"I have a question for you. Some of the things I've read say that Afghanistan is one of most "mineral rich" countries, others say that there's not much of monetary value (besides opium) . . . and a some activists say this all boils down to oil . . .
Can someone point me to an article, or some reference that will clarify this for me?"
These are the links (and related comments and the an article) on the Afghanistan oil connected that I've collated to date (I haven't as yet read the link documents and they mostly come from sources anonymous):
"Going back further in time, the Gulf war was also about oil, and was even caused by the CIA, as the former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark writes in "The Fire This Time" (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1994), described online in http://www.onlinejournal.com/Media/Binion100201/binion100201.html : The CIA first sowed discord between Iraq and Kuwait, and then told Saddam he could get away with invading Kuwait. Later, the U.S. used Saddam's aggression as a pretext to occupy Saudi Arabia (to "protect" it against Saddam) and of course to occupy Iraq and Kuwait for good. The presence of U.S. troops on Saudi soil was what made Osama Bin Laden really mad at the U.S., and caused his clash with the Saudi government and his exile to Afghanistan."
"The long-term goal of the war in Kosovo was also the construction of a pipeline (see http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumnew22.htm )."
"The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in October had already been planned in mid-July, i.e. months before the WTC attacks -- see http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/south_asia/newsid_1550000/1550366.stm "
"Unocol to US Government: "From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of our proposed pipeline [through Afghanistan] cannot begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of ... our company." http://www.house.gov/international_relations/105th/ap/wsap212982.htm and http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/afghan.html"
"Unocol Statement re Afghanistan http://commdocs.house.gov/committees/intlrel/hfa48119.000/hfa48119_0f.htm Politicians who are Cashing in on the Caspian Foreign Affairs Opinion (Published) Keywords: KOSOVO CASPIAN OIL Source: Drillbits and Tailings Published: 7 October 1999 Author: Project Underground Posted on 06/17/1999 09:20:08 PDT by Hamiltonian"
Kings Of The Caspian
Less than a decade after the final diplomatic skirmishes of the Cold War, the men who led the battle on both sides have joined forces to exploit the oil reserves of the Caspian Sea. The Caspian, which is the world's largest inland sea, is estimated to contain as much as 200 billion barrels of oil alone plus another 100 billion barrels' worth of gas under the neighboring Kara Kum Desert and other sites. At average price levels for the 1990s, that adds up to a treasure chest of roughly US$5 trillion.
Today Amoco, British Petroleum, Chevron, Exxon, Mobil and Unocal are leading a multi-billion dollar frenzy to extract these reserves from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, the three countries that surround the Caspian together with Russia and Iran.
The former Cold Warriors from the East, who are profiting from the oil riches, include Azerbaijan president Heydar Aliyev, former Communist Party Secretary and KGB chief in Baku; Turkmenistan president Saparmurat Niyazov, the former chairman of the Supreme Soviet in Ashkhabad; Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev, a former member of Soviet Politburo; as well as Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, former Soviet foreign minister and Politburo member.
Cutting deals with them, on behalf of the oil companies, are a formidable array of former top Western Cold Warriors, drawn principally from the cabinet of George Bush, the former United States president, who hailed from an oil family in Texas. The dealmakers include James Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Dick Cheney and John Sununu; the Secretary of State, National Security Adviser, Secretary of Defense and chief of staff respectively for Bush.
Also cashing in on the deal are Lloyd Bentsen, former Treasury Secretary under President Clinton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser under President Carter, Tim Eggar, former British Energy Minister and Malcolm Rifkind, former British Foreign Minister under the Conservatives.
Brzezinski, one of the older men among the Central Asian dealmakers, oversaw a major American push to destabilize the Soviet Union in this region, when he worked for Carter, during the invasion of Afghanistan. Today he is a consultant to Amoco.
Many of the other men played key roles in the dismantling of the former Soviet Union in the final days of the Cold War. Baker and Shevardnadze, who were the foreign policy chiefs for the two superpowers under Bush and Gorbachev respectively, became close friends in this process. Baker now runs his own law practice in Houston doing business for the oil companies where he is able to use his highly placed friend in Georgia.
Brent Scowcroft earns US$130,000 dollars for advising Pennzoil and the multinational Azerbaijan consortium. Sununu's management consulting firm, JHS Associates, has also been welcomed in Azerbaijan. Likewise Bentsen who recently likened Azerbaijan's struggle for independence to that of his home state of Texas. Bentsen is a shareholder in Frontera Resources, an oil services company working in Azerbaijan.
And Cheney, who played 'bad cop' to Baker's 'good cop' in the last days of the Soviet Union, advising Bush to be harder with Mikhail Gorbachev, is now chief executive of Halliburton of Houston, the world's largest oilfield services company.
Azerbaijan is also a favorite destination for the British oil companies like Monument and Ramco. Eggar, who as British Energy Minister led a delegation to Baku in 1994, is now chief executive of Monument Oil while Rifkind, sits on the board of Ramco.
SOURCES: Project Underground research especially Frank Viviano, "Black Gold, Iron Rule" San Francisco Chronicle, August 13, 1998 and David Ottaway and Dan Morgan, "Former Top U.S. Aides Seek Caspian Gusher" Washington Post, July 6, 1997. + This one came through just now via an Australian Environmental network: From: "The Redfearns Melbourne" <dredfearn at vtown.com.au> Subject: In yesterday's NY Times Date sent: Sun, 14 Oct 2001 09:50:23 +1000
New York Times October 14, 2001
Fears, Again, of Oil Supplies at Risk
By NEELA BANERJEE
(Here) are the nightmares, the worst confluence of misguided decisions and startling violence, that politicians and oil executives ponder briefly and then shoo away:
That sympathizers of Osama bin Laden sink three oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz and choke off the narrow, bow-shaped channel that funnels 14 million barrels a day from the Persian Gulf to the rest of the world. That the United States attacks Iraq, and Israel launches a huge strike against the Palestinians, driving them from their camps and staking out more land - all of which spurs the Persian Gulf states to cut off oil for the West. Or perhaps that a popular uprising, led by sympathizers of Mr. bin Laden, topples the ruling Saud family in Saudi Arabia, by far the world's largest oil producer.
"If bin Laden takes over and becomes king of Saudi Arabia, he'd turn off the tap," said Roger Diwan, a managing director of the Petroleum Finance Company, a consulting firm in Washington. "He said at one point that he wants oil to be $144 a barrel" - about six times what it sells for now.
The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the subsequent battering of the global economy have stretched the edges of imagination. Most Western politicians and oil industry experts say they believe assurances from the Middle East that oil supplies will stay stable as the American-led attacks on terrorist groups continue. But in such a profoundly changed world, they concede, anything is possible.
If there is a serious disruption of oil supplies, it will probably not be in Venezuela or in the North Sea, but in the countries of the Persian Gulf. Those countries have taken the politically risky position of siding with the West, however quietly, in the campaign against Mr. bin Laden, thereby alienating many of their own citizens. And the proof of their support for the West is in the oil that OPEC nations continue to ship, recently forgoing a production cut even as they faced falling prices that rob them of revenue.
By attacking oil supplies or the Middle East regimes themselves, Mr. bin Laden's supporters would strike a powerful blow against the West.
The United States' own oil production and that of its allies in the Western Hemisphere could not take up the slack. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a stockpile created in 1975 to deal with such emergencies in the United States, could cover the lost oil for a time, but its efficacy would depend on the length and size of the disruption. Congress is looking for ways to add to the reserve, but it remains unclear whether the money could be found to acquire the oil quickly. New oil fields could not begin pumping fast enough to make up for the shortfall, and they would not produce enough anyway. The United States has only 3 percent of the world's known oil reserves.
The country's ability to navigate such a rocky period, industry experts said, ultimately depends on how much American society scales back its prodigious consumption of oil. High prices and lower supplies pushed the United States to trim its use of oil in the 1980's, but the country now relies more than ever on imports. Imports account for 60 percent of daily American oil consumption, up from 47 percent a decade ago. "We can't just blame Detroit for higher oil consumption," said Jay Hakes, the former director of the Energy Information Administration, the analytical arm of the Energy Department. "We're all in this. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us."
As far back as the Truman administration, when automobile use started to soar, the United States has grappled with where to get oil and how much to pay for it, Mr. Hakes pointed out. The nation has always faced a choice. It could rely on its own small output but pay much higher prices for it and for alternative energy sources. Or it could open itself up to imports from places like the Persian Gulf, increasing its economic and political vulnerability. It chose the latter.
The United States gets only about 13 percent of its daily dose of oil from the Persian Gulf states, and that is down from 23 percent a decade ago. But those countries produce 18 percent of the world's oil, and a significant disruption in their output would set off price spikes, if not outright shortages. The turmoil in the region during the last three decades frequently aroused fears, sometimes well- founded, of oil supply disruptions.
BUFFETED by repeated wars, the Persian Gulf states have long been aware of the need to protect their pipelines and oil fields, and industry experts familiar with the region say those countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, have heightened security since Sept. 11.
No system, however, is impregnable. Terrorists in a dinghy in the Persian Gulf could launch missiles at offshore rigs or Saudi fields, some of which are just a few miles inland. They could rupture a pipeline. They could attack the string of oil loading docks along the Persian Gulf, or on the Red Sea to the West, from which 500,000 to 6 million barrels a day are shipped. An attack could disable an oil processing facility, which separates the hydrocarbons from other liquids, and remove 200,000 to 400,000 barrels a day from the market.
But while a successful attack on the Middle East's oil infrastructure could rattle the markets, most analysts say it would have little impact on global supplies. "They are likely to be nuisances rather than major disruptions because there are multiple redundancies in the system," said Lawrence J. Goldstein, president of the Petroleum Industry Research Foundation, an industry- supported group that runs a consulting business in New York. "There are other loading, storage and shipping possibilities to get oil in and out. The real trouble would be only if countries cut off oil supplies, and that won't happen."
The chances are slim - for now. But Mr. bin Laden has long made clear that his ultimate goal, more than wreaking havoc in the West, is toppling the Saud family. And Saudi Arabia would be a crucial target for anyone seeking to cut deeply into the world oil flow.
"The Saudis are the linchpin," said Ronald E. Minsk, an energy adviser to former President Bill Clinton. "It's because they have so much more oil than anybody."
------------------------------ Brenda J Rosser