How Energy Concerns Drive the Nuclear Deal
Welcome to the Caspian Daily, where you will find the 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region. We appreciate ideas, reports, news and interesting articles. Send along to Caspian[at]moderndiplomacy.eu or on Twitter: @DGiannakopoulos
1Tehran’s Power Lobby. “Iran has a track record of lobbying energy firms to put pressure on the West. In 1991, Tehran reached a pre-agreement with Conoco, granting the U.S.-based oil company the right to develop gas and oil fields in Iran. Through these efforts, Iran sought to entice U.S. oil companies to pressure U.S. authorities into altering their approach toward Tehran’s leadership. These efforts resulted in a discreet campaign by oil giants to improve Iran’s public image in the United States and led to lobbying efforts to get Washington to promote business with Iran. When Mohammad Khatami began his term as Iranian president in 1997, he sought to soften Western attitudes toward Iran. His policies prompted the creation of a number of lobby groups across the United States. At the same time, the National Foreign Trade Council, a representative group for major U.S. corporations, started its own lobbying initiative called USA*Engage. Other major U.S. business lobbies followed suit, establishing the American Iranian Council (AIC) with a governing board comprised of former U.S. diplomats and executives from Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and Halliburton” By Tara Shirvani and Siniša Vuković for the Foreign Affairs.
2Russia’s Hybrid War in Ukraine: Breaking the Enemy’s Ability to Resist. “The form of warfare Russia employed in Ukraine in 2014, often called hybrid war, has been aimed at defeating the target country by breaking its ability to resist without actually launching a full-scale military attack. In line with contemporary Russian military thinking on ‘new generation warfare’, hybrid war is built on the combined use of military and non-military means, employing basically the whole spectrum of a state’s policy inventory, including diplomatic, economic, political, social, information and also military means” new report by András Rácz and The Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
3China, Kazakhstan agree to integrate growth strategies. Chinese vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov met Thursday and agreed to align their countries’ growth strategies and boost bilateral cooperation on production capacity. China and Kazakhstan are indeed comprehensive strategic partners, said Zhang, who arrived in Astana on Wednesday for a three-day visit to Kazakhstan.The Silk Road Economic Belt initiative brought up by Xi and the “Path of Light” economic strategy proposed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev enjoy a high degree of compatibility, Zhang pointed out. [China Daily]
4Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services had lowered its long-term insurer financial strength and counterparty credit ratings on Kazakhstan-based JSC Oil Insurance Co. (NSK) to ‘B’ from ‘B+’. The outlook is stable. At the same time, we lowered the Kazakhstan national scale rating to ‘kzBB+’ from ‘kzBBB’. The downgrade reflects our view that the company’s capital adequacy, liquidity, and financial flexibility have significantly weakened following a large claim recognized in May 2015. We note that the company currently plans to restore its financial standing by generating sufficient net income. We don’t factor in any capital support provided by shareholders, because we have no clear view on their willingness to provide it or of the possible timing, the statement said.
5Islamic State may threaten Russia’s Caucasus. “The head of Russia’s Security Council has identified Islamic State (IS) as the greatest threat to world peace and security, and it seems the danger could be getting closer to home. The militant Islamist group has proclaimed the establishment of a wilayaat, or province, in Russia’s mainly-Muslim North Caucasus, suggesting it may be gaining the upper hand in a battle for control over radical forces there. The statement follows an anonymous audio message posted online pledging allegiance to IS on behalf of militants in four regions. But it remains unclear how far – and high – that support may reach among militants previously loyal to the banned, al-Qaeda-affiliated group Caucasus Emirate, which has long sought to carve out an Islamist state in the region” writes Sarah Rainsford for the BBC.
6Brzezinski’s full recipe for solving the yearlong Ukrainian crisis:”Ukraine must have a right to freely choose its political identity and forge closer ties with Europe. At the same time, Russia must be reassured that Ukraine will never become a NATO member,” Brzezinski said, as quoted by Spiegel Online. In other words, Ukraine needs to become Finland of sorts. Brzezinski’s ideas echo those of Henry Kissinger. In an opinion piece for the Washington Post published in March 2014, the former secretary of state urged the West to understand Russia’s concerns and its attachment to Ukraine. “Ukraine should have the right to choose freely its economic and political associations, including with Europe,” Kissinger stated, adding that Kiev should not join NATO and “should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland.” [SputnikNews]
7During the scientific and practical conference “National press of Azerbaijan – 140: “Ekinchi” traditions and modern journalism,” Ali Hasanov, Azerbaijani president’s aide for public and political affairs said that some great powers want to control certain countries and naturally, Azerbaijan is among such countries.“Today, Azerbaijan has its resources, policy and own interests,” he said, adding that in order to fulfill these interests, Azerbaijan should say “no” to someone’s wishes. “When it is not to their advantage, they come down on Azerbaijan. Big states want to control Azerbaijan. However, President Ilham Aliyev’s independent policy which is literally based on Azerbaijani people’s will, is not to their advantage and they stand against it,” said Ali Hasanov.
8Kazakhstan Infrastructure Report. The Kazakh infrastructure sector is facing severe challenges stemming from falling oil revenues cuts to government expenditure and weak credit conditions. However preparations for the 2017 World Expo the country’s rich natural resource endowment a desire for economic diversification and sovereign wealth-backed infrastructure development will provide for distinct investment opportunities some growth relief and continued investments. Following a generally weakening domestic economy including falling loan and private consumption levels we nonetheless expect infrastructure and construction growth to remain far below previously expected levels. [Fast Market Research]
9Azerbaijan signs agreement for Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Representatives from 57 Prospective Founding Members (PFMs) of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), including Azerbaijan, gathered on June 29 in Beijing for a Signing Ceremony of the Bank’s Articles of Agreement at the Great Hall of the People. From Azerbaijan, the Minister of Finance of Azerbaijan Samir Sharifov, who is currently on a visit to China, signed the financial agreement. The AIIB, which will be headquartered in Beijing, will initially have an authorized capital stock of $100 billion, said the message published on the website of the bank. Reflecting the regional character of the bank, its regional members will be the majority shareholders, holding approximately 75 percent of shares.
10Mehriban Aliyeva: “Azerbaijan once again demonstrated its power to the world through successful organization of the Baku 2015 first European Games. Each victory of the independent Azerbaijan is based on President Ilham Aliyev’s will and knowledge”
Newsweek: “Putin scores a win in Turkey’s election”
Russian President Vladimir Putin secured a victory in Turkey’s presidential election results on Sunday, writes ‘Newsweek’.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appeared to beat back a challenge from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the head of the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), winning his third five-year term since taking office in 2014. Erdoğan claimed victory on Sunday, telling supporters in a speech, “I thank each member of our nation for entrusting me with the responsibility to govern this country once again for the upcoming five years,” the Associated Press reported.
He ultimately prevailed by roughly 5 percentage points, according to unofficial data from state-run Anadolu Agency. Turkey’s election has been defined by high voter turnout, but has also led to questions about the fairness of Turkey’s electoral system.
Erdoğan’s victory is viewed as good news for Putin, whose relations with many world leaders grew strained after he launched the invasion of Ukraine last February. Many governments viewed the “special military operation” as lacking justification and a violation of international norms, leading to swift backlash and economic sanctions against Moscow.
Turkey, however, has taken an important role in the conflict, often serving as a mediator between Kyiv and Moscow. Erdoğan himself has walked a fine line between support for Ukraine while also maintaining close diplomatic relations with Russia. Both countries lie along the Black Sea, so maintaining strong economic ties has remained a priority for both governments.
Erdoğan’s victory likely guarantees a continuation of the status quo.
Notably, Turkey’s actions in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have aligned with the interests of Russia. Turkey has previously blocked bids from Sweden and Finland to join NATO, which would bring the alliance to Putin’s doorstep. The Russian leader has also opposed the expansion of NATO, an issue that has sparked tensions with the West.
Putin congratulated Erdoğan on his victory, writing in a statement that he appreciates the Turkish president’s “personal contribution to strengthening friendly Russian-Turkish relations, mutually beneficial cooperation in various areas.”
“Winning the election was a natural result of your selfless work as head of the Republic of Turkey, evidence of the Turkish people’s support for your efforts to strengthen the state sovereignty and the pursuit of an independent, independent foreign policy,” the Russian leader wrote.
Erdoğan has previously touted his relationship with Putin during his reelection bid.
“We are not at a point where we would impose sanctions on Russia like the West have done. We are not bound by the West’s sanctions,” he told CNN earlier this month. “We are a strong state and we have a positive relationship with Russia.”
Larry Johnson: The aftermath of Bakhmut and why the CIA is in trouble
The West is desperate to avoid having any meaningful discussion or review of the Battle of Bakhmut because it was such a massive loss. Think about it — a small “private” paramilitary force backed by former Chef with no military experience, forced Ukraine’s NATO-trained and supplied Army to retreat, notes Larry C. Johnson, a veteran of the CIA and the State Department’s Office of Counter Terrorism.
This is a very important point. Conventional military doctrine stipulates that an army attacking an entrenched force will need at least three times more soldiers than the defending force. Looks like Russia is very unconventional.
The Wagner Group’s 50,000 fighters defeated a Ukrainian force that employed over 120,000 troops, inflicting 70% casualties on the Ukrainians. Russia is writing new chapters for military academies and war colleges on how to attack and defeat a numerically superior force entrenched in fortifications.
Russia was not fighting Afghan shepherds or Iraqi tribesmen armed with AK-47s. It faced off with a NATO proxy force, equipped with modern weaponry, and beat it.
…Even more, I chatted with a retired CIA buddy who filled me in on the personnel disaster that is transforming the CIA into a fully woke institution. Thirty years ago an aspiring employee had to pass a polygraph and had to be drug free. Prior use of marijuana or other recreational drugs could be a show stopper. That was then. Now?
The CIA only asks if the applicant has smoked pot or taken other illicit drugs in the year prior to applying to the Agency. I would not be surprised to learn that once a former drug user is brought on board that there is no obstacle for him or her to continue to indulge the guilty pleasure of getting buzzed (hopefully while not at work).
More disturbing is the current hiring practice — in a recent class for new analysts, 92% of the new hires came from one State. If you guessed Alabama or Virginia you would be wrong. 92% of the analysts hail from one of the most liberal states in the United States. The Agency hiring standard is welcoming the Woke crowd and eschewing men and women who profess traditional values. If you hold Conservative values you need not apply. You probably will not be hired.
I have written previously about the pressure CIA managers face when they write the yearly evaluation on their employees, which plays a key role in determining who gets promoted. If an employee is a minority or openly homosexual or transgender and does not get promoted the manager is required to write an explanation why he or she did not promote said person.
Guess what happens? People get promoted because of their social justice status rather than the quality of their work. Is it any wonder that the quality of the CIA analytical product is succumbing to political pressure, writes Larry C. Johnson.
Drone attack on Moscow
The Russian Defence Ministry:
– This morning, the Kiev regime has launched a terrorist drone attack on the city of Moscow. Eight aircraft-type drones were employed in the attack, informs Russian MoD.
– All enemy drones were downed.
– Three of them were suppressed by electronic warfare, lost control, and deviated from the intended targets.
– Five more UAVs were shot down by the Pantsir-S SAM system in Moscow region.
TASS has gathered the main facts about the incident
– Moscow and the Moscow Region were attacked by drones early on Tuesday morning, TASS informs.
– Several buildings sustained minor damage, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin said.
– According to the authorities, there were no casualties and emergency services are continuing to work at the scene.
– Early on Tuesday morning, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry told TASS that ministry staff were investigating an incident in the Moscow suburbs, in which windows in a high-rise apartment building had been blown out. Fire and rescue units arrived at the scene. There were no signs of fire. According to eyewitnesses, the sound of an explosion was heard at the time of the incident.
– Emergency services told TASS that drone-like fragments were found around the house. The windows of apartments on three floors were shattered.
– It later became known that law enforcement personnel were verifying information about explosions in two other multi-story apartment buildings in the west and southwest of Moscow. There were also broken windows in some apartments.
Reaction of authorities
– Sobyanin confirmed the drone attack on Tuesday morning. As a result, according to him, several buildings sustained minor damage.
– According to the mayor, there are no casualties in the capital and all of the city’s emergency services are working at the scene.
– Emergency services evacuated the residents of two apartment buildings damaged by the drones. Once all necessary work is completed, the residents will be able to return to their homes. “According to information from municipal medical services, at this time, none of the residents of the buildings damaged by UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] have been seriously injured. Two individuals requested medical aid. Nobody had to be hospitalized and the necessary help was provided on site. Also, the emergency services and several ambulance crews continue to work at the sites of incidents,” the mayor wrote.
– Several drones were shot down as they approached the capital, Moscow Region Governor Andrey Vorobyov said.
– Domodedovo, Vnukovo and Zhukovsky airports are operating as usual, representatives of two of the airports told TASS.
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