Are the Wars in the Middle East and North Africa Really About Oil?
The Iraq war was really about oil, according to Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, a high-level National Security Council officer and others.
Dick Cheney made Iraqi’s oil fields a national security priority before 9/11.
The Sunday Herald reported:
Five months before September 11, the US advocated using force against Iraq … to secure control of its oil.The Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11 (see this and this). According to French intelligence officers, the U.S. wanted to run an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to transport Central Asian oil more easily and cheaply. And so the U.S. told the Taliban shortly before 9/11 that they would either get “a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs”, the former if they greenlighted the pipeline, the second if they didn’t. See this, this and this.
Congressman Ed Markey said:
Well, we’re in Libya because of oil.Senator Graham agreed.
And the U.S. and UK overthrew the democratically-elected leader of Iran because he announced that he would nationalize the oil industry in that country.
It’s a War for GAS
The critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.
John C.K. Daly notes:
The proposed $7.6 billion, 1,040 mile-long TAPI [Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India ... admittedly a mouthful, but you'll be hearing a lot about it in the coming months] natural gas pipeline has a long regional history, having first been proposed even before the Taliban captured Kabul, as in 1995 Turkmenistan and Pakistan initialed a memorandum of understanding. TAPI, with a carrying capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of Turkmen natural gas a year, was projected to run from Turkmenistan’s Dauletabad gas field across Afghanistan and Pakistan and terminate at the northwestern Indian town of Fazilka.
TAPI would have required the assent of the Taliban, and two years after the MoU was signed the Central Asia Gas Pipeline Ltd. consortium, led by U.S. company Unocal, flew a Taliban delegation to Unocal headquarters in Houston, where the Taliban signed off on the project.
Until August , the US government saw the Taliban regime “as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia” from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. Until now, says the book, “the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that.”
Under newly elected president George W Bush… Unocal snuck back into the game and, as early as January 2001, was cozying up to the Taliban yet again, this time supported by a star-studded governmental cast of characters, including undersecretary of state Richard Armitage, himself a former Unocal lobbyist.
Negotiations eventually broke down because of those pesky transit fees the Taliban demanded. Beware the Empire’s fury. At a Group of Eight summit meeting in Genoa in July 2001, Western diplomats indicated that the Bush administration had decided to take the Taliban down before year’s end. (Pakistani diplomats in Islamabad would later confirm this to me.) The attacks of September 11, 2001 just slightly accelerated the schedule.
Competing Pipe Dreams
Russia and the USA have been in a state of competition in this region, ever since the former Soviet Union split up, and Russia is adamant on keeping the Americans out of its Central Asian backyard. Russia aims to increase European gas dominance on its resources whereas the US wants the European Union (EU) to diversify its energy supply, primarily away from Russian dominance. There are already around three major Russian pipelines that are supplying energy to Europe and Russia has planned two new pipelines.
The third “big player” in this New Great Game is China, soon to be the world’s biggest energy consumer, which is already importing gas from Turkmenistan via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to its Xinjiang province — known as the Central Asia-China Pipeline — which may tilt the balance towards Asia. Pepe Escobar calls it the opening of the 21st century Silk Road in 2009 when this pipeline became operational. China’s need for energy is projected to increase by 150 per cent which explains why it has signed probably the largest number of deals not just with the Central Asian republics but also with the heavily sanctioned Iran and even Afghanistan. China has planned around five west-east gas pipelines, within China, of which one is operational (domestically from Xinjiang to Shanghai) and others are under construction and will be connected to Central Asian gas reserves.
Another important country is Iran. Iran sits on the second largest gas reserves in the world and has over 93 billion barrels of proven oil reserves with a total of 4.17 million barrels per day in 2009. To the dislike of the United States, Iran is a very active player. The Turkmenistan-Iran gas pipeline, constructed in 1997, was the first new pipeline going out from Central Asia. Furthermore, Iran signed a $120 billion gas exploration deal, often termed the “deal of the century” with China. This gas deal signed in 2004 entails the annual export of approximately 10 million tons of Iranian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China for 25 years. It also gives China’s state oil company the right to participate in such projects as exploration and drilling for petrochemical and gas industries in Iran. Iran also plans to sell its gas to Europe through its Persian Gas pipeline which can become a rival to the US Nabucco pipeline. More importantly, it is also the key party in the proposed Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, also formerly known as the “peace pipeline.” Under this pipeline plan, first proposed in 1995, Iran will sell gas from its mega South Pars fields to Pakistan and India.
Referring to China, Escobar states “most important of all, ‘isolated’ Iran happens to be a supreme matter of national security for China, which has already rejected the latest Washington sanctions without a blink” and that “China may be the true winner from Washington’s new sanctions, because it is likely to get its oil and gas at a lower price, as the Iranians grow ever more dependent on the China market.”China has also shown interest in the construction of IP on the Pakistani side and further expanding it to China. This means that starting at Gwadar, Beijing plans to build another pipeline, crossing Balochistan and then following the Karakoram Highway northwards all the way to Xinjiang, China’s Far West. China is also most likely to get the construction contract for this pipeline. As stated above, Chinese firms are part of the consortium awarded the contract for the financial consultancy for the project. Closer participation in the Asian energy projects would also help China increase its influence in the region for its objective of creating the “string of pearls” across the region — which has often scared India as an encirclement strategy by the Chinese government.
Why Syria?You might ask why there is so much focus on Syria right now.
Well, Syria is an integral part of the proposed 1,200km Arab Gas Pipeline:
Here are some additional graphics courtesy of Adam Curry:
So yes, regime change was planned against Syria (as well as Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran) 20 years ago.
And yes, attacking Syria weakens its close allies Iran and Russia … and indirectly China.
But Syria’s central role in the Arab gas pipeline is also a key to why it is now being targeted.
Just as the Taliban was scheduled for removal after they demanded too much in return for the Unocal pipeline, Syria’s Assad is being targeted because he is not a reliable “player”.
Specifically, Turkey, Israel and their ally the U.S. want an assured flow of gas through Syria, and don’t want a Syrian regime which is not unquestionably loyal to those 3 countries to stand in the way of the pipeline … or which demands too big a cut of the profits.
A deal has also been inked to run a natural gas pipeline from Iran’s giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria (with a possible extension to Lebanon).
And a deal to run petroleum from Iraq’s Kirkuk oil field to the Syrian port of Banias has also been approved:
Turkey and Israel would be cut out of these competing pipelines.
Pepe Escobar sums up what is driving current global geopolitics and war:
What you’re really talking about is what’s happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It’s there that the liquid war for the control of Eurasia takes place.Notes: It’s not just the Neocons who have planned this strategy. Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser helped to map out the battle plan for Eurasian petroleum resources over a decade ago, and Obama is clearly continuing the same agenda.
Yep, it all comes down to black gold and “blue gold” (natural gas), hydrocarbon wealth beyond compare, and so it’s time to trek back to that ever-flowing wonderland – Pipelineistan.
Some would say that the wars are also about forcing the world into dollars and private central banking, but that’s a separate story.
And some allege that even portions of the Greek melodrama are explained by gas and oil.
An alternate route for the same exact set of functionalities would begin at the head of the Persian Gulf in Basra (Iraq) and cross the southern Iraqi desert to Jordan, then loading for shipment across or under the Mediterranean -- from the Israeli coast. Israel is already in the pipeline business, connecting the Med to the Red Sea as a budget bypass for the Suez. You could guess that the tremendous covert investment the US is putting into securing the Red Sea may have to do with protecting alternate transit routes if the Strait of Hormuz is closed. Especially in an environment of Egyptian instability, making the Suez route less predictable, Israel could become the oil/gas/water nexus in the region and beyond. Even now, with their tiny Med/Red pipeline, they are in a position to block oil flows from Russia to China.
Israel will soon be mining natural gas off its own Med Coast and has a deal done with Cyprus for a pipeline. From there -- the short route to Turkey or the long one to Greece? Due to financial manipulations some time ago, in an environment often showing sharp bia toward Israeli interests, events were set into motion that are fragmenting Greece, turning it into a failed state with an incomparable port infrastructure being sold on the cheap. But then you could say that about the entire Mediterranean basin right now.
diplomacy’ – what Noam Chomsky called ‘manufacturing consent’ for, for example,
hegemonic wars - there is something called a ‘limited hangout’. Whenever the public starts getting too close
to the truth, it is thrown what mystery writers call a ‘red herring’, i.e. a
little bit of the truth which serves to throw it off the track.
There may be geopolitical considerations for insuring that
the majority of the world’s remaining reserves of fossil fuels do not fall
under the domination of a single country - considerations that apply to other
countries besides the U.S. But there is no immediately compelling
national security concern for the U.S.
compelling it ride roughshod over the rest of the world’s energy interest and
attempt hegemonic control over fossil fuel reserves in the Middle
East and elsewhere. Save
For a country which has decided to abandon the once complete
industrial supremacy that provided the foundations of its economic and military
power as to rely instead upon the ability of its financiers, bankers and
government to pay its way in the world by creating debt (AKA money, financial
paper or lately ‘toxic waste’) losing control of the world’s remaining fossil
fuel energy reserves represents an existential threat to its global power and
predominance. (As does the world’s
development of renewable and alternative energy sources)
Any country with the will or ability to stand up to threats
of military action by the U.S. and which at the same time expresses the
intention of refusing to continue to accept the debt created by its bankers and
government constitutes a direct threat to the interests of the US ruling class,
which continues to get monetarily wealthier by destroying the real foundations
of the country’s wealth – by dismantling its industrial base and letting its
‘human capital’ rot, off-shoring the jobs that used to allow its people to pay
for their high standard of living. All
for short-term monetary gain so people with lots of money or the ability to
create it, i.e. financiers and bankers, can become monetarily more wealthy
while the rest of the country sinks into poverty and ‘debt peonage’.
No, money is THE story!
Syria now is about Iranian influence in Syria itself but also Lebanon where they help underwrite Hezzbollah which drives Israel crazy. In order to undercut Iran and gain a monoply on Persian Gulf hydrocarbons as well as a gateway into oil and gas fields in central Asia, including a huge Iranian nat gas field in the Caspian, the West will try to overthrow the Iranian government.
What is new is the idea of an east-west pipelines, oil and gas, through Jordan and Syria to the Mediterranean coast and Turkey. These pipelines would avoid the Hormuz Straits altogether. The Emir of Qatar has already suggested such a development. Then even Saudi Arabian gas and oil could avoid the Straights and the Suez Canal.This becomes obvious when we see who is underwriting the insurgency in Syria.
The US and Israel are not the only countries that do not want to see a nuclear Iran. There are all the Gulf States that know that if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, being the most populous and having the largest economy in the Gulf, they will be the regions' hegemon. Saudi Arabia has a very large Shiite population and Bahrain is majority Shiite. Could religious uprisings could bring Iran to the south coast of the Persian Gulf?
Personally I do not see Iran invading any other country. The Shiites in the Gulf are almost all Arabs while the Shiite rulers of Iran are Persian. What puzzles me is Iran's open and belligerent defiance of the West. They could have easily won the world public relations battle by using a more tactful approach and just waiting for the West to crumble ... Iraq is falling into their sphere of influence and everyone can see that Afghanistan is a second catastrophe and probably presages the absolute abatement of power for the US and the West in the Middle East and Central Asia ...
What is happening are more and more runaway examples that ALL of the established money/murder systems, of ALL these different countries COLLECTIVELY going more and more insane. They are ALL based on the triumph of huge lies, backed by violence, in order to operate organized frauds and robberies. Of course, the money and murder systems revolve around the realities of the natural resources! HOWEVER, it is the whole of Neolithic civilization ITSELF that is become too psychotic to make sense of itself. We are looking at the paradox of the final failure from too much "success" at controlling civilization with huge lies, backed by lots of violence. That is NOT working out well for any of them, and it is automatically going to get much worse. Building a global civilization on the runaway triumphs of dishonesty, backed by violence, makes historical sense as to WHY that happened, and therefore, how it is apparently continuing to happen. BUT, BUT, BUT, that process has become inherently too self-destructive. ALL of these countries, playing their old-fashioned grand games, have gone MAD. What they are doing is painting themselves into their own corners of Mutual Assured Destruction. Neolithic civilization has gone mad in all sense of that word. There is no sane analysis possible to give, because they have all become INSANE!!! ... People like to still believe that their big daddies have not gone nuts. However, I think that is the best way to understand the established systems, based on the triumphs of dishonesty. Too much of their own "success" at being dishonest has driven them psychotic. The astronomical amplification of their powers through science and technology is backfiring, by enabling them to become even crazier. We are NOT looking at some overall sane master plan being successfully implemented by any of these players. We are looking at that "great game" manifesting psychotic breakdowns!