Article 43

 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bad Moon Rising Part 31

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US-Russian naval rivalries heat up over Black, Caspian, Persian Gulf seas
DEBKA
September 12, 2008

DEBKAfiles military sources report Washington is testing the Turkish government’s response to the permanent anchoring of US warships at either of the two Georgian ports of Poti or Batumi. This would be quid pro quo for Moscows interest in bases in Iranian Azerbaijan and the Persian Gulf.

Monday, Sept. 8, a NATO delegation was due in Georgia to evaluate damage to military structure following the five-day war with Russia last month. This is a further irritant for Moscow after the highly sophisticated American command vessel USS Mount Whitney docked in Poti Saturday.

Our sources report that the US anticipates a protracted period of tension with Russia for the following reasons:

1. US and NATO vessels will need safe coastal berths when the approaching winter storms strike the Black Sea. As time goes by, Turkey, which under international conventions controls the passage of naval vessels through the Dardanelles, will be under increasing pressure from Russia to block the waterway to NATO.

Already, Turkey fears it may lose its top trading partner, Russia. Since the outbreak of the Georgian crisis a month ago, Moscow has introduced new customs regulations which have backed up at checkpoints dozens of Turkish trucks carrying export goods. The predicted loss to Turkish firms is some $1 billion so far, a figure that would treble if Moscow continued its unacknowledged sanction up to the end of the year.

2. A permanent base in a Georgian port is seen by US strategists as the quickest way to show the flag for Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili without a frontal clash with Russia.

Washington sources argue that if Russia can maintain a large fleet base at the Crimean port of Sevastopol and a second at Abkhazia, there is no reason why America cannot maintain a permanent presence on the Black Sea too.

3. Washington is well aware of the talk in Moscow and Tehran in recent days about establishing Russian naval bases in Iran: Iranian Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea and an Iranian-held island in the Persian Gulf.

The latter, if Moscow and Tehran reached agreement, would terminate US naval control of the Persian Gulf waters opposite Iran forces and drastically upset the balance of strength in the region. Washingtons response to this talk is its bid for a permanent Black Sea base.

SOURCE

Bad Moon Rising
Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5
Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8 - Part 9 - Part 10
Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15
Part 16 - Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20
Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24 - Part 25
Part 26 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30
Part 31 - Part 32 - Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35
Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44 - Part 45
Part 46 - Part 47 - Part 48 - Part 49 - Part 50
Part 51 - Part 52 - Part 53 - Part 54

Posted by Elvis on 09/15/08 •
Section Bad Moon Rising
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