The Battle for the Arctic has Begun – Russia to claim North Pole Seabed

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, July 29, 2007

Press TV (Iran)

Global Research Editorial Note

We bring to the attention of our readers the following article that highlights the growing tension for arctic resources between the U.S. and the Russian Federation. Canada, under Steven Harper, is becoming heavily involved in these tensions. Prime Minister Harper has made statements declaring that Canada will militarize its arctic region to protect the area. In reality this is part of an effort to secure arctic energy resources for U.S. energy interests.

Global Research, 29 July 2007


Russia has dispatched a submarine to the Arctic Ocean to plant a flag on the seabed of the ocean to claim the North Pole as its territory.

Russia plans to plunge to the bottom of the sea in the next few days to take samples it believes will prove the Lomonosov Ridge, which runs under the Arctic Ocean, is an extension of the Siberian continental shelf and therefore Russian territory.

If a country is able to prove the continental shelf is connected to their land, under a UN convention it will be able to claim sovereignty over the North Pole, a land the size of Western Europe, and all of its fuel and mineral deposits.

The Russians will also plant a one-meter titanium flag at the bottom of the sea to symbolize their claim. The sea depth of the North Pole has been measured at 13,410 ft (4087 m).

Some people believe that the Russian’s Arctic expedition is aimed at sending a clear signal to world powers that Russia has shrugged off its post-cold war weakness and will be aggressively pushing and defending its national interests from now on.

‘The Arctic is Russian. We must prove the North Pole is an extension of the Russian coastal shelf. Of course, [the expedition] is important in terms of science, but also in terms of geopolitics as well,’ Artur Chilingarov, Russia’s most famous explorer leading the mission told the media.

Although Denmark and Canada have also been trying to prove their claim over the Arctic Ocean through their control over Greenland, the closest country to the North Pole, Russia’s new expedition was able to provoke the most propaganda from the West.

Russian state-run TV also had a field day presenting all of the recent news regarding the expedition, following a mysterious aircraft’s appearance above the Russian submarine last week. The Russian media reported the aircraft to be a NATO spy plane.

There is a lot of speculation whether the 460,000-mile territory Moscow is planning on claiming has a lot of mineral reserves or not. However, it’s clear that in the energy-starving world today, the North Pole can have substantial influence on various issues around the world.



see:

Someone should tell Santa about this one By Eric Margolis

The Coming Conflict in the Arctic – Russia and US to Square Off Over Arctic Energy Reserves by Vladimir Frolov


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FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Someone should tell Santa about this one By Eric Margolis

Washington’s reaction was angry and bizarre

Dandelion Salad

By Eric Margolis
Toronto Sun
Sun, August 5, 2007

Russia scored a “coup de theatre” this week by sending a nuclear-powered icebreaker and another research vessel to show the flag at the North Pole.

Two submersibles then made a perilous, four-km- deep dive to the ocean’s bottom in the latest feat of Russia’s long, often heroic record of Arctic exploration.

Supposedly down-and-out Russia shocked everyone by staking an audacious claim to a large swathe of the Arctic Ocean which may contain up to 25% of global oil and gas reserves.

The Arctic pack ice has been melting rapidly due to global warming produced by over-use of fossil fuels. This, ironically, is opening the Arctic to new energy exploration and maritime commerce.

Usually dour President Vladimir Putin must be grinning from ear to ear as he watched huge consternation in Canada, the U.S., Norway and Denmark, all of whom have been hungrily eying the high Arctic.

The Kremlin claims its Siberian continental shelf extends to the North Pole along a 1,200-km underwater ridge named after the renowned 18th century Russian scientist, Lomonosov. International law grants maritime nations a 200-mile economic exclusion zone off their coasts. Moscow insists the North Pole is really just an extension of northern Siberia. Santa will not be happy.

Nor is Ottawa, outraged the Russians had the cheek to make even a symbolic claim to the polar region. Canada wants to advance its own Arctic claims, but, embarrassingly, lacks the icebreakers, patrol vessels, long-ranged aircraft and bases to defend or even police them. New Canadian icebreakers and patrol vessels are still on the drawing boards.

“This isn’t the 15th century!” exclaimed Foreign Minister Peter MacKay.

“Nations can’t claim territory by just planting flags.”

True, but it didn’t seem to occur to outraged Ottawa that its limited military forces and budgets might better be used defending Canadian sovereignty claims in the Arctic than chasing Pashtun tribesmen in remotest Afghanistan.

Washington’s reaction was also angry, and bizarre. A U.S. icebreaker is being rushed at flank speed from Seattle to the North Pole. Administration officials fretted the fabled Arctic Northwest Passage might be used “to transport terrorists” — this, while 200,000 illegal aliens slip into the U.S. from Mexico each month!

RUSSIA’S CLAIMS

Actually, the Russians have solid historic claims to the Arctic. Only the Norse Vikings have been active there longer.

As early as 1032 AD, Russians explored the Kara Sea off northern Siberia and, soon after, the White and Lapatev Seas only 700 km south of the North Pole. In the 1600’s, major Russian expeditions charted the Arctic. Under Peter the Great, Russia opened the Arctic Seas to commerce and made Alaska a colony.

Moscow vows to observe international law and advance its Arctic claims through the UN. Fair enough.

It’s refreshing to see a great power observing international law. Moscow could have adopted the Bush administration’s excuse for invading Iraq, claiming it was occupying the North Pole to find weapons of mass destruction hidden there by rogue seals.

Even so, and joking aside, Moscow’s territorial claim is way over the top and not the right way to deal with what is becoming the very important and potentially dangerous issue of Arctic resources.

There’s a much better method to handle this potential gold rush. The entire, oval-shaped Arctic zone surrounded by the 200-mile limits of Canada, the U.S., Norway and Denmark should become a special UN economic zone. Any nation seeking to drill or mine in this region should buy concessions from the UN and pay it royalties that will be used to fund humanitarian and ecological projects.

SPECIAL ZONES

Regions in which maritime exclusion zones overlap — such as off Greenland, the Bering Strait, Norway’s Savalbard, Russia’s Franz Josef Land, Greek and Turkish Aegean islands, the South China Seas’ contested Paracel and Spratly islands — should also become UN-run special economic zones and, like Antarctica, international territory.

It’s called sharing, a grown-up way to resolve global resource disputes.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

see:

The Big Thaw: Big Oil Has Been Banking On It by Glitzqueen

The Coming Conflict in the Arctic – Russia and US to Square Off Over Arctic Energy Reserves by Vladimir Frolov