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Saturday, 09 August 2014 21:00

Fighting for the Arctic

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In Ilulissat Declaration of 28 May 2008, all five Arctic coastal states (Russia, USA, Canada, Norway and Denmark on behalf of Greenland) pledged to resolve territorial claims in the framework of international law, as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The Declaration affirmed that the legal framework provided by the UN Convention, which is sufficient to control the Arctic Ocean, and there is no need to establish a new international legal regime.

Thus, the Arctic waters recognized as the same as in other parts of the globe, with the same rights over the continental shelf, archipelagos, islands, inland sea and the relevant decisions of the compromises associated with the passage of ships through the sovereign waters of the sea. 

However, for navigation on the Northern Sea Route, a special regime, since this way is seen as historically constituted transport communication in Russia. Diving is carried out in accordance with the specific rules established by Russia pursuant to Article 234 of the Convention. Therefore, all the advantages of operating in this area are in Russia. Obviously, because of this, and attempts are being made to revise certain provisions of the Convention on the part of a number of states and, moreover, even the proposals have been made to privatize the sea! This idea comes from a world center of globalism - Council on Foreign Relations, whose headquarters are in New York and Washington. He shares his findings expert articles in the publication of «Foreign Affairs» and its subsidiaries (by the way, in Russia such "educational" arm of the Council is the publication of the "Russia in Global Affairs"). 

In addition, despite the established rules, some countries continue to challenge their right to certain areas in the Arctic. The most famous, because of its vast territory is the Lomonosov Ridge, opened in 1948 by Soviet expeditions. Russia has repeatedly filed an application to the UN Commission on the Limits of the outer continental shelf. Proposed to establish new limits of the continental shelf of the Russian Federation on the basis of studies Lomonosov and Mendeleev ridges, but the Commission in 2002 recommended a further study that has spurred other countries to fight for the expansion of its economic zone.

The first fight in the Arctic Denmark joined in 2004, having started the study of the North Atlantic. It is obvious that the purpose of the Danish expedition was to obtain evidence of his belonging to the Lomonosov Ridge Greenland.

Nevertheless, in 2007, Russia conducted a new study that gave reason to believe that the disputed ridge is an extension of Russia's continental shelf. 

But the alliance of Western countries are not going to give up. Canada came into the arena, spending up to 2013 about $ 200 million. Relevant studies. Since the Lomonosov Ridge extends to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, then Canada, contrary to the facts, made a statement about the ridge to its territory. Naturally, the two countries do not recognize each other's claims and intend to continue to challenge their right to the UN. 

The reason for such a passionate interest in the polar latitudes are the rich natural resources of the Arctic. According to estimates from the United States Geological Survey 2008, 13% of the world's undiscovered oil and 30% of undiscovered natural gas reserves are located above the Arctic Circle. Given the growing energy hunger of the industrialized countries, it is possible to understand such a great zeal for the development of hydrocarbon resources. In addition, industrial fishing and other marine life is also an additional factor in the redrawing of maritime areas. 

But to justify their right to territory (water area) need good arguments. Russia will receive them in two ways. First - Research. As already mentioned, the region has repeatedly sent expeditions. And in the summer of 2014 scheduled trips of Russian ships in the area of Franz Josef Land, the Severnaya Zemlya, the New Siberian Islands and to Wrangel Island. The second way - the most productive, but the likely criticism from other countries. This - military power. No accident that the Russian Arctic was established grouping of the armed forces and have been conducted maneuvers with the landing of troops in the critical low temperature conditions.

Inter alia, through the Arctic lies the most convenient route from Europe to Asia.

The distance traveled by ships from Murmansk to the Japanese port of Yokohama via the Suez Canal, is 12 840 nautical miles, while the Northern Sea Route, he half as long - 5770 nautical miles! This greatly reduces all shipping costs. 

In 2012, 46 ships have passed through the Northern Sea Route, which runs along the northern coast of Russia. These vessels are carrying a total of 1.3 million tons of cargo. In 2011, 34 vessels were transported about 820 000 tonnes. And in March 2013, Russia has called the Administration of the Northern Sea Route. Most potential customer of a new route - China. Incidentally, China has its icebreaker, although the country and does not have access to the cold seas.

Obviously, we can without a special fleet can not do. "Baltic Plant," according to a recent competition, won the right to build two icebreakers. Ships must be built before December 25, 2019 and December 25, 2020, respectively. State contract price - about 84.4 billion rubles. A nuclear-powered icebreaker LK-60 is already in the manufacturing process and should be commissioned in 2017. It will be the largest and most powerful in the world. Housing width will be 34 meters (from the previous class "Arctic" was 30 meters), he is one (which is why it is called the head) could carry on the Northern Sea Route tankers of up to 70 thousand. Tons. 

In the Arctic, many states developed its own strategy. Some of them work in an alliance such as NATO members - Norway, Canada and the United States, they coordinate their activities in respect of the region. And in these states have recently adopted a number of documents - from the doctrines to the action plan referred to in these countries "road map." 

Extremely curious is the development of the military departments. Barack Obama May 10, 2013 approved the National Strategy for the Arctic region, where the linkages between the events in the Arctic and the stability of the national interests of the United States. Before that was published National Security Presidential Directive (2009), the second title of which - the National Security Presidential Directive. Minister of Defense Chuck Haygel in the preface to the defense doctrine (published in late 2013) points out that "The Arctic is in a critical moment of his conversion from a relatively isolated area to the one where the retreating ice can increase access to man ... The Arctic is becoming increasingly important, and, regardless of the level and extent of the changes, we must be willing to contribute to the national efforts in the pursuit of the strategic objectives in the region. "Thus, the military strategy of the United States in the Arctic is to create a secure and stable region where American national interests are guaranteed, and the work is carried out jointly by the countries in order to eliminate the problems. 

Interests and concerns - these are the key words of this doctrine. It is obvious that the United States under the provision of the interests understand violation of the interests of other countries and the "problem" is directly related to the response to these violations, especially Russia.

The strategy of the Pentagon stated that "national security interests include issues such as missile defense and early warning; deployment of sea and air systems for strategic sealift, strategic deterrence, maritime presence, and maritime security operations; and ensuring freedom of navigation. Preserving freedom of navigation in the Arctic, which includes all the rights, freedoms, and the use of the adjacent seas and airspace, including the freedom of navigation and overflight, supported national capacity to exercise these rights, freedoms, and the use of sea and air space around the world, including strategic straits. "There are already visible challenge to Russia, because what is strategic deterrence in the Arctic region? 

This deployment of interceptor missiles and combined forces for the application of a quick blow to the Russian Federation. The containment strategy is well known in the Cold War, when the United States created a "ring Anaconda" around the Soviet Union, with its perimeter Soviet borders of its military bases. It is also clear that the direction of the Arctic is the most concise way to deliver warheads from Russia to the United States and vice versa. By the way, in the doctrine, which was signed by Obama speaks of "the Arctic region, which is stable and there is no conflict where countries act responsibly in a spirit of trust and cooperation, and where the economic and energy resources are developed by stable, which also aims to respect the fragile environment, interests and culture of local people. "

Extremely interesting and military-strategic concept of Canada, which acts as the actual conductor of the USA and NATO in the region, but still comes in a dispute on some points. 

In January 2014 the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Defence of Canada was prepared directive on Arctic issues, which highlights the main challenges to be faced. First - it's a balance of ecology and oil. According to the directive, Canada intends to counteract the inevitable protests of environmentalists to be held against any exploratory drilling in Canadian waters. On the other hand, in a document appears the necessity to maintain the balance in respect of environmental protection. 

It should be noted that Canada is producing shale oil in its area of responsibility, which is dangerous to the environment as opposed to the traditional production, which uses Russian. By the way, the report notes that the United States strongly opposed the creation of the Arctic strategy for the protection of the environment that preceded the establishment of the Arctic Council, and Canada, on the contrary, advocated the concept of creating and organizing a more politically powerful international entity that could operate as on environmental protection environment and other issues facing the polar regions. 

In the analysis of potential conflicts between environmentalists and the states and the case is marked with the platform "Prirazlomnaja." The authors of the Canadian document write that in connection with claims against Russia lost sight of the fact that the Danish navy had to use the use of force to arrest protesters from Greenpeace, when they landed on an oil rig off the west coast of Greenland in 2011 . 

"The protesters, using tactics that were identical to those used against the Russian, protested against the conduct oil exploration in the waters around Greenland. Two members of Greenpeace, who landed on an oil platform, were charged with trespassing and the exclusion zone around the rig. They were fined 20,000 DKK and deported from Greenland, they were banned from re-entering the country within one year. In both cases (Russia and Greenland) armed commandos captured and arrested the people ", - stated in the directive.

Ultimately, Russia, Canada and the United States will use troops to protect their right to the resources in the Arctic region. Canadians, it seems unlikely that the Arctic Council will be able to solve the problem of oil development in the Arctic. 

By the way, the Arctic Council is one of the supra-national bodies in charge of the Arctic region. It was created in 1996, countries with territory inside the Arctic Circle - United States, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. The main purpose of this structure is to protect the environment and relevant research these countries. In May 2013 at the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Sweden has provided six new countries (China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore) observer status, which indicates an increased interest in this body and the region on the part of many states. What is clear: The Arctic is a tasty "piece", rich in oil and gas.

Leonid Savin

Source: http://geopolitica.ru/article/borba-za-arktiku#.U7Z_PkDj59Q

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