What If...? By Junious Ricardo Stanton

“Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographical position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes the possible construction of oil and natural gas export pipelines through Afghanistan, which was under serious consideration in the mid-1990's. The idea has since been undermined by Afghanistan’s instability. Since 1996, most of Afghanistan has been controlled by the Taliban movement, which the United States does not recognize as the government of Afghanistan.”- Energy Information Administration www. eia.doe.gov

America is still reeling from the attacks on the World Trade Center , Pentagon and other potential targets on September 11th. The loss of life, the steady stream of images of destruction, the mind-boggling idea that over 6,000 people perished that day.

The government has singled out Osama bin Laden as the master mind behind the attacks although they have presented no concrete evidence implicating bin Laden. Since Sunday October 7th American and British forces have been bombing Afghanistan in an attempt to destroy that nations’ feeble infrastructure, shake up the political landscape and perhaps kill bin Laden.

The US government is backing the United Front also known as the Northern Alliance in their civil war with the ruling Taliban regime. Many Americans are cheering the retaliation against the Taliban. What they are not seeing or choose not to consider is that many innocent Afghani people are being killed by our bombs and missiles.

Aside from the carnage of the eye for an eye response it is now starting to become more widely known that Afghanistan is a key player in a geological and geopolitical game that has major implications. What most people don’t know is that the area bordering Afghanistan in what used to be called the Soviet Union in the territories in the Caucasus around the Caspian Sea contains literally billions of barrels of untapped crude oil and natural gas. This crude and gas is the prize of many US oil and gas companies that have joined together to form exploration, engineering, drilling and excavation consortiums. Getting the oil and gas out presents numerous challenges physical, political, financial and technological. Politically these now separate governments are free of Russian hegemony and free to negotiate deals with Western (mainly US) energy, engineering and financial entities.

Since the Caucasus and Caspian Sea areas are landlocked one challenge is how to get the oil and gas out to tankers to get it to Western markets. Several ideas have been formulated and varying plans have called for pipelines running east from Azerbaijan towards the Black Sea and then a another phase taking it through Russia to the Ukraine into Poland. Another proposed set of pipelines will go through from Azerbaijan into Iran, then to Turkey to the Mediterranean. Another route is through Afghanistan and Pakistan into the Arabian Sea. In fact in 1998 the Taliban signed an agreement to allow a proposed 890 mile, 2 billion, 1.9 billion cubic feet per day natural gas pipeline project with a company called Unocal. However in December of 1998 Unocal announced it was withdrawing from the project citing low oil prices, and political instability in Afghanistan. Unocal was also pondering constructing a 1,000 mile, 1 million barrel per day oil pipeline called the Central Asian Oil Pipeline linking Chardzou, Turkmenistan and Pakistan and the Arabian Sea via Afghanistan.

My question is this, what if the rush to war at the exclusion of trying all other options was really fueled by American and British lust for crude and natural gas? What if the bombings and missile attacks are really motivated by the prospect of not being dependent upon OPEC for oil in the not too distant future? From a geopolitical perspective the other oil pipeline routes I mentioned (and a few I didn’t) earlier are fraught with the uncertainty of turmoil and conflict due to unrest in Russia, Turkey, Iran and fighting between Russia and Chechinya not to mention US relations with Pakistan and China which is weary of the US encircling her borders trying to get the oil and gas out of the Caspian Sea areas and getting cozy with Russia. (China also has its own political and technological issues getting oil out of Tibet) What if the September 11th attacks are merely being used as ruses for America to bum rush Afghanistan to secure access to the oil reserves estimated at 200 billion barrels that will keep America in oil for the next thirty years and lessen dependency on Arab- OPEC oil?

Remember the US government lied about the attacks in the Tonkin Gulf to escalate the Vietnam War, and used an explosion on the USS Maine as a pretext to go to war with Spain at the end of the 19th century. From what we know about white people and the US government, from what we know about how they treated indigenous peoples of this hemisphere, and Africa and how they treated/treat us, this is not as far fetched as it seems. If you doubt what I’m saying check out Alexander’s Oil and Gas Connection, www.eia.doe.gov and www.spiescafe.com connect the dots and draw your own conclusions based upon what we already know about the people involved.

Junious Ricardo Stanton is a freelance writer and Internet radio host and can be reached at jrswriter@Home.com

Junious Ricardo Stanton

Wednesday, October 24, 2001