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| WTF News |
Baran Hines

Anonymous has launched #OpSerenaShim in memory of American reporter Serena Shim who was murdered near Turkey-Syria border on October 19, 2014 while covering the proxy war in Syria. Shim was killed in a car crash 2 days after announcing live on Iran’s Press TV that the Turkish intelligence services had been investigating her activities on the suspicion that she was a spy.

Shim and Press TV camerawoman Judy Irish, who barely survived, were returning to their hotel when a cement truck hit their car in a head-on collision. Reports indicate Irish was driving and the accident happened as they made a right turn, possibly at a higher than normal speed. The truck driver, who was arrested, claims the car was going too fast and crossed into his lane. There are rumors that the truck was accelerating at the time.

“The expert report and traffic collision report both cited that the driver was not at fault for the accident, while the Suruç Public Prosecutor Office is seeking a jail term for him on manslaughter charges”, according to Hurriyet Daily News. The next court date for the driver will be in March and he could face 6 years on manslaughter charges.

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Another report cited the investigators saying the car’s tracking indicated speeds over 70 km/h (~ 44 mph) at some point. What would make Irish drive so fast and out of control causing them to turn the wrong way on a one way highway into oncoming traffic and hit the truck? The circumstances sound like they were trying to get away from someone chasing them, or looking for help. It is possible that whoever was looking for her had found them, whether it was Turkish intelligence, Takfiri militants linked to the Islamic State, or some other group.

Shim’s sister believes she was murdered for multiple reasons, but specifically Shim and Irish were taken to different hospitals after the crash.

clickondetroit.com
“She caught them bringing in ISIS high-ranked members into Syria from Turkey into camps, which are supposed to be Syrian refugee camps,” Fatmeh Shima said.
….
“I think it was planned and plotted,” Fatmeh Shim said. “There’s no pictures of Sassy in the car. There is not one scratch on my sister’s body. They took them to two different hospitals. Why? Why were there Army men on the ground, why weren’t there police?”

Fox News quoted Shim’s mother saying the scene looked “staged” and that her death was not an accident.

The images, Poe claims, show a “shoddy job” that “tell us everything,” suggesting the scene was staged to look like an accident.

State Department knows nothing about anything as usual. To wit, October 20th.

state.gov
QUESTION: Does the U.S. have any comment on reports the death of U.S. citizen Serena Shim in Turkey may be more than just a car crash, following her reports that ISIS militants are being smuggled across the Syrian border?

MS. HARF: Yes. We can confirm that she died in Turkey on October 19th and extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends. Officials from the U.S. Consulate General in Adana are in contact with her family and providing all possible consular assistance. For any details or information about the investigation, I think local authorities in Turkey are handling that.

QUESTION: But I mean, the question was whether you believe that her death had anything other than to do than a car crash.

MS. HARF: I just don’t have anything further for you than that.

QUESTION: Can you take the question?

MS. HARF: I can, but I don’t think I’m going to have anything further.

No updates on November 20th either, referencing October 20 BS.

state.gov
MR. RATHKE: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Thank you. It’s about the journalist Serena Shim, who died in Turkey under very suspicious circumstances. Did her death raise suspicions here at the State Department?

MR. RATHKE: Well, I think we’ve spoken to this in the briefing room several weeks ago, after it happened. I don’t have anything to add to what the spokesperson said at the time, though.

QUESTION: But then she died several days after she claimed she had been threatened by the Turkish intelligence. Have you inquired about this? Have you asked questions? Is there really nothing new about this?

MR. RATHKE: Well, I just don’t have any update to share with you. Again, this was raised shortly after her death. The spokesperson addressed it. I don’t have an update to share with you at this time.

Next topic?

Why Serena Shim was killed

Before her death, Serena Shim had been reporting on the siege in Kobani where the Syrian military was fighting Islamic State factions with the autonomous Kurds, Turkey’s historic enemy, in the middle fighting for their own survival. She was also investigating the thousands of foreign fighters that have crossed the Turkish border into Syria and in the process uncovered possible evidence of secret western assistance to Takfiri “rebels” linked to the Islamic State. They are with the same Takfiris who kidnapped up to 150 Christians (Reuters) in northeast Syria and strangled a girl in public last week.

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In the same live interview 2 days before her death, Shim said she had video evidence of these anti-Assad militants crossing the border using vehicles belonging to charity non-governmental organizations (NGO), in violation of international law. She described them as distinctly Takfiri, as she knew the region very well, which is why Turkish intelligence was asking questions about her in towns near the border. Shim then said she was seeking legal representation to make contact with the Turkish government and clear any concerns.

Shim described the harassment by security forces as unusual, noting that she had dealt with police and intelligence services before in many different countries, and the Turkish activity was a targeted response to something specific. She said her instinct was that Turkish security forces were likely tracking her not in relation to her reporting in Kobani but because of something of deeper geopolitical signifigance that she could have discovered in the process.

Press TV anchor: “Turkish intelligence agencies has now accused one of our correspondents of being a spy

“Serena, are you a spy?”

Serena Shim: No, not at all. I’m very surprised at this accusation, I’ve even thought of actually approaching Turkish intelligence because I have nothing to hide and I’ve never done anything aside from my job and I’d like to make that apparent to them.

However, I am a bit worried because as you know and as the viewers know that Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists, so I am a bit frightened about what they might use against me.

We were some of the first people on the ground, if not the first people to give that story of those Takfiri militants going in through the Turkish border from Bab al Hawa, Reyhanli border [crossing], being sent in.

I got images of them in World Food Organization trucks. It was very apparent that they were Takfiri militants by their beards and by the clothes that they wore and they were going in there with NGO trucks and I just find it very odd, they went to several local residents here and asked about me.

The residents said ‘no, we know her, we have seen her before, we’ve seen her work, she’s not a spy’, and they were going through with the fact that yes I actually am and they told any people that if they see me to bring me or or give them a phone call.

So I find it odd. I don’t see why they’re taking this action against me at this point, I think that it may be because of some of my previous stories that have aired because now in the area of Kobani, we haven’t been inside, we’ve been telling the story from the Turkish side of the border.

There’s other international news agencies there as well. I don’t know how they tell their stories or how accurate their stories are, and if that is why they have pinpointed me in this put-together incident.

Oh, but I have spoken to a lawyer because if they do take me in, I do want to be ready and I want to be able to see where we can take this case legally.

…..

I think that it’s definitely about the reporting from Syria and particularly from the city of Hatay , not necessarily from the city of Kobani, it’s obvious moreso what’s happening there.

The other reports that I had done were about at the time, the so called Free Syrian Army going in, and catching these Takfiri militants and getting the passport stamps and getting firsthand information that they were actually inside while Turkey was still hiding them.

I think this has a lot to do with it and I think they want to know why I’m back.

Another thing that they said is that I’m spying and I’m working with the Turkish opposition… but it’s only logical that I would speak with the Turkish opposition just the same way that I would speak with other parties… because that’s my job.

So obviously there’s some fear there.

I kinda wonder what’s happening. The situation in Kobani now… I’ve been hearing… there’s going to be more training camps… to send into Syria…

I wonder if they think that I’m going to focus on a different area and that I’m using the umbrella of Kobani and I’m actually getting in here to do some kind of investigative journalism because I don’t see it just being specifically in that area and it gives me the feeling that something is boiling and something is brewing that they think I’m here to catch.

Anchor: “And Serena if you could just venture an opinion on what may happen next because you’re going to continue reporting on the ground as far as Kobani is concerned and of course you’ve been reporting as transparently as possible and it seems that the Turkish government isn’t very happy with that.”

… I would assume that they’re going to take me in for questioning my the next hope is that my lawyer is good enough to get me off as soon as possible.

“do you think that this campaign by Turkish intelligence against you is also a warning for other journalists reporting on the ground over what and how they might report”

I definitely do.

I’ve been reporting about that for a year or so previously…

… it’s known, that Turkey has this clampdown on journalists. I’ve been stopped by them before, but not necessarily to this level, just by police basically, no different than any other country.

but for the intelligence to actually look for me, that’s rather odd, so I think that they’re trying to get the word out to journalists to be careful so much as to what they say.

Kobani, Turkey and Islamic State

To understand why the video Serena Shim and her camerawoman obtained was so important, it is necessary to understand the situation at the time in Syria. To speculate using reasonable evidence, the purpose is to show that other known problems have similar goals and are subject to the same risks of exposure in the media. To consider the common interests against the contradictions of government positions with the observed evidence, the “not suspicious” story created for the media can be easily disproven. Ultimately, this is not about Putin, Assad or the Islamic State, it’s about the much more dangerous lies being perpetrated by the West as a “response” to the problems its machine created, which is out of control in many ways.

The microcosm of Kobani is representative of the Syrian proxy war at large as multiple layers of confusion from so many participants helps to cover the lies and omissions of the US, Israel and other western governments. The rebels groups opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have been supported across the Turkish border continuously during the entire conflict, with fighters and weapons crossing in both directions. The “rebels” have received help from the US, UK, Israel, Turkey and others in various ways.

The entire war in Syria is dirty and government officials in all involved countries, including Turkey, are fighting a continuous battle to not be blamed in the court of public opinion for the actions of the others involved. This does not just apply to actions but inaction as there is a danger to get caught by the international media focused on events taking place in or enabled by a certain country. Serena Shim knew this as a veteran of the region and went to Syria in pursuit of reporting the truth of western manipulation behind the Islamic State, and she confirmed that she had obtained circumstantial evidence of just that.

From the WTF News story about Shim in October 2014

Officials in Turkey and the United States have been in a war of words highlighted by VP Joe Biden saying that Turkey had allowed too many fighters (of 30,000+) to cross the border into Syria, which doesn’t fully explain the origins of ISIS. This is one secret that is reported in the open which raises questions about who the Syrian rebels really are and how they have such easy access to the border region. Western intelligence, through Turkey and Israel is largely responsible for the vacuum allowing ISIS to cover the territory that it holds now.

The Turkish government (and the US) has made it clear the targets are really the Kurds, and Assad in Syria, contrary to the hype about ISIS. The US has made it clear that the war is also about oil, along with the longer term gas wars.

The battle of Kobani, which eventually lasted for 6 months, was the fight that actually forced major media in the United States to focus on the Syrian war, even in the middle of the propaganda heavy coverage of the November 2014 elections only weeks away. A concerted effort was made to appear tough and active on the international stage by US President Barack Obama and was evident in the highly publicized assistance to the Kurdish fighters asking for military aid, ironically starting the same day as Shim’s death on October 19th. It is a banner day for war propaganda when Wall Street Journal Fox News, CNN, New York Times and others get on the same page in reporting US military actions.

One reason for this shift in western strategy was the rising tension along the border in early October which turned into riots as “Kurds rose up against the government for doing nothing to protect their kin” as Reuters put it.

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To let the New York Times editorial board describe the complicated dynamic of Kobani actually tells a lot of the real facts and how it became so politically important to control the message in major media.

NY Times
The town, once dismissed as inconsequential by American commanders, has become not only a focus of the American operation against the Islamic State, known as ISIS, but also a test of the administration’s strategy, which is based on airstrikes on ISIS-controlled areas in Syria and reliance on local ground forces to defeat the militants. A major problem is that the local ground forces are either unorganized, politically divided or, as in the case of the Kobani Kurds, in danger of being outgunned.
** It’s not important until our strategy can be shown as a failure in the media, better improve the situation now. There are few good options. **

A setback in Kobani would show the fragility of the American plan and hand the Islamic State an important victory. Given Kobani’s location next to Turkey, the town’s fall would put the Islamic State in a position to cross the border and directly threaten a NATO ally, a move that could force the alliance to come to Turkey’s defense.

The big missing piece in the American operation is Turkey, whose reluctance to assist Kobani’s Kurds highlights the enduring weaknesses in America’s strategy. The decision to resupply the Kurds was a desperation move; the Kurds were at risk and Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has refused to help despite repeated entreaties from Washington.

Only on Monday, after the American airdrop, did Turkey say it would allow Iraqi Kurdish forces, the pesh merga, to cross Turkey into Kobani. So far, however, no reinforcements of forces have reached Kobani by way of Turkey and Mr. Erdogan made it clear on Thursday that he is prepared to let only 200 pesh merga travel through his country — hardly enough when the Islamic State reportedly has about 1,000 militants in the area.

Turkey has been a troublesome NATO ally in the best of times. Matters have been made worse by its insistence that Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, is a bigger threat than the Islamic State and by its complicated relationships with various Kurdish groups. Turkey has long enabled the Islamic State, whose original objective was to overthrow the Assad regime, by permitting militants, weapons and money to cross its border into Syria.

Now that the United States is leading the fight against the Islamic State, Turkey says it will work with the Americans. Yet it balks at helping Kurdish fighters in Kobani because it fears this would also strengthen the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (or P.K.K.) inside Turkey. The P.K.K. has been fighting a bitter, separatist war against the Turkish government for three decades, though recently the two sides have engaged in peace talks. It is hard to see what Mr. Erdogan gains by angering the Americans or by angering the Kurds in Iraq, the one Kurdish group with which Turkey has had good relations. Its refusal to assist also jeopardizes the nascent peace talks with the P.K.K.

Turkey is basically unwilling to help the Kurds, but will help ISIS using its border with Syria, and will only fight against ISIS when it starts to come back across the border into Turkey. That is a very cynical policy even if Turkey is being forced to help by the US and Israel.

‘We created ISIS’

It has documented in pieces and explicitly by many different sources that ISIS was a creation of United States, Israel and other coalition partners through intelligence agencies and deliberate ignorance.

SCG News
Reuters had reported in 2012 that the FSA’s command was dominated by Islamic extremists, and the New York Times had reported that same year that the majority of the weapons that Washington were sending into Syria was ending up in the hands Jihadists. For two years the U.S. government knew that this was happening, but they kept doing it.

And the FSA’s ties to Al-Nusra are just the beginning. In June of 2014 Al-Nusra merged with ISIS at the border between Iraq and Syria.

So to review, the FSA is working with Al-Nusra, Al-Nusra is working with ISIS, and the U.S. has been sending money and weapons to the FSA even though they’ve known since 2012 that most of these weapons were ending up in the hands of extremists. You do the math.

Talk of aid to rebels linked to al-Qaeda by the same intelligence agencies was refuted by major media as a conspiracy theory, then it was admitted and “moderate” rebels was the keyword, now it is an open secret that ias being ignored in the discussion at large.

This clip of Retired Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney talking about “failures” that led to creating ISIS aired on Fox News and was added to the same article in September 2014. The anchor was also asking about the 100+ UN peacekeepers “detained” by Islamic State rebels.

[UPDATE 9.03.14]: : “We Helped Build ISIS”:

Syria, we backed I believe, in some cases some of the wrong people and not in the right part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) that’s a little confusing to people. So I’ve always maintained, and go back quite some time that we were backing the wrong types. I think it’s going to turn out maybe this weekend in a new special that Brett Baer is going to have Friday that’s gonna show some of those weapons from Benghazi ended up in the hands of ISIS. So we helped build ISIS.

The latest propaganda twist is Retired Gen. Wesley Clark touring mainstream media with the message that religious extremists are inevitable and the United States needs to use them to fight the Syrian government.

The Fox News performance was even more masterful, featuring a faux fit of rage from propaganda master Megyn Kelly. Clark calms her down and tells her and the rest of Republican America that it is just a necessary evil.

Reuters ran a story picked up by Huffington Post

As a final example of the real situation on the ground about how ISIS moves in silence, Newsweek spoke with a former ISIS member about the real team effort that gets the dirty work done.

Newsweek

A former member of ISIS has revealed the extent to which the cooperation of the Turkish military allows the terrorist group, who now control large parts of Iraq and Syria, to travel through Turkish territory to reinforce fighters battling Kurdish forces.

“ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” said Omer of crossing the border into Turkey, “and they reassured us that nothing will happen, especially when that is how they regularly travel from Raqqa and Aleppo to the Kurdish areas further northeast of Syria because it was impossible to travel through Syria as YPG [National Army of Syrian Kurdistan] controlled most parts of the Kurdish region.”

….

“ISIS and Turkey cooperate together on the ground on the basis that they have a common enemy to destroy, the Kurds,” he added.

….

“I have connected ISIS field captains and commanders from Syria with people in Turkey on innumerable occasions,” said Omer.

“I rarely heard them speak in Arabic, and that was only when they talked to their own recruiters, otherwise, they mostly spoke in Turkish because the people they talked to were Turkish officials of some sorts because ISIS guys used to be very serious when they talked to them.”

Omer was then transferred to a battalion travelling to fight Kurdish forces in Serekaniya, north-eastern Syria, and describes travelling through Turkey in a convoy of trucks, staying at safehouses along the way, before crossing back into Syria at the Ceylanpinar border crossing.

Before crossing the border back into Syria, he says: “My ISIS commander reassured us once again that it was all going to be all right because cooperation had been made with the Turks. He frequently talked on the radio in Turkish.”

While we tried to cross the Ceylanpinar border post, the Turkish soldiers’ watchtower light spotted us. The commander quickly told us to stay calm, stay in position and not to look at the light. He talked on the radio in Turkish again and we stayed in our positions. Watchtower light then moved about 10 minutes later and the commander ordered us to move because the watchtower light moving away from us was the signal that we could safely cross the border into Serekaniye.

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Gas Wars

The geopolitics of the Middle East are charmingly simple in that it always centers around energy starting with oil, but global conflicts are increasingly fought over natural gas and pipelines. The proxy war in Syria is also the war against Russia. It is now conspiracy fact that the oil price plunge was a Saudi collaboration aimed at Russia, shifting pressure in financial markets on to oil producing entities in other countries as well. More importantly, it is the ongoing war for control of global business and financial markets as well as keeping resource production friendly to US consumers.

The wars for natural gas are best understood from the perspectives of supply, transit (pipelines, LNG, etc) and consumer demand. Israel has supply interest with large gas deposits found offshore and even in Gaza. Qatar is a tiny country in the Persian Gulf with the world’s third largest known gas reserves and limited options to deliver it to European markets. Saudi Arabia and Turkey have transit interests, and the EU as end consumers, have substantial benefit from whoever wins the race to supply the pipeline friendly routes to Europe based in Turkey. The Pipeline-istan race is about who can monetize the gas flow from the region to Europe and who benefits from local infrastructure. The longer it takes the western network to secure pipeline deals, the more time for routes to the east to develop (Iran-Pakistan, towards China).

Ultimately Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad is standing in the way of energy progress, with Russia supporting their military interests and Iran as a long standing ally. That combination is enough to make a terrorist-driven coup a cost efficient option.

“Specifically, the issue at hand is the green part of the proposed pipeline: it simply can’t happen as long as Russia is alligned with Assad,” as Zero Hedge reported in May 2013.

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It’s interesting to reflect on what is open knowledge in the 4 months since Shim’s death. It is now conspiracy fact that Israel has been aiding rebels linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State after UN situation reports confirmed cross-border transactions. Israel has been very active in the Syria proxy war, more focused on bombing Hezbollah and Syrian military targets than the Islamic State, with many examples of Syrian rebel commanders collaborating with Israel. By conventional logic, ISIS should flood Israel with attacks, but never really attacks Israel because ISIS is the controlled opposition forces necessary for the war against Assad, as Gen. Wesley Clark explained.

There are public relations opportunities along the way like the “US-led coalition” bombing groups that take hostages, but ISIS is a creation of the West which causes specific damage and is then destroyed.

How does Qatar tie into all of this? Qatar has been unable to come to terms on a pipeline deal with either Saudi Arabia or through Iraq, both hitting a roadbloack in Syria. Ret. Gen Wesley Clark already openly blamed the Saudis and Qatar for funding the rebels. “Saudi Arabia and Qatar both have given weapons to the Free Syrian Army, fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, but some of those weapons may also have gone to the extremist jihadi group al-Nusra Front, and even to ISIS before it was known it was a threat”, Clark told Newsmax.

Those claims were backed up by reporting from the Financial Times that revealed $3 billion dollars over 2 years to rebels in Syria.

The remainder of the Zero Hedge article on the subject describes in detail more about the money trail.

Zero Hedge
That, sadly, is not even close to half the story. Recall from Qatar: Oil Rich and Dangerous, posted nearly a year ago, which predicted all of this:

Why would Qatar want to become involved in Syria where they have little invested?  A map reveals that the kingdom is a geographic prisoner in a small enclave on the Persian Gulf coast.

 

It relies upon the export of LNG, because it is restricted by Saudi Arabia from building pipelines to distant markets.  In 2009, the proposal of a pipeline to Europe through Saudi Arabia and Turkey to the Nabucco pipeline was considered, but Saudi Arabia that is angered by its smaller and much louder brother has blocked any overland expansion.

 

Already the largest LNG producer, Qatar will not increase the production of LNG.  The market is becoming glutted with eight new facilities in Australia coming online between 2014 and 2020.

 

A saturated North American gas market and a far more competitive Asian market leaves only Europe.  The discovery in 2009 of a new gas field near Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria opened new possibilities to bypass the Saudi Barrier and to secure a new source of income.  Pipelines are in place already in Turkey to receive the gas.  Only Al-Assad is in the way.

 

Qatar along with the Turks would like to remove Al-Assad and install the Syrian chapter of the Moslem Brotherhood.  It is the best organized political movement in the chaotic society and can block Saudi Arabia’s efforts to install a more fanatical Wahhabi based regime.  Once the Brotherhood is in power, the Emir’s broad connections with Brotherhood groups throughout the region should make it easy for him to find a friendly ear and an open hand in Damascus.

 

A control centre has been established in the Turkish city of Adana near the Syrian border to direct the rebels against Al-Assad.  Saudi Deputy Foreign Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah al-Saud asked to have the Turks establish a joint Turkish, Saudi, Qatari operations center.  “The Turks liked the idea of having the base in Adana so that they could supervise its operations” a source in the Gulf told Reuters.

 

The fighting is likely to continue for many more months, but Qatar is in for the long term.  At the end, there will be contracts for the massive reconstruction and there will be the development of the gas fields.  In any case, Al-Assad must go.  There is nothing personal; it is strictly business to preserve the future tranquility and well-being of Qatar.

Some more on the strategic importance of this key feeder component to the Nabucco pipeline, and why Syria is so problematic to so many powers. From 2009:

Qatar has proposed a gas pipeline from the Gulf to Turkey in a sign the emirate is considering a further expansion of exports from the world’s biggest gasfield after it finishes an ambitious programme to more than double its capacity to produce liquefied natural gas (LNG).

 

“We are eager to have a gas pipeline from Qatar to Turkey,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of Qatar, said last week, following talks with the Turkish president Abdullah Gul and the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the western Turkish resort town of Bodrum. “We discussed this matter in the framework of co-operation in the field of energy. In this regard, a working group will be set up that will come up with concrete results in the shortest possible time,” he said, according to Turkey’s Anatolia news agency.

 

Other reports in the Turkish press said the two states were exploring the possibility of Qatar supplying gas to the strategic Nabucco pipeline project, which would transport Central Asian and Middle Eastern gas to Europe, bypassing Russia. A Qatar-to-Turkey pipeline might hook up with Nabucco at its proposed starting point in eastern Turkey. Last month, Mr Erdogan and the prime ministers of four European countries signed a transit agreement for Nabucco, clearing the way for a final investment decision next year on the EU-backed project to reduce European dependence on Russian gas.

 

“For this aim, I think a gas pipeline between Turkey and Qatar would solve the issue once and for all,” Mr Erdogan added, according to reports in several newspapers. The reports said 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. It was not clear whether the second option would be connected to the Pan-Arab pipeline, carrying Egyptian gas through Jordan to Syria. That pipeline, which is due to be extended to Turkey, has also been proposed as a source of gas for Nabucco.

Based on production from the massive North Field in the Gulf, Qatar has established a commanding position as the world’s leading LNG exporter. It is consolidating that through a construction programme aimed at increasing its annual LNG production capacity to 77 million tonnes by the end of next year, from 31 million tonnes last year. However, in 2005, the emirate placed a moratorium on plans for further development of the North Field in order to conduct a reservoir study. It recently extended the ban for two years to 2013.

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