Crimea’s Strategic Importance to Russia

For centuries, Russia has viewed the Black Sea as central to its security due to its abundance of warm-water ports, including Sevastopol in Crimea. The country’s ports on the Arctic freeze for several months of the year; Most of its Europe-facing ports, such as St Petersburg, were historically ice-locked for part of the year before the advent of icebreakers in the 20th century.

Vladivostok, the largest Russian port on the Pacific Ocean, faces similarly problems and is also enclosed by the Sea of Japan. Moreover, none of these ports, even when open for business, allow for easy access to the Mediterranean Sea. This has left Russia with a commercial and military incentive to expand in warmer water. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union became the dominant power in the Black Sea. However, after the collapse of the empire in the early ’90s, Russia lost most of its territory in the region. Russia had an agreement with Ukraine which allowed them to divide the Black Sea Fleet, which remained docked in Sevastopol. In 2010, Kyiv renewed Moscow’s lease on the fleet until 2042 but after the Ukraine Coup in 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin feared it may renege on the agreement.

Now, look at the map carefully. Sevastopol in the Crimea is also a Russian naval base. When the coup took place in 2014, Putin knew what the Rockefeller plan was. Putin worked fast, conducted a referendum in Crimea, and made it a part of Russia – legally. Had the Rockefeller Empire managed to kick Russia out of the Crimea, then the next move against Russia would be its eviction from Ukraine.

Why would the US want Russia out from Ukraine?

The answer is as follows: – One of the leading advocates of an American global supremacy – Rockefeller strategist and close friend – Zbigniew Brzezinski,   described the pivot significance of Ukraine in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard. He wrote: “Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire…If Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state, spanning Europe and Asia…”

 “It cannot be stressed enough that without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be an empire, but with Ukraine suborned and then subordinated, Russia automatically becomes an empire”

Ukraine, like few other Eurasian countries, is a product of its special geography, as it uniquely straddles east and west. It is what Halford Mackinder, the British father of geopolitics—the study of the relations of political power to geography—called a “pivot” state. Ukraine uniquely transforms the geopolitical position of Russia, for better or worse. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Washington went all out to support a break between Russia and Ukraine. The goal was to use Ukraine as a buffer to block closer integration between Russia and Europe, especially Germany. Had Russia lost Crimea to the West, then the Black Sea would become a NATO sea. Russia’s warm water port would be lost. Its western shoreline on the Black Sea would be vulnerable to NATO provocations. And worse would be that NATO’s encirclement of Russia’s western borders be complete. Russia would have no buffer on its western borders. Then, Russia’s Black Sea Fleet would be evicted from that area.

The loss of Sevastopol and the Black Sea Fleet would also entail the collapse of Russia’s “power projection “regarding the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). What would be the implications of a loss of Russian power projection for the MENA area? A little bit of background is necessary here, regarding Russia and the Middle East.

The Syrian Pivot

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, the most important relationship that Russia was able to sustain in the Middle East was its ties with Iran.

Beyond the relationship with Iran, Russia managed to sustain its relationship with Syria, including the naval facility in Tartus, arms sales, and Soviet-era debt forgiveness. The Syrian foothold also served as a useful platform for intelligence collection on U.S. and Israeli activities. The unrest in Syria, which began in 2011 and soon escalated into a full-fledged civil war, was the catalyst for a change in Russia’s involvement in the Middle East. The Kremlin’s relationship with the ruling Assad family extended back to the 1970s.

The new chapter in Moscow’s Middle East policy began against the backdrop of a general deterioration of relations between Russia and the West.

In the meantime, Iran also emerged as a critical participant in the conflict willing to intervene with boots on the ground.  Despite the Russian campaign in support of the Assad regime, the Syrian military was losing on the battlefield. In the summer of 2015, it was in danger of being defeated by a combination of the Islamic State and anti-Assad opposition forces.11 With the status quo unsustainable, the Kremlin faced two fundamentally different choices: to let the Assad regime collapse or to intervene militarily and attempt to save it.

The prospect of military defeat and collapse of the Syrian government presented Russian officials with multiple highly undesirable consequences. The fall of the Assad regime would have been a strategic defeat and an embarrassment for the Kremlin.  What tipped the balance was Russia’s interest in the oil geopolitics of the region. The military intervention in the Syrian civil war was only the first phase of Russia’s more expansive move into the Middle East, one whose consequences would reach well beyond Syria. The initial deployment of Russian aircraft to the Hmeimim Air Base in September 2015 was followed by the deployment of advanced S-300 and S-400 air defense systems later that year.  Though the air defense systems provided Russian aircraft operating over Syria with an additional edge over potential adversaries, the S-400’s 400-kilometer range extended the Russian military’s ability to see and shoot at airborne targets over most of Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, parts of Turkey, Israel, and Jordan. With the deployment of these air defense weapons, as well as antiship cruise missiles, the Russian military acquired a potent anti-access/area-denial (A2AD) capability over the Levant and eastern Mediterranean. After a long absence, Russia was back as a military power to be reckoned with in the Middle East.

The 2015 military intervention in Syria fundamentally changed Russia’s position in the Middle East.  After its military deployment to Syria, Russia emerged as an indispensable power broker, not just in Syria but more broadly in the Middle East. The Russian military’s intervention radically changed the course of the civil war and saved the Assad regime from imminent collapse. The rebel groups were dealt a severe blow, from which they were unlikely to recover. Their external backers received a clear message that they would no longer be able to meddle in Syrian affairs at will, and would have to take Russia’s position and preferences into account.

 The United States was the biggest loser in this development. Until then, it had been the largest military power in the region, effectively free to operate without looking over its shoulder. The Russian military’s deployment to Syria in support of Assad changed that.

When the US invaded Iraq in 2003, it cancelled oil deals that Iraq had with Russia, China and France, thereby removing the competition. Remember the Rockefeller family motto: “COMPETITION IS A SIN!” By 2008, both Russia and China began investing in Iraq’s oil industry. Since then to now, Russian oil companies have invested close to $20 billion in Iraq. Not so much in Iran. While China has invested more in both countries, Russian investment is strong in both Kurdistan and south Iraq. Other deals since 2011 include $2.5 billion in investments by Gazprom and its partners in central Iraq and the Kurdistan region alone.

Russia is not only interested in the oil fields themselves. Rosneft owns 60 percent of the Kurdistan Oil Pipeline, which is Iraq’s main operational export line. In spring 2018, Rosneft also announced the signing of an agreement with the KRG’s Ministry of Natural Resources to develop its oil and gas infrastructure, including a new gas pipeline that is expected to have export capacity of up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas per year. That amounts to approximately 6 percent of Europe’s total gas demand. According to one Iraqi politician, talking on a condition of anonymity, he said, “By this deal, Russia got a lot of political power in Iraq. Oil is about 96 percent of Iraq’s export, but without a pipeline to export it, oil simply has no value to the country. So now Russia basically controls this export.”

 After the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003 and following the occupation of Iraq, Russian companies were largely absent from the playing field.  By 2009, Rockefeller oil companies (such as ExxonMobil and Chevron) partially or totally left the region due to the security concerns. Russian companies, hungrier for risk, took their place. Russia’s entry was welcomed in Iraq.  Russia is in charge on the ground. And soon, even the dollar might not have a place in the trade: Iraq and Russia have been discussing denominating payments in rubles or dinars rather than the dollar to avoid any interaction with the U.S. system.

 The military cooperation has been another dynamic area on the Russia–Iraq bilateral agenda. Russia has been a military supplier to Iraq since the late 1960s. But with its investments in the oil industry, it also increased its military supplies to the country. In short, Russia now has vital strategic investments in Iraq.

China’s investments in both Iraq and Iran are limited to the energy sector only. China is not a supplier of arms to either of these two. In short, Russia is the muscle, while China is the money.

To complicate matters even further, the Syrian regime change operation got underway in 2011. This was ignited by the refusal of Syrian President Assad granting the route for a gas pipeline that would traverse Syria, ending at a Syrian port on the Mediterranean, for export to the EU. Qatar wanted this, and so did Iran. Assad gave the deal to Iran, with the consent of Russia. The Qatar pipeline would compete with Russian gas on the EU markets. Putin did not want this, and so Qatar was refused, and behind Qatar stood the Rockefeller Empire.

So, the Iran gas pipeline deal plus Russian investments in Iraq were what would be at stake if Syria lost in this war. And if Russia (“the MUSCLE”) lost in Syria, then it would lose the Middle East. And once Russia the Muscle is kicked out, then the US would find it very easy to kick out the “MONEY” aka China. And, not long after that, Iran would be regime-changed.

And, what are the consequences for Russia and China were Iran to fall into America’s orbit. From Iran, the US would interfere directly into Central Asia to the detriment of both Russia and China. Through Iran’s presence on the south shore of the Caspian Sea, the US would turn it into a NATO sea. Russia would then be surrounded on its western and southern borders- a very dangerous position for Russia, but an excellent position for the Rockefeller Empire, as the aim of de-constructing Russia would be made much easier. And, finally, Iran would stop energy supplies to China. Neither Russia nor China could allow for this possibility. To avoid this expulsion from the Middle East and Syria, would become the next battleground between Putin and the Empire.  And, it all starts with kicking Russia out of Sevastopol naval base in the Crimea.

Russia and Syria were always close allies from the late 1960s. Iran, Iraq and Syria are considered to be the core of the Shia Axis, fighting the West. It all has to do with oil and gas, and its transportation routes to markets – east and west. And the enemies of Putin and the Shia Axis were the same Western powers of America and Europe. So, they had common cause.

The launch of the Russian campaign in Syria opened a new chapter in Russia–Iraq relations.  Iraqi overtures to Russia are perceived in Moscow as reflection of Baghdad’s disappointment with Washington, and the Russian authorities cannot but seize the opportunity to deepen their influence across the region. When President Putin took the decision to intervene in the Syrian conflict in the fall of 2015, Russia – along with Syria and Iran – reached out to Iraq to set up a joint information centre in Baghdad. The centre was deemed to serve as a venue to coordinate counter-terrorism efforts against the US proxy, the Islamic State (ISIS), plus assorted other “rent-a-jihadist” terror/criminal groups in the region, including Al Qaeeda.

In brief, since 2008, Russia has been increasing its influence and investments in the Shia Axis, especially in Iraq. Were Russia to lose in Syria, all its investments in the region would be worth zero. Pipelines would be built (from Iran, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf oil regions) to the Mediterranean ports of Syria, and from there to Europe. In short, US control of Syria would mean alternative supplies of oil to Europe, thus reducing the EU’s reliance of Russian energy. In this manner, sanctions on Russian energy would greatly aid in helping to weaken and cripple Russia. This is one more pressure point in the Rockefeller plan to de-construct Russia.

Besides being the only warm-water port for Russia, one must go back to the Rockefeller Empire and look for the reason why they want Russia out of the Crimea. Turning Ukraine’s orbit to the West would mean that Ukraine is no longer a part of Russia’s geopolitical equation. Russia then ceases to be a Eurasian power, and becomes, instead, an Asian power. This was the first step in Rockefeller’s plans to de-construct Russia. The next stage was to break-up Russia into three parts – Western Russia, Siberia and the Far Eastern Region. In this manner, controlling Russia becomes so much easier.

In addition, were the Rockefeller family successful in achieving this, then the quest for global dominance would have been achieved. Whoever controls Russia will automatically control the western (Europe) and eastern (China, Japan, Korea) ends of Eurasia – which just so happens to be the chief economic rivals of the Rockefeller Empire and America. These two regions will have no choice but to “play ball” with the US, or they will get no more oil and gas from Russia. In this manner, Rockefeller control of Russian energy means that this family will control the future destiny of these two regions.

It took Putin 18 months to prepare the plans, counter-plans, and he finally intervened in Syria in September 2015. From the referendum on Crimea that took place in March 2014, wherein the peninsular became a part of Russia, till now, Russia has increased its security and defenses. A bridge was built –in record time-connecting the Russian mainland to Crimea, over the Kerch Straits. Very heavily defended by S-400 systems plus other systems, the Kerch Bridge is the most heavily defended bridge in the world.

Thanks to a successful military intervention in Syria, Moscow has emerged as an important power broker positioned at the intersection of multiple interests that the Syrian civil war brought into conflict. In short, Crimea, Ukraine, the Black Sea, Syria and the East Med region are all part of one big picture in the world of energy wars. Study the maps. The new Putin doctrine in the East Med region is fascinating. Russia has returned to the Middle East. In the Levant, in North Africa, and in the Persian Gulf, the Kremlin has succeeded in rebuilding some of the old relationships that it abandoned during its troubled 1990s.

Recently, Russian Navy ships of the Pacific, Northern and Black Sea fleets performed a series of submarine search drills in the Mediterranean. This makes the Pentagon very nervous– as the Empire remains quite vulnerable in Syria. There are now four Russian TU-22M3 strategic bombers in Hymeimim base, each capable of carrying three S-32 anti-ship missiles that fly at supersonic Mach 4.3 with a range of 1,000 km. No Aegis system is able to handle them. Russia in Syria also has stationed a few Mig-31Ks in Latakia equipped with hypersonic Khinzals – more than enough to sink any kind of US surface group, including aircraft carriers, in the East Med. The US has no air defense mechanism whatsoever with even a minimal chance of intercepting them. The US Navy and NATO warships have proved to be inconsequential in the Black Sea as in the East Med. From the Black Sea to the East Med, do not poke The Russian Bear. There are now four Russian TU-22M3 strategic bombers in Hymeimim base, each capable of carrying three S-32 anti-ship missiles that fly at supersonic Mach 4.3 with a range of 1,000 km. No Aegis system is able to handle them. Russia in Syria also has stationed a few Mig-31Ks in Latakia equipped with hypersonic Khinzals – more than enough to sink any kind of US surface group, including aircraft carriers, in the East Med. The US has no air defense mechanism whatsoever with even a minimal chance of intercepting them.

So the rules have drastically changed. The Hegemon is naked. The new deal starts with turning the post-Cold War set-up in Eastern Europe completely upside down. The East Med will be next. The Bear is back, baby. Hear him roar.’

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