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Oil drives Canada’s War in Afghanistan

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by Bill Sardi

The Globe and Mail reported on 19 June 2008 in the article titled “Pipeline opens new front in Afghan war”, that so-called conspiracy theories associated with an oil pipeline as a basis for War in Afghanistan are apparently true. In that article, energy economist John Foster says the $7.6 billion pipeline “is part of a wider struggle by the U.S. to counter the influence of Russia and Iran over trade in the region.”

In the “war infomercial” we all get on TV, the current U.S. attack on Afghanistan is described as a war to stamp out terrorism and protect the American people. Amidst the flag waving, there is no discussion of oil or of rivalry with Russia and other neo-colonial interests. But, in fact, oil politics and neo-colonial interests are woven into all the moves and alliances that the U.S. is now making. LINK.

On February 12, 1998, John J. Maresca, vice president, international relations for UNOCAL oil company, testified before the US House of Representatives, Committee on International Relations. Maresca provided information to Congress on Central Asia oil and gas reserves and how they might shape U.S. foreign policy. UNOCAL’s problem? As Maresca said: “How to get the region’s vast energy resources to the markets.” The oil reserves are in areas north of Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. Routes for a pipeline were proposed that would transport oil on a 42-inch pipe southward thru Afghanistan for 1040 miles to the Pakistan coast. Such a pipeline would cost about $2.5 billion and carry about 1 million barrels of oil per day. Maresca told U.S. Congress then that: “It’s not going to be built until there is a single Afghan government. That’s the simple answer.”

Dana Rohrbacher, California congressman, then identified the Taliban as the ruling controllers among various factions in Afghanistan and characterized them as “opium producers.”

Then Rohrbacher asked Maresca: “There is a Saudi terrorist who is infamous for financing terrorism around the world. Is he in the Taliban area or is he up there with the northern people?”

Maresca answered: “If it is the person I am thinking of, he is there in the Taliban area.” This testimony obviously alluded to Osama bin Laden.

Then Rorhbacher asked: “… in the northern area as compared to the place where the Taliban are in control, would you say that one has a better human rights record toward women than the other?”

Maresca responded by saying: “With respect to women, yes. But I don’t think either faction here has a very clean human rights record, to tell you the truth.”

So women’s rights were introduced into Congressional testimony by Congressman Rohrbacher as the wedge for UNOCAL to build its pipeline through Afghanistan. Three years later CNN would be airing its acclaimed TV documentary “Under The Veil,” which displayed the oppressive conditions that women endure in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban — a propaganda film for the oil pipeline?

Rohrbacher then had went on to say that a democratic election should take place in Afghanistan and “if the Taliban are not willing to make that kind of commitment, I would be very hesitant to move forward on a $2.5 billion investment because without that commitment, I don’t think there is going to be any tranquility in that land.”

Beginning in 1998 UNOCAL was chastised, particularly by women’s rights groups, for discussions with the Taliban, and headed in retreat as a worldwide effort mounted to come to the defence of the Afghani women. This forced UNOCAL to withdraw from its talks with the Taliban and dissolve its multinational partnership in that region. In 1999 Alexander’s Gas & Oil Connections newsletter said: “UNOCAL company officials said late last year (1998) they were abandoning the project because of the need to cut costs in the Caspian region and because of the repeated failure of efforts to resolve the long civil conflict in Afghanistan.” [Volume 4, issue #20 – Monday, November 22, 1999]

Three days following the attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City, UNOCAL issued a statement reconfirming it had withdrawn from its project in Afghanistan, long before recent events. [www.unocal.com September 14, 2001 statement]

UNOCAL was not the only party positioning themselves to tap into oil and gas reserves in central Asia. UNOCAL was primary member of a multinational consortium called CentGas (Central Asia Gas) along with Delta Oil Company Limited (Saudi Arabia), the Government of Turkmenistan, Indonesia Petroleum, LTD. (INPEX) (Japan), ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co., Ltd. (Japan), Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co., Ltd. (Korea), the Crescent Group (Pakistan) and RAO Gazprom (Russia).

Just because CentGas had dissolved does not mean that the involved parties have totally abandoned their interest in building an oil pipeline out of Central Asia. There is also talk of another pipeline thru Iran. India and Pakistan are bidding to be the pipeline terminal ocean port since they would obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in fees.

So, in 1998 Osama bin Laden was identified as the villain behind the Taliban, Afghani women the victims of an oppressive Taliban regime, and the stage was set for a future stabilization effort (i.e. a war). Was all this a cover story for a future oil pipeline?

In November 2000, Bruce Hoffman, director of the Rand Institute office in Washington D.C., indicated that the next U.S. President would have to face up to the growing threat is Islamic terrorism. Hoffman: “The next administration must turn its immediate attention to knitting together the full range of U.S. counterterrorist capabilities into a cohesive plan.” [Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2000]

All that was needed was a triggering event.

About the writer:

Bill Sardi is an investigative journalist. Check out his website.

   

 

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Written by thecanadianheadlines

December 11, 2009 at 10:19 pm

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