Thursday, June 16, 2005

Pakistan-India gas pipeline

India and Pakistan are both nuclear powers, and often seem on the brink of war, so you would think that any economic integration between the two countries that might help to avert a nuclear war would be encouraged by the United States. Not so. Years of Herculean efforts at negotiation have led to an agreement to build a gas pipeline through Pakistan to serve India's energy needs. The United States is now threatening to cut aid to Pakistan if the project goes through. Why? The gas is coming from Iran. The neocons have it in for Iran, and neither common sense nor freedom from nuclear war will stop them in their campaign of harassment (the neocons are terrified that moderates will do well in the Iranian elections, thus making their cause of vilifying the Iranian government and leading to Perle's pogrom all the more difficult, which may explain some mysterious recent bombings). The hypocrisy of the American position can be seen in this article in the Asia Times by Siddharth Srivastava:

"Pakistan has of late adopted the policy of welcoming all schemes to transport oil in any shape through pipelines. Two other pipeline projects are being actively discussed in Pakistan. One is for oil to be brought from Sharjah under Persian Gulf waters through a pipeline - US interests seem to have some minor share in the project. The other plan is a major three-country project: hydrocarbons sourced in Turkmenistan carried through a pipeline to Afghanistan and Pakistan's newest port at Gawadar, to be exported to the rest of the world. The company that will set up that pipeline and manage distribution of these hydrocarbons is a composite subsidiary of major US oil corporations, so it is not surprising that Washington is keen that this project succeeds.

When and if this UNOCAL project - intended to transport as many hydrocarbons from Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan as possible - succeeds, the US may have attained its objective of acquiring access to most of the oil from the former Soviet republics in Central Asia, which is considered to be more secure than Middle Eastern oil and does not involve an implicit subsidy to Islamic fanatics."

Many of us feel that the pipeline through Afghanistan was one of the main reasons for the American attack on Afghanistan. We have not heard much about it because the Americans have found themselves unable to control any of the country except for a small area around Kabul.