Videos uploaded by user “limesonline”
Internet and the Mediterranean bottleneck
The Mediterranean is not only a crucial trade crossroad, it is also an important internet junction. This sea is crossed by a wide net of cables that allow web communications between Europe and Africa and, from here, the Middle East and the rest of the Asian continent. As Internet traffic is expected to grow significantly in the region, an intense competition is taking place among those who seek to connect Asia and Africa to the big digital highways of North America and Europe. In December 2008, the failure of three out of four submarine cables currently operating on the seabed off the Egyptian coast caused a 70% drop in India’s Internet traffic, plus various problems in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Singapore, all of which suffered important economic consequences. When a major Internet connection fails, its traffic is diverted to other hubs, usually with no consequences for the users. But some parts of the world, such as the Mediterranean, represent a bottleneck, and when these crucial connections fail, there are few alternatives. As a consequence, other links are put under pressure, sometimes triggering a chain effect that can cause other failures. This is the case with the Mediterranean cables today. But in the near future, those very same cables will be even more important than now. Today, the entire African continent generates only a mere 5% of the global Internet traffic. But this figure is to grow significantly in the future, together with the traffic generated in the Middle East. For this reason, all Southern European countries are racing to become key players in the scramble to increase the digital connections between Africa and Northern Europe. At the moment, France is in a leading position, despite Italy’s geographic potential. Our country, in fact, could offer the shortest –and less expensive – connections, through the Sicilian channel or via Malta, and then exploiting potentially strategic hubs like the cities of Catania, Naples, Bologna and Genoa. The digital race is far from over.
Views: 8565 limesonline
Le basi Usa in Italia
Una nuova videocarta nell'ambito della rubrica Viaggio nelle basi americane in Italia. Quante sono le basi Usa in Italia? Dove sono e che funzione hanno basi militari come quelle di Aviano, di Camp Ederle a Vicenza, di Camp Darby, di Gaeta, di Napoli e di Sigonella.
Views: 21576 limesonline
Europe Russia  A pipeline story
Big dream or big nightmare, according to the points of view, EuRussia is already a part of our present. A geopolitical subject whose spine is represented by the oil and gas pipelines that bring Russia’s hydrocarbons to Europe. A vast energy network that’s about to be expanded, thus reinforcing the political and energy ties between the East and the West. Today, most of the Russian gas flows through the strategic Ukrainian hub. But two newly planned pipelines, North and South of the European landmass, will soon allow to bypass Kiev, freeing the energy flow from the constraints of the Ukrainian bottleneck. Furthermore, the Russian gas still to be exploited could find a promising market in China and the Far East. Though plans here are lagging behind, given the mutual distrust between Russia and China. Europe has been importing Russian gas since the Soviet times, and today like yesterday, Russia needs our revenues to fill its coffers. The Brandt-Breznev “gas for pipes” pilot agreement dates back to 1970. The first share of Russian gas flowed toward West Germany 1973. Today, it covers 25% of our energy needs, and this figure is growing. But it’s not just a matter of pipes: the idea is to tie Moscow to Europe through our growing gas imports, thus contributing to Russia’s wealth and preventing it from disintegrating. If we need the Russian gas, Russia can’t do without our money.
Views: 17159 limesonline
videocarta atlante arabo israeliano
Dal periodo coloniale britannico al processo di pace, come sono cambiati i confini israelo-palestinesi. Dalla guerra del 1948 a quella del 1967, dal piano Onu al piano Allon, la pace di Camp David con l'Egitto e la restituzione del Sinai. Tratta dal volume I Classici di Limes Israele senza Palestina
Views: 4280 limesonline
The importance of Iran
Iran lies at the very heart of the Greater Middle East, and in a way or another is implied in each of the many regional problems. First of all, Iran is the direct heir of the great Persian empire and of its secular cultural influence on the neighboring regions. Tehran’s ruling elite considers Iran a major regional power and for decades has been trying to acquire nuclear capabilities. Moreover, the Islamic Republic is the reference point of the Shiite galaxy, the minority branch of the Muslim world whose members live along the coast of the Persian Gulf – core of the world’s oil production – as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the region. This Shiite crescent is perceived as a serious threat by Saudi Arabia, a mainly Sunni country, and by other Gulf States. But there’s more to it. Iran is home to the world’s third largest oil reserves, that in fact cannot be fully exploited because of the country’s long international isolation. Also, Iran’s strategic position makes it able to blockade the Hormuz strait, a bottleneck on the world’s most important oil sea route. Through its axis with Syria, Tehran finances the Shiite Hizbullah movement in Lebanon and the Sunni extremists in the Gaza Strip, thus posing a direct threat to Israel. Finally, the Iranian plateau is located between the Caucasus and the Indian Sea. Thus, it could be a valid alternative to export the oil and gas from the Caspian basin without crossing Russia. But, at the moment, this remains un unconfessed Western dream.
Views: 14224 limesonline
What is EuRussia
Gas and soccer define today’s EuRussia. The pipes bringing Russia’s gas to the EU, covering a quarter of Europe’s energy needs, and the European Champions League linking Moscow to London, are two concrete examples of this relationship. But new and more ambitious projects are underway: an axis between Europe’s big economies and the Russian Federation to create a new geopolitical subject, able to confront China and the US. Or a G2 — a smaller version of the recently celebrated G20 – between Beijing and Washington, increasingly tied together by China’s holding of US debt and by America’s purchase of Chinese goods. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the end of the Cold War, and in the wake of the current economic crisis, everything is possible. The main element of EuRussia is an axis between Germany and Russia: a growing relationship, that in the eyes of the German intelligence could rival the French-German couple, historical engine of the European integration. The final result could be a new Paris-Berlin-Moscow axis, able to bring Europe back among the global powers. The way is not easy: Russia and Europe have been contending for continental spaces for at least four centuries. When they can’t win over each other, they try to find a common way. A powerful symbol of which was, in 1703, the foundation of St Petersburg. Where, not by coincidence, both Putin and Medvedev come from.
Views: 7333 limesonline
Il caso Dal Molin e gli americani a Vicenza
Il raddoppio della base militare americana di Camp Ederle a Vicenza. Vantaggi e Svantaggi. L'attuale base e le sei installazioni militari ad essa collegate.
Views: 11314 limesonline
China a Superpower in making
China's relations with its geographic surroundings have improved dramatically in the last two decades, but even so are still problematic. Beijing acts regionally but already thinks globally. For China to become a real superpower, it is paramount to extend its cultural influence. First and foremost, within its own borders.
Views: 262744 limesonline
The American answer: enlarging Nato?
How does the US see EuRussia? Officially, the problem doesn’t exist. But when the German-Russian flirt becomes too evident, Washington’s irritation appears, showing how distasteful the EuRussian perspective can be for America. Seen from the White House, this Europe is stable and impotent enough not to deserve a specific attention. It is not a problem, nor a resource. Therefore, Obama doesn’t count much on Europe to pull his country out of the quagmire it was thrown in by Clinton’s and Bush’s imperial dreams. But with gas, is different. Obama hopes to re-establish a useful, if not trustful relation with the only power currently able to destroy America. As noted by the bipartisan commission on US policy toward Russia, Washington can’t but “recognizing the importance of cooperating with Russia, in order to reach paramount US goals, such as preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, dismantling al-Qaeda and stabilizing Afghanistan, or ensuring stability and prosperity in Europe”. Nevertheless, these chances of cooperation are threatened by the expansion of Nato, sought after by the US and endured by many Europeans. Anyway, in the current “retuning” taking place between Moscow and Washington, nothing seems impossible. Not even the future integration of Russia in the Atlantic Alliance.
Views: 2919 limesonline
The Mediterranean, our China
One third of the world’s trade, crosses the Mediterranean. Asian exports, especially from China, reach Europe and the US mainly through the routes that touch the Suez channel and the Strait of Gibraltar. The route that doubles the Cape of Good Hope, Africa’s southernmost tip, ships over 12 millions containers every year, against the 15 millions crossing the Mediterranean. And this, despite the growing threat posed by pirates along the Horn of Africa, at the entry of the Red Sea. Despite its excellent geographic position, Italy finds it hard to capture this enormous trade, because it lacks those port and road infrastructures that, on the other hand, represent the precondition of the big North European hubs, but also of the new port terminals of the Southern shore, as the huge Tangiers hub. Mediterranean ports are increasingly competing to become major hubs, developing sea and ground infrastructures in order to meet the needs of big shipping companies, that handle growing volumes of goods. Many are investing in the southern shore: a market of more than 280 million people, whose economic and demographic trends are unmatched. European investment in the region represent a 30% of the total assets, against a mere 10% from the US. Also the Gulf states have shown a growing interest, totalling a considerable 30% of the investment, while countries like China, India or Brazil generate a respectable 20% of the foreign capital inflows. In this moment of deep economic crisis, the Mediterranean represents a big opportunity for the Italian economy. In a way, we could consider it our own China.
Views: 4467 limesonline
Israele-Palestina: il piano di Ginevra
La proposta di un gruppo di intellettuali israeliani e palestinesi su un possibile compromesso per concludere i negoziati di pace. Ma i fatti sul terreno vanno in un'altra direzione. Tratta dal volume I Classici di Limes Israele senza Palestina
Views: 2436 limesonline
Italy and Libya, a tale of money, oil and colonial scars
Libya is a key-country for Italy in its relations with the southern Mediterranean shore. After Mr Berlusconi’s unprecedented apologies for Italy’s colonial past in the country, and the sign in August 2008 of a bilateral cooperation treaty, a recent visit to Rome by Muhammar Qadafi opened a new phase in the Italo-Libyan relations. According to the treaty, Italy pledges to invest 5 million dollars in 20 years in infrastructural and housing projects on the Libyan soil. This money should come from additional taxation on the Italian oil companies operating in Libya, specifically Eni – among whose stakeholders can be found an increasing number of Libyans. Libya is an important source of oil for Italy, that imports an average of 550 thousand barrels per day from its southern partner. At the same time, Tripoli is also becoming a growing supplier of natural gas, a source of energy Italy is increasingly dependent on. That’s why the two countries signed several new energy agreements, that will protect Rome’s share in Libya’s energy market at least until 2047. But there’s much more than energy. Libya is increasingly important to Italy because it has become a major hub for African and Asian immigrants heading to Italy and, from here, to the rest of the European Union. Migrants approaching Italian southern coasts are actually a fraction of the overall illegal aliens trying to enter the country, the majority of whom come by land from Eastern Europe. But they have a vast media impact, especially due to the high rate of casualties among those who cross the Sahara desert and, then, the Mediterranean sea. Finally, the end of US sanctions and the international rehabilitation of Libya, together with the country’s opening to the world and the new prominent role Qadafi wants to play in Africa, open new chances of political and economic development, both for Tripoli and, indirectly, for its northern neighbour.
Views: 3806 limesonline
The Crazy War
On the 7th of August, the Russian leader Vladimir Putin took advantage of Georgias geopolitical suicide to realize a de facto annexation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Thus, he gave Russia two strategic outposts inside the Georgian territory, on the road from the capital Tbilisi to the Black Sea and the port of Poti. A key strategic move, that places Moscow close to the only pipelines that take the Caspian oil to the West, bypassing Russia.
Views: 10599 limesonline
Medvedev leans towards China?
The new Russian President Dmitrij Medvedev travels to Kazakhstan and China in an effort to diversify Russias energy markets and foster new Russian international stand.
Views: 6721 limesonline
Il mondo nuovo: master di geopolitica in e-learning
video presentazione di Lucio Caracciolo del nuovo master di geopolitica in e-learning organizzato da Limes, l'Associazione Oltreillimes e la Sioi.
Views: 1138 limesonline
The AfPak crisis between the US and Iran
More than Iran, what Obama fears is Pakistan’s Islamic extremist taking control of the country’s nuclear arsenal. The AfPak scenario drawn by the US intelligence is more than alarming. If the current trends are not reversed, the US risk to loose both the war in Afghanistan and control of its Muslim neighbour. Therefore, the White House has shifted the main goal of its military engagement, from crushing the Taliban-Pashtun insurgency, to defeating the Islamist galaxy in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It’s in fact from Pakistan, which “invented” the Taliban, that the Afghan chaos stems. This is a direct consequence of the historic rivalry between Pakistan and India, where Islamabad considers Afghanistan as a strategic background in case of an Indian massive attack. The geographic core of the crisis spans from the Iranian-Afghan-Pakistani frontier to the long disputed Kashmir region. But the biggest threat to the regional stability comes from Punjab and Baluchistan. In the last two years, the Jihadist pressure has shifted from the Tribal Areas to the very heart of Pakistan – Punjab. A region that houses the Army’s headquarters and the main nuclear sites of the country. As a consequence, the cooperation between the army and the Jihadists seems to have come to an end. The other strategic area is Baluchistan, located between Pakistan and Iran, home to several Jihadist and separatist movements and theatre of massive illegal trafficking. A very instable region, that in the future should be crossed by the planned Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, to be theoretically prolonged to India and, maybe, China. To Tehran, the attacks on the Iranian side of the border are not just a matter of separatist movements, but an aggression from Pakistan, the US and Israel, that sooner or later could justify appropriate countermeasures.
Views: 24447 limesonline
Polar game
An international game in the Arctic region has begun. Ice melting opens unforeseen scenarios in terms of trade and energy. The Canadian case. The role of Europe.
Views: 739 limesonline
The Russian bear goes to the Pole
Polar ice melting is of great advantage to Russia, meaning more oil and gas, as well as new sea routes. Toward a militarization of the Arctic?
Views: 1087 limesonline
Obama alla prova del Medio Oriente
La guerra in Afghanistan, il rapporto con l'Iran, ma soprattutto lo schiaffo israeliano che non ha congelato le colonie nei territori occupati come richiesto dal presidente americano.
Views: 585 limesonline
China lacks a brand
Chinas lack of soft power, conceived as the ability to attract others without the use of force, is a serious impediment to Beijings geopolitical rise. On the eve of the Olympic games, meant as a showcase of Chinas new international stand, Beijing re-discovers its old weaknesses and fears. Tibets crisis was a mediatic disaster for Beijing.
Views: 3302 limesonline
Challenges of the new US President
When in his Berlin speech, given in July, Barack Obama spurred to tear down “the new walls that divide us”, he did not imagine that two months later his words would be followed by the crash of Wall Street, the symbol of US finance. The financial crisis puts an end to the unipolar project, that framed the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and represented an extreme attempt by the sole superpower to keep its credibility, that guaranteed a constant flow of credit. The new President will find on his desk a US intelligence report titled “Global Trends 2025”, according to which in 2025 “the United States will still be the pre-eminent power, but its dominance will be greatly diminished”. Unless the US give in to the temptation to open new war fronts, the new Administration will have to surrender to austerity. That means budget cuts, more than social reforms or great infrastructure programs. But, most of all, it means less money to fiends and allies and a deeper focus on America’s own needs. The next years will see a world where the US won’t be able nor willing anymore to play the global policeman.
Views: 1475 limesonline
US-Iran, Obamas game
The US president Barack Obama needs to strike a deal with Iran if he wants to have a chance to pull his country out of Iraq and of the Afghanistan-Pakistan quagmire. For this reason, on the 21st of March he offered his hand to Tehran, in an address to the Iranian people that, among other things, defied the aggressively anti-Iranian new Israeli administration. Obamas opening produced a detonating effect on the Iranian ruling elite, intensifying the deep contrasts that divide it and unintentionally laying ground for the recent electoral fraud, perpetrated by the establishments hawks in order to safeguard the regime from the threat represented by a possible appeasement with the American enemy. But the subsequent Tehran uprising has jeopardised Obamas plans, making it more difficult to reach an agreement with the current Iranian government on the nuclear issue, Afghanistan or Iraq. Thats also because the Iranian instability is re-shaping the map of the Gulf and of the Grater Middle East, an area where the US is vulnerable and where Obamas own reputation is at stake. Till now, the real winner of this game seems to be the Israeli government, who strongly oppose a deal between Washington and Tehran. For Jerusalem, in fact, a Japanese-like deal on the Iranian nuclear program, which would allow Tehran to be potentially able to produce nuclear weapons, but not to actually manufacture them, is anathema. Despite the American pressure, Israel doesnt discard the military option, at least to delete Irans nuclear program. Thus, Jerusalems attack plans are always up to date, as well as Tehrans defense strategies.
Views: 139086 limesonline
vc43 Three outlooks of a crisis
The current crisis has three different outlooks. The first is based on some sort of agreement between China and the US and their respective currencies, the Dollar and the Yuan. In fact, that would be an agreement between the world’s factory and the world’s biggest consumer. Today, US-China bilateral trade rounds 300 billion dollars. Thanks to its exports, China holds a massive 1,8 trillion Dollars in reserves, 500 billions of which is invested in US Treasury bonds. This puts the only superpower and its main competitor in a relationship of close interdependence. The second outlook extends a possible agreement on the game rules to Russia and Europe – mostly Germany and France. Together with the US and China, these powers could craft a new Bretton Woods, that could come to light in the G8 summit of New York, at the end of November. The third, most pessimistic scenario sees an increase in current unbalances and ongoing conflicts. That would be a highly risky situation, given the many nuclear powers that crowd the world’s scene.
Views: 1267 limesonline
vc42 The Empire on Credit
We’re living a crisis of the empire on credit, that peculiar form of American hegemony based on the constant flow of external resources – such as goods, capitals, and energy, most of all from Asia – that so far has fed the voracious US domestic demand and, through it, the world’s economy. In this system, the generous credit granted to the US by foreign investors was not justified by the yield of investments, but by America’s primacy in the international system. Thanks to its financial, economic, military and political power, the United States could afford living with a huge 2,6 trillion dollars foreign debt and an estimated 400 billion public deficit. The American system is a global system. Thus, its crisis has a world reach. We’ve just entered an era of global turmoil, where every country seeks to offload its troubles on the weakest parts, at the same time trying to profit from others’ problems.
Views: 255 limesonline
Russia Is Back
Last summer, after 20 years of defeats and humiliations, the world witnessed Russias comeback. The chance was offered by a Georgian action that from Moscows point of view, couldnt take place in a better moment, right in the middle of the Olympic games and with a US administration at its dusk.
Views: 3975 limesonline