The Empire Isn't In Afghanistan For The Oil!
By Jared Israel
[Posted 17 May 2002]
Louie [Claude Raines]:
"And what in heaven's name brought you to
Rick [Humphrey Bogart]:
"My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters."
waters? What waters? We're in the desert!"
Rick: "I was
We recently published an
article entitled, "U.S. Won't "Abandon"
Central Asia ...Central Asians, Be Warned!" (1)
The article dealt with the
Senate testimony last December by US Undersecretary of
State for Eurasian Affairs, Elizabeth Jones.
In her testimony, Ms.
Jones mentioned Caspian Sea energy resources as one of
the areas of interest to the US government regarding
I commented that this
might seem to confirm the idea, held by many opponents of
what one might call the New World Empire, that the "cause"
of the Anglo-US-German assault on Afghanistan, that
"the cause was oil."
I said in passing that I
believed the "they're-doing-it-for-oil"
explanation was wrong. A reader wrote the following:
"I respect your
work, especially your high standards and due
diligence. Sometimes when I read your articles lights
go on. . However I also respect some of the folks who
are arguing that oil explains US actions in
Afghanistan. You seem to disagree. Could you explain
why, providing the documentation to which I have
High School Teacher, greater New York
Since posting my
commentary on the report of what Elizabeth Jones said
about Central Asia, we received, also from a NY-area
reader, the actual transcript of her remarks. Thus you
can now read the full transcript at
Here are two excerpts from
the accurate summary, which was broadcast by the
Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.
must step up 'constant support for democratic
political institutions, local NGOs and the
independent media' in all five countries.
"At the same time, Jones
stressed that the USA would render assistance to the
Central Asian states only 'providing that the latter
take specific steps towards reforms.'
"The USA believes, Jones said,
that 'certain countries' in the region should
noticeably step up their economic reforms and
democratic processes, the observance of human rights
and the formation of a strong civil society.'"
was conditional on economic and democratic reforms
and the observance of human rights. Jones outlined US
priorities in the region: combating terrorism;
reform; the rule of law; Caspian Sea energy resources."
Having posted the quotes
from Ms. Jones, I noted that people who oppose the war
against Afghanistan might see the familiar phrase, "Caspian
Sea energy resources," and think, "Aha! This
The 'it' in question is
the widespread theory that "the reason for US policy
in Afghanistan [and elsewhere] is oil."
theory relies on two assumed facts:
1) We are told that the US
is running out of oil and therefore the US establishment
is desperate to control the area around the oil-rich
Caspian Sea; and -
2) Negotiations between
the Unocal oil company and the Taliban rulers of
Afghanistan to build an oil pipeline in the area were
supposedly going on before September 11th. The Taliban
was negotiating in bad faith or simply refused to allow a
pipeline and the US government, beholden to greedy
administration members connected with Unocal, and also
worried about running out of oil, went to war to get
Unocal its pipeline.
There are several problems
with this theory.
First, there is no
evidence the US had to go to war to guarantee an adequate
oil supply. Fidel Castro spoke about this. Some of our
readers may admire Mr. Castro and some may not but surely
all will concede he is a shrewd observer. Commenting on
the theory that oil was "behind" the war in
Afghanistan, Mr. Castro said:
"I do not share
the view that the United States' main pursuit in
Afghanistan was oil. I rather see it as part of a geo-strategic
concept. No one would make such a mistake simply to
go after oil, least of all a country with access to
any oil in the world, including all the Russian oil
and gas it wishes. It would be sufficient for the U.S.
to invest, to buy and to pay." (2)
- For full text of Fidel Castro's remarks, see http://www.embacuba.ca/Doc-e.htm#Nov2
Mr. Castro is right.
Before 9-11 the US was in a powerful position as regards
Caspian basin energy resources - indeed, according to an
earlier report from Secretary Jones, the main concern of
the U.S. was not getting oil but using oil-development
projects to orient local States in a way that favored US
Below is an excerpt from a
report of some interesting statements made by Elizabeth
Jones on April 11, 2001 at Harvard. She was talking about
a proposed pipeline through the Caspian area (not
Afghanistan) and its relation to the core U.S. strategy
of promoting Turkey as a regional Imperial proxy force,
strengthening its relations with Georgia, which has a pro-U.S.
government, and Azerbaijan, with the goal of weakening
Ambassador remarked on a change in the way the new
Administration talks about the oil pipeline that will
run from Baku, Azerbaijan through Tbilisi, Georgia,
to the Turkish port of Ceyhan. Jones made it clear
that while the pipeline *itself* is not an American
strategic interest, the U.S. Government promoted and
continues to promote it as a commercially viable
project because it is seen as one of several
ways to implement these U.S. strategic goals. 'The
BTC pipeline *is*,' she continued, 'a strategic
interest of Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Turkey.'"
"... In the early nineteen
nineties, when newly independent Kazakhstan and
Azerbaijan began to increase oil production and
exports, the existing pipeline system led through
Russia. Moscow used the pipelines as political
leverage, 'turning off the spigots' when the Caspian
states acted in ways that were seen as threatening
Russia's interests (such as joining NATO's
Partnership for Peace). To guard against dependence
on Russia and also prevent dependence on Iran, which
would have an interest in controlling Caspian oil
because it is a competitor in the oil market, the U.S.
supported a policy of multiple pipelines..."
-- Emphasis as in original. To
read entire text go to
In other words, rather
than being interested in Central Asia "because of
oil," the U.S. was interested in oil "because
of Central Asia."
This follows an age-old
truth: the poor seek security. The rich seek more money.
But the real rulers seek power, because power gets them
control of *everything* that human beings seek.
Second, the theory that
the U.S. went to war because the Taliban were being
intransigent regarding an oil pipeline falsely assumes
the Taliban were the independent rulers of Afghanistan.
Actually the Taliban were
under active control of the Pakistani army and secret
police, and were funded by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,
both of which, especially Saudi Arabia, are part of the U.S.
Empire. Indeed there is substantial evidence that the US
covert apparatus supported the Taliban for a long time.
For more on this, see "Congressman:
U.S. Set Up Anti-Taliban to be Slaughtered'" at
So if the Taliban were
being difficult in some important oil pipeline
negotiations, why wouldn't the U.S. government simply put
pressure on them to 'get with the program'? Why bomb the
place to smithereens?
And what is the hard
evidence that the Taliban did *not* want a pipeline?
That evidence better be
pretty good because it does not make sense for the
Taliban to have opposed a pipeline. Pipelines bring in
lots of cash. A pipeline would have decreased the
Taliban's financial dependence on Pakistan, Saudi Arabia
and the U.S. The Taliban were extremists but they weren't
Moreover, we have strong
evidence the Taliban did *not* resist building a pipeline.
Quite the contrary.
According to the Petroleum
Economist of February 11, 2002, it was the Taliban which
tried to get a trans-Afghan pipeline, and it was the U.S.
and Unocal which jinxed the project.
This can be found in an
analytical article in the Petroleum Economist, entitled,
"ANALYSIS; PIPELINE SURVEY; RUSSIA GOES TO MARKET."
Note that the Economist is the most sophisticated journal
of the oil industry. It is not read by the general public.
It has zero interest in molding public opinion. Its
purpose is to provide insiders with accurate information.
Here's the Petroleum Economist:
promoted Afghanistan as an oil and gas transit point
for exports from the Caspian to the Mideast Gulf. In
1997, Turkmenistan brokered the creation of an
international consortium, CentGas, under the
leadership of Unocal, which planned to build a $2bn
gas line across Afghanistan. The imposition of US
and, later, UN sanctions against the country and then
Unocal's withdrawal put a stop to the plan.
The project envisaged a 1,270-km, 20bn cubic metres a
year link from the border with Turkmenistan, along
the Herat-Kandahar road, to the Pakistan border, at
Quetta, ending at Mulat." (3)
Proponents of the theory
that the U.S. attacked Afghanistan "because of the
Afghan oil pipeline" must explain why the US
establishment first took the action which made it *impossible*
to build a pipeline and then attacked Afghanistan to make
it *possible* to build a pipeline.
Having killed the pipeline
project, if the United States establishment subsequently
changed its mind and decided it wanted a pipeline built
after all, and if Unocal changed its mind and decided now
that it wanted to build the pipeline, why wouldn't the US
simply remove the sanctions which were what was
preventing investors from putting up the cash to build
Pipelines are vulnerable
to attack, so going to war is the worst thing for
building a pipeline. Nobody will invest money in building
a pipeline in a country that is engulfed in war. But wars
are tricky business. Once you start a war, especially in
an area like Central Asia, it is difficult to say for
sure when it will end. Afghanistan is a maze of difficult
terrains, literally and figuratively.
Thus the Petroleum
Economist notes, in its dry way, that the war is not
helping the pipeline project one bit:
reservations of the international investment
community, wary of becoming involved in a still-volatile
area, suggest enthusiasm about pipeline projects in
the country may be premature."
- Petroleum Economist, see footnote (3)
Moreover, this war has,
predictably, destabilized a highly volatile region jam-packed
with nuclear weapons. The threat of nuclear war has been
increased. The U.S. would only risk nuclear war for the
biggest stakes - certainly not to build a pipeline, which
it could have built with no problem if instead of going
to war it had lifted the sanctions against Afghanistan.
theory has another problem.
The test of theory is its
usefulness in predicting events.
But those who now put
forward the "they are in it for the oil" theory
did not predict the attack on Afghanistan.
Rather, believing that
"the US is motivated by oil," they predicted
that, following the terrible events of 9-11, the US would
launch military action in the Middle East, most likely
I am not saying the US and
Britain will not - once again- escalate their pitiless
war against Iraq, a war of bombs and sanctions which has
killed so many Iraqis and had the secondary but also
quite harmful collateral effect of increasing world-wide
political respect for the increasingly distorted leaders
No, I am not saying the U.S.
and England will definitely not escalate the war against
Iraq. But please consider that, despite the predictions
made by analysts who hold the "they're-in-it-for-the-oil"
theory, who have been saying ever since 9-11 that an all
out attack on Iraq is imminent, please note that in the
eight months since 9-11 escalation against Iraq has not
yet occured. This of course suggests that the threat of a
massive attack on Iraq is a diversion to shift our gaze
away from the central point of New World Empire interest:
I do not wish to be unkind
but really, what is left of the "they-did-it-for-the-oil"
It is apparently based on
wrong information, asserting that the Taliban was the
obstacle to an Afghan pipeline, when common sense and
facts from a reliable source tell us the Taliban wanted
It fails to consider that
war is the worst thing for pipelines.
Those who put forth this
theory failed, every one of them, to predict the invasion
of Afghanistan, arguing instead that "because-they're-in-it-for-the-
oil," the U.S. government would invade the Middle
East, specifically Iraq.
(Though if the U.S.
government really "wants oil" why not make a
mutually beneficial settlement with the Iraqi government?
The Iraqi leaders would come to terms with the new World
Empire in two seconds flat, given the chance. They have
exactly zero interest in fighting the US Empire. It is
clearly the US which picked the fight.)
On September 18th,
Emperor's Clothes published an article we had started
working on right after 9-11. In it we made some
predictions based on our own hypothesis.
We said the central (that
is, dominant) goal of the New World Empire was to fully
encircle Russia with Imperial proxy states and gradually
- including the use of phony rebellions and military
attrition - reduce Russia and certain other former Soviet
states to shattered, totally impoverished territories
under Imperial domination. That is not an arbitrary goal,
born of malice. Those who run the New World Empire (centered
in the U.S. establishment) are fully aware that Russia
and China are the most likely potential counter weight to
their power. Therefore for over a decade they have been
patiently laying a noose around Russia's neck. As the
gangster said in the movie, 'The Godfather," nothing
personal. It's only business.
Our article was entitled,
"Why Washington Wants Afghanistan." It is at
Note that this article was
published *before* the US attacked Afghanistan. It is
hard to remember, but at first it wasn't at all clear
that the US planned to attack Afghanistan, or only
Note that at that time,
columnists and politicians were threatening that the US
would launch all-out war against many countries. (4)
Note that the proponents
of the "they're-in-it-for-the-oil" theory were
all saying the US had gone insane and was about to attack
everyone under the sun, particularly Iraq.
When we wrote that in fact
the U.S. was going to concentrate on Afghanistan, a lot
of people, particularly on the "left," said we
were hallucinating. Afghanistan, they said. What did the
US want with Afghanistan?
Note that we were 100%
At first the list of
countries the US promised to bomb for ("harboring
terrorists") was limited to Iraq, Iran, Cuba, Libya,
North Korea and Sudan. As we noted in our article, there
was no evidence that any of these countries had ties with
Osama bin Laden. In fact, the opposite was true:
countries which collaborated to create the Taliban,
training and financing the forces of Osama bin Laden,
and which have never stopped pouring money into the
Taliban - namely Pakistan...Saudi Arabia and the
United Arab Emirates, and the United States itself -
have not been placed on the 'we've got to get them'
list. Instead these states are touted as core allies
in the New World War against terrorism."
- "Why Washington Wants Afghanistan" at
We quoted Donald Rumsfeld
who, on September 16th, upped the number of countries
threatened with US attack to 60:
"Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld said the US would engage in a 'multi-headed
effort' to target terrorist organizations and up to
60 countries believed to be supporting them.
"The US, Mr. Rumsfeld told
American TV, 'had no choice' other than to pursue
terrorists and countries giving them refuge."
- BBC News, September 16th
We made the following
[START EXCERPT FROM 'WHY
WASHINGTON WANTS AFGHANISTAN']
"The threats to bomb up to a
third of the world's countries has scared many
people, worldwide. This, we think, is the intention.
It serves two functions.
"First, it means that if
Washington limits its aggressive action mainly to
attacking Afghanistan, the world will breathe a sigh
"And we think Washington will
mainly attack Afghanistan - at first. Other immediate
violations of sovereignty, such as the forced use of
Pakistan, will be backup action to support the attack
on Afghanistan. There may also be some state terror,
such as increased, unprovoked bombing of Iraq, as a
diversion. But the main immediate focus will, we
think, be Afghanistan.
"Second, this scare tactic [of
threatening to bomb everyone] is meant to divert
attention from Washington's real strategy, far more
dangerous than the threat to bomb many states.
Washington wants to take over Afghanistan in order to
speed up the fulfillment of its strategy of
pulverizing the former Soviet Republics in the same
way Washington has been pulverizing the former
Yugoslavia. This poses the gravest risks [of nuclear
war] to mankind. (4)
[END EXCERPT FROM 'WHY WASHINGTON WANTS AFGHANISTAN' at
We argued that Washington
would strive to bring together elements of all the
various Islamic fundamentalist sects in Afghanistan into
a united force under its control. Washington did not wish
to destroy the Taliban. Rather, it wished to take
Afghanistan into receivership, so to speak, because the
Taliban was incompetent and unreliable, and the Empire
needed to move NATO forces directly into the area to
speed up the encirclement of Russia:
"It is our conviction, and
that of many observers from the region in question,
that Washington ordered Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to
fund the Taliban so the Taliban could do a job:
consolidate control over Afghanistan and from there
move to destabilize the former Soviet Central Asian
Republics on its borders. But the Taliban has failed.
It has not defeated the Russian-backed Northern
Alliance. Instead of subverting Central Asia in
businesslike fashion, it has indulged in blowing up
statues of Buddha and terrorizing people who deviate
from the Taliban's super-repressive interpretation of
'Why Washington Wants Afghanistan." (4)
The inefficiency of the Taliban was one
of the reasons Washington moved into Afghanistan. The
other reason was that Russia was taking independent steps
which could challenge Washington's hegemonic rule:
"...China and Russia have signed a mutual
defense pact. (5) And
despite immense European/U.S. pressure, Russian
President Putin refused to condemn Belarussian
President Lukashenko who, like the jailed but unbroken Yugoslav President
Milosevic, calls for
standing up to NATO. (6) It is this unfavorable
series of developments that has caused Washington to
increase its reliance on its all-time favorite tactic:
extreme brinkmanship." (4)
Since the invasion of Afghanistan, the
encirclement of Russia has greatly intensified. For
example, NATO has developed much closer military ties
with the Central Asian Republics. There are now US
'advisers' in Georgia, a former Soviet Republic on
Russia's strategic southern flank, whose government is
hostile to Russia. Russian leader Vladimir Gorbachev -
oh, I am so sorry, I meant Vladimir *Putin*! - has used
the excuse of a supposed "united fight against
terror" to isolate Russian patriots and make major
concessions to Washington.
As an added Imperial benefit, the
supposed war on terrorism has confused some patriots in
Russia and elsewhere in another way.
Seeing that the U.S. *says* it wants to
fight the Islamic terrorists, and having failed to
organize ordinary people to defend and reclaim the social
gains of the Soviet period, they toy with the "solution"
of allying with Islamic fundamentalist and authoritarian
Muslim states under the illusion that in this way they
can build a real coalition against the New World Empire.
In fact, the Islamic fundamentalist and authoritarian
forces are the deadly enemies of ordinary people, pushing
the most backward ideas (such as the most brutal
oppression of women, violent hatred of Jews, religious
tyranny, glorification of terrorism, and so on) and the
most authoritarian conditions of political life. It is
far better not to have allies than it is to have allies
In fact, the only solid basis on which
to build if one would oppose the New World Empire is: the
political understanding of ordinary people. Perhaps the
most important people in the world - because of where
they live - are the peoples of the former Soviet Union.
In October we published an article
which discussed the danger that those who want to resist
the Empire would adopt the superficial political strategy
of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." That
they would support the Islamic fundamentalists (e.g.,
Islamic Jihad, Hammas, etc.) and the equally dangerous
authoritarian Muslim regimes and movements (e.g., Saddam
Hussein, Arafat) because, superficially, the Empire *seems*
to oppose them. That article is called 'Osama bin Laden, Terrorist Monster: Take Two!' at
Now we see, unfortunatly, that some in
the former Socialist countries, who should know better,
and others in the Western peace movement are making this
mistake. We will discuss this more in other articles.
And as for the Taliban, despite the
ruthless bombing of Afghanistan, which killed so many
civilians, despite the pictures released by the US
military of prisoners in Guantanamo,
intended to show how *ruthlessly* they were suppressing
the Taliban, in fact what has happened? On October 19th
"We have been sold a vicious little war, my
friends. The terrorists will not be eliminated. They
will be regrouped into a more effective force. The
talk of keeping 'moderate Taliban' in the government
is the tip-off. A 'moderate Taliban' is one who does
what the U.S. tells him to do. Washington plans to
combine some of these moderates with moderate
muhajedeen (i.e., terrorists) from the Northern
Alliance, with the aim of creating a unified moderate
terrorist apparatus modeled after the
Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA)." (12)
So we predicted that much of the
Taliban would be absorbed into the armies of the new
Afghan puppet state. And look what was reported as early
as January of this year:
"THOUSANDS of former Taliban
soldiers are being recruited into a new Afghan army,
where they are being armed with Russian AK47 rifles
and dressed in uniforms provided by the United States.
Some soldiers in Mullah Mohammed Omar's former
stronghold estimate that as many as 6,000 Taleban
will soon be part of Kandaharís new army."
- This was originally published by the (London) Times
But you can more easily access the article at
The U.S. claim that it is fighting
Islamic fundamentalism in Afghanistan is a farce, as
demonstrated by the policy of continuing to ship Islamic
fundamentalist textbooks into that tortured country. See http://www.emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/jihad.htm
How well this new puppet state, based
on an army combining all the gruesome factions of Islamic
fundamentalists which Washington and Saudi Arabia have
created in Afghanistan and Pakistan since 1979, an army
which is more like an archeological dig, with its various
layers representing the various nightmares schemes of the
boys in Langley, Virginia, how well this living
expression of the agony which Bryzinsky's slick schemers have inflicted on the people of
Afghanistan, how well this puppet state and army will
ever function remains to be seen.
We read in the Washington Post of a
week ago that the CIA has been trying to assassinate
"In the U.S. view, Gulbuddin
Hekmatyar is a villain who deserves a violent death,
although he is different from the al-Qaida and
Taliban leaders previously targeted by the military
and CIA in Afghanistan.
"The CIA took a shot at Hekmatyar with a missile
from one of its unmanned Predator drones on Monday
near Kabul, but missed, defense officials said. The
missile killed some of his followers.
"U.S. officials accuse Hekmatyar of plotting
attacks on American troops, offering rewards for
their deaths and trying to destabilize the U.S.-backed
interim government of Hamid Karzai. At the same time,
officials acknowledge that Hekmatyar, who once served
as Afghanistan's prime minister, has limited ties to
the Taliban and is only suspected of working with al-Qaida.
But they say his anti-U.S. activities make him a more
immediate threat than the other feuding warlords.
"'I can assure you when we go after individuals
in the theater of war, it is because they intend to
do some harm to America,' President Bush said
Thursday when asked about the strike."
- Associated Press Online * May
10, 2002 Friday
WASHINGTON DATELINE * "CIA Fails to Kill Afghan
Warlord* By JOHN J. LUMPKIN
"Go after individuals in the
theater of war." What a nice, Bush-folksy way of
saying "trying to murder people."
To understand the horrible irony of
this, you should know that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar was the fanatic into whose
pockets the CIA pumped much of its billions of dollars of
Afghan blood money, and who was installed as a "Prime
Minister" after the overthrow of the Afghan secular
government. For more on this go to http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/camps.htm#1
Some news reports said that the recent
unpleasantness had occured because Mr. Hekmatyar was
trying to murder Americans.
Perhaps he was. Or perhaps he wasn't.
Perhaps Hekmatyar heard that the CIA
was trying to murder him and in proper gangster fashion,
he tried to kill them first.
Or maybe he and the CIA boys were
trying to murder each other.
Maybe 'Murder' is the proper word to
describe what Washington has visited upon Afghanistan.
Maybe it was Murder Incorporated that
set up shop in Afghanistan in1979 when the idiot-monsters
at CIA in Langley, Virginia began trying to "draw
Russia into the Afghan trap," in the process of
which they turned an ancient land of wonderful people
into living hell.
And maybe by the time Washington
finishes this latest phase of its 23 year old murderous
nightmare, maybe by the time it's all over, the New World
Empire will earnestly wish that in fact it had gone to
Afghanistan only for the oil.
-- Jared Israel
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