Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Afghanistan War: Pipeline, Energy Corporations and Baking Interests.

Why is the US and UK still in Afghanistan ? What are the real war objectives beneath the "Public Diplomacy" that spins this as a war of Defence" against international terrorism ? What geopolitical ambitions does the US have in Central Asia ?

The strategic significance in securing the construction of the TAPI pipeline is the ambition that underlies the West being in Afghanistan. A war to advance a pipeline seems less heroic than a war against terrorism and difficult to justify. Yet it is the reason US and British troops have stayed the course.

There is almost nothing in the Western media about this.It is not regarded as news but the TAPI pipeline is crucial to the nature of the USA's foreign policy in Central Asia and it has to be asked whether it is right that British troops be asked to die for a geostrategy that is about protecting energy supplies.

Western journalists need to set the Afghanistan War in context.Resource Struggles over access to oil and gas are set to become increasingly common with the rise of China and India and the need of the west to retain control of supplies against the competition.

Here are some facts.

1) The Aghanistan War is about energy diversification away from Russian and Chinese control of Turkmen gas.

2) The Afghanistan War is part of a strategy to block off a rival Iranian IPI pipeline by forcing the TAPI Pipeline on Pakistan.

3) The TAPI pipeline is strongly backed by the US as a way of integrating south Asian nations under Western auspices.

4) The TAPI pipeline is likely to benefit Western financial interests and energy corporations.

This is news in Asia. It is not news in Britain. It does not fit in with the narrative the public is to be fed, though many people in Britain are still at a loss to know what the war is about. Responsible journalism ought to be be probing into the TAPI pipeline and its role in the Western nation's decision to "stay the course".

The Nation reported today,
The Hindu/Business Line referred to sources close to the negotiations and Shell is amongst the companies that have expressed an interest in the project. According to reports, the project which has US backing had initially seen interest from Chinese and Russian firms. Road-shows were also held to invite financiers to the project.

According to The Hindu/Business Line, the participants included amongst others, SBI, US EXIM, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and Macquarie Bank. The decision with regard to the consortium leader and investors which will be made jointly by member countries in consultation with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is expected to be completed in a year’s time.

“The work on the network is expected to start in 2015,” The Hindu/Business Line said. ‘The pipeline is expected to be operational in 2018 and supply gas over a 30-year period.”

The Turkmen side conducted several international road shows for TAPI in September with the participation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). It was reported that Chevron, Exxon Mobil, BP, BG Group, RWE, Petronas and other companies became familiarised with the main terms of the project implementation and expressed an intention to participate in it.
The Asian Development Bank is a cousin of the World Bank and predominantly it reflects the investments of Western nations ( despite its convenient title as an Asian bank ). The central role of the TAPI pipeline in the US and UK strategy in Afghanistan provides the missing explanation for why we are still there.

Clearly British newspapers do not think British people should know that.

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