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firefly



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Nothing I said in this thread was tin foil hat worthy. You're just seeing what you want to see because of preconceived opinions of me.

futuristxen wrote:
And to that end, I don't know that you can win ideological wars as an invading force with bombs.


REALLY? Someone should tell Harper and Obama that right away.
Post Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:40 pm
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firefly



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futuristxen wrote:
and given the amount of money it has cost and the amount of years it will take to settle either region, seems like a completely ass backwards way to go about things.


Who's money is it costing??? The governments?

They don't have money. They're money is OUR money. And there are many companies that are getting our tax money to build weapons ... I mean nations.
Post Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:43 pm
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Dan Shay



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Business & Economics:
TALIBAN DEFEAT REVIVES DEBATE ON TRANS-AFGHAN PIPELINE
Igor Torbakov: 12/12/01

The defeat of the Taliban appears to be reviving a debate about pipeline construction in Afghanistan that would widen international access to Central Asia's vast energy resources. A few observers argue that pipelines might speed Afghanistan's reconstruction. However, others say that an attempt to establish Afghanistan as a transit hub for energy exports could provoke a collision of interests among key power brokers in the region.

Natural gas-rich Turkmenistan in 1997 forged a consortium with oil companies, led by Unocal, to build a trans-Afghan pipeline. The $1.9-billion project hit snags almost from the time of its announcement. The main obstacle was the Taliban's control of most of Afghanistan's territory, and the on-going civil war. By 1998, construction plans collapsed after Unocal withdrew from the consortium.

With the Taliban no longer a factor in Afghanistan, some experts say the pipeline idea merits a second look. "The large-scale projects aimed at building gas and oil pipelines linking the Caspian region with the attractive international market of the Arabian Sea may become the principal, if not the only, means to breathe a [new] life into Afghanistan", said Carnegie Endowment's Central Asia scholar Martha Brill Olcott in the interview with the Moscow daily Izvestia.

The country most likely to suffer from the possible construction of pipelines in Afghanistan is Russia, currently a leading member of the anti-terrorism coalition, and a long-time sponsor of the Northern Alliance. Moscow has long been wary about the development of new Central Asian oil and gas export routes that do not go through Russian territory.

There are some indirect signs that the idea of a trans-Afghan gas project is being revived. The United States and Great Britain have recently lifted economic sanctions against Afghanistan. This move, apprehensively notes Moscow economic publication Rossiiskaya Biznes-Gazeta, "can be the first harbinger of the US companies' intentions to re-join the trans-Afghan gas consortium."

In late October, Turkmenistan's president, Saparmurat Niyazov, sent a letter to the UN leaders advocating construction of a pipeline bringing Turkmen gas to Pakistan's Arabian Sea ports across the Afghan territory. Seeking UN support for the project, Niyazov contended that this pipeline "will help rebuild this country [Afghanistan], normalize peaceful life and work of the Afghan people, and also accelerate socio-economic development of the entire adjacent region."

Speaking at the newly refurbished Turkmen embassy in Moscow on November 30, Niyazov elaborated on his intentions. "We could sell to foreign markets about 120 billion cubic meters of gas annually, but we can not do this due to the lack of pipelines," he said. Niyazov went on to take a swipe at Russia: In reciting foreign investment statistics for 2001, the Turkmen strongman noted the lack of Russian investment.

"Russia is nowhere to be seen not because they do not want to take part, but because they have problems, they themselves are looking for investments," Niyazov said.

If the trans-Afghan gas project is realized, Moscow experts say, the Russian economy will face two unpleasant consequences. Firstly, Russian energy sector will lose Turkmen gas that is now being delivered to Russia and, in the long-term perspective, also Uzbek gas. That could amount to 25 billion cubic meters annually. Secondly, if Central Asian gas exports are directed south, across Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean, Russia will lose transit revenue.

Russian experts reluctantly acknowledged the existence of a price incentive for Central Asia states to seek alternates to Russian routes. According to Rossiiskaya Biznes-Gazeta, Russia can pay maximum $38 per thousand cubic meters of Turkmen and Uzbek gas. At the same time, the potential importers of Central Asian gas in South Asia have recently confirmed that their minimal price per thousand cubic meters is up to $60, notes the newspaper.

Even the most liberal Russian experts are ambiguous about a trans-Afghan pipeline. It "will surely give a substantial boost to the country's [Afghanistan's] development," concedes Alexei Malashenko, a leading Central Asia analyst. "However, in this case Turkmenbashi will gain too much leverage for control over the situation," adds Malashenko. "No one knows how he [Niyazov] might behave".

According to Unocal officials, the company doesn't plan to get involved into Afghanistan again and has shifted its resources to other world regions. However, Moscow is suspicious that Unocal "tries to hide its true intentions," according to an editorial in the Russian daily Izvestia.

A number of Russian observers tend to interpret the current US troop deployment and basing agreements with the Central Asian nations within the context of energy geopolitics. "The United States does not conceal the plans to establish its [military] bases in the region to secure the safety of energy transit routes," writes the Kommersant daily.

Another detail adds to the Kremlin's worries. Zalmay Khalilzad, an Afghan-American academic, recently was appointed in June as special assistant to President George W. Bush and senior director at the National Security Council for the Persian Gulf and southwest Asia and other issues. According to Philip Smith, director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis, "Zalmay is immensely influential in driving US policy toward Afghanistan." Four years ago, Khalilzad served as a liaison for Unocal in the trans-Afghan pipeline project.

Moscow is likely to try to thwart the building of what the international oilmen call the "new Silk Road." There are two ways Russia may do this: by increasing its on-the-ground military presence in Afghanistan, and by wooing Niyazov. Russia seems to be already undertaking steps in both these directions.

The Kremlin reportedly is offering Niyazov a 10-year deal covering Russian purchases of Turkmen gas and its export to third countries. Moscow analysts say that Russia may also offer Turkmenistan special quotas for deliveries of natural resources through the Russian transit network.

In the military sphere, Defense Ministry officials are expanding Russian military participation in Afghanistan. Sources in Russia's defense ministry argue that there is a danger of "military-political vacuum" in Afghanistan that might "create conditions for the breaking of civil war."

"Not only has the decision on Russian military participation in the Afghan settlement been taken," writes the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, "but it is already being implemented."


http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/business/articles/eav121201.shtml
Post Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:05 pm
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Dan Shay



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Executive Summary: The Proposed Iran-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline: An Unacceptable Risk to Regional Security
by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D., Lisa Curtis and Owen Graham
Executive Summary #2139

The foreign policies of India and Pakistan are driven increasingly by energy security. To sustain their booming economies and growing populations amid tight oil and gas markets, Indian and Paki­stani policymakers are turning to energy deals with unsavory regimes, such as Iran's. At the same time, energy-producing states including Iran and Russia are attempting to tap new markets, drive up oil prices, and secure their own interests by locking in demand.

In 1993, Pakistan and Iran announced a plan to build a gas pipeline, which Iran later proposed extending into India. Dubbed the "peace pipeline," the Iran–Pakistan–India (IPI) gas pipeline would traverse over 2,775 kilometers (1,724 miles) from Iran's South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf through the Pakistani city of Khuzdar, with one branch going on to Karachi and a second branch extending to Multan and then on to India.

This pipeline would give Iran an economic life­line and increase its leverage and influence in South Asia. U.S. policymakers argue that allowing the IPI pipeline to proceed would encourage the Iranian regime to defy the will of the international commu­nity, develop nuclear weapons, and support terror­ism. Furthermore, inadequate investment in Iran's oil and gas industry and increasing domestic demand could render Iran incapable of supplying natural gas through the IPI.

The Energy Chess Game. Although Iran pos­sesses the second-largest gas reserves in the world, inadequate investment and other deficiencies in its hydrocarbon sector call into question Iran's ability to supply gas to Pakistan and India through the IPI pipeline.

In addition, 475 miles of the IPI pipeline will run through the Pakistani province of Baluchistan. This remote region is home to separatist tribes that employ private militias that fight over territory and resources—conditions that are hardly conducive to secure energy transportation.

The Kremlin is also seeking to influence Iran to send its gas east through the IPI instead of west through the proposed Nabucco gas pipeline, which would undermine Russia's supplier dominance over European gas markets. Russia also hopes that the IPI will undercut plans for the proposed Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) pipeline. Russia is interested in developing the Rus­sia-proposed north–south energy and trade corri­dor. Both Iran and India have expressed interest in participating in this undertaking, which would connect them to Europe by way of Russia.

China views Iran as an important node in its energy security and in its strategy to develop more overland energy transport routes to reduce its dependence on U.S.-dominated sea-lanes.

What the U.S. Should Do. Constructing pipe­lines is geopolitically and logistically challenging, especially in regions fraught with political tensions, financial sanctions, and unstable transit areas. Given regional security considerations and the con­straints on Iran's capacity to supply natural gas through the IPI pipeline, India and Pakistan would be best served by expanding their liquefied natural gas (LNG) import capacity and investing in alterna­tive energy technologies and projects, such as hydroelectric power and renewable energy, rather than by pursuing the IPI pipeline.

To support India and Pakistan in meeting their rapidly growing energy demand, the U.S. should:

* Step up its energy diplomacy to discourage their pursuit of the Iran–Pakistan–India pipe­line. The U.S. should develop a multifaceted strategy that incorporates diplomacy and eco­nomic policy tools to discourage pursuit of the pipeline.
* Encourage India to increase LNG capacity and expand contracts with Australia, Qatar, and other Gulf exporters.
* Support the TAPI gas pipeline through inten­sive diplomacy with the governments of Turk­menistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India with the understanding that, in view of the situ­ations in southeastern Afghanistan and Bal­uchistan, Pakistan would need to stabilize further before the project becomes feasible from a security standpoint.
* Boost bilateral energy dialogues with India and Pakistan.
* Expand energy cooperation with India within the framework of the Asia–Pacific Partnership to develop and disseminate technologies that support the development of clean, efficient, and cost-effective energy.
* Continue to pursue U.S.–India civil nuclear cooperation.
* Assist Pakistan in building large-scale hydro­electric projects and LNG terminals to meet its growing energy and electricity demand.

Conclusion. Iran's support of terrorism, hostile policies in the Middle East, pursuit of nuclear weapons, and mismanagement of its economy make it a dangerous and unreliable business part­ner and call into question its capacity to supply nat­ural gas to Pakistan and India through the IPI. Potential transit problems in Baluchistan also make this project inherently risky.

As major energy consumers, the U.S. and India share strategic interests in the Persian Gulf and Central Asia. Building the IPI would be contrary to these interests, would destabilize the Persian Gulf, and would strengthen Russia's grip over Central Asia, decreasing both regional and global energy security. Accordingly, the U.S. should fully back TAPI to increase India's and Pakistan's energy secu­rity and reduce Russia's leverage in Central Asia.

India and Pakistan would benefit from an increase in LNG contracts and capacity. This would also strengthen India's ties to the Middle East. Finally, blocking Iran's overland export option might also increase Iran's interest in promoting stability in the Strait of Hormuz. The U.S., India, and Pakistan should expand their energy cooperation to ensure security and economic prosperity in the region.



http://www.heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/bg2139es.cfm
Post Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:00 pm
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futuristxen



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Dan Shay wrote:
If Afghanistan isn't about building a pipeline through Afghanistan/Pakistan then it's probably about owning stake in where the pipelines are built elsewhere.

Fighting for democracy as the PR campaign under Carter and Ray-gun.



This does not jive with the two articles you posted. How does the United States benefit from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India teaming up?

Unless you're saying we are there to prevent the pipeline being built, in which case that's a problematic long term policy to enforce.

While I don't doubt these issues were a part of the afghanistan portfolio for at least some portion of those on the march to war. I do think it's more correct to say that we got into the war for ideological reasons which had some other strategic benefits. Like I think the pipeline issue entered into things, just because it had to, but I don't think Bush woke up and said, "y'know, we need to stop them from making that pipeline". I also think there were US domestic political pressures to have an immediate militarized response to 9/11(the by-product of which was an 8 year term for an unpopular president, who basically ran entirely on the security issue for the whole 8 years).

I think we're at the same crossroads in aghanistan that you find yourself in, in any sort of policing action. At the end of the day, the reason for the criminals and the crime, are sociological, and if you really want to deal with them, then you have to basically rebuild the community, or in this case the nation. And we basically don't have the resources to do that right now, nor do we neccessarily have the interest in it.

The Wire Season 4 is not an unimportant metaphor when dealing with the quagmire we're in in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What's frustrating to me is how obvious it is that we're going to fail long term in both situations, and how unable we are right now to admit that. Even though we have the histories of many failed Latin American experiments and Vietnam in our very recent history.

The only time we ever were successfull with nation building, is I think Japan. But the circumstances of where Japan was as a society are radically diffrent from many of these other countries. As is the scale of what we're capable of doing at this point in time.

It will be interesting to see what Obama decides to do on these issues. They are extremely complicated decisions, with a lot of repercussions for him politically. But if he's serious about change he won't mind being a one term president, in order to get the right things done.

I feel like we're in that trap in both countries of not wanting to leave without honor. But that's the way we're going to leave. Either now, or 15 years from now.
Post Sat Feb 21, 2009 12:44 am
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Dan Shay



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futuristxen wrote:
Dan Shay wrote:
If Afghanistan isn't about building a pipeline through Afghanistan/Pakistan then it's probably about owning stake in where the pipelines are built elsewhere.

Fighting for democracy as the PR campaign under Carter and Ray-gun.



This does not jive with the two articles you posted. How does the United States benefit from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India teaming up?

Unless you're saying we are there to prevent the pipeline being built, in which case that's a problematic long term policy to enforce.

While I don't doubt these issues were a part of the afghanistan portfolio for at least some portion of those on the march to war. I do think it's more correct to say that we got into the war for ideological reasons which had some other strategic benefits. Like I think the pipeline issue entered into things, just because it had to, but I don't think Bush woke up and said, "y'know, we need to stop them from making that pipeline". I also think there were US domestic political pressures to have an immediate militarized response to 9/11(the by-product of which was an 8 year term for an unpopular president, who basically ran entirely on the security issue for the whole 8 years)....

...It will be interesting to see what Obama decides to do on these issues. They are extremely complicated decisions, with a lot of repercussions for him politically. But if he's serious about change he won't mind being a one term president, in order to get the right things done.

I feel like we're in that trap in both countries of not wanting to leave without honor. But that's the way we're going to leave. Either now, or 15 years from now.



The figure of speech is "does not jib". It's a nautical term. The jib is the staysail. To jib is pronounced jibe.

Ideological reasons are why empires like USSR and USA carve up nations leaving the local proxy warriors and innocent civilians full of holes like swiss cheese. It's noble to us but best believe to crude materialist marxists like the USSR it was all about the geopolitical strategic benefits, and they made no bones about it.

Look at Iraq. Bush's cabinet can laugh at any insinuation about blatant oil grabs because obviously nobodies getting rich there.

Every oil company on the planet that has stake in wells elsewhere stands to gain massive amounts if a major supply goes offline for a few years. To most US citizens macro-economics is too complicated. Just tell them it didn't pan out in Iraq. It's bottle necking supply. Economic trusts on a scale unprecedented.

Plus the military industrial complex is indeed getting rich in Iraq, and the US now has major strategic military bases in the region and it doesn't have to ask permission to nobody for them.

Shit is so complicated and a rats nest.

But if the issue of the US leaving a foreign occupation is a matter of honor, good god. After the dust settles heaven help us.
Post Sat Feb 21, 2009 1:33 pm
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futuristxen



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Dan Shay wrote:
futuristxen wrote:
Dan Shay wrote:
If Afghanistan isn't about building a pipeline through Afghanistan/Pakistan then it's probably about owning stake in where the pipelines are built elsewhere.

Fighting for democracy as the PR campaign under Carter and Ray-gun.



This does not jive with the two articles you posted. How does the United States benefit from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India teaming up?

Unless you're saying we are there to prevent the pipeline being built, in which case that's a problematic long term policy to enforce.

While I don't doubt these issues were a part of the afghanistan portfolio for at least some portion of those on the march to war. I do think it's more correct to say that we got into the war for ideological reasons which had some other strategic benefits. Like I think the pipeline issue entered into things, just because it had to, but I don't think Bush woke up and said, "y'know, we need to stop them from making that pipeline". I also think there were US domestic political pressures to have an immediate militarized response to 9/11(the by-product of which was an 8 year term for an unpopular president, who basically ran entirely on the security issue for the whole 8 years)....

...It will be interesting to see what Obama decides to do on these issues. They are extremely complicated decisions, with a lot of repercussions for him politically. But if he's serious about change he won't mind being a one term president, in order to get the right things done.

I feel like we're in that trap in both countries of not wanting to leave without honor. But that's the way we're going to leave. Either now, or 15 years from now.



The figure of speech is "does not jib". It's a nautical term. The jib is the staysail. To jib is pronounced jibe.




Fascinating. Though you kind of stopped short of explaining how the nautical term influences it's modern day usage. Which is fine, I'll look it up on my own, but it would have taken an 8.4 factoid, and put it up over 12.


Quote:


Ideological reasons are why empires like USSR and USA carve up nations leaving the local proxy warriors and innocent civilians full of holes like swiss cheese. It's noble to us but best believe to crude materialist marxists like the USSR it was all about the geopolitical strategic benefits, and they made no bones about it.

Look at Iraq. Bush's cabinet can laugh at any insinuation about blatant oil grabs because obviously nobodies getting rich there.

Every oil company on the planet that has stake in wells elsewhere stands to gain massive amounts if a major supply goes offline for a few years. To most US citizens macro-economics is too complicated. Just tell them it didn't pan out in Iraq. It's bottle necking supply. Economic trusts on a scale unprecedented.

Plus the military industrial complex is indeed getting rich in Iraq, and the US now has major strategic military bases in the region and it doesn't have to ask permission to nobody for them.



I don't disagree that those things are true. But I think it's more complicated than saying that we went go into any of these situations for any one geopolitical result. And again, I don't think everyone is always operating on that wavelength. That's one type of world view, which would characterize a certain percentage of policy makers, but there are indeed other considerations and motivations, which the great decider usually factors in, which are much more dubious and intangible, and only grasped in poll numbers in cold late Octobers every four years.

I also think the times in which we go to war, is when there is a convergence of many geopoltical goals, with a few ideological goals, and a certain domestic environment. If we went to war for only specific geopolitical reasons, we'd be at war with everyone all the time. But it's when all of these things perfect storm together, that war happens.


Quote:


Shit is so complicated and a rats nest.



Yeah. So much so, that I think analysis of it, typically tells us more about the person doing the analysis than it does the actual situation. Your polical view points and realities inform what stands out to you when you look at it. It's very much a glossilliac situation, where one person's Pythagorean theorem, is another person's secret bbq sauce recipe.


Quote:


But if the issue of the US leaving a foreign occupation is a matter of honor, good god. After the dust settles heaven help us.


Those are the whistles in the wind right now. That's where our current momentum is taking us.

We can't let Al-Queda win afterall.

I wonder if the strategy for our withdrawal, will just be to figure out a way to re-seperate the taliban from al-queda in people's minds, and then just turn afghanistan back over to the taliban? I've heard some strategists saying basically this. But I don't know. Those Rove memes are very ingrained by now.
Post Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:05 pm
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Dan Shay



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double post
Post Sat Feb 21, 2009 3:08 pm
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McTools



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Good stuff

IRAQ – TRY THIS!

The closest thing to a solution I have heard was offered clear back in April 2004 by the Organization of the Islamic Conference (www.oic-ico.org). The OIC is comprised of 57 Islamic countries ranging from West Africa clear over to Southeast Asia. At their annual meeting they found six member nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen and Morocco) willing to pony up enough of their own troops (approx. 150,000) that our troops could have gone home! Who slammed the door on that one? Colin Powell, on the grounds that having the Islamic soldiers under UN command instead of Americans was out of the question.

WHY??!? Wouldn't a neutral force of Muslim peacekeepers make a lot more headway than the disaster we've made? Wouldn't they at least command a lot more respect, resulting in a huge drop in violence? Surely the non-stop carnage and Iracketeering we have spawned is Exhibit A that we need to get over this colonialist illusion that other countries' problems can only be solved by Americans. The OIC's proposal for US withdrawal and peace in Iraq must be revisited immediately, and also considered for Afghanistan.

We must end not just our military occupation of Iraq, but our economic occupation NOW. Iraq is not ours to sell, and neither is its oil. Your promise not to leave any permanent US military bases in Iraq is a good start. But you have also backed leaving US troops in Iraq to "protect American assets like the Green Zone." The Green Zone is not our "asset." We stole it and we have to give it back. I hope you don't seriously believe we can get away with that giant feudal fortress of an embassy we are building, ten times the size of any other in history. We cannot afford to waste any more money on this, or down the black hole of the Bush administration's crony backroom deals with corrupt, incompetent private contractors like Blackwater, KBR and Halliburton. We need to fire them and they need to leave—NOW.

We do owe the Iraqi people help, and we have an obligation to clean up the mess we have made. That goes double for Afghanistan. But I can't see this getting done unless someone other than the United States is in charge. Let us also not forget the 2 million-plus refugees stuck outside Iraq who are draining the economies of Iraq's neighbors, especially Jordan and Syria.
- Jello Biafra
Post Sun May 10, 2009 6:03 pm
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