The Petrodollar Wars: The War in Afghanistan and the New Great Game
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Preparing for the Collapse of the Petrodollar System, Part 4
The War in Afghanistan and the New Great Game
by Jerry Robinson
Miss Part One, Two, and Three? START HERE.
|Introduction to Part Four: “The War in Afghanistan and the New Great Game”|
As we have learned from the previous articles in this series, the petrodollar system that was cleverly crafted in the 1970′s has served America well. What began as a way to drive more demand for the U.S. dollar, in the wake of a move away from the international gold standard in 1971, has provided benefits that few could ever imagine. America’s ‘dollars for oil’ system has greatly enriched our nation at the expense of other nations and their potential prosperity. It has also helped solidify the U.S. dollar as the global currency of choice, following a temporary loss of credibility after President Nixon’s decision to close the gold window.
In this fourth installment of our series, I will explain how the petrodollar system has led the U.S. into a perpetual state of war in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, this article will focus on the rise of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, along with what I believe may be the real reasons for the War in Afghanistan.
I have entitled this piece, The Petrodollar Wars: The War in Afghanistan and the New Great Game
While our last article provided a sobering analysis of the motives for the U.S. invasion of Iraq through its obvious connection to the petrodollar system, there are still lingering questions regarding the “other” war in Afghanistan that remain unanswered. In this article, I will attempt to shed light on three primary questions. Namely, why did the United States invade Afghanistan? Why is the U.S. military still in Afghanistan? And finally, what strategic purpose, if any, does Afghanistan have in helping America maintain the global reserve currency through the petrodollar system?
Why is the United States in Afghanistan?
On October 7, 2001, the Bush Administration launched the U.S. war machine into the rugged mountains of Afghanistan under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom. The official aim of the military aggression was to “liberate” Afghanistan from the terrorist network, Al Qaeda, find Osama Bin Laden, and dismantle the reigning Taliban regime. Within weeks of the invasion, the U.S. military had driven most of the top Taliban officials into the neighboring country of Pakistan.
Three years later, the newly formed Afghan government held democratic style elections and voted in their current president, Hamid Karzai. While there have been ebbs and flows in the violence, Taliban insurgents operating from their base in neighboring Pakistan have sought to regain control of Afghanistan.
The war in Afghanistan has become America’s longest running war and has served to drain troop morale. Over 20,000 Afghans and 2,000 U.S. troops have died in this 11 year struggle. This is not to mention the number of amputees and others who have been permanently wounded in this war. The number of U.S. troops who are now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is skyrocketing and thousands of veterans are waiting for their promised benefits.
How can a bankrupt government like the United States justify a never ending war on the other side of the world when it doesn’t even have money to pay for the obligations that it has promised to its own citizenry?
As we witnessed in the 2012 Presidential debates and election, asking questions of this nature is futile. The media never once asked either candidate how we plan to fund our ongoing military conquests. Nor was the phrase “Federal Reserve” ever mentioned once during the debates. Considering that the Fed serves as a vital funding source of the Federal government, this should have been appalling to the American public. Instead, most Americans blindly fell for the right-left paradigm, refusing to see the truth that both political parties operate in a state of denial about America’s real problems.
Most Americans have grown weary of, and apathetic to, the occupation of Afghanistan by the U.S. war machine. A recent public opinion poll in the U.S. showed that 69% of Americans believe that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan, and even the U.S. military has recently appeared to abandon hopes of reaching a peace deal with the Taliban, its stated objective for the last several years.
The Obama administration has announced plans to formally end combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of 2014. But according to a November 2012 report released by the Wall Street Journal, 10,000 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan after 2014 to provide “counterterrorism and training support.”
At this point, we should ask ourselves a few important questions:
1) Why did the U.S. invade Afghanistan in the first place?
2) How much safer is America after its 11 year struggle in Afghanistan?
3) Why exactly is a bankrupt U.S. maintaining troops in Afghanistan even beyond 2014?
It has been my observation that few Americans know why America is still in Afghanistan or why we invaded the country in the first place. Some think that the Afghanistan war was important in order to get the “terrorists who plotted 9/11.” But the official story that the government-media complex fed to the American public in the wake of the tragic events of 9/11 actually provoke more questions than answers.
Within two weeks of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI claimed that a shadowy terrorist organization known as Al Qaeda was responsible. However, Osama Bin Laden, the professed leader of Al Qaeda, was never even formally charged for the 9/11 attacks. Even Bin Laden’s Most Wanted Poster issued by the FBI never mentioned his involvement in 9/11. Why? Because, as the head of the FBI’s public affairs unit Rex Tomb admitted, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Osama bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting bin Laden to 9/11.”
In fact, to this day, no hard evidence exists linking Osama Bin Laden to the events of 9/11. How can that be? And if there was no hard evidence linking Bin Laden to 9/11, then what was the justification for invading the sovereign country of Afghanistan in an effort to find him and “smoke him out of his cave?”
All of this disinformation may sound eerily familiar as it seems to be the same faulty logic employed by the Bush administration regarding another post 9/11 invasion… in Iraq. Before we explore what I believe are the ultimate reasons for the Afghanistan war, let’s re-familiarize ourselves with some of that faulty logic.
The Bush Years: Bold Lies About Iraq and 9/11
Within days of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration began publicizing its war plans. While many Americans were desperate for answers and were eager for justice, some were deeply perplexed by the decision to invade Afghanistan, and later Iraq. After all, 15 of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan or Iraq. However, the Bush administration explained to an extremely vulnerable public that the 9/11 masterminds (Al Qaeda) were hiding out in the mountains of Afghanistan. Those who questioned the logic of an Afghan invasion were quickly hushed by the war-hungry myriads, and their reasoning was silenced by the mainstream media’s relentless beating of the war drums.
In the build up to the Iraq war, the Bush administration swore up and down that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and that Saddam Hussein was intimately connected to the attacks of 9/11 and to Al Qaeda itself.
In a letter dated March 21, 2003, written from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Bush says:
“I have also determined that the use of armed force against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.”
You can read the entire letter here.
Vice-President Dick Cheney went as far as to call the so-called link between Al Qaeda and Iraq “overwhelming.”
In its zeal to gain evidence of an Iraq connection to the events of 9/11, the Bush administration reportedly tortured numerous detainees, attempting to extract a damning confession. But the torture techniques resulted in no confessions.
In reality, Iraq had no WMDs and, despite massive intelligence efforts, no connection could be found between Iraq and Osama Bin Laden. It was later revealed that the Bush administration had detailed knowledge that Iraq did not have WMDs prior to the invasion. Bush would later be forced to admit that Saddam Hussein had no connection to the events of 9/11 after his attempts to lie to the American people failed. Of course, he refused to admit that he had indicated, or even suggested a link between Iraq and Bin Laden. The CIA would later admit that they knew one year before the Iraq war that Iraq and Al Qaeda had no connection and that Osama Bin Laden was “in fact a longtime enemy of Iraq.”
Interesting side note: While the growing public mistrust of the Washington elites has reached a fever pitch in our modern era, its origins are somewhat surprising. It was not the blatant lies told to the American people during the Bush years, along with the gross mishandling of the events on 9/11, that would eventually cause the “sheeple” to stir from their slumber. Instead, it was the 2008-09 economic crisis that forced the citizenry to look upon their elected officials with suspicion.
Al Qaeda: Just Another CIA Creation
While Iraq was obviously a war designed to protect America’s petrodollar system, the war in Afghanistan at least appeared to be slightly more justifiable. Why? Because it was a known fact that Afghanistan harbored and supported members of Islamic terrorist groups. Yet relatively few Americans are aware that the U.S. spent billions of dollars funding the Afghan mujahideen through the 1980′s and into the 1990′s. This funding of Afghan radicals and Islamic militants occurred under a covert CIA program, known as Operation Cyclone.
If you are not familiar with Operation Cyclone, I urge you to spend some time researching this interesting piece of U.S. history. This extremely expensive covert CIA operation, which was coordinated with the financial assistance of Saudi Arabia, was initiated under President Jimmy Carter and greatly expanded under President Ronald Reagan. The financing and arming of these Islamic radicals by the CIA and the Saudis was later justified as an attempt to demoralize and degrade the Soviet army during the Cold War era. The fact that the U.S. armed Islamic militants to the teeth and provided them with tens of billions of dollars in the form of “foreign aid” is obviously an embarrassing fact in U.S. history. It makes you wonder how many U.S. troops have been killed or maimed by our own weapons in this most recent war.
Perhaps even more damning is that Operation Cyclone may have provided necessary financing for the rise of a man by the name of Osama Bin Laden. In the wake of the tragic London bombing on 7/7/2005, former British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook penned a piece in the London Guardian publicly admitting that the CIA and the Saudis had created, armed, and funded Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.
“Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80′s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden’s organisation would turn its attention to the west.”
What made this revealing commentary so explosive was the fact that Cook was a respected former high-ranking British government official. Within one month of the publication of the article, the healthy and fit Cook died of a “heart attack” while on vacation with his wife. The mystery surrounding his death still raises more questions than answers.
Later, U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, would publicly admit that the CIA created the very enemies that the United States is now fighting in Afghanistan. Watch the video below.
Clinton explains the role of the U.S. in funding the Islamic militants again here… Watch the video.
While many Americans are distrustful of their government, most of them are so woefully ignorant of their own history that they are unable to demand positive change from their leaders. Instead, they are spoon-fed current events by the government-corporate-media complex, which not only carefully selects the news that is reported, but also tells them what to think about it. If the American people truly understood history they would reject the corporate-controlled media.
The FOXNEWS-MSNBC-CNN-ABC-NBC-CBS news outlets should be viewed merely as entertainment… and at best, info-tainment. Their refusal to dig deeper into their stories, however, is determined by the attention span of the average American.
So perhaps the media that we have today is the media that we deserve.
The Afghanistan War: Follow the Money
When you consider that the bankrupt American empire has been spending approximately $2 billion per week since 2001 on the war in Afghanistan, it should be apparent that our government officials are motivated by some incentive other than “fighting terror” and “spreading democracy.” In fact, if our government officials are foolish enough to spend $2 billion per week in order to “spread democracy” to foreign lands as the American economy crumbles, then they should all be immediately checked into the Beltway’s nearest asylum. But we know better. As rational human beings, we know that everything that occurs in this life does so at the behest of incentives. In other words, America would not be spending $2 billion per week for 11 years in Afghanistan unless it perceived that the expense was somehow justified.
The thesis of this article then, pertains to the reasons behind the war in Afghanistan. The U.S.-led invasion and agonizingly drawn-out occupation of the region by our military has little to do with eradicating the CIA-created “Al Qaeda”, fighting “terrorism”, or altruistically “spreading democracy” to foreign lands. Instead, a basic understanding of history and economics demonstrates that these wars have much more to do with the U.S. securing access to the region’s natural resources.
Like the Iraq war, I believe that the war in Afghanistan has been motivated by an effort to protect the U.S. dollar (i.e. the petrodollar system.) Protecting the current “dollars for oil” arrangement requires the U.S. to control and regulate the flow of natural resources in the region. After all, modern empires like the U.S. need not occupy an entire land in order to regulate and dominate commerce and trade. Instead, selecting and controlling those in power is all that is required for the empire to maintain its dominion over a particular region. This explains many of the Western puppet regimes that exist in the Middle East, which actively do the bidding of Western interests. Of course, the leaders of these puppet regimes are attractively compensated in exchange for their willingness to eliminate the sovereignty of their nation and their people.
Consider the chart below which shows the excessive amounts of money that the U.S. spends on foreign aid in the Middle East propping up its puppets.
Notice that the U.S. gives more foreign aid to Israel’ s sworn enemies than it does to Israel itself. This schizophrenic behavior of “standing with Israel” while providing excessive financial support to Israel’s enemies in the region is dubious. However, it makes perfect sense when viewed through the lens of resource war and the petrodollar system.
Iraq, for example, offers a clear picture of Western interests as it sits atop some of the largest oil reserves in the world. And most of Iraq’s oil fields are still largely untapped and lie waiting for oil companies to exploit them.
But what about Afghanistan? Isn’t Afghanistan just a mountainous wasteland with an uneducated population? What possible incentive could the United States have for wanting to invade and control this nation?
If you have ever wondered this, it is time to introduce you to the “New Great Game.”
The New Great Game: The Real Reasons Behind the Afghanistan War
Afghanistan is strategically located in the resource-rich region of Central Asia. Amid the rise of many emerging nations in search of new oil supplies, Central Asia has become ground zero in what is a new scramble for natural resources.
It has been estimated that the entire Caspian Sea is full of oil and natural gas, starting from Azerbaijan and continuing to the opposite shore in the territory of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. These energy deposits take on enormous importance given their close proximity to the rising energy hungry powers of China and India. In addition, because of the expected depletion of the oil deposits in Alaska and the North Sea around the year 2015, the West is aggressively seeking access to new sources of energy supplies.
For decades, Central Asia has held immense strategic geopolitical significance. During World War II, for example, Adolf Hitler enacted Operation Blue in an attempt to capture the Caucasian oil fields from the Russians. His hope was that this victory would help him secure his plot for global domination. His failure left the oil-rich region of Central Asia under Russia’s control.
But throughout history, countries that have attempted to invade and exploit Central Asia’s abundant natural resources have been forced to contend with one major obstruction: the region is isolated and landlocked. This was the predominant theme of the 19th century (1813-1907) when the British Empire struggled to gain access to the region when it was largely under the thumb of Tsarist Russia. This 19th century race to exploit the immense energy supplies of Central Asia between the Russian empire and the British Empire is known as the “Great Game.” To those familiar with the phrase, and the history it implies, the reasons of the growing “war on terror” begin to come into sharp focus.
Today, Western powers are once again racing to build an empire in Central Asia. But, unlike the last century, this New Great Game is not about controlling the lands of Central Asia. Instead, as Karl Meyer and Shareen Brysac put it in their book, Tournament of Shadows: The Great Game and the Race for Empire in Central Asia, “pipelines, tanker routes, petroleum consortiums, and contracts are the prizes of the new Great Game”.
In 2010, the Guardian newspaper published a leaked document written by Washington’s ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Tatiana Gfoeller, after she had attended a meeting with British and Canadian businessmen in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. In the leaked document, Ms. Gfoeller reports that during the meeting, Prince Andrew of York told her that Western Europe, the United States and the United Kingdom were now “back in the thick of playing the Great Game and this time we aim to win.”
Whoever can gain control over this region can control the pipelines that will be constructed, which will transfer the natural resources to global markets.
A Working Timeline of the New Great Game
While selecting a point of origin for this New Great Game is arguable, for the sake of brevity, I will begin our timeline in April 1995. In that month, the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council formed a working group to study U.S. oil and gas interests in the Caspian Sea region. In that same month, Turkmenistan officials traveled to Texas to discuss the feasibility of constructing a gas pipeline that would stretch from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan and on to the Arabian Sea. By October of that same year, Turkmenistan’s president, Saparmurad Niyazov, signed an agreement with Unocal and the Saudi Arabian Delta Oil Company, giving the two companies exclusive rights to develop the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline in his country.
With Turkmenistan in agreement, the next step would be to gain approval from Pakistan. That job fell on U.S. Ambassador Tom Simmons who, in March of 1996, began urging Pakistani Prime Minister, Zulifiqar Ali Bhutto, to give exclusive rights for the Trans-Afghan pipeline to Unocal.
By September 1996, the Taliban had fully captured the city of Kabul, Afghanistan. At this time, the U.S. viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian and pro-Western. President Clinton, who was impressed by the Taliban’s apparent willingness to discuss the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline, opted to support their claim to power in the region. Soon, the State Department and Pakistan’s ISI were funneling weapons and money to the Taliban to aid their confrontation with the Northern Alliance. In his provocative book, Taliban, Ahmed Rashid explains that U.S. taxpayers paid for the salaries of virtually every Taliban official up until 1999.
In 1997, the BBC reported that a senior delegation from the Taliban in Afghanistan was invited by the international energy company, Unocal, to the United States for talks on constructing a gas pipeline that would stretch from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. (Unocal later merged with Chevron in 2005.) The Taliban delegation spent several days at the company’s headquarters in Sugarland, Texas. Unocal, eager to begin development of the vast energy resources of the Caspsian Sea region, commissioned the University of Nebraska to teach Afghan men the technical skills needed for pipeline construction.
According to sources, Taliban officials were told they could accept a “carpet of gold” or a “carpet of bombs.”
Pakistani officials claimed the Bush administration informed them five weeks before 9/11 that they would begin military operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban in October of that same year. This claim is backed up by the fact that the detailed military invasion orders against Afghanistan, referred to in National Security Presidential Directive 9 (NSPD 9), were placed in the Oval Office on President Bush’s desk waiting to be signed — on September 4, 2001. Did Bush know that the events of 9/11 were about to unfold?
The Trillion Dollar Graveyard… of Empires
Interestingly, in 2010, it was reported that a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists had discovered vast amounts of untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan worth nearly $3 trillion. One U.S. government official explained, “This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy.” A related Pentagon memo claimed that Afghanistan was positioned to become the ”Saudi Arabia of lithium.”
The story, however, was not new. Instead, it was likely manufactured to drive support for the war from an apathetic American public.
The fact that Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was known by the U.S. in advance of the war was revealed in an interview with a retired senior U.S. official based in Afghanistan. In the interview, conducted by Politico, the U.S. official noted that the reports of a ‘discovery’ of vast amounts of resources and minerals was old news.
“When I was living in Kabul in the early 1970’s the [U.S. government], the Russians, the World Bank, the UN and others were all highly focused on the wide range of Afghan mineral deposits. Cheap ways of moving the ore to ocean ports has always been the limiting factor.”
In fact, the Afghans themselves knew about the vast mineral riches that lay under their feet as far back as 1985. A report published by the chief engineer of the Afghan Geological Survey Department details the discovery of massive amounts of mineral wealth along with extraction plans with the aid of the former Soviet Union. Obviously, that deal fell through after Russia made another important discovery: that Afghanistan was the graveyard of empires. In 1989, after attempting to exploit the region’s resources on numerous occasions, Russia pulled out of Central Asia amid deep turmoil in the mother country.
Additionally, the news of Afghanistan’s tremendous mineral wealth, and the vast oil and natural gas reserves of nearby countries, was published for all to read in a 1997 book by globalist Zbigniew Brzezinski entitled The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives.
Brzezinski, who is a former Presidential advisor and a member of both the Bilderbergers and the Council on Foreign Relations, states in his book what was commonly known among the global elites in the mid-1990′s about the importance of the Central Asian region:
“…the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold” (page 124)
“America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Euraisian continent is sustained… A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions…most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil.” (page 30-31)
And here’s footage of former U.S. National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, as he stirs up the Islamic militants telling them that God is “on their side” and that their war against Russia is just. Watch the video below.
In addition to the vast mineral wealth, which the United States Geological Survey reported as early as 2007 — three years before it released its “bogus finding” to the mainstream press as a legitimate news story — Central Asia is also extremely rich in oil and natural gas.
According to the BP Statistical Review 2011, Kazakhstan had the ninth largest proven oil reserves in the world with well over 30 billion barrels. This is larger than Nigeria (37.2 billion barrels), Canada (32.1 billion) and the United States (30.9 billion).
What Russia and Britain both failed to do in previous decades during the Great Game, America appears willing and able to do.
However, America will face formidable opposition and competition for these same resources from the Russians and especially the Chinese. Again, Brzezinski points out the obvious when he writes:
“China’s growing economic presence in the region and its political stake in the area’s independence are also congruent with America’s interests.” (page 148)
In order to successfully conquer the region of Central Asia, Brzezinski writes that the West must seek to:
“prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.” (page 40)
I cannot think of a better description of what the U.S.-led wars in the region have created than this last sentence.
How do you “prevent collusion and maintain security dependence?” By keeping the region in a perpetual state of war and and upheaval. This is the classic “divide and conquer” strategy that Western nations have employed in the resource-rich regions for centuries. But the American empire deserves credit for cleverly disguising its true intentions in its conquests by appealing to a bogus “war on terror” along with its relationship with Israel. By creating an enemy figure in the form of “global terrorism” along with whipping up national “support” for Israel, the U.S. has made it easy for the public to turn a blind eye towards the nation’s aggressive foreign policy in most parts of the world. In fact, it appears that some Americans actually believe that the bankrupt U.S. empire has pure intentions in conquests. However, this fantasy of America being guided by its better angels in all things related to foreign policy entraps only the weakest of minds.
As stated previously, the difficulty in exploiting the natural resources within Central Asia is one of transport not exploration. The exploration and extraction process is relatively simple compared to transporting Central Asia’s vast oil and gas reserves out of difficult terrain, out to a warm water port, and then on to global markets. To do so would require the construction of a large number of pipelines traversing multiple nations. Geographically, there are several potential pathways for these pipelines. Two of these include:
1) A pipeline running south from the Caspian Sea, crossing through Iran, and out into the Black Sea
While this is the most direct and inexpensive route, the U.S. is firmly against this option. Tensions are rising as Iran has thumbed its nose at the U.S. dollar and refuses to allow the American empire to treat it as a puppet regime.
2) A pipeline from the Caspian that traverses Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then out to the Arabian Sea
This has been the route preferred by the United States for well over a decade. However, one thing has long stood in the way of this becoming reality: Radical Islamic militants in the region.
More on this in a moment…
The other potential routes for transporting Central Asia’s resources to global markets have been shunned by the U.S. as they traverse areas that the U.S. believes would be too tempting to the region’s two behemoths: China and Russia. In years past, Russia has dominated oil and gas fields in the Western portion of Central Asia. However, in 2009, the first gas pipeline in this region to be built without Russian involvement came into operation. The pipeline directly linked the resource-rich areas of Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to the growing energy demand of another emerging nation: China.
And while China’s oil demand is noteworthy, it is certainly not the only emerging nation vying for Central Asia’s abundant resources. India and Pakistan are both struggling to meet demand amid rising domestic natural gas usage.
In December 2010, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India signed an agreement with Turkmenistan to begin work on the TAPI gas pipeline. This agreement, funded by the Asian Development Bank, will lead to the construction of a gas pipeline at an estimated cost of $9 billion. When completed in 2013-2014, this 1,087 mile long pipeline will allow Turkmenistan to export 1.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
While the surrounding nations stand to greatly benefit from this access to the region’s vast natural resources, Western oil firms have gained the upper hand in the region. American firms dominate the area, controlling 75% of all new oil fields. In total, America has invested $30 billion into energy projects, which represents around 40% of all foreign investment in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
Enter the Iran-Pakistan Pipeline
In an effort to increase demand for its own gas supplies, Iran has been constructing a separate pipeline that will deliver natural gas to Pakistan. The idea for the Iran-Pakistan pipeline was first proposed by a Pakistani civil engineer named Malik Aftab Ahmed Khan. Khan wrote a piece in the Military College of Risalpur entitled the “Persian Pipeline” back in the 1950s. While Iran and Pakistan both favored the idea, formal discussions did not begin until 1994. As time went on, the plan became even more ambitious as Iran sought to extend the pipeline through Pakistan and into India. India and Iran agreed on the details and signed an agreement in 1999. Additionally, Iran made overtures to China and Bangladesh to join the arrangement.
Predictably, the U.S. disapproved, viewing the Iran-Pakistan pipeline as a direct threat to its own TAPI project. In an attempt to dismantle the Iranian pipeline project, the U.S. began putting pressure on India and Pakistan. India suddenly backed out of the arrangement in 2009 after signing a civilian nuclear deal with the United States.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has threatened Pakistan with sanctions if the country continues with plans to build a natural gas pipeline to Iran. After the U.S. threats against Pakistan failed to stop the agreement with Iran, the U.S. softened its tone. In 2010, the U.S. promised Pakistan that if they would cease their relationship with Iran, they would receive an assortment of promised financial goodies including cheap energy sources that would be routed to them through Afghanistan. Pakistan flatly turned down the offer by the Americans, opting instead to press on with the Iranian pipeline deal. In March 2010, Pakistan and Iran signed an agreement that revived the pipeline project. Under the agreement, both Iran and Pakistan agreed to take responsibility for constructing their own pipelines with a completion date set for the end of 2014. And while Iran quickly completed its section of the pipeline, Pakistan’s construction efforts were delayed by a general lack of funding. Desperate for money, Pakistan sought the assistance of the Russians who agreed to finance the Pakistani portion of the pipeline.
Determined to stop the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, the Saudis (no doubt prompted by similar economic interests to the U.S.) made a generous assistance offer to Pakistan. If they would cancel their arrangement with Iran, the Saudis would provide a financial bailout for the country and provide them with sufficient oil supplies. Within weeks, a defiant Pakistan swore that its pipeline arrangement with Iran would not be thwarted by Western interests. In September 2012, it was announced that the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project was progressing normally and was expected to begin operations in December 2014 as scheduled.
The ongoing attempts to destabilize Iran are motivated primarily by Western interests and not the interests of the region. The anti-Western government of Iran has failed to go along with the West’s defined goals for the region of Central Asia.
The U.S. has turned on its propaganda machine, accusing Iran of wanting a nuclear weapon. The U.S. is leading the world to pressure Iran into submission. Despite the fact that Iran has no known nuclear devices, despite the fact that Iran has not invaded its neighbors in decades, and despite the fact that Iran denies wanting a nuclear bomb, the U.S. has imposed devastating sanctions upon the country.
Those who believe that Iran poses a “nuclear threat” should remember under what pretense the Bush administration invaded Iraq. Iran’s belligerent attitude towards the U.S. dollar and the petrodollar system has backed the country into a corner. They refuse to price their oil in dollars and resent American interference in the region. Too bad for them. The American military machine lays waste to those who stand in the way of its meddling.
But Iran is no stranger to U.S. interference. In 1953, the Central Intelligence Agency engineered a coup in Iran, known as Operation Ajax, against the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh. Why? The overthrow of the Iranian government came after Mossadegh attempted to nationalize the Western oil companies in his country. The West was quick to impose economic sanctions. These sanctions were followed by the overthrow of Mossadegh and the installation of a U.S. friendly dictator (Shah of Iran.)
(Note: Another foreign leader that despises the U.S. government and its petrodollar system is Hugo Chavez. In 2002, a CIA-backed coup failed against the Venezuelan leader. What was the reason for the coup? Chavez sought state control over his country’s own oil supplies.)
In summary, evidence suggests that the U.S. planned to invade Afghanistan even before the tragic events of 9/11. While the reasons are somewhat speculative, the weight of the evidence points to the Taliban’s obstruction in allowing Western oil companies to build a Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. Eleven years later, the U.S. military remains in Afghanistan while the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline is being constructed with completion plans set for 2017. Iran’s competing pipeline project will be completed by the end of 2014 and is catching the attention of China, Russia, India, and others. The U.S. cannot allow renegade regimes, like Iran, to dictate the flow of natural resources in this important region. Therefore, the U.S. government has inflicted punitive economic and political measures upon Iran in an effort to bring it into submission.
The Iraq and Afghanistan wars were both “resource wars” sold to the American public under false pretenses. America’s empire of 700+ military bases in 130+ nations serves as a global oil protection service, not a national military seeking to protect American citizens. Instead of protecting our nation’s borders, the U.S. military is used by the Washington elites to protect the petrodollar system. The foundations of the American empire are now crumbling as emerging nations are no longer willing to spend their lives and their new found wealth propping up the U.S. consumer. Nor do they have any desire to tolerate the belligerence of the U.S. war machine.
Like all failing empires, America will fall under its own weight as more nimble economies arise in its wake. America’s attempts at regional dominance of Central Asia will lead to further friction with Russia and/or China. This friction will provide the spark for yet another war.
Jerry Robinson is a leading authority on the petrodollar system and global economic issues. He has spoken on the petrodollar system and global economics around the United States, in Europe, and in the Middle East. He is an Austrian economist, published author, columnist, international conference speaker, and the editor of the financial website, FTMDaily.com. In addition, Robinson hosts a weekly radio program entitled Follow the Money Weekly, an hour long radio show dedicated to deciphering the week’s economic news. For media inquiries, click here.
TAGS: the petrodollar system, petrodollars, the war in afghanistan, the iraq war, dollar collapse