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The Oil Wars - revealed - Part 1

Last revised - 2005/02/17

It has been revealed that US Forces have been engaged in systematic war crimes in Iraq and possibly in Afghanistan as well. These are human rights violations in direct contradiction of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Complete details at this link.

Why the Religious Right wants war

What a Conservative Republican says - Afghanistan Oil Pipeline Basis Of 9-11 Hidden Agenda"

Complete Timeline
Bush-Cheney Energy Strategy: Procuring the Rest of the Worlds Oil
Part 2 - the war in Iraq

Introduction - the war in Afghanistan

The United States has a global appetite for oil and will do practically anything to get it. 'Anything' includes war and military occupation. George "Dubya" Bush's 'War on terrorism' is nothing of the sort - it's actually a war about oil.

There's lots of oil wells scattered around the United States, Canada and the rest of the world. The problem is that many of them are running dry. It's easy to skim the oil off the top of a reserve, but once you get deeper, the oil gets heavier to the point where it will no longer pump. Then you have to use more exotic and expensive extraction techniques, such as being done at the Alberta Tar Sands.

It's a lot cheaper to go dig a new well. However, there's a few problems. Somebody else may own the land, it may be someplace remote where you have to run a pipeline, and there may be an unfriendly government. Solution - buy or lease the land for the oilwell and/or the pipeline, and make the government friendly, either by buying them off or financing a coup.

The USGS did a survey of world gas and oil reserves. After analysis of the data it concluded that the Caspian region of the former Soviet Union is one of the richest oil and gas bearing area of the world.

The following is a map of the region (interactive version is here) indicating geology and location of oil and gas resources. The large body of water (lower left, split by oilfields) is the Caspian sea.

The Centre for Strategic and International Studies also did a study released in April of 2000. The Council on Foreign Relations did a study in 1999.

There are, however, disputes and concerns about ownership of the Caspian sea resources and associated pipelines. Here is an analysis of this dispute.

History

The problem is that the oil reserves are landlocked. One possible route getting the oil to a deep-water port is to go from Turkmenistan, through Afghanistan (click here for interactive map) and Pakistan to Gwadar. On Feb 3, 1998, Gazprom sold its 10 percent stake in Centgas, a consortium set up to construct a $2 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan natural gas pipeline. U.S.-based Unocal Corporation acquired 7 percent of Gazprom shares, bringing its total stake in the Centgas to 54 percent. The 800-mile pipeline was planned to extend from the Daulatabad gas field in southeastern Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. (There's even an Enron connection.) There are other possible routes.

Despite the oil-soaked Bush Administration's attempts to buy it off (evidently $43,000,000 wasn't enough) the Taliban regime in Afghanistan wasn't willing to play ball on a pipeline. As a last resort, Bush offered "gold or bombs". Osama bin laden replied with hijacked airliners. So it was "bombs". Niaz Naik, a former Pakistani Foreign Secretary, was told by senior American officials in mid-July that military action against Afghanistan would go ahead by the middle of October. There are concerns that the Bush administration knew because they had been warned and did nothing in order to prop up his Presidency. They even called off terrorist investigations.

Now that the so-called war (which has never been declared by Congress) appears to be over, despite a certain amount of confusion as who actually owns the resources, and reports that Kazakhstan's Caspian Sea oilfield of Kashagan contains recoverable reserves of 7-9 billion barrels (considerably less than the 38 billion barrels originally estimated), the Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan governments have reached an agreement on the pipeline project and an allied liquefied natural gas plant in environmental concerns. All that's left are the final details. The Asia Development Bank is funding the feasibility study. The World Bank Russia is concerned that its interests be protected, but the US government supports the idea. The Turkmen government has been asking for UN support. UNOCAL is no longer interested in the project and there appear to be political and economic reasons that will make it difficult to interest another company. This NPR report explains the situation. Eerily, this was predicted in 1997. There are now concerns that Turkmenistan cannot supply enough resources to meet all their current pledges, never mind new ones. Nevertheless construction has started on a pipeline from Azerbaijan to Turkey. In addition, Kazakhstan's nine-year-old Tengizchevroil venture has been shelved, followed a rift over financing the cost for the next three years. This shocked the industry and could damage Kazakhstan's economy, which relies on the U.S.-backed project. This may now have been resolved.

Latest reports indicate that over the last 24 months the hoped for Caspian oil bonanza has vanished with each new well drilled.

Russia, however, appears to be interested in picking up the slack and becoming a major supplier to the United States. Because of this, they may have renewed interest in Capsian Sea resources. They have never officially dropped their claim to the region. There are, however, environmental concerns. Much of the equipment in the area is old, antiquated and leaking. There are also concerns that development may cause earthquakes.

In the meantime, however, US troops are still on Afghan soil, kicking down doors and frisking women a major affront to Islamic Afghans. Despite their presence, Afghans feel the world has reneged on promises. "Hospitals are in miserable conditions, educational facilities are inadequate and unemployment is rampant. The United Nations planned for a return of 800,000 Afghan refugees and 2 million came. A drought, now into its fifth year, has devastated agriculture."

Here is how the Prisoners of War are being treated.

The accompanying maps are copywrited by myself, but may be used freely. Please add appropriate slogans for use with signs. Copyright 2002