TheUnitedStateswars in Afghanistan andIraqhave proven to be beyond stupid and cruel. The motives behind each war have been clear for some time. Iraq may possess the largest oil reserves on the planet after Saudi Arabia. Afghanistan must be a key player in a long planned, complex Central Asian pipeline network for oil and natural gas as well. The massive oil corporations fully intend to extend the Age of Oil as long as possible, regardless of the consequences to the planet’s economy and ecology. Talk aside, we see nothing but cooperation and collaboration from the major sovereign states of the world for whom the question is not ‘If’ but ‘How’.
Is there any success to report after eight years into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?Ifyou believe that the Age of Oil must be continued at any cost, then stability in northern Iraq where Kurds control vast oil reserves is important. The Kurds view the United States as an ally and sympathetic to their cause of a semi-autonomous province within Iraq. The Kurdish independent movement believes in a greater Kurdistan nation that draws upon territory in Iraq,Turkeyand elsewhere.
USA oil companies have been in the northern Kurdistan provinces of Iraq for some time, attempting to lock down major oil deals. The new Iraqi government is now soliciting bids for the development of several major oil fields, and the United States is not given a preferred position. The chaos in Afghanistan has prevented potential energy resources from being adequately mapped and described. Although rarely mentioned in the press, American interest in Iran may stem from that country’s possession of at least 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves, and huge proven gas reserves that are the second largest on the planet next to those inRussia– see Source #11.
The strategic value of Afghanistan to the United States and NATO remains its central position within Pipelineistan, a gigantic, complex oil and gas pipeline project that would traverseCentralAsia. Pipelineistan requires the participation of Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, India, Turkey, Turkmenistan, China, Russia, and Armenia. Located on the other side of the world, the United States is nonetheless determined to be sitting at the table. China, Russia and Iran envisage a new Silk Road that transports oil and gas extending from the Caspian Sea to Xinjiang Province in China’s far west.
The United States counters with the Albanian Macedonian Bulgarian Oil Corporation and the Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. At the end of the day, it has to come down to which routes are chosen to bring Kazakhstan’s enormous oil reserves to market after production starts in 2013. Whoever controls Pipelineistan may well control the world’s strategic energy supplies for the remainder of this century. See the important analysis of Central Asian pipelines and oil wars by award winning international journalist Pepe Escobar in Source #12. Yes, Virginia, Black Gold still rules and this is why the “Bull in the China Shop ( re United States) cannot afford to leave Afghanistan, nor give up control over Pakistan’s military policy.
Attempts to redefine reality to suit USA objectives have met with little success because the fundamentals are well known and not overly complicated. The Taliban is not Al Qaeda, has not fused with AQ and has a very different and locally focused agenda – takeover over the Afghanistan government. The Taliban are not a global terrorist organization, and have no plans to become one. To the extent that Taliban controlled territories are made available to Al Qaeda for base of operations, the United States has only itself to blame.
Are Drone attacks justified? This is an interview in the United States at Fora TV with Hamid Mir, a prominent Pakistani journalist who was the only journalist able to interview Osama bin Laden after 9/11. Drone missions are far less costly than militaryaviationsorties that require a human pilot and crew.
Military operations brought to Afghanistan, and forced upon Pakistan amidst the AfPAK War, have created a new huge refugee problem in the northwest provinces of Pakistan. These refugees hate the United States because of the civilian casualties caused by the drone missions. To continue to talk about “winning hearts and minds” in Afghan and Pakistan villages is ludicrous. The score card of terrorist leaders killed is beside the point because there is an endless supply of good candidates ready to fill vacant leadership positions as the past eight years has demonstrated.
Propaganda about the birth of ‘fledging democracies’ would be laughable, if the human costs were not so severe. Sectarian Sunni-Shi’ite warfare in several disguises continues in Iraq. There are political analysts who believe that Iraq is the most politically corrupt state of all. Afghanistan remains as it has always been, a tribal federation where alliances shift and move in complex patterns yet to be understood in the West, and it remains the premier narco state on the planet. The United States is now deeply enmeshed in a plot to remove Hamid Karzai from office as the President of Afghanistan. His opponent in the recently held corrupt elections is believed to be more easily manipulated by American interests. So much for genuine ‘fledgling democracy’; the energy stakes are much too high for that.
The human cost in civilian casualties and social/cultural destruction in Afghanistan, and now Pakistan, is well known, thoroughly documented and apparently of little concern to those obsessed with ‘full spectrum dominance’. Tons of verbiage attempting to convince the world otherwise have accomplished little except to lower America’s integrity and trust index to near zero After eight years of these two wars, USA prestige and influence in the world has reached a new low point.
The National Priorities Project / Cost of War Counters Trade-Off –
As always, the Bottom Line is Money. There are a number of cost of war counters on the web, but a new web site has developed an exceptional presentation. TheNational Priorities Projectmission is to analyze “complex federal spending data and translate it into easy-to-understand information about how [United States] federal tax dollars are spent.”
The National Priorities web site is an education for the world, not just American voters. The expected running tally, cost-of-war counter is present. In addition, there are separate Cost of War in Afghanistan and Cost of War in Iraq counters. The visitor can choose a specific defense program and home state, and the counter will calculate what non defense programs could have been funded in that state if the chosen defense program were not funded. These counters are the bottom line look at an oft discussed topic, ‘what would we get if this or that defense program was not funded?’
For those with blogs or web sites, National Priority makes available free code snippets so you canplace these calculators on your page. This is a great site with superb calculators. Spend some time at National Priority Project and think again about where America is taking the world.
Disclaimer: The author of this post has no professional relationship with the National Priorities Project.