Thursday, June 05, 2008

Searching for the Reasons Behind Western Antagonism (part II)

Searching for the Reasons Behind Western Antagonism
(part II)

In an interesting article, an excerpt from his book, Peter Dale Scott also draws the attention of the reader to the relationship between the major western oil companies and the so-called terrorist networks that did nothing but carry out the orders given to them by these very companies.

He points out the “Al Qaeda activities in Central Asia in the 1990s [and] the extent to which they involved both American oil companies and the U.S. government …the U.S.-protected movements of al Qaeda terrorists into regions like Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Kosovo have served the interests of U.S. oil companies. In many cases they have also provided pretexts or opportunities for a U.S. military commitment and even troops to follow.”

“To gain access to the petroleum reserves of the Caspian Basin” thought to be “the largest known reserves of unexploited fuel in the planet” Peter Dale Scott notices a continuous US policy toward destabilizing the former Soviet republics right from the Reagan era and the Afghan War, the first Bush Administration preparing for the construction of a pipeline bypassing Russia and the Clinton administration expressing these goals “more as matters of national security”.

He emphasizes that “…In one former Soviet Republic, Azerbaijan, Arab Afghan jihadis clearly assisted this effort of U.S. oil companies to penetrate the region. In 1991, Richard Secord, Heinie Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn, three veterans of U.S. operations in Laos, and later of Oliver North's operations with the Contras, turned up in Baku under the cover of an oil company, MEGA Oil.[14] This was at a time when the first Bush administration had expressed its support for an oil pipeline stretching from Azerbaijan across the Caucasus to Turkey.[15] MEGA never did find oil, but did contribute materially to the removal of Azerbaijan from the sphere of post-Soviet Russian influence.”

Further introducing these mercenaries Scott goes on: “As MEGA operatives in Azerbaijan, Secord, Aderholt, Dearborn, and their men engaged in military training, passed “brown bags filled with cash” to members of the government, and above all set up an airline on the model of Air America which soon was picking up hundreds of mujahedin mercenaries in Afghanistan…Meanwhile, Hekmatyar, who at the time was still allied with bin Laden, was “observed recruiting Afghan mercenaries [i.e. Arab Afghans] to fight in Azerbaijan against Armenia and its Russian allies.”[20] At this time, heroin flooded from Afghanistan through Baku into Chechnya, Russia, and even North America.”

More importantly, “In 1993 the mujahedin also contributed to the ouster of Azerbaijan's elected president, Abulfaz Elchibey, and his replacement by an ex-Communist Brezhnev-era leader, Heidar Aliyev”, someone experienced enough to counter the Russian opposition to the objectives that left them out.

“At stake was an $8 billion oil contract with a consortium of western oil companies headed by BP” mainly for the construction of the Baku-Israel pipeline better known as Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan. “The Arab Afghans …were set on fighting Russia in the disputed Armenian-Azeri region of Nagorno-Karabakh, and in liberating neighboring Muslim areas of Russia: Chechnya and Dagestan.[24] …As the 9/11 Commission Report notes (58), the bin Laden organization established an NGO in Baku, which became a base for terrorism elsewhere. It also became a transshipment point for Afghan heroin to the Chechen mafia, whose branches “extended not only to the London arms market, but also throughout continental Europe and North America (Cooley, Unholy Wars, 176).””

In relation with the sources that financed the mujahedin operation Scott adds, “According to police sources in the Russian capital, 184 heroin processing labs were discovered in Moscow alone last year. “Every one of them was run by Azeris, who use the proceeds to buy arms for Azerbaijan's war against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh,” [Russian economist Alexandre] Datskevitch said.”

It can clearly be seen that the shift from relative neutrality to the active supporting of “Azerbaijan” despite all the atrocities committed against the Armenians was the waking interest of the West in Caspian oil.

Scott further quotes from a White House Press Statement by Clinton in 1997, “In a world of growing energy demand, our nation cannot afford to rely on a single region for our energy supplies. By working closely with Azerbaijan to tap the Caspian's resources, we not only help Azerbaijan to prosper, we also help diversify our energy supply and strengthen our energy's security”.

Yet the initial euphoria proved to be wishful thinking or maybe a political bluff. In any case the ambition soon proved to be impossible to materialize. The whole point in duping the greedy British Petroleum into building the pipeline is nothing but a PR stunt to superficially increase the importance of Turkey, something Turks have been true masters of for centuries.

A confessional from June 1, 2006 by Stratfor confirms this in full:

“The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, a year behind schedule and some 30 percent over budget, is now a reality …the approximately 1,118 mile, $4 billion line has already begun operations, with crude already pouring into storage tanks overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.”

Describing the maximum 1 million barrels per day throughput of BTC by 2008, Stratfor admits that oil coming only from fake “Azerbaijan” will not suffice unless the other “half” comes from Kazakhstan.

“That was not the original plan. Initially, the bulk of the BTC crude was expected to come from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's reserves, however, did not live up to the hype, requiring an expectations adjustment”, confesses the author of the article.

Not explaining the real reason for building the disadvantageous pipeline the author vaguely states, “Regardless, the BTC project went ahead as planned” and not being able to hold back a sigh of relief continues, “it was damn lucky Kazakhstan was brought on board …Kazakh and Azerbaijani authorities expect to finalize all the agreements needed to make this arrangement possible before the end of June.” In the meantime it is already well known that Russia has not sat still watching this business that ignores them succeed and Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan have jumped overboard this sinking oil tanker. Further revealing the drawbacks he admits, “Such a business plan makes one wonder about the economic underpinnings of the BTC -- and well it should. Of the various means of shipping crude out of the Caspian region, the BTC is the least economically viable. Not only does the BTC negotiate three states, it also traverses long stretches of mountainous territory.” (All emphases are mine. H.)

The confession goes on, “It would have been far easier, cheaper and faster to simply link the Azerbaijani oil fields north into the Russian pipeline network or south into the Iranian network. Throwing in Kazakhstan, which is on the wrong side of the Caspian Sea, left economists doubly perplexed.”

Doubting the purpose of the pipeline the author wonders, “Moreover, the line ends on the Mediterranean, a body of water whose littoral states already have enough oil. Caspian crude is needed in Asia, not Europe”.

The punch line, as far as our subject, and the real purpose of the scam as far as the artificial isolation of Armenia is concerned come next, “Before the pipeline even gets out of Azerbaijan, it must skirt around the secessionist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke from Baku during the transition from Soviet rule.” If Artsakh “broke from Baku” when “Azerbaijan” was no independent state it cannot be considered a “secessionist region” but the blindness and double standards of these scoundrels must have already become well known to the least politically aware.

Apart from the sneaky stealing - with the help of these same British - of Javakhk from the Armenians when they were busy fighting the Turkish invading hordes in 1918, it is truly regrettable that Christian Georgia that owes their alphabet, Christianity, Bagratuni dynasty and the building of Tbilisi, to point out but a few facts, to the Armenians has become a concubine of the Turks offering every pore in her body as the gliding path of pipelines and railways that bypass the shorter route, Armenia.

It is obvious that every nation should act in its own interests but this dangerous game that the failed state of Georgia has embarked on may not serve those in the end. Only recently an “Azeri” official boasted that since the “Azeris” grow very fast in numbers and the Georgian population growth is low, soon there will be no Georgians and “Azerbaijan” will take their land. It would be amusing to know what the Georgians think of this pan-Turkic outburst.

The Stratfor article carries on, “In Georgia, things are far worse. There, the BTC was routed to avoid not one, but three restive regions. The first two -- South Ossetia and Abkhazia -- broke away from Tbilisi in 1993. Even after 13 years of on-again, off-again ethnic cleansing, more ethnic Georgians live in these regions than Ossetians or Abkhazians, respectively. The other region -- Samtskhe-Javakheti (Samtskhe from Somekh meaning Armenian in Georgian H.) -- is an ethnic Armenian enclave that, while still part of Georgia, hosts a Russian military base that poses a challenge to Georgian sovereignty over the region. And while Georgia and neighboring Chechnya consider themselves on the same side in the sense that they both oppose Russian activity in the region, Chechen fighters played a decisive role in fighting against the Georgians in the Abkhaz and South Ossetian secessionist wars”.

The military base is history as of now, yet In stark contrast to the rebelling regions, the stolen Armenian province of Javakhk with its majority Armenian population larger than that of South Ossetia (approx. 70,000) or Abkhazia (approx. 160,000), where admitted by the Stratfor experts in spite of “ethnic cleansing, more ethnic Georgians live in these regions than Ossetians or Abkhazians” has shown considerable patience and restraint.

Despite the unconcealed fear of the West reflected in this article, the Armenians of Javakhk have constrained their dissatisfaction towards Georgian discrimination to civilized demands in the category: the Armenian language receive the status of the second language in the province, roads be repaired, Armenians participate in any area of public life, Armenian teachers be employed in the (dilapidated) schools, the ban on teaching Armenian history be removed, recreation centers be built for the youth, etc., which in the case of language have either been vehemently rejected or in other cases empty promises have never been fulfilled.

While the Georgian state begs on their knees to provide autonomy for South Ossetia and Abkhazia if they accept to remain part of Georgia, any mention of eventual autonomy for Javakhk coming from certain associations in the province is severely rebuked.

Further on, the article believes that the money will only serve the three countries involved to threaten the “secessionist” regions “to assert the power of Ankara, Tbilisi and Baku over Diyarbakir, Sukhumi, Tskhinvali, Akhalkalaki and Stepanakert -- giving all of those secessionist regions reason to want the BTC offline”.

“So why build an economically questionable and militarily insecure project?” asks the author: “The answer is geopolitics. The Soviet Union's dissolution left Azerbaijan and Georgia shattered and impoverished …The American European solution was to link the two states in an east-west corridor to themselves and Turkey, rather than simply allow them to languish in Russia's shadow or fall into the orbit of a resurgent Iran …As the project was specifically designed to cut Russia out of the loop, one can easily imagine what the Russians would like to see done to the pipeline. And considering Moscow's cordial relations with these secessionist …regions, one can equally easily imagine what tools could be brought to bear against the pipeline”.

The article concludes with the citing of the percentage of the shares of the project, “The single largest investor in the BTC, as well as the oil fields in Azerbaijan that will help fill it, is supermajor BP Amoco … BP (30.1 percent), the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic (25 percent), Unocal Corp. (8.9 percent), Norway's Statoil (8.71 percent), the Turkish Petroleum Corp. (6.53 percent), Italy's ENI (5 percent), France's Total (5 percent), Japan's Itochu Corp. (3.4 percent), ConocoPhillips (2.5 percent), Japan's Inpex Corp. (2.5 percent) and Amerada Hess Corp. (2.36 percent)”.


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