Russian-Vietnamese Oil Partnership Starts Drilling in Waters Informally Claimed by China

Vietnam oil drilling in South China Sea

Rosneft Vietnam has started drilling for oil in the South China Sea

Russia’s #Rosneft earlier this week announced that it had started drilling a production well off the coast of #Vietnam in the #South_China_Sea. Today, two sources close to the Vietnamese unit of the Russian company told Reuters there were concerns there about #China’s possible reaction to the drilling.

The well is located in the #Lan_Do gas field, which, according to Wood Mackenzie, falls within the nine-dash line outlined by #Beijing as marking the territory that it has claim over in the South China Sea.

The Lan Do field holds an estimated 23 billion cubic meters of natural gas, and Rosneft also has plans to drill in another field that’s part of the same block, #Phong_Lan_Dai, later this year. There is no sign of any concern in the company’s press release with the latest drilling update, but another oil company, #Repsol, got burned not long ago when it tried to drill in the Vietnamese shelf.

In July last year, Vietnam called off a drilling expedition in the South China Sea after reported pressure from Beijing. The company that was drilling in the Block 136-03, a unit of Spain’s Repsol, was asked to stop drilling.

Then this March, #PetroVietnam again asked Repsol to stop drilling at another block, 07/03, which is estimated to hold 45 million barrels of crude and 172 billion cu ft of natural gas. The Spanish company and its partners could part with US$200 million in lost investment in the project, the BBC reported at the time.

The dispute in the South China Sea involves territorial claims by China as well as Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei, and Malaysia. China has territorial claims to about 90 percent of the South China Sea, which has put it at odds with its neighbors.Apart from being a critical global trade route, the South China Sea is estimated to hold around 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proved and probable reserves, with conventional hydrocarbons mostly residing in undisputed territory, according to the EIA.


Major US Hybrid Terrorist Push Planned in Central Asia – ‘Against Iran and Russia’ – Russian Intel Agencies

“Obviously, the United States did not seize Afghanistan, by rigging its military dictatorship there, in order to build democracy and civil society there.”

Imperia News is new site put out by expats in Moscow, Russia, which has good access to high quality Russian government sources. This material was obviously written by an expert in Russian security affairs.

Sources in the Russian law enforcement agencies, citing data from closed communication channels with the Defense Ministries of #China, #Pakistan and #Afghanistan, say that the operation to prepare a large-scale hybrid offensive against #Russia through #Tajikistan and #Uzbekistan is in the final phase.

Reports of this have been received earlier, in particular, this was mentioned at a recent security conference held in #Tashkent. Then the head of the #Tajik Foreign Ministry Sirodzhiddin Aslov openly announced the activation of #terrorists in the region:

The activation of terrorist groups, their advancement to the northern regions of Afghanistan, especially in the territories bordering #Tajikistan, the increase in the number of #ISIS supporters, as well as the participation of a certain number of citizens of the post-Soviet republics in the terrorist groups and movements present in Afghanistan … causes our serious concern

This problem was also voiced at the Seventh Conference on International Security, held recently in Moscow. According to Russian intelligence agencies, at the moment the combat potential of the #Islamic_State ranges from 2500 to 4000 people. This is also confirmed by sources from the Ministry of Defense of China. The Chinese military claims at least 3,800 militants operating in 160 terrorist cells. Their greatest concentration is in the province of Nangarhar, in which the Islamic State increases the production and smuggling of drugs, as well as creates an infrastructure for the training of terrorists and recruits local people.

The plan

According to Russian and Chinese law enforcement agencies, militants fleeing the sea from Syria and Iraq follow a route from the Qasim port in the Pakistani city of Karachi to #Peshawar, and are then distributed along the #Nangarhar province in the east of the country. Representatives of the top leadership of the radicals are located in the Achin district.

In addition, it is noted that since late 2017 the leaders of the Islamic State managed to transfer from Syria and Iraq to Afghanistan an additional 500 foreign fighters, including more than two dozen women. A source in one of the Russian law enforcement agencies says:

All of them are also in the province of Nangarhar. They are citizens of Sudan, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, France and so on.

Movement of militants to the north is planned to be organized in two directions. In Tajikistan, the radicals will penetrate the provinces of Nuristan and Badakhshan, and to Turkmenistan – through the provinces of Farah, Ghor, Sari-Pul and Faryab.

The executor

Governor of Nangarhar Province, Gulab Mangal, personally oversees militant activities in the region, which plans to expand its influence over other regions of the country at the expense of the radicals. In addition, he actively participates in the financial activities of the Islamic State, receiving significant profits. The network informs that any protest actions of the population dissatisfied with the activities of the Islamic State are “severely suppressed by the provincial authorities, including through punitive operations against whole settlements.”

Mangal has a long-standing relationship with the US intelligence services. In particular, he fought against the Soviet forces during the Afghan campaign of the USSR. Immediately after the US invasion in 2001, he was appointed as the head of the local government of the Pashtuns, the people to which he belongs. Also, Mangal is loved by the Western press. Most of the publications in the major American and British media contain exceptionally positive information about him, and the BBC called him “the hope of Helmand province,” which Mangal previously headed.

According to the Ministry of Defense of Afghanistan, in the near future the leadership of the Islamic State plans to expand the grouping by another 1.2 thousand militants. Most of them will also be located in the province, under the control of Gulab Mangal and his people.

Caucasus and Central Asia
Caucasus and Central Asia

It is worth noting that the two largest US bases in Afghanistan are in the immediate vicinity of the Nangarhar province, which is hardly worth considering as a coincidence.

At the same time, the expert community points out that the pressure on Tajikistan and Turkmenistan will be only one of the vectors of the new hybrid attack on Russia. Director of the Center for Geopolitical Expertise Valery Korovin is confident that Moscow should prepare for a large-scale offensive of geopolitical opponents on all fronts: in Ukraine, possibly through Armenia, as well as a number of other post-Soviet countries:

The probability of an exacerbation in Central Asia

Why do Americans do this?

Destabilizing the situation in Central Asia, the US and its allies will achieve several goals at once.

First, in this way, Washington can distract Moscow and Tehran from Syria.

Second, if the operation succeeds, a focus of instability will be created along the path of the One-Belt-One-Road project, which is designed to strengthen the economic and logistical integration of Eurasia. Afghanistan also borders Iran in the west, which opens a new front against Tehran if extremely high.

It will happen synchronously with the exacerbation in several directions. Starting with economic pressure through new sanctions, ending with “color revolutions” that will continue in the post-Soviet space, and direct aggression from American networks. Obviously, the United States did not seize Afghanistan, by rigging its military dictatorship there, in order to build democracy and civil society there.

This is a springboard for the creation of terrorist networks, with the help of which the US is preparing an aggression against Iran and Russia.


Russia and China Have Had Enough – The Road to 2025 (Part 2)

Barefoot Warrior comments:

Anyone who has spent some time reading world history would be familiar with the signs and actions emanating from a dying #empire, the last gasps of breath of a once strong and proud nation.

That such an empire would become more and more autocratic and dictatorial and feels the need to protect itself even from its own citizens by curtailing their freedoms, increasing surveillance  and by imposing heavier penalties through a generally corrupt and ‘bought’ justice system on those citizens who overstep an ever more arbitrary and imaginary line seems a given.

The dying empire, too, will take up arms against its own citizens while suspected and imaginary threats anywhere outside the empire’s borders will be met with massive force, attempts at regime change and extensive meddling in the internal affairs of the target nation.

Is this what we now see happening today in the United States of America?

— Barefoot Warrior

Russia and China Have Had Enough – The Road to 2025 (Part 2)

By Michael Krieger

Part 1 of this series focused on how the U.S. empire no longer provides any real benefit to the average American citizen. Rather, the spoils of overseas wars, the domestic surveillance state and an overall corrupt economy are being systematically funneled to a smaller and smaller group of generally unsavory characters. The public’s starting to recognize this reality, which is why we saw major populist movements emerge on both the traditional right and left of the political spectrum in 2016.

As millions of Americans emerge from their long slumber, much of the world’s been aware of this reality for a long time. They don’t see the U.S. as a magnanimous humanitarian empire, that’s a fairytale more suited for children’s books and the mass media. In fact, it seems clear that the billions of humans who live in various sovereign nations around the world would certainly prefer to be in control of their own destinies as opposed to mere vassal states of the U.S., they simply haven’t possessed the military or economic power to stand up and chart their own course. But things are changing.

The most significant geopolitical change of the 21st century is the emergence of #China, and the reemergence of #Russia, as globally significant military powers. This is the core driver behind the establishment’s panic about Russia. It has nothing to do with #Putin’s authoritarianism or human rights abuses, that’s just marketing directed at a heretofore extremely gullible public.

In reality, those determined to perpetuate a unipolar world run by the U.S. are appalled and concerned about the fact Russia was able to become involved in Syria and prevent another regime change operation. Russia very publicly, and very successfully, stood up and said “no” to U.S. imperial ambitions in Syria. This isn’t just historically significant, it’s seen as blasphemous and recalcitrant by the U.S. status quo.

With that out of the way, let’s revisit a few things I wrote over the weekend in my first thoughts on the latest Syria strike:

Russian leadership are not a bunch of fools, nor will they back down. After last night, they know for certain the U.S. empire is determined to castrate them globally at all costs in order to impede an inevitable emergence of a multi-polar world.

I don’t think Russia or Iran will respond with a shock and awe attack any time soon, nor will this likely spiral out of control in the near-term. It’s more likely we’ll see this all play out over the course of the next 5 years or so.

I also don’t expect this to go nuclear, but I think the chances the U.S. experiences an imperial collapse similar to that of the USSR (or like any historically unmanageable and corrupt empire) has become increasingly likely. My view at this point is the U.S. and its global power position will be so dramatically altered in the years ahead, it’ll be almost unrecognizable by 2025, as a result of both economic decline and major geopolitical mistakes. This will cause the public to justifiably lose faith in all leadership and institutions.

The more I reflect on what’s going on, the more I’m convinced the U.S. is trying to goad Russia into a response with these provocations. I think the Russians know this, which is precisely why they’re responding with cool heads to a blatantly illegal and unconstitutional strike likely based on a fake narrative. In fact, we still don’t have any reliable or rock solid evidence of what happened. Naturally, this didn’t stop Donald Trump from bombing without consulting Congress, nor did it stop Theresa May from doing the same without consulting Parliament. Please tell me again about our illustrious Western democracies. I suppose that’s just another fairytale for public consumption.

Moreover, Russia’s lack of a military response shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness, but as an intentional and well thought out strategy. The Russians seem to think the U.S. (and UK) are acting like desperate feral lunatics and the best thing they can do is sit back, play defense, and let the short-sighted fools running the American empire ruin themselves. The erratic and demonstrably thuggish and shady manner in which the U.S., UK and France behaved in this latest criminal act has not been lost upon the populations of the world, including considerable portions of the American and British populace who are disgusted at what these governments are doing in our names. Russia’s strategy is to look reasonable on the global stage compared to a U.S. which seems increasingly crazy and unhinged. It seems to be working.

That being said, Russia by itself isn’t capable of successfully standing up to the U.S. empire in the long-run. This is where China comes into play. Chinese leadership have also had enough but are, like the Russians, holding back and acting like the reasonable adults in the room. We saw this most recently with the Chinese cooling down the trade wars. U.S. pundits cheered this as a sign of weakness, but I think the opposite. China’s playing the same game as Russia. Allow U.S. leadership to continue to look like insufferable bullies on the world stage until everyone gets completely sick of U.S. dominance.

A reader who lives in Europe wrote the following comment on my last post, which seems like a fair representation of global public opinion at this point:

The Soviet empire fell because the cost of the arms race depleted the rest of the society to such a degree that a collapse was inevitable. I believe the US are in a similar state now. The current wars are carried out by technology at distance, or by proxy warriors, and not by actual americans on ground. How long can the citizens carry that burden? At the same time the US is losing the moral support within the public among their allies, as I know first hand, by being from a european allied country. Although our domestic politic leadership and mainstream press are supporting the US, especially when they launch some rockets, opposition and disbelief is large and growing among normal people. The US has lost its position as our leading star, not just among the leftist, but all over the spectrum. The insanity and lies are becoming so evident that it is impossible to deny it.

The U.S. is rapidly losing support and confidence at the grassroots level, both at home and abroad. We see the lies and we see the disregard for the Constitution. The U.S. and its pet allies like the UK and France will all be increasingly seen as rogue states by much of the world if they keep this up.

Finally, for those of you who doubt which side China is on in this global drama, let me point out the following excerpts from a recent editorial published in the state-sponsored Global Times earlier this week:

The facts cannot be distorted. This military strike was not authorized by the UN, and the strikes targeted a legal government of a UN member state. The US and its European allies launched strikes to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack in Duma last weekend. However, it has not been confirmed if the chemical weapons attack happened or if it did, whether government forces or opposition forces launched it. International organizations have not carried out any authoritative investigation.

The Syrian government has repeatedly stressed that there is no need for it to use chemical weapons to capture the opposition-controlled Duma city and the use of chemical weapons has provided an excuse for Western intervention. The Syrian government’s argument or Trump’s accusations against the “evil” Assad regime, which one is in line with basic logic? The answer is quite obvious.

The US has a record of launching wars on deceptive grounds. The Bush government asserted the Saddam regime held chemical weapons before the US-British coalition troops invaded Iraq in 2003. However, the coalition forces didn’t find what they called weapons of mass destruction after overthrowing the Saddam regime. Both Washington and London admitted later that their intelligence was false.

Washington’s attack on #Syria where Russian troops are stationed constitute serious contempt for Russia’s military capabilities and political dignity. Trump, like scolding a pupil, called on Moscow, one of the world’s leading nuclear powers, to abandon its “dark path.” Disturbingly, Washington seems to have become addicted to mocking Russia in this way. Russia is capable of launching a destructive retaliatory attack on the West. Russia’s weak economy is plagued by Western sanctions and squeezing of its strategic space. That the West provokes Russia in such a manner is irresponsible for world peace.

The situation is still fomenting. The Trump administration said it will sustain the strikes. But how long will the military action continue and whether Russia will fight back as it claimed previously remain uncertain. Western countries continue bullying Russia but are seemingly not afraid of its possible counterattack. Their arrogance breeds risk and danger.

China and Russia will work together, often behind the scenes, to convince the rest of the world that the U.S. has become a rogue state, and will use this argument to build international support for a multi-polar world. The only thing that could slow this process down is if the U.S. stops acting like a rogue state, something that appears increasingly unlikely with Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Advisor.

Part 3 will focus on the weak link in U.S. imperial dominance, the USD.

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In Liberty,
Michael Krieger


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