Monday, 8 October 2012

The TAPI Pipeline: Choking Iran Financially and "The Economic Front".

The fact that US and UK troops are to subject to "drawdown" , as Philip Hammond puts it, as opposed to withdrawal indicates that Western Powers with an interest in ensuring the construction of the TAPI Pipeline will continue to fund and train the Afghan Army after 2014.

The way forward in struggles for control over pipeline routes and diversifying energy supplies globally is to have special advisers to train forces to protect them against sabotage. That interest remains the reason why British troops have "stayed the course".

As Tye Sundlee writes in Business Insider ( Everyone's Competing For Access To This Country's Natural Gas Reserves, Oct. 4, 2012),
The US is backing the TAPI pipeline as preferable to the IPI line because it would choke Tehran financially and, it hopes, delay its suspected nuclear weapon program.
It also views Southeast Asia-South Asia and Central Asia as the regions that should play a crucial role in stabilization and peace in the Asian Continent. In this broad connectivity scheme, Afghanistan stands out as the tenuous bridge between Eurasia and the South and South East Asia. That is why Washington encourages the installing gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan. The more nations with vested economic interests in making Afghanistan a stable, viable transit country, the less resources the US will have to devote to its military and drone campaigns.Turning to the economic front, on September 14th Turkmenistan offered U.S. energy majors their first access to the Central Asian state. As Reuters reported in August,
State television named Chevron Corp (CVX.N), ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Houston-based TXOil Ltd and Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Oil and Gas as the preferred bidders for two offshore oil blocks within Turkmenistan's portion of the Caspian Sea. ExxonMobile, Shell, Chevron, Petronas and Temasek of Malaysia were all present at the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline roadshow which began on September 17th. After the road show, the delegation moved to Ashgabat on September 22-23 for the Technical Working Group (TWG) and Steering Committee (SC) meetings of the project.
The Afghanistan War has been fought as part of the New Great Game in Central Asia in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and the race to exploit the oil and gas of the Central Asia "stans". Once this fact is recognised, then there can be a real discussion of what is at stake.

When Afghanistan is mentioned, it is always somehow in isolation from the regional struggle for control of oil and gas routes that drives an increasingly dangerous and pathological competition. The War in Afghanistan is to secure the TAPI Pipeline as part of it's strategy to throttle Iran.
The construction of the TAPI Pipeline is a vital war objective in Afghanistan and explains much as to why the remaining NATO powers have remained there eleven years. This geopolitical fact has, in Orwellian style, been simply airbrushed out of most attempt to provide reasons why Britain and the US is there.

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