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[GreenYes] Fwd: oil, pipelines, and an economic reason for the war

something to think about and weigh in with mainstream news sources and 
>The article is available online at 
>On Native Ground OIL'S BEHIND AMERICA'S 'WAR ON TERRORISM' by Randolph T. 
>Holhut American Reporter Correspondent Dummerston, Vt. DUMMERSTON, Vt. - It 
>shouldn't come as much of a shock that behind all the lofty rhetoric of 
>bringing evildoers to justice, America's new war is much like the Persian 
>Gulf War and the rest of our foreign policy actions in the Middle East over 
>the past 30 years -- in that, at bottom, everything we do in this region is 
>motivated by a desire to keep the oil flowing to the U.S. and the rest of 
>the industrialized world. It may sound coldly cynical to point this out in 
>the midst of the current flag-waving orgy in America, but since 57 percent 
>of all the oil consumed in the U.S. comes from other countries, this nation 
>has to make unsavory alliances and commit unsavory acts to assure that 
>Americans have access to cheap petroleum. How unsavory? Consider this 
>tidbit discovered by Larry Klayman's public interest law firm, Judicial 
>Watch, and Charles Lewis' financial watchdog group, the Center for Public 
>Integrity. As reported upon by Geoffrey Gray in The Village Voice, Clayman 
>and Lewis' groups found that former President George H.W. Bush is a paid 
>senior advisor to the Carlyle Group, a private Washington equity firm. The 
>bin Laden family (excluding Osama, who was disowned by them years ago) have 
>been one of its main investors; also involved are former Bush operatives 
>James Baker and Nick Carlucci. If you are wondering why President George W. 
>Bush hasn't been leaning on Saudi Arabia, a nation that has harbored 
>terrorists and funded the Taliban, one reason might be the money that his 
>father is getting from Carlyle (according to The New York Times, it's the 
>11th largest defense contractor in the U.S.) If you know your Middle East 
>history, you know that the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia got its 
>mind-boggling wealth from American investment in and development of its oil 
>fields. It earns more than $100 billion a year from oil revenues. It also 
>has one of the most repressive and undemocratic governments in the world 
>and the royal family actively supports hard-line Islamic movements. But the 
>U.S. is going easy on the Saudis because we need their oil, need their 
>country for military bases and need their continued patronage as an arms 
>buyer (the Saudis bought more than $40 billion worth of weapons in the 
>1990s alone). That's the obvious oil subcontext of this war. Less obvious 
>are the oil fields of Central Asia, which have the potential to be the 
>world's largest supplier of crude. By 2050, Central Asia could be supplying 
>up to 80 percent of the world's oil and natural gas production. For 
>example, there's an estimated 50 billion barrels of oil in Kazakhstan 
>alone; this compares to the 30 billion barrels that the Saudis are sitting 
>on. But, according to Ted Rall - the devastatingly funny syndicated 
>cartoonist who has also traveled extensively through Central Asia in the 
>1990s - the problem in Kazakhstan, besides the total economic collapse that 
>occurred when the former Soviet republic achieved independence 10 years 
>ago, is that the land-locked nation has no easy way to get its oil to 
>market. Pipelines are expensive and vulnerable to sabotage. The longer the 
>pipeline, the more expensive and vulnerable it is. Rall wrote in a recent 
>piece for AlterNet that the Kazakhs have considered various options. 
>Running a pipeline through Iran is the shortest route, but Kazakhstan's 
>ties with the U.S. makes this option unlikely. The Russians have offered to 
>help build a pipeline to the Black Sea, but as neighboring Turkmenistan has 
>found out, Russia has a tendency to skim off some of the oil without paying 
>for it. Running a pipeline through China has even been discussed, but a 
>5,300-mile pipeline would be wildly unprofitable. That leaves the last 
>option, proposed by Unocal: extending the existing Turkmenistan system west 
>to the Kazakhstan fields on the Caspian Sea, and then running it southeast 
>to the Pakistani port of Karachi on the Arabian sea. Guess which country 
>the pipeline would run through? That's right, Afghanistan. Back in the 
>early 1990s, the U.S. and Pakistani governments decided to fund and supply 
>the Taliban as a way of establishing stability to Afghanistan and ensure 
>the safety of Unocal's pipeline. Of course, while the Taliban was more than 
>willing to take the money in exchange for its willingness to cut a deal on 
>the pipeline, the arrangement proved unworkable. Between its alliance with 
>Osama bin Laden's terror network, its production of 50 percent of the 
>world's opium supply and its barely concealed desire to take over the rest 
>of Central Asia and the Middle East, the Taliban were out of control. Rall 
>wrote that the Sept. 11 attacks have provided Washington with "the perfect 
>excuse to do what the U.S. has wanted all along: invade (Afghanistan) 
>and/or install an old school puppet regime in Kabul. Realpolitik no more 
>cares about the 6,000 dead than it concerns itself with oppressed women in 
>Afghanistan; this ersatz war by a phony president is solely about getting 
>the Unocal deal done without interference from annoying local middlemen." 
>Of course, this will be easier said than done, given the ethnic hatreds and 
>byzantine politics of Central Asia. The mostly Tajik Northern Alliance, our 
>new favorites in Afghanistan, aren't strong enough to take over Kabul 
>without U.S. help. Pakistan's ethnic Pashtun government won't go along with 
>the destruction of its Pashtun brothers in the Taliban, and losing Pakistan 
>would make everything fall apart. And the Muslim extremists in the region 
>will support additional terror attacks on the U.S. as payback for 
>eliminating the Taliban. Nonetheless, having unimpeded access to Central 
>Asia's oil means vanquishing Muslim terrorism and installing 
>Western-friendly governments that the oil companies can do business with. 
>But it's not just Central Asia where the potential for havoc in the name of 
>cheap oil exists. Shoved to the backburner since Sept. 11 is Plan Colombia, 
>the $2 billion American blueprint for fighting a decades-old insurgency in 
>that nation. The two major insurgent armies fighting in Colombia, the FARC 
>(Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the ELN (National Liberation 
>Army) as well as their paramilitary opponents the AUC (United Self-Defence 
>Forces of Columbia) had been classified earlier this year as terrorist 
>groups by the U.S. State Department. President Bush hasn't directly 
>mentioned Colombia in the "war on terrorism," but it is not much of a 
>stretch to see the battlefield extended to our hemisphere. In his Narco 
>News Bulletin (, Al Giordano pointed this fact 
>out, and sees our need for cheap oil as a potential complication to 
>carrying out Plan Colombia. Surprisingly, the nation that supplies most of 
>the imported oil to the U.S. is not Saudi Arabia, but Venezuela. As of 
>1999, Venezuela supplied 15.9 percent of our oil (Canada was second at 13.7 
>percent, Saudi Arabia was third at 13.1 percent and Mexico is fourth at 13 
>percent). In other words, a third of the oil this nation uses comes from 
>this hemisphere - more than double the amount that comes from the Persian 
>Gulf. Our government doesn't particularly like Venezuela's leader, Hugo 
>Chavez. He opposes Plan Colombia and has built up a strong friendship with 
>Cuba's Fidel Castro. He also has been working on a plan to join the Central 
>and South American democracies into a European Union-style alliance. 
>Giordano wrote that considering the pressure building in Congress to again 
>give the CIA free reign to kill foreign leaders, it would not be much of a 
>stretch to imagine "a Pinochet-style U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela." The 
>open-ended nature of Bush's War on Terrorism guarantees more unsavory 
>alliances and unsavory actions, especially when there is oil on the line. 
>"So many business deals, so much oil, all those big players with power 
>connections to the Bush administration," journalist Nina Burleigh recently 
>wrote for "It doesn't add up to a conspiracy theory. But it 
>does mean there is a significant money subtext that the American public 
>ought to know about as 'Operation Enduring Freedom' blasts new holes where 
>pipelines might someday be buried." Don't hold your breath, though, waiting 
>for the American corporate press to tell you about it. Randolph T. Holhut 
>has been a journalist in New England for more than 20 years. He edited "The 
>George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books).
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