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UK Government accused of ‘massive cover up’ over Hezbollah threat for years after explosives stockpile seized

Why is no British (or US) media outlets reporting this… EVERY fucking Jewish and Israeli outlet is reporting it! :/
Let’s just repeat this for everyone… MI5 had a large scale international Hezbollah cell operating in London (North West London!)… ready to launch attacks on Jewish targets in the event of a war between Israel and Lebanon.
1) MI5 epically fucked up (or turned a blind eye… possibly worse?), and if it wasn’t for The Mossad… no-one would be any the wiser (until maybe an attack happened)
2) The UK Government then kept this operation top secret not only from the public (who couldn’t give a fuck really), but from it’s own MP’s, because of the political fallout regarding the Iran Nuclear deal signed months prior… they continued to keep it a secret even when Parliament was debating as to whether to label Hezbollah a terrorist organisation.

Hezbollah fighter pictured driving through Golders Green, London.

Government accused of ‘massive cover up’ over Hezbollah threat for years after explosives stockpile seized

Security services seized 3,000 kilos of ammonium nitrate in 2015 – yet the government failed to fully proscribe terror organisation for more than three years afterwards

Theresa May announcing details of her resignation last month. Despite being made aware of thousands of kilos of explosive material stockpiled by Hezbollah seized in North West London in 2015, her government took no action on proscribing the organisation in full for years afterwards

Theresa May announcing details of her resignation last month. Despite being made aware of thousands of kilos of explosive material stockpiled by Hezbollah seized in North West London in 2015, her government took no action on proscribing the organisation in full for years afterwards (Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The government has been accused of  a “massive cover-up” about the threat from Hezbollah, after it was revealed British security services caught the organisation stockpiling “tonnes” of explosive materials in North West London in 2015.

In an undercover operation almost four years ago, Mi5 and the Metropolitan Police discovered three metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate, the Daily Telegraph has reported.

Then Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May were made aware of the operation at the time. North West London is home to the largest Jewish community in Europe.

But, despite this, the government took another three and a half years to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety, despite parliamentary and Jewish communal organisations repeatedly urging them to do so.

In a letter from Joan Ryan MP, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, to Home Secretary Sajid Javid said she was “horrified” to read about Hezbollah stockpiling explosives in London, and that “without the bravery of our security forces this would have been used to target and murder Jews around the world.”

She added: “We now need to know urgently why the Government failed to disclose this vital information to the public and parliamentarians and resisted for more than three years my calls to ban Hezbollah in its entirety.”

The stockpiled ammonium nitrate, which is understood to have not yet been in its mixed and far more dangerous form, was registered at around 3,000 kilograms, 700kg more than the amount of ammonium nitrate used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

One source told the Telegraph that the plot was “proper organised terrorism”.

Israel’s Kan public broadcaster reported an official said on Monday that Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, which had notified the UK about the attack.

Ms Ryan noted that although parliament had subsequently debated “the nature and seriousness of the threat posed by Hezbollah both to the UK and to our allies abroad”, information about the operation was not revealed by the government, which, she said “continue[d] to oppose the full proscription for a further three and a half years.”

Although the military wing of Hezbollah was proscribed as a terror organisation by the UK government in 2001, its political wing was not included, despite many noting that there was no significant separation between different branches of the organisation.

The government finally acted to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety in February of this year.

Ms Ryan, who left the Labour party in February, also asked whether the Opposition had been made aware by the Government of the plot, noting that the party “failed to support proscription of Hezbollah” during a debate on the subject in February.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn once infamously referred to “friends” within Hezbollah.

In a 2002 speech, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said: “If they [the Jews] all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.”

The organisation, widely regarded as a proxy for the Iranian regime, is believed to have carried out attacks against Jews internationally, including in Argentina in 1994 and Bulgaria in 2012.

For years, Hezbollah flags were flown at the annual Al Quds Day rally held in central London until this year’s parade, which took place after the full ban came into effect, making it illegal to fly the flag.


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Hezbollah London bomb plot… 21 questions!

“long-term planning for immense, game-changing terror attacks. Luckily, someone was in the right place at the right time to issue a warning, to pass on the information and to prevent the establishment of this infrastructure.” – Israeli source

“It’s almost as if MI5 wanted a Hezbollah cell operating in London isn’t it!” 🙂

  1. How do Hezbollah operate in London unnoticed? (the most CCTV’d city in the world)
  2. How did MI5, GCHQ (MI6) not know such a large scale Hezbollah operation was taking place right under their noses? In London? (it’s almost as if they where purposely looking the other way isn’t it!)
  3. Where any of the suspects on MI5 radar? If not, why not? If so… how the fuck did this go unnoticed?… In London.
  4. IF they did know (they claim they didn’t)… why did they not share this information with Israeli security services?
  5. Again… IF they did know… did they share it with the CIA? (who also has a large scale Hezbollah cell operating in New York)
  6. Who was the foreign intelligence agency that tipped off MI5? (silly question we know… but we want YOU to state it)
  7. How did this foreign intelligence agency (Mossad) know such a large scale operation was taking place, in London, right under the noses of MI5? 😀 Do they have better intel in London than MI5 do?
  8. Why where the British public and media not made aware that such an operation had taken place? (political reasons? Iran Nuclear deal?)
  9. Why where the American public and media not made aware such an operation had taken place in New York? (political reasons? Iran Nuclear deal?)
  10. Why where UK politicians not made aware of such an operation? Top Secret? From whom? Why? (political reasons? Iran Nuclear deal?)
  11. Why where UK politicians STILL not made aware of the operation when UK Parliament was debating as to whether designate Hezbollah political arm a terrorist organisation?
  12. Where American politicians made aware of the operation? (Congress? Senate? Whatever the fuck?)
  13. Did Obama know?
  14. Why was the main ring leader of the cell arrested but not charged with terrorism offences?
  15. Does he now work for MI5?
  16. Is there any intelligence on who or what the intended targets where going to be? We assume the London cell was planning UK targets (intelligence!)… Jewish? Israeli?… we are dealing with Hezbollah here and not ‘Islamic State’ or ‘Al-Qaeda.’… they where intending for global Jewish targets in the event of Israeli war with Lebanon.
  17. Other European countries? Which ones? France? Germany?
  18. Why are they so fucking silent? (François?… Deutsche!… Netherlands? :/)

I actually only have 18 questions? Anyone else?

We should have been told about the Hezbollah bomb-making factory

Jun 10, 2019, 6:25 PM

Hezbollah flag flies during an Al Quds Day parade in central London, before it was banned in 2019. (Jewish News)

Hezbollah flag flies during an Al Quds Day parade in central London, before it was banned in 2019. (Jewish News)

Many of us have never needed convincing about just how dangerous Hezbollah is. That’s why – alongside Jewish communal organisations and colleagues from across the House of Commons – we campaigned to have this antisemitic terror group proscribed in its entirety.

Belatedly, and under much pressure, the government finally recognised in February that its attempt to maintain a distinction between Hezbollah’s political wing (which wasn’t banned) and its military wing (which Tony Blair’s administration proscribed) was a dangerous game of semantics.

Indeed, the UK was openly mocked by Hezbollah for maintain a distinction which it itself had explicitly and repeatedly denied the existence of.

I was nonetheless horrified this morning to read the Daily Telegraph’s expose of a plot by Hezbollah-linked operatives to store explosive materials in London, which was foiled by the security services in September 2015.

There was nothing small-scale about this endeavour.

The terrorists were allegedly stockpiling more ammonium nitrate than was used by Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing in which 168 people died. And this appears to have been part of an international conspiracy stretching across several countries.

We can be sure that, without the bravery and expertise of our security services, many innocent lives would have been lost. Hezbollah’s desire to murder Jews, both in Israel and around the world, seems only to be limited by their capacity to kill.

But while we should be enormously grateful to MI5 and the metropolitan police for their efforts, I am deeply concerned that information about this plot appears to have been withheld from both the public and members of parliament.

As a former Home Office minister, I am fully aware that protecting our assets and methods in the fight against terrorism sometimes limits the release of information. However, it appears to me somewhat unusual for information about a plot of this nature to be kept top secret once investigations have been completed, the specific threat eliminated, and any resulting legal and prosecutorial process has worked its way through the courts.

The apparent withholding of this information is all the more worrying given the fact that, during this period, parliament was scrutinising ministers’ decision not to fully proscribe Hezbollah. Indeed, in January 2018, more than two years after the Home Office became aware of the existence of this Hezbollah bomb-making factory in north London, I secured a debate in the House on proscription in which Home Office ministers opposed such a step.

Unfortunately, when I brought this issue up in the House of Commons this afternoon, the response I received from the Security Minister, Ben Wallace, raised more questions than it answered. He both suggested that the question of whether Hezbollah was proscribed in its entirety was irrelevant to this plot, and that the Home Secretary’s decision in February was partly a response to it.

I have, therefore, written to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, today to ask him to urgently address the following five questions.

First, why were the public and MPs not informed about this plot, especially in the light of the fact that Parliament was debating the nature and seriousness of the threat posed by Hezbollah both to the UK and to our allies abroad at that very moment?

Second, considering that the Government knew about this plot from September 2015, why didn’t it act to fully proscribe Hezbollah then, and, indeed, why did it continue to oppose the full proscription for a further three and a half years, most notably during the debate I organised in January 2018?

Third, given that both the Prime Minister and her predecessor were reportedly personally briefed on the plot, is it the case that nobody in Government ordered this information to be withheld from the public because of its sensitivity due to Iran’s funding and support for Hezbollah and the recent conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal?

Fourth, was the CPS’ decision not to prosecute the individual who was arrested in relation to the plot the result of the fact that, at this time, only Hezbollah’s military wing was banned in the UK?

Fifth, was the Opposition made aware by the Government of this plot after it was disrupted? This is an important question given that, in February’s debate on proscription, the Labour frontbench failed to support a ban – a position opposed by many Labour MPs and one made more worrying and incomprehensible were senior Opposition figures aware that Hezbollah was seemingly using London as a base to prepare terror attacks.

The Government resisted proscription for years, only giving way shortly before the Daily Telegraph’s investigation commenced. Given its hesitancy, and its apparent withholding of crucial information when Parliament debated the issue, we need to keep a very watchful eye on its actions going forward. I fully intend to do so.

Proscription is only the beginning of the process to counter banned terror groups in the UK. It is imperative that the UK deploys a full range of regulatory, law enforcement and intelligence measures against proscribed organisations.

That’s why I have also asked the Home Secretary to update me on the following three areas:

First, what action he is taking to stop Hezbollah funding sources and UK money flows.

Second, how the Home Office intends to tackle front organisations which assist Hezbollah in the UK.

Third, what measures the Home Office is deploying regarding UK citizens or dual UK citizens with ties to Hezbollah, and domestic Hezbollah operatives.

Those of us who fought long and hard for Hezbollah to be totally banned in the UK must now come together to ensure that our Government takes all necessary steps to ensure that this antisemitic terror group has no hiding place in the UK. About the Author Joan Ryan MP is parliamentary chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

Mossad thwarted terror group’s plans for 3.5 years

Report: Hezbollah planned huge, game-changing attacks on Israel targets globally

Israeli intel official says vast ammonium nitrate cache found in 2015 in London, as reported this week, was part of terror group’s planned ‘revenge’ against Israel in case of war

By TOI staff Today, 2:22 pm

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah terror group attend the funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta of a comrade who died in combat in Syria, March 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Mahmoud Zayyat)

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah terror group attend the funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta of a comrade who died in combat in Syria, March 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Mahmoud Zayyat)

For three and a half years, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency played a cat-and-mouse game with the Hezbollah terror group to stymie its efforts to establish explosives storehouses from Thailand to New York, an Israeli intelligence official confirmed this week.

The largest cache, containing some three tons of ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient for some types of explosives, was found at four locations in north London, sites raided by the Metropolitan Police in September 2015. Other caches planted by Hezbollah cells were discovered in Cyprus, Thailand and as-yet unnamed European countries, according to reports.

The Hezbollah plot to establish infrastructure in London in preparation for future attacks was revealed Sunday in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

That report, based on sources in Britain, the US and Cyprus, noted that a foreign intelligence agency, unnamed, had tipped off Britain’s MI5 and the Metropolitan Police about the explosives.

On Monday, an unnamed senior Israeli official told Israel’s Kan public broadcaster the warning had come from the Mossad.

On Wednesday, a report in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily expanded on the revelation, citing unnamed Israeli intelligence officials offering new details about the Israeli effort to stymie Hezbollah’s activities — which police in London, Cyprus and Thailand have concluded were ultimately directed at Israeli assets in those countries.

Illustrative: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

“Hezbollah is preparing for a situation in which it will decide to seek revenge, whether for something taking place between Israel and Lebanon or for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, and has established a network of enormous caches of advanced explosive materials” for that purpose, Yedioth quoted an Israeli intelligence official as saying.

The Mossad learned in 2014 of the plan by Hezbollah’s Unit 910, responsible for the group’s foreign operations, to develop the ability to launch massive terror attacks at will around the world.

Mossad information enabled Thai authorities to nab a cell in the country in early 2015, followed in April of that year by the arrest of Hezbollah operative Hussein Abdullah in Cyprus after his cellar was found to contain a ton of ammonium nitrate.

The Israeli source told Yedioth that the effort by the Lebanese terror group involved “long-term planning for immense, game-changing terror attacks. Luckily, someone was in the right place at the right time to issue a warning, to pass on the information and to prevent the establishment of this infrastructure.”

Hezbollah weapons stockpiles in europe

Mossad unveils secret Hezbollah terror network across Europe

June 12, 2019

Over the course of the past three and a half years, Israel’s Intelligence Agency, Mossad, has provided information that has led to the discovery of weapons stockpiles belonging to the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah across Europe.

According to a report that was published on the Israeli Yedioth Ahronoth daily, “the largest (weapons) stockpile, three tons of raw materials for the manufacturing bombs, was discovered in several warehouses in northwestern London.”

According to the author of the report, Ronen Bergman, who has known ties with senior Mossad officials, the multiple weapons caches that were unveiled were not limited to Europe, as “Additional stockpiles were discovered in Thailand, Cyprus and other countries.”

The reported involvement of Israel’s intelligence agency in unveiling Hezbollah’s malign activities across Europe comes just two days after the British Daily Telegraph reported that on the 30th of September, 2015, a short time after Britain played an active and supporting role in the nuclear agreement with Iran, the London Metropolitan Police raided four houses and warehouses in northwestern London, where they found three tons of ammonium nitrate, a raw material that is used to build bombs similar to the one that was used to blow up the U.S. federal building in Oklahoma City – a deadly terror attack that claimed the lives of 168 people.

According to the report, the information about that police operation was provided to British authorities by a third party, which the Israeli media report attributed to the Mossad. The Israeli Intelligence Agency informed the British authorities that members of Hezbollah‘s foreign operations unit were in the process of establishing stockpiles in various locations across the United Kingdom – information that led to an undercover operation by the British intelligence branch MI-5 and the London Metropolitan Police, an operation that culminated in the raids. The 2915 raid was deemed so very severe that Theresa May, who was the British home secretary at the time, and Prime Minister David Cameron, were informed about the operation in real time.

According to an Israeli intelligence official “Hezbollah is preparing itself for a situation in which it is going to want to go on a revenge spree, either because of (future) events between Israel and Lebanon or (potentially) because of an attack on nuclear sites in Iran.”

It is important to note that according to informed sources, “additional stockpiles were discovered (by the Mossad) in other locations across Europe,” and while Hezbollah had tried to establish a similar stockpile in the United States – it failed to do so.”

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UK said to have foiled 2015 Hezbollah London bomb plot, then covered it up… Hezbollah planned huge, game-changing attacks on Israel targets globally.

“Acting on a tip from a foreign intelligence agency, MI5 and the Metropolitan Police raided four properties in North West London, discovering thousands of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate,”
“MI5 worked independently and closely with international partners”… eh? What? Come again? :/

An unnamed senior Israeli official told Kann News that it was Israel’s Mossad who supplied the information to Britain.

I was in Peru in 2016 (on an Ayahuasca retreat), and some tarty fucking MI5 officer and her gormless Polish boyfriend, blabbed their fucking mouths in front of everyone! Seriously…
“Well we know you’ve attended fundraising dinner parties for Hezbollah in a London restaurant”
… I could have cut her throat! (the media and UK consulate would only have blamed an Ayahuasca induced frenzy)… stupid fucking bitch.

Plot linked to global Hezbollah effort to target Israelis

UK said to have foiled 2015 Hezbollah London bomb plot, then covered it up

Daily Telegraph says Iran-backed terror group stockpiled three tons of ammonium nitrate, but discovery was kept quiet, perhaps in effort not to derail just-signed Iran nuke deal

By TOI staff 10 June 2019, 4:52 am

Hezbollah supporters take part in a rally to mark al-Quds day in Beirut, Lebanon, May 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

Hezbollah supporters take part in a rally to mark al-Quds day in Beirut, Lebanon, May 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

British intelligence in 2015 caught an alleged Hezbollah terrorist stockpiling more than three tons of ammonium nitrate, a common ingredient in homemade bombs, on the outskirts of London, but never divulged the plot, The Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.

The report said the arrest came just months after the UK joined the US and other world powers in signing the Iran nuclear deal and speculated that it was hushed up to avoid derailing the agreement with Tehran, which is the main supporter of the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

Acting on a tip from a foreign intelligence agency, MI5 and the Metropolitan Police raided four properties in North West London, discovering thousands of disposable ice packs containing ammonium nitrate, the Telegraph said.

A man in his forties was arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorism, but was eventually released without charges. The paper quoted “well placed sources” as saying that “the plot had been disrupted by a covert intelligence operation rather than seeking a prosecution.”

An undated photo of Ali Kourani, a naturalized US citizen from Lebanon who allegedly plotted attacks on behalf of Hezbollah in New York City. (screen capture: YouTube)

According to the report, the plot was part of a wider Hezbollah plan to lay the groundwork for future attacks and noted foiled Hezbollah operations in Thailand, Cyprus and New York. All those plots were made public and were believed to have targeted Israeli interests around the world.

The Telegraph said the Cyprus case was strikingly similar to the one in London. In 2015 in Cyprus, confessed Hezbollah agent Hussein Bassam Abdallah was sentenced to six years in jail after he was found with 8.2 tons of ammonia nitrate in his home. He had reportedly planned to attack Israeli targets.

The Telegraph said its information came after a three-month investigation in which more than 30 current and former officials in Britain, America and Cyprus were approached and court documents were obtained.

The Telegraph said that in Cyprus the ammonia nitrate was also stored in ice packs, saying that they were a convenient, seemingly harmless and easy to transport.

Sources told the Telegraph that the UK plot was at a very early stage and no targets had been selected. It said UK intelligence used to opportunity to try and establish what Hezbollah was up to and so did not disrupt it immediately.

Security Minister Ben Wallace arrives at the Cabinet Office in Whitehall, central London, Saturday March 10, 2018, to attend a meeting to brief on developments in the suspected nerve agent attack on Russian spy double agent Sergei Skripal, in Salisbury, England. (Andrew Matthews/PA via AP)

“MI5 worked independently and closely with international partners :/ to disrupt the threat of malign intent from Iran and its proxies in the UK,” a UK intelligence source told the paper.

“The Security Service and police work tirelessly to keep the public safe from a host of national security threats. Necessarily, their efforts and success will often go unseen,” said Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace.

But the Telegraph speculated that the incident was kept quiet because the US had just signed the Iran nuclear deal.

“It raises questions about whether senior UK government figures chose not to reveal the plot in part because they were invested in keeping the Iran nuclear deal afloat,” the paper said.

The US, under President Donald Trump, has since pulled out of the deal and hit Iran with fresh sanctions.

The paper also raised questions as to why the information was not revealed as the UK debated banning the entire Hezbollah organization earlier this year.

In March, it finally declared Hezbollah’s political wing illegal too after years of distinguishing it from its military wing.

Hezbollah was established in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war and fought a 2006 war with Israel. Its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, regularly threatens to target Israel with thousands of advanced missiles that can reach all major Israeli cities.

The group is considered a terror organization by Israel, the US and the Arab League. The European Union and Australia only designate the group’s military wing as such.

It has been blamed for a string of attacks against Israelis including the 2012 attack on a bus load of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that killed five, the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29, and the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.

The aftermath of the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires. (Newspaper La Nación (Argentina/Wikipedia Commons)

Britain blacklisted Hezbollah’s military wing in 2008 but had until now made no move against its political wing.

However, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK now believes that any distinction between its military and political wings “does not exist.”

The move came after the group was included as part of Lebanon’s new government. While the cabinet is headed by Saad Hariri, a Western-backed Sunni politician who has held the job since 2016, Hezbollah made significant gains at the expense of the largest Sunni party and now controls three government ministries.

Tehran is a major supporter of Hezbollah and its “resistance” against the Islamic Republic’s arch foe, Israel.

During the debate, Labour, whose leader Jeremy Corbyn once referred to Hezbollah as his “friends,” said the Home Office had not provided evidence to justify its change in stance on the Iran-backed organization’s political wing.

“Decisions on the proscription of organizations as terror groups are supposed to be made on the advice of civil servants based on clear evidence that those organizations fall foul of the proscription criteria set out in legislation,” Labour said in a statement.

Mossad thwarted terror group’s plans for 3.5 years

Report: Hezbollah planned huge, game-changing attacks on Israel targets globally

Israeli intel official says vast ammonium nitrate cache found in 2015 in London, as reported this week, was part of terror group’s planned ‘revenge’ against Israel in case of war

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah terror group attend the funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta of a comrade who died in combat in Syria, March 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Mahmoud Zayyat)

Fighters of the Shiite Hezbollah terror group attend the funeral in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Hatta of a comrade who died in combat in Syria, March 18, 2017. (AFP Photo/ Mahmoud Zayyat)

For three and a half years, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency played a cat-and-mouse game with the Hezbollah terror group to stymie its efforts to establish explosives storehouses from Thailand to New York, an Israeli intelligence official confirmed this week.

The largest cache, containing some three tons of ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient for some types of explosives, was found at four locations in north London, sites raided by the Metropolitan Police in September 2015. Other caches planted by Hezbollah cells were discovered in Cyprus, Thailand and as-yet unnamed European countries, according to reports.

The Hezbollah plot to establish infrastructure in London in preparation for future attacks was revealed Sunday in the UK’s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

That report, based on sources in Britain, the US and Cyprus, noted that a foreign intelligence agency, unnamed, had tipped off Britain’s MI5 and the Metropolitan Police about the explosives.

On Monday, an unnamed senior Israeli official told Israel’s Kan public broadcaster the warning had come from the Mossad.

On Wednesday, a report in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily expanded on the revelation, citing unnamed Israeli intelligence officials offering new details about the Israeli effort to stymie Hezbollah’s activities — which police in London, Cyprus and Thailand have concluded were ultimately directed at Israeli assets in those countries.

Illustrative: Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

“Hezbollah is preparing for a situation in which it will decide to seek revenge, whether for something taking place between Israel and Lebanon or for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, and has established a network of enormous caches of advanced explosive materials” for that purpose, Yedioth quoted an Israeli intelligence official as saying.

The Mossad learned in 2014 of the plan by Hezbollah’s Unit 910, responsible for the group’s foreign operations, to develop the ability to launch massive terror attacks at will around the world.

Mossad information enabled Thai authorities to nab a cell in the country in early 2015, followed in April of that year by the arrest of Hezbollah operative Hussein Abdullah in Cyprus after his cellar was found to contain a ton of ammonium nitrate.

The Israeli source told Yedioth that the effort by the Lebanese terror group involved “long-term planning for immense, game-changing terror attacks. Luckily, someone was in the right place at the right time to issue a warning, to pass on the information and to prevent the establishment of this infrastructure.”

REVEALED: MI5 caught & released Hezbollah operative in London terror plot

Succumbing to Obama White House pressure in 2015 not to threaten the newly signed Iran Nuclear Deal, an operative working for Hezbollah was arrested, then released without charge, after explosives were uncovered by MI5 in a terror plot against Israeli targets near London.

By Ynet

The British newspaper, the Daily Telegraph reported Sunday, that British security service, MI5, had in 2015, uncovered a plot by the Iran backed terror group Hezbollah to lay the ground work for terror acts against Israeli targets in the UK.

Screenshot from J’lem Post/Reuters

According to the report MI5 and metropolitan police, acting on information provided by a foreign government’s intelligence agency, found a stockpile of ammonium nitrate commonly used in bomb making, concealed in thousands of disposable ice packs, in a location in the North of London.

Forsaking both Sunni & Jewish allies, Obama sought Iranian agreement at any price.

A man in his 40’s was arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorist acts on behalf of Hezbollah, but was released without charge.

According to the Telegraph, the incident was not made public because the United States had just signed the nuclear deal with Iran and the UK government may have been invested in the deal’s success and did not wish to risk relations with Iran, Hezbollah’s benefactor.

RELATED:

The paper quotes “well placed sources” as saying the suspect was released because the plot uncovered was foiled.

Screenshot: J’lem Post/Reuters

The Daily Telegraph reported that the London plot was part of a larger plan by Hezbollah to attack Israeli targets around the world. Similar plots were foiled in Thailand, Cyprus and New York.

Hezbollah-Iran Related Global Terrorism:

  1. Peruvian Police arrest Hezbollah agent planning terrorist attacks on Jews, Israelis
  2. Thailand prevents Hezbollah terror plot to kill Israeli tourists
  3. Bulgarian Investigation Proves Hezbollah Executed Burgas Terrorist Attack
  4. Cyprus jails Hezbollah terrorist for plotting attack on Israelis
  5. Australia Clamps Down on Hezbollah Money-Laundering Scam & Drug-Running
  6. Saudi Arabia blacklists Hezbollah as terrorist groups
  7. Bahrain 1st Arab country to blacklist Hezbollah as Terror Organization
  8. Nigeria adds charges against 3 suspected Hezbollah terrorists

The paper points out that the Cyprus case, also uncovered in 2015, where a confessed Hezbollah agent, Hussein Bassam Abdallah was found with 8.2 tons of ammonia nitrate, also stored in disposable ice packs was similar to the one in London.

Sources told the Telegraph that the UK plot was at a very early stage and no targets had been selected. It said UK intelligence hoped to establish what Hezbollah was up to and did not disrupt it immediately but the fact that the case was not revealed to the public, raised questions.

Obama wanted the Hezbollah bomb-factory kept secret. – Screenshot: J’lemPost/Reuters

Hezbollah is considered a terror organization by Israel, the US and the Arab League. Britain blacklisted Hezbollah’s military wing in 2008 but had until now made no move against its political wing.

UK Bombshell: Hezbollah Terror Plot Silenced to Protect Iran Nuke Deal

Published 5 hours ago

on 06/12/2019

Protestors in the streets of London in May of 2018. A woman can be seen holding an Hezbollah flag as thousands call for the total annihilation of Israel. The UK’s Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn considers Hezbollah an ally. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In a bombshell report that appeared in the Daily Telegraph of London on Sunday, it appears that a major cover up of terrorist activities took place to protect the legitimacy of former President Barack Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. The Daily Telegraph reported that in following a tip-off from a foreign government, police and the MI5 intelligence service raided four properties on the outskirts of London on Sept. 30, 2015, and discovered three metric tons of ammonium nitrate, concealed in disposable ice packs.

A man in his forties was arrested on suspicion of plotting terrorism, but was eventually released without charges. The paper quoted “well placed sources” as saying that “the plot had been disrupted by a covert intelligence operation rather than seeking a prosecution.”

The Telegraph said that there were no signs that Britain would have been a target of the future attacks.

Ynet News reported on Monday that Israeli officials confirmed that the Mossad intelligence agency provided information that led British law enforcement to thwart the 2015 plot Hezbollah to attack targets in the UK.

David Cameron British Prime Minister seen leaving Downing Street on Jul 14, 2015 in London. According to the Telegraph report, then-Prime Minister David Cameron and then-Home Secretary – later prime minister – Theresa May were reportedly informed about the discovery of the ammonium nitrate. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The Times of Israel indicated that the report said the arrest came just months after the UK joined the US and other world powers in signing the Iran nuclear deal and speculated that it was hushed up to avoid derailing the agreement with Tehran, which is the main supporter of the Lebanese Hezbollah group.

“It raises questions about whether senior UK government figures chose not to reveal the plot in part because they were invested in keeping the Iran nuclear deal afloat,” the paper said.

Britain joined the U.S., France, Germany, Russia, and China in the marathon talks that produced the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal in the summer of 2015.

The JCPOA was finalized 11 weeks before the raids in the London outskirts, and the agreement less than four months after the raids, as was reported on the CNS web site.

President Trump has since pulled the US out of the deal and hit Iran with fresh sanctions.

The Daily Telegraph reported that the London plot was part of a larger plan by Hezbollah to attack targets around the world. Similar plots were foiled in Thailand, Cyprus and New York, according to the Ynet news report.

The Telegraph said the Cyprus case was strikingly similar to the one in London. In 2015 in Cyprus, confessed Hezbollah agent Hussein Bassam Abdallah was sentenced to six years in jail after he was found with 8.2 tons of ammonia nitrate in his home. He had reportedly planned to attack Israeli targets.

The Telegraph indicated that the information that it garnered came after a three-month investigation in which more than 30 current and former officials in Britain, America and Cyprus were approached and court documents were obtained, according to a Times of Israel report.

Sources told the Telegraph that the British plot was in its very early stages and no targets had been selected. The report said British intelligence had hoped to establish what Hezbollah was planning and did not disrupt the plot immediately.

Ammonium nitrate has also been used in other major terrorist attacks, including the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. Investigators implicated Hezbollah and senior Iranian regime officials in that plot. Photo Credit: Twitter

“MI5 worked independently and closely with international partners to disrupt the threat of malign intent from Iran and its proxies in the UK,” a UK intelligence source told the paper.

“The Security Service and police work tirelessly to keep the public safe from a host of national security threats. Necessarily, their efforts and success will often go unseen,” said Minister of State for Security Ben Wallace.

Reporter Patrick Goodenough of the CNS site wrote that in the U.S., the Obama administration opposed attempts by Republican lawmakers to link Iran’s support for terrorism to the nuclear negotiations.

According to the Telegraph report, then-Prime Minister David Cameron and then-Home Secretary – later prime minister – Theresa May were reportedly informed about the discovery of the ammonium nitrate.

In Goodenough’s searing investigative piece, he reported that in 2012, a Hezbollah operative apprehended in Thailand led police to a cache of bomb-making material, including ammonium nitrate stored in ice-packs.

More recently, ammonium nitrate stored in ice-packs were featured in court documents relating to indictments against two men on trial in the U.S. for Hezbollah-related terror activity.

Ammonium nitrate is a fertilizer that has become a popular ingredient for terrorist bombs.

Goodenough reported that Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh used a mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in the device he built in 1995. That bomb, which killed 168 people, comprised 2.2 tons of the mixture – less than the amount reportedly discovered in Britain.

Ammonium nitrate has also been used in other major terrorist attacks, including the 1994 bombing of the Argentine-Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) building in Buenos Aires, which killed 85 people. Investigators implicated Hezbollah and senior Iranian regime officials in that plot.

A decade ago, its use in homemade bombs deployed against U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan became so pervasive that its possession and sale was outlawed in Afghanistan and parts of north-west Pakistan, as was reported in Goodenough’s CNS piece.

Hezbollah was established in 1982 during the Lebanese civil war and fought a 2006 war with Israel. Its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, regularly threatens to target Israel with thousands of advanced missiles that can reach all major Israeli cities, according to the Times of Israel report.

The group is considered a terror organization by Israel, the US and the Arab League. The European Union and Australia only designate the group’s military wing as such.

TOI reported that Hezbollah has been blamed for a string of attacks against Israelis including the 2012 attack on a bus load of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria that killed five, and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires that killed 29.

Britain blacklisted Hezbollah’s military wing in 2008 but had until now made no move against its political wing, according to the TOI report.

TOI also reported that British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK now believes that any distinction between its military and political wings “does not exist.”

Goodenough reported that Joan Ryan, an independent member of the House of Commons, asked Home Secretary Sajid Javid in a letter Monday why details of the September 2015 raid had not been made public.

“Can you confirm that nobody in Government ordered this information to be withheld from the public because of its sensitivity due to Iran’s funding and support for Hezbollah and the recent conclusion of the Iran nuclear deal?” she asked.

Ryan, who for years campaigned for Britain to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group – in its entirety, rather than just its purported “military wing” – also wanted to know why the government resisted that move until early this year, even though it was aware in 2015 of its apparent terrorist plotting in the U.K.

Ryan is one of eight members of parliament who resigned from the opposition Labour Party this year over unhappiness over left-wing leader Jeremy Corbyn’s performance, including his handling of allegations of anti-Semitism in the party.

UK Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn who once referred to Hezbollah as his “friends,” said the Home Office had not provided evidence to justify its change in stance on the Iran-backed organization’s political wing, according to the TOI report.

“Decisions on the proscription of organizations as terror groups are supposed to be made on the advice of civil servants based on clear evidence that those organizations fall foul of the proscription criteria set out in legislation,” Labor said in a statement.

Back in March of this year, Al Jazeera reported that Hezbollah had said that Britain is acting as a “subordinate that serves the American master” after London had seriously debated a ban of the terror group.

Hezbollah also said: “UK’s decision is an insult to the feelings, sympathies and will of the Lebanese people that consider Hezbollah a major political and popular force represented in the Lebanese parliament and cabinet.”

Al Jazeera reported back in March that Three ministers in Lebanon’s government are affiliated with Hezbollah, including the health minister. Despite pressure from the US, which did not want the cash-rich ministry to fall to Hezbollah, the group succeeded in putting its man in the position.

Jamal Jabak, the new health minister, used to be the personal physician of Hezbollah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah and is seen to be close to him.

The Al Jazeera reported that His appointment irked Washington, which had warned there would be “consequences”. Analysts close to Hezbollah see the UK’s decision partly as fallout from Jabak’s appointment.

Amal Saad, professor of political science at the Lebanese University and author of a book on Hezbollah, said there were other reasons behind Britain’s move, including domestic politics.

Al Jazera reported in March that Bente Scheller, director of the Heinrich Boll Foundation’s Middle East office in Beirut, said the UK had little leverage left over the EU.

“The decision to ban the military wing in the past was driven by the UK. But with a looming Brexit I think the UK is in a weaker position in the EU to lobby for this,” Scheller said.

According to a petition on the change.org web site which calls for Hezbollah to be officially banned in the United Kingdom, the British based statement read: “Enough is enough. If Britain is to genuinely say “no to terror” then all terrorist organizations must be banned without compromise. Following the Arab League and United States in proscribing Hezbollah is one simple step that the UK Government can take in ensuring that extremism will not be tolerated in this country.”

Uncategorized

GUTCP is truly unchartered territory for humanity… history in the making like nothing else in the past 12,800 years! :D

“People are absolutely terrified of GUTCP Danny Boy… a lot of people… and you fucking know it!”
“I imagine even more so now that I’ve thrown myself in!” 😀

I understand why.
A clean, safe, non polluting, inexhaustible, off grid energy source… it eradicates fossil fuels, nuclear and ‘renewables’ overnight. The oil and gas producing countries (Arabs, Iran, Russia, etc.) are almost bankrupted in an instant. The banking families that prop up those regimes, that have hundreds of billions invested in oil, bankrupted in an instant. The geo-political ramifications. The US military complex that has become so dependant on fighting for control of oil are essentially out of a job… the petro dollar.
The global economy is essentially reset… $280 trillion worth of it.
The developing nations (Africa etc) have cheap clean energy overnight… potentially in a position to develop and industrialise without the need for Western loans and conditions (control)…
The US’ scientific monopoly on discoveries and technologies is destroyed. The rise of China… weaponization of GUTCP, of bio tech… nations able to defend themselves from US aggression.
The medical world… potentially curing all cancers, all diseases and viruses… expanding the human lifespan into the hundreds of years? An unforeseen population boom. Destroys ‘big pharma’ (GlaxoSmith, Monsanto etc)
Many nations can potentially become space fearing nations… antigravity propulsion, satellites, defence etc.
This just levels the playing field in soooooo many ways!
(I could go on all night)

This really is unchartered territory for humanity… history in the making like nothing else in the past 12,800 years! 😀
(I think it’s fucking awesome… you know I do!)

Uncategorized

P Money!… The precarious geopolitics of phosphorous

It doesn’t matter whether The Godfather Kissinger said it or not… I’m fucking saying it! 😀
“You control the food, you control the people” – Danny Hurley
… you control whether they live or die! You control entire populations, the fate of entire continents…
Phosphates… P Money! 🙂
This vital and finite little mineral resource (along with water) is what world war three will be waged over.
This is the reason why introducing a clean, cheap and inexhaustible, off-grid energy source (I.e. hydrino) to the world, and to the developing nations, may not be such a good idea… the global human population may not be able to handle that amount of power… the potential unforeseen consequences in other areas of ecology and mineral extraction, the potential unforeseen population boom… ? :/

Don’t you worry about Israel regarding this one… trust me! 😀
(The Russians knew exactly what to say to me, and exactly how to approach me regarding this one!) 😉

The precarious geopolitics of phosphorous

Both nitrogen and phosphorous are essential to life. Lynchpins both to global food production, circulating through synthesis or export and then through croplands and food into — and out of — our bodies, both elements today inhabit cycles that, in their own ways, function more in the breach.

Phosphorous is a scarce resource. As ARNO ROSEMARIN tells us, it is the focus of intense geopolitical interest. At the centre of this interest: internecine conflict in Africa, and a global rush for Western Sahara’s reserves.

Nitrogen is a resource in plenty. But, as T V JAYAN shows, that isn’t helping. Indeed, the world today faces a nitrogen deluge. That’s because a lot of it exists in the form of waste. And that’s because the cycle has been broken. Now, nitrogen-bearing waste goes not back to the land but into water.

Is it possible not to be at war with these two elements?

Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

The precarious geopolitics of phosphorous

-- (Credit: REUTERS)

No substitute
It is therefore of interest to take a more in-depth look at other natural resources, which are limited in supply and which have a highly skewed geographical distribution. The case in point is the global supply of phosphorous, a non-renewable but essential nutrient for all forms of life. Phosphorous is about 10 times more abundant in living organisms than what is found in the earth’s crust, thus demanding a “luxury” consumption mechanism. Phosphate rock is mined to produce phosphoric acid and elemental phosphorous. Sulphuric acid is reacted with phosphate rock to produce the fertiliser triple superphosphate, or with anhydrous ammonia to produce ammonium phosphate fertilisers. Elemental phosphorous is the base for furnace-grade phosphoric acid, phosphorous pentasulfide, phosphorous pentoxide, and phosphorous trichloride. Approximately 90 per cent of phosphate rock is used for fertilisers and animal feed supplements and the rest for industrial chemicals . Urbanisation and intensive agricultural practices have brought about the application of chemical fertilisers in order to produce adequate amounts of food. But we have neglected to close the nutrient cycle, and have instead chosen to exploit phosphorous and other important minerals without ecological controls (see flow chart: Tracking phosphorous). This has left us in a situation where little phosphorous is recycled either within populated areas or from agricultural land. Excess runoff and discharge of phosphorous in surface waters have resulted in eutrophication and algal overgrowth, which creates oxygen-poor conditions, reduces water quality and damages ecosystems. This approach to resource use has also made us highly dependent on expansive extraction of limited supplies.

About one billion metric tonnes of phosphorous were mined between 1950 and 2000. During this period, about 800 million metric tonnes (one megatonne=one million metric tonnes) of phosphorous-containing fertilisers were applied to the Earth’s croplands. This has increased the standing stock of phosphorous in the upper 10 centimetres of soil in the world’s croplands to roughly 1,300 million metric tonnes, an increase of 30 per cent. Close to a quarter of the mined phosphorous (250 million tonnes) since 1950 has found its way to the aquatic environment (oceans and fresh water lakes) or buried in sanitary landfills or ‘sinks’. Of the next billion tonnes of phosphorous we mine between 2000 and 2050, a significant percentage can be recovered by using sustainable agriculture and sanitation. This should be a priority for the global policy agenda.

Many countries have trade pacts and joint ventures with Morocco for mining, extracting and shipping phosphorous. Morocco earned US $1.5 billion from phosphate exports in 2001. The Office Cherifien des Phosphates (OCP), a state-owned group which controls the phosphate industry in Morocco, contributes 2.6 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product and 18.5 per cent to its exports. The Moroccan monarchy is the major shareholder in Omnium Nord Africain (OND), the country’s largest private company, which controls the resources, including phosphorous.

Phosphorous politics became even more complex in 2003 when China revealed to the world that it, too, had large phosphate reserves, about the same size as Morocco’s. This news has gone almost completely ignored, but may be one of the most important developments that will determine phosphorous geopolitics. China and Morocco together hold about 70 per of the world’s economic reserves for phosphate rock, estimates the USGS. But China appears to be holding on to its phosphate reserves for domestic consumption: according to the USGS its export share is less than 15 per cent of the reported production. China in 2002 imported 30 per cent of its phosphate requirements. The European Union, followed by the US, India, Australia, New Zealand and Brazil are the top importers of phosphate rock from Morocco, says USGS.

Morocco in March 2, 2004 signed a free-trade agreement with the US. Issues that were hindering this agreement up to now within Morocco were related to food import controls (imports of subsidised wheat from the US will overtake domestic growers) and lack of free enterprise surrounding the phosphorous industry. Increased military aid from the US, an attempt to split Arab country alliances, is also part of this development. USA’s phosphate imports come from Morocco/Western Sahara, and this dependency will increase over the next few decades.

What does this all say then? It doesn’t require very much analysis to realise that the geopolitical agenda for control of phosphorous is well advanced. But what is alarming is the little concern being shown by the world at large. How can leaders of the world dwell in this state of ignorance?

India’s position: Tied to the world
In this great game for getting phosphorous, India is desperate. After France and Spain, it is the biggest importer of phosphate and phosphoric acid. It is one of Morocco’s most important trading partners and has signed several joint ventures with it. An Indian company invested about US $230 million in 1998 for a phosphoric acid plant in Morocco. India has 260 megatonnes of low-grade phosphate rock deposits, but they are unsuitable for fertiliser production. Its position is similar to many other countries.

Global population increase and the striving to increase the standard of living in many developing parts of the world will further aggravate the task of managing this limited resource. At the current extraction rate of 138 megatonnes per year, commercially viable phosphorous reserves will last 130 years. If one includes commercially unviable reserves, we can go on for another 130 years but at much higher prices. The demand for phosphate rock as a nutrient for food production will vary throughout the world. The overall demand is forecasted to increase by 1 to 2 per cent. In agriculturally mature countries, the increase in demand will be closer to 1 per cent per year. At an increased rate of 3 per cent, the world’s commercially viable reserves would be depleted by 2060.

But presently, the real concern should be the highly skewed distribution of phosphate reserves compared to where the needs are in the world. India, Western Europe and many other countries depend entirely on foreign sources. USA’s commercially viable reserves are running out. Canada’s wheat belt is totally dependent on phosphate from Togo at present.

As reserves dwindle, food security will become the central issue in all countries. Daily protein intake in Asia in 1996, when the population was 3.3 billion, was about 15 gm per individual. Estimates for 2030 are a population of about 4.5 billion and a four-fold increase in protein intake, mainly as meat. This amounts to over a five-fold increase in meat consumption over 35 years. The ensuing increase in fertiliser to support this massive population growth will surely bring the question of limited phosphorous into focus. That USA’s commercially viable reserves will be depleted by then, and that the geopolitical volatility around the world will only increase, make further the case for phosphorous limitations. By 2020, rock phosphorite may become the keystone resource of the world economy.

Recycling phosphorous
As the world becomes more aware of the need to save and recycle phosphorous, certain characteristics of this mineral will unfortunately aggravate this response. Phosphate once applied to soil is not easily recycled. When applied as chemical fertiliser, phosphate transforms to less available forms (for example, from highly available dicalcium-P to less available octo-calcium-P). These forms then remain bound to the upper soil layer and can’t be used by plants.

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is trying to extract phosphorous using white lupine (Lupinus albus), a grain legume used for nitrogen fixation but which also excretes small amounts of organic acid from its rootlets. There will be attempts to gene-modify soil bacteria and plants in order to achieve higher phosphorous recovery. But even if biotechnology helps, it cannot give us abundant phosphate.

Slash-and-burn methods won’t help either — they will affect crop cycles and could start millions of small fires around the world resulting in release of carbon dioxide and particulate matter. Recycling from sanitation and solid waste systems can be a partial remedy. The phosphorous we consume in foodstuffs or add to our laundry in the form of water softeners can be recycled, but our mixed and diluted solid waste and sewage systems make this very costly. Radical changes to these systems in terms of source-separation and containment (ecological sanitation) will be needed in order to make recycling economically viable.

Risks
The present attitudes around fertiliser use within the agricultural sector were formed during the “Green Revolution” whereby nutrients were given the status of being limitless. As the population of the world has increased, energy resource questions have kept the fertiliser debate from developing. And more recently the recognition that water resources and soil are the largest present-day limiting factors in agriculture have further delayed any attention paid toward limiting nutrients and the need for their more frugal management.

Whether the world reserves of cheap phosphorous become depleted in 100 years or even 200 years is a minor question when compared to the present situation regarding the heavily skewed global distribution. The geopolitics of phosphorous makes this one of the most precarious global resource questions requiring immediate attention.

Arno Rosemarin is communication director and senior researcher at Stockholm Environment Institute, Sweden.

[PDF]The Precarious Global Geopolitics of Phosphorus – EcoSanRes
www.ecosanres.org/icss/proceedings/presentations/76–RosemarinAugust252007.pdf

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Little is published on the risks and limitations of global supply and demand of phosphorus. □ But after reviewing the available data there is cause for …

Geopolitics of phosphate in a biobased economy

Biobased

The impact of mineral, fossil and agricultural assets as a weapon in international politics will gradually become smaller, we concluded in three articles. Substitution of critical materials and the development of new technologies play a crucial role in this process. But the geopolitics of phosphate might be an exception. For there is no alternative to phosphate as a resource for agriculture. Therefore it is essential to the biobased economy as well. On the other hand, with smart recycling we might use phosphate again and again.

This is the fourth in a series of five articles on the geopolitics of fossil, mineral and agricultural resources. The articles were published on 28 October, 4 November, 16 November, 26 November and 20 December 2017.

geopolitics of phosphate

A continuous supply of phosphate is essential to agriculture. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Phosphorus is an essential element for life’s processes. It is part of our DNA, it is an ingredient of bone, and it is indispensable in the energy transfer process in living cells. Animals get their phosphorus from eating plants, whereas plants take up phosphorus in the form of phosphate from soil or water; phosphate also being the most abundant source for the element phosphorus. All soils, rivers, lakes and oceans contain a certain amount of phosphate, enough to sustain life. But in commercial agriculture, a constant supply of phosphate is essential. Unlike nitrate, that other major ingredient of fertilizer, phosphate cannot be synthesized from abundant elements like oxygen and nitrogen. It needs either to be recycled (for instance through use of manure) or mined from phosphate rock. Modern agriculture requires increasing amounts of phosphate fertilizer; and as recycling levels are low, the world uses vast amounts of phosphate rock. This puts countries with rich reserves in a strong position in the geopolitics of phosphate.

And the next global superpower is… Morocco

Just five countries host 90% of global high-grade phosphate rock. The three most important ones are Morocco, China and the US, in that order. By far the largest deposits are in the very sparsely populated former Spanish Sahara. The Polisario front waged a freedom war against Spain, until the area was occupied by Morocco in 1976. And although the UN has voiced its opposition against this occupation ever since, it has proved toothless in this conflict; and therefore Morocco will never abandon this area with its riches. As phosphate will become more important over the next few decades, we will also see Morocco’s position rise in the international balance of power. Geopolitics of phosphate has already been played out in 2008-2009, when prices of all minerals skyrocketed and there was a general fear of shortages. In 2008 China imposed a 135% export tariff to secure domestic supply, a move which essentially halted exports from the region overnight, and by 2009 the US and EU had gone to the WTO claiming China was exhibiting anti-competitive behaviour.

Phosphate mining

Open pit phosphate mining in Togo. Photoi: Wikimedia Commons.

The geopolitics of phosphate even extends to the facts, i.e. to figures about proven and expected reserves. In the same year when China imposed its export tariff, it lowered its figure for proven reserves by 3,000 million tons, quite a lot in a world total of 16,000 million tons. But then, in 2011 Morocco revised its figure for proven reserves from 5,700 million tons to 51,000 million tons, increasing four-fold the estimate of global reserves to 65,000 million tons. There exists well-founded scientific doubt as to the correctness of this move. The revised Moroccan figures for instance, are based on another classification of reserves than the usual one, defined by US Geological Service, where ‘proven reserves’ refer to the amount assumed recoverable at current market prices. Most likely, Morocco just added reserves that would have to be classified as ‘probable’ or even ‘possible’ reserves to its ‘proven’ reserves. As a matter of fact, all countries have their own system of reporting reserves. There is no recognised international body overseeing the estimates of the different classes of reserves, which lends an unusual degree of uncertainty to estimates of phosphate rock reserves.

Global phosphate rock production geopolitics of phosphate

Global phosphate rock production, 1900–2012, reported by US Geological Survey.

Towards peak phosphate

There is no doubt that phosphate recovery will follow the Hubbert curve, like all minerals. According to M. King Hubbert, the recovery of any finite resource will peak when about 50% has been mined, and then fall, however strong the attempts to successfully mine poorer deposits. This theory has proven to be true for individual oil fields, and has been applied to oil recovery in the US and to global oil recovery in general (‘peak oil’). This implies there will also be a ‘peak phosphate’, but there is considerable dispute over the question when this will happen. Dana Cordell, in her authoritative doctorate thesis puts it before 2035, but then notes that this timeline is contested ‘both by industry, which views as it as being too ‘doom and gloom’, and by some peak oil scientists who propose the peak occurred in 1989 and therefore argue that 2030–2035 is too conservative an estimate.’ Peak phosphate will mean that after that date, demand will outstrip supply, meaning that the geopolitics of phosphate would intensify considerably around the peak. But then, we should also note that such ‘peak’ moments tend to get postponed, as uncertainty of supply and rising prices will give rise to intensified prospecting for new reserves, and new discoveries. This has already happened after the 2008 price rise; there are even serious projects to mine phosphate from the ocean bed, in New Zealand, Namibia and Mexico (Baja California), with a total estimated reserve of 400 million tons.

Geopolitics of phosphate might lose its force because of measures on the demand side

Demand for phosphate is not cast in iron. There are major inefficiencies in the existing phosphate production chain ‘from ore to mouth’ (according to Cordell 80% of the phosphorus mined for food production never reaches the plate). For instance, much fertilizer runs off the land, leaving its content unused and causing eutrophication of waterways. Most phosphate in human excreta is not recovered. According to Prem Bindraban, a professor at Wageningen UR, a phosphor shortage can reasonably be prevented by efficiencies in mining (10% loss reduction), efficiencies in agriculture (20%), efficiencies in the food chain (10%), reuse of manure (15%), reuse of other waste (10%) and changing our diets (10%), allowing a total reduction of 75% of the present level. And in case of emergency, reuse levels might become much higher. That we do not use most human and household animal excreta any more as a fertilizer, is just a result of sloppy organization, stemming from the perception that we could do without them. This is an area where technology might come up with solutions fast, if need should arise.

Supply and environmental issues

If we look more in detail, there is a number of issues that could become important as well. Firstly, the distribution of phosphate fertilizer is mainly organized now along the lines of farmer purchasing power. But most soils with very low phosphate contents are in Africa – these need the application of a lot of fertilizer, whereas their farmers are too poor to buy it. If we should wish to feed Africa, we could start thinking about ways to redress this imbalance. Then, with international shipments of agricultural products (particularly feedstock for animal feed), a lot of phosphorus is shipped with them as well. As the phosphorus is not returned, the soil in Brazil and Thailand is depleted with phosphate, whereas for instance the Netherlands is overflown by it. Furthermore, uses of phosphate outside the food chain might come up. Till this day, some phosphate is used in detergents. And one kind of lithium-ion battery researched today is based on the use of much phosphate, maybe up to 60 kg per battery.

Finally, phosphate mining and use are not without environmental consequences. Mining many phosphate resources also produces a radioactive phosphogypsum by-product which must be stockpiled. Like all open pit mining, the mining process disturbs water tables and pollutes waterways. But the most problematic issue might be contamination by heavy metals. These need to be removed, or else mankind will gradually poison its agricultural land. This may already be the case. In the eighties, Dutch research centre TNO developed a process that would purify phosphate ore from cadmium contaminations, commissioned by the Dutch government. But industry had other things in mind. When government lowered the acceptable dose of cadmium in fertilizer, Dutch industry simply substituted cleaner Florida ore for contaminated ore from Morocco, Togo and Senegal. In short, the purification technology was shelved. West-African ore is now shipped to Egypt, where it contaminates the Nile valley and the delta. Problems like these can only be prevented by international action.

From geopolitics of phosphate to phosphorus security

The geopolitics of phosphate could be resolved by international action, if countries would agree on it. This would require action on many levels, as indicated: better mining and purification processes, precision application of fertilizer, preventing losses in the food chain, better waste and manure recovery, less phosphorus-intense diets. It could lead to what Dana Cordell calls ‘phosphorus security’. ‘Phosphorus security,’ as she defines it, ‘ensures that all the world’s farmers have access to sufficient phosphorus in the short and long term to grow enough food to feed a growing world population, while ensuring farmer livelihoods and minimising detrimental environmental and social impacts.’ Would parties intent on waging the geopolitics of phosphate allow us to reach that level?

Also read:
The phosphate balance: Current developments and future outlook
Geopolitics and the (In)Security of EU’s Phosphate Imports
Geopolitics and governance of phosphorus
The Story of Phosphorus: 7 reasons why we need to transform phosphorus use in the global food system
Peak Phosphorus: the sequel to Peak Oil
The Story of Phosphorus: Sustainability implications of global phosphorus scarcity for food security

From our website:
Phosphorus recovery, an urgent matter
Micronutrients, small but essential
Design rules for the biobased economy, #2: be lean on materials flows

Food security’s frontier: phosphorus geopolitics

Our bodies require phosphorus to function, but creating a stable and sustainable supply presents big food security challenges

Dana Cordell

Trade and industry, International relations, Food & water | Australia, Asia, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, The Pacific, The World

18 November 2015

The story of phosphorus is one of food security, geopolitics, inequality and water pollution. Yet it’s also a story of new opportunities for one of the world’s most critical and strategic resources, writes Dana Cordell.

Most people would be hard pressed to know the link between their daily toilet habits and Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara.

Yet each time you relieve yourself, there’s a good chance the phosphorus in your pee started its life in a phosphate mine in the occupied territory of Western Sahara – the last colony of Africa.

The story of phosphorus is the story of food security, geopolitics, inequality, water pollution, yet also of new opportunities. While phosphorus is one of the world’s most critical and strategic resources, it is also one of the most under-discussed and under-governed. Without phosphorus, we could not produce food. All nations and farmers need access to phosphorus resources for fertilisers to ensure high crop yields. Like water, oxygen or carbon, there is no substitute for phosphorus in food production – or in life itself. Our bodies require phosphorus to function and we obtain this vital element from the food we eat.

However the world relies on one main source – phosphate rock, which is finite and mined in only a few countries. Geopolitical risks associated with the supply concentration of phosphate producers carry great consequences for importing countries and other actors in the food supply-chain. Morocco alone controls three-quarters of the world’s remaining phosphate rock. Together with China, Syria, Algeria, and South Africa, these five countries control 88 per cent of the world’s remaining phosphate. So few producers of a globally critical resource in potentially politically unstable regions creates a serious risk of disruption to supply and price fluctuations.

The 800 per cent spike in phosphate prices in 2008 demonstrated the fragility and vulnerability of the world’s food system to even a temporary disruption in supply. Hundreds of millions of farmers suffered, unable to access fertilisers, reducing crop yields and their family’s livelihoods and pushing millions more over the edge of food insecurity.

Further, Morocco’s control over the contested territory of Western Sahara, including its significant phosphate reserves, creates not only a supply disruption risk, but also a human-rights risk associated with the exploitation and displacement of the Saharawi people of Western Sahara. Recently termed ‘blood phosphates’ – the trade of phosphate from Western Sahara – means not only phosphate companies, but also agri-businesses, farmers and food consumers are, knowingly or unknowingly, supporting a conflict in Western Sahara that is condemned by the UN. By contrast, many of Scandinavia’s largest pension funds and banks have divested from companies involved in this trade.

Image by Александра Пугачевская via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Togo_phosphates_mining.jpg

Further complicating the story, 80 per cent of phosphorus mined specifically for food production is lost or wasted along the supply chain due to inefficient practices. Much of this ends up in the world’s rivers and oceans, where it can and is causing widespread pollution in the form of toxic algal blooms that kill fish and pollute drinking water. This costs fisheries and recreating industries heavily, from China to the Great Barrier Reef to The Great Lakes of North America. The cost of algal blooms is estimated at US$2.2 billion in the US alone. A 2014 algal bloom saw the North American town of Toledo trucking in bottled drinking water from neighbouring states after their water supply was rendered toxic.

So how can such a seemingly intractable global problem be reframed as an opportunity?

The good news is that the simple physical law of mass conservation means all the phosphorus we consume in food, comes out our other end as urine and faeces and is potentially available for reuse. This means, for example, countries, communities and companies can invest in renewable phosphate fertilisers through efficient phosphorus recovery from local wastes (think food and green waste, excreta and manure). Diversifying phosphorus sources away from imports can buffer against a range of geopolitical, environmental and livelihood risks and increase food system resilience by increasing farmer fertiliser access, boosting agricultural productivity and preventing wasted phosphorus being lost to water. It will also extend the longevity of finite phosphate rock reserves for future generations, who, we assume, will also want to eat.

This is just one example: there are over 70 identified possible sustainable phosphorus measures – ranging from technologies to behavioural change interventions in the mining, agricultural, food processing and sanitation sectors that can be brought online to meet future phosphorus demand for food security. Dietary change is another example: by preferencing foods with lower phosphorus-footprints (in addition to climate-friendly and low water footprint foods), global demand for phosphorus could be halved while still meeting the nutritional security of 9 billion people.

Achieving phosphorus security requires effective governance interventions – including appropriate policies and frameworks to stimulate and support such behaviour changes and innovations.

Together, these interventions must ensure farmers have equitable access to phosphorus to produce sufficient food to feed the world, support their family’s livelihoods, while ensuring our rivers and lakes are free from nutrient pollution.

The Desert Rock That Feeds the World

A dispute over Western Sahara’s phosphate reserves could disrupt food production around the globe.Alex Kasprak

A vehicle carries untreated phosphate at a phosphate mine in Western Sahara.Youssef Boudlal / Reuters

Aided by the longest conveyor belt in the world, a steady stream of chalky white powder emerges on the North African coast from deep within the desert. The belt, its presence betrayed by the bright windswept powder scattered around it on the brown earth below, travels 61 miles across the rugged terrain of Western Sahara, from the mines of Bou Craa to Port El Aaiún, where massive ships transport its contents across the globe.

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The white powder is phosphate rock—a commodity both valuable and vital. Without it, humanity’s growing population couldn’t feed itself. Phosphate, along with nitrogen, is one of the two most necessary components of synthetic fertilizer. But unlike nitrogen, which makes up 78 percent of the atmosphere, phosphate is a finite resource. And there’s no way to manufacture it.

Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco, just north along the coast, since 1975. If you include this disputed region, Morocco holds more than 72 percent of all phosphate-rock reserves in the world, according to the most recent United States Geological Survey study. The next closest country, China, has just shy of 6 percent. The rest is spread out in smaller pockets around the globe. Morocco aggressively and sometimes violently argues that the notion of Western Sahara statehood is illegitimate, and that the region’s rich supply of phosphate is theirs. As a result, Western Sahara has been the stage for a growing human-rights conflict as well as significant regional geopolitical tensions.†

“I’ve been to 70 countries, including Iraq under Saddam and Indonesia under Suharto,” saysStephen Zunes, an international-studies professor at the University of San Francisco.* “[Western Sahara] is the worst police state that I’ve ever seen.”

This political conflict, like the natural resource issues tangled into it, has remained obscure on the global front. But as other country’s domestic reserves of phosphate become more costly to extract in the coming decades, this disputed region could have more of a monopoly over phosphate than OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, has over oil—which has major implications for the future dynamics of food and its availability in the developing world.

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In the 1960s, the widespread use of synthetic fertilizer, part of the Green Revolution, allowed millions of people who would have otherwise starved to be fed by dramatically expanding the land suitable for agriculture around the world. This was driven by the Haber process, which allows atmospheric nitrogen to be converted into a form biologically available for crops. But for any increase in nitrogen in soils, life also requires a commensurate increase in phosphorus, which is mined in the form of phosphate from geologic deposits around the world. The demand for mined phosphate skyrocketed.

No matter how impressive technological advances become, a Haber-like technique for creating phosphate will never exist: There is a fixed amount in the Earth, it’s stuck in the ground, and the only way to get it is to mine it. So now there’s a controversy about how much phosphate remains in the world, and how its distribution will affect food production in the future.

In 2009, a research paper based on then-current United States Geological Survey estimates of phosphate reserves sparked fear that the world was about to enter a period of “peak phosphorus.” Its authors argued that current reserves could be depleted within a century’s time. In response, the International Fertilizer Development Center—a non-profit NGO focusing on the fertilizer industry, food security, and global hunger—released its own independent study of phosphate reserves the following year. They estimated almost four times the USGS’s amount, allaying concerns over the commodity’s imminent disappearance.

Stephen Jasinski, the USGS specialist in charge of monitoring phosphate reserves, saysthat almost all of this massive increase came from a reinterpretation of data provided by Morocco’s state-run mining company back in the 1980s, as well as independent studies from the same time period. The USGS now accepts these new Moroccan values as accurate. But according to Olaf Weber, a professor of sustainability management at the University of Waterloo, in Ontario, “it’s hard to figure out” exactly how much phosphate Morocco really has.

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A great deal of this uncertainty likely comes from the region’s tense political situation. At the center of the conflict are the Sahrawi people, who have inhabited Western Sahara since before colonial times—a fact that Morocco contests—and have been fighting for the right to self-determination since Spain agreed to allow Morocco and Mauritania to split the area in 1975. (Mauritania later abandoned their claim to the region.)

According to Zunes, the Moroccan government squashes any hint of Sahrawi nationalism, follows foreigners, and bans the press. The United States, Morocco’s long-time ally, has acknowledged many of these issues in the State Department’s most recent human-rights report. Much of the native population now lives in Algerian refugee camps.

Thanks partly to foreign military support on both sides, an armed conflict following the 1975 occupation ended in a stalemate in 1991, when a United Nations treaty was signed by the Sahrawi nationalist movement, which is known as the Polisario Front, and the Moroccan government. The treaty installed a peacekeeping force referred to as MINURSO (an acronym for the French translation of United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara) and laid the groundwork for a future referendum on Western Sahara statehood. Zunes argues that this vote has no chance of occurring due to the political structure of the UN.

MINURSO is the only UN peacekeeping force in the world without a mandate to report on human rights, and in March of this year, civilian MINURSO workers were briefly expelled from the region because the UN’s secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, used the word “occupation” during a visit to Algerian refugee camps. Now, the conflict is back in the news once again, because Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has been campaigning to rejoin the African Union, an organization Morocco left in 1984 when it recognized Western Saharan statehood.

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Currently, the price of phosphate is not high enough for there to be an economic need for governments and private companies to rely on Western Sahara’s sources, says Weber; there are sufficient domestic or other international reserves. In fact, an increasing number of companies have been divesting their interest in Western Saharan phosphate due to investor concerns about human rights, says Eric Hagen, of the Western Sahara Resource Watch, a Norwegian-based NGO that monitors and advocates against the international trade of resources originating from Western Sahara.

But according to Stuart White, the director of the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney, demand for phosphate in fertilizer will rise in the coming decades, partly due to demand from an increasingly developed Sub-Saharan Africa, which he describes as “a sleeping giant in terms of demand for phosphorus,” and also due to global dietary changes. While there has been a plateau in meat consumption in places like the U.S., Europe, and Australia, he says, places like Southeast Asia and China are seeing skyrocketing rates, and meat requires relatively more phosphate for production.

That means an increased reliance on the phosphate of Western Sahara. As the value of that resource increases, so too will the pressure to hold on to it. According to the Western Sahara Resource Watch, about 10 percent of Morocco’s phosphate income comes from the Western Saharan mine in Bou Craa. If that reflects, even broadly, the relative amounts of phosphate in Morocco’s undisputed territory and the disputed Western Sahara region, then Western Sahara is the second largest reserve of phosphate rock in the world. If Western Sahara gained independence, it would become a counter to the massive phosphate monopoly Morocco otherwise would enjoy as other reserves become less viable.

The dynamics of the entire phosphate market, then, could be shaped significantly by the conflict in Western Sahara, its resolution, or its continued stalemate. In 1975, a UN fact-finding mission to Western Sahara suggested that Morocco and Western Sahara combined would one day become the largest exporter of phosphate worldwide. Morocco has argued that its own reserves of phosphate are large enough to make the Western Saharan reserves insignificant. But, as Toby Shelly argues in Endgame in the Western Sahara: What Future for Africa’s Last Colony?, that position ignores the fact that an independent Western Sahara would significantly reduce Moroccan market share and their ability to control the price of the commodity.

The existence of a Moroccan monopoly would have a disproportionate effect on poorer countries, according to White and other researchers. In a 2011 Nature comment, the sustainability and natural resources scientists Jim Elser, of Arizona State University, and Elena Bennet, of McGill University, argued that “developing-world farmers cannot afford phosphate fertilizers even at today’s non-monopoly prices,” let alone in a future dominated only by Moroccan phosphate. “Many of the world’s food producers are in danger of becoming completely dependent on trade with Morocco, where press reports have emerged of Dubai-style luxury developments being planned in anticipation of phosphorus windfalls.”

Morocco, for their part, has been denying Western Saharan independence with growing vigor. In February of this year, Morocco’s Minister of Communication announced a program to train Moroccan youth to defend the government stance on Western Sahara through social media. Leaked diplomatic cables suggest increased concern over the international perception of Morocco’s claim to the land. The Polisario, meanwhile, have stated that they are ready to raise arms, once again, over Western Sahara.

The future of the region, the actual distribution of the world’s phosphate reserves, and the market forces driving the commodity’s future are full of uncertainty. The one thing that is certain is mentioned in a footnote in the USGS mineral resources report: “There are no substitutes for phosphorus in agriculture.”

Phosphate Rock : EU Imports to be Ruled by Russian Suppliers?

Two thirds of a trillion tons of phosphate rock are lying about in the planet’s soil. Easily extracted, stable, cheap, it enables agricultural soils to maintain their fertility. Alex Kasprak writes for The Atlantic that “phosphate, along with nitrogen, is one of the two most necessary components of synthetic fertilizer. But unlike nitrogen, which makes up 78 percent of the atmosphere, phosphate is a finite resource. And there’s no way to manufacture it.”

So, we’ll have to make do with what there is. Luckily enough, there is plenty. Or is there? The European Union in Brussels is looking into the adoption of a new regulation which would bar effectively 95% of phosphate ore from entering the EU market. Why? Cadmium.

Until the middle of last century, this heavy metal used to be in all sorts of domestic and industrial applications, exposing whoever was near to heavy doses through skin contact, inhalation or ingestion,. Cadmium in small doses is harmless – microscopic doses of just about anything can be found anywhere, if you look hard enough – as with almost all metals.

As for phosphate rock, it comes in two-forms: igneous and sedimentary. Igneous rocks are formed through the cooling of molten rock and contain low amounts of cadmium. Sedimentary rocks form over long periods of accumulation and contain microscopic amounts of cadmium. Both levels of concentration are yet to be proven as harmful, but the Russians assure Brussels that even such tiny amounts of cadmium will wreak havoc on European health.

Who’s still in the game if the Russian lobbying effort comes through?

The European Union would establish a limit of 20mg, over a few years, excluding a large proportion of the world’s phosphate resources out of the EU market. 68 billion tons of phosphate rock reserves have been identified, mapped and assessed in the world. 50 of them are in Morocco.

Then comes China, with 3. Algeria and Syria have 2. South Africa, Russia, Egypt, the United States, Jordan, and Australia have 1. Smaller deposits can be found all over the world. Only Brazil, a handful of African countries, and Finland and Russia possess igneous phosphate deposits.

The Food Administration Organization (FAO) describes: “Igneous deposits have provided about 10-20 percent of world production in the last ten years. They are exploited in the Russian Federation, Canada, South Africa, Brazil, Finland and Zimbabwe but also occur in Uganda, Malawi, Sri Lanka and several other locations.”

If Russia pulls it off, it will move from being a minor supplier to the leading position on the EU market, the richer part of Europe. In such a position, it will be able to dictate how much fertilizer EU countries receive, when and at what price. It will get little competition from the other possessors of low-cadmium, which are remote from the EU, have only limited reserves to be able to come even close to meeting the substantial EU demand.

Of course, because cadmium is present only in microscopic proportions in the phosphate rock, one could wonder if this doesn’t amount to missing the forest for the trees. There are laboratory-scale processes which extract the little cadmium that there is in the phosphate, according to the type of rock. But none of them are fit for large-scale exploitation.

Brian Johnson writes for Parliament Magazine: “First, not all phosphate fertilizers can be decadmiated: there is no known technology for nitrophosphates, phosphate rock and Single Super Phosphate (SSP) which represents 30 percent of the EU market. Second, there is a misunderstanding about how new technologies are implemented at industrial levels. Just because technologies exist on paper or in laboratories, does not make them ‘available.’” Additional problems from these potential technologies need to be addressed, including a highly damaging carbon footprint and an environmental impact.

As a result, not only would Russia hold a leading position on the market, but the EU customer countries would have no alternative to which to turn to.

If the regulation comes through, only 5% of the world’s current phosphate rock will be legal in the EU. If EU policymakers walk naively into the Russian trap, the European fertilizer and farming industries will quickly face enormous cost increases, supply disruptions and limited liberty.

Moscow will say “jump,” and the EU agricultural world will ask “how high.” The most recent studies shed much doubt as to whether the considered cadmium limit would bring any benefit to public health. Hence, the necessity for the EU to design a strategy on its own. EU member states have put forward a proposal for a moderate limit of 60mg/kg, a level that would not disrupt current supplies and which would be reviewed in due course, in the light of new scientific evidence, possible developments on decadmiation and the availability of phosphate supplies on the global market. This offers a sensible way forward. Let us hope that Russian manipulation does not succeed in undermining it.

World News /17 Nov 2018Eric Thompson

The EU and the Strategy of the Russian Fertilizer Industry

According to New York Times reporter Matt Apuzzo, Russians are centimeters away from pulling a big trick on Europe. In order to seize the opportunity of the EU’s crumbling, triggered in part by the Brexit debacle, Moscow is using the European Union against Europe, and playing the Euro MPs’ ignorance on the matters which they rule upon. In today’s tradition of professional politicians, which has become widespread across governments worldwide, Moscow knows that Euro MP’s lack the technical understanding necessary to vote sensibly on matters at hand, and rely on technical advisers to enlighten their choices. Hence the creation of an “environmental technical advisory group.” Matt Apuzzo explains: “The relationship between cadmium in fertilizer, cadmium in soil and cadmium in the human body is far from clear. Scientists cannot say how much cadmium in fertilizer is too much.” And when the road to the truth is unclear, the expressway to theories is open.

The Russian government is backing the largest Russian phosphate producer (PhosAgro) which created a lobbying think tank in Brussels, to persuade parliamentarians to lower the limits with which cadmium traces in phosphate rock, a common agricultural fertilizer, would be deemed acceptable for importation into Europe. The think tank, named Safer Phosphates, is linked to PhosAgro and, though officially being a multi-business representative, answers only to its main funder. By lowering the technical limit on cadmium traces in phosphates, PhosAgro hopes to eliminate all competitors on the global market, namely China, Morocco, and the United States. Andrey Guryev, one of the oligarchs closest to the Kremlin, sees a multi-billion-dollar opportunity, and Moscow supports it, for the immense negotiation power Russia would obtain with the new law. Politico reporter Giulia Paravicini writes: “The elder Guryev is famously private. Though he served as a Russian senator for 11 years — stepping down in 2013 after the Kremlin introduced anti-corruption laws — he has never given a press interview. His son is more open, in part because of his push to promote ‘pure phosphate.’ In an interview in his office in Moscow, Guryev Jr. played down concerns raised in Brussels that strict limits on cadmium would give Phosagro — and thus the Kremlin — too much leverage in Europe.”

Russians are likely to use their favourite strategy: ruse. Therefore, the Russian strategy is based on influencing MPs with scary words and scenarios and counting on the fact that they have little to no command of the matter at hand. In this case, no reliable scientific study has established any link whatsoever between cadmium traces contained in phosphate and public health disorders.

If the bill is passed, Russia will be the only supplier of phosphate rock for Europe, and lorries will carry millions of tons of fertilizer westward, and then drive billions of euros back to the motherland. Moreover, European farmers would become more dependent on PhosAgro, which will be able to dictate its prices, and of the Russian government which will withhold replenishments if the EU does not comply with its wishes. Be it financial or diplomatic, European farmers will be under great risk of having simply no other option but to ask how high, when the Russians say “jump.” Finally, to make matters even riskier, European farmers would suffer most of the consequences, for the actions of the European Union, and the ensuing Russian retaliations, while having little or no grip on their MPs.

NGO Global House Ross Gray writes: “In their grabs for power and position, professional politicians have done more than let us down; they have perpetuated an unrepresentative and rigged system. They have become the problem!” Given that there is no sign that the trend is about to change, Russia should find many more opportunities to fool disconnected politicians into their tricks.

Few of us who voted for or against Brexit had considered the fertilizer market as a strategic question, or even a dangerously slippery slope yet phosphate is indeed on the European list of critical raw materials.. But with many of the members of Parliament being professional politicians, the governing body of Europe is completely exposed to influence, from within and abroad. With lack of culture on the specific matters which they are meant to handle, EU MPs are bound, no matter how immune to corruption they may be, to be easily tricked by lobby-steered technicians.

Russian Ambitions for Syrian Phosphates

Friday August 3rd, 2018 by Al-Modon (Lebanese news website)

Russia is playing an active role in Syria’s phosphate market, but its intentions are not clear writes Al-Modon

Russia has monopolized Syrian phosphate production, through the company Stroytransgaz, with a 50-year contract. However, the need of Russia, the world’s fourth largest phosphate producer, for Syrian phosphate remains a mystery, especially after they forcefully removed Iran from the field of competition.

According to the General Director of the General Company for Phosphates and Mining, Ghassan Khalil, phosphate production in Syria in 2018 reached 200,000 tons a month — about 2.4 million tons a year, amid efforts to increase production to five million tons a year. Syria’s production of phosphate rocks reached 2.8 million tons in 2010. Production declined in the first year of the revolution and then stopped when the Islamic State (ISIS) took control over the Khanifish and Al-Sharqiya fields in the eastern Homs countryside.

The Russian company’s control over Syrian phosphate came after Russia and the Al-Nimr Forces took control of the Kanifish and Al-Sharqiya fields in Palmyra, from the Iranian militias which had taken over the area and expelled the Islamic State group. In 2017, the Iranian militias had captured the phosphate fields following a visit from the Syrian Prime Minister, Imad Khamis, to Tehran, to inform them that Iranian companies would be given phosphate extraction rights. The Al-Nimr Forces quickly intervened to take control of the area and remove the Iranian militias from the second largest phosphate reserve in the Arab world.

An official source in the Syrian General Institution for Geology told the media that an agreement was made with a Russia company, which had the ability to produce and use phosphate in Syria, based on production-sharing. He said that the “state’s share was 30 percent of the total volume of produced phosphate, as well as the land fees and licenses.” He continued: “Additionally there would be the fees and expenses of the institution’s supervision, and other taxes and fees, of around two percent, for a period of 50 years, and they would produce annually about 2.2 tons of blocks out of geological reserves of about 105 million tons.”

The Stroytransgaz company, which specializes in oil and gas, is not new to the Syrian market. It entered it in 2005 through the implementation of the Arab Gas Pipeline, and had control of a gas plant south of the central region. However the delivery of vital Syrian sectors into the hands of Russia and the pressuring of the regime to end previous understandings with Iran around phosphate investment has created semi-public disputes with Iran and doubts about Russia’s true intentions.

Publicly, Russia has claimed that its interest in Syrian phosphate revolves around its desire to increase its phosphate reserve, estimated at 700 million tons, after its annual production in 2017 reached 12.5 million metric tons.

However, Russia’s interest in Syrian phosphates could perhaps be related to a side compound, cadmium, a carcinogen found in phosphate. European Union health concerns around high cadmium rates have previously led to regulating the amount of cadmium waste permitted in phosphate fertilizer imports. Russia monopolizes the fertilizers market in the European Union, taking advantage of its production of low cadmium apatite phosphates. Sources told Al-Modon that Syrian phosphates are also distinguished by a low cadmium rate, which ranges between three to five parts per million. This could be an important reason for the Russian takeover of Syrian phosphates, despite the small production volume in Syria compared with Russia.

Russia could also benefit from increasing its stock of Syrian phosphate to confront competition in the fertilizer market in the European Union, and avoiding increasing the risk of poisonous chemical elements found in phosphates being exported to the European Union. Various indicators have shown Syrian phosphate, produced by Russia, reaching European markets.

In March 2018, the Al-Watan newspaper, which is owned by Rami Makhlouf, quoted the Director of the General Company for Phosphates and Mining, Ghassan Khalil, as saying that “the company has begun to export quantities of phosphates to the European market.” It is likely that there are intermediary companies in Russia re-exporting Syrian phosphates to the European market, after European sanctions banned dealing with the regime government directly in the military and petrochemical and oil derivatives sectors.

There is also another reason for Russia’s focus on Syrian phosphates. During the process of transforming phosphates to fertilizer, a secondary component is radioactive uranium. Syrian phosphates, in theory, contain a rate of up to 300 grams per metric ton, according to Al-Modon’s sources. This is a high rate compared to other types of phosphates, which do not exceed uranium rates of 200 grams per metric ton. Al-Modon’s sources did not know how uranium is extracted from phosphate, but did know that before the revolution, the Syrians had managed to separate uranium from phosphates.

The high volume of activity in the Russian phosphates sector has sown doubts about whether Russia really wanted to diversify its sources of phosphates or has taken control of the Syrian phosphates extraction rights for other purposes, such as benefiting from the low cadmium rates and the high uranium rates per metric ton.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.