Archive for October, 2015

October 27, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An analysis of why Russia aggressively went into Syria the first week of October to support Syrian President Bashar Assad. The war in Syria is connected with who has the control and power over natural gas and its pipelines in the Middle East.

The roots of the war in Syria is centered in the development, supply and control of oil and natural gas reserves in Middle Eastern countries and the pipelines needed to send them primarily to Europe. Syria is not a major oil producer. Until the start of the Syrian civil war in March, 2011, Syria was making a hardly negligible $4 billion a year in oil sales – a third of the government budget. Nevertheless, Syria is a strategic country to transport natural gas from various Middle East countries to Europe. Syria is already part of a Western-ordained gas pipeline that spans from Egypt to Syria. This pipeline, known as the Arab Gas Pipeline, was originally planned to continue traveling from Syria into Turkey. From there, it can be piped into Europe. The major players of this Western approved pipeline include Saudi Arabia and Qatar, among other Gulf nations.

Arab Gas Pipeline


In 1989, Qatar and Iran began to develop the South Pars/North Dome natural gas field which is buried 3,000 meters below the floor of the Persian Gulf. With 51 trillion cubic meters of gas and 50 billion cubic meters of liquid condensates, it is the largest natural gas field in the world. Approximately 1/3 of this gas field belongs to Iran and other 2/3 belongs to Qatar. The major market for this gas is Europe. Iran has strategic ties with Syria and Syria is backed by Russia. Qatar is aligned with the US and Europe.

Since the discovery, Qatar has invested heavily in liquefied natural gas (LNG) plants and terminals that enable it to ship its gas around the world in tankers. Qatar is the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas. Yet liquefaction and shipping increase total costs and, particularly as gas prices have slipped, Qatari gas has remained easily undercut in European markets by cheaper pipeline gas from Russia and elsewhere. As a result, it would be highly beneficial to Qatar to be able to send their natural gas to Europe by a pipeline.

Qatar - Iran Gas Fields

Qatar Gas Fields


So in 2009, Qatar proposed to President Bashar Assad of Syria to build a pipeline to send its gas northwest via Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria which would eventually reach Europe. Two different routes for such a pipeline were possible. One would lead from Qatar through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq to Turkey. The other would go through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey. Assad refused to agree to the proposal by Qatar to build a pipeline through Syria.  A French newspaper report claimed Assad’s rationale was “to protect the interests of [his] Russian ally, which is Europe’s top supplier of natural gas.” For Qatar, the investment to build the pipeline would be billions of dollars up front but it would reduce its existing high transportation costs over the long term. To complicate matters, Saudi Arabia was not interested in a gas pipeline from Qatar to go through its country. Saudi Arabia has a track record of obstructing regional pipeline projects and for decades has had a tense political relationship with Qatar.


Qatar - Saudi Arabia - Syria Gas Pipeline


Qatar Gas Lines to Europe

In January, 2010, at the World Future Summit in Abu Dhabi, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, promoted a project with Qatar to supply natural gas to Europe through a Turkish hook-up with the proposed Nabucco pipeline. The Nabucco pipeline would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe bypassing Russia. Mr Erdogan said the Qatar-Turkey pipeline project was “important” for his country, and “will provide remarkable opportunities for Gulf countries”.  He also described last year’s signing of an inter-governmental agreement on the Nabucco pipeline as the year’s “most significant development” for Turkey’s energy strategy. The transit agreement between five EU states and Turkey cleared the way for a final investment decision on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

Turkey has long sought to establish itself as a hub for energy flowing from Asia and the Middle East to Europe. The idea gained the interest of the EU as European concerns over energy security have intensified due to recurring spats that have threatened to disrupt westward flows of Russian oil and gas. In January, 2009, Russia cut off 20 per cent of Europe’s gas supply for two weeks over a dispute with the transit state of Ukraine. In January, 2010, the failure of talks between Russia and Belarus have threatened oil supplies to several EU countries.

Planning for the Nabucco pipeline began in 2002. From the start, the pipeline was a joint European and American project aimed at undermining Russian influence over the European continent by reducing Russian energy imports. Europe currently obtains 36 per cent of its gas and 20 per cent of its oil from Russia.In 2006 Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Romania reached an agreement to build the pipeline’s extension through Syria to the Turkish border. From there, the pipeline would have been connected to the possible Nabucco Pipeline for the delivery of gas to Europe. In 2008 Turkey and Syria signed an agreement to construct a 63 kilometres (39 mi) pipeline between Aleppo and Kilis as a first segment of the Syria-Turkey connection of the Arab Gas Pipeline. However this contract was annulled at the beginning of 2009.

Responding to the building of the Nabucco pipeline, Russia built the North Stream pipeline which has been exporting gas from Russia under the Baltic Sea to Germany since 2011. In addition, Russia took on the South Stream project in 2007, which is to export gas from Russia, under the Black Sea and through the Balkans to western Europe. Work on South Stream began in December 2012, and it should be completed by 2018.

However, in July, 2013, the Nabucco pipeline project which was sponsored by the European Union (EU) and was to have transported gas from the Caspian Sea to Europe in order to bypass Russia was cancelled. The failure of the Nabucco project was due to a combination of geopolitical factors and business considerations. Nabucco-East was to have run from Azerbaijan across Georgia and Turkey to the Bulgarian border. As an alternative, the Trans Anatolian Pipeline (TANAP), funded by Azerbaijan and Turkey is due to come into operation in 2018. Nabucco-West was to have carried gas from Turkey to Austria, through Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. As an alternative to Nabucco-West, the Shah-Deniz II consortium, which runs the largest gas field in Azerbaijan, awarded the contract for the transportation of gas to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) which runs through Greece and Albania and under the Adriatic Sea to Southern Italy. This route is 500 km shorter than that proposed by Nabucco-West. Although representatives of the EU and the US state department declared their support for the decision in favor of the TAP pipeline, the cancelling of the Nabucco pipeline is a defeat for the EU.

The increased independence of Turkey from Russia was one of the main goals of the southern route from the outset. Turkey is one of the largest importers of Russian gas, but at the same time is a key political partner of NATO and the EU in Eurasia and the Caspian region. The route will now not be built under the direction of the EU, but instead primarily under the control of Turkey and Azerbaijan. As a result, the laying of the TANAP and TAP pipelines will increase the geopolitical importance of these two countries as EU energy partners.

Turkey attempted to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to reject the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline and to work with the proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline, which would ultimately satisfy Turkey and the Gulf Arab nations’ quest for dominance over gas supplies, who are the United State’s allies. But after Assad refused Turkey’s proposal, Turkey and its allies became the major architects to start Syria’s “civil war.”

Nabucco Gas Pipeline


North and South Stream Pipelines

In 2010, Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its shared gas field with Qatar. It would be completed by 2016.  Russia blessed this project possibly believing that it would have an easier time dealing with Iran than Qatar to control gas imports to Europe from Iran, the Caspian Sea region, and Central Asia. This alternative pipeline plan would carry Iran and Iraq’s gas to Europe, instead of gas from Qatar, and this option further pleased Russia’s Putin because he already had long standing energy agreements in place with Iran.

Next, Syria signed a memorandum of understanding with Iraq to build one gas and two oil pipelines with its target destination being Europe. In July, 2011, just weeks after civil war broke out in Syria, the Tehran Times released a report entitled, “Iran, Iraq, Syria Sign Major Gas Pipeline Deal“. The report provided details on Iranian plans to export its vast natural gas reserves to Europe through a pipeline that would travel through both Iraq and Syria. This new Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline would reportedly be the largest gas pipeline in the Middle East and would span from Iran’s gas-rich South Pars field to the Mediterranean coastline in Lebanon through Iraq and Syria. The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline is sometimes called the Islamic Gas Pipeline (IGP). However, the proposed pipeline wouldn’t stop in Syria. The agreement calls for the construction of an underwater pipeline under the Mediterranean Sea stretching from Lebanon to Greece to deliver Iranian gas to energy-hungry European nations. The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline became a threat to the Arab Gas Pipeline as it would compete directly with the Arab Gas Pipeline’s goal of delivering Mideast natural gas to Europe as well.

As a long-term supporter of Syria, Russia had built up influence within the administration and the armed forces. Also Russia’s only military base in the Mediterranean is located on the coast of Syria which would strategically allow Putin to control a second gas pipeline to Europe. Naturally this Iranian pipeline to Syria quickly became a top priority for Russia. Therefore, Assad and the Russians worked their contacts within Syria to dissuade the Qatar pipeline and promote the Iranian pipeline.


Iran Iraq Syria Pipeline

The Memorandum of Understanding for the Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline was signed in July, 2012 – just as Syria’s civil war was spreading to Damascus and Aleppo. In July 2013, leaders from Syria, Iran, and Iraq met to sign a preliminary agreement on the pipeline with the hopes of finalizing the deal by the end of the year. This pipeline would by-pass Turkey. The plan by Assad to support the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline plan was a “direct slap in the face” to Qatar’s plans to build a pipeline through Syria.

In July, 2013, Russia rejected a Saudi proposal to abandon Syria’s president, Bashar Assad, in return for a huge arms deal and a pledge to boost Russian influence in the Arab world. On July 31, 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a strong backer of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, met Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan. During the meeting in Russia, the Saudi official explained that Saudi Arabai is ready to help Russia play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region. Bandar proposed that Saudi Arabia buy $15 billion dollars of weapons from Russia and invest “considerably in the country.” The Saudi prince also reassured Putin that “whatever regime comes after” Assad, it will be “completely” in the Saudis’ hands and will not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports, the diplomat said. The meeting between Bandar and Putin came amid tension between Russia and Saudi Arabia over the conflict in Syria, as Russia has accused the Saudis of “financing and arming terrorists and extremist groups” in the war which started in March, 2011.

Putin rejected the Saudi Arabian proposal. When this happened, Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia then let the Russians know that the only option left in Syria was military action. So, why did Russia reject the proposal to partner with Saudi Arabia? Asked about the Putin-Bandar meeting, a Syrian politician said: “Saudi Arabia thinks that politics is a simple matter of buying people or countries. It doesn’t understand that Russia is a major power and that this is not how it determines its policy. Syria and Russia have had close ties for over half a century in all fields and it’s not Saudi money that will change this fact,” he added.

As a result, of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s decision to reject the Qatar pipeline going through Syria to Europe and embracing the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline instead, the decision was made to start an uprising backed by the US and Europe to remove Assad from power. This uprising started in March, 2011 as armed protesters opposed the Assad government. As a result, the U.S., France, Britain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — aka, the new “Friends of Syria” coalition — began to publicly call for the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad between 2011 and 2012 after Assad’s refusal to sign onto the Qatar gas pipeline through Syria to Europe. Qatar began working to oust the Assad regime by funding rebel groups to the tune of an estimated $3 billion between 2011 and 2013.

For nearly 15 years, Gulf nations, and their Western-based militaries have been plotting an overthrow of the Syrian government. In 2001, former U.S. General Wesley Clark admitted that the United States made a decision to topple the Syrian government.

In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that the “the Saudi government, with United States approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.” One faction chosen to receive covert US “political and financial support” through the Saudis was the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. According to former French foreign minister Roland Dumas, Britain had planned covert action in Syria as early as 2009. Speaking with French television, Dumas said: “I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. Britain was preparing gunmen to invade Syria.”

In December, 2011, a military officer wrote a report on a meeting with US military intelligence officers regarding events taking place inside Syria confirmed US-UK training of Syrian opposition forces since 2011 aimed at eliciting “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.” The goal was to replace the Assad government with a new “democratic” government that is friendly to US, EU, Sunni/Saudi interests in the region. According to retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark, the US strategy in the region is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

So how do we understand the dynamics of the disagreement between Russia and the West over the support of Syrian President Bashar Assad?

In October, 2015, the Russian military went into Syria. So, why is Russia backing Assad ? Russia supports the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline. Why are they choosing to side with Syria despite the massive propaganda push by the West against the Assad government? It is because Russia’s economy is predominantly based upon its enormous energy exports. Much of Europe is dependent upon Russian oil and gas and this dependency is growing. Russia boasts the largest natural gas reserves in the world. The Russian energy company, Gazprom, is the world’s largest extractor of natural gas. It currently delivers gas to over 25 European countries. Europe is the source of 40% of Gazprom’s yearly revenue. Which country has the second largest natural gas reserves in the world? It is Iran.

In addition to Russia, Iran has also firmly opposed the removal of Assad from power. In fact, since the start of the fighting, Iran has provided the most extensive support to the Assad government. By some accounts, it is more or less running the Syrian army, as well as supplying it with weapons and now even troops from its Revolutionary Guard. Russia has its eye on the potential profits of bringing Iranian oil and gas online for Europe. For this reason, (among a myriad of others) it has sought to solidify its relations with Iran. The most direct route for moving Iran’s energy supplies to Europe is right through the heart of Iraq and into Syria.

As Iran is liberated from US-imposed embargo, two power blocks have emerged in the Middle East – Iran, Iraq and Syria, which are all Shia-led, and the rest of the Arab world, which is Sunni and stands against the Shia. While America holds the alliance of the Sunni world, Russia is siding with the Shia-controlled nations. Most Arabs view the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline as a Shi’ite pipeline serving Shi’ite interests. After all, it originates in Shi’ite Iran, passes through Shi’ite Iraq, and flows into Shi’ite controlled Syria. Therefore, the Sunni-dominated Gulf nations have both an economic and religious reason for preventing the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline from becoming a reality. So far, the Gulf nations have violently opposed Syria’s adoption of the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline by arming opposition fighters within Syria in order to destabilize the nation. This also explains why Russia has chosen to target Qatari- and Saudi-funded rebel groups in Syria in its bombing campaigns in addition to bombing ISIS.

If Syria-Iran-Iraq gas pipelines comes into existence, Russia and its energy company, Gazprom, would economically benefit. Russia would rather see the Iran–Iraq–Syria pipeline built or no pipeline at all so that it can best control gas supplies to Europe, its main market. Therefore, Russia is backing Syria, and consequently, Iran and Iraq. Of course, Russia has already signed a deal with China for the provision of natural gas starting 2019, so China will back Russia. So, Russia, China, Iran, Iraq and Syria form a core of the nations who support the Assad government in Syria.

Hezbollah entered the scene in 2012 and allied itself with the Syrian government to fight al-Nusra and ISIS, which were officially being armed and financed by Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. And all the arms were actively being sold to these nations by the United States.

For Qatar, Syria represents an opportunity to transport its gas to market cheaply or block Iran from dominating pipeline exports from a jointly-owned field. Qatar along with Turkey would like to remove Assad from power and install the Syrian chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. The United States, meanwhile, supports the Qatari pipeline as a way to balance Iran and diversify Europe’s gas supplies away from Russia. And Turkey, likewise, believes that the Qatari pipeline would help it diversify its own gas supplies away from Russian energy and further its ambitions to be a gas transit hub between Asia and Europe.

Russia is battling for the allegiance of Turkey. In fact, Russian state media has reminded Turkey that it is “unlikely to manage without Russian gas” and that Turkey’s other major supplier, Iran, is aligned with Russia in Syria. Russia alone accounts for about 1/5 of Turkey’s energy consumption, more than any other country. According to a Bloomberg report, Russia provides around 57 percent of Turkey’s natural gas. The whole Turkish energy security architecture depends on gas from Russia and Iran. On the flip side, Turkey is Russia’s second biggest natural gas customer after Germany. Germany obtains 40 per cent of its gas from Russia and is its most important trading partner in the EU. Turkey needs Syria to fulfill its energy strategy.

In December, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will scrap the $20 billion South Stream natural-gas pipeline that would have sent Russian natural gas the European countries in favor of a natural gas pipeline link to Turkey. The European Union never fully embraced the project instead trying to broaden its supplies and reduce dependence on Russian gas. The emergence of Turkey as a major economic partner with Russia, which sets aside their conflicting military and political agendas, especially on Syria, comes as Russia makes trade agreements to strengthen ties with countries that haven’t joined the sanctions imposed by the U.S., the EU and some of their allies in Asia over Russia’s actions in the Ukraine. In October, 2015, Turkish President Mr Erdogan, angered by Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria, warned Russia that Turkey may look elsewhere for partners to supply its natural gas. One of the top importers of Russian gas, Turkey has joined with Russia in a major effort to construct a new gas pipeline – dubbed Turkish Stream, or TurkStream – as an alternate route into Europe that bypasses Ukraine.

Because the West is eager to lesson the dependence Russian natural gas to Europe and replace it with supplies from the Persian Gulf, the West wants to remove Assad from power. Because having a pipeline from the Persian Gulf that run through Syria to Europe is a major key to achieving energy independence from Russia and because Syria politically leans in favor of Russia and Iran, it was decided in the Western capitals that Assad needs to be removed from power. If this eventually happens, US would like to replace him with someone loyal to the US, Europe, Qatar and Saudi Arabia therefore work to get the Qatar-Syria-Turkey pipeline operational so that the Qatari Princes and Saudi Kings can finally begin to have access to the European energy market once and for all.

While seeking this objective, the West also believes that Russia (and Putin) must be destabilized, kept occupied, removed and divorced from having control over the natural gas supplied to Europe. To the West, it doesn’t matter what they have to do to ultimately remove Russia’s energy out of Europe and replace it with Qatari / Saudi reserves. In August, 2013, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said: “Syria today is not about choosing between two sides but rather about choosing one among many sides. It is my belief that the side we choose must be ready to promote their interests and ours when the balance shifts in their favor.”

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Turkey touts proposed gas pipeline from Qatar
2) European Union’s Nabucco pipeline project aborted
3) Qatar seeks gas pipeline to Turkey
4) Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern
5) Spooks’ view on Syria: what wikileaks revealed
6) General Wesley Clark: US planned wars in 7 countries in 5 years including Syria
7) Moscow rejects Saudi offer to drop Assad for arms deal
8) General Dempsey on Syria Intervention
9) Syria’s Pipelineistan war
10) Iraq green lights gas pipeline deal with Iran, Syria
11) Migrant Crisis & Syria War Fueled By Competing Gas Pipelines
12) Why Syria? An Examination of the Iran-Iraq-Syria Pipeline
13) ISIS, Ukraine, Syria…it was, and always has been, about Qatar and Saudi gas and oil to Europe
14) Syria and the Gas Pipelines – Syrian Crisis’ Ground Reality
15) Is Russia Just in Syria for the Pipelines?
16) Putin Says Moscow to Drop Gas Pipeline to Europe
17) Turkey’s Erdogan Warns Russia on Energy Deals

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l

October 20, 2015: Weekly 5 minute update

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

You may view the 5 minute update this week via audio:

1) Listen to the audio

In this week’s 5 minute update, we focused on:

1) An analysis of why Russia aggressively went into Syria the first week of October to support Syrian President Bashar Assad. The support of Assad is connected to control and power over natural gas and its pipelines in the Middle East which is rooted in the control and power over natural gas and its pipelines from Russia through the Ukraine into Europe. First, we will examine the control and power over natural gas and its pipelines from Russia through the Ukraine into Europe.

The Russia–Ukraine gas disputes refer to a number of disputes between Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and Russian gas supplier Gazprom over natural gas supplies, prices, and debts. These disputes have grown beyond simple business disputes into transnational political issues—involving political leaders from several countries—that threaten natural gas supplies in numerous European countries dependent on natural gas imports from Russian suppliers, which are transported through Ukraine. Russia provides approximately 25% of the natural gas consumed in the European Union; approximately 80% of those exports travel through pipelines across Ukrainian soil prior to arriving in the EU. Important pipelines pass through Ukraine to Slovakia, and then on to Germany, Italy, and Austria. About 60% of Ukraine’s consumed gas comes from Russia. In addition, two-thirds of Gazprom’s revenue comes from the sale of gas that crosses the Ukraine. Germany and Ukraine are Gazprom’s biggest foreign purchasers. Oil and gas trade accounts for half of Russia’s annual export revenue and more than half of Russia’s federal budget.



Russian gas pipelines through the Ukraine

A serious dispute began in March 2005 over the price of natural gas supplied and the cost of transit. During this conflict, Russia claimed Ukraine was not paying for gas, but diverting that which was intended to be exported to the EU from the pipelines. Ukrainian officials at first denied the accusation but later Naftohaz admitted that natural gas intended for other European countries was retained and used for domestic needs. The dispute reached a crescendo on 1 January 2006, when Russia cut off all gas supplies passing through Ukrainian territory. On 4 January 2006, a preliminary agreement between Russia and Ukraine was achieved, and the supply was restored. The situation calmed until October 2007 when new disputes began over Ukrainian gas debts. This led to reduction of gas supplies in March 2008. During the last months of 2008, relations once again became tense when Ukraine and Russia could not agree on the debts owed by Ukraine. In January 2009, this disagreement resulted in supply disruptions in many European nations, with eighteen European countries reporting major drops in or complete cut-offs of their gas supplies transported through Ukraine from Russia.

On 17 January 2009, Russia held an international gas conference in Moscow. Ukraine was represented by the Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.  On 18 January 2009, Putin and Tymoshenko reached a deal to restore gas supplies to Europe and Ukraine. Both parties agreed that Ukraine would start paying European prices for its natural gas, less a 20% discount for 2009, and that Ukraine would pay the full European market price starting in 2010. In return for the discounts for 2009, Ukraine agreed to keep its transit fee for Russian gas unchanged in 2009. The two sides also agreed not to use intermediaries.  On 19 January 2009, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller signed an agreement on natural gas supply to Ukraine for the period of 2009-2019.  Gas supplies restarted on 20 January 2009, and were fully restored on 21 January. According to the EU Commission and Presidency, the Russia–Ukraine gas disputes caused irreparable and irreversible damage to customers’ confidence in Russia and Ukraine, causing Russia and Ukraine to no longer be regarded as reliable partners. In addition, Russia plans to completely abandon gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine after 2018 by constructing a gas pipeline intended for Europe through Turkey.

Since the break up of the Soviet Union, Ukraine had been mired by years of corruption, mismanagement, lack of economic growth, currency devaluation, and an inability to secure funding from public markets.  Since 2004, Ukraine sought to establish closer relations with the European Union (EU) and Russia. One of these measures was an association agreement with the European Union which would provide Ukraine with funds contingent on reforms. The Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement is a treaty between the European Union (EU) and the Ukraine that establishes a political and economic association between the parties. The agreement commits Ukraine to economic, judicial, and financial reforms to converge its policies and legislation to those of the European Union.

The Ukrainian president ultimately refused to sign the agreement at the urging of Russia. Instead, on December 17, 2013, the Ukrainian president signed a treaty and multi-billion dollar loan with Russia whereby it was agreed that Russia would buy $15 billion of Ukrainian Eurobonds and that the cost of Russian natural gas supplied to Ukraine would be lowered to $268 per 1,000 cubic metres (the price was more than $400 at the time).  The deal relinquished Ukraine’s Kerch peninsula to the Russian Navy granting Russia highly desirable warm-water ports and strategic access to the Mediterranean and beyond.

Instead of signing a treaty with the EU, Russia wanted the Ukraine to join the Eurasian Customs Union. The Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) is a customs union which consists of the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union. It came into existence on 1 January 2010. Its founding states were Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. On 2 January, 2015 it was enlarged to include Armenia. Kyrgyzstan acceded to the EEU on 6 August, 2015. The Customs Union was launched as a first step towards forming a broader European Union-type economic alliance of former Soviet states.  The member states continued with economic integration and removed all customs borders between each other after July 2011. On 19 November 2011, the member states put together a joint commission on fostering closer economic ties, planning to create a Eurasian Economic Union by 2015.

Therefore, the present Ukrainian crisis started when pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s government abandoned a trade deal with the European Union in favor of stronger ties with Russia. In December, 2013 some 800,000 people rallied in the capital of Kiev and protesters occupy city hall and Independence Square due to Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich’s failure to sign the trade deal with the EU. In February, 2014, the Ukrainian president fled Kiev. At that time, the Ukrainian Parliament voted to remove the president from power setting a new election date for May 25, 2014.

After the 2014 revolution, Russia refused to recognize the new interim government, calling the revolution a coup, or an overthrow and illegal seizure of the Ukraine. Russian FM Sergey Lavrov said that the West was inconsistent in not recognizing the Crimea referendum as legitimate while recognizing the military coup in the Ukraine. Lavrov also said that Russia’s relationship with the West has been quite eventful in the post-Soviet period. Lavrov continued: “Russia was welcomed into the democratic world because they expected us to follow their orders and observe all the rules created by the west. However, this is not partnership but rather an attempt to take under control a non-aligned geopolitical ‘turf’. Russia saw that attitude exposed in developments in Ukraine. Russia saw how desperate the West was to drag Ukraine into its orbit, without paying attention to the interests of the Ukrainian economy, culture and the nation. Ukraine is a very complex, multi-ethnic and multicultural country. The ultimate motive behind all that was to separate Ukraine from Russia. Russia remembers the words of former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski under the Carter administration who said in 1998 that with control of the Ukraine that Russia is a great power but without the Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a relevant Eurasian empire.”

In February, 2014, pro-Russian gunmen seize key buildings in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The majority of Crimea’s 2.3 million population identify themselves as ethnic Russians and speak Russian. Crimea is the historic base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. In March, 2014, the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea voted to join Russia in a referendum and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, signed a law incorporating Crimea into Russia. When this happened, the EU and US condemned the annexation of Crimea and imposed a first round of sanctions on Russian officials and high-ranking Moscow allies in the Ukraine.

Ukraine has been torn between east and west since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Ukrainian is the main language in western regions – where there is also a long-standing aspiration for integration with Europe. However, Russian is predominant in parts of the east and south. In May, 2014, the Donetsk and Luhansk areas of Eastern Ukraine declared independence after a referendum.



Russian speaking areas of the Ukraine



Ukrainian Map with Crimea

In April, 2014, pro-Russian leaders occupied government buildings in the eastern cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv and declared that referendums on granting greater autonomy to the eastern regions will be held. In May, 2014, pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk declared their independence after the passage of the referendums. The results which were not recognized by the Ukrainian government in Kiev or the West.



Referendums in Eastern Ukraine

In May, 2014, pro-European Petro Poroshenko was elected president of Ukraine. In June, 2014, Poroshenko signs the trade agreement with Europe. The leaders of Georgia and Moldova also put pens to EU “association agreements” in a historic step for the three former Soviet countries.

In July, 2014, the European Union agrees to punishing economic sanctions restricting access of Russian banks and oil companies to long-term western financing. In addition, the European Union has imposed sanctions against some of Russian President Vladamir Putin’s closest associates within his inner circle.


Ruble to Dollar Exchange Rate 2014



Oil Price Chart since 2014


In September, 2014, the pro-Russian rebels in the Eastern areas of the Ukraine, the mainline Ukrainian government in western Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe sign a peace deal in Minsk, Belarus. However, it is violated just four days later when fierce fighting erupts around Donetsk airport.




In October, 2014, the western Ukrainians voted for a new parliament. Pro-West parties triumph but the polls were boycotted in the pro-Russian rebel-held east – which held its own elections in November, 2014.

In February, 2015, the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France announced that a ceasefire will begin on 15 February. The pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine also sign the agreement. In an interview, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed the possibility of war between Russia and Ukraine, calling it unlikely, and made clear that Russia will not be forced to return Crimea to the Ukraine.

Following the successful conclusion of the peace conference, chief of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde announced the organization’s agreement to furnish Kiev with a four-year $40 billion bailout including $17.5 billion to stabilize the country’s economy. Under the terms of the so-called Extended Fund Facility, the Ukrainian government would have to commit itself to trim back on government spending and pensions while tackling corruption and liberalizing energy prices.

In March, 2015, Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement that secures gas supplies to Ukraine for the month of March forestalling anticipated cuts of Russian natural gas supplies to the Ukraine. The agreement is contingent upon Ukrainian prepayment. In advance of the negotiations, Russia had threatened to send gas to rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine rather than to Ukraine proper. The EU has a special interest in maintaining Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine as it consumes 40% of Russian natural gas, half of which is transited via the Ukraine. Meanwhile, Ukraine is planning to increase prices of the gas on domestic consumers by “around threefold” to raise funds to avoid government default and meet the IMF demands to seal $17.5 billion. In addition, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin demanded that any mending of fences between Russia and Ukraine would require the return of the annexed Crimean peninsula.

Also, the Russian Foreign Ministry called the arrival of U.S. military trainers in Ukraine a “provocation” that could have considerable consequences as the Obama administration announced that it will send an additional $75 million in non-lethal assistance to the Ukraine. This will include 30 armored Humvees and an additional 300 non-armored Humvees; counter-mortar radar; drones; radios; and medical equipment.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov was unequivocal on the issue of Crimea’s status: “Crimea is a region of the Russian Federation and of course the subject of our regions is not up for discussion.” Peskov was responding to statements from the United States and Europe that sanctions would remain in place as long as Crimea remains under Russian rule – or, in the words of U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki “as long as the occupation continues.” In response, Dmitry Peskov said that Russia may alter its fundamental documents, such as the Foreign Policy Concept and Military Doctrine, in response to the perceived anti-Russian bias of the National Security Strategy of the United States.

In April, 2015, the U.S. training mission of Ukrainian soldiers Operation Fearless Guardian was started involving the US Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade and 900 Ukrainian solders. Also, according Alexei Miller, the CEO of the Russian energy company, Gazprom, said that the government of Ukraine owes his company nearly $175 million for gas supplied to separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine. He also made clear that Gazprom will explore the possibility of signing a separate contract with the so-called people’s republics in those areas to directly supply gas. “The issue should became the subject of special talks, and we think that it’s rational to study the possibility of signing a separate direct Gazprom contract on supplies to the southeast,” he said.

In May, 2015, the European Union stated its desire to implement a free-trade pact with the Ukraine from next year despite Russian pressure for another delay. The agreement which is likely to antagonize Russia, commits to the deal from Jan. 1, 2016, a date already a year later than planned as Russia seeks to oppose European efforts to integrate Ukraine and move it out of Moscow’s sphere of control and influence. The deal is at the heart of tensions that have grown from a tug-of-war over influence in the Ukraine to sanctions, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Speaking in an interview on Russian television, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made clear that Russia would not sit idly by if Ukraine defaults on its debt. Medvedev, who was responding to Ukraine’s passage of legislation that would allow a moratorium on debt repayment, stated that in the case of a deliberate default “we would adopt as tough a position as possible […] and defend out national interests.” He went on further to say that Russia seeks not only repayment for the $3 billion Eurobond owed by the previous Ukrainian government but also remains “not indifferent” to debt owed to private creditors.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the “challenge from the east … from a resurgent Russia” and its implications for NATO policy moving forward. Mr. Stoltenberg made clear that he views Russia’s actions in Ukraine not as an isolated incident, but rather as part of a “disturbing pattern of Russian behavior that goes well beyond Ukraine [and] undermines key principles of European security,” foremost among them respect for borders, the independence and sovereignty of states, and transparency in military activities. Stoltenberg further noted that NATO does not seek confrontation with Russia nor does it seek Russia’s isolation; rather, he put forward a vision of a constructive relationship, only to note that such a relationship may be hard to develop as “Russia has changed. And we must adapt.”

In addition, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier criticized Russia’s decision to impose a travel ban on nearly 100 European officials in a retaliatory step tied to sanctions over the crisis in Ukraine. Steinmeier stated that the travel ban “does not contribute toward” attempts to work together to “defuse a persistent and dangerous conflict in the middle of Europe,” also calling the move “not particularly clever” as well as arbitrary and unjustified. Russia’s travel ban, which was reportedly delivered to the EU delegation in Moscow, targets 89 officials from across Europe.

In June, 2015, during the opening ceremony of the G7 Summit, President of the United States Barack Obama announced that he and his assembled colleagues would address the urgency of “standing up to Russian aggression over the course of their consultations, adding, “conflicts can end and great progress is possible.” Shortly thereafter, the White House issued a press release in which it affirmed that “[t]he duration of sanctions should be clearly linked to Russia’s full implementation of the Minsk agreements and respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” Furthermore, the European Union governments have agreed to a six-month extension of sanctions against Russia. The agreement will extend the sanctions through January 31, 2016.

Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russian president Vladimir Putin placed the blame for the current crisis in Ukraine squarely on the shoulders of Western policymakers in the United States, the European Union and NATO headquarters. He stated that the United States government is at fault of “igniting” the crisis in Ukraine, also noting that Russia sees the United States “interfering with our internal political processes.” Later, he went on to state that the United States is “trying to impose on us their decisions and their standards” without consideration for Russia’s interests, which Putin says Russia is persistent, though not aggressive, in pursuing.

In July, 2015, the United States has added twenty-six individuals and entities to its sanctions blacklist. Among those targeted were were eight associates of Russian businessman and Putin ally Boris Rotenberg, several subsidiaries of Rosneft and Vneshekonombank, and five Crimean port operators. The updaed list also included several associates of billionaire Russian businessman and Putin ally Gennady Timchenko, who was himself hit with sanctions in November 2014.

In September, 2015, Ukraine’s National Security Council gave its stamp of approval to the country’s new military doctrine, a document that declares unequivocally that Russia stands as the principle security threat and military opponent of Ukraine. The doctrine, which still needs to be signed by president Poroshenko, also calls on Ukraine to pursue NATO membership.

Ukraine and Russia, along with EU representatives, initialed a deal that will ensure stable deliveries of gas to Ukraine (and on to Europe) through March 2016. Maros Sefcovic, EU energy commissioner, told journalists that the “winter package” (as the deal is termed) will “lay the ground for smooth gas deliveries from Russia to Ukraine, and consequently also through Ukraine to the European Union.”

In the 1990s, former national security advisor under the Carter administration Zbigniew Brzezinski formulated the strategic case for buttressing the independent statehood of Ukraine, partially as a means to ending a resurgence of the Russian Empire, and to drive Russia toward integration with the West, promoting instead “geopolitical pluralism” in the space of the former Soviet Union. He developed “a plan for Europe” urging the expansion of NATO, making the case for the expansion of NATO to the Baltic states.

In his speech at the United Nations, Russian President Putin rejected the Brzezinski doctrine that seems the West is following today saying that this “bloc thinking” of the Cold War, in his view, remains very alive today in the foreign policies of the United States, NATO, and the West more broadly. The “logic of confrontation” in offering former Soviet countries the false choice of association with East or West, Putin said, resulted in a geopolitical confrontation in Ukraine and a coup “orchestrated from outside” in the Ukraine.

Next week, we will see how the conflict in the Ukraine between Russia, the Ukraine, the EU and the US over natural gas supplies and natural gas pipelines to the Ukraine and Europe is connected to the conflict in Syria to keep or remove Bashar Ashad in power is linked with controlling the routing of natural gas from various Middle East countries through Syria to Europe.

An agreement to divide Jerusalem and establish a PLO state is a tribulation event.

The link to these articles are as follows:

1) Russia–Ukraine gas disputes
2) Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement
3) Eurasian Customs Union
4) 7 December 2013 Ukrainian–Russian action plan
5) To understand what’s really happening in Ukraine, follow the gas lines on this map
6) 2014 Ukrainian revolution
7) Lavrov: If West accepts coup-appointed Kiev govt, it must accept a Russian Crimea
8) Timeline of Crisis in Ukraine
9) Ukraine crisis in maps
10) Ukraine signs historic EU trade pact sparking Russia ire
11) Putin’s inner circle hit by EU sanctions
12) IMF Reveals $40 Billion Bailout Package For Ukraine
13) Putin: War With Ukraine Unlikely, Would Be Apocalyptic
14) Russia and Ukraine Reach Stopgap Gas Deal
15) Klimkin: Russia, Ukraine Normalization Requires Crimea’s Return
16) US Lawmakers Press Obama on Lethal Aid
17) US to Send Additional Non-Lethal Assistance to Ukraine
18) Russia Makes Clear That Crimea Is Non-Negotiable
19) US troops start training Ukrainian infantry
20) Gazprom: Ukraine Owes for Gas Sent to Southeastern Ukraine
21) EU to stand by Ukraine trade deal at summit despite Russia-draft
22) Medvedev: Russia to Adopt “Tough Position” on Ukraine Debt
23) Stoltenberg at CSIS: “Russia has changed”
24) Steinmeier Criticizes Russia Over Travel Ban
25) US President Barack Obama Calls For G7 Unity On Russia, Ukrainian Crisis
26) EU Agrees to Extend Sanctions Against Russia
27) Putin: US Ignited Ukraine Crisis
28) US Slaps New Sanctions on Former Yanukovych Officials, Putin Allies
29) Ukraine Approves New Military Doctrine
30) Ukraine, Russia Reach “Winter Package” Gas Agreement
31) Putin, Obama Discuss Ukraine in UN Speeches
32) The New Great Game: Why Ukraine Matters to So Many Other Nations
33) Who is Zbigniew Brzezinski ?

From a Biblical prophetic perspective, the reason why the God of Israel would allow these events to happen is because it will result in the end of the exile of the house of Jacob and the reunification of the 12 tribes of Israel (Ephraim and Judah).

We will to be “watchmen on the walls of Jerusalem” and we will not rest until the God of Israel makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth (Isaiah 62).

Shalom in Yeshua the Messiah,

Eddie Chumney
Hebraic Heritage Ministries Int’l