Chossudovsky: The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil


Richard Moore

Original source URL:
[original has maps]

The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil
By Michel Chossudovsky

July 26, 2006

Is there a relationship between the bombing of 
Lebanon and the inauguration of the World's 
largest strategic pipeline, which will channel 
more than a million barrels of oil a day to 
Western markets?

Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the 
Ceyhan-Tblisi-Baku (BTC) oil pipeline, which 
links the Caspian sea to the Eastern 
Mediterranean, took place on the 13th of July, at 
the very outset of the Israeli sponsored bombings 
of Lebanon.

One day before the Israeli air strikes, the main 
partners and shareholders of the BTC pipeline 
project, including several heads of State and oil 
company executives were in attendance at the port 
of Ceyhan. They were then rushed off for an 
inauguration reception in Istanbul, hosted  by 
Turkey's President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in the 
plush surroundings of the Çraan Palace.

Also in attendance was British Petroleum's (BP) 
CEO, Lord Browne together with senior government 
officials from Britain, the US and Israel. BP 
leads the BTC pipeline consortium. Other major 
Western shareholders include Chevron, 
Conoco-Phillips, France's Total and Italy's ENI. 
(see Annex)

Israel's Minister of Energy and Infrastructure 
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer was present at the venue 
together with a delegation of top Israeli oil 

The BTC pipeline totally bypasses the territory 
of the Russian Federation. It transits through 
the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and 
Georgia, both of which have become US 
"protectorates", firmly integrated into a 
military alliance with the US and NATO. Moreover, 
both Azerbaijan and Georgia have longstanding 
military cooperation agreements with Israel. In 
2005, Georgian companies received some $24 
million in military contracts funded out of U.S. 
military assistance to Israel under the so-called 
"Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program".

Israel has a stake in the Azeri oil fields, from 
which it imports some twenty percent of its oil. 
The opening of the pipeline will substantially 
enhance Israeli oil imports from the Caspian sea 

But there is another dimension which directly 
relates to the war on Lebanon. Whereas Russia has 
been weakened, Israel is slated to play a major 
strategic role in "protecting" the Eastern 
Mediterranean transport and pipeline corridors 
out of Ceyhan.

Militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean

The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully 
planned and coordinated military road map. The 
extension of the war into Syria and Iran has 
already been contemplated by US and Israeli 
military planners. This broader military agenda 
is intimately related to strategic oil and oil 
pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil 
giants which control the pipeline corridors. In 
the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks 
Israeli territorial control over the East 
Mediterranean coastline.

In this context, the BTC pipeline dominated by 
British Petroleum, has dramatically changed the 
geopolitics of the Eastern Mediterranean, which 
is now linked , through an energy corridor, to 
the Caspian sea basin:

     "[The BTC pipeline] considerably changes the status of the
     region's countries and cements a new pro-West alliance.
     Having taken the pipeline to the Mediterranean, Washington
     has practically set up a new bloc with Azerbaijan, Georgia,
     Turkey and Israel, " (Komerzant, Moscow, 14 July 2006)

Israel is now part of the Anglo-American military 
axis, which serves the interests of the Western 
oil giants in the Middle East and Central Asia.

While the official reports state that the BTC 
pipeline will "channel oil to Western markets", 
what is rarely acknowledged is that part of the 
oil from the Caspian sea would be directly 
channeled towards Israel. In this regard, an 
underwater Israeli-Turkish pipeline project has 
been envisaged which would link Ceyhan to the 
Israeli port of Ashkelon and from there through 
Israel's main pipeline system, to the Red Sea.

The objective of Israel is not only to acquire 
Caspian sea oil for its own consumption needs but 
also to play a key role in re-exporting Caspian 
sea oil back to the Asian markets through the Red 
Sea port of Eilat. The strategic implications of 
this re-routing of Caspian sea oil are 

In April 2006, Israel and Turkey announced plans 
for four underwater pipelines, which would bypass 
Syrian and Lebanese territory.

     "Turkey and Israel are negotiating the construction of a
     multi-million-dollar energy and water project that will
     transport water, electricity, natural gas and oil by
     pipelines to Israel, with the oil to be sent onward from
     Israel to the Far East,  The new Turkish-Israeli proposal
     under discussion would see the transfer of water,
     electricity, natural gas and oil to Israel via four
     underwater pipelines.

     "Baku oil can be transported to Ashkelon via this new
     pipeline and to India and the Far East.[via the Red sea]"
     "Ceyhan and the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon are situated
     only 400 km apart. Oil can be transported to the city in
     tankers or via specially constructed under-water pipeline.
     From Ashkelon the oil can be pumped through already existing
     pipeline to the port of Eilat at the Red Sea; and from there
     it can be transported to India and other Asian countries in
     tankers. (REGNUM )
Water for Israel

Also involved in this project is a pipeline to 
bring water to Israel, pumping water from 
upstream resources of the Tigris and Euphrates 
river system in Anatolia. This has been a 
long-run strategic objective of Israel to the 
detriment of Syria and Iraq. Israel's agenda with 
regard to water is supported by the military 
cooperation agreement between Tel Aviv and Ankara.

The Re-routing of Central Asian Oil

Diverting Central Asian oil and gas to the 
Eastern Mediterranean (under Israeli military 
protection), for re-export to Asia, serves to 
undermine the inter-Asian energy market, which is 
based on  the development of direct pipeline 
corridors linking Central Asia and Russia to 
South Asia, China and the Far East.

Ultimately, this design is intended to weaken 
Russia's role in Central Asia and cut off China 
from Central Asian oil resources. It is also 
intended to isolate Iran.

Meanwhile, Israel has emerged as a new powerful 
player in the global energy market.

War and Oil Pipelines

Prior to the bombing of Lebanon, Israel and 
Turkey had announced the underwater pipeline 
routes, which bypassed Syria and Lebanon. These 
underwater pipeline routes did not overtly 
encroach on the territorial sovereignty of 
Lebanon and Syria.

On the other hand, the development of alternative 
land based corridors (for oil and water) through 
Lebanon and Syria would require Israeli-Turkish 
territorial control over the Eastern 
Mediterranean coastline through Lebanon and Syria.

The implementation of this project requires the 
militarisation of the East Mediterranean 
coastline, sea ways and land routes, extending 
from the port of Ceyhan across Syria and Lebanon 
to the Lebanese-Israeli border.

Is this not one of the hidden objectives of the 
war on Lebanon? Open up a space which enables 
Israel to control a vast territory extending from 
the Lebanese border through Syria to Turkey.

"The Long War"

Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert has stated 
that the Israeli offensive against Lebanon would 
"last a very long time". Meanwhile, the US has 
speeded up weapons shipments to Israel.

There are strategic objectives underlying the 
"Long War" which are tied to oil and oil 

The air campaign against Lebanon is inextricably 
related to US-Israeli strategic objectives in the 
broader Middle East including Syria and Iran. In 
recent developments, Secretary of State 
Condoleeza Rice stated that the main purpose of 
her mission to the Middle East was not to push 
for a ceasefire in Lebanon, but rather to isolate 
Syria and Iran. (Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2006)

At this particular juncture, the replenishing of 
Israeli stockpiles of US produced WMDs  points to 
an escalation of the war both within and beyond 
the borders of Lebanon.


The BTC Co. shareholders are: BP (30.1%); AzBTC 
(25.00%); Chevron (8.90%); Statoil (8.71%); TPAO 
(6.53%); Eni (5.00%); Total (5.00%), Itochu 
(3.40%); INPEX (2.50%), ConocoPhillips (2.50%) 
and Amerada Hess (2.36%). (source BP)

© Map by Eric Waddell, Global Research, 2003.  (click to enlarge)

For details on th Campaign against the pipeline 

See related articles:

The Militarisation of the Eastern Mediterranean: 
Israel's Stake in the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline

- by Michel Chossudovsky
Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran, by Michel Chossudovsky

Is Israel running out of Bombs? New Deliveries of 
WMD "Made in America" The Replenishing of Israeli 
WMD stockpiles points to escalation both within 
and beyond the borders of Lebanon, by Michel 

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