Captain Ed posts about Putin's nuclear overtures to Iran and writes -
However, with Russia acting to enable a nuclear Iran, that equation no longer holds. Putin appears to want a resumption of Russian dominance in the area; he certainly seems to want Russia on equal footing with the EU-3 in Iranian negotiations. Perhaps he believes that reaching accommodation with the Iranian mullahs will ease the Islamist pressures that Putin himself feels in Chechnya and elsewhere. If it's not quite the Great Game all over again, it's only because the stakes are higher and the danger much more lethal.
With Russia selling arms to Venezuela, an arms deal in the works with Syria, and now Iran, I wonder if Putin is trying to draw us into conflicts with these nations and induce turmoil that will continue to prop up the price of oil and have investors increasingly look to Russia for oil contracts.
Russia is having a hard time right now trying to lure investors, because it doesn't want to give up controlling interest in some of its reserves -
...only companies that are 51% Russian-owned will be allowed to bid for licenses in six major natural-resource projects this year. Among them are the massive Sakhalin-3 oil and gas field off Russia's Pacific coast, and Sukhoi Log, Russia's largest gold deposit. Trutnev said the ban would likely be included in legislation to update Russia's law on natural resources, which is due to be approved this year. Existing projects will not be affected by the new rules.
The changes could scupper or delay plans by some Western oil companies to make big new investments in Russia. From now on, in any large project that the government decides is "strategic," foreigners will only be allowed to invest as minority shareholders in a consortium alongside a Russian partner. "It could change the opportunities for some of the bigger companies, which will ask if they want to invest billions in a project [that] they're not going to control," says Stephen O'Sullivan, co-head of research at Moscow investment bank United Financial Group.
And, of course, we can't forget about the YUKOS scandal and Putin's ham-fisted grab of a privately run oil company. Put these together and it seems that Russia wants to keep us busy and prices sky-high in order to force foreign investors to buy into Russian companies in a less than favorable market. Time wiil tell.