Deep beneath "Damascus volcano" and "the battle of Aleppo," the tectonic plates of the global energy chessboard keep on rumbling. Beyond the tragedy and grief of civil war, Syria is also a Pipelineistan power play.
More than a year ago, a $10 billion Pipelineistan deal was clinched between Iran, Iraq, and Syria for a natural gas pipeline to be built by 2016 from Iran's giant South Pars field, traversing Iraq and Syria, with a possible extension to Lebanon. Key export target market: Europe.
During the past 12 months, with Syria plunged into civil war, there was no pipeline talk. Up until now. The European Union's supreme paranoia is to become a hostage of Russia's Gazprom. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would be essential to diversify Europe's energy supplies away from Russia.
It gets more complicated.
Turkey happens to be Gazprom's second-largest customer. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia - and Iran. Turkey dreams of becoming the new China, configuring Anatolia as the ultimate Pipelineistan strategic crossroads for the export of Russian, Caspian-Central Asian, Iraqi and Iranian oil and gas to Europe.
Try to bypass Ankara in this game, and you're in trouble. Until virtually yesterday, Ankara was advising Damascus to reform - and fast.
Turkey did not want chaos in Syria. Now Turkey is feeding chaos in Syria. Let's examine one of the key possible reasons.Go to the link to see how the Kurds fit into all this. I hope this linked story does not go into archives. It is a very, very interesting story.