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Old 10-26-2001, 08:56 AM   #1
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The Real Goal ?

Control of Central Asia's oil is the real goal

By Ben Aris in Moscow and Ahmed Rashid in Lahore

For all the talk of international alliances and the future of Afghanistan, the real game in Central Asia is control of the region's lucrative oil supply.

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Russia has kept Central Asia's huge oil and gas reserves bottled up by restricting access to export pipelines - all of which run over Russian territory.

The United States has been pushing alternative pipeline projects out of the region that do not run over Russian soil.

The US National Security Adviser, Condoleeza Rice, assured the Kremlin last week that Washington had no designs on Central Asia even as a new oil pipeline started up, strengthening Russia's influence in the region.

One of the main reasons that Washington supported the Taliban between 1994 and 1997 was the attempt by the US oil giant Unocal to build a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan, through Taliban-controlled southern Afghanistan, to Pakistan and the Persian Gulf. At the time, the US and Unocal hoped the Taliban would swiftly conquer the country.

When the first tanker at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossisk was loaded with oil pumped from Kazakhstan through the Caspian Pipeline Consortium's pipeline, it looked like the rivalry between Moscow and Washington was over. But as US interests intensify in the region, Moscow is nervous about giving Washington a toehold.

Dr Rice's statements were designed to allay fears. She said in an article in the Russian daily Izvestia: "I want to stress this: our policy is not aimed against the interests of Russia. We do not harbour any plans aimed at squeezing Russia out of there."

Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have some of the largest reserves of oil and gas in the world, but Russia cut them off from international markets as all their export pipelines run over Russian territory. The US tried aggressively to break the Kremlin's stranglehold over the region, but Dr Rice's comments were the strongest sign yet that Washington is prepared to concede Russia's dominance of the region.

US-Russian relations have been recast since the terrorist
attacks in America.

In a brave decision, President Vladimir Putin thumbed his nose at Russia's generals still labouring under Cold War prejudices and gave the go-ahead for Central Asian states to play host to US forces. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are allied to Moscow through the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States, and have donated airfields.

After a decade of grand promises of an oil pipeline by international oil firms failed to materialise, Kazakhstan has sided with the Russians.

The Caspian Pipeline Consortium's line is the first big one to be built since the fall of the Soviet Union. Led by Chevron, CPC brought together the governments of Kazakhstan, Russia and Oman, as well as several other oil companies, for financing.

Most of the 1,850-kilometre route runs across Russian territory.

The war in Afghanistan may have brought an end to America's ambitions in the area as a quid pro quo for Russia's co-operation in the US-led campaign. But when peace and a stable government eventually comes to Kabul, US oil companies will be looking closely at Afghanistan because it offers the shortest route to the Gulf for Central Asia's vast quantities of untapped oil and gas.

The companies have invested $US30billion ($59billion) in developing oil and gas fields in Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan but exporting to the West involves lengthy and expensive pipelines.

Washington is currently proposing a $US3billion pipeline from Azerbaijan, on the Caspian Sea, through Georgia, to Turkey's Mediterranean coast - a lengthy and expensive project.

US companies could build a similar pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan to Karachi at half the cost, if the next Afghan government can guarantee its security.

Russia fears that is exactly what the Americans want and, now that US troops are based in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, they will not leave.

The Telegraph, London

http://www.smh.com.au/news/0110/25/world/world9.html



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Old 10-28-2001, 09:24 PM   #2
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It's interesting, because more and more people (here at least) seems to think so. Editorials were written about it and people ask questions about this.....

mmm... I wouldn't know.. It wouldn't surprise me, but I don't know... we'll see.



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Old 10-28-2001, 09:35 PM   #3
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I still say we should fuck oil and put all of our energy into hydrogen fuel, which is just on the brink of breaking into the mainstream. It has already been proven by German automaker, BMW, to be a viable fuel, which, BTW, is a zero-emission fuel, and, since hydrogen can be extracted from water, we would no longer have to worry about hostile nations for worldwide oil supply. If we can combine this with the hybrid technology, where fuel is used in conjunction with a battery to make a super-efficient vehicle per gallon, all of our energy problems could be solved.

What people have failed to realize is that oil is the root of many problems on the global scale. However, once again, this is being threatened by a hostile presidency (Bush is a former oil executive who pushed for higher oil prices when the market was really cheap in 1998-99) and an even more hostile oil industry, who, in seeing their own potential demise, have actually had the audacity to develop a way to extract hydrogen fuel from petroleum products, which, if Bush and the oil executives have their way, will be the sole means of hydrogen fuel production. I will really have lost faith in big business and in political conservatism if such a dirty deal is allowed to take place in the event that hydrogen fuel becomes mainstream.

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Old 10-28-2001, 09:51 PM   #4
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Well, however, peace is not economicaly as profitable as a good old fashionned war....

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Old 10-28-2001, 10:36 PM   #5
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Sledgehammer,

I don't think the US is going to war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban--enemies who might have access to nukes and biological weapons--just so oil companies can profit. It's not like they're a bunch of hapless Guatemalan politicians.
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Old 10-28-2001, 10:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer:
I don't think the US is going to war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban--enemies who might have access to nukes and biological weapons--just so oil companies can profit.
True, but America may take this act of defense as a time for future economic opportunism. Something to be cautious about indeed.

Melon

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Old 10-28-2001, 10:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Holy John:
Well, however, peace is not economicaly as profitable as a good old fashionned war....

I dare you to find feasible economic motives for the Vietnam war.
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Old 10-29-2001, 09:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by speedracer:
Sledgehammer,

I don't think the US is going to war with al-Qaeda and the Taliban--enemies who might have access to nukes and biological weapons--just so oil companies can profit. It's not like they're a bunch of hapless Guatemalan politicians.
It wouldn't be the first time. Gulf War anyone?
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Old 10-29-2001, 01:18 PM   #9
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It's staggering how silly this argument is. The U.S. isn't fighting a war in Afghanistan for oil interests. Nearly six thousand innocent people were butchered on 9/11 by terrorists who are being harbored and supported by the government of Afghanistan.
Economically the terrorist attacks, the ensuing war and fear of new attacks has had an enormous negative effect on the U.S. economy which has led to the loss of billions upon billions of dollars.
There is NO oil in Afghanistan. The article, if read carefully, suggests that American oil companies might use Afghanistan as a shorter pipeline route to ship Central Asian oil to the Gulf ONCE the war is over and IF the end result is better relations with Afghanistan. Not a sure thing at all. I know some of you conspiracy theorists are still realing over the news that Aliens, the CIA, Big Business, the FBI, the Masons, the Cubans, the Russians and the Jiffy Lube man killed Kennedy and you are trying to figure out the latest conspiracy but please...
Big business, and big oil in particular have far too much influence over the U.S. government (and all the worlds governments for that matter) but they did not plan the terrorist attacks, they did not convince the American people that war was necessary and they did not make Dubya go to war in Aghanistan to shorten an oil pipeline.
Get a grip.

MAP

p.s.- Melon is right about alternative fuel sources. I too doubt that an oil man like Dubya would have the moral courage to support these measures but it really needs to happen. And for gosh sakes can we at least agree to make more fuel efficient cars in the mean time? If you're not wise enough to do it for the environment than at least do it for the safety and stability of the United States. If Bush, our president and a former oil man were to give a speech in Detroit where he said that it was the Motor Industries moral duty as Americans to build and sell cars that get 50 miles to the gallon it would happen and it would happen fast.
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Old 10-29-2001, 10:36 PM   #10
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We have to find an alternative at some point. According to Geologist, every last drop of oil on the planet will be gone, at the current rate of consumption, by 2075. The Gulf States still have the most at this point.
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Old 10-29-2001, 10:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2:
The Gulf States still have the most at this point.

Yo're scaring me with that STING; a touchy issue for me.

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