Friday, 29 March 2013

A Tale of Two Pipelines Part II

Global media now consists of mutual partisanships where objective journalism is becoming increasingly more scarce. Simon Tisdall, the Guardian's "World Correspondent", seldom seems to break out of repeating what is Western government "Public Diplomacy" as opposed to working out what the contending sides interests are in global conflicts.

Today he opines,
"The US is urging alternative energy solutions on Islamabad, including a notional and, given the security issues involved, rather fanciful plan for a gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan",

The name for it is the TAPI Pipeline and it has been consistently the option the US is trying to force Pakistan to accept over the rival IP Pipeline. Tisdall completely omits the centrality of this project in the determination of NATO to "stay the course" in Afghanistan.

The TAPI Pipeline was termed "The New Silk Route" by Hilary Clinton. It is a prime war objective in Afghanistan that is routinely omitted from Western media discussion , including The Guardian. As it seems to undermine the "Public Diplomacy" that the war is about "humanitarian intervention".

The problem with Western geostrategy in Afghanistan is that building this alternative to the IP Pipeline is obviously hampered by Taliban guerrilla activity in areas such as Helmland through which TAPI would have to pass ( it has to skirt around the Afghan mountain ranges).

The reason Zadari is resisting US pressure is due to the fact that gas from the IP pipeline is four times cheaper than via the TAPI Pipeline and he has to react to the reality that Pakistan has recently suffered from numerous energy blackouts several times a day.

This reality is the pressing one that Pakistan has to deal with, so it is not a reaction based on simple "Anti-Americanism". The hostility to the USA come from its energy interests taking second place to the US strategy of encircling and hemming in Iranian regional ambitions.

The idea that US and British troops will be "withdrawn" in 2014, which Tisdall repeats as if mere fact, is not factual. Public Diplomacy noe emphasises troop "drawdown", which means troops will remain in substantial numbers after 2014.

The British public has been routinely told half truths about the Afghanistan War. The major war objective was and always has been strongly about the benefits of the TAPI Pipeline. This was discussed in detail by Lutz Klevemann in his The New Great Game.

While the Taliban where prepared to host Al Qaida, the war in Afghanistan, which has now fanned across the porous borders with northern Pakistan, the war was about removing Bin Laden and his terrorists. But the recent move by the US to do a deal with the Taliban proves two things.

Firstly, the war was only partly about removing Al Qaida. Before that in the 1990s it was also US geostrategy to to a deal with the Taliban in order to facilitate the building of the pipeline. The attacks of 9/11 meant the Taliban were no longer regional allies ( they were also conveniently anti-Iranian )

Secondly, the Afghanistan War was only concerned with "humanitarian intervention" as part of a doctrine of "liberal interventionism" ( believed in by armchair advocates with no grasp of geopolitics ) as a secondary aim. It was a rationalisation for the "infrastructure projects" ( i.e the TAPI Pipeline ).

Anatol Lieven has commented in the Pakistani Times ( where information on what these wars are really about ) that NATO will not withdraw by 2014. So the war will continue apace, not least with this deal between Iran and Pakistan over the IP Pipeline.

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