Posts Tagged 'oil'

Pakistan, at crossroads of rivalry between Russia, China, and the US, refuses to satisfy US demands on Taliban and Afghanistan

Pakistan, at crossroads of rivalry between  Russia, China, and the US, refuses to satisfy US demands on Taliban and Afghanistan.  US support for India also a factor.

The New York Times December 15 article, “Rebuffing U.S., Pakistan Balks at Crackdown” emphasizes a geo-political importance of Pakistan beyond its hosting pipelines bring Central Asia’s oil and gas to Western and/or Chinese capitalists:

Demands by the United States for Pakistan to crack down on the strongest Taliban warrior in Afghanistan, Siraj Haqqani, whose fighters pose the biggest threat to American forces, have been rebuffed by the Pakistani military, according to Pakistani military officials and diplomats.

The core reason for Pakistan’s imperviousness is its scant faith in the Obama troop surge, and what Pakistan sees as the need to position itself for a regional realignment in Afghanistan once American forces begin to leave.

It considers Mr. Haqqani and his control of large areas of Afghan territory vital to Pakistan in the jostling for influence that will pit Pakistan, India, Russia, China and Iran against one another in the post-American Afghan arena, the Pakistani officials said.

Pakistan is particularly eager to counter the growing influence of its archenemy, India, which is pouring $1.2 billion in aid into Afghanistan. “If America walks away, Pakistan is very worried that it will have India on its eastern border and India on its western border in Afghanistan,” said Tariq Fatemi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the United States who is pro-American in his views.

In the 1980s, Jalaluddin Haqqani (Siraj’s father) received money and arms from the C.I.A. routed through Pakistan’s spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, to fight the Soviets, according to Ahmed Rashid, an expert on the Afghan Taliban and the author of “Descent Into Chaos.” In the 1990s, when the Taliban ran Afghanistan, Jalaluddin Haqqani served as governor of Paktia Province. The relationship between the Haqqanis and Osama bin Laden dates back to the war against the Soviets in the 1980s, according to Kamran Bokhari, the South Asia director for Stratfor, a geopolitical risk analysis company.

When the Taliban government collapsed at the end of 2001 and Qaeda operatives fled from Tora Bora to Pakistan, the Haqqanis relocated their command structure to North Waziristan and welcomed Al Qaeda, Mr. Bokhari said.

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The First World War: The origin of real Terrorism and the beginning of ongoing Oil War

Kanan48, November 13, 2009

The First World War: The origin of real Terrorism and the beginning of ongoing Oil War

By Yamin Zakaria

Art by Naji Al AliVia: Media Monitors Network.

The cessation of hostilities was declared on the 11th hour, the 11th day of the 11th month on the Western Front, between the Allies of World War I (WWI) and Germany. Today, the nation commemorates the 2.5 Million dead with a two-minute silence, a war that took approximately 20 Million lives in total.

Despite the enormous loss, and after almost one hundred years, there is little reflection on the causes of this war, hardly any discussion on this point, and the lessons to be learnt from it. They say historians to date cannot agree on the causes. The history books in schools and colleges point to the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire by the Serb nationalists as the trigger for WWI.

Nations did not mobilise their forces and wage costly wars due to the assassination of one man. The war was not one of good versus evil, tyranny versus freedom, but simply a struggle for material resources. It was a war over territory, colony, inflamed by nationalism and historical feuds. The war was simply a global clash of empires.

Once the war was triggered, the central powers (German Empire, Austrian-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire) on one side faced the Triple Entente (Britain, France and Russia). This conflict was marked by the introduction of air raids and poison gas, a prelude to the birth of state-terrorism. In the early 1920s, the British used chemical weapons on the Kurds in Iraq, under the direction of Winston Churchill long before Saddam Hussein. During the next global war, these methods involving air raids, chemical weapons and explosives were developed and deployed on a larger scale on the civilian population. This is the origin of real terrorism.

The Germans tried to instigate a pan-Indian uprising against the British Raj by conspiring with the Ghadar Party and some Indian nationalists. This plan was thwarted when British intelligence infiltrated the movement. India was the Crown Jewel for the British Empire; it gave her so much wealth and the ability to raise an army. Many Indians did serve in the British forces, in fact a third of the British forces in France were from India.

Fighting also broke out between the British and the German in the various colonies in Africa (Togoland, Cameroon, South West Africa and East Africa).

Just prior to the war, Germany was strengthening political and economic ties with the Ottoman Empire. They advised and supported the building of the Berlin to Baghdad railway, which was planned to link with the Hejaz railway that was being built at the same time. The railway would operate from Istanbul to Damascus, then to Medina and Mecca. Both railways would make most of the provinces easily accessible to the Ottoman Caliphate. Part of the reason why this was constructed was to keep the British forces out of these Arab provinces.

The Hejaz railway links were never completed, the Ottomans joined in the war in 1914, Sultan Mehmed V declared the last Jihad by a Caliph. It had very little impact on the Muslims. The Arabs sided with the British, a major act of treachery against the Caliphate. The Muslims from India continued to serve the British Forces.

In response to the Ottomans declaring war, the first major military act by the British forces was to land troops in Abadan, near the southern tip of Iran. This was to protect the flow of oil to west. Substantial investment into the Iranian oil fields was already made by Britain and France. Two years earlier the British Royal Navy switched from coal to oil, and it was the fuel for its planes and tanks. Naturally, they felt the need to secure Iraq as a way of defending those supplies and the British forces marched along the Tigris and settled in Kut-al-Amra. This marked the beginning of the oil war, from this point on the entire region was subjected to western interventions in the successive years until present day.

Internally, the Ottomans faced rebellion in many areas, propelled by Slavic nationalism, the Russians, the Greeks and the Serbs supported the various Orthodox Christian communities within the Ottoman State to rise in revolt. The Ottomans State fragmented by the end of the war, Palestine was acquired by Britain as war booty. So began the sufferings of the Palestinians, as their land was already promised to the Zionist Jews, according to the Belfour Declaration of 1917. Lord Balfour agreed to the Zionist demand as they promised to use their influence into bring the US into war on the side of the Allies. Which proved to be a turning point in the war, and the late entry by the US meant it minimised self-injury, whilst maximised the war booty.

The Arabs betrayed the Ottoman Caliphate and now it was their turn to be betrayed. The British betrayed them first by giving Palestine to the Zionist-Jews, and a secret treaty drawn up with France (Sykes-Picot) to carve up the Middle East amongst themselves, discarding the earlier promises of independence made to the Arabs in return for their support in rising against the Ottomans.

Armistice Day should remind us all of the mess created in the Middle East, all stems from treachery and the greed of Capitalist nations.

Why Afghanistan? It’s pipelines, not terrorism.

San Francisco Gray Panthers Newsletter, October 2009

Why Afghanistan?

Afghanistan lies in the path of a new proposed gas pipeline

Afghanistan lies in the path of a new proposed gas pipeline

In a nod to reality on the ground, the Obama administration put clearing al Qaeda from Pakistan high on the list of 46 benchmarks for tracking success in the war in Afghanistan. There are 68,000 US combat troops, 40,000 NATO troops, and 74,000 mercenaries in Afghanistan, with more expected to come. If al Qaeda has moved to Pakistan, why don’t the troops follow them?

One answer, rarely talked about in the US media, is—you guessed it!—oil and natural gas, this time in the Caspian Basin, and a planned pipeline that would carry natural gas from land-locked Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan, where it could be shipped to the West. To accomplish this, a strong centralized government willing to make deals with the West is needed, hence the attempts to prop up Hamid Karzai with US/NATO military assistance against the Taliban and war lords and with fraudulent elections.

Will this plan succeed? Probably not, given the Afghan opposition. Taliban attacks increased 59% in the first five months of this year over the same period last year. Death tolls are rising. Billions of dollars have already been spent. Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA veteran and adviser to four presidents, said, “Anyone who thinks that in 12 to 18 months we’re going to be anywhere close to victory is living in a fantasy.”

NO MORE ENERGY WARS!

Indigenous groups in the Peruvian Amazon threaten to occupy newly appearing oil wells

August 26, 2009

Indigenous groups in the Peruvian Amazon threaten to occupy newly appearing oil wells
Hunt Oil Company takes over almost 4 million acres in jungle.

Earl Gilman, El Nuevo Topo

Indigenous groups in the Peruvian Amazon are threatening to occupy the oil wells that are now appearing in the Amazonian jungle. The indigenous groups claim the government is not negotiating with them, despite the murder of more than 30 people in Bagua in June. Instead, the government has been meeting with a few self-appointed indigenous leaders who are amenable to the government.

In the last 2 months the Hunt Oil Company, based in Texas, has taken over almost 4 million acres (1 million 500 thousand hectacres) in the jungle. So far they have only built one heliport, but the company plans 166 heliports in the area, together with corresponding mobile encampments as well as 1948 unloading zones. There has been a fall in tourism, with the hiring of 600 workers by the company, farmers are abandoning their lands and there has been an increase in the price of food.

The Hunt Oil Company also is drilling oil wells in Kurdistan in Iraq, signing agreements with local warloads.

The Hunt Oil Company is privately owned by the Hunt Family. Roy L. Hunt, CEO, is also on the Board of Directors of Pepsico Co. and a former director of Halliburton Co. He is former chairman of the Federal Reserve of Dallas. In 2001 he was appointed by President Bush to Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board with security clearance. He contributed 35 million dollars to the George W, Bush Presidential Library.

The Hunt Oil Company also has built 2 pipelines for delivering liquefied natural gas to the U.S. West Coast, investing 2.6 billion dollars, cutting through the Amazon to the coast to deliver gas from the Camisea field. After the pipeline was built, there were three major spills.

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Climate and Capitalism, August 7, 2009

Peru plans more Amazon oil auctions

Despite violent protests by indigenous groups over plans to expand oil and gas exploration in the Peru’s Amazon rainforest, energy investments in the South American country are expected to increase to $1.5 billion in both 2009 and 2010, reports Reuters.

Daniel Saba, president of Perupetro, Peru’s energy agency, told Reuters that the government will auction more than a dozen lots in October or November. Most of the 17 blocks are located in the country’s Amazon region, 70 percent of which has been concessioned for oil and gas exploration and development. A number of firms are already operating in the area including Repsol (Spain), Perenco (France), Pluspetrol (Argentina), Petrobras (Brazil), Maple Energy (United States), and Petroperu (Peru). South American Explorations, working on behalf of the U.S.-based Hunt Oil, launched exploration activities in a million-acre area in the Madre De Dios region late last month, according to local sources.

Indigenous groups have fiercely opposed what they see as encroachment on their traditional lands. In May thousands of protesters blocked roadways and rivers in opposition to a set of presidential decrees that would have made it easier for foreign firms to develop Amazon land. President Alan Garcia responded by sending in federal police, quickly leading to a heated standoff that ended in bloodshed when 34 police and protesters were killed. The escalation was widely condemned by human rights groups and environmentalists.

Garcia has since rescinded two of the most controversial decrees and shuffled his cabinet. But Saba’s remarks to Reuters indicate that Peru intends to move forward on oil and gas development despite the controversy.

Green groups and indigenous rights’ organizations say the rainforests slotted for oil and gas exploration is home to a wealth of biodiversity and “uncontacted” tribes. The Peruvian government maintains there is but a single isolated tribe and that development will bring vast sums to the treasury.

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Meanwhile, it has come out that Mercedes Cabanillas, Peru’s former Interior Minister had ordered the deadly June 5 police attack on an indigenous people’s peaceful blockade of a major highway,  resulting in at least 33 deaths of police and protesters.  She then tried to promote 11 participating police officials for meritorious service.

IPS reports “The operation, involving 600 heavily armed DINOES policemen backed up by an Mi-17 helicopter and an armoured vehicle, opened fire on the peaceful crowd of indigenous people at dawn on Jun. 5 at the spot on the highway known as the Curva del Diablo (Devil’s Curve), where the protesters were manning the roadblock.  According to sources at the national police directorate who spoke with IPS in June, the operation was carried out despite the fact that two local police chiefs had signed a non-aggression pact with the leaders of the protests.”


Trying Harder in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Truthout Original, Monday 01 June 2009

Trying Harder in Pakistan and Afghanistan

by: Steve Weissman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

“Master, how long will it take for me to reach enlightenment?” the eager student asked. “Perhaps ten years,” the teacher answered. “But what if I try extra hard?” the student asked. “How long will it take then?” The teacher thought for a moment and smiled. “Then,” he said, “it will take twenty years.”

Anyone who has studied Eastern philosophy or martial arts will have heard the story in one form or another, but it has special application to President Barack Obama’s escalating intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The harder he tries to win a military confrontation in the two countries or to engage in a major effort to reform them, the longer and deeper he will find himself sucked into unwinnable wars and inescapable quagmires.

The reason should be obvious. The presence of American troops, aircraft and pilotless drones – or too much American money and too many American aid workers – will turn increasing numbers of Afghans, Pakistanis and their fellow Muslims from around the world against us and against those who appear to do our bidding.

Nationalistic and religious reaction is the one unchanging lesson of foreign intervention, especially in countries that have a history of having fought against the British, French or other colonial powers. Yet, the Pentagon never learned the lesson from Vietnam and refuses to learn it from Iraq, where top generals still speak of staying at least another ten years. Nor have Obama’s White House and the Democratic-controlled Congress gotten the message, believing they can soften any anti-American reaction by adding several billions of dollars more in non-military foreign aid.

In other words, we will try harder, work smarter and do more. It’s a can-do American response, neatly repackaged under brand Obama, as if his apparent decency and good intentions will be enough to change the way average Afghans and Pakistanis – and the Pakistani officer corps – will respond to what looks like unending foreign intervention.

Even those who should know better are swallowing the bait. Only three senators – Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), Bernie Sanders (Independent-Vermont) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) – voted against the supplemental appropriations to escalate American military intervention in Afghanistan. Leaders of the formerly antiwar MoveOn also gave their blessing to Obama’s wars, while well-intentioned feminists and defenders of human rights are urging the State Department to use American intervention as a wonderful opportunity to remake foreign cultures in America’s image, as if anyone knows a good way to do that.

Almost no one in the narrow debate talks of Washington’s long-standing struggle to dominate the oil and gas resources of Central Asia and the pipelines to bring them to market. Everyone talks of the very real need to safeguard Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, without ever raising similar and inter-related concerns about Indian and Israeli nukes. And early calls for an exit strategy from either Afghanistan or Pakistan have been replaced by plans to build a monumental new American embassy in Islamabad. Our folly knows no limits.

We’re in for the long haul, and those of us who have seen the movie too many times before can only try to explain the drama as it develops. For starters, let me suggest a first reading or rereading of Graham Greene’s “The Quiet American,” in which he describes the similar overlay of innocence and naivet√© that led up to America’s massive intervention in Southeast Asia. One of his key characters is a truly idealistic CIA man who blows up women and children, all for a good cause. “Innocence,” warned Greene, “is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.”

Think about those words as you hear President Obama’s eagerly awaited speech this week in Cairo. He will undoubtedly embody our good intentions and fundamental decency as Americans. But, for all our self-deluding innocence and naivet√©, we will remain Graham Greene’s leper, and the harder we try in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the more our actions will sound as a warning bell and an anti-American recruiting call to Muslims all over the world.

The Soviets learned that lesson in Afghanistan and the Chinese seem to be avoiding similar pitfalls in most of their global interventions. But we are Americans, and we try harder.


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