Jan 31, 2011

End-Times Indigestion

Terry JamesBy Terry James
Rapture Ready

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A diagnosis of current, troubling realities in the Middle Eastern region of the world leads to a disturbing prognosis. Indigestion is possibly the culprit that threatens to bring on the terminal condition that prophecy calls Armageddon. Okay, so maybe it’s a bit of a stretch to liken what’s going on in the most volatile part of the world to a human gastrointestinal condition. But it certainly seems that it is gas that is shaping up to be at least one incendiary ingredient that might ignite history’s final holocaust.

While the Mideast broils with vitriol against Israel, the one nation on earth specifically pointed out by Zechariah the prophet as being at the center of end-times hatred, a situation taking place in the belly of that geographical beast bears watching. Natural gas is emerging as a burning issue in that highly volatile region. Key prophetic players are at the center of the ongoing developments.

The European Union (EU) is at the heart of matters involving the recent discovery of natural gas in Iraq’s Kurdish region. The EU has been striving to lessen dependence on Russia for supplying natural gas. Discoveries in Iraq open the possibility that the Europeans might be successful in accomplishing that independence. However, quickly rearranging relationships among nations surrounding the region of new gas discovery provoke some interesting thought, prophetically speaking.

The Nabucco consortium, a European group of oil and gas companies, hopes to construct a pipeline to southern Europe through Turkey. Nabucco is much more than just a commercial enterprise. It is an attempt to shift the balance of power in European energy politics, according to expert observers.

If the 3,300-kilometer Nabucco is built, it will be the first major natural gas pipeline into central and eastern Europe that isn’t controlled by Moscow.

This is important because the EU fears Russian control of such a large chunk of its gas supply. Several EU member states have also suffered severe winter gas supply disruptions in recent years as Russia fought with its neighbor Ukraine over transit rights.

So Nabucco has strong political backing from the European Commission, and is treated with disdain by the Kremlin. (James Herron, "Iraqi Gas Discovery Boosts EU Hopes of Gas Independence," Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11)
Europe’s plans are far from being a done deal. The pipeline must go through both Iran (to an extent) and Turkey, as stated before. The Russians are almost certainly going to have a major objection to losing their monopoly on gas-supply operations in the region. And that country’s influence is considerable. Russia has over the past several years made ever-tightening alliances with the two major nations with which the EU must deal in order to bring natural gas from the Kurdish gas fields. At the same time, those nations, Turkey and Iran, are continuing to solidify relations with each other. The three – Russia, Iran, and Turkey — have formed a triad of sorts. It is a most fascinating arrangement in these strange days of quickly moving geopolitical realignments.

Russia and Turkey have just signed in Istanbul a strategic cooperation protocol for enhancing their bilateral relations. This was arranged by the Turkish-Russian Joint Strategic Planning Group, which is charged with carrying out preparatory work for the high-level Cooperation Council meeting in Moscow this March. Although the group didn’t divulge any details of the strategic protocol, it is logical to presume that considerations regarding the proposed EU pipeline figure in the planning.

One source reports:
Russian-Turkish ties have predominantly expanded on an economic basis, especially with energy deals. Projects in the energy sector such as Samsun-Ceyhan, South Stream and Nabucco will also be on the agenda of the preparatory talks.

Turkey receives 70 percent of its energy resources, including gas and oil, from Russia. Turkey will also put into operation its first nuclear power plant with the cooperation of Russia. ("Russia, Turkey Sign Strategic Cooperation Protocol," People's Daily Online, 1/21/11)
Russia no doubt intends to continue to exert hegemony over Middle East energy sources and supplies at all cost. Turkey, under its recently installed, antagonistic-to-Israel, Islamist regime, is firmly ensconced within the Russian-Iranian (Persian) camp. The EU will likely have to look elsewhere for its energy independence from the Russian Bear.

There is such a source to the south of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. Can you guess who that is?
In 2009, a partnership that included Texas Based Noble Energy Inc. and Israeli oil companies discovered Tamar, an offshore gas field containing eight trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It was the largest gas find in the world in 2009 and the largest ever for Israel at the time.

Last December, the company announced the discovery of the Leviathan field, which contains a whopping 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — enough to supply all of Israel's gas needs for 100 years — and promises to turn the once resource-starved country into a net energy exporter. (Charles Levinson, "Israel to Launch State Fund Within a Year," Wall Street Journal, 1/26/11)
There is talk of the EU contracting with Israel to provide the much-needed natural gas supply. It will be fascinating to watch developments, in consideration of the Gog-Magog prophecy of Ezekiel chapters 38-39.

Related Links
Minister seeks to expedite Tamar gas flow - Globes
Is the Qatar-Iraq-Turkey-Europe Natural Gas Pipeline Project feasible? - Sunday's Zaman
Ezekiel 38 & 39 (Part 1) - BPB (Thomas Ice)
Nabucco delayed? - UPI
Israel Gas Explorers Outperform as Egypt Unrest May Create Void - Bloomberg