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Thread: The New 'Great Game': state & non-state competition

  1. #21
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    Originally posted by Dayuhan:
    Given the supply/demand equation in energy markets these days, anyone with oil and gas to sell is going to find a buyer.
    Not sure I'd agree with that. There's quite a number of oil tankers out there being used as floating storage for oil. And a fair amount of it is of Iranian origin. Don't have current numbers, but does not look like it is decreasing. I'm sure it will change at some point, but I'd bet it's going to take longer than most people think.

    Originally posted by Dayuhan:
    Given the oft-demonstrated Russian inclination to use energy supplies for diplomatic leverage, nobody will want to be dependent on them
    Very true - and quite understandable. But from the other side of the ledger, currently China is substantially dependent upon ME oil, and much of that from Iran. Every time Iran creates a stir in the Persian Gulf, the PRC is on the hook as one of the elders, trying to keep the kids under control, and getting them back to playing nice with each other. The reality is, your comment above sums up perfectly the exact situation the China is in right now regarding Iran (substitute "Iranian" for "Russian").

    They got to play the role, because it's all about their (China's) economy - but it's got to get old really quick. Got to keep the oil flowing. So, they get out from under the current situation by diversifing their suppliers.

    And when the ESPO pipeline project will eventually (Stage 3) get to 1.6 mil Bbl. per day with direct port access to both the Sea of Japan and land access to the Chinese border, well, that means that China, Japan, and South Korea all have substantially diversified their petroleum supply, with the ME being the biggest loser.

    Doing this also gives China, and especially Russia, a substantive change in their relationship with Iran. It almost seems like the Iranians seem to enjoy being able to use both China and/or Russia as their foil in their dealings with the West. Now, I'd bet that there's been more than a few times where both the Russians and the Chinese have enjoyed that, but it's "up to a point". The concept of being pushed into being a player in situations created by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not likely to be particularly comforting to either the Russian or Chinese governments.

    Thoughts?

  2. #22
    Council Member Dayuhan's Avatar
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    The geography of Russian oil production is changing rapidly: the West Siberian fields are being depleted, with most new production coming from East Siberia. There's an obvious geographic advantage in piping East Siberian oil to markets in East Asia. Of course more Russian oil going to East Asia means less going to Europe, and I'd expect Europe to make up for any reduction in Asian demand for ME oil. Given declining production in traditional American suppliers Mexico and Venezuela, the US is also likely to be a lasting market for ME oil

    It is possible that a severe double-dip recession could drive another oil glut, which would have a major impact on the ME political stability equation, but it doesn't seem likely to me. Might want to take that one up with the "peak oil" enthusiasts, who see quite the opposite of a glut on the horizon!

    Oil is an almost infinitely fungible commodity, with transport cost a minimal percentage of final landed cost. If, for example, Nigeria had a revolution tomorrow and stopped producing, Nigeria's customers would simply buy their oil elsewhere, albeit at a higher price. If hypothetical country x currently buys all their oil from Nigeria, they are not "dependent" per se on Nigeria for their oil, since they can just as easily buy elsewhere.

    Many, probably most, oil producers, have security issues, and those issues concern all oil consumers, whether or not they buy from any given supplier. The US doesn't buy from Iran, but if Iran stops producing the US will be affected, because the people who do buy from Iran will be out bidding for oil from US suppliers, who like everyone else will sell to the highest bidder.

    For me the pipeline is likely to cause some shifts in where different parties buy, but probably not to cause any major changes in the supply/demand equation.

  3. #23
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    Default Controlling Borderlands?

    FIIA, 15 Dec 10: Controlling Borderlands? New Perspectives on State Peripheries in Southern Central Asia and Northern Afghanistan
    As its premise, this report supports the notion that life in a state’s border region is closely entwined with life within the two neighbouring states simultaneously rather than just one state: networks snake back and forth across borders, economic exchange makes use of a borderline, neighbouring political systems influence domestic policy, and local political negotiation employs the presence of an international boundary in sometimes surprising ways. Thus, for example, we are able to appreciate the ways in which political upheaval in Kyrgyzstan fundamentally affects the socio-economic opportunities of ethnic Kyrgyz in neighbouring Tajikistan; or how the ‘pacification’ of Afghanistan influences the new connectivity of the Pamir region. In other words, a state’s border policy never takes place in a socio-political vacuum. Borderlanders, that is, those groups living in the vicinity of a border, do not simply accept rhetorics of control by a state and reorientate their lives along permissible avenues of exchange. They can adapt to or struggle against this rhetoric, but their social networks transcend official categories demarcating states and administrative units. Locally held cognitive maps of borderlanders and their inhabitants as well as actually practised boundary crossings will take the officially demarcated boundary into consideration, but will also ignore it where this is deemed beneficial locally.....

  4. #24
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    ICG, 3 Feb 11: Central Asia: Decay and Decline
    Quietly but steadily Central Asia’s basic human and physical infrastructure – the roads, power plants, hospitals and schools and the last generation of Soviet-trained specialists who have kept this all running – is disappearing. The equipment is wearing out, the personnel retiring or dying. Post-independence regimes made little effort to maintain or replace either, and funds allocated for this purpose have largely been eaten up by corruption. This collapse has already sparked protests and contributed to the overthrow of a government....

    ...The consequences of this neglect are too dire to ignore. The rapid deterioration of infrastructure will deepen poverty and alienation from the state. The disappearance of basic services will provide Islamic radicals, already a serious force in many Central Asian states, with further ammunition against regional leaders and openings to establish influential support networks. Economic development and poverty reduction will become a distant dream; the poorest states will become ever more dependent on the export of labour. Anger over a sharp decline in basic services played a significant role in the unrest that led to the overthrow of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010. It could well play a similar role in other countries, notably Tajikistan, in the not too distant future....

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    Default Violence and Videos in Kazakhstan: The Information Struggle over Zhanaozen

    Violence and Videos in Kazakhstan: The Information Struggle over Zhanaozen

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  6. #26
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Moderator at work

    I have reviewed the threads in this forum and created this new larger, mainly historical thread to cover the little reported, rarely watched by SWC competition in Central Asia, the 'stans, between external powers and within between crime, Islam and the state(s). The catalyst being what follows.

    matters Afghan are excluded from this thread and appear elsewhere!
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 09-24-2012 at 12:04 PM.
    davidbfpo

  7. #27
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    Default Chinatown, Kazakhstan?

    A pair of China-based analysts on a trek around Central Asia report:http://raffaellopantucci.com/2012/09...wn-kazakhstan/

    If you check the author's website there are a series of articles on the region.
    davidbfpo

  8. #28
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    This blog examines China's evolving influence and role in Central Asia.
    Link:http://chinaincentralasia.com/about/
    davidbfpo

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