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War on Terror, Regime Change, Black Gold. Iraq? No Afghanistan Oktoobar 2, 2008

Posted by spiritualphilantropy in Commentary & Reports, News in English.
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“British troops fighting in Afghanistan have suffered heavy casualties in their retreat from Kabul to Jalalabad. Of the 4,500 troops most were killed in harassing tactics along the passes until the few remaining troops, taking positions on a hill made their final stand.”

This could sound like a report from Afghanistan today or tomorrow, but actually it’s a description of British troops suffering disaster in the First Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842). The British have had interests in Afghanistan that extends beyond Usama bin Laden.

What does Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, have, which Britain or the US could want? Its strategic location, which the British understood in the mid nineteenth century, is as much a factor now as it was then.

British troops in late 19th century Afghanistan focused on ensuring a puppet regime was in place compliant with British interests in India. These interests were overriding as India was the jewel in the crown, Britain’s primary possession, providing direct access to resources. If London were to lose India, it would be a disaster. If London lost India to a resurgent Russia that was making inroads into Central Asia, it would be catastrophic.

Afghanistan was therefore of strategic importance, much as it is today, for it borders China, Iran, the Central Asian states, Pakistan and is in close proximity to India. The future of global markets and geopolitical transformation, even according to leading political magazines, lies with China and India in the 21st century. US economic, political and military relations with India over the last ten years has increased.

What demands western involvement in Afghanistan today is ostensibly the Taliban, Usama bin Laden, oh and some reconstruction. But this is not the only concern for western nations, primarily the US. Afghanistan’s ‘strategic location’ offers direct access to the oil fields in Central Asia, facilitating the US need for oil diversification. This means the US do not want to be overly reliant on Middle Eastern oil. The oil fields are crying out to be tapped, and piped, but here lies the problem:

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Oil needs to be drilled

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Pipelines need to be laid

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Pipelines need to be laid in safe countries where a government and population can be trusted not to sabotage the pipes – please refer to Iraq as a case study, and the decrease in oil production since the war.

The pipelines have to lead to a port which will be a base for possible refining, and shipping to western consumer nations and industries.

Companies hesitate and decline to invest in all of the above when billions of dollars of investment cannot be guaranteed or secured due to ‘unfriendlies’. There’s no problem with the casualties the private armies that they employ suffer, but the investment is another matter.

The solution is regime change. Western nations have a long history of regime change, from Central and South America, to Africa and Asia, that an example would be insulting. So the replacement candidate for Afghanistan is……….Hamid Karzai, who reportedly had links with Unacol, the US giant oil company.

He was also a key player in the CentGas consortium, which was an attempt to construct a Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline from the Caspian area, through Afghanistan. Another consultant to Unocal at that time was Zalmay Khalilzad, previously US ambassador to Iraq. How the web thickens.

With credentials like these, as Annie would say, you betcha bottom dollar the oil’s gonna flow, beautiful liquid black gold. Afghanistan, to put it bluntly, needs pacification, for if the oil won’t flow through Afghanistan, another possible route is to Ceyhan in Turkey, and that’s a hell of a lot more pipes to lay. Maybe Annie is right, its all about the dollar. So lets be honest with ourselves and ask some questions: if Usama and the Taliban weren’t in Afghanistan, would the UK and US need an armed presence? If Afghanistan did not have strategic value, being surrounded by Iran, Pakistan, China and Central Asia, why would they go?

Afghanistan is another country that’s been caught up in and swallowed by neo-colonialism, and the British troops today are like the British troops in the mid 19th century; expendable pawns used to further ‘Great Game’ politics, back in the day when Britain still had her colonial empire and she was a beacon to the world. Not anymore. Now its supposed to be the Americans, but the economic, political and military colonisation remains the same.

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