A Primer On the REAL Global Geopolitical Battle

George Washington's picture


Are the Wars in the Middle East and North Africa Really About Oil?

The Iraq war was really about oil, according to Alan Greenspan, John McCain, George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, a high-level National Security Council officer and others.

Dick Cheney made Iraqi’s oil fields a national security priority before 9/11.

The Sunday Herald reported:

Five months before September 11, the US advocated using force against Iraq … to secure control of its oil.

The Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11 (see this and this).   According to French intelligence officers, the U.S. wanted to run an oil pipeline through Afghanistan to transport Central Asian oil more easily and cheaply. And so the U.S. told the Taliban shortly before 9/11 that they would either get “a carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs”, the former if they greenlighted the pipeline, the second if they didn’t. See this, this and this.

Congressman Ed Markey said:

Well, we’re in Libya because of oil.

Senator Graham agreed.

And the U.S. and UK overthrew the democratically-elected leader of Iran because he announced that he would nationalize the oil industry in that country.

It's a War for GAS

But it's about gas as much as oil ...

As key war architect John Bolton said last year:

The critical oil and natural gas producing region that we fought so many wars to try and protect our economy from the adverse impact of losing that supply or having it available only at very high prices.

For example, the pipeline which the U.S. wanted to run through Afghanistan prior to 9/11 was to transport gas as much as oil.

John C.K. Daly notes:

The proposed $7.6 billion, 1,040 mile-long TAPI [Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India ... admittedly a mouthful, but you'll be hearing a lot about it in the coming months] natural gas pipeline has a long regional history, having first been proposed even before the Taliban captured Kabul, as in 1995 Turkmenistan and Pakistan initialed a memorandum of understanding.


TAPI, with a carrying capacity of 33 billion cubic meters of Turkmen natural gas a year, was projected to run from Turkmenistan's Dauletabad gas field across Afghanistan and Pakistan and terminate at the northwestern Indian town of Fazilka.

TAPI would have required the assent of the Taliban, and two years after the MoU was signed the Central Asia Gas Pipeline Ltd. consortium, led by U.S. company Unocal, flew a Taliban delegation to Unocal headquarters in Houston, where the Taliban signed off on the project.

The Taliban visit to the U.S. has been confirmed by the mainstream media.  Indeed, here is a picture of the Taliban delegation visiting Unocal's Houston headquarters in 2007:

Taliban representatives in Texas, 1997.

U.S. companies such as Unocal (lead on the proposed pipeline) and Enron (and see this), with full U.S. government support, continued to woo the Taliban right up until 2001 in an attempt to sweet-talk them into green-lighting the pipeline.

For example, two French authors with extensive experience in intelligence analysis (one of them a former French secret service agent) - claim:

Until August [2001], the US government saw the Taliban regime "as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia" from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean. Until now, says the book, "the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that."

Pepe Escobar notes:

Under newly elected president George W Bush... Unocal snuck back into the game and, as early as January 2001, was cozying up to the Taliban yet again, this time supported by a star-studded governmental cast of characters, including undersecretary of state Richard Armitage, himself a former Unocal lobbyist.




Negotiations eventually broke down because of those pesky transit fees the Taliban demanded. Beware the Empire's fury. At a Group of Eight summit meeting in Genoa in July 2001, Western diplomats indicated that the Bush administration had decided to take the Taliban down before year's end. (Pakistani diplomats in Islamabad would later confirm this to me.) The attacks of September 11, 2001 just slightly accelerated the schedule.

Soon after the start of the Afghan war, Karzai became president (while Le Monde reported that Karzai was a Unocal consultant, it is possible that it was a mix-up with the Unocal consultant and neocon who got Karzai  elected, Zalmay Khalilzad).  In any event, a mere year later, a U.S.-friendly Afghani regime signed onto TAPI.

India just formally signed on to Tapi. This ended the long-proposed competitor: an Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline.

Competing Pipe Dreams

Virtually all of the current global geopolitical tension is based upon whose vision of the "New Silk Road" will control.

But before we can understand the competing visions, we have to actually see the maps:

A picture named gasSupplyAndDemand.jpg

A picture named southAndBluestream.jpg

And here are the competing pipelines backed by the U.S. and by Iran, before India sided with the U.S.:

With maps in hand, we can now discuss the great geopolitical battle raging between the U.S. and its allies, on the one hand, and Russia, China and Iran, on the other hand.

Iran and Pakistan are still discussing a pipeline without India, and Russia backs the proposal as well.

Indeed, the "Great Game" being played right now by the world powers largely boils down to the United States and Russia fighting for control over Eurasian oil and gas resources:

Russia and the USA have been in a state of competition in this region, ever since the former Soviet Union split up, and Russia is adamant on keeping the Americans out of its Central Asian backyard. Russia aims to increase European gas dominance on its resources whereas the US wants the European Union (EU) to diversify its energy supply, primarily away from Russian dominance. There are already around three major Russian pipelines that are supplying energy to Europe and Russia has planned two new pipelines.

The rising power China is also getting into this Great Game:

The third “big player” in this New Great Game is China, soon to be the world’s biggest energy consumer, which is already importing gas from Turkmenistan via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to its Xinjiang province — known as the Central Asia-China Pipeline — which may tilt the balance towards Asia. Pepe Escobar calls it the opening of the 21st century Silk Road in 2009 when this pipeline became operational.  China’s need for energy is projected to increase by 150 per cent which explains why it has signed probably the largest number of deals not just with the Central Asian republics but also with the heavily sanctioned Iran and even Afghanistan. China has planned around five west-east gas pipelines, within China, of which one is operational (domestically from Xinjiang to Shanghai) and others are under construction and will be connected to Central Asian gas reserves.

China is also pushing for an alternative to TAPI: an Turkmenistan-Afghan-China pipeline.

Iran is also a player in its own right:

Another important country is Iran. Iran sits on the second largest gas reserves in the world and has over 93 billion barrels of proven oil reserves with a total of 4.17 million barrels per day in 2009. To the dislike of the United States, Iran is a very active player. The Turkmenistan-Iran gas pipeline, constructed in 1997, was the first new pipeline going out from Central Asia. Furthermore, Iran signed a $120 billion gas exploration deal, often termed the “deal of the century” with China. This gas deal signed in 2004 entails the annual export of approximately 10 million tons of Iranian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China for 25 years. It also gives China’s state oil company the right to participate in such projects as exploration and drilling for petrochemical and gas industries in Iran. Iran also plans to sell its gas to Europe through its Persian Gas pipeline which can become a rival to the US Nabucco pipeline. More importantly, it is also the key party in the proposed Iran-Pakistan (IP) pipeline, also formerly known as the “peace pipeline.” Under this pipeline plan, first proposed in 1995, Iran will sell gas from its mega South Pars fields to Pakistan and India.

China's support for Iran is largely explained by oil and gas:

Referring to China, Escobar states “most important of all, ‘isolated’ Iran happens to be a supreme matter of national security for China, which has already rejected the latest Washington sanctions without a blink” and that “China may be the true winner from Washington's new sanctions, because it is likely to get its oil and gas at a lower price, as the Iranians grow ever more dependent on the China market.”


China has also shown interest in the construction of IP on the Pakistani side and further expanding it to China. This means that starting at Gwadar, Beijing plans to build another pipeline, crossing Balochistan and then following the Karakoram Highway northwards all the way to Xinjiang, China's Far West. China is also most likely to get the construction contract for this pipeline. As stated above, Chinese firms are part of the consortium awarded the contract for the financial consultancy for the project. Closer participation in the Asian energy projects would also help China increase its influence in the region for its objective of creating the “string of pearls” across the region — which has often scared India as an encirclement strategy by the Chinese government.

Why Syria?

You might ask why there is so much focus on Syria right now.

Well, Syria is an integral part of the proposed 1,200km Arab Gas Pipeline:

Here are some additional graphics courtesy of Adam Curry:

A picture named arabGasPipeline.jpg

A picture named syria-turkey.jpg

A picture named levantprovince2.jpg

So yes, regime change was planned against Syria (as well as Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan and Iran) 20 years ago.

And yes, attacking Syria weakens its close allies Iran and Russia ... and indirectly China.

But Syria's central role in the Arab gas pipeline is also a key to why it is now being targeted.

Just as the Taliban was scheduled for removal after they demanded too much in return for the Unocal pipeline, Syria's Assad is being targeted because he is not a reliable "player".

Specifically, Turkey, Israel and their ally the U.S. want an assured flow of gas through Syria, and don't want a Syrian regime which is not unquestionably loyal to those 3 countries to stand in the way of the pipeline ... or which demands too big a cut of the profits.

A deal has also been inked to run a natural gas pipeline from Iran's giant South Pars field through Iraq and Syria (with a possible extension to Lebanon). 

And a deal to run petroleum from Iraq's Kirkuk oil field to the Syrian port of Banias has also been approved:

Turkey and Israel would be cut out of these competing pipelines.

Pepe Escobar sums up what is driving current global geopolitics and war:

What you're really talking about is what's happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It's there that the liquid war for the control of Eurasia takes place.


Yep, it all comes down to black gold and "blue gold" (natural gas), hydrocarbon wealth beyond compare, and so it's time to trek back to that ever-flowing wonderland - Pipelineistan.

Notes: It's not just the Neocons who have planned this strategy. Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser helped to map out the battle plan for Eurasian petroleum resources over a decade ago, and Obama is clearly continuing the same agenda.

Some would say that the wars are also about forcing the world into dollars and private central banking, but that's a separate story.

And some allege that even portions of the Greek melodrama are explained by gas and oil.

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Clashfan's picture

Speaking of 911 and UNOCAL (Didn't we once call this thing the UNOCAL pipeline? Being aware of the Enron connections, that is?), does anyone remember whom Bushmonkey first appointed to head the 911 Commission and why they had to step down?

Mitchell? Kissinger?

UNOCAL connections becoming an obvious "conflict of interest?"

Intriguing piece, GW. Thanks. :)

matrix2012's picture

A MUST READ for all ZHers ! ! !


Indeed it's for anyone with conscience, any peace seeker !

Another great article by George Washington


What Do These Beautiful People Have In Common?


matrix2012's picture

Thanks GW for the great article.

Yes, Pepe Escobar is surely very keen on these OIL GEOPOLITICS issues!

His 'Roving Eye' column at Asia Times Online: http://www.atimes.com/  has cool reading.


The U.S. dollar status as the global settlement currency and world reserve currency is SOLELY relying on its use for oil (and gas) transactions.

IF one day the majority of oil & gas transactions are to be carried out bypassing the U.S. dollar, then it's has reached its terminal service time as the global settlement currency and world reserve currency.

Any fiat currency in order to become an international settlement currency and reserve currency, must have a powerful economic and military forces as a backup, because the fiat currency of international settlement and reserve currency is equivalent to MONETARY COLONIALISM, to print fiat money to buy the world's assets, while the colonial pillager relies on the use of military force to plunder!


In addition to Pepe Escobar's Roving Eye, below sites are also resource rich on the Oil & Gas Geopolitics and the Project for a New American Century (PNAC):

GlobalResearch.ca - Centre for Research on Globalization : http://www.globalresearch.ca/

* in particular those works of Prof Michel Chossudovsky


Geopolitics - Geoeconomics - F William Engdahl :  http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/


Land Destroyer - Tony Cartalucci : http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/



"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves, in the course of time, a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it." - Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)



Carroll Quigley's 'Tragedy and Hope: A History of The World in Our Time' and W. Cleon Skousen's 'The Naked Capitalist' plus few other Quigley's venerable, hard to find works, all in good quality now come in bundle -- old link was dead already, sabotaged...only to resurrect in a even better shape :D ^^^ -Matrix-

Joaquin's picture

You almost have this right but you are missing an existing pipeline in Syria, the Kirkuk–Baniyas pipeline which goes right through Syria to Iraq!  This pipeline has been closed for sometime but could carry Iraq oil through Syria avoiding the Straight of Hormuz.  This is what is being fought over now because it would limit Iran's ability to shutdown oil transport.

Augustus's picture

So whoever built that pipe has been screwed by another group of warring Muslims.  Anyone up for installing another one costing just a few $billion more?

wagthetails's picture

so Democrats continue these wars by not allowing more US energy independence?  say it ain't so.  eventually one democrat will get it right and push for a Canada pipeline, more US production, with some taxes on productionf funding green energy...as a way to STOP THE CONSTANT HOT AND COLD WARS!  the beauty is i think a candidate for eitehr party could take this approach and still not look like they are crossign party lines.

FrankDrakman's picture

Jeezus f'ing christ:

Natural gas futures back in 2005 were $14; today, they're around $2.50. There is so much gas in Canada and the US that is just shut in, waiting for higher prices, that we have hundreds of years of supply. I really don't give a shit if the douchebags in MENA can't figure out how to ship the stuff across their godforsaken countries; fuck 'em if their tribalism trumps their common sense.

Meanwhile, Canada and the US should be building big LNG terminals on the East Coast to ship the stuff to Europe. We make money, Europe gets a dependable supply, big FU to the Russkis and Arabs.  

mr1963's picture

Uh, Duh? Like your lights on at night, eating out, plane trips, heating in the winter, cooling in the summer?

You don't need charts and diatribe, it's always been about energy and the supply chain. Want to avoid the problem, find and mine your own energy.

Augustus's picture

The rag head, camel rider, goat fu**kers would like to have a route to trade some of that oil and gas for coins they can use to buy a Mercedes and air conditioning.   Why should other countries not help them live a better life?

DOT's picture

Three thousand years of war and conflict and the only interest is in the last one hundred. Is it really different in the modern era or is a long term and culturally supported annimosity that still gets those MENA panties in a knot.

Water is the resourse whose supply is constrained and fought over by the locals. Our obsession with all things crude is just a side show.

AnAnonymous's picture

Another taste of "I am discovering Americanism and I am telling you" style of articles as performed by this american propagandist contributor.

So 'american' nations are organizing the world so they can be enabled in their 'american' consumption patterns?

Who could have figured that? And vanguard thinking, the US has been at this game for more than 230 years by now.

So valuable a piece of information: the world is organize to favour consumption in the 'american' nations, the US american market throning it all.

Woooo, really, as one 'american' has it on this site, the thinkers of tomorrow express themselves on this forum...

Disenchanted's picture




Is that you Noam?


Iraq was invaded 'to protect Israel' - US official  (Philip Zelikow - Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission)


Context of 'September 10, 2002: Future 9/11 Commission Executive Director Says ‘Real Threat’ of Iraqi WMDs Is to Israel'



"Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us?" Philip Zelikow explains, "I'll tell you what the real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel. And this is the threat that dares not speak its name because...the American government doesn't want to lean too hard on it rhetorically because it's not a popular sell." - Philip Zelikow forum at the University of Virginia Law School on Sept. 10, 2002


Philip Zelikow - SourceWatch

janus's picture

evening, GW. 

pepe escobar is awesome; and for those of you just discovering this terrier-like investigative journalist, you may likewise be interested in discovering one of his colleagues, thierry meyssan.

you can find them both over at voltairenet.org   but, take it with a grain of salt (or two).  they do have an agenda; and, to be honest, their passion and perspective can at times tincture the Truth they are pursuing.  no where near as bad as the western press in that regard; nevertheless, i've seen them stagger from the effects of too much truthiness.

which reminds me:  turns out, steven colbert's name is not john...could'a fooled me.  anyway, this steven colbert has real potential...i think he may be going places.  and when you hear janus refer to 'the 1%', he's referring to folks like colbert -- not because of his salary; actually, in spite of it.  janus doesn't agree with john...i mean 'steven'...on everything -- i'm a weirdo that doesn't require those i admire to conform to my way of thinking -- but i respect him for his talent and sincerity.  oh, did i mention, he's rather funny.

now, onto the purpose of tonight's post (and many more to follow); which isn't in any way funny.  deadly serious, in fact.


in case you're unaware, here are some stories regarding this horrific affront to human dignity; this murder in the first degree by some gastropod with a gun; this feculent rent-a-cop and his pornographic bloodlust; this inevitable consequence of malevolent sadism emboldened by a badge; this emblem of what amorica has become.

please read (janus has never requested anything of you, ZHealots; and it's not for me)


Daily Mail,

From the bottom of my heart, and on behalf of all those who loved Gil, I thank you for you superlative coverage of this act of terrorism. 

janus is indebted to you; and for your efforts, i can say that you have a Good Friend in boston.


you, too, are to be enthusiastically commended for your dogged reporting.


I was tentative to post anything with his pictures; knowing how many of you channel a focused stream of hatred at those who are remarkably handsome, charming, intelligent, athletic, charismatic, gracious, generous, polite and beloved.

Gil was all of these things and more.  In short, he was special. Gil Collar was a member of the real 1%.  Gil Collar was an American Golden Boy; and he was gunned down in cold-blood by a sorry-ass and cowardly mass of quivering blubber.  a loser security guard (with ambitions of being a 'cop'), who hated Gil because he was not Gil, and stood no chance of ever being Gil.  Authority is terrified of young men like Gil Collar; because american authority is perfectly embodied in the girth of that GOD DAMNED wastral who somehow evaded the abortionists arts. 

more to the point, Gil Collar and the pustual that murdered him represent the perfect juxtaposition.  on the one side, we have Gil.  a young man on a 'spiritual quest', possessed of a host of enviable gifts, who never-ever acted with malice or cruelty, who always considered the rights and feelings of others over his own, who believed in the concept of service as a life's mission -- in other words, Gill Collar is the antithesis of what amorica wants of its youth.  on the other hand, we have this (name not yet released to the public...but janus has it -- oh, janus has a few other details on him and Zeke Aull and other bloated rednecks in that 'department') semi-sentient mound of manure, who sweats when he eats and hasn't seen the tip of his tiny prick since adolescense.  this matchless consumer of any and everything he can shove in his cavernous maw.  this popper of perscription pills (SSRIs, or so i'm told...no confirmation on that yet).  this appaling wretch who's never questioned authority, and embraces his own slavery.  this woeful putrefaction is exactly what amorica needs its youth to become; otherwise, the Gil Collars of the world may just restore our republic...can't have that -- gotta mow them down early, especially if they show any signs of specialness.

my son will be flying down to attend the funeral in a few days; and while we were discussing the arrangements, he said something to me...something that hit me hard.

unlike his ole man, my eldest is very measured and deliberate.  he, like every boy on that wrestling team, greatly admired Gil Collar; and, as per that admiration and fraternal love, he leveled his tear-filled eyes up to my own and said, "daddy, of all the things that have happened, i can't bear to see Gil remembered as 'the naked and erratic teen'."

fret not, my son...janus is on it.

as you may have suspected, janus knows a few things about this grevious catastrophy.  i know that back-up was already on the scene.  i know that Gil NEVER threatened this blubbery blight.  i know that he (Gil) wasn't on anything but alcohol.  i know that there were witnesses (one of whom was holding his clothes).  i know that he was, as i said the other day, just out cavorting.

and so, for all you 'compassionate conservatives' who were so quick to take the side of 'authority' and condemn this Golden Boy as some sort of face-eating freak, rot in hell.  oh, and i'll remind you that your lil hero, george W bush, was fond of streaking and taunting authority figures.  shame he didn't attend the university of southern alabama...some fatassed rent-a-cop could've save humanity a whole bunch o trouble, death, deprivation, etc.  no, actually, i wouldn't wish this unfathomably wicked fate on ole W.  or anyone for that matter.

oh, and mitt romney liked to prank around a bit, too.  but i guess only young men from the middle and lower classes are subject to being shot for youthful indescretion.

the primary point i want to stress is that this is far more than an outta control fatbody with 'issues'; it is the natural manifestation of tyrranical authority fermented in the stew of american 'democracy'.  this is you, america.  you are the majority.  these are the people YOU put into power.  america, you killed Gil Collar.  and i will never-ever forgive you for it.

you are the problem, america.  not your politicians; not your banks; not your 'economy'; not your media... nothing but YOU.  these things you detest in washington were placed there by the most detestable thing of all -- the american voting public. 

i was once a fan of ayn rand; and though i will never return to my former state viz. that cold-hearted bitch, i am starting to reconsider this notion she had -- a colony of the 1%.  a place where Liberty is more than a euphemism for draconian depravity...a place where we belong.

america is finished; it will never be america again.  reason being: it is overpopulated with loathsome americans...the kind that vote, shoot unarmed boys in cold blood, and pine for war like a junkie craves the needle.

i've never felt grief like this.  i've never felt this sort of vacuous sense of baffling loss. 

one final thing (for now):  coach Glass, God bless you, sir!  you're a great coach and an even bettter man.  i cannot thank you enough for standing up for Gil from the very outset.  you didn't wait for toxicology reports or the (still unreleased) video.  no, you were certain of this young man's charecter, and you spoke with due conviction.  it's called honor; it's the kind of thing honorable men do.

this is a man, and he has a name/

his name is Gil Collar


his name is GIL COLLAR!


you were truly a hero to all your teammates -- a natural born leader of men. 

ps. Gil, thanks for taking time to play with my six-year-old whenever he was pesterin all you older boys between matches (it meant a lot to me back then; it means even more now)...he was heartbroken when i told him -- he, like all of us, remembers you oh-so fondly.



stairmaster's picture

Gas isn't on the radar because the price is to low but a lot of people are spending a lot on money building and blowing up gas pipelines (Bush drones seemed to hit pipelines a lot).  The EU has a strategic reliance on Russian gas and a economic and strategic interest in transporting gas from non- Russian sources.  In July, 2011 Assad signed a deal cutting out Turkey and their partners on the Arab pipeline and the rest is history.  Adam Curry on the No Agenda Pod cast has been all over this as stated.

chump666's picture

excellent post GW.


Mercury's picture

It's not just the Neocons who have planned this strategy. Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser helped to map out the battle plan for Eurasian petroleum resources over a decade ago, and Obama is clearly continuing the same agenda.

So...along comes this shale gas revolution thing, exploding the size of potential US reserves and driving the price of NG down to record low levels. Obama, who is ostensibly looking around for a source of macro economic growth, does roughly nothing to encourage this new energy source/industry, preferring instead to dump oodles of government money into windmills and solar panels.

But wait! that's just a clever ploy to fool the sheeple.  In reality Obama is really hot, as all previous presidents have been, to secure a source of NG from the other side of the world and pipe it through some of the most unpleasant and inhospitable places on earth, costs be damned...because...well that's just how we Americans roll Goddamnit: kicking ass, stripping resources and sweeping away downtrodden peoples like picking off buffalo from the transcontinental railroad.

Do I have that right?


Augustus's picture


Your analysis perfectly fits into the logic that GW regularly employes.

Urban Redneck's picture

George is creating a chicken and egg conundrum, instead of properly placing the horse before the cart.

Plans are drawn and significant sums of money are expended on oil and gas development and infrastructure all over the world, all the time. Development projects in developing and undeveloped countries often involve significant bribes, and when there are multiple multinationals or NOCs involved, if one side is paying, all sides are paying.

I've been through three Prime Ministers in different forgotten war-torn corner of nowhere. Ten years from now George could very well be writing a post alleging some anonymous fringe blogger overturned three democratically elected governments in pursuit of a pipeline. It doesn't make it so, even if it is easy to connect the dots such a fashion.

I can remember having dinner with the head of opposition in the Pakistani parliament during the early years of the Clinton administration, there was frustration expressed about the blocking of the sale of F-16s and hope because of Enron's plans to build a host of gas power plants to alleviate the chronic electricity shortages in Pakistan. This is back when Enron was a real energy company, not a trading house. US foreign policy is remarkably inconsistent. Foggy Bottom stopped caring about Pakistan the same time it stopped caring about Afghanistan. In addition to plans to construct LNG unloading terminals to feed power plants in Pakistan, there have actually been two pipeline plans (of which, only one, is mentioned in the colorful conspiracy montage above), one overland and one undersea, one fed from North Pars and one fed from South Pars, one Shia and one Sunni. So which side is the US on?  Politicians' and diplomats' (often misguided) thinking regarding access to and control of resources dictates US foreign policy, not the actual wishes or development plans those who actually develop the resources.

However, in regards to the broader issue of resource "GREED" driving the US's policies of doing "GOOD" in the world, George is right.  The problem is that when you misidentify the root source responsible for the misguided approach, you wind up trying to change a component that is irrelevant to actual final outcome, and you wind up with the rinse, repeat Groundhog Day replay.   

jaap's picture

Thanks George,

Also Adam Curry of the No Agenda Show (best podcast in the universe) deconstructed this in the beginning of the year. A lot of good information by the both of you, I must say. Here a special edit of the relevant shows are http://static.curry.com/NA-MP3S/NA-426-2012-07-15-Final.mp3

You guys seem to use the same maps (pipelines.curry.com).


Skateboarder's picture

Thanks so much for the article GW, and thanks to all the posters for the excellent linkage. All the information here goes a long way towards explaining a lot of what has been happening over the last few decades and what the upcoming plans are. Definitely passing this one on. Cheers friends.

Augustus's picture

This is more of the unadulterated nonsense gathered by Geo Wash.

How far did that wellhead jump at Macondo?

So Unocal is responsible for a war in Afghanistan because the company once negotiated for a pipeline RoW?  Harboring and protecting BinLaden, mastermind of September 11 attacks, evidently had nothing to do with it?

And because the US had developed military plans directed toward Afghanistan, a communist puppet state at the time, is proof that the US is at war to secure a pipeline RoW. 

Since the Chinese have also now seen the obvious need for transport, so that the producing countries can sell the product, it must have become a good thing.  They will join in sending troops to Afghanistan?  What a bag of nonsense.

AurorusBorealus's picture

Afghanistan a communist puppet state?  When?  When the Soviet Union was fighting a war there for 7 years against the Mujahadeen and the Taliban?  When the Taliban, who had defeated the Soviet Union, ruled Afghanistan?  You had best have a few actual facts at your command before you spout nonsense.  And if you believe that the American obsession with the Middle East has nothing to do with controlling the supply of oil and gas, you are a complete idiot.

Augustus's picture

You failed to note that the Afghan "President" during the Russian war period was a Russian communist appointee.

The US hosting of the Taliban was related to the Taliban being the opposition to the Russians.  any pipeline discussion would have been tertiary agenda at best.  Unlikey to build any pipeline in a war zone under opposition control.  Any pipe line built yet after 20 years?

The entire post and premise is another bag of GW BS.

mess nonster's picture

What if... Truman didn't recognize Israel in 1948? Would there be Palestinian refugees? Would Yasser Arafat have been anything more than a carpet salesman like his father? Would the USS Liberty have been deployed the the Eastern Mediterranean? There's an hidden agnda behind all this hydrocarbon geopolitics, and it is all about the Dome fo the Rock.

FeralSerf's picture

The hidden agenda is control, i.e. world domination, the eternal dream of tyrants everywhere.  There is nothing like control of Planet Earth's energy sources to effect control of everything.  Energy is a common universal choke-point. One, however, must not only control existing resources, including the resources of one's competitor, but one must control new technology, e.g. thorium reactors.  Pipelines are an important source of control of national energy resources for not only the consumer, but the producer.  The guy with the most effective military usually gets to control the pipelines.

It's not about the Dome of the Rock, it's about world domination.  The Dome is only a symbol for one group of people that must be controlled if the tyrants' geopolitical ambitions are to succeed.

cynicalskeptic's picture

The Taliban leaders in Afghanistan were honored guests in the US when the US was trying to get that pipeline built.  Lots of positive press at the time about how the Taliban were such 'good guys' ..........   not the first time we've seen a 180... After all Sadddam Hussein was a good guy when fighting against Iran - got lots of funding from the US and Saudis.... and binLaden was a counduit for funds to the jihadists fighting the Soviets, just like the 'blind sheik' in Brooklyn (WTC '93) bombing) was one of those heloing out in the anti-Soviet ffort - protected by the CIA while the FBI was looking for him.....

silverdragon's picture


you rock, your insights are like a knife through butter.

natty light's picture

Pepe always has interesting writing.

kedi's picture

The U.S. wants world domination. You can try and control the energy or you can just keep areas in chaos to deprive any control of it. Control seems too difficult and expensive, so chaos.

This hurts all competitors. Right now a serious competitor continues to benefit from the chaos. Russia. But she is a very difficult one to control, and is pretty used to chaos. China is in trouble of various kinds. The U.S. balances on the edge of various collapse, but stirs chaos to keep others off balance.

The Alarmist's picture

BTW, if you wonder why the decomposing corpse of Greece is being kept in the Eurozone this long, follow the flow of gas if Syria and Turkey prove untenable.  Ditto for Cyprus.

The Alarmist's picture

"The Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11 ... "

Duh!  I would be surprised if there was one nation on earth for which the Pentagon didn't have an OpPlan or two.


"Congressman Ed Markey saidWell, we’re in Libya because of oil."

Duh! But what is surprising is how eager the US was to essentially take Libyan oil from the hands of Eni and give it to Total.

"Competing Pipe Dreams"

Congratulations ... Adam Curry at the No Agenda podcast has been on this for at least a year ... where have you been?


Urban Redneck's picture

The reason the US is in Libya is the same reason the reason the US is not in Syria.

Susan Rice is a bitch cunt.  Human Rights are irrelevant to US foreign policy.

However, pipelines don't really count towards the control of resources quota for instigating "policy actions"

cynicalskeptic's picture

Project for a New American Century hit list....   Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan    - problem is the US can't seem to get the oil even after we depose the leaders and take the place over.  FUBAR.  

Obama's continued what started long before him... they just can't seem to get War with Iran going though... lame speedboat attacks under W (Gulf of Tonkin redux?), endless harping about nukes... (WMD redux?  - hey, Iran learned from N Korea - if you've actually GOT nukes, the US is 'reluctant' to take action)

orangegeek's picture

If oil were $20 per barrel, none of this would exist - we still live in a world of invented scarcity instead of actual abundance.




Oil prices continue to slide.  Natgas is at historical lows - 3 buck per MBTU instead of 15 bucks.  Gasoline is well off its 2008 high of 360.  Gasoline sits at 290.


As deflation picks up, these commodities will slide further.

hannah's picture

JESUS CHRIST MAN...NEVER NEVER EVER SAY THE WORD DEFLATION ON ZH......! dont you know these people live and die by their gold purchases and WE CAN ONLY HAVE INFLATION FOREVER...!!!!


housing to zero...!

gas to zero...!

begin the great depression....!

matrix2012's picture

@ hannah, if ur real then i wonder where do you live on?

of course there's deflation... don't you see the prices of the flat screen TV, smartphones, gadgets, computer things etc etc all are down???

Deflation in everything we WANT and Inflation in everything we NEED!


"The first panacea for a mismanaged nation is inflation of the currency; the second is war. Both bring a temporary prosperity; both bring a permanent ruin. But both are the refuge of political and economic opportunists." - Ernest Hemingway

BigDuke6's picture

It's cool
We know that gold does well in deflation too as its lack of income matters less.

lolmao500's picture

Europe doesn't need all that, they are bankrupt!

And they can just turn to nuclear thorium energy and they won't need all that natural gas and oil...

hmmtellmemore's picture

I wonder what it would cost to have a personal thorium reactor.

Scalaris's picture

Great article; I'm adding an old, more Afghanistan-specific, post, from August, posted on another site, (no time to edit right now - sorry) but still somewhat pertinent regarding oil & gas pipelines. Also, it's becoming more evident how Russia is suppressing the gas development in ex soviet satellites and client states like Kazakhstan, Georgia and Poland, through corporate and political influence (Exxon withdrawal from Poland etc.), particularly in the shale gas industry, which engages in anti-fracking campaigning through Gazprom*1,2,3, attempting to impact market behaviour regarding the prospect of alternative natural gas resources, which translates in a dilution of a near monopolistic Russian market share, as Europe's supplier. Additional action from Russia's part, is the acquisition of acreage in Cyprus oil & gas fields.

And of course, the latest Georgian elections could be described as positive, for Russia's energy influence over the area.


  1. *Gazprom Funds Anti-Fracking Campaigns in Europe?
  2. *The Shale Gas Boom: How Scared is the Kremlin?
  3. *Russia Sounds Alarm On Shale Gas


"While Afghanistan's overall oil reserves of around 1.6 billion barrels are not large by international standards, comparatively with its overall mineral wealth of sizable copper and iron deposits as well as rare earth elements, with calculable value of approximately $1 trillion, along with the substantial profit generation derived from opium trade, the primary purpose is the country's geostrategic value as land bridge, which translates into securing control over trans-Afghan transport corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea. 

Several trans-Afghan oil and gas pipeline projects have been contemplated including the planned $8.0 billion TAPI pipeline project (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) of 1900 km., which would transport Turkmen natural gas across Afghanistan in what is described as a "crucial transit corridor". Turkmenistan possesses third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran. Strategic control over the transportation routes out of Turkmenistan has been part of Washington's agenda since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

What was rarely contemplated in pipeline geopolitics, however, is that Afghanistan is not only adjacent to countries which are rich in oil and natural gas (e.g. Turkmenistan), it also possesses within its territory sizeable untapped reserves of natural gas, Soviet estimates of the 1970s placed "Afghanistan's 'explored' (proved plus probable) gas reserves at about 5 trillion cubic feet. The Hodja-Gugerdag's initial reserves were placed at slightly more than 2 tcf.

Moreover, Washington's mandate towards the acquisition of total geostrategic energy hegemonization, as well as geopolitical influence, nears closer to completion by its presence in Afghanistan, leaving a surrounded Iran, an already separated Iraq with its Kurdish province ready to commercialize its oil reserves with western corporations, and Syria in a weakened state, 

By conjecture, the plan to establish complete territorial annexation, will provide with total control of energy control and transportation between Europe/India/China, at least through a substantial geographic area, while at the same time exercising geopolitical pressure towards Pakistan."

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Of course it's about gas.  Gas must be transported by pipeline.  Pipelines that go from central Asia thru Iran, Iraq, Turkey and the Balkans ending in Europe.  Every country on the route must be controlled without exception.  Another route is central Asia to India or China via Afghanistan.

Must wean Europe and China off of Russian gas.

Element's picture



" ... Gas must be transported by pipeline. ..."

Not so, if you get it to the coast it can go by ship, Australia exports LNG by ship to China.  All you have to do is get it to the Israeli or Syrian coastline or the black sea coast, liquefy it and load it on to an LNG bulk-carrier, and turn it back into gas at the destination.  It eliminates a lot of the vulnerability and allows ships to be protected by naval forces plus maritime patrol aircraft.  Pipelines may be cheaper in some cases but they are also vulnerable.


sgt_doom's picture

Excellent post, GW, excellent post.  Iran is also rich in radium, with Russia super-rich in gas.

and pertaining to that presidential "debate":

The Lords of Debt 

That recently televised travesty, the so-called presidential debate, was said to have been won by Romney because he appeared to be in "control" --- whatever that means?


The dictators of Myanmar were in control --- the banksters and hedge fund managers were in control when they crashed the economy.


Romney was in control at Bain Capital when he created enormous amounts of debt to profit himself and his cronies.  (He was also in control when he took investment funds from they who directed death squads in El Salvador, and the several top executives of Monsanto, to start up Bain Capital funds.)


There wouldn't be so many billionaires today if there wasn't such a colossal national debt --- they created their fortunes by creating such debt --- the correlation between the consistent rise in "defense" spending and the national debt is one-to-one.


The idiot newsies prattle on about the subprime mortgage causing the economic meltdown --- what utter nonsense!  For every $1 of mortgages sold, the banksters sold at least $1,000 worth of debt:  financial instruments based upon layers of debt.  That was the cause!


Occasionally one hears something factual on BBC, where their CEO also happens to sit on the boards of various Barclay's offshore financial structures, Barclay's being recently cited for massive LIBOR manipulation, and past money laundering involvement.  The other day a BBC newsy said Americans are "staggeringly ignorant of their own politics" --- and I agree, but then so are the Brits and the Swedes.


On the same day, the BBC did on-the-spot interviews in Stockholm, suggesting WikiLeaks' Julian Assange was wanted for molesting two "girls" (actually two adult women, BTW).  Completely false; Assange was supposedly wanted for questioning about a broken condom --- which, after examination by a Swedish government forensics lab --- showed no, I repeat NO sign of any DNA evidence!


As of today, at least 13 American ambassadors have been recalled due to their machinations on behalf of multinationals against the host countries they were posted to --- because they were exposed by some of those WikiLeaked US State Department cables ---  these are positive outcomes.


Some of those cables further exposed the extravagantly corrupt lifestyles of the dictators of Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere, which may have provided some impetus for their eventual removal by the people.


The Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister, and former Prime Minister, Carl Bildt, may be nervous about the content of such cables; Bildt was a director at Lundin Petroleum when that corporation was part of a consortium involved in Sudanese oil drilling when Sudanese living on oil-rich lands were massacred by the thousands.


Carl Bildt was pivotal in the cabinet appointments of Beatrice Ask, the present Swedish Justice Minister, who reopened the Julian Assange case, originally dropped for lack of evidence and lack of substance.


(Minister Ask recently classified the budget of SAPO, the Swedish security service, after it was reported that SAPO used public funds for wildly extravagant private parties.)


Carl Bildt and Beatrice Ask appear to be in control --- like Mitt Romney in that debate; like the dictators were in Myanmar.


Control is being exerted in the privatization of townships, cities and educational systems from Michigan (USA) and Honduras to South Africa --- following the privatization/total corruption plan.  A Honduran human rights attorney, investigating privatized cities in that country, was recently murdered --- another act of control!


If one subscribes to the domination/submission model of capitalism, totalitarianism and religion, then they might welcome and worship such control.


Miscreants like Willard Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should definitely never be in control.


Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming presidential elections in America, we know that Wall Street will still be in control!



Just hours before his murder, Trejo had participated in a televised debate in which he accused congressional leaders of using the private city projects to raise campaign funds.”


No Debate: How the Republican and Democratic Parties Secretly Control the Presidential Debates, by George Farah


falak pema's picture

On Julian Assange : All you have to do is to ask ASK! 

Joe A's picture

Not a bad posting yourself!

Joe A's picture

The US has been trying for over 30 years to control Eurasia and every war in that region and even in Europe (Yugoslavia, Kosovo) should be seen in that light. But just imagine if somebody would tomorrow discover and develop an energy source that would make everything run cheapy in a renewable way. Suppose you can make you car run with high mpg on a cup of tea with some added household chemicals. Well, that would not go down well in DC, Wallstreet and Houston. Hence the reason why such an energy source has not been discovered and developed.