Colombia’s Oil Industry on Verge of Collapse
Vol: 1 Issue: 26 Friday, October 26, 2001
The Colombian Petroleum Enterprise (Ecopetrol) said that if the bombing of the company’s oil lines continues, the oil industry will soon collapse and force the country to import oil. So far in 2001, production losses from guerrilla attacks are estimated at 17,000,000 barrels. The United States has a vested interest in the Colombian oil industry. Eighteen months ago, Colombia was producing 844,000 barrels of oil per day. Although it has gotten very little attention in the US press, the US has been courting [and counting on] Colombia as one of our hedges against dependence on Middle Eastern oil sources. Colombia is [or was] America’s seventh largest source of foreign oil. Colombia has large reserves of untapped oil and natural gas Washington was counting on.
al-Qaeda Operatives Spread Out Across Europe
Telephone wiretaps and listening devices planted in the apartment of a Tunisian national in Milan have produced evidence that a network of terrorist recruits trained at Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan have fanned out to a half-dozen European countries, according to Italian investigators. Investigators said that Essid Sami Ben Khemais moved to Milan in March 1998 after completing two years of training in the camps.
Peres: “America Isn’t Even Thinking About How To Defend Israel”
Shimon Peres returned from his trip to the United States to report to his government that, “The Americans have moved from one era to another. We haven’t even begun to understand what happened there. They aren’t thinking about how to defend Israel, but how to defend themselves in a crazy war.” Peres was the most senior of Israeli visitors to hold meetings with U.S. officials in Washington this past week. But Bush promised that our government has no intention to harm Israel or to “pay the Arabs with Israel.” Bush promised Peres: “Even if you want to, you won’t be able to ruin our relations.”
Bush Sets “Red Line” With Israelis
Despite his assurances, Bush told Peres he was concerned about the escalation in Israeli-Palestinian violence and worried that Israel is trying to cause the PA to collapse. Jerusalem was sent a strong warning that the United States would not support such a move, which it believes would endanger the region’s stability. That is America’s “red line” vis-a-vis Israel. Sharon has tried to assure U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell that Israel will not bring down the PA or harm Arafat. The government told Israel it wanted three things: Get out of Area A, be careful of human life and create a cease-fire. Peres told his government, “They don’t understand what we want, and here we live on another planet.”
Senate Still OKs Israeli Aid Package
While Israel may be feeling more alone than it has in many years, it can take comfort in the fact the US Senate has approved an aid package worth some $2.7 billion to help keep the Jewish state alive while we are fighting our own battles. Israel gets the most foreign aid of any country helped by the U.S., with Egypt second, this year getting $1.3 billion. Jordan is slated to get $225 million. The entire foreign aid package was $15.6 billion, and passed by a 96-2 vote. Israel will use $2 billion of the aid package for defense purchases in the U.S. and the remaining $760 million will be for civilian aid.
China Thumbs Nose At US Export Restrictions
China s government is refusing to initiate stricter export controls on its state-run companies despite pressure from the United States to curb arms sales to terrorist states and unstable regions. China is upgrading Iran s Hy-14 tactical radar near the Afghan border that is part of a nationwide integrated air defense system.
The administration imposed sanctions against a Chinese company and Pakistan s missile manufacturing group based on intelligence reports that shipments of missile equipment and materials were sent from China to Pakistan for Pakistan s Shaheen-1 and Shaheen-2 nuclear capable missiles.
The transfers violated China s pledge in November to the Clinton administration not to support any foreign nation s nuclear weapons and missile programs. Chinese officials are refusing to institute the new export controls because they have said privately that they cannot appear to be giving in to U.S. pressure. The Pentagon opposes lifting the sanctions because China is continuing to proliferate arms across the Middle East.
China Preparing Move To Cuba
China is considering moves to take over the Russian electronic eavesdropping post at Lourdes, Cuba. Moscow announced last week it will give up the post it has occupied since the 1960s. The Russians had been paying Havana $200 million a year for the listening post. The Cubans could use the money, and Beijing would love to have an eavesdropping installation 90 miles off American shores. From Lourdes, China will be able to listen in on telephone and other electronic communications throughout the United States. China recently has sent specialists to work on an eavesdropping post at Bejcal, Cuba. And in May 1999 the Chinese and Cuban defense ministers signed an agreement to increase military cooperation.
Saudis Financing Saddam’s Nuclear Program
U.S. intelligence sources reviewing the assets of Saudi fugitive Osama Bin Laden and his allies fear that the Saudis are secretly financing the Iraqi nuclear weapons program. Riyad has quietly obtained nuclear components and technology from Bin Laden and even Iraq in exchange for billions of dollars in support. Saudi opposition sources have been warning the United States since 1994 that Riyad has paid billions of dollars to Iraq for the development of a nuclear weapon. The aim of the Saudi funding was to obtain any nuclear weapon should Iraqi development succeed. The opposition sources said the Saudi payments began in 1985 and were stopped after Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. It is improbable that the kingdom resumed payments after the 1991 Gulf war, but the opposition sources said Riyad had other friends such as Bin Laden and Pakistan.
France Developing Internet For Tactical Military Purposes
The French military electronics group Thales has just signed a contract with France s defense ministry to develop a high rate Tactical Internet communication system. The aim is to step up the digitalization of future military operations.
Egypt Signs Spy Satellite Deal
The Egyptians continue to build their military capabilities. They signed a contract with the Ukraine to build and launch Egypt’s first remote-sensing satellite. Egyptian officials termed the satellite as a civilian project. Mubarak had explored the option of purchasing a spy satellite from Russia during his visit to Moscow in June. The Egyptian effort, which also included missile purchases from Russia, encountered opposition from the United States, so they claimed to have dropped the idea. But the Ukraine made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.