Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Am I Missing Something?

In the latest brief from Stratfor, I came across this text when discussing on the war in Afghanistan and the logistics of supporting the coming surge while avoiding the now risky route of Pakistan.

[...]

When we look at a map, the two routes through Pakistan from Karachi are clearly the most logical to use. If those were closed — or even meaningfully degraded — the only other viable routes would be through the former Soviet Union.

  • One route, along which a light load of fuel is currently transported, crosses the Caspian Sea. Fuel refined in Armenia is ferried across the Caspian to Turkmenistan (where a small amount of fuel is also refined), then shipped across Turkmenistan directly to Afghanistan and through a small spit of land in Uzbekistan. This route could be expanded to reach either the Black Sea through Georgia or the Mediterranean through Georgia and Turkey (though the additional use of Turkey would require a rail gauge switch). It is also not clear that transports native to the Caspian have sufficient capacity for this.
  • Another route sidesteps the issues of both transport across the Caspian and the sensitivity of Georgia by crossing Russian territory above the Caspian. Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (and likely at least a small corner of Turkmenistan) would connect the route to Afghanistan. There are options of connecting to the Black Sea or transiting to Europe through either Ukraine or Belarus.
  • Iran could provide a potential alternative, but relations between Tehran and Washington would have to improve dramatically before such discussions could even begin — and time is short.

Many of the details still need to be worked out. But they are largely variations on the two main themes of either crossing the Caspian or transiting Russian territory above it.

Though the first route is already partially established for fuel, it is not clear how much additional capacity exists. To complicate matters further, Turkmen acquiescence is unlikely without Russian authorization, and Armenia remains strongly loyal to Moscow as well. While the current Georgian government might leap at the chance, the issue is obviously an extremely sensitive one for Moscow. (And with Russian forces positioned in Azerbaijan and the Georgian breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Moscow has troops looming over both sides of the vulnerable route across Georgia.) The second option would require crossing Russian territory itself, with a number of options — from connecting to the Black Sea to transiting either Ukraine or Belarus to Europe, or connecting to the Baltic states. [...]

Am I missing something? How is fueld refined in Armenia being transported to Afghanistan? You might think that they have misidentified Armenia instead of Azerbaijan but then they speak of her loyalty to Russia. The attached map of potential routes includes the Armenian portion of Kars-Gyumri-Tbilisi that starts at the Aegeian Sea and reaches Kabul. That is one alternative but it explains the whole Turkey-Armenia soccer diplomacy deal.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Stratfor is lying on so many occasions. Go and figure out who works there. Here is another piece from stratfor:

"Following a 1990-1992 stint fighting for the
Armenians in the Azerbaijani secessionist region of Nagorno-Karabakh,
the Chechens joined the Abkhazians during their "War of Independence"
from Georgia."

There are so many evidence that chechens were fighting on Azerbaijani side ....

My suggestion, don't pay money and buy Stratfor crap

nazarian said...

I don't know if it's lying or not. I think it is indicative of the insignificance of Armenia, and Azerbaijan, in the minds of the geopolitical analysts in the US. The clump of soil that is our homeland doesn't really have any significance to them - it's a dead end politically and geographically. I think Georgia is the most important country (a bonus is that they can pronounce it correctly). Azerbaijan is something to tolerate as it has hydrocarbons. I fail to see what value Armenia can have to the West (especially since it's practically a Russian province).

Anonymous said...

///I don't know if it's lying or not.////

It's not difficult. As a fellow Armenian I thought you are reading information about NK war?! If not just google NK war chechens

///I think it is indicative of the insignificance of Armenia, and Azerbaijan, in the minds of the geopolitical analysts in the US. ///

We are talking about stratfor and not the US. stratfor consist of anti-russian cold war specialists. So Arm and Az are of interest when it comes to politics re Russia. In regard to USA< all the world matters to them and no one is significant in comparison to US interests.

///The clump of soil that is our homeland doesn't really have any significance to them - it's a dead end politically and geographically. ////

hmmm, in comparative terms you are making a huge mistake. probably you haven't heard of American Armenians?

///I think Georgia is the most important country (a bonus is that they can pronounce it correctly). ///

Not true, it's a bonus of "loyalty" + transit for BTC pipe.


///Azerbaijan is something to tolerate as it has hydrocarbons.///

agree+Israel policy re turkey


/// I fail to see what value Armenia can have to the West (especially since it's practically a Russian province).///


hmmm, so you are joining to Azerbaijanis point of view and to Armenia's fifth column? And please don't mix west to the US and stratfor to the values of west.

PS
instead as a fellow american, you could write letter to stratfor asking for clarification. This is how Armenians worked to achieve something. stop whining on every occasion and start acting. country needs every Armenian effort

spm said...

Nazarian, I used to read Stratfor at the height of Az-Am conflict. Then I started to notice that very often they are not presenting facts as they are on the ground, but as they wish them to be. The example you brought here is a brilliant confirmation of what I suspected already. This is like saying Nabucco...nabucco...nabucco until it happens. The west apparently and i would say desperately wants to see fuel lines going through Caspian-Black Sea corridor back and forth without Russian or Iranian participation. It is only possible if Armenia is involved and if it can ignore Russian pressure on the matter. I dont think it is viable any time soon, but indeed it is the best solution for South Caucasian countries (Az, Am, Geo) if they struck a deal and cooperate on that matter.