The U.S., overloaded with colossal internal problems, is once again planning to get out of trouble by beating Russia in the global competition on the oil and gas fronts. On the oil front with the help of Saudi Arabia, and on the gas front (and to some extent on the potassium front) with the help of Qatar. In this economic war, Syria is one of Russia’s most significant frontiers.
Saudi Arabia is America's tool for controlling oil supplies and putting pressure on Iran and Russia by threatening to displace their oil in all the biggest importers on the planet. This is done using a scheme worked out back in the 1980s, when by agreement with Washington the Saudis dropped the price of oil to 10 dollars a barrel, reducing the main revenue item of the USSR's budget to nothing and hastening the end of the Soviet superpower. While Washington lacks such a mechanism with regard to natural gas, it realizes quite well that Russia, which possesses approximately one third of world gas reserves, can become a world leader in this sphere. And these days the stability of a country's geopolitical positions is more dependent on control of gas fields and transport routes than oil fields and transport routes.
Since the beginning of the Arab spring and the aggression against Syria, Qatar has begun to play a key role in America's anti-Russian plans, as it has: a) colossal gas reserves, in which respect this small country has already surpassed Gazprom, b) a huge fleet of 54 special Q-max and Q-flex ships for transporting liquefied gas, and c) the largest gas field in the world, the Northern field, for which the moratorium on development ends in 2014. Most likely, that is when the deciding battle for Syria will take place and the all-out «gas» attack on Russia will begin…
The monarchies of the Persian Gulf, which along with the United States support «democratic changes» in several Middle Eastern countries, themselves remain dictatorial regimes. Thus the «Arab spring» boomerang they have thrown will inevitably return to them. The only way for them to divert the energy of the revolutionary explosion away from themselves is to try to redirect this energy outward. The Saudis' and Qataris' efforts are directed to the northeast, and their targets are Syria and Iran, and in the later stage, the Caucasus and the Volga region.
Qatar is not only a tool for controlling gas supplies and squeezing Russia out of the European market. It is expected that the loss of the gas market in the European Union would be catastrophic for Russia's budget. Strictly speaking, Qatar as a political entity is a British creation, buttressed by the U.S. army. At the same time it is a branch of Western transnational corporations. Like Saudi Arabia, Qatar has long been a center of international terrorism, sending fighters to Libya, Syria, Egypt, Algeria and the Caucasus. At one time the Qataris, who have an army of 12,000, sent 5,000 special operations troops into the deciding battle for the Libyan capital, Tripoli.
Ideological support for Qatar's policy is provided by the television channel Al Jazeera and several influential Islamist figures like Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the chairman of the World Council of Islamic Theologians, who took an active anti-Russian position back in the years of the first Chechen campaign. The Qataris openly welcome Chechen terrorist leaders like Zelmikhan Yandarbiev and finance Syrian «rebels», to whom Qatari aviation sends a huge amount of weapons via Turkey and Jordan. However, the main direction of attack for Qatar and its Western patrons is connected not with military actions, but with economic ones.
Qatar is already waging a price war against Russia. The Qataris are working in Belarus under Gazprom's nose, regasification terminals are under construction in the south and north of Europe, and the possibility of building terminals in England, the Netherlands, Turkey, Greece, etc. is being probed. The Qataris would think nothing of openly beating up a Russian diplomat at the ambassadorial level. The Emir of Qatar, sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, whose main office is located in London, has already eliminated or neutralized all Russian oil and gas projects in Qatar: 5 large billion-dollar projects like Yamal-LNG and 18 projects estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars. The same thing was done with gold mining projects.
Qatar owns 30% of the Rockefellers' Exxon Mobil Corporation, an energy monster which has become the main beneficiary of the occupation of Iraq and is one of the main lobbyists for the war against Syria. It is to this corporation that the puppet regime in Baghdad gave a 50-year monopoly on the development of Iraq's oil reserves after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. As the main consumer of Russian gas is Europe, Exxon is trying to implement an alternative Qatar – Europe gas pipeline project. The White House also has an interest in this project.
If the American-Qatari alliance is able to shut out Gazprom, it would lead to a drop in hydrocarbon prices with all the ensuing consequences. It only remains to destroy Syria and all Middle Eastern infrastructure related to Russian energy projects, first of all pipeline infrastructure, as was done after post-Nasser Egypt was swung about from Moscow toward Washington in the 1970s; this was accompanied by the destruction of infrastructure the Egyptians had built on Moscow's money and the transformation of Egypt from a leader of the Arab world to a third-class state.
They want to destroy Syria in order to:
1) Take control not only of the recently discovered Syrian gas fields between Damascus and Homs, but of the entire territory of the country, which is seen as an important Middle Eastern geoeconomic crossroads and an alternative to the sea route for transporting hydrocarbons. The oil and gas monarchies of the Gulf are critically dependent on the transport route through the Strait of Hormuz. If that route were to be blocked for several months, an economic crisis would be inevitable for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Europeans.
2) Replace gas supplies to Europe from the north (from Russia) with supplies from the south (from U.S. vassals on the Gulf), as after the fall of Asad, even if Iran blocks the Strait of Hormuz, it will be possible to lay a gas pipeline through the territory of occupied Syria, allowing Qatar to displace Gazprom.
For now the Americans and Saudis are hastening to deprive Syria of chemical weapons and develop Libyan oil. The Qataris, who have already quietly drawn away 6% of the European Union market (as a result of which Gazprom's share has decreased by 2%), are moving in on Libya's gas sphere and setting their sights on yet another gas state, Algeria, which for now retains its sovereignty in the gas extraction field (Qatar is already sending weapons and jihadist thugs to Algeria at full tilt).
The approaching year 2014 will be decisive in the fate of Syria as Russia's Middle Eastern frontier. It is next year that a) it will become impossible to further postpone the resolution of internal problems in the U.S., b) chemical weapons in Syria will be destroyed, c) the moratorium on the development of the largest gas field in the world, the Northern field on the border between Qatar and Iran, will end, and d) Qatar will finish building its fleet, create infrastructure for delivering LNG (a port on the coast, a series of super gas tankers, and regasification terminals in the EU), and gain a stake in European gas transport systems.
The main task for Russia's foreign policy in the Middle East in 2014 will be not to allow the destruction of Syria or the «democratization» of Algeria in a similar scenario.