It is difficult to understand why so many people "in the know" have explained in concise terms the real reasons Bush invaded Afghanistan then Iraq, but so many others still don't seem to get it.
Maybe some are so intelligent they don't see the forest through the trees. The only way we can demand a stop to these wars is if we make a commitment to give up oil immediately - AND WE ALL KNOW THAT WON'T HAPPEN.
What follows is a brief summary of why we are in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why we will be there for quite some time.
1. Iraq: Strategic military bases needed to protect U.S. economic interests in the region, including military operations in Afghanistan. This is why the Iraq war took precedence over Afghanistan for years.
2. Afghanistan: We are in Afghanistan so that the major oil companies and infrastructure contractors can build pipelines, airports, highways, etc., without interference from the Taliban and other hostile forces, effectively keeping Iran, China and Russia from holding the United States an "energy hostage" so to speak. We will have a draw down of troops in Afghanistan ONLY when there is a negotiated agreement between the United States and the Taliban.
3. Iran is bordered by Iraq on the left and Afghanistan on the right.
Afghanistan offers the most strategic transit routes for pipelines to transport oil from reserves from the five countries which make up Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Americans, regardless of their good intentions, are supporting these wars by their continued addiction to all products made from oil. Unfortunately, a good part of the oil produced in the future from exploits in this region will not even make it to the United States, but will be used to support the new emerging economies in China, India, etc.
U.S. Interests and Central Asia Energy Security
Published on November 15, 2006 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D.
In the past five years, real and present dangers to U.S. national security, especially Islamist terrorism and threats to the energy supply, have affected U.S. policy in Central Asia. The region has great energy potential and is strategically important, but it is land-locked, which complicates U.S. access and involvement there.
The United States has varied and at times competing interests in Central Asia. The region, which includes the five post-Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, as well as Afghanistan and the Caspian basin, plays an important part in U.S. global strategy in view of its proximity to Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Iran, and other key regional actors. No less important are its ethno-religious composition and vast deposits of oil, gas, coal, and uranium.
U.S. interests in Central Asia can be summarized in three simple words: security, energy, and democracy. The United States is waging an enduring struggle to safeguard the West in general and America in particular, not only from terrorist threats emanating from Afghanistan, but also from overreliance on unstable sources of hydrocarbons in the Middle East. In that effort, it is essential that U.S. foreign policy not inflate the importance of one interest to the detriment of the others.
[...] However, the region is clearly important geopolitically and geoeconomically. Russia controls the majority of oil export routes from reserves in Central Asia and the Caspian. Nevertheless, prior and continuing efforts by major Western oil companies, particularly the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline, as well as current and planned investments in the Central Asian oil sector by India and China, have yielded more options for non-Russian export routes and diversification of the customer base. These developments may help to break the Russian energy-transit monopoly, but they also open the region to intensified competition over energy resources on the part of other energy-hungry economies.
China is steadily increasing its involvement in the energy sector, as demonstrated by the purchase of the PetroKazakhstan oil company last year, acquisition of Canada-based Nations Energy by China Interntional Trust and Investment Corporation (CITIC) in the fall of 2006, and the signing of several significant pipeline agreements. Russia and China have been cooperating to reduce U.S. influence in the region and, as they accrue more Central Asian energy assets, will have more leverage with which to prevent U.S. encroachment into their alleged spheres of influence.
What is needed in Central Asia is a policy that allows the United States to continue to diversify its energy supplies, station its military forces close to the most immediate threats, and create a lasting and deep impact by promoting democratic and free-market values in an area that is still undergoing political and economic development.
Policymakers and lawmakers alike should assess how energy issues fit into wider U.S. strategic interests in the region and develop balanced, nuanced policies that allow the U.S. to stay engaged where necessary while distancing itself from the less savory aspects of these regimes. To achieve these ends, the U.S. should:
* Support projects to increase and diversify non-Russian energy transit routes for Central Asian oil and gas;
* Further develop ties with Central Asian states to expand trade and security relations with the U.S.;
* Continue to encourage good governance, modern institutions, and legislative reforms in Central Asia; and
* Adopt a nuanced approach to regimes with which the U.S. is not currently on good terms, allowing for engagement to address top national priorities, such as energy security and the global war on terrorism.
Karen Kwiatkowski: The Soldier Who Spoke Out:
Lt. Col. (Ret) Karen Kwiatkowski:
"Certainly, the neoconservatives never bothered to sell the rest of the country on the real reasons for occupation of Iraq -- more bases from which to flex U.S. muscle with Syria and Iran, and better positioning for the inevitable fall of the regional ruling sheikdoms. Maintaining OPEC on a dollar track and not a euro and fulfilling a half-baked imperial vision also played a role. These more accurate reasons for invading and occupying could have been argued on their merits -- an angry and aggressive U.S. population might indeed have supported the war and occupation for those reasons. But Americans didn't get the chance for an honest debate."
I was pleased to see Oliver Stone including this premise in his movie "W.", in which Dick Cheney (Richard Dreyfuss) gives a very accurate monologue to Bush, Rumsfeld, Powell, Rice, Woolfowitz and gang about the importance of U.S. involvement in that region. It was really brilliantly done by the outstanding director.
For those interested in investigating more about the U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East, I recommend an excellent documentary which presents compelling information on the subject. The film is titled "Michael T. Klare's Blood And Oil", and can be found by clicking HERE. A synopsis and brief clip below.
Michael T. Klare's Blood And Oil
The notion that oil motivates America's military engagements in the Middle East has long been dismissed as nonsense or mere conspiracy theory. Blood and Oil, a new documentary based on the critically-acclaimed work of Nation magazine defense correspondent Michael T. Klare, challenges this conventional wisdom to correct the historical record. The film unearths declassified documents and highlights forgotten passages in prominent presidential doctrines to show how concerns about oil have been at the core of American foreign policy for more than 60 years – rendering our contemporary energy and military policies virtually indistinguishable. In the end, Blood and Oil calls for a radical re-thinking of US energy policy, warning that unless we change direction, we stand to be drawn into one oil war after another as the global hunt for diminishing world petroleum supplies accelerates.
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