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David Guyatt
01-24-2011, 02:52 PM
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70N2TQ20110124


Suicide bomber kills 31 at Russian airport: reports

By Amie Ferris-Rotman
MOSCOW | Mon Jan 24, 2011 9:47am EST
(Reuters) - At least 31 people were killed and more than 100 injured on Monday in a suicide bombing at Russia's biggest airport, Russian news agencies reported.

Russia's ruble-dominated stock market MICEX fell by nearly two percent following the blast, which ripped through the baggage claim area at Moscow's Domodedovo airport at 1332 GMT.

Smoke wafted out of the baggage claim area and people were seen running out of the emergency exits at the airport, local media reported.

Initial casualty figures were contradictory with ITAR-TASS saying about 20 people had been killed. A spokeswoman for prosecutors put the number of casualties at about 20.

Moscow suffered its worst attack in six years in March 2010 when two female suicide bombers from Russia's volatile Dagestan region set off explosives in the metro, killing 40 people.

The Kremlin is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency in the mainly Muslim North Caucasus, and rebels have repeatedly vowed they will take their battle to the Russian heartland.

Paul Rigby
01-28-2011, 08:01 PM
So much for the Chechens:


Who Has Blown Up Moscow Airport?

Fri, Jan 28, 2011

http://orientalreview.org/2011/01/28/who-has-blown-up-moscow-airport/

Any terrorist attack immanently pursues a certain political goal. Clear understanding of this goal and an analysis of the whole set of available facts about the horrific explosion in Domodedovo earlier this week may bring us closer to the answer to the key question: who are the perpetrators and who ordered them to commit the barbaric murder of dozens of people in the airport reception hall?

There is no doubt that the ultimate aim was to destabilize Russian political system and trigger the ‘orange scenario’ on the eve of electoral season here. ‘Orange scenario’ means transition of power to the liberal opposition by organizing and funding of a small but extremely motivated and politically active protesting movement that serves as a blind ram at the decisive hour of announcing the results. Therefore the more insecure the people feel and the lower the authority of the central powers is the higher are the chances for opposition to gather a cheated mass storm rise.

Who wants a new Russian revolution? Evidently, the global oligarchic capital seeking to establish (partly restore) their control over Russian resources and other assets. All the claims about ‘lack of democracy’, ‘human rights violations’, ‘war-torn Chechnya’ etc are just a baseless trumpery aimed to hide this simple and plain motive.

Now let us have a look at the political context.

On January 20, 2011 President Medvedev returned from the Middle East, the first ever trip of a Russian leader to Palestine which was not shared with a visit to Israel. Main declaration: he confirmed Russian support for Palestinian statehood within pre-1967 borders.

On January 23, 2011 Al-Jazeera published ‘revealing’ materials about secret Palestinian concessions to Israel proposed in 2008. So in three days after farewell ceremony with President Medvedev Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas got a ‘punishment’ from Mossad. A ‘punishment’ for the Russian president came one day later…

The first shocking fact of the explosion in Domodedovo airport on January 24 is the volume of explosive. 7 kg in TNT equivalent! Circle of 30 meters of complete destruction around the epicenter. A hole of 15-20 centimeters deep in the marbled floor (area 1 on photo). The whole floor within the scene is seriously damaged with scratches from metallic filling of the bomb. At the same time, many lamps at the ceiling above the scene are untouched.

Another specific feature is the character of traumas. Almost all victims have their legs significantly damaged or torn away. Both facts indicate that the epicenter was very low and the blast wave was spreading horizontally along the floor.

No need to be an expert in forensics to conclude that apparently the bomb was inside a suitcase or a bag. Should there be a person carrying or pulling it? That is possible but not absolutely pre-conditional. Was it exactly his job to activate the device? I do not see any reason for such modus operandi of the terrorists. The drugs are very costly and for chosen scenario there is no need to waste them to train a suicide zombie. Much easier is to fool somebody with request to hand a luggage to a traveler or just to leave a suitcase among other things. Once the crowd is formed a side observer simply sends a text message with his mobile phone…

Now much more interesting thoughts. For the first time the Russian leaders recognized that this terrorist act doesn’t have any connection to Chechnya. It was crystal clear that the ‘Chechen card’ was played off long ago. So-called jamaats at the North Caucasus do not even take responsibility for the sporadic attacks on the governmental and security agencies as well as Islamic leaders condemning them. The chimerical idea of ‘Caucasian Caliphate’ has been eventually degraded to banal criminal uprising parasitizing on few facts of mismanagement by the local national clans and justified grievances of the population. It is definitely not their job. So who is behind the airport blast?

Last fall I’ve posted an interesting article by Peter Chamberlin ‘Who Is Responsible For Suicide Bomber Academies?”. He describes, among other things, the evidence of several US military veterans who were involved in developing the mind-control research programs after the World War II in the US. He also cites Chechen leader Kadyrov as saying that ‘the captured members of Riyad-us-Saliheen Brigade (a Chechnya-based terrorist organization that was active in Russia in early 2000s – OR) had confessed that Western specialists had given them mind-control drugs, which had the effect of making them like robots, who “do not think.” There are also numerous evidence that terrific ‘suicide truck bombings’ in Iraq and Afghanistan happen mostly after they pass through check-points of the PMCs…

So it is getting more or less obvious that what happened in Domodedovo last Monday was a typical subversive act, a professional special operation against the geopolitical rival. The integral component of such operation is the plausible leaks about possible perpetrators. So we’ve heard about a ‘Chechen girl bomber’ captured by the Russian security forces in December last year who ‘was planning a large-scale attack in Moscow’ and ‘two Palestinians among the victims in Domodedovo’. It very much resembles the story about a Quran and a Pilotage Guidelines left at the back seat of a car used by 9/11 hijackers.

I deliberately will not suggest any specific subversive agency that might operate in Russia and commit this act. After all, the name and location of its HQ doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that the false traces they used to impose on public opinion and international counter-terrorism experts in reality have nothing to do with Islam and Islamic values.

So-called ‘Islamic factor’ as a powerful and blind tool for achieving geopolitical goals is not a modern invention. Creation of different ersatz movements on Islamic soil is an old and charming British tradition. Immediately after the definitive collapse of original British dynasty of Stuarts as a result of ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688, the real masters of the new Britain who sponsored William of Orange and brought him to power began corrupting both Christian and Islamic faiths. It can hardly be a coincidence that very soon the ideology of Islamic Protestantism preached by Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab (1703-1792) gained political leverage and was established in the House of Saud.

By now though, I would say that it is only the most narrow-minded people who do not see that all ‘Caliphate’ and other ‘Heaven-on-the-Earth projects’ are clandestinely controlled and managed by global elites. They need such false dichotomy in order to build up their dominance in the fire of global Chaosistan. Will Muslims be prudent enough to understand it? Hopefully they are and the mankind will avoid the worst scenario. Anyway, Russia is the last country where anti-Islamic hysteria may take any effect.

Paul Rigby
01-30-2011, 09:59 PM
Unusual piece in that it draws attention to the contradiction at the heart of the US propaganda line: To wit, Russia is a secret police-ruled state; but the secret police is nevertheless obliged to undertake false flag terrorism in order to advance its agenda of domestic repression. As the author points out below, if a) is true, b) is unnecessary.

The second point of note is the CIA-serving line adopted by the absurd Alex Jones. Now there's a surprise.


Russian Terrorism: A New Angle

By Joe Kleine

Sun, Jan 30, 2011

http://orientalreview.org/2011/01/30/russian-terrorism-a-new-angle/

While the smell of smoke still lingers in the air and the body count rises, there are already at least 2 popular theories on the Moscow bombing. The most well-known theory is that the Chechen Rebels bombed the airport. A precursory look at the Wikipedia history of Russian/Chechen relations reveals that there is plenty of historical precedent for this to actually be the case.

What there is NOT precedent for is this ragtag group of rebels being able to hit downtown Moscow. A precursory search of this netted only 1 result, a bombing controversially attributed to Rebels, and/or Russia’s own FSB, depending on which side of the story one believes.

It also bears noting that there IS historical precedent for FSB staging ‘false flag’ terror attacks on its own citizens. Because of this fact, Alex Jones’ website has run articles by staff members pursuing the theory that FSB is also behind this attack.

I disagree with both of these theories.

I am a subscriber to the not-so-crazy theory that the CIA sets up and currently controls most ‘terrorist’ groups. The sheer timeliness of terrorist attacks to promoting a US Government agenda is so obvious it smacks you in the face.

9/11 wiped out evidence of Rumsfeld’s lost 2 trillion in defense budget.

Paved the way for the (pre-written) Patriot Act.

Paved the way for the (pre-planned) Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.

Was the asked-for ‘pearl harbor event’ to bring about foreign and domestic policy.

Other terrorist attacks and threats occurred during the expiration of the Patriot Act (and always have, which is why the ‘temporary measures’ are still with us almost 10 years later)

‘Osama bin Laden’ warned the US to do more to ‘combat global warming’ during the debate on Cap & Trade.

Most every ‘terrorist’ organization has had or currently has ties to the CIA. The Taliban, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden (and therefore ‘Al Qaeda’) are included in this group.

Al-Awaki had dinner at the Pentagon while supposedly one of ‘America’s most wanted’.

The “cyber attacks” and “wiki leaks” during the debate on new Cyber Security laws.

The ‘underwear bomber’ to justify TSA’s idiocy (and subsequent admission from the US of ‘intelligence community’ s support of the bomber)…

The RIDICULOUS ‘intelligence reports‘ about ‘terrorists’ targeting ‘your local buffet’ over the last holiday…during the debate over controversial food laws (which passed, I might add).

There’s the Hutaree incident (trumped charges to justify the Homeland Security document demonizing militias) which was entirely the product of the FBI agent who infiltrated the group. There was such a lack of evidence that this militia was actually dangerous that the judge released the members back to their homes until the trial.

There is scarcely an incident you can mention that does not directly benefit a pre-existing USG agenda. For ‘terrorists’, their activities sure are convenient.

And now, barely a month after Russia and China agree to stop using USD in cross-border trading…suicide bombers appear in Moscow.

Come on now. Is it really a ‘conspiracy theory’ to suggest the obvious here?

According to the most recent account given on YahooNews, “No claim of responsibility for the bombing has been made and investigators have not named suspects or even presented a consistent account of what happened.”

Once again we have an UNCLAIMED ACT OF VIOLENCE, which by definition is NOT TERRORISM. Terrorism, as defined by the US Government, is the use or threatened use of violence to bring about an ideological, political, or religious change.

This means that a terrorist MAKES DEMANDS. You could walk into a mall tomorrow and blow yourself up—you’re now a murderer, but no terrorist. If you say, “Lower taxes, or I will blow this mall up”, then you are a terrorist. If you blow the mall up and your leader says, “We have blown up this mall. Lower taxes or we can blow up more malls.” then you are a terrorist.

Terrorist =/= ‘random act of violence-committer’.

So if the Chechens aren’t claiming to have done it… who did it? Why aren’t they thumping their chests going “We demand this” or “This was in retaliation for that!”

This again leaves open the possibility that the bombing was carried out by someone else.

Alex Jones would probably pounce here and proclaim that THIS is why it must have been FSB, but I say, ‘Not so fast’.

In all of his New World Order ramblings (most of which I agree with), the plot he lays out consists of a crumbling ‘old world order’ (US and Europe) and a transfer of wealth and power to the likes of China and Russia. The bankers don’t care which country serves as their source of industry and military might, and the US’s time serving that role is coming to a close.

While this necessitates Martial Law and the like in formerly-free nations (whose citizens have come to expect certain rights), it does NOT follow that nations on the receiving end of the NWO benefits will need to impose upon their own citizens tragedy to keep them subdued. Rather, as they become more important, we can expect to see an INCREASE in human rights. More industry means more work, so…more workers. This means the possibility of unions…and much more money. Nations with money have citizens who can afford luxury…citizens in luxury are not likely to revolt.

There is a lot of talk about a NWO control grid that will include microchipping citizens, and that may very well be true (but that is outside the scope of this article…see Alex Jones for more on that). But in Russia there is no Constitution guaranteeing citizens certain rights. Microchips can be mandated with little outcry expected from the populace. Government brutality is a daily reality in Russia and China, so ‘false flag’ events are less necessary to convince people to submit when the time comes.

Because of all this, it makes no logical sense for the FSB to attack its own people.

Yet, we are left with a pressing question: This Doku Umarov has been a ‘bad guy’ for a while, but never has he had the capability to take out Moscow airports, or he would have done it a long time ago. Why have these rebels become so suddenly bold?

This type of bravado can only mean one of two things:
His rebels have new backing. This gives them new confidence and (potentially) more explosives
This attack was carried out by someone else

Who would back these rebels? Or, since the rebels STILL have not claimed responsibility, who would make this attack that is being blamed on rebels?

To find that answer, we must find who may have a grudge against Russia. But I think we need look no further than the aforementioned group who seems to have its thumbs in all terrorist networks…the group who has a history of running weapons to rogue organizations to fight its enemies…of course I’m talking about the CIA.

This would necessitate Russia being an enemy of the US in some way, shape or form. Enter the Russia-China trade deal.

It is important to recognize how disastrous for the USD the Russia-China agreement is. It is paramount to grasp how crucial our reserve currency status is. Without that, our terrible debt-raising chickens will all come home to roost. We absolutely cannot afford to have nations do what Russia-China are doing. The idea that the CIA would promote Russian instability in retaliation is actually well in keeping with the history of the organization.

CIA subterfuge in Russia would lead to escalating tension between the US and Russia. Since we know the NWO is plotting the downfall of the US, it is ridiculous to assume that economic collapse is the only (or primary) means by which this will happen. They would be perfectly content to start World War III, and take down the entire West in one fell swoop.

So, to summarize… this attack does not meet the profile of known Rebel capabilities in Moscow, nor have the rebels taken credit for it. It is doubtful that FSB needs to ‘false flag’ its citizens to make a change in policy, therefore FSB involvement should not be assumed. The attack DOES have earmarks of CIA involvement, and there is plenty of motive.

Does this mean the CIA did it? Of course not, nobody can prove that. But it is a distinct possibility that should not be ruled out.

Source: PhilipBrennan.net

Paul Rigby
01-30-2011, 10:05 PM
A timely reminder of the identities of some of the peace-loving democrats in the US:


The Chechens' American friends

The Washington neocons' commitment to the war on terror evaporates in Chechnya, whose cause they have made their own

John Laughland
Wednesday September 8, 2004
The Guardian

An enormous head of steam has built up behind the view that President Putin is somehow the main culprit in the grisly events in North Ossetia. Soundbites and headlines such as "Grief turns to anger", "Harsh words for government", and "Criticism mounting against Putin" have abounded, while TV and radio correspondents in Beslan have been pressed on air to say that the people there blame Moscow as much as the terrorists. There have been numerous editorials encouraging us to understand - to quote the Sunday Times - the "underlying causes" of Chechen terrorism (usually Russian authoritarianism), while the widespread use of the word "rebels" to describe people who shoot children shows a surprising indulgence in the face of extreme brutality.

On closer inspection, it turns out that this so-called "mounting criticism" is in fact being driven by a specific group in the Russian political spectrum - and by its American supporters. The leading Russian critics of Putin's handling of the Beslan crisis are the pro-US politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Ryzhkov - men associated with the extreme neoliberal market reforms which so devastated the Russian economy under the west's beloved Boris Yeltsin - and the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow Centre. Funded by its New York head office, this influential thinktank - which operates in tandem with the military-political Rand Corporation, for instance in producing policy papers on Russia's role in helping the US restructure the "Greater Middle East" - has been quoted repeatedly in recent days blaming Putin for the Chechen atrocities. The centre has also been assiduous over recent months in arguing against Moscow's claims that there is a link between the Chechens and al-Qaida.

These people peddle essentially the same line as that expressed by Chechen leaders themselves, such as Ahmed Zakaev, the London exile who wrote in these pages yesterday. Other prominent figures who use the Chechen rebellion as a stick with which to beat Putin include Boris Berezovsky, the Russian oligarch who, like Zakaev, was granted political asylum in this country, although the Russian authorities want him on numerous charges. Moscow has often accused Berezovsky of funding Chechen rebels in the past.

By the same token, the BBC and other media sources are putting it about that Russian TV played down the Beslan crisis, while only western channels reported live, the implication being that Putin's Russia remains a highly controlled police state. But this view of the Russian media is precisely the opposite of the impression I gained while watching both CNN and Russian TV over the past week: the Russian channels had far better information and images from Beslan than their western competitors. This harshness towards Putin is perhaps explained by the fact that, in the US, the leading group which pleads the Chechen cause is the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). The list of the self-styled "distinguished Americans" who are its members is a rollcall of the most prominent neoconservatives who so enthusastically support the "war on terror".

They include Richard Perle, the notorious Pentagon adviser; Elliott Abrams of Iran-Contra fame; Kenneth Adelman, the former US ambassador to the UN who egged on the invasion of Iraq by predicting it would be "a cakewalk"; Midge Decter, biographer of Donald Rumsfeld and a director of the rightwing Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the militarist Centre for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson, former US military intelligence officer and one-time vice-president of Lockheed Martin, now president of the US Committee on Nato; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, a former admirer of Italian fascism and now a leading proponent of regime change in Iran; and R James Woolsey, the former CIA director who is one of the leading cheerleaders behind George Bush's plans to re-model the Muslim world along pro-US lines.

The ACPC heavily promotes the idea that the Chechen rebellion shows the undemocratic nature of Putin's Russia, and cultivates support for the Chechen cause by emphasising the seriousness of human rights violations in the tiny Caucasian republic. It compares the Chechen crisis to those other fashionable "Muslim" causes, Bosnia and Kosovo - implying that only international intervention in the Caucasus can stabilise the situation there. In August, the ACPC welcomed the award of political asylum in the US, and a US-government funded grant, to Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister in the opposition Chechen government, and a man Moscow describes as a terrorist. Coming from both political parties, the ACPC members represent the backbone of the US foreign policy establishment, and their views are indeed those of the US administration.

Although the White House issued a condemnation of the Beslan hostage-takers, its official view remains that the Chechen conflict must be solved politically. According to ACPC member Charles Fairbanks of Johns Hopkins University, US pressure will now increase on Moscow to achieve a political, rather than military, solution - in other words to negotiate with terrorists, a policy the US resolutely rejects elsewhere.

Allegations are even being made in Russia that the west itself is somehow behind the Chechen rebellion, and that the purpose of such support is to weaken Russia, and to drive her out of the Caucasus. The fact that the Chechens are believed to use as a base the Pankisi gorge in neighbouring Georgia - a country which aspires to join Nato, has an extremely pro-American government, and where the US already has a significant military presence - only encourages such speculation. Putin himself even seemed to lend credence to the idea in his interview with foreign journalists on Monday.

Proof of any such western involvement would be difficult to obtain, but is it any wonder Russians are asking themselves such questions when the same people in Washington who demand the deployment of overwhelming military force against the US's so-called terrorist enemies also insist that Russia capitulate to hers?

• John Laughland is a trustee of the British Helsinki Human Rights Group www.oscewatch.org

Paul Rigby
01-30-2011, 10:33 PM
"War Without Borders": Washington Intensifies Push Into Central Asia

by Rick Rozoff

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23012

A recent editorial on the website of Voice of America reflected on last year being one in which the United States solidified relations with the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

One or more of the five nations border Afghanistan, Russia, China and Iran and several more than one of the latter. Kazakhstan, for example, adjoins China and Russia.

The U.S. and Britain, with the support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, invaded Afghanistan and fanned out into Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan in October of 2001, less than four months after Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan founded the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to foster expanding economic, security, transportation and energy cooperation and integration in and through Central Asia. In 2005 India, Iran and Pakistan joined the SCO as observers and Afghan President Hamid Karzai has attended its last five annual heads of state summits. [1]

Now the U.S. and the NATO have over 150,000 troops planted directly south of three Central Asian nations.

Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan are also on the Caspian Sea, a reservoir of oil and natural gas whose dimensions have only been accurately determined in the past twenty years and where American companies are active in hydrocarbon projects.

After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the Pentagon and its NATO allies deployed military forces to, in addition to Soviet-constructed air bases in Afghanistan, bases in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The first two countries border China.

As of last March the U.S. military confirmed that a monthly average of 50,000 American and NATO troops passed through Kyrgyzstan's Transit Center at Manas as part of the war in Afghanistan. Also last year, U.S. officials mentioned building new military training centers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The Voice of America feature mentioned above cited a speech by U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr., who two years ago succeeded Richard Boucher in that role.

The State Department's Blake delivered a speech at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas entitled "The Obama Administration' s Priorities in South and Central Asia."

Shorn of superfluous banter and obligatory diplomatese, his address accentuated American geopolitical designs in an area which Blake highlighted as being of vitally important interest to Washington:

"Central Asia lies at a critical strategic crossroads, bordering Afghanistan, China, Russia and Iran, which is why the United States wants to continue to expand our engagement and our cooperation with this critical region." [2]

In furtherance of U.S. designs in an area that not only abuts the four nations named, but if controlled by the U.S. would prevent regional cooperation between them except insofar as it is mediated by an outside power, Washington, Blake listed the three priorities for the region as being to:

Support international efforts in Afghanistan

Build a strategic partnership with India

Develop more durable and stable relations with the Central Asian countries

He commented after the above itemization: "After describing these priorities at greater length, I will then focus on energy resources in Central Asia, which I imagine is of particular interest in Houston," where ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil Company and Halliburton' s Energy Services Group have their headquarters.

The State Department assistant secretary also emphasized the role of the recently activated Northern Distribution Network (NDN) in moving supplies, military equipment and troops to the Afghan war front from the west, promoting the concept that "The NDN increasingly offers the people of the Central Asian countries the opportunity to sell goods and services to NATO troops in Afghanistan, and we hope it can help catalyze greater trade and economic cooperation between Afghanistan and Central Asia."

The U.S. has assiduously worked to ensure that Chinese, Russian and Iranian influence in Central Asia and Afghanistan is blocked and instead promotes the economic, transportation and security integration of the region through the Pentagon-NATO Northern Distribution Network. The U.S. and NATO intend the NDN to supplant the SCO as the engine of economic and security integration in Central Asia. To date eleven of the fifteen former federal republics of the Soviet Union - all except for Armenia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine - have been incorporated into the NDN grid originating in the Baltic and Black Seas.

Washington is also exploiting Afghanistan and Central Asia to attain an even larger prize. Again according to Blake, "South Asia, with India as its thriving anchor, is a region of growing strategic and commercial importance to the United States in the critical Indian Ocean area.

"In total, the region is home to over two billion people - roughly one fourth of the world’s population."

He elaborated further on the main strategic objective of the wider Afghan war when he stated that "projects with India in Afghanistan mark a small but important part of a significant new global development - the emergence of a global strategic partnership between India and the United States," as "by 2025 India is expected to become the 3rd largest economy in the world, behind the United States and China."

"Secretary Clinton and other Cabinet officials will also travel to India this spring for the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue, which oversees the entire spectrum of our cooperation. "

Blake also reminded his audience of an initiative instituted last year and conducted under his jurisdiction: Annual Bilateral Consultations (ABCs) with all five Central Asian countries. In his Houston speech he stated, "I look forward to starting the second round of ABCs with Uzbekistan next month in Tashkent."

Blake's boss, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, visited Uzbekistan last month - the first secretary of state to do since Colin Powell's trip there in December of 2001 - as well as Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbek President Islam Karimov just returned from Brussels where NATO had invited him to visit its headquarters and meet with Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. While in the Belgian capital he also met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barossa and Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger. Uzbekistan, though poor in oil supplies, is one of the largest producers of natural gas in the former Soviet Union.

Uzbekistan is, like its neighbors, assuming greater significance for the U.S.-NATO war effort in South Asia: "The airport at the Uzbek city of Navoi has emerged as a key cog in the Northern Distribution Network, a web of Central Asian rail, road and air links that funnels supplies to US and NATO troops in Afghanistan. Most of the NDN supplies bound for Afghanistan flow through the railway junction at Termez, at the Uzbek-Afghan border." [3] German troops are based in Termez and across the border in Afghanistan' s Kunduz province.

While Clinton was in Kyrgyzstan she, seemingly without even the suggestion of a formal agreement to the effect, assumed the extension of U.S. rights to the air base there, stating "Washington would examine again in 2014 whether it needed the Manas base."

"Clinton said Manas was the central transit point for troops from 49 countries going into Afghanistan. " [4]

Her subordinate Blake's speech at Rice University also included discussion of the strategic role of Central Asia in regards to hydrocarbon extraction and transport. He claimed that the biggest and richest of the Central Asian states, Kazakhstan, "will account for one of the largest increases in non-OPEC supply to the global market in the next 10-15 years as its oil production doubles to reach 3 million barrels a day by 2020." The U.S. and its EU and NATO allies have long planned the shipping of Kazakh oil and natural gas westward to the South Caucasus and thence to Europe, both bypassing and replacing Russia as Europe's main supplier of hydrocarbons.

Western projects include the Nabucco natural gas pipeline and building a pipeline under the Caspian Sea to bring Kazakh oil to Azerbaijan where it would be transported via the Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan (Azerbaijan- Georgia-Turkey) pipeline with a connection to an Odessa-Brody- Plock-Gdansk branch running from Ukraine to Poland's Baltic Sea coast and from there to the rest of Europe.

That is, the Western-initiated Southern Corridor versus Russia's South Stream natural gas pipeline to the Black Sea and the Balkans.

In 2009 Richard Morningstar, the State Department's Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy, spoke in the Czech Republic at an EU summit called Southern Corridor-New Silk Road, and asserted: "President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton share your support for the Southern Corridor and consider Eurasian energy issues to be of the highest importance."

His State Department colleague Blake also said last week: "Though often overlooked as an energy source, Uzbekistan has substantial hydrocarbon reserves of its own and produces about as much natural gas as Turkmenistan. Located at the heart of Central Asia, much of the region’s infrastructure – roads, railroads, transmission lines, and pipelines - goes through Uzbekistan, offering it a unique opportunity to expand its exports with little investment in new infrastructure. "

The energy project that attracted the attention of Blake most, however, was the agreement concluded on December 11 of last year for the TAPI (Turkmenistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan- India) natural gas pipeline to run from the Caspian Sea littoral nation that gives the acronym its first letter to India, which was the death sentence for a competing "peace pipeline" from Iran to Pakistan, from there to India and onward to China - the $7 billion, 1,430-mile Iran-Pakistan- India gas (IPI) pipeline - that had been years in the planning but was opposed by Washington, which backed the earlier TAP (Turkmenistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan) and later the TAPI alternative.

The pipeline is extend over 10,000 miles and deliver 33 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually.

After mentioning that "The country’s substantial natural resources may make Turkmenistan one of the top five countries worldwide in terms of gas reserves" which have "attracted the attention of many countries interested in securing Turkmen gas for various pipeline projects," Blake announced that "The U.S. has welcomed renewed interest in TAPI." In fact it has been the prime mover behind the project through its influence in the Asian Development Bank, which is underwriting the pipeline's construction.

Turkmenistan' s President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov "almost single-handedly resurrected the Turkmenistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan- India pipeline, which if successful will finally link the resources in Central Asia with the markets of the south," Blake added.

In the middle of this month Afghan President Karzai and Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil sent letters to their Turkmen counterpart "express[ing] confidence that the gas pipeline TAPI (Turkmenistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan- India) will be implemented soon." [5]

Shortly afterward Berdimukhamedov met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who also met with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev on the same trip and subsequently with Uzbek President Karimov in Brussels, in the Turkmen capital and announced that his government is prepared to replicate the TAPI project by shipping Caspian natural gas to Europe with "construction of a pipeline under the Caspian Sea [and] transportation of natural gas across the Caspian Sea on specialized ships, tankers." [6] Turkmenistan will then link up with the Southern Energy Corridor (including the Nabucco gas pipeline) to bring Caspian and Middle Eastern, including Iraqi, natural gas to Europe.

Until now Turkmenistan' s natural gas deals had been primarily with Russia, China and Iran. Both Russia and China have expressed interest in participating in the TAPI pipeline, but the U.S. will ensure that doesn't occur. "Washington’s vital interest in TAPI includes having an alternative route for Central Asian gas that will bypass the Russian pipelines' network."

In addition, "India has objected to any Chinese firm or consortium being given contracts related to the building of the Turkmenistan- Afghanistan- Pakistan- India (TAPI) gas pipeline." [7]

"The U.S. has supported TAPI – and Turkmen efforts to keep Russia off the project – as a way to break Russia’s and China’s monopoly on exporting Caspian Basin energy to the rest of the world." [8]

It was observed years ago by past Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and all-around former Soviet space hand Matthew Bryza, now the incoming U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, that the transportation corridor the U.S. and its Western allies developed in the 1990s to ship energy to the west was used to transport troops and equipment to the east starting with the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. What the U.S. and NATO have for years called the New Silk Road, which is in truth an arms and energy transit route.

Until recently, however, Turkmenistan had remained comparatively uninvolved in the transit going both ways. It is the only Central Asian nation not to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (which also includes Armenia and Belarus as member states.)

Journalist Deirdre Tynan has provided valuable information on the degree to which Turkmenistan has been surreptitiously incorporated into the U.S. and NATO greater Afghan war structure. Two years ago she disclosed that Turkmenistan has been "quietly developing into a major transport hub" for the Northern Distribution Network to deliver supplies to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Tynan also revealed:

"The Pentagon has confirmed a small contingent of US military personnel now operates in Ashgabat [the capital] to assist refueling operations.

"The United States has a deal in place that allows for the landing and refueling of transport planes at Ashgabat airport, according to the US Department of Defense. NATO is also seeking to open a land corridor for supplies destined for troops in Afghanistan. ..."

She also quoted a spokesman for the Defense Department stating, "The United States has a small Air Force team, normally around seven airmen, who assist US aircraft who refuel at Ashgabat Airport...." [9]

In a recent article the author wrote:

"Despite its long-avowed status as a neutral nation, Turkmenistan is playing an important supporting role for US and NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan. Washington and Ashgabat are both keen to keep Turkmenistan’s strategic role low-key, especially the financial aspects of cooperation. "

The country has supplied fuel for American and NATO troops in Afghanistan, "delivered free of all duties and taxes."

"Fuel is exempt from local duties and taxes due to Turkmenistan’s and Azerbaijan’s participation in the NATO Partnership for Peace program....Similar arrangements are in place in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.. ..US military aircraft have been using Turkmen airspace and facilities since at a least 2002, and Ashgabat is a hub for operations involving C-5 and C-17 transport planes."

A spokeswoman for the Pentagon's Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) told Tynan the following:

“It is DLA’s understanding that both Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are partners in the NATO Partnership for Peace. As partners, they agree to abide by the terms of the NATO status of forces agreement, which provides in relevant part that NATO member countries shall make special arrangements for fuel, oil and lubricants for use by another member countries military and civilian personnel to be delivered free of all duties and taxes.” [10]

Tajikistan, with China to its east and Afghanistan to its southwest, has hosted a French air force contingent of at least 200 personnel, C-160 transport aircraft and Mirage multirole fourth-generation jet fighters since early 2002.

Last week the nation's state-run railroad disclosed that in 2010 "In keeping with the agreements signed by the Tajik government, republican railroads delivered over 160 tonnes of commercial cargo, which was later taken by motor transport to Afghanistan for NATO needs." [11]

In 2007 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers financed the construction of a bridge across the Panj River connecting Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

On January 17 U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Susan Elliott was in Kyrgyzstan to arrange for resuming bilateral consultations, which were suspended last year after the second violent overthrow of the government in five years occurred. [12]

The following week Kazakh Secretary of State Kanat Saudabayev visited Washington, D.C. for two days. Before meeting with his counterpart Secretary of State Clinton, he met with Colin Powell, Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, ConocoPhillips Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Mulva and Halliburton Energy Services Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Lesar.

Clinton and Saudabayev stressed "the importance of timely implementation of the agreements" between President Barack Obama and Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev on the sidelines of last April's Global Summit on Nuclear Safety in Washington. Accords that, according to Senior Director of Russian and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council Michael McFaul, "will allow troops to fly directly from the United States over the North Pole to the region." [13] U.S. and British troops led NATO Partnership for Peace training exercises, codenamed Steppe Eagle 2010, in Kazakhstan last August and afterwards Kazakhstan assigned military personnel to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

As Washington and NATO consolidate military-to- military relations with the five nations of Central Asia, the majority of both Shanghai Cooperation Organization and Collective Security Treaty Organization members will be shifted from the Russian and Chinese to the U.S. column.

Indian analyst and former diplomat M K Bhadrakumar wrote an article a month after NATO's summit in Lisbon in November in which he stated that "the alliance is well on the way to transforming into a global political-military role" and "NATO is by far today the most powerful military and political alliance in the world."

He added: "The various partnership programs of NATO in Central Asia and the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Mediterranean regions can be viewed as part of the overall approach to take recourse to other states or groups of states to promote the Euro-Atlantic interests globally."

"From a seemingly reluctant arrival in Afghanistan seven years ago in an 'out-of-area' operation as part of the UN-mandated ISAF (International Security Assistance Force), with a limited mandate, NATO is suo moto stepping out of the ISAF, deepening its presence and recasting its role and activities on a long-term basis."

"It is within the realm of possibility that NATO would at a future date deploy components of the US missile defense system in Afghanistan. Ostensibly directed against the nearby 'rogue states,' the missile defense system will challenge the Chinese strategic capability."

The current geopolitical reality in Central and South Asia "is very much linked to NATO's future role in Afghanistan. US strategy toward an Afghan settlement visualizes the future role for NATO as the provider of security to the Silk Road that transports the multi-trillion dollar mineral wealth in Central Asia to the world market via the Pakistani port of Gwadar."

"The resuscitation of the Silk Road project to construct an oil and gas pipeline connecting Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (the TAPI pipeline) will need to be seen as much more than a template of regional cooperation.

"The pipeline signifies a breakthrough in the longstanding Western efforts to access the fabulous mineral wealth of the Caspian and Central Asian region. Washington has been the patron saint of the TAPI concept since the early-1990s when the Taliban was conceived as its Afghan charioteer."

"On the map, the TAPI pipeline deceptively shows India as its final destination. What is overlooked, however, is that the route can be easily extended to the Pakistani port of Gwadar and connected with European markets, which is the ultimate objective.

"The onus is on each of the transit countries to secure the pipeline. Part of the Afghan stretch will be buried underground as a safeguard against attacks and local communities will be paid to guard it. But then, it goes without saying that Kabul will expect NATO to provide security cover, which, in turn, necessitates long-term Western military presence in Afghanistan.

"In sum, TAPI is the finished product of the US invasion of Afghanistan. It consolidates NATO's political and military presence in the strategic high plateau that overlooks Russia, Iran, India, Pakistan and China. TAPI provides a perfect setting for the alliance's future projection of military power for 'crisis management' in Central Asia." [14]

Immediately after the signing of the TAPI agreement in the capital of Turkmenistan by the presidents of that country and Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as Indian's energy minister, the government of Hamid Karzai announced that 7,000 Afghan troops - the army is being trained by the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan - would be deployed to guard the pipeline. [15]

Since the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, Central Asia (with the Caspian Sea Basin on its western flank) has been the chessboard on which intensified international strategic positioning has occurred. It may be transformed into a battleground of conflicting 21st century geopolitical interests.


Notes

1) The Shanghai Cooperation Organization: Prospects For A Multipolar World
Stop NATO, May 21, 2009
http://rickrozoff. wordpress. com/2009/ 08/29/150
2) Robert O. Blake, Jr., The Obama Administration' s Priorities in South
and Central Asia
U.S. State Department, January 19, 2011
http://www.state. gov/p/sca/ rls/rmks/ rmks/155002. htm
3) Deirdre Tynan, Uzbekistan: Karimov’s Visit to Brussels was NATO’s idea
EurasiaNet, January 20, 2011
4) Reuters, December 2, 2010
5) Trend News Agency, January 13, 2011
6) Trend News Agency, January 15, 2011
7) Hindustan Times, January 17, 2011
8) Central Asia Newswire, January 26, 2011
9) EurasiaNet, July 8, 2009
10) Deirdre Tynan, Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Playing Key US/NATO Support Role
In Afghan War
EurasiaNet, January 10, 2011
http://www.eurasian et.org/node/ 62683
11) Interfax-Military, January 20, 2011
12) Kyrgyzstan And The Battle For Central Asia
Stop NATO, April 7, 2010
http://rickrozoff. wordpress. com/2010/ 04/08/kyrgyzstan -and-the- battle-for- central-asia
13) Kazakhstan: U.S., NATO Seek Military Outpost Between Russia And China
Stop NATO, April 14, 2010
http://rickrozoff. wordpress. com/2010/ 04/15/kazakhstan -u-s-nato- seek-military- outpost-between- russia-and- china
14) M K Bhadrakumar, NATO weaves South Asian web
Asia Times, December 23, 2010
http://www.atimes. com/atimes/ South_Asia/ LL23Df05. html
15) NATO Trains Afghan Army To Guard Asian Pipeline
Stop NATO, December 19, 2010
http://rickrozoff. wordpress. com/2010/ 12/19/nato- trains-afghan- army-to-guard- asian-pipeline

David Guyatt
01-31-2011, 11:48 AM
Brzezinski's love of the Grand Chessboard strategy