Under the radar
Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline: the Baloch wildcard
For both energy hungry India and its swiftly growing neighbor, Pakistan, the need for natural gas is more pressing than ever. Pakistan has one of the world’s fastest growing populations and its demand for gas will expand significantly over the next two decades. India’s gas demand will almost double by 2015 and due to the decline of its reserves it will be forced to import increasing amounts of gas. As the world’s second largest gas reserve, Iran is the most geographically convenient supplier of gas to both countries.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline is "a win-win proposition for Iran, India, and Pakistan," that could serve as a durable confidence-building measure, creating strong economic links and business partnerships among the three countries. But this win-win proposition seems to be threatened by terrorists. A few days after Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh arrived in New Delhi to discuss the future of the pipeline, terrorists in Pakistan blew up two gas pipelines sending a message to all parties involved that the "pipeline of peace" might be anything but peaceful.
Will North Africa learn from the oil curse?
Although not all OPEC countries are corrupt, an historical symbiosis exists between oil and corruption. Oil, corruption and failed states seem to be synonymous. However, some countries have been able to address this threat; most of them are located in North Africa. Producing countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia and even in some respects Libya, have managed to resist the temptation of sleaze. While temptation may have been countered by most North African producers, the threat of falling into the same trap remains. IAGS Associate Fellow Cyril Widdershoven discusses the pitfalls and how they may be avoided.
Maritime terrorism: a new challenge for NATO
Maritime terrorism has emerged as a formidable threat in the world, targeting both civilian and naval vessels in NATO’s area of operations. The threat is compounded by the use of maritime vessels and shipping lanes by criminals who are often in league with terrorists. With the possibility that weapons of mass destruction could be used as a terrorist weapon, efforts to pre-empt such attacks which could cause mass civilian casualties has become a top NATO priority, making it necessary for the alliance to expand its maritime frontier. As the stakes are raised, NATO must innovate in order to counter the new maritime threats. IAGS Associate Fellow Ali M. Köknar discusses.
In search of crude China goes to the Americas
Since it became a net oil importer in 1993, China has traversed the globe in a frantic quest for oil to fuel its booming economy. In some cases, its pursuit of oil has caused considerable irritation in Washington especially due to China's decision to support rogue regimes, such as Iran and Sudan, just because it depends on their oil. Now, China might be on the verge of causing even greater vexation by setting its sights on a new oil domain: the Western Hemisphere. IAGS' Gal Luft analyses the implications.
Watch: Gal Luft discusses China's oil deals in Canada
Al Qaeda's economic war against the United States
Feasibility aside, Osama bin Laden believes the way to bring down a superpower is to weaken its economy through protracted guerilla warfare. We "bled Russia for ten years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat," bin Laden boasted in his October 2004 videotape.
Three methods comprise Al Qaeda's economic war against the U.S. The first is the destruction of high-cost qualitative targets by low-cost qualitative means. The second involves forcing the U.S. to sink unsustainable amounts of funding into its defense agencies. The third is compromising what jihadists call "the provision line and the feeding to the artery of the life of the crusader's nation" - oil. Oil facilities and oil workers have been attacked around the world. In Iraq over 190 attacks targeted oil pipelines. Oil prices partly reflect the "fear premium" added by oil terrorism. For the U.S., an importer of more than 10 million barrels a day, the price spike means a loss of over $50 billion in one year. The cause and effect are not lost on terrorists. "We call our brothers in the battlefields to direct some of their great efforts towards the oil wells and pipelines," reads a jihadist website. "The killing of 10 American soldiers is nothing compared to the impact of the rise in oil prices on America and the disruption that it causes in the international economy."
Watch: Energy Security editor Anne Korin comments on LNG tankers and terrorism
Full report: Sandia Liquefied Natural Gas Safety Study
On the Technology Front
Hybrid Cars: The Slow Drive to Energy Security
The hybrid car market is slowly ramping up. In the past five years the number of hybrid sales numbers in the U.S. grew tenfold from 9,500 in 2000 to 100,000 in 2004. By the end of 2005, the number of hybrid cars on American roads will grow to 300,000. Hybridcars.com editor Bradley Berman writes about moving hybrid cars to the mainstream.