WaPo Urges Tougher US Action Against Russia

WaPo Urges Tougher US Action Against Russia

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

The neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post applauded new Trump administration sanctions on Russia – ones Senate members passed, others just imposed by the US Treasury.

WaPo: New sanctions will pressure Moscow “for its illegal activity in Ukraine…(for) invad(ing) and annex(ing)” Crimea.

Fact: No Russian invasion occurred, no aggression, no annexation of Crimea. WaPo consistently publishes rubbish, suppressing hard truths.

Ukraine under US-installed, Nazi-infested, putschists is a flagrant human rights violator. A so-called Kiev-based Human Rights Center puts out regime-sponsored propaganda.

WaPo quoted one of its members, calling Crimea a sealed off “ghetto where no international organizations have access and there is (sic) no independent media,” adding:

Journalists are persecuted and prosecuted, their websites blocked by Crimean authorities. According to WaPo, “(e)ven the slightest hint of opposition to Russia’s rule is crushed, human rights workers endangered.”

Facts on the ground are polar opposite above claims. Months earlier, Putin accused Kiev officials of “switching to terror,” instead of “seeking methods of solving problems through negotiations.”

“Our special services have prevented a reconnaissance and sabotage group of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry from getting into Crimea,” he explained.

Kiev-attempted sabotage is a way for its regime to distract attention from its internal problems. Their actions in Crimea are “criminal,” Putin stressed.

Regime officials “should decide (if) they want continued provocations…or real peace settlement.”

Moscow will do whatever it takes to protect the rights, security and welfare of its citizens, including Crimeans of course.

Separately, Russian lower house State Duma defense committee chairman Vladimir Komoyedov earlier accused Ukrainian  authorities of attempted state terrorism in Crimea. 

He compared its regime to Nazi-linked Banderite thugs during WW II, responsible for mass murder and other high crimes.

“It looks like the same situation (again) today,” he said, adding “US advisors” actively aid its lawless actions.

Ukrainian officials want Washington to sanction Russia for fabricated human rights abuses in Crimea.

WaPo urges tougher US action on Russia for alleged offenses it didn’t commit.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/220333-2017-06-23-wapo-urges-tougher-us-action-against-russia.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

Bloomberg says Trump should ‘stop tweeting’ and let Russia probe run its course

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has some advice for President Trump: Stop tweeting and do your job.

During a Tuesday evening appearance on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Bloomberg was asked about the probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. The inquiry has reportedly expanded to seek to determine whether Trump committed obstruction of justice by firing FBI Director James Comey.

Conceding he doesn’t know “whether there’s any there there,” Bloomberg nonetheless praised the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the investigation.

“When there’s an allegation, you have to have a competent, independent investigation that will either find something wrong or remove the cloud,” Bloomberg said.

“Having said that, the president just has to get it out of his mind, stop tweeting and focus on running the government and letting the investigation go on,” he later added.

Trump has frequently utilized Twitter, his favorite communications medium, to attempt to delegitimize the Russia probe, repeatedly calling it a “witch hunt.” Those angry missives intensified after the Washington Post reported the investigation would look into Trump’s interactions with Comey before his firing.

But Trump has often faced blowback from his tweets, including one his lawyer tried to walk back in which Trump declared that he was “being investigated” for firing Comey.

Bloomberg, a billionaire who has made climate change one of his pet causes, was on CNN to promote a new documentary about the negative effects of coal. He called Trump’s skepticism of climate change “just embarrassing” and said while the Trump administration’s plan to withdraw from the Paris accord was not “a disaster for the world,” it nevertheless makes America “look foolish.”

Despite the barbs he slung at Trump, Bloomberg also called his former constituent “a very nice guy” (albeit one he doesn’t believe is fit for the presidency), and was only lukewarm toward Trump’s former opponent Hillary Clinton, despite speaking on her behalf at the Democratic National Convention.

Contending Clinton “would have been a decent president,” Bloomberg said her messaging never provided a compelling rationale as to why she should be elected.

“It was, ‘Don’t vote for that guy,’ and the gender issue,” he said.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/bloomberg-says-trump-stop-tweeting-let-russia-probe-run-course-141833669.html

US military hijacked by Jews, is trying to provoke a war with Russia

Commentary by Dr. Patrick Slattery — I know I supported Trump and I know the Trump administration is completely floundering. Our God Emperor has gotten off to a pretty miserable start. Lots of people are going to say he was a Zionist shill from the get go. But I say lets look at some facts.

  • During the election campaign, he repeatedly said he wanted to improve relations with Russia, didn’t want to get in World War III over Syria, and a number of other statements that are hardly vote-getters.
  • He was repeatedly undermined, abandoned, and thrown under the bus by the Republican establishment, which is ready to do it again.
  • There is a massive Jewish-orchestrated movement in the media to de-legitimize Trump as a Russian agent, which is intended to lead to his impeachment.
  • His nominees to a variety of positions have been held up by the Senate confirmation process, and those who have taken office, like Michael Flynn and Jeff Sessions, are hounded to resign, or at least recuse themselves from their most important duties.

I could go on and on, but the fact is that the Zionists and their puppets have hi-jacked our foreign policy and are trying to regime change Russia, and are willing to risk World War III to do it.

Did you know that the Pentagon was built in a swamp? And this is exactly the swamp that Trump needs to drain, starting with General Mattis. Obviously, General McMaster has to go, too. Trump should replace them with Tulsi Gabbard and Dennis Kucinich. Or Paul Craig Roberts and Pat Buchanan. Or Ron and Rand Paul. Or David Duke and myself.

Forget that. I have an idea. Trump should just become a puppet of Vladimir Putin. If he is going to be accused of being a puppet anyway, then why not? It’s like when your wife accuses you of having an affair, you might as well have one.

Think of all the bonuses. Putin is really smart. The Jews have been trying to get rid of him for at least a dozen years, and he just keeps getting stronger. He has made life immeasurably better for his people. They are not being replaced by immigrants. They are not being gayified. Yes, President Trump, please become a puppet of Vladimir Putin. It’s the only way to Make America Great Again.

And if you act now, I have a great shirt that will go together perfectly with your MAGA hat.

But seriously (although I would be seriously okay with Trump taking advise from Putin), I think it’s clear that Trump did not order the shooting down of the Syrian air force plane. Moreover, the Pentagon has completely capitulated to the Kremlin’s warnings about behaving itself if it doesn’t want its plane shot down. That, I believe, was Trump’s decision. Last year the Pentagon undermined President Obama’s attempt at a cease fire in Syria by bombing a Syrian military base “by accident.” Obama was too much of a weakling to stand up to this kind of mutiny. We will see whether Trump, faced with impeachment proceedings, stands up for himself.


From Zero Hedge

A day after a Russian fighter allegedly flew within 5 feet of a US reconnaissance plane traveling over the Baltic Sea, Reuters reports that a NATO F-16 fighter jet returned the favor when it tried to improperly approach a plane carrying the Russian defense minister. The plane was traveling to the city of Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave along the Baltic coast, where Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was scheduled to discuss security issues with defense officials on Wednesday. The NATO aircraft was warded off by a Russian Su-27 jet, according to RT.

In an accounting of the incident, Reuters notes that one of the Russian fighter jets escorting Shoigu’s plane had inserted itself between the defense minister’s plane and the NATO fighter and “tilted its wings from side to side to show the weapons it was carrying, Russian agencies said.” After that the F-16 promptly left the area.

A clip of the encounter was caught on tape by Russian journalists:

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that he has no information about the incident.

The latest provocative maneuver represents yet another escalation of tensions between the US and Russia. On Monday, Russia suspended cooperation with the US in Syria under the “memorandum of incident prevention in Syrian skies”, warning that its missile defense would intercept any aircraft traveling in Russia’s area of operation after a US fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime aircraft on Sunday.Russia slammed the US for shooting down the jet, calling the attack an “act of aggression” and claiming that the move benefited terrorists in the area. The Syrian regime says its jet was pursuing a fleeing ISIS convoy around the time it was shot down.  US officials claimed they tried to contact its Russia counterparts via an established “de-confliction line,” though Russia has denied this, saying that if the US had reached out, the incident could’ve been avoided.

A US jet also downed a pro-regime drone on Monday in what Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy described as a “dangerous escalation” of tensions between the US and pro-Syrian regime powers like Iran and Russia.   “I think we’re getting closer and closer to open conflict between Iran and Russia and the American public need to know that we are moving very fast towards what could be another war in the Middle East – something Donald Trump promised he wouldn’t do when he ran for office.”

As RT notes, encounters between US and Russian warplanes over the Baltic are becoming more frequent. A Russian fighter jet intercepted a small group of US warplanes, including Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker military refueling aircraft, two B-1 bombers and one B-52, during a BALTOPS (Baltic Operations) annual training exercise on June 10.

Source Article from https://davidduke.com/us-military-hijacked-by-jews-is-trying-to-provoke-a-war-with-russia/

Australia Suspends Airstrikes in Syria After Russia Threatens U.S.-led Coalition Aircraft

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Source Article from https://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/australia-suspends-airstrikes-in-syria-after-russia-threatens-u-s-led-coalition-aircraft/

Russia v Portugal: Build-up to Confed Cup clash in Moscow

Welcome to RT Sport’s live updates of the Russia-Portugal match at Spartak Stadium in Moscow.

The two teams are meeting in Group A of the FIFA 2017 Confederations Cup, currently underway across four Russian cities. 

Russia claimed an opening game win in the tournament on Saturday, beating New Zealand 2-0 in St. Petersburg.

European champions Portugal seemed destined for a win when they took a 2-1 in the last five minutes of their match against Mexico in Kazan on Sunday, but had to settle for a 2-2 draw when Hector Moreno equalized for the Mexicans in injury time.

Here’s how things stand in Group A ahead of tonight’s games:

That means the onus is very much on Ronaldo and co. to press for a win today. It promises to be a lively game in front of a sell-out crowd at Spartak Stadium.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/sport/393376-russia-portugal-live-confed-cup/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

To contain Russia and China, Pentagon requests more than $230 billion for nuclear weapons modernization


In the next 20 years, the Pentagon intends on spending $230 – 290 billion for the modernization of its nuclear forces. This was stated by US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Robert Soofer, presenting the budget request in the Senate. Among the reasons justifying the need to develop nuclear weapons, Soofer pointed to the the size of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which is not inferior in size to the US.

In his speech he explained the importance of further development of nuclear power and the need to allocate funds for the modernization to take place.

“Russia undertook aggressive actions against its neighbors, and has become a threat, including a nuclear threat to the US and its NATO allies,” – said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.

According to Soofer, the only country that can compete with the US on the size of the nuclear arsenal, has started modernization of nuclear weapons, in connection with which the presidential administration is invited to consider concrete steps that “would deprive the significant military advantage Russia.”

In addition, according to the Pentagon, a threat also exist from China, which is building up its own nuclear arsenal, and is North Korea.

“China’s actions in the Asia-Pacific region are evidence of its desire to occupy a dominant position. North Korean authorities have demonstrated that they are ready to accept the prospect of retaliatory economic sanctions and international isolation for the sake of increasing its nuclear capability and ballistic missiles, capable of striking the United States, as well as to our allies in the region “, – said Robert Soofer.

To confront the challenges, from 2018 to 2040 the US Department of Defense plans to spend from $ 230 billion to $ 290 billion on nuclear weapons.

This amount includes the total value of strategic nuclear weapon delivery systems, as well as part of the cost of the bomber B-21, which can be used with both nuclear and conventional warheads.

The US is spending on the maintenance of existing nuclear weapons a total sum of about $ 14 billion a year. However, in 2018 the Ministry of Defense plans to increase this amount to $ 19 billion, of which $ 5 billion will be allocated exclusively to modernization. The money will be spent on the development and creation of strategic submarines “Colombia”, a new generation of bombers, B-21, as well as the manufacture of modern ballistic and cruise missiles.

Increases are also planned for spending on the development of land-based strategic deterrence program, which involves the upgrading of ballistic missiles and related infrastructure, with $ 200 million in the fiscal year of 2018, to $ 2.5 billion in 2022. On the B-21 bombers, the US plans to spend $ 2.7 billion on an annual basis. Also in 2018 the Pentagon wants to allocate $ 2.8 billion for the production and modernization of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can attack targets at a distance of at least 5.5 thousand Km.

It is notable, according to SIPRI Research Institute, that in 2016 the United States spent $ 611.2 billion on the development of nuclear weapons, while Russia – only $ 69.2 billion.

According to the level of military expenditure, China ranked second in the world -. $ 215.2 billion. Thus, more than a third of the world’s military spending belongs to the US, while Russia’s budget is only 4.1% of the world’s.

“It would be wonderful, this is my dream, if no country had nuclear weapons, but if any state will have a nuclear weapon, we will be on top of the competition”, – said the US president.

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/354274-To-contain-Russia-and-China-Pentagon-requests-more-than-230-billion-for-nuclear-weapons-modernization

Sean Hannity likens Trump-Russia investigation to ‘birther and truther conspiracies’

(INTELLIHUB) — Sean Hannity flipped the script on proponents of the everlasting fake Russian narrative during a Tuesday night segment of his Fox News show, by likening the investigation to ‘birther’ or ‘truther’ conspiracy theories.

While Hannity’s comments may be offensive to actual birthers and truthers alike, he may have taken the stab knowing that it would hurt Democrats the most by calling them what they despise the most.

“[…] they won’t stop pushing this phony Russia-Trump collusion narrative, despite no evidence, as a matter of fact, evidence now to the contrary,” Hannity said. “This has now become like Russia-Trump conspiracy, birther conspiracies, you know, sort of truthers.”

For the record, the so-called ‘birthers’ were right. It’s been proven that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery, for a fact.


Obama’s birth certificate proven a forgery, fraudulently fabricated document, by forensic investigators on two continents

Via Intellihub

Featured Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr
©2017. INTELLIHUB.COM. All Rights Reserved.

Shepard Ambellas is an opinion journalist, analyst, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics (Intellihub.com). Shepard is also known for producing Shade: The Motion Picture (2013) and appearing on Travel Channel’s America Declassified (2013). Shepard is a regular contributor to Infowars. Read more from Shep’s World. Follow Shep on Facebook and Twitter.

Source Article from https://www.intellihub.com/sean-hannity-likens-trump-russia-investigation-birther-truther-conspiracies/

BREAKING: Russia Halts Cooperation with US in Syria, Citing US Support for ISIS – Will ‘Intercept Any Aircraft’


Following the United States’ decision to shoot down a Syrian warplane, Russia has spoken out in support of the Syrian government, and has announced that will shoot down any U.S. warplanes in its airspace.

The Russian Ministry of Defense released a statement announcing that it is halting cooperation with the U.S. and its allies “in the framework of the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria” following the coalition’s downing of a Syrian warplane on Sunday.

“In the areas of combat missions of Russian air fleet in Syrian skies, any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets.”

 The Russian Defense Ministry also called for a thorough investigation into the coalition’s decision to shoot down the Syrian government’s military aircraft, noting that the incident “cynically violates” the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic.

What is it then, if not an act of aggression, an act directly in breach of international law,”  Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told journalists in Moscow, quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency.

“If you want, it’s actually help for the terrorists the US is fighting, declaring that they are conducting a counterterrorism policy,” the deputy foreign minister added.

In the statement, the ministry said the U.S. Air Force had committed an act of “military aggression” against Syria, and it referred to the incident as “a conscious failure to comply with the obligations under the Memorandum on the Prevention of Incidents and Ensuring Air Safety in Syria.”

“The command of the coalition forces did not use the existing communication channel between the air commands of Al Udeid Airbase (in Qatar) and the Khmeimim Airbase to prevent incidents in Syrian airspace.”

Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the American-led task force, told the New York Times that the U.S. will continue to conduct air operations, despite Russia’s warnings.

“We are going to continue to conduct operations throughout Syria, providing air support for coalition and partnered forces on the ground,” Dillon said.

As The Free Thought Project reported, the U.S.-led coalition claimed responsibility for the attack on Sunday, in a statement that blamed the Syrian government, and claimed its military aircraft was targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces near Raqqa.

“At 6:43pm, a Syrian regime SU-22 dropped bombs near SDF fighters south of Tabqah and, in accordance with rules of engagement and collective self-defense of Coalition partnered forces, was immediately shot down by a US F/A-18E Super Hornet.”

Syria has been adamant about the fact that its military was targeting ISIS fighters in the land surrounding Raqqa, the militant group’s self-proclaimed capital.

“This attack comes at a time when the Syrian Arab army and its allies are advancing in the fight against ISIS terrorists who are being defeated in the Syrian desert in more ways than one,” the Syrian military said in a statement.

Last week, a Syrian lawmaker accused the U.S. of directly transporting at least 120 ISIS militants to safety, before beginning an attack on the city that has included reports of illegal chemical weapons use, including white phosphorus.

While the United States has claimed its purpose is to eliminate ISIS from the region, Russia and Syria have claimed to have the same purpose. The U.S.-led coalition’s decision to shoot down a Syrian warplane is especially notable, because of the fact that the aircraft was targeting an area that the U.S. has been targeting with a barrage of airstrikes in recent weeks.

Russia and Syria have both accused the U.S. of aiding ISIS, and with Russia now supporting Syria to the extent that it is threatening to view U.S. warplanes as targets, it serves as a reminder that rather than helping to defeat a common enemy, the U.S. is laying the groundwork for a new, and concerning conflict between the two superpowers.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/russia-halts-cooperation-with-us-syria/

Russia Halts Cooperation with US in Syrian Airspace

Russia Halts Cooperation with US in Syrian Airspace

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman)

In response to the US-led coalition downing of a Syrian Su-22 warplane in its own airspace, a lawless aggressive act, Russia’s Defense Ministry issued the following statement:

“As of June 19 this year, the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation has ended its interaction with the US side under a memorandum for preventing incidents and providing for safe flights during operations in Syria, and demands that the US command carry out a careful investigation and report about its results and the measures taken.”

“The shooting down of a Syrian Air Force jet in Syria’s airspace is a cynical violation of Syria’s sovereignty. The US’ repeated combat operations under the guise of ‘combating terrorism’ against the legitimate armed forces of a UN member-state are a flagrant violation of international law, in addition to being actual military aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Strong stuff, badly needed, the ministry adding:

“Any aircraft, including planes and drones of the international coalition, detected in the operation areas west of the Euphrates River by the Russian air forces will be followed by Russian ground-based air defense and air defense aircraft as air targets.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov minced no words, saying Sunday’s downing of a Syrian aircraft is “another act of defiance of international law by the United States.”

“What was it if not an act of aggression? It was also an act of assistance to those terrorists whom the United States is ostensibly fighting against.”

CENTCOM didn’t use the communication channel with Russia – established to avoid incidents like the Sunday downing of a Syrian aircraft, a flagrant violation of what both countries agreed to.

Henceforth, Russia’s sophisticated S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems will intercept foreign aircraft and drones operating in areas where it’s conducting combat missions in Syrian airspace.

Russia is committed to continue combating the scourge of terrorism in Syria, wanting it prevented from operating in its own territory.

Unlike America, Moscow respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations. Part of its mission is preserving them in Syria.

Its military operations scrupulously try avoiding confrontation with US-led coalition warplanes and ground forces.

Repeated US incidents of naked aggression against Syria’s military and its civilian population head things toward Pentagon warplanes potentially clashing with Russia’s – risking possible war between the world’s dominant nuclear powers.

A Final Comment

On June 16, Foreign Policy magazine, owned by a neocon/CIA-connected Washington Post division, said two Trump administration officials urge escalating US military operations in Syria more than already.

National Security Council senior director for intelligence Ezra Cohen-Watnick and the NSC’s top Middle East advisor Derek Harvey want greater US military operations in southern Syria.

So far Defense Secretary Mattis and Pentagon commanders haven’t upped the stakes this much – maintaining the fiction of focusing operations on combating ISIS, the scourge Washington supports.

In the wake of Sunday’s downing of a Syrian warplane in its own airspace while striking ISIS targets, it’s unclear if America intends getting more aggressive in northern and southern parts of the country than already.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman)

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/220101-2017-06-19-russia-halts-cooperation-with-us-in-syrian-airspace.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

Are Russia and the Saudis planning a natural gas cartel?

At the same time, Russia and Saudi continue to give indications of a possible OPEC 2.0 scenario, in which a possible Russian membership is on the table. This would confront the market with a renewed and stronger oil cartel, although the overall strategies need to be adjusted.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia, via its oil giant Aramco has openly stated to be interested in global gas investment opportunities, starting in Russia’s Siberian region. While the media still looks at the current discussions as a pure crude oil cooperation strategy, some see another development on the horizon.

The real power of OPEC, non-OPEC cooperation would increase if they would not only include a crude oil production cut, but also integrate the other (hidden) cartel, the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). An OPEC 2.1, including gas exporters, would really block any negative developments in the market, even shale oil and gas.

At present, international analysts and media sources are hyping the story about Saudi Arabia’s multi-billion dollar investments in Russia’s oil and gas sectors. Statements made by Saudi minister of petroleum Khalid Al Falih are only making headlines at present if he indicates that oil giant Aramco will be targeting natural gas projects and even LNG in future.

Certain analysts think that Aramco is taking the same road as Shell, BP and other oil majors, have taken, diversifying away from oil and into gas. The ‘Golden Age of Gas’, as reported by the IEA has not yet become reality. Riyadh now seems interested in becoming a convert of the gas era, but reality is not as simple. There is more between the lines than currently is being discussed in the media.

First of all, Saudi Aramco has always been heavily involved in the gas sector, as it is already a very large gas producer. Recent figures show that Saudi Arabia’s total proved natural gas reserves are set to be around 8500 bcm, which means it holds the sixth most proved natural gas reserves globally and the third most in the Middle East.

In 2014, Aramco produced around 102.4 bcm of natural gas, which made them the eighth largest natural gas producer in the world. Additionally, it marked the fifth consecutive year of increasing natural gas production in Saudi Arabia, illustrating that Saudi Arabia has emphasized growing their domestic production in order to continue to meet their energy demand.

The Kingdom also is not only a huge producer of natural gas, its local consumption is also impressive. The kingdom consumed 108.2 bcm in 2014, making it the 5th largest consumer worldwide. In 2014, natural gas made up ~40.7 percent of Saudi Arabia’s primary energy consumption.

Read more on Oilprice.com: Iraq Dethrones Saudi Arabia As India’s No.1 Oil Supplier

The country’s natural gas consumption has continued to grow as has natural gas’s role in Saudi Arabia’s current energy mix. In 2014, natural gas made up ~40.7 percent of Saudi Arabia’s primary energy consumption. For the next years this will increase substantially.

Currently, Saudi Arabia does not import or export natural gas and therefore they have not established themselves as a global natural gas supplier even though they produce significant amounts of it. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has been able to achieve important security of supply due to the fact that they only rely on themselves for their natural gas needs.

However, this also means that Saudi Arabia will have to continue to produce at high levels going forward to meet their domestic demand. To counter growing demand for natural gas, Aramco is even pursuing shale gas in the future, with first production expected around 2020-2021.

A rapid development of reserves is necessary, as not only will the Kingdom need more gas to compensate for its current crude oil usage, which is a direct financial pressure on the budget, but current diversification plans also imply increased natural gas consumption in the petchem industry. Next to this, increased gas production is crucial for power generation and water desalination in the near future.

Technically, gas production is also of importance to support crude oil production, partly via gas reinjection projects on ageing oil fields. The above painted situation was part of the E&P strategy of Aramco, when it took in several IOCs (Shell) and independents to search for new gas reserves, especially in the Rub Al Khali (Empty Quarter). The latter until now has been rather disappointing, and most international parties have left.

The present and future gas cooperation between Russia and Saudi Arabia should be assessed in this light. Aramco’s internationalization strategy includes investments and operations in Russia or FSU republics the coming years. These actions are part of a diversification drive in Aramco, but should not be looked at with only attention for the Russian opportunities.

Taking into account the current Saudi situation, Aramco has been looking for access to technology, R&D and cooperation since decades with the usual suspects. Gazprom, Lukoil and Rosneft were not included at that time in the inner circle, as the geopolitical situation and the clash between communism and Wahhabism prevented an opening. This has changed, and both sides are now showing an increased willingness to cooperate in both their territories, Russia but also Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi offer to invest in Russia will have very strong strings attached. Investing in Russian oil and gas operations, including LNG, will be linked to receiving an in depth insight and access to Russian gas technology and R&D. Aramco will without any doubt have direct research links and investments with Gazprom VNIIGAZ (Scientific-Research Institute of Natural Gases and Gas Technologies) — with its research operations in Saratov, next to the Volga River could substantially support “In Kingdom” gas operations and production projects in the future.

The bottom line at present for Saudi Arabia’s geopolitical and economic power drive is an increased economic diversification effort at home. All instruments, including the multibillion investments by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund PIF, which will include Saudi Aramco IPO revenues in 2018, in the RIDF (Russian Direct Investment Fund) should be seen in that light. The meetings between Saudi deputy crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman or Saudi minister of petroleum Khalid Al Falih with Russian president Putin and his cohorts are linked to the internal drive of the Kingdom.

Read more on Oilprice.com: Solar And Wind Revolution Happening Much Faster Than Expected

This cooperation could also be driven by another issue. In addition to the historic cooperation between the two oil producers, as shown in the OPEC non-OPEC production cut agreements the last years, both have been discussing since years also a global gas cooperation. Even that the oil price plunge has pushed both former adversaries to cooperate, an expansion to gas could even be strategically very interesting.

For Russia, a combined market approach of OPEC and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF), labelled sometimes as the gas cartel, would increase its global power. The same is the case for Saudi Arabia, as the OPEC leader, holding vast reserves of natural and associated gas, understands that a combined OPEC-GECF strategy could have several main strategic advantages.

Not only would this create a power bloc that could have a much higher impact on the U.S. shale revolution, blocking part of the global market if necessary, but also it would increase pressure on Saudi’s main rival at present Qatar, the world’s leading LNG exporter.

By cooperating with Russia, Saudi Arabia could kill two birds with one stone. Riyadh’s strategy with OPEC – Russia could be solidified, while at the same time it holds power over the world’s gas sector.

Moscow’s support for Riyadh’s plans will not only benefit the Kingdom’s natural gas development, but also corner Qatar fully. A combined Russian-Saudi power play in global gas could change it dramatically. Putin and MBS could be looking for a kill.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/business/393062-russia-natural-gas-saudi-arabia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS