tv Inside Story 2020 Ep 2 Al Jazeera January 3, 2020 3:32am-4:01am +03
merchant sea has begun in new south wales as more devastating bushfires a forecast for the weekend tens of thousands of people have been ordered to leave parts of the southeast at least 8 people have died just this week 28 others are known to be missing. sudan's prime minister has met tribal leaders in west off for following a mass killing there this week sudan's red crescent says 48 people were killed after violence broke out at a camp for internally displaced people on sunday algeria's new prime minister has appointed a cabinet but he's retained several officials from the previous regime of the former president abdelaziz bouteflika the cabinet is likely to face anger and get anger from anti-government protesters who've been gathering every friday for months those are your headlines the news continues after inside story of a quick summary in about 30 minutes see that.
competition for gas in greece cyprus and israel sign a pipeline deal in the eastern mediterranean but turkey is also expanding its influence there so we'll still feel the rivalry and how is it shaping politics in the region this is inside story. of their very warm welcome to the program i'm julie mcdonald worldwide demand for natural gas is growing and discoveries in the eastern mediterranean are changing that use policies on its energy supplies for decades it's relied on russia for gas
but israel greece and cyprus have signed off on a project for a pipeline that would lessen europe's dependence on most school well the supply will connect israel's offshore fields with europe and is expected to meet about 10 percent of the e.u.'s demand for natural gas but that unites the 3 signatories in all positions at sarky and libya last month on korea and aaa agreed a new maritime boundary that they call their exclusive economic so they say this gives them full rights to exploit actual resorts in the eastern mediterranean and that includes or oil and gas well let's have a closer look at the east made gas pipeline it'll link cypress and israel's levantine big sin offshore gas reserves to greece and then to italy and it will bypass turkey. meanwhile turkey is deploying soldiers to libya to back the un recognized government in tripoli and that's fighting forces loyal to warlord khalifa haftar our anchor says its troops will protect its rights in the
mediterranean and its interests in libya where war has escalated in recent weeks and have to a declared in december what he called a final and decisive battle for the capital he's trying to seize the city since april libya's been torn by violence and conflict since the fall of longtime ruler moammar gadhafi back in 2011 thank. you. well let's bring in our guests gabriel mitchell is a policy fellow at the victim institute think tank he joins us by skype from west jerusalem mehmet ojukwu who is chairman of the london energy club and a former turkish diplomat he joins us from london james moran is an associate senior research fellow at the center for european policy studies and former e.u. ambassador to egypt he joins us from brussels a very warm welcome to each of you gents so what does all of this mean i want to kick off with you minutes to help us unpick this potentially deeply complex
situation from your perspective how realistic is this pipeline project given the turkish opposition. well i don't think it's only related to turkish opposition if you look at the merits of such a pipeline of course there is a great value in bringing and other gus corridor to europe in addition to what we have you know russia north africa no way f.s.r. you us l.n.g. so there's a there's going to be a gas to gas competition coming from different sources if this new pipeline will bring guys which is affordable cost competitive to other ones and it also overcome this job political tensions which might hamper the progress in this project of course is several come new addition to european guster also you have to bear in mind that in transition to a low carbon economy in europe there are going to be significant challenges for new
gusts to be brought to the european markets there isn't also a strong appetite for near infrastructure pipeline infrastructure to build don't forget that we have now turned up tapped which will bring gas from caspian through turkey greece to italy which has already been signed and progress and the guys was brought all the way to the turkish border then top is completed this will carry gus to italy then you have trucks stream 2 which will bring us why it. all the way to baumgarten and then you have north stream sure under the baltic sea bringing us to central europe so there is an abundance of gus supplies coming then the question will be of course how realistic is to have some additional gas. at what price and also politically complex strain whether this will constitute and the
risk so also financing will be a huge hurdle because e.b.e. our view european investment bank they made clear that they are not going to fund natural gas projects in the future so there are so many complex issues at hand and i hope that this will be resolved and this pipeline project will go smoothly and don't also forget an example that we had in the past number of projects started in 2002 abundant in 2013 then transformed into turner the lessons that that we learned from such pipelines you can sign all this intergovernmental agreement m. or use and whatever you have but the realisation is very very very difficult you need a very strong lead country in this case i don't see who will be delete country is going to be italy which will be absent in the meeting today signing inter-governmental the agreement in the terms what about egypt egypt is against
this pipeline as far as i can see because it wants to be the main hub for gaza exports from the region and then of course u.s. and e.u. are supporting it but whether they are going to put also financial capital behind this project is in addition to political capital then the agreement signed between turkey and libya tripoli based government. the maritime boundaries and military cooperation skirting the exclusive economic zone and also continental rights of crete which is in the middle of this pipeline so these are a lot of question marks that spring to mind and then i'm going to start an item in a 2nd we'll definitely get to all of those question marks but i want to bring in gabriel mitchell at this point and gabriel had heard it said by an analyst at that this particular deal smells of gas but it stinks of geopolitics which i thought was
an interesting turn of phrase from israel's perspective what does it stand to gain from this deal. well what we're talking about is the 7th summit between israeli separate and greek heads of state you are asked to not have yours so 1st and foremost we're talking about a political process a diplomatic process that even over the course of the last 2 or half years has roots that go back nearly a decade so from an israeli perspective politics is perhaps the ultimate prize i mr netanyahu gave an address last night to the israeli public in which he was talking about efforts to create immunity for himself from any kind of criminal charges but in his speech he spoke about how he would be going to athens in order to secure a gas deal that would reward israelis with billions upon billions of dollars now i agree with a lot of what mehmet said that ultimately we're talking about an m o
u between the political parties but not between commercial actors and certainly needs to check off technical feasibility boxes not to mention the commercial ones so the aus i think is framing it is about economics about commercial opportunities but everything about this process right now is geopolitical and it can't be ignored and nor can the in the room which is turkey who was not part of these conversations and hasn't been a primary actor in these processes but nonetheless is present even if those 3 states would prefer not the team's moran past and present rivalries and they tightening gas discoveries in a new bill and of contention and that they'd fostering division rather than cooperation how do you see things. well it is certainly case
the wild east if you want to put it that way given the tangled web of interests between the different parties but i think as map was saying there is quite a strong common interest between the suppliers and the consumers here i mean the e.u. has already put money into the project almost $40000000.00 went into feasibility studies is right to point out the problems down the line in terms of the finance of the infrastructure itself and that will be a challenge but there's no doubt that there is a common interest the what if what's lacking is some sort of regional or multilateral forum to bring the different parties together there is in fact one initiative which i just want to point out which is the smell gas forum which was formed about a year ago which is headquartered in cairo and includes 6 of the parties doesn't include lebanon of course turkey hasn't joined but nevertheless that sort of organization could be perhaps used to bring out the different contradictions of
interest and so forth and keep the i on the prize which is without question for europe anyway diversification of supplies and hopefully a contribution in the longer run to greatest ability in the region that mehmet i want to look now at the situation in libya will it turkey's parliament sending troops to libya to protect as it sees its rights in the eastern mediterranean so obviously recently signed that maritime boundaries agreement with libya but how much of a gamble is that for turkey and what implications does it have. well i think wanting is quite clear turkey feels being ignored sidelined excluded india bigger is military non-game and this 7 nation military and natural gas forum for example doesn't include turkey but if you look at the picture on a very objective basis turkey is the largest country in east met to reckon with and
by we are 2 of its economy military culture intelligence and energy consumption and transportation lines whatever you look at it and it is also the longest costa line in is matt and if you exclude turkey in the equation is mad i don't see how many countries exist there doesn't matter much it's going to fail this way or another it will never lead to any collaboration or settlement of the disputes we will always have tension and confrontation so one way to make it a win win streak for all coastal countries in the region is to have a meaningful dialogue because if you include turkey in this equation and then things might work better because turkey is also after securing low cause natural gas for its own supplies one of the largest markets in europe about $48.00 to $50.00 b.c.m. of gas consumption per year coming from russia iran as it is john f. s.
r u n g u s l n g as well you name it they're poor it is difficult but we need to the pulled his size decision old a bit because there is a perception in ankara that there is a sort of. you will front in quotation marks against turkey formed by israel egyptian cyprus greens and also supported by saudi arabia and united arab emirates so this creates a sort of clear which in the region against which turkey is trying to struggle and make room for itself and the agreement with the government legit image government in tripoli is a sign that turkey is changing the game making some waves i agree that there are some serious difficulties especially in terms of skirting creek from the scriptures which i believe by international law it has its own rights but turkey i think has
done a maximalist. approach in terms of bringing itself to the pictures and then making statements especially present undergone made a number of statements which was a surprise to me saying that we are open to discussion dialogue negotiations on that so i think at this stage if you ignore this turkish approach you like it or not but only focus on what the street 4 countries can do together i think old f. was unfortunately no matter what support it will get from us or even you will be bound to fail so libya and also turkish determination to send to libya military advisors support technicians and logistical support whatever you name it and there will be the beginning of a quite dangerous a gambit in that country because opposition forces. general have
fair and supported by another opposing camp and so this way a nato member country turkey will be opposing couple of other nato member countries and then regional countries so this means spreading the risks and tension and conflict from syria to is mad and then to libya so i think there is an urgent need for this measure powers to sit down. and find a way to overcome this difficulties otherwise my concern is that this is going to explode in such a way that we may not be able to control it is not going to be in the interest of anybody it's not also time to exchange blames who's to blame for this or death i want to be in using him is another that's a kind of interested reckons member i just want to bring in james franks i can see you nodding there james so we've got a situation on the ground as memet just lying there which is potentially explosive
in the and we have a situation where turkey will be giving support in several ways but it will also to some degree be facing off against egypt i mean in regional terms that's a real tinderbox isn't it. yes and it's been that way for far too long you can't blame frankly the. legitimate government in tripoli the internationally recognized government in tripoli. saraj for doing what is done with turkey they do feel isolated when it comes to support security support and one of the problems frankly has been the lack of a common position in europe which has a huge interest in trying to calm down the situation and there with the new leadership coming in now here in brussels i think one of the greatest challenges they have in the southern neighborhood of the european union is to. bang some heads together in particular in paris and rome france and italy who have been on opposite
posing sides in libya for quite some time now even if they give lip service to the united nations process which would bring these 2 major member states together and to forge a common position to support the united nations led process leading to some stability hopefully long term stability in that blighted country sooner that's done the better and that might also take the pressure off the government there and the other part is to not to turn to agreements of the kind that they're just forge with turkey 2nd thing i want to say and i agree with none of these projects are going to be successful in the long run unless. efforts are made not to isolate turkey turkey is a player there's no question about that in these the mediterranean and again it's understandable that they feel a little bit isolated in this story so i think they're there to another challenge for the new leadership here in brussels is to try to find a way forward on easing the tensions in the relationship with turkey and the e.u.
does need to tread carefully at the end of the day turkey is an absolutely key partner not least on migration then of course it is still a candidate for membership in the much longer run even if with the other one of ministration that is not so easy. at the moment but ways need to be fined found to keep turkey on board but right now the challenge is to get behind the un process in libya to provide a longer term stable settlement in that country and to do that i think is a top of the agenda for the e.u. gabriel michel from everything that i'm hearing here there is a certain amount of common sense and pragmatism to keeping turkey on side does israel believe that that sim porson so or is it a priority right. i think that the israeli position is that. the door is 000 is been opened for turkish kurds and any kind of regional process is and i do think that there is. a very basic architecture for some kind of regional form
as a bass or moran mentioned he said gas form is perhaps the most basic rubric but an important starting point for regional dialogue not only on at energy issues but all different kinds of issues that can bring the parties together at the same time from the israeli perspective there are clear red lines that it has seen in asian peculiarly in violation of what it sees as the rights or the interests of other regional parties and partners specifically cyprus and greece israel has had better relationships in the past we don't have to go into all the particulars but the bottom line is that energy cooperation was at the very least rhetorically one of the primary reasons used for reconciliation between israel and turkey in
201-620-1728 extension 00 negotiations about a potential gas pipeline fell through at least in theory over price but i assume that there were some political concerns as well that it is it is what it is right and bassam are and mentioned that turkey is still at least in theory and you can't do that i think we should all be realistic and say that you know if that if we're talking about the heir to one government then we're talking about a government that oftentimes prefers having a type of combative relationship with a lot of neighboring countries that includes israel but it obviously includes other respect countries as well cyprus egypt greece you know and of course the are. pinions so one of the leading or finding some kind of middle ground on the political issues is challenging so long as president everyone is an hour and so
long as he has an interest and in finding spirit issues to distract his domestic base of the james mom i want to know more about where egypt stands in all of this women in that it wants to be a gas hub in the region so where does it stand. but i know that egypt is not very keen on the east med pipeline it sees it as a some sort of competition to its own aspirations to be a major hub energy in the region i'm not entirely sure that that is the correct analysis i think there are complimentary. aspects to all of this after all if egypt is going to be exporting to the european market it will not be through pipelines they will do it through liquefy the energy and the rest and it's not for now because the domestic needs in egypt are enormous and it will be some years before egypt can become a major exporter herself egypt is also i think in a difficult position because of in libya where it's certainly been giving support.
if not officially then certainly through the back door to those forces in the east of the country and finds itself i think up against the problems in that country understandably so they have an interest because of the enormous border long border between the 2 countries i think egypt finds itself in a in a rather nuanced position is also there are a member of the eastern gas forum and of course which is headquartered in cairo so egypt is participating in this. early. multilateral process and i think as gable i think mentioned there. that could actually be the seed of something a little bit more productive and constructive going forward and egypt will have a role to play in that mehmet i want to ask you will economic pragmatism across the old historic rivalries banged the reason borders cannot prevail. well
we cannot wait for the political troubles disputes and impasse to go away before we launch any commercial project and i believe that not only in is made case but also many other pipeline projects unfortunately it they are not becoming sort of an instrument for peace building and also in a win win propositions wherever you look in the world and such resource will open sharing transportation costs frictions tensions and our hope that in east mad's despite all this difficult is whether the commercial economic realities could prevail from that perspective i think the option of bringing in cypriot as well as israeli and the greek gas through turkey 20 existing infrastructures you
know and then top country into europe or to extreme to would be economically more feasible but i recognize that given the current circumstances in which turkey doesn't have any permanent relationship now with cairo and have great difficulties . the netanyahu government in tel aviv and then cyprus dispute continues it's quite difficult to do this right away but still i'm optimistic that. with some work tourists coming from other regional countries in such a way that turkey is not antagonize or cornered and it will be seen as part of the one of the major partners in this game buying natural gas from the region investing in it facilitating it and then also if it could to go as well as based on international low sharing of the maritime resources and boundaries in the region i
think could be a step forward so we need a positive spillover effect otherwise my concern is that economic benefits relatives commercial interests maybe sideline and we'll have the hard facts like gunboat diplomacy that be solved exercising a feeling that there is no other instrument in dissent so i strongly believe that there is still array of hoppin is matt for parties to come around the same table because such projects as you know doesn't happen from today to tomorrow and it takes sometimes dictates as we have seen in the case of snow who couldn't turn up a north korean turk stream it will take a long time and it is not also related to erdogan or whoever netanyahu or mr texas . it is to stay at least hell for a century in place therefore there has to be a sound basis for such infrastructure to be build and operate a chance of getting to is the largest auction today or despite the fact that i've
learned a lot let's hope that economic pragmatism does prevail thank you so much gents for joining me with your thoughts thanks to all of our guests gabriel mitchell them at chu and james and thank you of course to you for watching you can see the program again any time by visiting our website al-jazeera dot com and for further discussion of course go to our facebook page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter our handle is at a.j. inside story from each of them with the whole team here up by fanatics.
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