Posts Tagged ‘Richard Boucher’

William Blum on the Real Reason for the Invasion of Afghanistan: Oil

January 3, 2016

Over the Christmas period I’ve reblogged a number of pieces from William Blum, a veteran critic of American foreign policy and the American Empire. In issue 117 of his Anti-Empire Report, Blum has a piece arguing that the real reason for the invasion of Afghanistan was not the horrific attack on the Twin Towers, or to bring democracy and security to the country. He states that the plot to bring down the Towers could have been done in any country with a table and a room. The Taliban themselves didn’t have any international ambitions, and indeed have fought battles with other Islamist groups, such as al-Qaeda, that do. He states instead that the real reason America and the West invaded was to secure the area as the site for oil pipelines leading from the region of the Caspian Sea.

The only “necessity” that drew the United States to Afghanistan was the desire to establish a military presence in this land that is next door to the Caspian Sea region of Central Asia – reportedly containing the second largest proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world – and build oil and gas pipelines from that region running through Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is well situated for such pipelines to serve much of South Asia and even parts of Europe, pipelines that – crucially – can bypass Washington’s bêtes noire, Iran and Russia. If only the Taliban would not attack the lines. Here’s Richard Boucher, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in 2007: “One of our goals is to stabilize Afghanistan, so it can become a conduit and a hub between South and Central Asia so that energy can flow to the south.”

He notes that there have been schemes for such pipelines since the 1980s. In the 1990s the US government and the American oil company, Unocal, were negotiating with the Taliban for the construction of such a pipeline. These discussions ran into increasing difficulties, until finally they came to an impasse. At this point the US threatened military intervention.

When those talks with the Taliban stalled in 2001, the Bush administration reportedly threatened the Taliban with military reprisals if the Afghan government did not go along with American demands. On August 2 in Islamabad, US State Department negotiator Christine Rocca reiterated to the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Abdul Salam Zaeef: “Either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold [oil], or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”

This, unfortunately, rings all too true. The Capped Crusader, Michael Moore, made a similar point in his documentary, Fahrenheit 9-11. The documentary showed the negotiations between the Taliban regime and the American government, despite protests from senior female American politicians unimpressed with the Taliban’s disgusting maltreatment of women. And he also showed how desperate Bush was to protect the Saudis that they were allowed to leave the country immediately, rather than face investigation for what their countrymen had done.

Blum’s piece can be read at http://williamblum.org/aer/read/117. Go there for more information.