Iran, Venezuela, And Qatar’s Role In The US’ Global Energy Strategy

Taken together, Iran, Venezuela, and Qatar could indeed replace a significant share of the EU’s energy imports from Russia if the US’ global strategy succeeds. It presently seems possible that the Venezuelan and Qatari aspects of this policy will bear fruit in the coming future though the Iranian one remains uncertain due to Russia’s irreplaceable role in approving any potential deal.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that “The US, undoubtedly, declared an economic war against Russia and they are waging this war.” Nowhere is this more evident than when considering the sanctions that America just imposed against Russia, especially those concerning its energy exports. Although Moscow provides a fraction of Washington’s relevant needs, the White House is very clearly signaling its intention to complicate the Kremlin’s energy relations with others like the EU.

The bloc recently announced that it plans to cut its so-called “dependence” on such imports by 2027, which was most likely influenced by its American patron’s hegemonic pressure. This will be extremely difficult to do since Russia is estimated to account for around a quarter of the EU’s oil and roughly a third of its natural gas. Nevertheless, the US is attempting to organize alternative suppliers for its junior partners as part of its de facto economic war against Russia aimed at reducing its budgetary revenue.

Therein lies the strategic significance of its latest moves with Iran, Venezuela, and Qatar. Regarding the first-mentioned, the US is reportedly on the brink of agreeing to another nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic that could potentially unlock its vast energy potential and ultimately return it to playing a major role in this global market. Russia seems very concerned this, hence why it’s requesting that its economic engagement with this nearby friendly nation isn’t subject to the US’ unilateral sanctions.

Moscow seems to have hitherto assumed that it could jointly invest with Tehran in that country’s energy industry, therefore earning much-needed foreign currency and pragmatically preempting Iran from being exploited by the US as its potential rival in this sphere. The Kremlin’s request is reasonable but has suddenly complicated efforts to reach a deal in this respect. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be, but nobody should doubt how seriously Russia regards this issue as being.

There have also been reports that the US is interested in buying energy from Venezuela in spite of not recognizing its legitimate government and having previously tried to unsuccessfully overthrow it through various hybrid warfare schemes. That South American country’s foreign minister implied some credence to those claims by expressing support for anything that allows for the resumption of Venezuela’s energy relationship with the US, which used to be its traditional partner.

Just like similarly sanctioned Iran, Venezuela also has the potential to play a major role in the global energy market upon the lifting of the US’ unilateral sanctions against it. These two industry giants could possibly replace the EU’s imports from Russia that the bloc plans to cut off within the next half-decade. It deserves mention that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves while Iran is estimated to have the third largest. The Islamic Republic also has the second largest natural gas reserves behind Russia.

As for Qatar, this Gulf country was just designated one of the US’ so-called “Major Non-NATO Allies”. It’s also the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LNG), has the planet’s third largest reserves of such resources, and shares the world’s largest gas field – South Pars – with Iran. Despite having previously been pressured by the US during its brief dispute with its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allies, Doha’s relations with Washington recently returned to their previously excellent level.

This is in contrast to neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) ties with their traditional American partner. Both of them reportedly declined US President Joe Biden’s calls that were purportedly made to explore whether they’d be interested in cooperating with it to replace the US-led West’s energy imports from Russia. They’ve been very displeased with the American administration’s criticism of their war in Yemen and are uncomfortable with its dealings with Iran, hence their refusal.

Taken together, Iran, Venezuela, and Qatar could indeed replace a significant share of the EU’s energy imports from Russia if the US’ global strategy succeeds. It presently seems possible that the Venezuelan and Qatari aspects of this policy will bear fruit in the coming future though the Iranian one remains uncertain due to Russia’s irreplaceable role in approving any potential deal. With this in mind, Moscow will have to urgently find new clients in order to replace its lost budgetary revenue from such exports.

China, India, and Pakistan remain the most promising such partners. The Power of Siberia already supplies the People’s Republic, and two new pipelines from Russia’s Sakhalin Island and another through Mongolia are already in the works. As for India, the 99-paragraph reaffirmed strategic partnership pact that those two agreed to during President Putin’s visit to New Delhi in early December has an entire section devoted to energy cooperation between them.

Regarding Pakistan, it and Russia are negotiating a multibillion-dollar pipeline called Pakistan Stream. Islamabad also rebuffed pressure from its traditional American ally to sanction Moscow and condemn its special operation in Ukraine. China, India, and Pakistan are therefore expected to play major roles in Russia’s emerging energy strategy, though other non-Western countries will likely also do so too with time. For these reasons, the US’ anti-Russian energy plans are unlikely to significantly harm Moscow.

By Andrew Korybko Via https://oneworld.press/?module=articles&action=view&id=2605