's aspirations. It should not be used as a weapon. It is in the interest of all of us to be able have adequate energy supplies critical to our economies, critical to our security, critical to the prosperity of our people…"
This is exactly what Russia is doing, and America is powerless to do anything about it. Reuters reported Gasprom’s increases for Ukraine on Thursday:
Russian natural gas producer Gazprom announced a more than 40 percent increase in the price Ukraine must pay for gas on Apr. 1, stepping up economic pressure on Kiev in its political standoff with Moscow….
Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed in December to cut the gas price for Ukraine and provide a financial lifeline to Kiev after its abrupt decision not to sign a trade agreement with the European Union and rebuild economic ties with Moscow instead. The discount was subject to a quarterly review.
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was deposed in February following months of anti-government protests, Gazprom and Putin said the gas price discount would be scrapped because of the debt.
John Kerry has pointed out America’s strategy regarding energy in Europe and the Middle East:
“Our agenda today - or at least part of it - is to look at how we get more natural gas through what folks call the Southern Corridor from Azerbaijan to Turkey and on to Europe. There are also other opportunities, including LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) terminals planned across Europe and pipelines that can gas to customers.”
The goal would be to limit Russia’s control of Energy distribution on Europe, and thereby limit Europe’s fear of Russia “cutting off the gas”. The Voice of America reported ongoing projects that are aimed at doing this:
Azerbaijan and Turkey are involved in the Trans-Anatolian Pipeline project which will eventually bring some 60 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe. There are hopes Central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan will contribute gas to the pipeline also.
Both those Central Asian countries already pump modest amounts of oil into the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which is then sold to European markets.
This will bring Turkey into direct conflict with Russia as it threatens the bully’s effectiveness.
The Sofia News Agency reported Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan as stating:
“Turkey will close the Bosphorus for Russian ships, if there is violence against the Crimean Tatars.”
Russia is not going to let this type of threat go unnoticed, and Turkey is becoming more of a target by its actions economically and politically. In fact, the Bible identifies that it will be in the catalyst that brings Russia into the Middle East, because the “him” in Daniel 11:40 is Turkey:
“And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him (The Ottoman Turk): and the king of the north shall come against him (The Turk) like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.” (Daniel 11:40)
It is during this invasion of Turkey that Russia “overflows and passes over” and keeps going into Israel:
“He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown….” (Daniel 11:41)
Israel-Turkey Gas PipelineAdding fuel to the fire are plans for a gas pipeline from Israel to Turkey and on to Europe. This would throw a very large spanner in the Russian energy domination works. Israel’s recent gas supplies have already been the target of Russian interests who wanted control of the exploit, but lost them to Australia. Israel’s Business publication “Globes” reported :
The most attractive option, economically speaking, is laying a pipeline to Turkey. Such a project, which would cost a mere $3 billion, could deliver a return on the investment within two years, in light of the volume (10 BCM/year) and the prices ($7-9/MMBTU) that were discussed with Turkish companies. The Turkish groups (6 in total) have offered to build transport infrastructure from the reservoir to the Port of Mersin or Jihan in southern Turkey, at their expense.
In September, Turcas Board Member Mathew Bryza had announced the company had submitted a $2.5-billion offer to build a pipeline under the sea from Israel to Turkey’s southern province of Mersin.
Turkey, also a conduit for gas from the Georgian region, (another recent Russian repatriation exploit), could well be setting itself up if it started delivering gas to Europe through Israel as well.
Russia is already trying to stop Israel exporting gas to Europe. Amiram Barket of Globes reported in October of 2013:
The Israeli government confirms it is in talks with the Russian government on development of Israel's gas fields. The statement was made in a written response to a question by MK Gal-On to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if it was true that, he discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin a "deal", under which Russia would stop shipments of sophisticated weapons to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in exchange for an Israeli commitment not to export gas to Europe. The response to Gal-On stated that "such conditions" were not discussed between Israel and Russia, but, "Russian companies are examining options of participating in the development of the Israeli gas economy, and consequently the Russian government is interested in the Israeli gas economy."
Deterioration in NATO-Russian Relations
This week also saw a deterioration in NATO-Russian relations. Reacting to NATO’s suspension of cooperation with Russia, Russia stated it may deny NATO transit through its airspace when transporting to and from Afghanistan. Viktor Ozerov, head of the Defense and Security Committee of the Federation Council stated today:
“Military activity of one side may directly influence security of the other side. We can't help but view military unions of East European and Baltic states and military activity on their territories as a threat to our strategic security If our cooperation comes to a halt, we'll have the right to suspend (NATO) transit, and the alliance will have to find other routesIf our cooperation comes to a halt, we'll have the right to suspend (NATO) transit, and the alliance will have to find other routes"
The Russian Envoy to NATO, Alexander Grusko stated Saturday:
“If a country does not wish to cooperate, there will be no cooperation. It is a matter of principle for us to carry on the responsibilities we have undertaken in the deterrence of new threats and challenges. If NATO is not prepared to work with us and is evading responsibility, we will be working with those partners on the international arena who share these goals.”
In other words, the western fantasy of keeping the Russian bear at its side on a short chain has evaporated. Russia, having been sick and emaciated during the 1990’s has recovered and is now going to form alliances with those of like mind. Ezekiel 38 lets us know who those nations will be:
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog (Middle Europe – Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Germany), the chief prince of Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Tobolsk), and prophesy against him, And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal… Persia (Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer (France & Germany), and all his bands; the house of Togarmah (Caucasus region) of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.” (Ezekiel 38:2-3, 5–6)
Russia’s respect for American world dominance has completely evaporated. American politicians can see this clearly. Bloomberg reported this week:
Critics of Obama’s handling of Putin want him to bring more pressure to bear, up to and including threatening NATO intervention if Russia sends troops deeper into Ukraine. “Putin thinks we’re wussies and the president is the wussy-in-chief,” says Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “That perception has got to be altered.”
The Bible paints of picture of a Western alliance that is only able to offer token resistance in the time of the end. We can look for further American demise and Russian dominance in Europe.
Emboldened Palestinians Scuttle Peace Talks
America’s demise in international respectability is also having an effect on the Israeli-Arab negotiations it is brokering in the Middle East. Reuters reported early this week:
“The U.S. secretary of state arrived in Jerusalem on Monday to put the negotiations back on track, but his efforts were undermined when Palestinians signed 15 international conventions that gave them greater leverage against Israel.”
On Tuesday evening, only hours after Israeli and American officials indicated that the peace talks were back on track and Palestinians had promised not to approach international organizations until the end of April, Abbas instead signed fifteen application forms to join various UN agencies and conventions on live television. He stated:
"The Palestinian leadership has voted unanimously in favor of joining the international organizations."
Yair Lapid, Israel’s centrist Finance Minister, and a politician who originally backed the peace talks, said Friday that the events of the past day “raised serious doubts” about whether Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, was really interested in reaching an agreement:
“It looks more like a deliberate provocation aimed at blowing up the talks, No Israeli will conduct negotiations at any price.”
By Friday, the New York Times reported from Morocco:
Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the Obama administration planned to re-evaluate its approach to Middle East peacemaking and decide whether it was worth continuing its effort in light of the inability of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to make progress. “There are limits to the amount of time and effort that the United States can spend if the parties themselves are unwilling to take constructive steps in order to be able to move forward,” he said.
So as America continues to decline in its ability to impact world affairs, Russia is working at building up its new empire. The words of John Thomas, based on a clear understanding of the scripture instruct us to be prepared:
“The future movements of Russia are notable signs of the times, because they are predicted in the Scriptures of truth... When Russia makes its grand move for the building-up of its Image-empire, then let the reader know that the end of all things, as at present constituted, is at hand. The long-expected, but stealthy advent of the King of Israel, will be on the eve of becoming a fact; and salvation will be to those who not only looked for it, but have trimmed their lamps by believing the gospel of the kingdom unto the obedience of faith, and the perfection thereof in "fruits meet for repentance"”
Added to which we give our Lord Jesus Christ the last word:
And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28)
For the Bible in the News this has been Jonathan Bowen joining you.