Tuesday, January 02, 2007

the OIL motive: Iraq AND Afghanistan

It's been so long that it's easy to forget the war in Afghanistan and overlook it as the "good war" in response to 9/11, but the same oil interests that wanted the war in Iraq were pushing to get a pipeline in Afghanistan and wanted the Taliban replaced with a more compliant negotiating partner--and that was a couple of years before 9/11.

Oddly enough, that was shortly before we started having trouble with al Qaeda, and had to start attacking Afghanistan.

When will people start talking about this and toss aside the embarrassing sack of propaganda crap the Bushies dealt and Democrats keep dipping into as well, criticizing the taste instead of offering a better explanation?


The Surreal Politics of Premeditated War
by R.W. Behan

Common to both the Afghan and Iraqi lines of dots are energy resources, both oil and gas. It is true our country depends on oil and gas, but it is not the American people who need to corner Mid East oil and gas by force. Dozens of oil companies around the world"the "foreign suitors," for example"can supply us with Iraqi oil or Caspian Basin gas, and would be pleased to do so. There is no reason not to rely on them: we are buying more and more Toyotas and Volvos, and fewer Chevrolets and Fords, with no apparent damage to our national security. Why not do the same with gasoline, diesel, and LNG, and avoid armed conflict?

Why not? Because the bottom lines of Exxon-Mobil, Unocal and other domestic oil companies, in the eyes of the Bush Administration, are sacrosanct. It is not the American consumers, then, but only the American oil companies who benefit from George Bush's premeditated wars.


By early March, 2001, the Task Force was poring over maps of the Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, tanker terminals, and oil exploration blocks. It studied an inventory of “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts”—dozens of oil companies from 30 different countries, in various stages of exploring and developing Iraqi crude. (These documents were forced into view several years later by a citizen group, Judicial Watch, with a Freedom of Information Act proceeding. It wasn’t easy—the Bush Administration appealed the lawsuit all the way to the Supreme Court—but the maps and documents can now be seen and downloaded at : http://www.judicialwatch.org/iraqi-oil-maps.shtml.)

Not a single U.S. oil company, however, was among the “suitors,” and that was intolerable. Mr. Cheney’s task force concluded, “By any estimation, Middle East oil producers will remain central to world security. The Gulf will be a primary focus of U.S. international energy policy.”

Condoleezza Rice’s National Security Council, meanwhile, was directed by a top secret memo to “cooperate fully with the Energy Task Force as it considered melding two seemingly unrelated areas of policy.” The NSC was ordered to support “the review of operational policies towards rogue states such as Iraq and actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields.”


The strategic location of Afghanistan can scarcely be overstated. The Caspian Basin contains some $16 trillion worth of oil and gas resources, and the most direct pipeline route to the richest markets is through Afghanistan.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the first western oil company to express interest and take action in the Basin was the Bridas Corporation of Argentina. It acquired production leases and exploration contracts in the region, and by November of 1997 had signed an agreement with General Dostum of the Northern Alliance and with the Taliban to build a pipeline across Afghanistan.

Not to be outdone, the American company Unocal fought Bridas at every turn, even spurning an invitation from Bridas to join an international consortium in the Basin. Unocal wanted exclusive control of the trans-Afghan pipeline, and hired a number of consultants in its conflict with Bridas: Henry Kissinger, Richard Armitage (now Deputy Secretary of State in the Bush Administration), Zalmay Khalilzad (a signer of the PNAC letter to President Clinton) and Hamid Karzai. (Eventually Bridas sued Unocal in the U.S. courts, and won.)

Unocal and the Clinton Administration hoped to have the Taliban cancel the Bridas contract, but were getting nowhere. Mr. John J. Maresca, a Unocal Vice President, testified to a House Committee of International Relations on February 12, 1998, asking politely to have the Taliban removed and a stable government inserted. His discomfort was well placed.

Six months later terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden bombed the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and two weeks after that President Clinton launched a cruise missile attack into Afghanistan. Clinton issued an executive order on July 4, 1999, freezing the US held assets and prohibiting further trade transactions with the Taliban.



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1 comment:


Good one Prof.