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This summer’s Russian invasion of Georgia, in response to that former Soviet republic’s attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, let loose a torrent of anti-Russian sentiment in the West not seen since the Cold War. Much of that rhetoric stemmed from fear that the fighting would damage the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean, which Russia sees as a threat to its influence in the Caucasus. If Russia were looking for a way to reduce tensions with the West in the wake of this little war, probably the last advice I would give them would be “Form an OPEC-style gas cartel with Iran.” Yet the formation of just such an organization was announced late last month by the two nations along with Qatar-the three countries with the most gas, accounting for 57% of the world’s proved reserves.
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