It’s been reported that Washington is planning to host a ministerial meeting on the struggle against ISIS, that must feature the representatives of at least 68 countries, in late March. As it’s been reported by Reuters, with a special reference to an unnamed source in the Trump administration, Russia is not going to be invited to attend the meeting It is expected that the meeting will be chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, while no additional details has been revealed so far.
At the end of February, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US Armed Forces, Joseph Dunford has announced a new plan on combating the above mentioned terrorist group, while leaving all the answers about the possible role the American military personnel in Iraq and Syria may or may not play in this operation. At the same time, he noted that the Pentagon and the Russian Defense Ministry are not cooperating in the fight against ISIS.
But, despite such a veil of silence, it is not difficult to comprehend the true reasons behind such a large-scale offensive against ISIS, and the goals that the Trump administration pursues in this “intensification of the struggle against the Islamic State”. It won’t be much of a surprise for those closely following geopolitic events that Washington is after the Middle Eastern oil and gas resources, since it wants the most tasty piece of the EU hydrocarbon market.
Over decades, Europe has been transformed into a major gas market that shows record numbers in gas consumption department. Yet, Russia remain the major gas suppliers to this market, which hydrocarbons being quickly delivered to Europe along a wide network of gas pipelines, and the US wants a share of it now by trying to compete with Russian via liquefied natural gas (LNG) supplies.
Russia has been showing record numbers in the history of its gas exports to the EU recently. It occupied some 34% of the EU hydrocarbon market and analysts from Royal Dutch Shell are convinced that Russia will remain the largest energy exporter of hydrocarbons to the EU until 2035, since Europe is forced to import up to 75% of its hydrocarbon demand to cover the growing needs of the EU economy. A similar position was voiced by the representatives of the British BP last January.
However, in order to undermine Russia’s position in the European gas markets, Washington has been supporting virtually all projects that could allow it to displace Russia’s gas dominance in Europe, and, at the same, seeks ways of preventing the strengthening of Russian positions in the Middle East energy market.
So it should come as no surprise that the US authorities are abusing the European politicians and media sources that they are in control of to push the idea about “the need of creating preconditions for achieving the European energy independence.” However, since this objective is virtually unattainable due to problems that Dutch gas producers have been facing and the depletion of Norwegian natural resources, the US has been actively demanding the EU to start buying American LNG “to be more secury”. As gas production levels soared last year in the US, Washington has been making all sorts of steps into forcing the EU to turn its back on Russian gas which is some 30-40% cheaper than the one American LNG companies can deliver.
Therefore, the high logistical costs can only be compensated in a sole way – by undermining all the prospects of new pipelines being constructed. That is why Washington, today has torpedoed the construction of the so-called Islamic gas pipeline from the super gas filed North-South Pars, that was planned by Qatar and Turkey. Although Qatar has increased its share in Europe from 1 to 6 percent, as a result of the failure of the Islamic gas pipeline, it can retain its share in the market only via LNG shipments to Europe. But in this field it will have to face a tough confrontation with US companies and eventually it is going to lose this struggle.
The prospects of the Pan-Arab gas pipeline, which was supposed to transport gas across Syria and Turkey to Europe, also look slim. It is for this reason that a significant portion of the North African gas is “cut off” from the European market.
Therefore, the so-called “fight against ISIS” today acquires a new meaning for the White House. Previously, Washington couldn’t care less about fighting ISIS, since it was heavily using this terrorist organization, just like it used to take advantage of Al-Qaida, to attain its strategic goals of destabilizing the Middle Eastern region and pursuing regime change in certain countries, among which one find both Syria and Iraq. Today, the “fight against ISIS” can fundamentally affect the role and place of each player in both the Middle Eastern and in European energy markets. Therefore, Russia, which is the main competitor of the United States in this area, despite the impressive results that it has demonstrated in the destruction of jihadi groups in Syria, is not going to be invited to attend the ministerial meeting in Washington.
Therefore, we can confidently conclude that if for Mr. Barack Obama the opposition to ISIS was more of a question of ideology, then Donald Trump, as a businessman, will only seek ways to inflict financial and losses to Russia, but seeking business benefits for America special interests in the new “fight against the ISIS” .