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Home Archive April 2009 Issue

April 2009 Issue

April 2009 Issue: From the Editor

The Gulf of Aden has been on fire again with US SEALS to the rescue of Captain Phillips of the Maersk  Alabama from Somali pirates.  Chris Brewer, CEO of US based Ashler International bores down into the issue by addressing the technical options and strategic adaptations which may be considered in resolving the issue.  Within the  last week NATO forces, under Dutch flag,  have intervened in yet another hijacking.  The bleeding continues.  Hard thinking in Brussels is certainly on the table for the world’s most successful collective security organization. 

Elsewhere around the world the Journal of Energy Security (JES) covers issues from India, Venezuela, and the Middle East making this issue perhaps the most geographically diverse  to date. We also offer a cutting edge article on the potential of using thorium as an alternative nuclear fuel; an issue not likely to please everyone but one that should be carefully considered by anyone dedicated to energy and resource diversification. 

News noteworthy on the global  front was the opening of the Ras a Laffan LNG facility in Qatar which will ultimately provide the UK with 20% of future natural gas needs.  Phillip Cornell at the NATO School is also hard at work on new strategic thinking on the Far North , and we hope to be bringing you several articles on Gulf developments over the coming months.  In closing where there is quiet there is often a storm brewing-this time in the Russian Federation as it limps towards some very difficult decisions to replace domestic natural gas power generation with coal.  As always, the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security and its staff are monitoring these developments carefully. 

Best Regards, Kevin Rosner, Managing Editor, JES

editor@iags.org

 

Energy Poverty and Security

To secure development and allow the market to create sustainable jobs that reduce poverty, governments must first establish their legitimacy by providing basic services, e.g. access to clean water and electricity, in an environment safe for economic activity.  This must go hand-in-hand with establishing the rule of law, including respect for property rights.  Allan Hoffman’s analysis focuses on the energy part of this equation while recognizing that issues related to energy and water, two critical elements of sustainable development, are closely linked.

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Thorium as a Secure Nuclear Fuel Alternative

A. Canon Bryan writes that the 21st Century is different than the Cold War era and within the context of the new global security framework the Obama administration has its work cut out for it.  It is concurrently pursuing a goal of ridding the world of nuclear weapons while facing an accelerating global demand for energy and power.  Thorium, a little known radioactive element, may provide a potential solution to this dilemma.

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Maritime Security & Counter-Piracy: Strategic Adaptations and Technological Options

The strategic and cost implications of piracy off of Africa’s coast are clear.  What is far less clear is what direction ship and cargo owners should consider for solving what, in the Gulf of Aden, began as a rash and is now a full-blown epidemic.  Chris Brewer, a Washington based security expert, explores some of the technological options that may be employed for solving the problem of maritime piracy, and what strategic adaptations in thinking may need to be considered for driving forward a resolution to the problem.     

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Energy Security Implications of the US-India Nuclear Deal

The United States’ nuclear accord with India was years in the making carrying with it serious policy implications on the domestic front for both countries.  In India in particular the political fallout from this agreement has been significant with ongoing implications for India’s ruling party.  What India has risked, and gained, in the energy security field is explored extensively in this article.    

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Al Qaeda & Oil Facilities in the Midst of the Global Economic Crisis

Murad Batal al-Shishani writes that al Qaeda and other militant jihadist groups are seizing the global economic crisis as an opportunity  the exploit the West’s dependence on Middle East oil.  This is not a new phenomenon but one based on an ideology about the importance of oil in the jihadist’s mindset.  Al-Shishani bores down into what al Qaeda is targeting and helps us understand why.

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Obama and Chávez: Energy Partners?

Coming out of the Summit of the Americas and the Obama-Chavez handshake, there are lingering questions about the future of US-Venezuelan energy relations. Latin American energy experts Paul Wander and Dan Erikson cover recent ground in this relationship and tell us why they believe the US and Venezuela are not likely to part company anytime soon. 

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