The following is a the essence of "The New Great
Game: Oil Politics in Central Asia," an article by syndicated
cartoonist Ted Rall, who has traveled extensively in the region.
Rall visited troubled Central Asia, again embroiled in
war, last year with the cooperation of the U.S. State Dept. His new report
starts by pointing out that in Kazakhstan geologists believe there lies
the biggest untapped oil reserves in the world. Its nearest sea is the
landlocked Caspian. For a pipeline to oil markets, the shortest route runs
through Iranóbut Kazakhstan is too closely aligned with the U.S.
Rall reports that of the various alternatives, Unocalís
plan would extend neighboring Turkmenistanís existing system west to the
Kazakh field and southeast to Pakistanís port Karachi. That project
runs through Afghanistan.
Around 1994 the U.S. and Pakistan helped install a
regime in Afghanistanó a regime that would end civil war and ensure
safety of the pipeline project. The U.S. and Pakistanís intelligence
service agreed to funnel arms and funding to the Taliban in their war
against the Tajikís Northern Alliance. In 1999, U.S. taxpayers paid the
salary of every Taliban government official, in hopes of maintaining cheap
oil supply. Pakistan would pick up revenues from a Karachi oil port
facility. Rall says "the Bushies have the perfect excuse to do what
the U.S. has wanted all alongóinvade and/or install a puppet regime in
Kabul. Realpolitik no more cares about the 6,000 dead (Sept. 11) than it
concerns itself with oppressed women in Afghanistan..."
But Muslim extremists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan will support
additional terror attacks on the U.S. to avenge the elimination of the
Taliban. A U.S.-installed Northern Alliance canít hold Kabul without an
army of occupation because Afghan legitimacy hinges on capturing the
capital on oneís own. Moreover, "Pakistanís ethnic Pashtun
government will never stand the replacement of their Pashtun brothers in
the Taliban by Northern Alliance Tajiks. Without Pakistani cooperation,
thereís no getting the oil out and thereís no chance for stability in
Afghanistan." Rall concludes by paraphrasing Bush: "ëMake no
mistakeí: this is about oil. Itís always about oil... "