THE CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS,
GOG, MAGOG, AND CHEVRON OIL

December 20, 1999
by: S.R. Shearer

"Behind every great fortune there lies a great crime."
- Honore de Balzac

"And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
"Son of man, set thy face against GOG, the land of Magog (i.e., the CAUCASUS MOUNTAINS[1] ), the chief prince of (Rosh[2] ), Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
"And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O GOG, the chief prince of (Rosh[3] ), Meshech and Tubal:
"I will ... put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army ...
"Persia (Iran) ... and ... the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee.
"Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.
"... in the latter years thou shalt come ...
"... like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee. (Ezek. 38: 1-9)

INTRODUCTION: SOMETHING IS
"AFOOT" IN THE CAUCASUS

There are strange things happening in the Caucasus Mountains, that area of the world that 2,500 years ago filled the extreme northern horizon of the Hebrews (Ezek xxxviii. 15, xxxix. 2) and where some say Eden was located - where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers originate, in Armenia somewhere, perhaps on the shores of the Araxes [the river that certain people say is the biblical river Gihon (Genesis ii. 13)]). It's an area dominated by craggy mountains and deep gorges - a wild and untamed place that has about it a disturbing feeling of "long-ago" - as if it had suddenly appeared straight out of the Old Testament. Ancient Assyrian inscriptions refer to the territory as Mushku and Tabal [Gk. - Moschoi and Tibarenoi (the Bible: "Mescheck" and "Tubal")][4]. The Bible says that the Caucasus is the dwelling place of "Gog"[5] - that great and foreboding angelic prince the Scriptures say will initiate the momentous events of the "End of Days." [Please see Ezekiel 38; we also refer you to chapter 6 of the Antipas Papers, "The Gog / Magog War;" also, please see Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, and Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days.]

It is here, in this remote and half-forgotten part of the earth that a new and extremely dangerous struggle has begun that is pitting the West [essentially, the United States and her NATO allies (particularly Turkey)] against the Russian Federation and Iran, a struggle that very few Americans are aware of, and one which - except insofar as what's happening in Chechnya - has been carefully hidden from them by the corporate media. What's America up to there? What business does the United States and her NATO allies have in insinuating themselves into this area, thereby precipitating the clash? And what are they doing sponsoring a new military alliance in the region involving five former republics of the now defunct Soviet Union? Americans may have stumbled into more than they had bargained for here, for there are spiritual forces at work in this part of the world beyond the imagining of most mortals and against which flesh and blood cannot prevail.

WORLD-RULERS OF DARKNESS

I am, of course, more than aware that such statements - predicated as they are on a belief in spiritual powers greater than man - cannot help but elicit scornful notice and contemptuous sneers from secularists and non-believers - people who refuse to concede reality to powers that are greater than man. But the effort by secularists and non-believers to discount these powers is so absurd that it borders on the moronic. At best, it's innocence masquerading as sophistication; at worst it's folly pretending to be wisdom (Romans 1:22). The fact of the matter is, however, powers far greater than man control his destiny - and though unseen and little suspected by the rulers of earth, there are "principalities," "powers," and "world-rulers of darkness" who are really in charge of this world and who direct the affairs of man - and with whom, as the Apostle Paul tells us, we have to wage a fearful warfare:

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high (i.e., heavenly) places." (Eph. 6:12)

Secularists - who fail to recognize this fact, but who - nonetheless - fancy themselves to be exposers of the "flesh and blood" wickedness in others - wield little more than wooden swords against what are really only shadows. Secularists can speak only of "good" and "evil," but not of the dragons beyond those comfortable conceits. They battle against phantoms they cannot by any means see, and expose nothing more than the secondhand sins of their flesh and blood adversaries, while never coming to grips with the real powers which stand behind that flesh and blood.

But we as Christians should not be so deluded. Ignorance in such matters is not a virtue insofar as the Bible is concerned. The Apostle Paul warns:

"But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that ... (these things) should overtake you as a thief.
"You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
"Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober." (I Thess 5:4-6)

WAR AND THE "END OF DAYS"

Yes, there is something primordial stirring in the Caucasus; and whatever it is that is beginning to stir there, it is something that is not altogether of this earth, and - as a result - encompasses not only a physical dimension, but a spiritual one as well, and so much so that one cannot understand the whole of it without understanding its separate parts. We begin first by acquainting ourselves with the Biblical (spiritual) particulars of what's going on. We start with Ezekiel 38 and the references there to the "Gog / Magog War."

There is perhaps nothing as devastating in its impact on human lives than war. It strikes with the terrible, hideous force of a hurricane - churning, twisting, and smoldering as it comes. It over-whelms the psyche and stuns and shocks the senses. The old routines of life are swept away. Social institutions which seemed durable and steady disappear, family relationships dissolve - in an instant, all is gone. The Seventieth Week (i.e., the so-called "Tribulation" period) will be born of war and will die in war: specifically, the Gog/Magog War will initiate the great events of the Seventieth Week, and Armageddon will bring them to a close. [Please see chart #1, in the Antipas Papers]

In sheer size and scope, these two wars will dwarf all the conflicts which have preceded them. Indeed, the course and magnitude of both wars will stagger the imagination. Neither clash will be an isolated incident - the use of the Greek word polemos (Revelation 16:14) rather than the Greek word mache, clearly indicates this. Polemos signifies a campaign of some duration, while mache signifies a single, isolated battle. This distinction is observed by Trench (New Testament Synonyms), Thayer (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), and Vincent (Word Studies in the New Testament).

In the popular mind, the Gog / Magog War and Armageddon have more often than not been confused as one rather than two wars, the tendency being to merge the Scriptures which detail the events of the Gog / Magog War with those of Armageddon. This confusion of the popular mind has been aided and abetted by pastors and teachers who should know better, but who, for reasons of timidity and fear, have seen fit to encourage this confusion or at the very least, to remain aloof from it. THE FAILURE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE GOG / MAGOG WAR AND ARMAGEDDON IS NOT AN ACADEMIC FAILURE, BUT A FAILURE OF SPIRITUAL CONVICTION AND COURAGE FRAUGHT WITH REPERCUSSIONS WHICH ARE LADENED WITH POTENTIAL DISASTER FOR THE AMERICAN CHURCH.

Intellectually, the differentiation between the Gog / Magog War and Armageddon has long been made (please see below). Why then has this knowledge not filtered down from the seminaries - where it was first made - to the evangelical church in general? The answer to this question reveals a lot with regard to the spiritual condition of the church today. Why? - because when one finally admits to this difference, certain conclusions with regard to the United States and its involvement in the Middle East become inevitable - conclusions which the vast majority of American evangelicals are simply unprepared to accept.

THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE
GOG / MAGOG WAR AND ARMAGEDDON

But that such a distinction exists, there can be no doubt! As Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost, Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary has pointed out, there are a number of considerations which make it clear that we are dealing with two great wars rather than one during the Tribulation.

  1. In the Gog/Magog War, definite allies of Gog are mentioned as opposing Israel - "Magog," "Mescheck," "Tubal," "Gomer," "Rosh," Ethiopia, Libya, (see Ezekiel 38) and Egypt (see Daniel 11:42], while at Armageddon all nations are engaged against Jerusalem (Joel 3:2; Zeph. 3:8; Zech. 12:3; and 14:2).
  2. Gog comes from the North (Ezek. 38:6, 15), while at Armageddon, the armies come from out of the whole earth.
  3. Gog comes to take a spoil (Ezek. 38:11-12), while at Armageddon the nations of the earth assemble themselves together specifically to destroy the people of God.
  4. Gog is the head of the armies at his invasion (Ezek. 38:15), but at Armageddon, the Beast is at the head of the invasion (Rev. 19:19).
  5. There is a protest against Gog's invasion (Ezek. 38:13), but at Armageddon there is no such protest because all the nations of the earth have joined themselves with the Beast in his attack against Jerusalem.
  6. Gog is overthrown by divine intervention through the convolutions of nature (Ezek. 38:22), but the armies at Armageddon are destroyed by the sword which goes out of Christ's mouth (Rev. 19:15).
  7. Gog's armies array themselves in the open fields (Ezek. 39:5), while at Armageddon they are seen in the city of Jerusalem.
  8. Gog's armies are destroyed outside of Jerusalem on the mountains and in the valleys (Ezek. 39:2-4), while the Beast and his armies are destroyed in the city of Jerusalem itself (Zech. 12:2; 14:2).
  9. The Lord calls for assistance in executing judgment on Gog (Ezek. 38:21), while at Armageddon He is viewed as treading the winepress alone (Rev. 19:15; Isaiah 63:3-6).
  10. The invasion by Gog will be sudden and will come with relatively little warning (Ezek. 38:11), while Armageddon will be no sudden and unexpected event.[6]

Thus, as Dwight Pentecost has suggested,

"Two diverse movements (wars) must be acknowledged."[7]

Finally, it should also be noted in reference to "Gog/Magog" that this great conflict has nothing to do with the conflict described in Revelation 20:8; the war that is described there takes place AFTER the Millennium (Rev. 20:7), while the conflict which is described in Ezekiel and Isaiah (see citations above) clearly takes place BEFORE the Millennium. "Gog" is obviously a reference to an evil, angelic prince who possesses Satanic dominion over those nations which have arrayed themselves against Israel - much in the same way that the "Prince of Persia" and the "Prince of Gracia" (Greece) [described in Daniel with whom Michael, the archangel of God, fought] possess. Evidently, Gog will be loosed one final time after the Millennium (please see Revelation 20:7-8).

THE SEQUENCE OF GOG / MAGOG & ARMAGEDDON

The Gog/Magog War will precede the Tribulation and will act as a catalyst for the great events of that period, while Armageddon will bring to a conclusion the events of the Seventieth Week - an examination of the Scriptures which deal with this great event will yield no other result. [please see chart #2, in the Antipas Papers]. To begin with, any fair reading of the passages which deal with the Gog/Magog War (Ezek. 37-39) will make it plain that this prophecy clearly cannot refer to any past event in Israel's history. Indeed, it should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of knowledge relative to the history of the Middle East that the details given to us from these Scriptures do not correspond to any invasion experienced by Israel prior to the present time. There have been invasions in the past which have wrought hardship on the land and the people of Israel, but none answer to the details given here. The fact is, no invasion of the past is sufficient to be the fulfillment of this prophecy - and this fact is attested to by almost all Orthodox Jewish scholars [who themselves consider these events to be as yet unfulfilled].

These passages, then, can only refer to some as yet future event in Israel's history - and this is clearly indicated by the phrase, "... in the latter years" (Ezek. 38:8) - but at what precise time in the future?

Ezekiel 37 deals with the restoration of the nation of Israel to her land. This is pictured as a gradual process, for the prophet sees the process of bone being joined to bone, tied together with sinews, clothed with skin - a process which took over fifty years from the founding of the World Zionist Movement in Basel in 1896 to its culmination on May 14, 1948, with the re-establishment of the state of Israel. It is a regathering in UNBELIEF, for the prophet observes that there is no life in the assembled carcass. Thus, the Gog/Magog War is seen as taking place sometime between the restoration of the state of Israel (1948) and the beginning of the Tribulation [i.e., the Seventieth Week]. Pentecost and Dr. Robert Culver[8] agree, as does David L. Cooper. He writes,

"... it is utterly impossible to locate the fulfillment of this prediction after the Millennial Age. It cannot be placed at the beginning of the Millennium, nor at the end of the Tribulation. It must, therefore, be located (at the beginning) of the Tribulation, because there is no other logical place for it to occur since the three other dates are impossible ... There will (thus) be a time between now and the beginning of the Tribulation when (this attack will occur)."[9]

This thesis is substantiated by Ezekiel 39 when the prophet reveals that a full seven years will be needed to clear away the wreckage of the Gog/Magog War:

"And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons ... and they shall burn them with fire seven years ..." (Ezek. 39:9)

The seven years referred to here by Ezekiel could be none other than the seven years of the Tribulation period - since no such seven years will follow Armageddon; after Armageddon, the beasts of the field and the fouls of the air will clear away the carnage - and that by divine direction and in a short period of time [Please see chapter 10 of the Antipas Papers]. Then the Millennium will begin - there is no seven year interval here. Thus, the Gog / Magog War will immediately precede the events of the Tribulation period (there is, as Cooper suggests, simply no other place to put it which will conform to the pertinent Scriptures) and initiate the great happenings of that era.

BACK TO THE "HERE AND NOW"

Now, it is not the purpose of this article to dwell at length on the details of this war. For those of you who wish to do so, we refer you to chapter 6 ("The Gog / Magog War") in the Antipas Papers (beginning on pg. 53); also, please see Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, and Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days. All we are interested in here is how it all begins - and that's what brings us back to the "here and now."

Since 1995 millions and millions of refugees have been made homeless by the twenty or so wars that are currently raging around the globe. Taken together, these wars represent a nightmare of suffering and grief beyond the imagination of most Americans - with each of them possessing its own unique claim on America's so-called "humanitarian impulse." Why then did only two of these wars (the war in Bosnia and the war in Kosovo) command the attention of the United States? Why only did the Muslims of Kosovo and Bosnia attract the notice of the U.S. media? Why only were these two wars deemed worthy of the sacrifice of American soldiers and America's treasure?

Finally, and most peculiarly, what interest does the United States and NATO have in dangerously extending their influence ever more eastward along NATO's southern periphery? Specifically, what business does NATO have in catapulting itself menacingly beyond northeastern Turkey into the Caucasus and Central Asia, and in doing so, knowingly and - it would seem - very deliberately edging Russia out of an area she has traditionally considered to be her "sphere of influence," forcing her thereby to take drastic military action in order to get back in (which is precisely what the fighting in Chechnya is all about!)? More to the point, what is NATO doing helping to underwrite a new security alliance[10] in the area involving five former republics of the now defunct Soviet Union (specifically, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) known as GUUAM? And in conjunction with this, why was this alliance recently signed into existence at a NATO ministerial meeting in, of all places, Washington D.C.? - a city thousands and thousands of miles away from any of the countries involved.

GUUAM claims that it isn't a military alliance, that it isn't dominated by NATO, that it has no direct ties with Washington, and that it is not aimed at Russia. But if that's so, why were Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Azerbaijan allowed to join only after agreeing to pull out of the Russian-dominated Confederation of Independent States (the CIS)? Furthermore, what is GUUAM doing forming a "peacekeeping battalion" that is slated to be at the "beck and call" of NATO? And what was America doing acting as a midwife at the birth of GUUAM? What do the Americans take the Russians to be? - idiots? As Russia's foreign minister put it,

"How else should we understand the fact that this new regional organization was created in Washington during a NATO summit?"[11]

A VERY DANGEROUS GAME

So what is the answer? Why are America and her NATO allies playing such a dangerous and chancy "game" in the Caucasus and Central Asia? - a "game" that very few ordinary Americans know anything about. The beginning of an answer to these questions was provided by Eduard Shevardnadze, president of Georgia. Shevardnadze reported:

"When I met [NATO Secretary-General] Javier Solana, I asked him, 'When will you finally admit Georgia to NATO?' He (i.e., Solano) whispered in my ear, but I can't reveal what he told me."[12]

But while - for diplomatic reasons - Shevardnadze can't say, John Rees, a respected British journalist conversant with the "goings on" in the area, can. He reports that Shevardnadze was told by Solano that the main purpose of GUUAM was to secure the West's commercial interests in the region, and that while NATO wouldn't be signing up Georgia in the near future for direct participation in the NATO alliance, he (i.e., Shevardnadze) should consider GUUAM to be NATO's representative (emissary) in the area; that in joining GUUAM, Georgia was, ipso facto, blanketing herself with NATO's security umbrella. Britain's well-connected Economist Magazine guardedly echoed what Rees had to say when it reported in an editorial that NATO -

"says it may (from time to time) advise the GUUAM club on security ..."

What all this is doing, according to the Economist Magazine, is irretrievably dividing the region into "pro-Russian and pro-NATO camps"[13] with extremely dangerous and very menacing implications for everyone involved. And for what purpose? - is there some kind of ideology behind all this that would make such a dangerous "game" worthwhile? Some kind of worldview that takes seriously the interests of the people in the region? No! - none of these things!! It's precisely what Solana told Shevardnadze: commerce (i.e., the hunger for wealth) is driving this extremely hazardous game; specifically, the lust for OIL!

This was made abundantly clear in a recent article entitled, "The Caspian Oil Sweepstakes - the Great Game Replayed," by Thomas Goltz, author of Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter's Adventures in an Oil-rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic. Goltz writes that since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the vast oil deposits beneath and contiguous to the Caspian Sea have made the region the focus of heated interest. The United States prizes the region as an alternative source of energy, Russia regards it as its own strategic reserve, and other countries - Iran, Turkey and even China - also have a stake in what's going on in the vicinity.

Colin Woodard, in an article that appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, says that the oil reserves of the Caspian Sea and Central Asia may become to the 21st century what the Persian Gulf has been for the 20th, a fact recognized by major energy companies like US-based Chevron, which has invested more than $10 billion to control Kazakstan's huge Tengiz field.

THE BALKAN CONNECTION

And what does all this have to do with the Balkans (i.e., Kosovo and Bosnia)? Well, for one thing, it necessitates anyone wishing to insinuate himself into the Caucasus or Central Asia to be on good terms with the Muslim populations in the area[14] - and what happens to the Muslims in the Balkans is of great interest and concern to the Muslims living in the Caspian region (and elsewhere in the Middle East). It's precisely for this reason that the oil conglomerates went so far out of their way to make an open show of their muscle insofar as the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo were concerned. They were delivering a message to the Muslims in the Caucasus and Central Asia: "We deliver for our friends insofar as American foreign policy (and military might) is concerned" - that's the message the Oil Companies want their Muslim allies in the Middle East and elsewhere to know. [please see our article, "Kosovo and America; What's Going on?" (Vol. 8, No. 4, March 27, 1999)].

Moreover, while the oil reserves in the Caucasus are - relatively speaking - a long way from the Balkans, the routes by which this oil must come west aren't. For example, in April, a new pipeline was opened carrying Caspian Sea oil through Azerbaijan and Georgia. The oil will continue its journey by tanker through the Black Sea, the Bosphorus, and on past the Turkish and Greek coasts. Other possible western pipeline routes lie through Turkey to the coast near Cyprus or through the Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Greece - which are, respectively, a GUUAM member, an aspiring member of NATO, and an existing NATO member. It is the "pipeline map" that connects the Caspian Sea oil reserves to the security of the Balkans. This is why the United States and NATO have inserted themselves so directly and forcefully into the Balkans - and so overtly on the side of the Muslims. It has nothing to do with "human rights," and everything to do with oil!!

THE CENTER OF IT ALL: BAKU

At the center of everything that's going on is Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, which sits astride the southwest corner of the Caspian Sea. Baku is booming. The air on the city's sandy shoreline, hemmed by a tree-shaded boardwalk, is heavy with the dizzying smell of "sweet crude," which translates into big dollars and big dreams.

The rumors of untold riches have attracted an armada of entrepreneurs to this once drab outpost of the old Soviet empire, including representatives from all the various international oil consortiums - AMOCO, BP, Chevron, EXXON, Mobile, UNOCAL, to name just a few. The various Oil Companies involved in the dozens of international Production Sharing Agreements that have sprung into existence in the region in recent years have tied these oil giants to billions of dollars of investments in Azerbaijan and the peripheral states of the Caspian - and so much so that more money has been (and is being) invested in Azerbaijan and the Caspian by these oil leviathans than has been invested by anyone anywhere else in the post-Communist world. "Stay in town long enough," says Valeh Aleskerov, a senior executive of the state oil company, "and you'll meet every major oil player in the world."

And it's not just those who are directly involved in the oil business, but all the "hangers-on" as well! - fly-by-night artists interested in getting their own piece of Azerbaijan's oil action. The hotels of Baku are jammed with deal-makers, production experts, hosts of subcontractors of every sort and variety, spies and con men; Russians, Texans, Turks, Iranians - men and women alike. As a result, life in Baku has a boom town quality about it. There are new bars, cafes and night clubs everywhere, and the streets are jammed with expensive cars filled with young, aspiring petro-barons - all "on the make." Typical of this kind of newcomer is Louette Ragusa, 38, who came to Baku from Louisiana in 1994 to work as a restaurant manager, but soon broke off to set up her own business, a firm that helps people find space and staff. Like most of the young foreigners in Baku, she is learning Azeri, not Russian. Moreover, she has reinforced her commitment to this place by adopting two teenage orphans. "I - that is, we - are all here for the distance," she says.

All of them, from the deal-makers to the con men to the production experts to Louette Ragusa, have been drawn by the allure of Baku's liquid gold - from 50 billion to 200 billion bbl - the top guess would equal some 10% of the earth's entire potential oil reserves. All this translates into an astronomical amount of dollars, possible $4 to $6 trillion. It's a bonanza with the look and feel of California during the gold rush.

EXCLUDING RUSSIA IN
ORDER TO MAXIMIZE PROFITS

Greed and avarice are what's driving everyone in Baku; the lust for liquid gold, and all this brings us back to GUUAM and its implications insofar as Russia is concerned. Why? - because it's greed - more precisely, Western greed - that is seeking to lock out the Russians from the riches in Baku and elsewhere in the Caspian region. The fact is, according to the Financial Times of London, that's what GUUAM is all about - to,

"... develop the area's rich oil and gas deposits to the exclusion of Russia."

What? - EXCLUDE Russia from an area which she has traditionally considered to be a part of her own "sphere of influence?" It's akin to Russia staking out a claim to the riches of Mexico to the exclusion of the United States. The sheer arrogance of NATO's action here is breath-taking in its presumption. America and her NATO allies are mercilessly "ganging up" on Russia at a time when she has been economically enfeebled.

But the policy of using this weakness to push Russia into a corner has its limits. Moreover, as NATO encroachments become ever bolder, the still enormous military machine of the Russian state may once again begin to look to Russia's leaders like its one real asset in its face-off with the West. If that happens, all bets are off. American arrogance here is a recipe for disaster; yet how many Americans have any real idea as to the extent their leaders are putting them in jeopardy by pushing too hard at the Russian bear? Not many, that's for sure.

LITTLE MEN AND SMALL IDEAS

Still, many Americans would probably think that the risk might be worth it. After all, isn't all this about matters of "national policy," "national interest," "geopolitics," "economic self-sufficiency," etc. - in other words, "big things" and "big ideas?"

No! - unfortunately, it's not that at all. It's about "small ideas," "little things," and "petty people." The fact is, once one gets beyond the rhetoric of "national interest" and "geopolitical concerns," what it's really all about is the selfishness, stinginess and greed of a very small number of people who possess a casual willingness to sacrifice the lives of American soldiers (mostly blacks and "poor white trash") to serve their ends.

Still, who wants to pay $3.00 or $4.00 or maybe even $5.00 a gallon for gasoline? - and while sacrificing the lives of our soldiers for the convenience of cheap oil isn't particularly a noble or admirable cause, most Americans - all other things being roughly equal - wouldn't think twice about such a sacrifice if it meant preserving their suburban lifestyles which, in the end, cheap gas makes possible.

But that's not what all this is about either!! It isn't about cheap gas, but investor profits - and by investor profits, we do not mean the profits that are flowing into the coffers of the oil sheikdoms or into the hands of the state bureaucrats in Azerbaijan and the other petroleum producing countries, but investor profits that are flowing very specifically and very directly into the hands of an extremely small number of elite American (and to a lesser degree, Dutch, British and other Western) investors who control the world's oil conglomerates and consortiums that are the principle players in the Caucasus and Central Asia - Shell, BP, Chevron, EXXON, Mobile, etc.

But wouldn't oil prices rise if the producing countries "nationalized" their oil fields? Again, that's not true at all. The fact is, wherever producing countries have "nationalized" their oil fields - as in the cases of Libya, Iraq, Iran and Algeria - prices have fallen. And what do the Oil Companies do then? - they get the U.S. government to "sanction" or embargo (or somehow or other impede) the oil of these countries in order to keep it off the market. And the message here: people either play ball with the Oil Companies, or they don't play at all.

Believe me when I say, that's why Iraqi and Iranian crude have been embargoed [or, as in the case of Iran, partially embargoed (perhaps the better word is "impeded)]. It has nothing to do with the fact that the governments of these countries are "rogue governments" with despicable "human rights" records; that, indeed, might be true, but, again, that has nothing to do with the fact that they are being embargoed. If that were true, why isn't the oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, etc. similarly embargoed. Their records with regard to "human rights" are just as bad, if not worse. Indeed, while it's possible to openly practice Christianity in Iraq and Libya (even today), try that in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait - you'll get your head chopped off.

OIL COMPANY CLOUT

No! - these embargoes have nothing to do with "human rights" and everything to do with keeping the world's oil (and, of course, the cash) flowing through the oil conglomerates and from there into the hands of a very small and extremely elite group of investors. Investor profits! - that's what it's all about!!

And just how well connected are these investors? - well, consider the fact that former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, former Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, and John Sununu, who was George Bush's chief of staff, are at this elite's constant "beck and call." In addition, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski - who is a regular fixture as a "talking head" posing as a foreign affairs analyst and expert on Russia, the Middle East, etc. on Nightline, Meet the Press, Sixty Minutes, Capitol Gang, McNeal-Lehrer, etc. - is a highly paid consultant for Amoco. [Brzezinski has long been known in Washington circles as Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's mentor.] And this is to say nothing about George Schultz, Secretary of State under Reagan, who is (was) the president of Bechtel Corporation, the largest Middle Eastern construction consortium in the world, Richard Helms, former Chief of the CIA, former Defense Chief Cap Weinberger - like Schultz, a past president of the Bechtel Corporation, etc. The list is endless. Indeed, so closely intertwined is the foreign policy establishment of this country with the oil conglomerates that it would probably not be unfair to say that no one can aspire to high office as it relates to foreign policy in the United States without receiving the approval of the elite establishment that controls the oil consortiums.

The fact of the matter is, United States foreign policy as it relates to the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia is being run out of the offices of Amoco, Exxon, Bechtel, Chevron, Mobil, Shell, BP, Unocal, etc. not for the benefit of average Americans, but rather for the purpose of enriching the investor elites who control these companies. That is the truth of the matter! American soldiers are being put at risk for an aristocracy of wealth who consider these soldiers to be nothing more than pawns on a chess board - chess pieces designed to be sacrificed in a "Great Game" that is being played out for the sake of investor profits.

WHAT THE "GREAT GAME"
IS REALLY ALL ABOUT

This "game" has nothing to do with "national interest," "economic security," cheaper gas prices, or any other such thing. It has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein, Russia or Iran. I repeat, so what if these oil fields fall into the hands of Iraq, Iran, Russia or any other such country? The oil flow to the West wouldn't cease. Prices wouldn't rise. That's already been tried by the petroleum producing countries under the rubric of OPEC, and it turned out to be a miserable failure.

The truth is, all that would happen is that the Oil Companies would be "cut out of the action" - or more precisely, the investors who control these companies would be "cut out." The experts, the deal makers, the production managers, etc. who make these companies actually work would simply go to work for the Iranians, the Russians, the Iraqis, etc. and all that would happen is that the flow of profits would be diverted from the American, British and Dutch elites who presently control these companies to the petroleum producing countries where these profits probably really belong. And insofar as the impact of all this on "John Q. Public" is concerned, the likelihood is, most ordinary people wouldn't even know that anything had happened, except that there might be a small drop in prices.

But such is the power of the oil elites, especially as that power relates to their control of the mass media and the instruments of foreign policy in this country, that they have - through the artful use of such phrases as "national interest," "economic security," "cheaper gas," "geopolitics," etc. - managed to convince the American public that elite interests in the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia are the equivalent of the so-called "Public Interest." It's the truth turned upside down! - the venal and corrupt managing to pass themselves off as selfless "public servants," and all the while "sanctioning," embargoing," and demonizing those leaders and nations who dare to defy them.

OIL COMPANY RHETORIC

Typical of the seemingly high-minded (but extremely misleading) rhetoric the elites marshal to present their case to the world at large (and the American public in particular) is the following description of what's happening in the Caucasus and Central Asia by Ariel Cohen[15] entitled, "The New Great Game: Pipeline Politics in Eurasia." It reads in part:

"The world is facing a choice between a cooperative exploitation of natural resources and a wasteful struggle which will cost a fortune in blood and treasure. Regional conflicts in the Caucasus and Central Asia are threatening today to deny Western access to the vital oil and gas reserves the world will need in the twenty first century ..."

[Editor - What cooperation? The Western Oil Companies are not interested in cooperating with Russia; what they are trying to do, according to the Financial Times of London (normally considered to be a mouthpiece by many for the Western elites, and certainly no friend of Russia), is to brazenly exclude Russia from the region! It's not Russia that is trying to deny the West access, it's the West (principally, the Oil Companies) that is attempting to deny Russia access to "... the vital oil and gas reserves the world will need in the twenty first century" (Cohen's words)]

As a result, Cohen says that the question facing the West is -

"... is a neo-imperialist Russia ... going to dominate the development of Eurasian oil and its exports, or it will be an equal and fair player ... ?"

[Editor - A neo-imperialist Russia? What's Cohen talking about here? Russia is not fighting to expand her influence here, it's the West that's doing that. Russia is just trying to hold on to what she has left.]

Cohen continues -

"... Russian political elites have not overcome the imperialist ideology that inspired both pre-1917 and Soviet expansionism. For today's Moscow bureaucrats and generals, as well as for their predecessors in St. Petersburg prior to 1917, the turbulent periphery in the South is a source of political fortunes, promotions and careers."

[Editor - Russian political elites? Whatever problem Russia has with elites in their own country pales in comparison with the problem that ordinary people in the West face insofar as elite power here is concerned.]

Cohen sums up:

"This is a classic scenario for imperial expansion."

[Editor - Cohen is right here, but it's not Russia that is pushing imperialist expansion in the Caucasus and Central Asia, it's the West egged on by the Oil Companies (AMOCO, Shell, BP, Chevron, EXXON, Mobile, etc.)]

RUSSIAN / IRANIAN COOPERATION

Dr. Mark N. Katz[16] , associate professor of government and politics at George Mason University, says that what all these anti-Russian policies are leading to is a de facto Russian-Iranian military alliance. Indeed, according to Katz, Russian-Iranian cooperation has increased to such an extent that some observers see the very real possibility of an actual de jure alliance designed to check the growing power of the NATO sponsored GUUAM. Both countries have come to believe that unless they do something, they will be all but excluded from the oil riches of the Caspian.

There are many in the West who discount the possibility of such an alliance; they believe that Iran's adherence to a form of militant Islamic fundamentalism makes such a coalition impossible. But what these pundits are discounting is the fear both countries have vis a vis the United States. Their fear of America trumps their fear of one another - and this is made plain by the fact that since the breakup of the USSR at the end of 1991 Russia and Iran have been remarkably cooperative - and so much so that instead of trying to promote Islamic revolution in Azerbaijan and Central Asia, Tehran has maintained basically good relations with the apparatchik regimes of the former Soviet republics and has acquiesced in Russian efforts to retain its influence in them - and this is so even insofar as the fighting in Chechnya is concerned.

It may seem surprising that Iran would not avail itself of the opportunity to support Islamic revolutionaries. Iran promotes Islamic revolution in other countries. Why not in the republics of the former Soviet Union? - and not just in Chechnya, but especially in Tajikistan, the one former Soviet republic in which, like Iran, Farsi is the predominant language. But the Iranian leaders appear to have concluded that American hegemony in the Caucasus and Central Asia is more of a danger to them than is the Russian Federation.

But if all this is true, if indeed Iran is doing nothing to promote the spread of Islamic fundamentalism in the region, then who is fomenting it? If not Iran, who?

Would it surprise you to learn that it's NATO; specifically, Turkey, a nation which - since the days of Kemel Ataturk - has prided itself on its "official" secularism. Nonetheless, the fact is, most of the weapons that are presently being used by the Chechen rebels against the Russians in Chechnya did not find their way into Chechnya via Iran, but from Turkey via Georgia, a fact that the corporate media in the West would just as soon not have any one know anything about. Why? - because if such knowledge became generally known, the war in Chechnya would be exposed for what it really is - a NATO sponsored war egged on by Western Oil Companies designed to push Russia entirely out of the area and divest it once and for all of the Caspian oil bonanza. There is quite a prize at stake here, not only in the south Caspian area, but in the north Caspian area as well where the Offshore Kazakstan International Operating Company (OKIOC) - whose shareholders include Mobil, Total, Britain's BG, Statoil of Norway, and the US Philips corporation - is investigating a field in the north Caspian area (near the fighting in Chechnya) said to be three times the size of Tengiz. No wonder the Financial Times reports that -

"... the political implications of (such) a discovery could be ... far-reaching ... A big find would ... be a big boost to US policy in the Caspian region." [i.e., it would provide that much more of an incentive for the Oil Companies to egg the fighting on in Chechnya in the hope of dislodging Russia entirely from the area.][17]

What the oil elite is doing here insofar as the Islamic rebels in Chechnya are concerned is using them in precisely the same fashion that the elites in the United States are using the Religious Right: as cannon fodder for their own ends. Islamic fundamentalists are being used by the Oil Companies as foot soldiers in their war to grab the wealth of the Caspian basin - "and to hell with all the people who get killed." The callous, cold-hearted attitude of the oil elites in this matter is beyond belief.

THE CHECHEN REBELLION

This brings us at last to the Chechen rebellion. The Chechen revolt against Moscow began in August 1991. At the time it started, it was pretty much a local affair having very little to do with oil as such, and everything to do with a local variety of Islamic fundamentalism. Early on, the leader of the rebellion, Dukozhar Dudayev, a former Soviet air force general, attempted to settle the rebellion on the basis of Chechen autonomy within the Russian Federation, an offer which was seriously considered by the Kremlin. [It should be noted in connection with Dudayev that Alan Maskhadov, as the president-elect of the republic, is the titular head-of-state; but at best, he is only a figure-head; Dudayev is still calling the shots.]

Nonetheless, as the fever for "black gold" took hold in the Caspian region, and Western Oil Companies began stampeding into the area, Russia inevitably began loosing influence throughout the area. There was simply no way that Russia, crippled as it was by the collapse of the old Soviet Union, could win in a competition for influence with the dollar-rich Western Oil Companies - and this became ever more clear as one country after the other - all of them republics of the former Soviet Union - began opting out of the Russian dominated CIS and aligning themselves with the West. With the formation of GUAAM, Russia's expulsion from the Southern Caucasus was all but complete, and the Western Oil Companies began casting their eyes eagerly at the riches in the Northern Caucasus. The key to that area was Chechnya.

Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, is an important oil refining center in its own right, supplying oil to the North Caucasus and specialty lubricants and paraffins throughout the Russian Federation. But more than that, Grozny is the center of the oil pipeline matrix that controls the flow of oil and gas from Kazakhstan and Central Asia to the Black Sea and beyond. It's through Grozny that Chevron must move its oil and gas from its vast Tengiz fields in Central Asia, where it has spent billions and billions of dollars in recent years, to the outside world.

In order to accommodate the movement of this oil and gas, the Russians - at Chevron's instigation - had formed the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) and had proposed to move the oil and gas from the Chevron fields in Tengiz to their Black Sea port at Novorossisk. But as the war in Chechnya progressed, and it began to look as if the Russians would be dislodged from the area in the summer of 1996, Chevron reneged on the deal, and proposed a new route which would pass through what Chevron hoped would be a newly independent Chechnya southward through GUAAM territory into Turkey, and from there either into the Black Sea or overland to the Mediterranean. Russia would be cut out altogether, and Chevron would be guaranteed a much bigger slice of the profits than would have otherwise been possible.

By 1997 the Russians began to realize that they were being played as suckers and dupes by the Western Oil Companies - but the realization had been a long time coming, and much had been lost. Dudayev was already being "wined and dined" by the Oil Companies, and he had long ago come to realize that there was more to be had in Chechnya than Islamic fundamentalism; there was a heck of a lot of money to be made if he could strike a bargain with Chevron. "Today the real issue is oil," Dudayev exclaimed excitedly.[18]

With that, the Russians at last began putting two and two together; they'd been cut out. Russia was furious! A new determination began taking hold on the Kremlin, and they resolved to hold onto Chechnya at all costs. While the West took note of Moscow's change in attitude, they felt that Dudayev could prevail in any new round of fighting.

Dudayev - together with Maskhadov - were acutely aware of what was coming, and he began preparing accordingly. He knew that he was unlikely to prevail against Russia in head-to-head combat, so he began turning his military force into a paramilitary organization. Soviet military theory had taught him that rebels need only enough military power to keep from being defeated easily. As a result, his main objective would be to raise the military and political costs of intervention to the point where Russia would be forced to withdraw as it had done earlier in 1996. Dudayev drew on lessons the Communists had learned from the Vietnamese wars against the French and the United States, and from the Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union. In addition, he was - on an unofficial basis - assured by the West of a continuous flow of arms from Turkey via GUAAM to carry on his struggle.

A TALE OF DECEIT AND DISHONOR

Exactly how the Oil Companies were able to make that assurance to Dudayev involves a most extraordinary tale of treachery and deceit. Between 1994 and 1996, the period of the first Chechen War, the ability of the Oil Companies to funnel arms to Dudayev in Chechnya had been gradually blocked because of pressure the Russians had been able to apply to Turkey. The ability of Russia to apply that pressure involved the Kurdish revolt in Turkey led by Abdullah Ocalan (please see below). The problem the Oil Companies faced was how to relieve that pressure on Turkey - and it is precisely here, in the telling of this story, that the duplicity of the Oil Companies and the connivance of the West, particularly the United States, is revealed in all its sordid infamy and perversion. The story involves an unsavory cast of characters, not the least of which was the CIA working as a handmaiden for the Oil Companies, not for the sake of any "national interest" or "greater good," but rather for the sake of "investor profits" - profits which were destined for the grasping, stingy little hands of a tiny group of corrupt and debased individuals who were (are) nothing more than uncaring, unfeeling corporate psychopaths dressed up in thousand dollar suits and who think nothing of what they are doing insofar as it affects the lives of ordinary people the world over.

TURKEY: THE LINCHPIN TO THE OIL
COMPANIES' "GAME" IN THE CASPIAN AREA[19]

Abdullah Ocalan is a folk hero and a "freedom fighter" to the great mass of Kurds living in eastern Turkey. He leads the PKK (i.e., the Kurdistan Workers Party), which has waged an intense and persistent campaign against Turkey for the past 15 years, seeking - like the Albanians in Kosovo - autonomy for the Kurdish people. The Kurdish rebellion had threatened Turkey's control over the very pipeline route that could break Russia's grip on the Caspian basin.

Over the years, Russia had been the Kurdish people's main champion in their effort to secure autonomy from Turkey. This support for the Kurds went way back and preceded the current "goings on" in the Caspian oil fields. For example, an article from a July 1946 issue of Foreign Affairs, a well-known mouthpiece of the CFR and other elitist organizations in the United States, stated that the Kurdish independence movement was considered the most dangerous of all Middle East troubles because of the support it got from Soviet Russia; it further warned that the Kurds' "fighting nature" would make it extremely difficult for the Turks to suppress them.[20]

The origins of the PKK go back to the early 1970s. It began largely as a rural insurgency bent on achieving Kurdish autonomy in eastern Turkey. As time wore on, the insurgency spread and became centered on the very area through which Chevron wanted to build its main pipeline - the projected Baku-Ceyhan pipeline - a line that was to stretch unbroken from the Caspian to the Mediterranean.

The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was considered vital to the Oil Companies' plans to exclude Russia from the oil riches of the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea. But the Kurds stood in the way of the pipeline's completion.

What to do? At first the Oil Companies tried an underhanded and deceptive game of trying to persuade Russia that it would be in their best interest to give up on their historic support of the Kurds. But Russia refused - and not only that, it persisted in its support of Kurdish nationalism. If the West could support the Chechens in Russia, the Kremlin wanted the West to know that it could play at the same "game" insofar as the Kurds in Turkey were concerned, and they now began to play that "game" in earnest.

THE KURDISH CARD

The first sign that Russia was playing the "game" seriously occurred at a conference entitled "The History of Kurdistan" held in Moscow in February 1994 - at the height of the first Chechen War. It was organized by the Kurdistan Committee and the Kurdistan Liberation Front, both of which were affiliated with the PKK.[21]

After the Turkish press discovered that the Russian Ministry of Nationalities and Regional Policy was a co-organizer of the conference, the Turkish Foreign Ministry sent an urgent message to the Russian Ambassador strongly protesting Moscow's participation. Russia agreed to forbid similar conferences in the future, but warned that Turkey should re-consider its policy vis a vis the Oil Companies' "game" in Chechnya.[22] If it did not, Turkey should not protest Moscow's use of the PKK[23] as a counterweight to Ankara's support for Chechen leader Dudayev.[24]

But such was the pressure on Turkey from the Oil Companies that Turkey continued to permit the shipment of arms into the area. As a result, Moscow "upped the ante" and agreed to host another PKK conference. It even allowed the PKK to open a bureau in Moscow. The Turks got the point! - and Turkey at last began taking serious steps to shut down the arms pipeline into Chechnya and to seriously re-consider its place in the Oil Companies' "game" in the Caspian area.

The Oil Companies went ballistic! They heatedly denied that they were sponsoring arms shipments into Chechnya. But when the Russian Ambassador to Ankara presented Turkish officials with incontrovertible evidence that they knew exactly what the Oil Companies were up to, the Turks - who's part in the "game" the Oil Companies had been playing was to turn a blind eye to the shipment of the weapons into Chechnya - began making hurried preparations to get out of the "game" the Oil Companies were playing. The "game" simply wasn't worth it to Turkey if it meant the loss of all of its eastern provinces to a Kurdish rebellion.

As if to add to Turkish fears, Viktor Ustinov, Chairman of the Committee for Geopolitics of the State Duma of Russia, called on the Kurds and the Russians for "joint work" in the creation of an independent Kurdish state, and to this end, the Russians allowed two former Kurdish members of the Turkish parliament who had fled Turkey in order to establish the "Kurdish parliament in Exile" to came to Moscow to pursue their goal. Albert Chernyshev, former Russian Ambassador to Turkey and later Deputy Foreign Minister, said, "we must understand each other. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones."[25]

Soon thereafter, Turkey capitulated and a "Protocol to Prevent Terrorism" was signed between Russia and Turkey: Moscow would forbid the PKK in Russia, and Turkey would shut down the flow of arms into Chechnya.[26] It was becoming clear that so long as Russia could play its "Kurdish card," the Oil Companies would be prohibited from playing their "game" in Chechnya.

In October 1996, Turkish President Demirel met with Russian Premier Chernomyrdin following meetings of the Black Sea Cooperation Organization. Chechnya and the PKK were the major topics of discussion at this high level meeting. Once again Chernomyrdin promised that his administration would stop any "political" PKK activities in Russia, but Turkey had to reciprocate by completely shutting off the flow of arms to the Chechen rebels. If it hadn't been totally clear to the Oil Companies that their "game" in Chechnya was up, it was clear now. And it would remain that way so long as Russia could hold on to its "Kurdish card." Not only that, but their dream of a Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was finished as well. Turkey was out of the "game" the Oil Companies had been playing with Russia; and the oil companies had to face the fact that they might be forced to cut Russia back in on the "take" of the riches to be had in the Caucasus and the Caspian region.

THE OIL COMPANIES PLAY THEIR CIA CARD

But the Oil Companies were not quite through yet. There was still the CIA, which over the years had become nothing more than Bechtel's, Chevron's, Mobil's, etc. "go-fer" in the Middle East. After all, it wasn't merely a coincidence that there was a revolving door between the CIA, the Defense Department, and the State Department (on the one hand), and the Oil Companies (on the other hand) - or does one really think that George Schultz and Cap Weinberger, both former presidents of the giant Bechtel Corporation, became Secretaries of State and Defense respectively out of pure chance having nothing to do with their association with Middle Eastern oil? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell them. And what about Richard Helms? Dick Cheney? Lloyd Bentsen? John Sununu? Zbigniew Brzezinski? and all the rest of them? The fact of the matter is, the Oil Companies own the CIA, the State Department, the Department of Defense, etc. "lock, stock, and barrel;" the truth is, these agencies of government are nothing more than corporate divisions of the giant oil consortiums.

The CIA had a plan! - they had been tracking Ocalan for some time now, and they thought that if they could capture him and turn him over to the Turks, the Kurdish rebellion could be broken. They had chased him from Syria to Italy to Greece. Each time Ocalan thought he had found refuge, the CIA was able to persuade the host country to refuse him sanctuary, forcing him to take flight again in an increasingly desperate search for asylum.

He finally landed in the Greek Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. But it was a poor choice of hideouts. More than 100 U.S. intelligence officers and law enforcement agents, along with Kenyan security officials, were in Nairobi investigating the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy, which took 213 lives in August of last year. Members of that team quickly discovered Ocalan had arrived in Nairobi. They immediately placed the Greek Embassy under surveillance and monitored Ocalan's cell phone conversations, while he placed calls to political contacts, seeking sanctuary. The surveillance information gave Turkish commandos the chance to capture Ocalan with the help of Kenyan security officers acting at the behest of the CIA. The commandos captured Ocalan after he had agreed to be driven to the Nairobi airport by a Kenyan security officer working with the CIA.

With the capture of Ocalan, the Kurdish rebellion began to fizzle, the Kurds were gradually neutralized and an agreement was consumated which finalized the last details on the Baku- Ceyhan pipeline. For all practical purposes, the Oil Companies had cut Russia completely out of the Southern Caucasus and the south Caspian. To make matters worse, the flow of arms into Chechnya resumed, thereby assuring Dudayev of a steady supply of arms as he made preparations for the "Second Chechen War." It seemed only a matter of time before Russia would have to concede Chechnya to the tender mercies of Chevron and its new-found lackey there, Dzhokar Dudayev.

THE OIL COMPANIES MISCALCULATE

It would appear, however, that the Oil Companies - and, ipso facto, the West - have miscalculated. They have grossly underestimated the resolve of Russia to maintain itself in the Northern Caucasus - and, as if to underline that resolve, Vladimir Putin, the new Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, has not only managed to breathe new life into the demoralized Russian military, he has also gatherd an army of over 100,000 soldiers for the new face-off with Dudayev and Maskhadov. And it is a formidable army, indeed, that he has succeeded in cobbling togather. To do it, Putin has had to strip men and material from everywhere in the federation, leaving many units elsewhere nothing but "paper ones." Nonetheless, the army that he has put into the field in Chechnya is an impressive one - the kind that has convinced those who have seen it that Putin means business.

Putin is a very impressive man. He's no slouching, stumbling Boris Yeltsin. He's articulate, good looking and has about him the crisp aura of a Western CEO. The claim by the American press that he is nothing more than an ex-KGB apparatchik rings hollow. Moreover - and much to the horror of the Western Oil Companies - he possesses the ability to lucidly articulate the reasons behind Russia's actions in Chechnya. For example, in a recent article that appeared in the Times of London on December 3rd entitled, "Why We Are Fighting In Chechnya," Putin wrote:

There is probably not a political leader in the world who has not taken an interest in the events unfolding in Northern Ireland in recent months. In Moscow we were hoping that Senator Mitchell's efforts would produce a permanent resolution to a conflict which has plagued Britain and Ireland for the past 30 years ... There are those who would say, given the current intervention by Russian forces in Chechnya, that there are lessons to be learnt from the Northern Ireland experience ... But, sadly, Grozny bears a far greater resemblance to the anarchy and terrorism of Beirut in the 1980s than it does to Belfast in 1999.
 
"... I believe in negotiation, especially as our history has taught us that it is impossible to settle the Chechen question by military force alone. But with whom and about what should we negotiate? To ask the Russian Government to negotiate a settlement with ... (Dudayev) is tantamount to asking Peter Mandelson and George Mitchell to broker a peace deal with Manchester's drug barons or crime bosses in London.
 
"... The recent bomb attacks on Moscow apartment complexes have brought home to the Russian people, in a horrific way, the nature of the regime that ordinary Chechens have endured for years. Of course, sadly, the British people have been no strangers to terrorist attack over the years. The outrage that people felt over atrocities like the bomb attacks at Birmingham, Guildford, Enniskillen and Warrington is mirrored and magnified in the Russian people today. Our citizens do not want to live in fear and mortal danger. They look, naturally, to the Government and security forces to protect them. Neither the Russian President nor I can or will ignore that responsibility.
 
And so we have, reluctantly, had to engage in a military campaign in Chechnya. In the midst of war, even the most carefully planned military operations occasionally cause civilian casualties, which are deeply regrettable and which we take every step to avoid. NATO forces in action in Kosovo were far from immune to such mistakes ... No one is pretending that conditions for the refugees are easy, but we are at least now able to give them a roof and provide them with food, heat and medical services ..."
 
I would much rather it was not necessary for our forces to be in Chechnya. There is a pressing domestic political agenda in Russia that demands my full-time attention. But these are not and cannot be questions of minor importance. To win a victory over terrorism in Chechnya is vital, just as we must, and will, triumph over organised crime.
 
I want for Chechnya what I am determined to deliver to the other citizens of Russia: prosperity and opportunity. I believe in a programme for government where economic efficiency goes hand in hand with social justice. I want to see a Russia where every citizen has a chance to share in the wealth of real economic reform.

Naturally, Putin avoided reference to why Russia was really in Chechnya - to preserve at least to some degree its presence in the Northern Caucasus. But he wasn't kidding about the brutality of the Chechen regime, a fact that is starkly underlined by the direction most refugees from the fighting are moving - toward the Russian lines and away from the so-called "Chechen freedom fighters." The refugees are voting with their feet, and make no mistake about it, if they so chose, they could just as easily have moved toward Muslim held territory to escape the bombardment. But that isn't what's happening; when given the opportunity, they inevitably choose to flee toward the Russians.

DOUBLE STANDARDS AND BIASED PRESS COVERAGE

The fact is, the people around Dudayev really are a band of thugs; like the KLA in Kosovo with whom the United States and her NATO allies found common cause during the war there, the "Chechen freedom fighters" are heavily involved in the smuggling of dope (mainly heroin) from Afghanistan and Pakistan into Europe, and from there on into North America. The Western Allies (and their friends at Chevron, BP, etc.) know all about this, but just as it didn't make any difference to their working with the KLA, it doesn't make any difference now in their dealings with Chechen rebels. What does Chevron care about dope smuggling when the riches of the great Tengiz oil fields are at stake? And all this to say nothing about the terrorist bombings of apartment houses in Moscow and other Russian cities. Even the IRA, when it was on its terrorist rampage in London and elsewhere, was careful to avoid civilian casualties; but not so the Chechens.

And what about the kidnapping and brutal murders by the "Chechen freedom fighters" of a number of Italian and Swedes in July of 1997? What about the slaughter of four French doctors associated with "Physicians without frontiers?" What about the Grozny terrorists who shot a number of Red Cross officials and beheaded several British nationals. What about these people, and many more besides, including numerous Americans? What about all this?

No, the politics of oil takes precedence!! Instead, a number of Chechen rebels responsible for these killing walk freely in the West as if they had nothing to fear from Western officials at all - such is the desire by the Oil Companies to do nothing to displease the Chechen. For example, take the case of Ilyas Akhmadov, a prominent leader in the Chechen rebellion and a personal friend of Shamil Basayev, one of the most brutal of the Chechen terrorists. When in Paris, Akhmadov attended one of the National Assembly sessions and was received by the head of the department for CIS affairs. The craven bootlicking here by the French political elite is almost impossible to fathom.

Official Paris has not yet come up with any explanations for Akhmadov's appearance in France. It is hardly surprising, however, given the fact that one of the most ferocious critics of Russia's activities in Chechnya is French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine who together with his German counterpart Joschka Fischer - both closely tied to elite money circles in the West - has been tirelessly demanding an end to the hostilities in Chechnya.

And what about the unmitigated bias in the Western press in all this? The press treats Chechnya as if it were a separate country, but it isn't! - something the press isn't too keen on reporting on. [But then, the Western press treated Kosovo as if it had been a province of Albania rather than what it really was, a Serbian province that had been overrun by "illegal immigrants" from Albania. What would the response be if "illegal immigrants" from Mexico took over Los Angeles and San Diego and attempted to annex both cities to Mexico? What about that?]

In addition, there is very little mention in the Western press about how Chechen militants attacked villages in neighbouring Daghestan several months ago. No reporting on the hundreds of hostages that have been taken and held for ransom. And what would be the response of the American press if a group of "Mexican separtists" (i.e., "illegal aliens") started blowing up apartment blocks in New York and killing hundreds of people? What would the French government do if Corsican separatists seized a hospital in Nancy and shot dozens of wounded French officers and civilians?

Nonetheless, instead of trying to understand what's going on in the North Caucasus, the West applies ever greater pressure on Moscow, threatening it with sanctions. The US President's statement that Russia will have to pay a high price for the military operation in Chechnya will be remembered by Russians and the people of the North Caucasus who know only too well about the crimes of the Chechen terrorists.

THERE IS A REASON BEHIND THESE DOUBLE STANDARDS

These inconsistencies in "truth-telling" are so glaring that it takes one's breath away! Still, the corporate press plods on, feeding Americans a steady diet of lies and deceit designed to hide the truth about what's really happening in the Caucasus: which is, there is a stampede for "black gold" going on there, and the American Oil Companies are going to grab all they can get, even if it means turning the truth of what they are up to on its head and putting at risk the entire world.

Some people, of course, would say, I just can't believe that such things are happening! There couldn't possibly be that much deception occurring. What? - have these people never read the Bible? The Bible says,

"The heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9)

Does one think that the Bible is just playing games here? Exaggerating to make a point? Stretching the truth a little? No! - it means exactly what it says! - and it doesn't matter whether that man is a dime store hold-up man or a CEO sitting on the Board of Chevron Oil. Man is the same - the only difference is, the capacity for harm lies much more with the man wearing the thousand dollar suit sitting on the Board of Chevron Oil than it does with the person robbing Seven-Elevens at 2:00 am in the morning. That's the reality of things in this world, and people who think otherwise are greatly deceived.

This is the kind of deception that characterizes the "Kingdom of this World;" and the elites are masters of it. But what else should one expect from people who have sold themselves over to the pursuit of money? - which is exactly what the elites have done. Jesus said,

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:24)

Dear Christian, you must understand something - Jesus meant what He said here! He wasn't kidding around. The very harsh truth of the matter is, find someone whose life is summed up by the pursuit of money, and you will find, ipso facto, someone who has sold his life to the devil. Jesus said of such people,

"Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. (John 8:44)

THE CONTEMPT OF THE ELITES FOR ORDINARY PEOPLE

People like this are so wrapped up in themselves, that they cannot but hold the public in utter contempt. The world, they believe, belongs to them, not to ordinary people. Ordinary people don't know their right foot from their left. They can't handle the truth. They need to be led. This is what the elites really think! For example, Harold Lasswell, one of the leading figures of modern political science, advocated the sophisticated use of "thought control" to keep the general public - who Lasswell believed were a threat to order because of their "ignorance and superstition" - in line. He explained in the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, that the elites should not succumb to "democratic dogmatisms about men being the best judges of their own interests." They are not, Lasswell said - the best judges are the elites who must impose their will on ordinary people for their own good.

Secretary of State Robert Lansing, the founder of the State Department's first centralized intelligence unit, the predecessor to today's CIA, thought the public an "ignorant and incapable mass of humanity." Walter Lippmann, the dean of American journalism and a noted democratic theorist and commentator on public affairs, advised that "the public must be put in its place" so that the "responsible men" may "live free of the trampling and the roar of a bewildered herd." In a democracy, Lippmann held, these "ignorant and meddlesome outsiders" do have a "function:" to be "interested spectators of action," but not "participants." David Hume considered the "First Principle of Government" to ensure that "the many are governed by the few" and to guarantee "the implicit submission with which ordinary men resign their own sentiments and passions to those of their rulers."

And make no mistake about it, this is exactly what the elites think! There is no love of democracy with them. They live in a corporate world of utter absolutism where their word is law. They say who will succeed and who will fail; which town (or state, or country) will get a factory (and the jobs that go with it) and which will not. There is no democracy here. What matters here is the "Almighty dollar" and the "bottom line." Investor profits! - that's what it is all about!

Nonetheless, they dare not tell the public that, though the public half suspects it. As a result, their control in the so-called "free societies" of the West is rarely exercised in a direct fashion and overt censorship is seldom practiced; instead, self-censorship is the order of the day. George Orwell, commenting on the so-called "free press" in England, said, "The sinister fact about censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary. Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without any need for an official ban." The desired outcome is attained in part by the "general tacit agreement that 'it wouldn't do' to mention that particular fact," for fear of offending this or that person of wealth and agitating the masses to too great an effect. The fact of the matter is, Orwell says, the so-called "free press" is controlled by "wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics." As a result, "Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness."

And we are surprised by this? Why? What else should we expect from this world? If we believe anything else, we are living in a dream world!

BEWARE OF THE RICH

God help the ordinary people of the world! - Christian and non-Christian alike: Jews and Muslims! Whatever! The rich don't care - they're all the same to them. In Bosnia, Kosovo and elsewhere in the Middle East, the American elites make alliances with the Muslims that turn the truth on its head and uproot ancient Christian communities; in Israel, they court the Jews with promises of American military and financial support if they only make peace with the Arabs - not that Schultz, Baker, Cheney, Bentsen, Brzezinski, Albright, Helms or any of the other of them care even so much as one whit for the Arabs, they don't! All they care about is the oil the Arabs are sitting on. In exchange, the elites say they will protect them. What? The Jews putting their trust in the promises of elites who control the Bechtel Corporation, Chevron Oil, etc.? It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic! The Jews, of course, say that they are putting their trust in America. But who do they think controls America? Billy Graham?

And it's the same insofar as Christians in this country are concerned. Christians trying to make an alliance with the "Fat Cats" of the Republican Party? - the same people who are making common cause with Dudayev and the radical Muslims in Chechnya. The elites support radical Muslim fundamentalism in Chechnya and Religious Right Christians in America. Whose side are they really on? - and remember here, the same elites who bow their heads toward Mecca in the Middle East, are the same elites who say they support conservative Christians in the United States and who claim, like David Friess, an investment banker here in the United States, that the most important thing in his life is his belief in Christ as his savior - and this despite the fact that much of his wealth was acquired through ruthless business practices which contradict the teachings of the Bible. The Muslims in Chechnya, Christians in America, Jews in Israel - they're all the same to the elites: they're only good as cannon fodder for their own ends. They're all being used as foot soldiers in the elite's war to grab the wealth of the world - "and to hell with all the people who get killed on the way."

CLOSER THAN WE THINK

But now the elites may have truly overreached themselves; in pushing into the Caucasus, they may have disturbed forces not totally of this world. Gog is not some prince to be easily trifled with. He's not someone the Oil Companies can put back in a box and let it go at that. Think about what has already happened! Think about what Oil Company greed is doing in the Caucasus: it is drawing Russian military forces down into the Caucasus, and has acted as a catalyst in the creation of a military alliance between Iran (Persia) and the Russian Federation - two of the principal "players" in Ezekiel 38. In addition, Oil Company greed is pulling NATO forces into the region as well - setting up a "face-off" between NATO (on the one hand) and the Russian Federation and Iran (on the other hand).

Hello! - doesn't that say something to you? It should if you are familiar at all with Ezekiel 38. [We urge you, if you have not already, to read (or re-read) chapter 6 ("The Gog / Magog War") in the Antipas Papers; also, please see Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, and Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days. All we are interested in here is how it all begins - and that's what brings us back to the "here and now."]

Brothers and sisters! - we urge you, get your priorities straight! Remember what prophecy is all about. Prophecy is like a road sign saying: "Slow down, sharp right hand turn ahead!" But if we fail to heed the sign, if we fail to slow down before we get to the turn, it will be too late to brake once we finally get there, and we will surely slide off the road and crash. Like a road sign, prophecy tells us things before they happen so that we can take evasive action before events catch up with us. If we wait until they finally overtake us, it will be too late to do anything - we will crash! Watch, therefore, for the "signs of the times," and don't wait to take action. You may wait too long! Jesus said,

"... When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matt. 16:2-3)

And Paul warns us,

"But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." (I Thess. 5:4-6)

In saying this, my prayer for all of you is -

God preserve you from the "Money Trap."

I say this, because it's not just the Oil Companies that are susceptible to the allure of money! We all are!! But the Bible solomnly warns us that there is a great "test" coming; and it has to do with money; specifically, our love of it. It's one thing to say that we love the Lord more than we love our money, but it's quite another thing to have it worked out in our lives as reality. The Bible says that when Antichrist comes, he -

"... causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
"And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
(Rev. 13:16-17)

In the light of these verses, therefore, we would all do well to examine ourselves insofar as our relationship with money is concerned - and if we don't take great care to conduct this examination carefully and honestly, the only person we will be kidding in the long run is ourselves. Of course, as we said in the Antipas Papers, insofar as God is concerned, it doesn't really matter what we do. His plans do not exist for our convenience - they will come to pass whether we approve of them or not. In the long run, it only matters to us - AND TIME FOR RECOGNIZING THIS FACT IS RUNNING OUT! To continue to ignore God's Word with regard to the "end of days" is as stupid as what the Jews did with regard to Hitler on the eve of the Second World War. L.S. Dawidowics, in her authoritative account of the Holocaust, War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, wrote:

"The Jews, whose dazzling success in business blinded them to the encroaching blackness of National Socialism (Nazism), were caught unaware by the onslaught of Hitler."[27]

Yet Zionism was the very vehicle that God had chosen to fulfill His promise to bring back the Jews from out of the nations to which they had been driven nearly two thousand years before by the Roman general Titus. Zionism was rooted in the Hebrew Bible and was toasted once every year at the Feast of Passover with the words, "Next Year in Jerusalem." But the toast had become a meaningless, empty ritual, and success in the world had blinded the Jews to the words of their own prophets. It was not so much the fact that they had denied their own Jewishness as it was the fact that they wanted to have the best of both worlds - the wealth that their success in Europe had brought them, as well as their own Jewish heritage. And that's where so many of us, as Christians, are today! We want the best of both worlds - Christ and money. But we can't have both. Jesus said:

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon (i.e., money)." (Matt. 6:24)

Jesus continued by saying:

"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? "Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
"And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
"Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
"Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
"(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matt. 6:24-34)

We must have a radical change in our attitude toward money or we will never make it through what's to come! No pretending then! Then we shall see if we are able to say with the prophet Habakkuk:

"Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls -
"YET I WILL REJOICE IN THE LORD, I WILL JOY IN THE GOD OF MY SALVATION." (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

God bless all of you,

Steve
S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries

FOOTNOTES
  1. Louis Baauman, Russian Events in the Light of Bible Prophecy. Philadelphia: The Baalkiston Co.., 1942, pg. 417.
  2. Rosh is included in all the older manuscripts; please J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, Grand Rapids: Zondervan (Dallas Theological Seminary).
  3. See reference #2 above.
  4. Op. Cit., Bauman, pg. 23-25.
  5. Ibid.., pg. 23-25.
  6. Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Years, Chicago: Moody Press, 1954, pg. 85 and J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958, pg. 332.
  7. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come.; Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958, pg. 332; also Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Years, Chicago: Moody Press, 1954, pg. 85. v
  8. Please see Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come, and Robert Duncan Culver, Daniel and the Latter Days.
  9. David L. Cooper, When Gog's Armies Meet the Almighty; Los Angeles: The Bible Research Society, 1940, pgs. 80-81.
  10. From "NATO and the New Imperialsim" by John Rees. John Rees is the editor of and a contributor to the book Marxism and the New Imperialism (London, 1994), and the editor of the London-based quarterly journal International Socialism.
  11. Ibid., pg. 14
  12. Ibid., pg. 18
  13. Ibid., pg. 26
  14. While it's true that three of the actual GUAAM nations - Georgia, Armenia, and Moldava - are Orthodox Christian countries, the overwhelming majority of the people in the area are Muslim - and that is especially true of those nations that are contiguous to the Caspian Sea.
  15. Ariel Cohen, PhD, is senior analyst in Russian and Eurasian Studies at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
  16. Mark N. Katz is associate professor of government and politics at George Mason University (Fairfax; Virginia), He is currently writing a book entitled, Revolutionary Waves' Marxist-Leninist, Arab Nationalist. and Islamic Fundamentals.
  17. Mark N. Katz, "An Emerging Russian-Iranian Alliance?," in Caspian Crossroads.
  18. Dzhokar Dudayev, 'Chechens Want Negotiations and Peace With Russia', International Herald Tribune, 14 March 1995.
  19. Please see "Russia's Kurdish Card In Turkish-Russia Rivalry" in Caspian Crossroads by Ersel Aydinli. Ersel Aydinli is a faculty member in the International Relations Department, Kirikkale University, Turkey and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at McGill University.
  20. "Turkey Broadens Presence in Transcaucasus", Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Dec. 27, 1995 in FBIS-Central Eurasia-Daily Report, Jan.22, 1996, 45.
  21. Reuters, 23 February, 1994.
  22. Ozgur Ulke, Istanbul, 18 July, 1994, 4.
  23. Elizabeth Fuller, "Turkish-Russian Relations, 1992-1994," RFE/RL Research Report, vol.3, no.18, 6 May, 1994, 9.
  24. A report published in Nezavisimaya Gazeta confirmed what transpired.
  25. Irina Grudinina, "Ex Officio: Moscow Won't Let Kurdish Organizations Build Nests in Russia", Current Digest of the Post Soviet Press, 30 August, 1995, v.47, n.31, 23.
  26. Robert Olson, "The Kurdish Question and Chechnya: Turkish and Russian Foreign Policies Since the Gulf War", Middle East Policy, vol. IV, No.3, March 1996, 112.
  27. Lucy S. Dawidowics, War Against the Jews, 1933-1945. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975, p. 172.

We need your help to spread the word concerning Antipas Ministries and the eschatological viewpoint it represents; WE NEED YOUR HELP BECAUSE WE DO NOT "LINK" WITH OTHER SO-CALLED "CHRISTIAN" WEBSITES which are, for the most part, "in the tank" insofar as their loyalty to the United States is concerned - a loyalty that has made them partners in the BLOODY trail the American military has left in its TERROR-RIDDEN rampage throughout the world, as well as making them partners in the abject poverty that American corporations have imposed on the peoples and nations the American military machine has ravaged - A BLOODY, TERROR-RIDDEN RAMPAGE THAT HAS TO A LARGE DEGREE BEEN CARRIED OUT IN THE NAME OF THE "PRINCE OF PEACE." [Please see our articles, "The Third World as a Model for the New World Order," Inside the American New World Order System" and "The American Empire: The Corporate / Pentagon / CIA / Missionary Archipelago."]

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