Gaza rockets aim at Kurdish oil route via Israel. More security for Ashkelon and Eilat depots

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 25, 2014, 12:12 PM (IDT)

The Trans-Israel Pipeline from Ashkelon to Eilat is the real target of the increased Grad rocket fire on Ashkelon and nearby coastal areas, military sources tell DEBKAfile. Its momentum has quickened since the launch this month of a transit route for oil exports from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq via Turkey and Israel.

Islamic Jihad and other Salafist militants in Gaza are in cahoots with the Al Qaeda affiliated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis operating out of Sinai. All are potential sources of the rocket fire and certainly have an eye on civilian targets, but the sources say the uptick of the last few days is a clear attempt to take out the new Kurdish export route. (see attached Special Map)

Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda in Sinai are strange bedfellows – their backers, Iran and ISIS, are at loggerheads in Iraq. But they share an interest in preventing Israel from using its small oil ports, Ashkelon and Eilat, to become a major conduit for Kurdish oil. Through its geography and infrastructure, Israel has quickly become a key element in the war in Iraq and its future.

Iran wants to put a stop to oil sales out of the northern Iraqi oilfields near Kirkuk, while ISIS considers Iraqi oil to be an important war spoil and strategic asset, likewise the oilfields in eastern Syria.

ISIS is already using captured Syrian oilfields as a major source of income, bringing in some $1 billion per year. With control of Iraq’s oilfields, refineries, and pipelines, the Al Qaeda-affiliated group could easily double or triple its annual oil income.

Israel’s role puts a damper on these plans.

Both Tehran, which has its own designs on Kirkuk, and ISIS, were amazed to discover the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had signed onto a combined Kurdish-Turkish-Israeli concern for the new Kurdish export route. No time was lost for this transaction after the Kurdish peshmerga moved into Kirkuk as Iraqi troops fled the oncoming ISIS fighters.

The crude flows to Ceyhan, Turkey’s port city on the Mediterranean. From there it is loaded onto tankers that sail to Ashkelon, where the cargo is unloaded either into storage or poured into the 254-kilometer Trans-Israel Pipeline. Traditionally the pipeline has served companies from Russia and Central Asia who use Israel as a middleman for their sales to Asian countries. But with the arrival of the first Kurdish tankers in the past few weeks, the pipeline has begun to operate at its capacity of 20 million tons per year.

Our sources report that Kurdistan, which exports 120,000 barrels of oil a day, has already sent 2 million barrels of oil to Israel via Ceyhan. Most of this shipment is due to arrive in Ashkelon and Eilat in the coming days.

Oil industry insiders believe that Irbil pays Turkey and Israel a dollar each for every barrel that passes through their territory.

Now that the tanker channel between Turkey and Israel has opened in the service of oil, Western military sources say that the two countries’ navies have boosted their cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean to secure the channel, the tankers, and their precious cargo.

They add that Israel has put special security measures in place to bolster its defenses against terror and rocket attacks in Eilat and the Gulf of Aqaba, lest newly arrived Iranian and ISIS elements in Sinai target Eilat’s oil terminal and the tankers full of Kurdish oil.

June 25, 2014 | 1 Comment »

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  1. The Trans-Israel Pipeline from Ashkelon to Eilat is the real target of the increased Grad rocket fire on Ashkelon and nearby coastal areas, military sources tell DEBKAfile.

    Not logical? The chance of a random unguided missilie making a direct hit on the pipeline is?????? Lets just say it would have to have a lot of luck. Best way is direct sabotage. Not impossible but unlikely due to the fence security around Gaza and Israel’s border with Egypt/Sinai.

    Sabotage could be done by Arabs living already in Israel or from Arabs who infiltrated through Jerusalem into Israel proper, not too difficult. Damaged pipelines can be fixed and put back in operation within days or weeks, so at worst it will cause small delay.

    Any attack especailly if successful coming out of Gaza will bring massive retaliation by Israel and where big money and profits are concerned the price to Gaza Arabs will be high.

    Israel will do for big money that which she is reticent to do over attacks against Israeli citizens.
    So in this case I don’t quite buy the Debka explanation.

    Missile attacks have been a common occurrence even before it was made known about Oil delivery from Iraq to Israel.

    Who are the final end user purchasers of Iraqi oil through Israel??? If it’s going through Eilat good bet it’s going to an Asian country with refining capabilities. Israel could refine all or some of the product and sell to the West or back to Turkey which is more logical than just transshipping crude. Price of Crude today is between $107-$115 on the market and going up daily.

    Remember: Trade wars, currency wars real wars… Wall street and the Banksters see their control about to implode on themselves…

    The only thing that will save them now is real world and they want America to war on Syria, Isis and any other Bogeyman they helped to create.

    Real estate market flat, Jobs flat, income down, 1st quarter 2.79% down trending down in the second quarter too. Debt approaching $18 trillion.

    America needs a good war to save it.