Thursday 21 February 2008

Kosovo and Oil - Update

Note that the first nation to unilaterally recognise Kosovo was the US - and this was in order to ensure ALBANIA remains a puppet of the US Corporatocracy.

According to leaked comments to the press, European politicians now believe that the US used the bombing of Yugoslavia specifically in order to establish Camp Bondsteel. Before the start of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, the Washington Post insisted, “With the Middle-East increasingly fragile, we will need bases and fly over rights in the Balkans to protect Caspian Sea oil.”

The scale of US oil corporations investment in the exploitation of Caspian oil
fields and the US government demand for the economy to be less dependent on imported oil, particularly from the Middle-East, demands a long term solution to the transportation of oil to European and US markets. The US Trade & Development Agency (TDA) has financed initial feasibility studies, with large grants, and more recently advanced technical studies for the New York based AMBO (Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria Oil) Trans-Balkan pipeline.

Announcing a grant for an advanced technical study in 1999 for the AMBO oil pipeline through Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, TDA director J. Joseph Grandmaison declared, “The competition is fierce to tap energy resources in the Caspian region....Over the last year [1999], TDA has been actively promoting the development of multiple pipelines to connect these vast resources with Western markets. This grant represents a significant step forward for this policy and for US business interests in the Caspian region.”

The $1.3 billion trans-Balkan AMBO pipeline is one of the most important of these multiple pipelines. It will pump oil from the tankers that bring it across the Black Sea to the Bulgarian oil terminus at Burgas, through Macedonia to the Albanian Adriatic port of Vlore. From there it will be pumped on to huge 300,000 ton tankers and sent on to Europe and the US, bypassing the Bosphorus Straits—the congested and only route out of the Black Sea where tankers are restricted to 150,000 tons.

The initial feasibility study for AMBO was conducted in 1995 by none other than Brown & Root, as was an updated feasibility study in 1999. In another twist, the former director of Oil & Gas Development for Europe and Africa for Brown & Root Energy Services, Ted Ferguson, was appointed as the new president of AMBO [1997] after the death of former president and founder of AMBO, Macedonian born Mr Vuko Tashkovikj.

According to a recent Reuters article, Ferguson declared that Exxon-Mobil and Chevron, two of the worlds largest oil corporations, are preparing to finance the AMBO project.

The building of AMBO risks antagonising Turkey, the US’s main ally in the region. According to the Reagan Information Interchange, “While the United States is making an advantageous economic decision, it is overlooking its crucial strategic relationship with Turkey.”

The US is also antagonising its European allies and Russia with Camp Bondsteel and other smaller military bases run alongside the proposed AMBO pipeline route. It has been built near the mouth of the Presevo valley and energy Corridor 8, which the European Union has sponsored since 1994 and regards as a strategic route east-west for global trade.

In April 1999, British General Michael Jackson, the commander in Macedonia during the NATO bombing of Serbia, explained to the Italian paper Sole 24 Ore “Today, the circumstances which we have created here have changed. Today, it is absolutely necessary to guarantee the stability of Macedonia and its entry into NATO. But we will certainly remain here a long time so that we can also guarantee the security of the energy corridors which traverse this country.”

The newspaper added, “It is clear that Jackson is referring to the 8th corridor, the East-West axis which ought to be combined to the pipeline bringing energy resources from Central Asia to terminals in the Black Sea and in the Adriatic, connecting Europe with Central Asia. That explains why the great and medium sized powers, and first of all Russia, don’t want to be excluded from the settling of scores that will take place over the next few months in the Balkans.”

On January 10, Swiss-based Manas Petroleum Corporation broke the news. Gustavson Associates LLC’s Resource Evaluation identified large prospects of oil and gas reserves in Albania, close to Kosovo. They are in areas called blocks A, B, C, D and E, encompassing about 780,000 acres along the northwest to southeast “trending (geological) fold belt of northwestern Albania.”

Assigned estimates of the find (so far unproved) are up to 2.987 billion barrels of oil and 3.014 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. However, because of their depth, oil deposits may be capped with a layer of gas. If so, Gustavson calculates the potential to be 1.4 billion barrels of light oil and up to 15 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Further, if only gas is present, the discovery may be as much as 28 trillion cubic feet. In any case, if estimates prove out, it’s a sizable find.

In its statement, Gustavson reported: “The probability of success for a wildcat well in a structurally complex area such as this is relatively high (because) it is in a structurally favorable area (and) proven hydrocarbon source and analogous production exists only 20 to 30 kilometers away.”

Currently, the Balkans region has small proved oil reserves of about 345 million barrels, of which an estimated 198 million barrels are in Albania. Proved natural gas reserves are much larger at around 2.7 trillion cubic feet.

In December 2007, Albania’s Council of Ministers allowed DWM Petroleum, AG, a Manas subsidiary, to assist in the exploration, development and production of Albania’s oil and gas reserves in conjunction with the government’s Agency of Natural Resources.

This development further underscores Kosovo’s importance and the cost that’s meant for Serbia. Since the 1999 US-led NATO war, it’s been all downhill for the nation, the region and its people:

–Kosovo is part of Serbia; at least it was; since 1999 it’s been a Washington-NATO occupied colony stripped of its sovereignty in violation of international law;

– it’s been run by three successive US-installed puppet Prime Ministers with known ties to organized crime and drugs trafficking;

– it’s the home of one of America’s largest military bases in the world, Camp Bondsteel; the province/country is more a US military base than a legitimate political entity;

– its part of Washington’s regional strategic objective to control and transport Central Asia’s vast oil and gas reserves to selected markets, primarily in the West;

– on February 17 during a special parliamentary session, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence; the action violates international law; Kosovo is as much part of Serbia as Illinois is one of America’s 50 states; to no surprise, Washington and dominant western countries support it; opposed are Serbia, Russia, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Slovakia, Malta, Bulgaria, Romania and Cyprus;

– might makes right; the issue is a fait accompli; the February 17 declaration ignores EU division pitting one-third of its 27 members in opposition; and

– unilateral western-supported independence mocks the 1999 UN Security Council Resolution 1244; it only permits Kosovo’s self-government as a Serbian province; the resolution recognizes the “sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;” only a new UN resolution in compliance with international law can change that legally; nonetheless, it happened anyway on another historic day of infamy when Washington again trashed international law and the rules and norms of civil society.

Global Research Associate Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

During World War II, the Croatian nation fought side by side with Hitler’s Germany. The Serbian people, like the Jewish people, were slaughtered by the Croatian army and those who survived were placed in concentration camps. After the Fascists were defeated in World War II, Croatia became a republic of Yugoslavia.

In 1990, Franjo Tudjman became President of Croatia. During his reign he fired 300 women journalists and closed down any newspapers and television stations that offended him. His rule gave power to a small oligarchy. Yet despite his ultra-nationalism and his brutal purge of ethnic Serbs from Croatia, the US, under President Bill Clinton and his Balkan adviser, Richard Holbrook, supported Tudjman’s regime.

In early August 1995, the Croatian Army received support from the Pentagon and the CIA in planning and carrying out the attack on Croatia’s Krajina region and the expulsion of its 250,000 ethnic Serbs. Croatian soldiers had been trained at Fort Irwin, California, and additional training assistance came from a private company of mercenaries, the American Military Professional Resources Incorporated (MPRI). The end result was US participation in an unprecedented act of ethnic cleansing, resulting in a quarter of a million Serbs fleeing from their homes.

In the early 1990’s, tension broke out in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In September 1992, in an attempt to prevent Bosnia–Herzegovina from sliding into war, several international peace plans were offered. The most reasonable proposal was the Carrington-Cutileiro plan, under which all districts in this area would be divided up among Bosnia’s Muslims, Serbs and Croats.

Initially, the plan was signed by all three sides, but it was never implemented because Alya Izebegavic, Bosnia’s Muslim leader, withdrew his signature from the agreement after Washington promised to recognize Bosnia as an independent country.

In 1991, Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia. They had been encouraged to do so by Germany, which hoped to reestablish traditional German influence in the Balkans. The United States then joined Germany in supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), promising military and political assistance to the ethnic Albanian separatist organization in its quest for an independent Kosovo and, ultimately, a greater Albania.

In 1998, Richard Holbrooke, representing the Clinton Administration, came to Kosovo and appeared in public ceremonies with the KLA, sending a clear signal that the US was backing them. Exploiting the tensions between the KLA and the Serbs in Kosovo, the US used staged ethnic protests and conflicts to justify military intervention. In March 1999, in Rambouille, France, the United States demanded that Yugoslavia accept NATO occupation of Kosovo and the expulsion of all Yugoslav forces. Milosevic refused, and the United States used this as a pretext for war.

On March 27th, 1999, the Clinton administration initiated heavy bombing of Yugoslavia. These attacks on a sovereign country were never approved by the United Nations or the US Congress, violating both international law and the War Powers Act.

The US and NATO had advanced plans to bomb Yugoslavia before 1999, and many European political leaders now believe that the US deliberately used the bombing of Yugoslavia to establish camp Bondsteel in Kosovo.. According to Colonel Robert L. McCure, “Engineering planning for operations in Kosovo began months before the first bomb was dropped.” (1)

In June 1999, in the immediate aftermath of the bombing of Yugoslavia, US forces seized 1,000 acres of farm land in southeast Kosovo at Uresevia, near the Macedonia border, and began the construction of a camp. (2) Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, currently provides all of the services to the camp. This same company receives $180 million per year to build military facilities in Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, and several other countries. Presently, the Bondsteel template is being supported in Georgia and Azerbaijan. According to Chalmers Johnson, author of “America’s Empire of Bases,” the US has about 1000 bases around the world. “Once upon a time, you could trace the spread of imperialism by counting up colonies,” says Johnson. “America’s version of the colony is the military base.” (3) Kosovo is an American colony.

The main purpose for the Bondsteel military base is to provide security for the construction of the Albanian-Macedonian-Bulgarian oil pipeline (AMBO). The AMBO trans-Balkan pipeline will link up with the corridors between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea basin, which holds close to 50 billion barrels of oil.

Hashim Thaci, Kosovo’s current Prime Minister, was formerly the political head of the KLA. The KLA is widely regarded as a terrorist organization and is supported in large part by drug dealing and human trafficking, making particular use of Eastern European women. The US had begun training KLA forces well in advance of the bombing of Yugoslavia.

Presently, Camp Bondsteel houses about 1000 US military troops along with more than 7,000 local Albanian personnel. It is no coincidence that the escalating US presence at Bondsteel was accompanied by increased military activity by the KLA. Since the appearance of this massive base, more Serbs, Roma and Albanians opposed to the KLA have been murdered or driven out of Kosovo.

It is quite clear today that the United States and NATO had advance plans to bomb Yugoslavia long before the ethnic conflicts emerged there. The Kosovo Liberation Army and NATO were determined to foment violence, and no concessions by President Slobodan Milosevic would have prevented the bombing. Building Camp Bondsteel was the US mission, and, by whatever means necessary, it would be built to ensure the completion of a pipeline to the Caspian Sea.

1 comment:

Bert Rustle said...

I listen to BBC Radio 4 News several times a day most days, yet I do not recall any substantial articles on this, or indeed minor ones.

Yet this is a prime example for the BBC to engage in attacks on the USA yet they did not. Why?