Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012



Recently, Iranian President MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD has been pretty boring...giving us bloggers very little to blog about.  He's just been doing petty things.  You know...like another denial about supposed nuclear activity...or a statement that an Iranian battleship didn't stray into Iraqi waters...or that they've delayed the trial of some lost American hippie hikers.  But Saturday's announcement from Rear Admiral, ABBAS ZAMINI,  (Deputy Commander of the Iranian Navy) was a blogger's dream.  He informed us that: "Three super-heavy submarines have already been deployed to the country’s southern waters of the Caspian Sea."  Bloggers, start your engines!

Okay...for those of you who cheated in High School Geography...here's a quick primer on the Caspian Sea.  It's not really a "Sea" at all...it's really the earth's largest "Lake."  But, since the Caspian is nearly five times larger than the lake in Second Place (LAKE SUPERIOR), it is practically an ocean.  With no outlets, its water salty like a sea...not a lake.  It also produces oceanic seafood, like Caviar, Sturgeon and Herring.  Finally, we can blame the Greeks.  When the world's first map makers arrived here in the Fifth Century BC, they thought it was the end of the world and named it the Hyrcanian Ocean.  In short...whatever you wanna call it...it's BIG!

Anyhow...for most of human history...things have been peaceful on the mighty Caspian Sea.  For the last thousand years, the rules were simple: The Persians owned the Southern section and the Russians owned the Northern section.   However, the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought chaos to the shores of the lake.  Three new nations now instantly owned prime Caspian coastline. Azerbaijan owned prime Western shoreline, while Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan received most of the Eastern shore.   The problem is that each of the five nations has a different idea on where the territorial claims for the fabled body of water should be drawn.

Things have been getting dicey lately.  Azerbaijan has been accused of cozying up to Israel when they signed recent trade agreements.  Treaties with enemies are highly frowned upon in an Islamic nation...secular or not!  And no one hates Israel more than Iran.   Hence, the Admiral in Tehran declared the submarines were needed to "monitor Azerbaijani activities" purely for self-defense.  Yeah, right!! The real reason is oil.  Iran admitted its petroleum production has slipped 15% in the last quarter.  The nation must discover new sources...and one just happens to be next to its northern neighbor, Azerbaijan.

In summary, Iran just wants to flex its muscle and remind the other four Caspian countries of her military might and that the Caspian Sea is theirs.  The Ayatollahs are also opposed to the Trans-Caspian-Pipeline...a 200 mile-long underwater project that will bring much needed natural gas from Turkmenistan to Europe and rival Iranian dominance.   Finally, we have just enough time to answer a couple obvious questions.  The names of the three subs are: Qaeem, Fatah and Nahang.  Prince Caspian is a character from a C.S. Lewis book, but lives in the fantasy world of Narnia, not Central Asia.

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