Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Sunday, March 14, 2010

CENTRAL ASIA PIPELINE PLAN BEGINS TO EMERGE


The Washington Post today introduces us to a controversy over Afghanistan war strategy. The Post reports that operations in Delaram (in the southwest) are "far from a strategic priority for senior officers at the international military headquarters in Kabul. One calls Delaram, a day's drive from the nearest city, 'the end of the Earth.' Another deems the area 'unrelated to our core mission' of defeating the Taliban by protecting Afghans in their cities and towns."

Why then are the Marines fighting in this part of the country?

The Post continues, "The Marines are constructing a vast base on the outskirts of town that will have two airstrips, an advanced combat hospital, a post office, a large convenience store and rows of housing trailers stretching as far as the eye can see. By this summer, more than 3,000 Marines -- one-tenth of the additional troops authorized by President Obama in December -- will be based here."

Again the Post adds, "They [some officials] question whether a large operation that began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja, a poor farming community in central Helmand, is the best use of Marine resources. Although it has unfolded with fewer than expected casualties and helped to generate a perception of momentum in the U.S.-led military campaign, the mission probably will tie up two Marine battalions and hundreds of Afghan security forces until the summer."

And finally the Post reports, "Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the top Marine commander in Afghanistan now wants Marine units to push through miles of uninhabited desert to establish control of a crossing point for insurgents, drugs and weapons on the border with Pakistan. And he wants to use the new base in Delaram to mount more operations in Nimruz, a part of far southwestern Afghanistan deemed so unimportant that it is one of the only provinces where there is no U.S. or NATO reconstruction team."

When you check the maps above a clearer picture emerges. The bottom map is the proposed pipeline route to move Caspian Sea oil through Turkmenistan into Afghanistan and then finally through Pakistan to ports along the Arabian Sea where U.S. and British tankers would gorge themselves with the black gold.

The whole reason the U.S. is in Afghanistan and Pakistan today is to deny those pipelines from being routed through Russia, China, or Iran.

Then look at the top map where the U.S. Marines are operating inside Afghanistan and causing some controversy within the military. They are building big bases in desolate southwestern Afghanistan and wanting to extend control in that region near the border of Pakistan - all of which are areas that must "be controlled" if pipelines are to be successfully built and maintained.

It seems quite obvious to me what is going on. I'd like to hear what you think.

2 Comments:

Anonymous The ACTivist magazine said...

You say that "The whole reason the U.S. is in Afghanistan and Pakistan today is to deny those pipelines from being routed through Russia, China, or Iran."

Well that is right on the money and should be rather obvious to anyone living outside of the "mainstream" media bubble.

The cold war is not quite over yet. We are in the "End Game", just like Brzezinski and others have discussed. And as Brzezinski pointed out in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives", control of energy resources will be a central pivot in all future geostrategic maneuvers around the globe.

Despite technological advances in energy extraction, conversion, and conservation (efficiency), we are still losing the battle on Peak Oil and growing energy demands in all sectors of the economy on a global scale.

Entropy could care less about endless-growth economic models.

I think many of us need more clarity on the proposed pipelines.

It seems there are 2 or more potential pipleines on the table and the uninitiated (or partly informed) are confusing them. There is the TAPI pipeline which would carry natural gas from the mountains of Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and India, and then there is the pipeline mentioned in the Washington Post article you cite. There may be one or two more potential pipelines, but these 2 I have mentioned are the main ones. It might be good for you to post an outline of these 2 (oil from Caspian to Arabian seas, and the TAPI natural gas project) pipelines, so that people can understand the geopolitics better.

Another factor (which I hope to publish on in The ACTivist magazine in the future), is that North America will soon approach a natural gas crisis.

This was a big part of the discussions at the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) meeting in Quebec City in April 2001.

The FTAA Summit launched the North American Energy Working Group (NAWEG) to plan the future of the ALREADY integrated continental energy grid, of which natural gas plays a major role. The FTAA died in 2002 and re-emerged in 2003 as the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) which launched in 2005 with NAWEG as the first working group.

In order for North Americans to understand why we are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, we must first understand our energy reality here at home.

The existing energy network - particularly in natural gas - will soon be unsustainable in its current operational design -i.e.- there simply will not be enough pressure in the pipeline to service output to all connected regions. In order for the grid to congtinue to function, it will require foreign inputs. LNG (liquified natural gas) imports will play a big part of this "energy future", with LNG ports on Canada's east coast feeding the existing pipeline with some retrofits. The U.S. portion of the grid is already equipped internally for LNG, with storage facilities handling regular pipeline fluctuations. Canada provides 82% of the U.S. natural gas imports (50% of Canada's production and 16% of total U.S. consumption). Much of Canada's natural gas is being wasted in TAR sands extraction/conversion. Canada has sold out energy sovereignty to be part of a larger global power. This is why Canada is involved so heavily in Afghanistan.

Keep up the good work Bruce and keep us posted on pipeline developments.

3/14/10, 9:37 PM  
Blogger swimmerfran said...

I did not see any mention of a pipeline in the Post article. There was discussion of how the marines' actions are annoying and baffling to some, but, the article never mentioned the pipeline as an explanation for their actions.

3/15/10, 2:58 PM  

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