in the Burgas-Alexandroupolis “Orthodox Pipeline” context
The campaign of the US and Israel together with some European countries, especially Britain and France, against Iran reaches a new level with the embargo on its oil sector. Although a framework of agreement within the EU is reached, the Greek position within this hostile climate is unique.
The Iran situation combines with the freezing of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project (also called called “Orthodox Pipeline”) which Bulgaria froze under heavy United States influence (as explained later) to make things more outrageous against the right of Greece to choose its energy sources.
Greece is both in the middle of the economic crisis which started in the US with the Lehman Brothers collapse, as well as the Iran-related crisis on its nuclear programme and the sanctions. The EU deliberations to embargo oil shipments from Iran connected these two different situations, under a climate of an outraged Greek public opinion against EU and US for what is perceived as sick injustice against Greece.
To make a long story short, an outside observer needs to take into consideration the following points in order to have an accurate perception of the issue and the elements connected to Greece:
• Greece relies more than 35% on Iran for oil purchase with unlimited credit.
• No other country sells to Greece in that way due to the economic situation.
• The option of Saudi Arabia is fragile due to this country’s support for extremist Islamic activity, especially within the almost 1,500,000 illegal immigrants in Greece (mostly Muslim) who also contribute to the unemployment explosion, in knowledge of the EU and US.
• There is no real trust from Greeks to the West that Greece will continue to get oil from other sources in favorable terms. After all why don’t they do it now and only Iran does it?
• There is not trust for the western accusations on the Iranian nuclear programme, because US and western credibility was practically neutralized, after the “discovery” of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that were non existent. The totally biased and anti-hellenic media coverage of the economic crisis reinforces Greek reluctance towards western governments and Media.
• The freezing of the Greek-Russian-Bulgarian project for the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline (due to its US-instigated abandonment from the Bulgarian government) combines with prohibiting Iran as supplier and makes Greeks realizing that the US and EU deny Greece the right to choose suitable suppliers: a kind of forbidding Greece to have free choice.
• US and EU mobility to allow British Petroleum continue doing business with Iran in the Shah Deniz II gas project is seen as an outspoken proof of hypocrisy. The reason US and EU officials lobbied to the US Congress for not putting sanctions on British Petroleum, is in order for Europe “to achieve energy security and independence from Russia”: They revealed their real target which is Russia and perhaps China.
• None of them was interested on Greece when Greece was trying to achieve energy security and independence from Turkey through the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline (which would also enhance European independence from Turkey). They want Greece, however, to support their policy towards Iran, risk Greek oil supplies and reserves and at the same time keep the British company in Iran!!!
• Why not similarly giving Greece exemption from the sanctions against Iran, since Iran is the only reliable oil source for Greece which does not ask Greece for advance guarantees and Greece gets long term good prices in the difficult situation that the economic crisis put it.
• Wikileaks documents from the US State Department revealed that previous US pressure on Athens mainly aimed at having Greece as one more “feather in the hat” of Washington. The Americans wanted to demonstrate that European countries were aligned with US policy and Greece was one of the country-trophies. The IRISL Iranian Shipping Lines was the main US target and Greek ship owners were opposing the idea to stop transporting Iranian oil.
Hundreds of millions penalty on Bulgaria
The Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project aims to transport Russian oil to Bulgaria and send it to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis through a land based pipeline. In this way there will be no need to pass the busy and unstable area of the Turkish-controlled straits between the Black Sea and Mediterranean. Oil would be loaded to ships in Alexandroupolis to go to Europe and elsewhere. It is also ecologically safer since the tanker ships would avoid the trip from Russia to Mediterranean, they will be strained less and the possibility of oil leak would be limited. Delivery times would be faster as well.
The openly pro-US Bulgarian prime minister, stopped the project … “on environmental concerns” (although all studies were giving a green light to the project) because “the people of Burgas did not want it” and because it is not financially viable. It was called “Orthodox Pipeline” because Greece, Russia and Bulgaria are Orthodox Christian countries and the freezing was seen as an American attempt to block Russian expansion in the energy sector even if Greece and Bulgaria were also damaged. The extreme Protestant neo-conservatives in Washington instigated this hostile move against Orthodox countries.
Bulgaria, however, will have to pay penalties for blocking the project. The recent Iran oil embargo surfaced related issues, including the one of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline. The cost for transporting oil through this “Orthodox Pipeline” was calculated at $8 per tone which is almost the same to the one across the straits. The Samsun-Ceyhan pipeline was having higher cost and Turkey asks for a large share of the income. The US intervention in Bulgaria probably had Turkish support because it is forcing Russia not to seek alternative routes.
By pulling out of the project, Greek sources said, Bulgaria is obliged to pay penalties to Greece and Russia. The Greek officials were not the first to say that. Late last year Russian officials pointed out that the minimum penalty is $200.000.000. The maximum may reach the $1 billion level. The Bulgarian side already owed $7 million from its contribution to the project until now and at least the Russian side points out that they will get the Bulgarian government in International Court if they insist on not paying the fine, if the project is completely canceled.
The current embargo on Iranian oil and the global instability in the oil trade that will probably occur, highlight the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline project with greater urgency. It would help the European Union achieve independence from the unstable region of Turkey (due to the Kurdish, Armenian and Greek problems it faces), but non-european (American) interests block it.
The Greeks see that they are dragged to a situation without immediate Greek concern and with no real ethical base. The Iranian nuclear programme is not a serious topic for the Greek society in the hierarchy of concerns. However the difficult economic situation (in which Iran is the only supplier of oil offering unlimited credit) is now seen as being manufactured by the EU and the US. Just to make an outline of the injustice the Greek public sees in the western attack against Greece and its reputation, we mention the following:
• Germany owes many hundreds of billions of euros to Greece from the money the Nazis stole (“Forceful loan” from occupied Greece to Nazi Germany). Hitler started repaying the “loan” back to Greece but after the German collapse, the next German governments do not discuss the German debt to Greece. This amount together with all recognized German financial obligations towards Greece, surpasses 700,000,000,000 (700 billion) euros, in today’s prices if we take into account the interest rates. There is NO EXAGERATION in this, this is money Germany REALLY owes to Greece.
• The corruption money from defence procurement, the C4I System for the 2004 Olympic Games, etc are many tens of billion of euros and European (especially German) companies have a large share in this money laundering. This is money from Greek taxpayers which went to the pockets of sponsors of European (and other) political parties.
• Part of the Greek bonds, are corruption payments in defence and public procurement projects to foreign companies-political parties.
• The Greeks DID NOT want to abandon drachma. They did not want the euro, because there was no benefit for Greece, on the contrary the Greek society was damaged. Goldman Sachs, with the (German-educated) prime minister Kostas Simitis and in knowledge of Washington and Berlin, altered the Greek financial data. Berlin wanted one more country into the Eurozone, Washington wanted Greece to be used as trigger if it wanted to create problems in the European Union.
• No western Media (including the BBC) published any of these at least to a comparable degree with the attacks against Greece
Greece was called to agree to serve foreign interests (of doubtful information and ethical basis), participate in the embargo and enter into an energy risk, while those who ask Greece to do these, deliberately put it into this difficult economic situation. The first thing that should be done, is to make sure, those who owe money to Greece would pay and Greece would not have any financial problems. The Greeks did not realize that the top EU level have more corruption.