Friday, December 26, 2008


As I have written in two earlier posts : THE GREAT GAME and THE ULTIMATE GAME - the US is playing the GREAT GAME to keep the wealth of the Central Asian Gas under its control.

Nothing and no one is allowed from distracting it from that goal.

I am sorry if it sounds repititous to some of the readers but I cannot emphaisize enough that USA can deal with the devil to get business deals in its favour - let us once again cast back to the point when Taliban was in control of Afghanistan:

The then US Assistant Secy of State for South Asian Affairs, ROBIN RAPHAEL went on to state – “The Taliban capture of Kabul is a POSITIVE STEP.”

Another senior US Diplomat stated : “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an Emir, no parliament and lots of shari’a law. We can live with that.

On December 4th 1997, the representatives of Taliban were invited guests at the Texas headquarters of UNOCAL to negotiate support for the pipeline.

Chevron even had a tanker named "Condoleeza Rice".

In Condi and the boys, Russel Baker states: "George Shultz, who was on the board of Chevron, introduced her to Chevron's chairman and CEO, who took her to lunch and, Shultz said, "inside of fifteen minutes concluded that she would make a terrific board member." She was a good choice. Chevron was engaged in a $10 billion oil-field development project with Kazakhstan, and Rice, who happened to know its president, traveled to Kazakhstan for Chevron in 1992. She turned thirty-eight years old that year. In the following year Chevron named a 129,000-ton supertanker the SS Condoleezza Rice."

Dick Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted to sell US Nuclear Reactors to IRAN in 1976 - and now in 2008 they want to bomb "suspected" nuclear reactors.
The greed to give US Nuclear Reactors to Iran - a country flush in natural oil & gas will need a new defition for the word "greed".

Nothing has changed today - the greed for Central Asian Gas has only increased fuelled by the fast US descent into the vortex of economic doom which happens when empires are built on debt of citizens to fund future consumption and investment bankers who demand that avarice should have been their middle name.


Pakistan is a failed state, not in control of vast swathes of territories. Human bombs are available dime to a dozen to blow off any adversary for the right price.

As long as this was localised one could have swept them off - but these terror outfits have become very powerful and as I have said before, I will repeat it here:


Pakistan Army uses its planned "deserters" and even its current cadres to infiltrate terror groups like Laskhar e Taiba (LeT), Jaish e Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar e Jhangvi (LeJ) - the group responsible for the Marriott blasts and run by Omar Sheikh from his prison "cell", the "various" Taliban cells.

Let us look at just 4 incidents:

1. Taliban leader killed by British SAS troops in Hemland (Afghanistan) was a Pakistan officer (with military ID in his body)

2. Major General (r) Amir Faisal Alvi was shot dead along with his driver on the outskirts of the capital on November 19, 2008. Schofield says Alvi, who had commanded the elite Special Services Group, gave her a copy of a letter he had had sent to army chief General Ashfaq Kayani in which he named two generals whose conspiracy resulted in his premature retirement more than two years ago. The British journalist said Alvi gave her a copy of the letter four days before he was killed, and had asked her to publish it in the event of his death. She said Alvi expected to be killed, as he had not received any response to his letter.

Alvi believed he had been forced out of the army because he had become openly critical of deals between Pakistani generals and the Taliban.

3. On the eve of the last phase of polling in Jammu and Kashmir, police today said they had foiled a Jaish-e-Mohammed plan to carry out suicide attacks in Jammu city with the arrest of three persons, including a serving soldier of the Pakistan Army.Ghulam Farid is from 10 AK (Azad Kashmir) Regiment, Jammu and Kashmir police chief Kuldeep Khoda said, and the release gave the belt number as 4319184. Khoda said Farid had joined the army in 2001 and was “deputed” to work with Jaish in 2005.

4. NOV 2001: Taliban besieged in Kunduz by Norther Alliance force. But wait : Pakistan got US approval to airlift Pakistani soldiers embedded with the Taliban. Among those evacuated were : two officers, both of brigadier rank, were said to be part of 1,000-strong regular Pakistani army men trapped in Kunduz and were directing Taliban fighters in Kunduz and in Mazar-e-Sharif, the sources said.

By this time, there should be NO AMBIGUITY about Pakistan Army role in arming the terror units and the Taliban for its own covert / overt operations in foreign shores.

But wait a minute and look at two other incidents related to points 1 & 4 above:

On point 1 - Britain’s refusal to make the incident public led to a row with the Afghan president Hamid Karzai, who has long accused London of viewing Afghanistan through the eyes of Pakistani military intelligence, which is widely believed to have been helping the Taliban.


In the same article in The Sunday Times (UK) it states: "The Afghan claims of Pakistani involvement in Helmand were backed by a senior United Nations official who said he had been told by his superiors to keep quiet after Pakistan’s ambassador to the UN apparently threatened to stop contributing forces to peacekeeping missions. Pakistan is the UN’s biggest supplier of peacekeeping troops."

Pakistan blackmails the NATO/US that if India does not tone down the "rhetoric", it will move it soldiers from Afghan border to the Indian border. Pakistan blackmails India with the "nuclear threat"


On point 4 - USA gave Pakistan overflight rights to evacuate its soldiers trapped.

Hence : UK & US are not going to do anything to endanger their relations with the Pakistan Army. Even if Pakistan Army is guilty of the Mumbai terror - will the USA / UK / NATO come down hard on Pakistan Army?

The answer is an unequivocal NO.

If some of you are still on the fence, let me showcase this. The attacks on Twin towers - better known as 9/11 - showed complicity of Pakistan and ISI - at the highest levels. Curiously in the final 9/11 commission report the damaging references to Pakistan and ISI are missing.

WHY ? Did US get a chance to invade Afghanistan that gave it a base to be at the theatre of Central Asian gas hence a trade off was reached with Pakistan?

The US / UK / NATO all know the Talibalisation of Pakistan - yet US & UK keep an ambivalence about the issue. In fact from time to time, it asks India to show restraint when it did not take US an UN mandate to attack Iraq or Afghanistan.
By this time, we should get a clear idea on what US & UK are all about - and the reason it keeps shifting goal posts for India.

Taking some paragraphs from my previous post:

1. India planned to attack at terrorist camps surgically. With most of the camps emptied out, these strikes would have been only symbolic. The aggressive stance of Pranab Mukherjee and the submissive stance of Manmohan Singh is calibrated to fit the proverbial "bad cop good cop" game theorizing. Indian elections are due in 2009 and if the Congress party is not seen to do anything, then their election prospects will be "doomed". Notice, how AR Antulay keeps his job, just to pander to "vote bank politics"

2. India asked USA to get Pakistan's approval for the surgical strikes, so that Pakistan does not retaliate. It is precisely for this reason Adm. Mike Mullen went to Pakistan to ask Pakistan to lay low when India strikes at terrorist training camps of LeT and others in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and near Lahore. It seems the civilian government gave its nod for "limited" Indian attacks in POK but not in mainland Pakistan, which includes areas near Lahore.

3. Mike Mullen "fails" (CONVENIENTLY) in this as COAS Kiyani made it clear that regardless of how the civilan government chooses to respond to the US request to allow Indian 'surgical strikes’, Pakistan Army will not accept any Indian intrusion. The scrambling of jets over Lahore and Islamabad was part of this and the armed forces are alert and ready to defend against any Indian action.

Kiyani is also said to have told US Michael Mullen that in event of any aggression from India, the US and NATO can ‘forget about’ using Pakistan territory to supply their forces in Afghanistan as all resources will be diverted to defending against India on the eastern border.
Mike Mullen tells India, he fails in his effort.

General Rtd. Aslam Baig has said that US General Mullen is pressing our authorities to allow India to hit certain targets, keeping silent and indifferent to the situation as they have been doing in case of US attacks, which he believes, will cool down India and diffuse tensions between the two countries.

I don’t think that conscientious Pakistani nation and brave armed forces of Pakistan will accept such a situation. This will be shameful and render Pakistan's submissiveness to India,” the retired General said.

He called upon the rulers to explain their position in this regard. He said that the US was after ridiculing the sovereignty of Pakistan only to please India and Mullen had come with a dangerous message.

4. A chastened Pranab Mukherjee lashes out at US & UK for NOT doing enough. (meaning US & UK not getting Pakistan's permission to get bombed in POK).

With elections looming around the corner, and USA not getting the go ahead from Pakistan authorizing Indian strikes on terror camps, what next? Pranab Mukherjee (India's Foreign Minister) is fast running out of options and his verbal threats are increasingly looking like posturing on empty.


While Pranab Mukherjee is flailing his arms about, Islamabad seems to have concluded that the US pressure had all but run its course. Actually, by gently holding out the threat to the US that the Afghan operations would grievously suffer unless Washington restrained Delhi from precipitating any tensions on the India-Pakistan border, Islamabad seems to have neatly pole-vaulted over Rice to appeal straight to the Pentagon, where there is abiding camaraderie towards the Pakistani generals. (NOTE: PENTAGON HAS ALWAYS HAD A SOFT CORNER FOR PAKISTANI GENERALS AND LIKES DEALING WITH THEM)

The Pakistani generals' calculation proved correct when the Pentagon made it abundantly clear to Delhi that it wouldn't allow the Pakistani generals to be "distracted" at this juncture.

Speaking from Camp Eggers in Afghanistan on December 20, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, laid down the ground rules for India. (WOW - LAYING DOWN THE GROUND RULES FOR INDIA - IMAGINE THAT!)

He said the overarching strategy for success in Afghanistan must be regional in focus and include not just Afghanistan, but also Pakistan and India. Continuing in this seemingly innocuous vein, Mullen explained that the three countries must "figure a way" to decrease tensions between them and the "regional strategy" here is aimed at addressing long-term problems that increase instability in the region.

Mullen then referred specifically to Kashmir as a problem where reduction of tensions "allowed the Pakistani leadership ... to focus on the west [border with Afghanistan]".

He expressed apprehension that the terror attack in Mumbai might "force the Pak leadership to lose interest in the west", apart from bringing India and Pakistan closer to a nuclear flashpoint. Curiously, Mullen gave credit to the Pakistani top brass for cooperation in the Afghan war, which "has had a positive impact" on the ground.


Significantly, amid all the fracas over the Mumbai attacks and despite repeated Indian calls to isolate Pakistan in the world community as the "epicenter" of terrorism, Washington is quietly putting together a new multi-billion dollar aid package for Pakistan, and CENTCOM is drawing up a new five-year plan committing $300 million assistance annually to the Pakistani military.

Kerry, while on a recent visit to Islamabad, made the commitment to speed up the "mid-life upgradation" of Pakistan's F-16 aircraft capable for delivering nuclear weapons. He said the US considered a "vibrant, strong, economically viable" Pakistan to be "vital for peace and stability in South Asia".

The last big dole that USA gave Pakistan was $11 billion to fight the war on terror and Pakistan used that to buy military hardware to fight India instead. Most of the military harware was sold by US and it was therefore complicit in this purchase. The idea was simple - bring some "parity" to Pakistan Army's arsenal to stop India getting advenurous.

USA still harbours deep suspicions about India's connections with Russia and Iran and it wants to keep India / Russia and China out of Central Asian Regions.


Kashmir elections and high voter turnout has given India the "moral right" to be strong on the Kashmir issue much to the chagrin of Pakistan and dare I add, even USA.

This is India's war, India's moment.

2009 is election year in India and Afghanistan and there is a new Obama administration coming into USA. More reasons to create muddle in this transition phase. India has to rise above the Great Game and realize that this is the right moment. Economic realities have given an opening that should be seized.

Any more dithering, and we will be the laughing stock of the entire world.

US loves dealing with strong people / personalities / nations - does not matter if they are dictators / killers as long as they help US. And US abhors weak kneed nations and people - hence INDIA will time and again will be shunted around if we show weakness as we are doing now and have in the past.

Remember Indira Gandhi and how we won the war inspite of the US bringing its naval aircraft carrier. We are sadly missing her today.

At the very least India should:

1. Turn off water from CHENAB (which is in Himachal and far from the reach of Pak Air force) into Pakistan. Why are we not using our water advantage over Pakistan?

2. Bring Kasav on TV to appeal to his parents, his friends and discuss about the terror camps. An appearance on TV will change a lot of dynamics within Pakistan.

US is not the enemy here but due to her obsession with "profits" it loses interest in the spillover effect it might have on the neighbouring countries where it deems its interest to be at. Unfortunately, US looks at terror through the lens of what affects it (hence Al Qaeda, Taliban are bad) and others that do not (Lashkar e Taiba etc).

If we sit in our post-colonial "biggest democacy" stupour and base the "so-called" success of Nuclear Deal authoured by the US and then expect that USA will come and help cleanse TERRORISTAN for INDIA - well, we should NOT AT ALL entertain such "childish" notions ANY LONGER.

We have lost PAKISTAN to TERRORISTAN. The faster we neutralize this menace OURSELVES, the lesser the pain we have to endure. Carry on the diplomatic offensive to tell the world the real story - but do not expect any help in return, other than verbal platitudes that mean nothing.

If not for us, our children deserve a better future and in a better world.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


This article is written by a well known Pakistani economist cum journalist, Dr Farrukh Saleem. This article, which appeared in the Paksitani newspaper THE NEWS on Dec 15th is being reproduced in full. Permission to use this article has been granted by the author.

Dr. Saleem is the Executive Director of Centre & Research for Security Studies based out of Islamabad.

ISLAMABAD: On Dec 13, IAF jets violated Pak airspace twice. No accident it was. This violation must have been deliberately sanctioned by the leadership of the Indian National Congress, firstly, to send a message to the Indian voters and, secondly, to keep up the pressure on Pakistan to continue crackdown on Lashkar camps.

Post-Mumbai, the Great Game is in play in the Sub-continent. The US, India and Pakistan, the three state actors, and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the only non-state actor, are all-out entangled to extricate their own brownie points.

The US has invested a colossal $170 billion in Afghanistan and thus would not let India distract Pakistan from the ‘war on terror’. Within India, Indian politicians, up for re-election in another four months, are in the game to pile up political mileage. India’s intelligence and physical security apparatus, having been severely criticised for its massive failure, is in the game to shift its own failures on to India’s western neighbour. Pakistan’s intelligence infrastructure, having failed to control non-state actors operating on Pakistani soil, is cracking down hard on its ex-proxies in order to avoid an international crisis.

India has neither economic nor political leverage over Pakistan and is thus using the Uncle Sam to pressurise Pakistan. India’s military options are limited. The Indian Army, with 1.3 million active service personnel, the third largest army on the face of the planet, has little or no supply of Guided Bomb Units (GBUs) or Precision-Guided Munitions (PGMs) and thus has little or no surgical strike capability. Indian Army’s Pinaka Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers have a maximum range of 40 km and can fire 12 rockets in 44 seconds (these were used in the Kargil War and have since been inducted in large numbers).

The army is also said to possess 38 systems of BM-30 Tornado 300mm Soviet multiple rocket launchers with a firing range of 90 km (24 additional system are to be delivered by 2010).

Then there are PJ-10 supersonic ‘BrahMos’ (from Brahmaputra and Moskva river of Russia) cruise missiles with an operational range of 290 km (India has conducted at least nine test-firings and serial production began some two years ago). Pinakas, Tornados and BrahMos can be fired and may very well hit targets in Pakistan but all that in strategic terms will achieve little or next to nothing. And then, there’s always a possibility of antagonising the US if Pakistan begins to shift military assets deployed on the western front.

The Indian Navy with 55,000 active-duty personnel and 155 vessels is the 5th largest navy in the world. According to GlobalSecurity, “The Indian Navy is relatively well-armed among Indian Ocean navies, operating one aircraft carrier, over 40 surface combatants, and over a dozen submarines (INS Viraat is the only aircraft carrier in Asia operating jet fighters).” It operates eight destroyers, 14 frigates, 24 corvettes, 14 minesweepers and two missile boats.

The Indian Navy may indeed be capable of blockading the Karachi Port. But then, Nato requires some 300,000 gallons of fuel every day and 84 per cent of all containerised supplies to Nato in Afghanistan pass through the Karachi Port (the International Criminal Court at The Hague will soon include naval blockades into its list of acts of war).

Not to forget, that the USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group, or ‘Rough Rider’, the Nimitz-class super carrier propelled by two Westinghouse A4W nuclear reactors is in the northern Arabian Sea.

The Indian Air Force (IAF), with 170,000 personnel and an active aircraft fleet of 1,353, is the 4th largest air force in the world (after the US, Russia and China). Its ground attack inventory includes MiGs, Jaguar IS and Jaguar IM. Its inventory of multi-role aircraft includes MiGs, Mirage and Sukhoi-30 MKI (Su-30 is one of the best air-superiority aircraft in the air today).

In effect, neither an army nor a naval action seems feasible. A limited air strike campaign may therefore be India’s only military option and that, too, shall be more symbolic than strategic (a few air strikes may be the only undertaking that would irritate the US the least).

At the political level things are a lot more serious as it now appears that the US and India are getting on to the same strategic platform. And that’s the stratagem that used to be referred to as the ‘doomsday scenario’ for Pakistan.


The article ends. However, before everyone comes in with their views and comments, I will request that you also read up two very important articles that Dr. Farrukh Saleem wrote: THE INDIAN CHROMOSOME and WHY ARE JEWS SO POWERFUL?


Carrying the thoughts of Dr Saleem forward, India has laser guided munitions for artillery supplied by Krasnopol. Both Krasnopol and Krasnopol-M are superior to the Copperhead in the areas of range, projectile weight, targets engaged, attack profile, and operational field handling. However, there is a 15% range difference (three kilometers) between the Krasnopol and the Krasnopol-M. The 40th Artillery Division, India's sole 'pure' artillery division, is deployed in the Northern Command and forms part of the 1 Strike Corps based in Ambala, not too far from the Pakistan border.

1. India planned to attack at terrorist camps surgically. With most of the camps emptied out, these strikes would have been only symbolic. The aggressive stance of Pranab Mukherjee and the submissive stance of Manmohan Singh is calibrated to fit the proverbial "bad cop good cop" game theorizing. Indian elections are due in 2009 and if the Congress party is not seen to do anything, then their election prospects will be "doomed". Notice, how AR Antulay keeps his job, just to pander to "vote bank politics"

2. India asked USA to get Pakistan's approval for the surgical strikes, so that Pakistan does not retaliate. It is precisely for this reason Adm. Mike Mullen went to Pakistan to ask Pakistan to lay low when India strikes at terrorist training camps of LeT and others in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and near Lahore. It seems the civilian government gave its nod for "limited" Indian attacks in POK but not in mainland Pakistan, which includes areas near Lahore.

3. Mike Mullen fails in this as COAS Kiyani made it clear that regardless of how the civilan government chooses to respond to the US request to allow Indian ’surgical strikes’, Pakistan Army will not accept any Indian intrusion. The scrambling of jets over Lahore and Islamabad was part of this and the armed forces are alert and ready to defend against any Indian action.

Kiyani is also said to have told US Michael Mullen that in event of any aggression from India, the US and NATO can ‘forget about’ using Pakistan territory to supply their forces in Afghanistan as all resources will be diverted to defending against India on the eastern border.

Mike Mullen tells India, he fails in his effort.

General Rtd. Aslam Baig has said that US General Mullen is pressing our authorities to allow India to hit certain targets, keeping silent and indifferent to the situation as they have been doing in case of US attacks, which he believes, will cool down India and diffuse tensions between the two countries.

“I don’t think that conscientious Pakistani nation and brave armed forces of Pakistan will accept such a situation. This will be shameful and render Pakistan submission to India,” the retired General said.

He called upon the rulers to explain their position in this regard. He said that the US was after ridiculing the sovereignty of Pakistan only to please India and Mullen had come with a dangerous message.

4. A chastened Pranab Mukherjee lashes out at US & UK for NOT doing enough. (meaning US & UK not getting Pakistan's permission to get bombed in POK). India has paid more than US$ 300 million just to get cluster bombs. What will it do with these bombs now?

With elections looming around the corner, and USA not getting the go ahead from Pakistan authorizing Indian strikes on terror camps, what next? Pranab Mukherjee is fast running out of options and his verbal threats are increasingly looking like posturing on empty.


In Jan 2009, two important events will take place. One will be that for the first time a civilian will be holding charge of ISI.

And second, ISI will at last (again), come under the Min of Interior.

It seems the Pak Army has given its consent for this to USA and USA has conveyed the same to India.

And in essence US has told India that taming the ISI is the big thing here and we have done that for you, so you "lay off" now.

In turn Pak Army will get serious military hardware, F-16 upgrades.

India, as usual, will come out of this "a sore loser".

Maybe our politician's stupor will be broken by:

a) Game changing event : Another terror attack in India or inside the USA

b) Indian military taking adventurous steps (Do you remember that at the height of operation Parakram, an Indian Army General in charge of one of the premier strike corps was removed, as US intel warned India that it has taken a menacing formation to launch attacks).

Monday, December 22, 2008


In the last article,The Great Game in Central Asia, I highlighted the the extreme importance CARs (Central Asian Regions) hold for USA (and indeed for Russia and China too). However, it is USA that has plotted and planned the break up of Soviet Union for gaining the ultimate prize – access to gas in these regions. It is assumed that “anyone who controls the gas in Central Asian Regions, controls the world”.

The huge gas reserves of Yolotan-Osman gas fields in Turkmenistan has increased the geopolitical importance of Afghanistan. USA is increasing its military strength - putting in an extra 30,000 troops by Mid 2009.

It seems US had only one plan – to keep the trophy of the Central Asian gas to itself. It was looking for partners who will support it in its logistical endeavour, as it was clearly in a land, far away from the mainland USA. With India having a cosy relationship with Russia almost through the 90s, and Pakistan providing the shortest pipeline route to warm waters of these Central Asian gas reserves, it was a no-brainer when USA supported Pakistan over India in geo-political and military matters. USA deliberately overlooked the Pakistani nuclear smuggling network, as its eyes were on the lucrative CARs gases and for that break up the Soviets was absolutely necessary. Pakistan provided the battleground to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

It is a fascinating story how Soviet Union was lured into Afghanistan for its ultimate break-up, the BEAR TRAP, but that is not for this blog.

Suffice it to say, the team of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz were active in oil & gas for much of their lives. These are the people who are / were in very senior positions in George Bush’s government. The names of "oil & energy" companies:Enron, Unocal, Halliburton are synonymous with Rumsfeld, Cheney & Wolfowitz – be it for employment, or for pipeline contracts while in government charge, contributions to Republican party, or even stock-options. Dick Cheney was even on the Kazakstan Oil Advisory Board. These were very interesting connections and again a thesis can be written but I am going to end here.

Add the name of Condolezza Rice to this trio – there was a Chevron oil tanker named “The Condoleeza Rice” prior to her taking charge of NSA in 2001.



While USA (with Israel) is now trying to bomb suspected nuclear sites in Iran today, in 1976 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney unsuccessfully lobbied for the construction of a nuclear reprocessing plant in Iran. The two men devised the scheme because, they say, Iran needs a nuclear power program to meet its future energy needs. This is despite the fact that Iran has considerable oil and gas reserves. The deal would be lucrative for US corporations like Westinghouse and General Electric, which would make $6.4 billion from the project.

The USA today wants to control the flow of oil & gas from Central Asian regions through its pipelines and the ports of its choice. It will not want to sell all to Western nations, but depending on good and "reciprocal" behaviour to Russia and China too. But the control of the gas will be vested with USA. Russia and China have other plans.

The earlier US Plan:

USA wanted a stable partner for Central Asian gas and it found one in Pakistan. After the Soviets left, the Taliban took over in due course. The Taliban was a creation of ISI. At that time, CIA & ISI were “brothers in arms” and things were on course. Unocal took over the de-facto USA plans for pipeline access from CARs through Afghanistan and onto the warm ports of Karachi.

The then US Assistant Secy of State for South Asian Affairs, ROBIN RAPHAEL went on to state – “The Taliban capture of Kabul is a POSITIVE STEP.”

Another senior US Diplomat stated : “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an Emir, no parliament and lots of shari’a law. We can live with that.

On December 4th 1997, the representatives of Taliban were invited guests at the Texas headquarters of UNOCAL to negotiate support for the pipeline. Bill Clinton was the President and George W Bush was the governor of Texas at that point.

The US wanted Taliban to stabilize Afghanistan, wracked as it was in brutal infighting by warring tribes. The US wanted someone – anyone who can bring in stabilization for business to flow uninterrupted.

Unocal was to set up gas pipelines from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. And Halliburton was to provide drilling services in Turkmenistan (Dick Cheney, the Vice President of USA, was the CEO of Halliburton).

US told Pakistan to use ISI and effect a change in Afghanistan – allow Taliban forces to take over and allow Unocal to start business. If that happens, the USA will recognise the TALIBAN government in Afghanistan.

Unocal Vice President John J. Maresca - (later to become a Special Ambassador to Afghanistan) - testifies before the House of representatives that until a single, unified, friendly government is in place in Afghanistan the trans-Afghani pipeline will not be built.

The US viewed the Islamic countries in CARs and Middle East as different states and it needed to be brought into a confederation of states – for oil to flow smoothly. Much like the United States of America, they will be called the United States of Islam. This would be akin to the Islamic Caliphate that the Islamists were dreaming of. US fed Pakistan the dream of taking over this Islamic Caliphate, after all it had the Islamic bomb and its military was running the show for Saudi Arabian air force and UAE too.

USA looked at the Islamic Caliphate as a giant oil MNC and Pakistan as the COO with itself as the CEO. However, Pakistan started thinking, why be the COO when it can become the CEO too?

USA too, soon realized that this United Islamic concept was simply not possible, the inner contradictions of these countries will not allow an Islamic Caliphate to take place. Also ISI started acting out of the confines and tasks given to it and started operating to the detriment of USA and Western forces (discussed before – like Somalia, Bosnia etc). In Bosnia ISI actions of arming Bosnian Muslims with top of the line anti-tank missiles brought upon USA wrath – Bill Clinton was going to declare Pakistan as a terrorist nation which was averted when Pakistan sacked ISI Chief Javed Nasir.

USA realized that the ISI has morphed into a different entity, spawning its own terror units for deniable operations that hurt the US. The honeymoon with ISI started turning sour. On the other hand, ISI moved with impunity across the globe, in Philippines, in South Asia, in Europe. See my article ISI & AL QAEDA.

9/11 changed the contours of USA plans. Sandy Berger, Clinton's National Security Advisor, has stated, "You show me one reporter, one commentator, one member of Congress who thought we should invade Afghanistan before September 11 and I'll buy you dinner in the best restaurant in New York City."

Omar Sheikh Sayeed was the alleged person who wired the money to the attackers. There are insinuations that he is a British intelligence asset. The rationale for this stems from the fact that Omar Sayeed went to UK to meet his parents, twice, after being released by India in Kandahar air hijack, and he was not even detained at the airport. That he is under house arrest, is to deny him access to western media / intelligence agencies.

Whatever the truth – USA which had no reason to go back to Afghanistan, had one now. See also how the 9/11 commission covered up Pakistan and ISI’s role in 9/11.

Can USA attack its own country for a stated overseas military objective? If one looks at Operations Northwoods, one will be tempted to say : YES.


This document, titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba” was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals - part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose - included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,” including “sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a “Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage.

James Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.” Or was it the most corrupt?

ISI and Pakistan army, not satisfied with the Islamic Caliphate, wanted, dreamt and plotted about the break up of India with a 1000 cuts – see these two maps 2012 and 2020 Pakistan maps that was discussed in this article: GREATER PAKISTAN.

A broken India, if at all possible, will be a nightmare for USA in light of hostile Islamic regions surrounding USA if it were to stabilize its role in Afghanistan on one hand and contain China on the other. USA realised, a stronger INDIA is its better bet but not a VERY STRONG India.

USA meantime, too, realized that it had created a monster without the safety valve. ISI has morphed into an untamable monster with an appetite for global jehad and most importantly the means to do so too.

The Mumbai attacks of 26/11 will have dispelled doubts amongst the fence sitters about the intention of Pakistan. Hence these attacks definitely do not help Pakistan and the way the events have unmasked its terror nurseries. At superficial levels it helps Pakistan Army, only if the Indian Army started mobilizing its troops, giving Pak Army reasons to disengage itself from its disastrous military campaign against the Taliban on Afghan border. India, has so far, not played ball.

USA moves onto Plan B.

The Changed US Plan:

USA is not going to give up on access to Central Asian gas. If ISI and Pakistan was not playing ball, it would be made to play ball or it will break up Pakistan. Benazir assassination and the departure of Musharraf paved the way for a pliant Pakistan government, subservient to US.

The US is attacking militant hideouts in NWFP regions of Pakistan with impunity and under coercive diplomacy the Pakistan Army has to take care of militant hiding and operating from its territories. Attacking Taliban has been the biggest “nightmare” for Pakistan Army. As discussed earlier, Taliban was the brain child of ISI and it was made to create strategic depth in Afghanistan. Pakistan Army embedded its soldiers into Taliban – this fact can be easily ascertained from the huge Pakistan Army evacuation of Kunduz when Taliban was surrounded by Northern Alliance forces. Taliban who were supported and mollycoddled by Pakistan Army is up in arms against this “treacherous” role of the Pakistan Army, and this has created a civil war like situation within Pakistan. A situation ripe for working on the ethnic fault lines of Pakistan.

Ahmed Quraishi from Pakistan writes: As part of psych-ops, 40-feet wide billboards that have mysteriously sprung up on the main roads of NWFP showing the map of a new country – Pashtunistan – with meticulously defined borders that incorporate most of northwestern Pakistan. This ‘billboard campaign’ has to be the boldest statement of rebellion and separatism ever made in the history of nation-states anywhere in the world.

The deliberate destabilization of Pakistan through American military and political interference will result in turning large parts of the country against the federal government and increasingly draw the military into a civil war that will bleed us for decades to come in the presence of covert support from Afghan soil.

Ethnic politics, the new Trojan horse of anyone who wants to meddle in our affairs, have to be ended through legislation and by creating more provinces on administrative lines and by strengthening Pakistani nationalism. The question is: Who will do this? The current crop of politicians can’t. The military is not trained to do this, at least not alone. I am afraid we are soon approaching a situation where something will have to be thought of outside the box.

It’s either this or more separatist billboards in the future.”

This is the exact thinking of the Pakistan Army too. It wants to move its soldiers from Western borders of Afghanistan to the Indian border and it needed a reason to do so. The Mumbai attacks gave it a reason – hence one concluded that 26/11 was a Pakistani Army job.

Pakistan military strategists saw that instead of the original plan of becoming the CEO of the Islamic Caliphate the USA, together with India is now instrumental in making Pakistan a smaller entity. And there is no way, any self respecting Pakistani esp., its Army was willing to go down without a fight. Was 26/11 – a “thinking out of the box” strategy?



Whichever one ultimately comes about, the net loser will be Pakistan. And Pakistan Army, aware of this, wanted to pre-empt the plans. As I have said before, it was helped along as someone played into Pak Army's insecurities.

Yes 26/11 it was indeed a Pakistani Army job, which contracted the work to ISI, which then sub-contracted the work to Laskhar e Taiba.

But how is this connected to the USA and its plans for the Central Asian gas and a greater plan for breaking up Pakistan today?

USA knows the visceral hatred the Pakistan Army and ISI has of India. It just needed to play along these fears.

In comes Michael Vickers with his vast contacts in Afghanistan and Pakistan especially with the Mujahideens. As stated before : Vickers was the principal strategist for covert CIA operations in Afghanistan that resulted in the defeat, and subsequent break up of the Soviet Union. If there is one man who can be credited for the break up of Soviet empire - it is Vickers.

His greatest influence was in the precise way he reassessed the potential of Afghan guerrilla forces and prescribed the right mix of weaponry to attack Soviet weaknesses.

At the height of Afghan operation, he was giving strategic and operational direction to 300 unit commanders, 150,000 full time and 500,000 part time fighters ("mujahideens"). He co-ordinated the efforts of TEN countries and oversaw an annual budget of US $ 2 billion.

Presently, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) which is part of the portfolio that Vickers handles is based in Tampa, FL. It's annual budget is US$ 8 BILLION and more than 60,000 covert and overt personnel are on its payroll. Vickers also sits on 3rd floor of Pentagon "C" Ring.

Is Pakhtunistan Michael Vickers' parting gift for his Afghan Mujahids? Only time will tell.

A sudden spurt of US spies (special operations group_ have been reported in the past one year in Baluchistan and FATA areas. There are "declared" US spies who run operations together with ISI, but these were covert spies operating out of the ISI ambit in Pakistani territory. Was Jude Kenan, an American caught in FATA, one such covert operative?

In August 2007 a representative of the jihadi outfit - a burly man in mid thirties with medium-length, thick beard met an American in Sadabahar who was dressed like a Pushtun. The meeting lasted more than three hours and the jihadi left with a canvas bag full of cash.

The American could not be identified but the jihadi was traced to a splinter group of LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba). As is known, LeT is not a single entity; it is more like a brand name, used by many groups with diverse objectives and split loyalties.

The jihadi went to Karachi and met a colleague in Shah Faisal Colony and apparently gave him some of the cash he received from the American in Quetta. This assumption is based on the fact that the jihadi’s colleague in Shah Faisal Colony purchased a flashy SUV a few days later. And Benazir Bhutto was assassinated a few months later (direct connection not established that it was this money that was used, but people in the know state that this is so).

Again, this LeT is involved in the Mumbai blasts. Let us look at LeT from a different angle.

In 1988, Abu Abdur Rahman Sareehi, a Saudi and a deputy of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, founded an organization in the Afghan Kunar Valley which recruited Afghan youths and Pakistanis in Bajaur Agency to fight the Soviets. Sareehi was the brother-in-law of Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, (ALLEGED MASTERMIND OF MUMBAI 26/11 ATTACKS) now named by the US Treasury and the Security Council as chief of operations for the LET. Seed money for the training camps was provided by Bin Laden.


Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, (described by the US Treasury as the main LET financier in the 1980s and 1990s and now named by the Security Council as a terrorist) was a Saudi intelligence proxy planted in the network. 

He built up his influence in the network with Saudi money and eventually established Markaz Dawa wal Irshaad. The name related to a renowned Saudi office for preaching Islam.


This organization was then COMPLETELY HIJACKED by Saudi intelligence and the CIA and later operated under the name Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). To be fair to USA & RSA (Repuplic of Saudi Arabia), their intention was more to infiltrate the LeT than to use it for terror purposes.

CIA and Pakistan establishment never went after LeT - as LeT never attacked Pakistan and any US interests. The ban on LeT was laughable at best.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, it renamed itself Jamaatut Dawa and clearly distanced itself from al-Qaeda.

The above statements are all facts. There is a connection of LeT to CIA & Saudi intelligence. There is a connection of LeT to Mumbai blasts. LeT was infiltrated by the CIA and RSA (Saudi) intelligence. What can this mean?

The 10 terrorists that attacked Mumbai were supposed to go to Kashmir. The ISI forward station head in Karachi and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi changed their destination to Mumbai. Why was this done and under whose orders?

Russia stated that Dawood Ibrahim’s drug money was used in 26/11. Dawood is listed as the top 3 drug barons of the world by USA. And India recently said, it is more interested in Masood Azhar than Dawood Ibrahim – is this not strange?

Hamid Karzai’s brother is the largest drug baron in Afghanistan. And Afghanistan produced 6000 tons of opium in 2006, 8200 tons in 2007 and 7700 tons in 2008. On average, the world demand of opium-based narcotics, including heroin, is only half of this production. Where is the rest of opium going?

American forces – this includes all kinds of Americans such regular forces, CIA, Socom and contractors – have been buying and storing all the surplus opium. (See the movie American Gangster to figure out US military complicity in narcotics trade).

This report gets credence from the fact that about 70% of all opium production in Afghanistan comes from Helmand province, an area under the direct control of the Americans.

What would the Americans do with all this opium?

Experts are of the view that this opium, in raw or refined form, would be spread in the neighbouring countries (Pakistan, India, Iran, Central Asia and China). Some of it would go to Russia also.

This would bring several advantages to the Americans:

1. By increasing drug addiction in target countries, Americans would sap the economies of these countries and produce the generations of junkies that would be long-term liabilities for their countries;

2. If the opium is mostly consumed in the neighbourhood, less of it would be left for export to the American markets;

3. Narcotics are a traditional source of additional revenues for the American forces, especially the CIA. However, in this case, the US is not making money as it is subsidizing sales in CARs, INDIA, PAKISTAN & RUSSIA for a "different" reason (explained in points 1 & 2 above).

The suspicion that the American want to spread drug addiction in the neighbouring countries is also supported by the fact that even though the ‘farm-gate’ price of opium has remained stable at nearly US $ 70 per kilo, it is becoming available in the neighbouring countries at around US $ 40 per kilo. Clearly, the Americans are subsidizing the export.

Coming back to Pakistan, the latest NIE (of USA ) describes Pakistan as – No money, no energy and no government.

If USA now wants to break Pakistan, it cannot do so alone. There has to be military participation of India to break Pakistan’s strong army. Someone has to play the game for USA and that attack on Mumbai can be looked at that game changing scenario that broke the stupour of Indian politicians and let it be aligned with Indian Army’s vision which matched the US vision for the region.

USA wants to de-fang Iran but is in no position to do so itself. It has to show as an existential thereat to Israel and Israel will then attack Iran alone.

USA wants to India to tackle Pakistan and Israel to tackle Iran.

The next game changer will either be an attack inside India or more likely an attack within USA that will fast forward the military option and pincer attacks on Pakistan from two fronts.

My point – even if USA was involved in 26/11, albeit in a circuitous way, it has done India more good than harm. (Some commentators may disagree, but its ok – this is after all a view).

While India should be aligned with the short term vision of USA today, it is the long term vision of USA that India needs to be wary of. Before looking at these long term visions, USA has showed India two cards it will not hesitate to play, should India not play along with USA in these plans:

1.Open the Kashmir card – which US alluded to, it might do by sending Bill Clinton as a special representative

2. Last week of September 2008, USA brokered a meeting in Mecca. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted the talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group, according to a source familiar with the talks.

India, together with Russia and Iran pumped in money and armaments to Northern Alliance force that fought the Taliban in Afghanistan. Any talks with Taliban will raise the hackles of these three countries.

Obviously, both the above options have “deadly” consequences for India. And India will see to it, that the above two do not come about. And US knows that it will continue to prick India with these uncomfortable situations to bring it “in line” to its game plan in the Great Game.


Mushahid Hussain, General Secretary of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Foreign Relations committee made the following statements about the current Indo-Pak relations, in Indian Express: - a few of his comments:

1. I feel American clout in the region has weakened. America as a superpower is not all that powerful. Now there’s a resurgent Russia, a rising China, emerging India, a stronger Iran and Pakistan is a regional power. But among our political and military elite, there’s infatuation with America. Still, the Americans told us to join the war in Iraq, we refused. They opposed the Iran pipeline, we didn’t agree. We recognize the Hamas government in Palestine, they don’t. We made the bomb despite American opposition. We have close relations with China despite American opposition.

2. Pakistan’s future is linked with China. The 21st century will be an Asian century. For me, the interesting question is: which way will India go? Will it play the role of the frontman for USA against China or will it go with the tide of the Asian century?

The contours of Mushahid’s statements cannot be more “clearer” - which is also the Pakistan military view. Pakistan is at the cusp of moving from American arms into the waiting arms of China – lock, stock and barrel. A fact, that will not at all go well with the strategic planners in USA.


The US military is burning nearly 600000 gallons of fuel per day. More than 80% of this comes from Pakistan, through 700 or so road tankers that are vulnerable to all kinds of attacks on their long journey from facilities in Pakistan to American bases in Afghanistan. And ISI has increased the attacks to these NATO convoys through Taliban in their depots in Peshawar. However, there are people who say that these attacks on NATO convoys are the work of Taliban who are carrying out orders from non-ISI masters (whatever that means).

The reserves in Afghanistan will suffice for only two weeks if the supply line is disrupted.

Aware of this, the Americans have been trying to create an alternate route through Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Even if the alternate route is opened fully, it is very long and inefficient and there are risks that Americans are not in a position to counter at present.

There is need to abandon the Pakistan route but there is nothing to replace it.

Benefits of bifurcating Pakistan: From American point of view, there are many benefits in creating an independent Balochistan:

1.An independent Balochistan will be an ideal territory to keep supply lines open to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

2.Independent Balochistan will provide Americans with excellent locations for putting up their military and naval bases to police the Persian Gulf and make sure that no other naval power including India, China and Russia ever gets upper hand in the Indian Ocean.

3.An independent Balochistan will be the place from where Americans can maintain permanent pressure on Iran, even in the remote possibility that they may have to eventually leave Iraq.

4.China and Russia will be denied any access to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.

5.The Gulf countries will remain dependent on the USA for export routes of their hydrocarbon products.

6.Full control of the entrance to the Gulf will enable USA to allow or deny oil flow by tankers to any country in the world.

7.Central Asia is a land-locked region and the whole region would be on the mercy of the United States.

If Balochistan is detached from Pakistan, the rest of Pakistan is likely to exist as a perpetually unstable entity, creating a permanent source of trouble for India. This fits nicely with other American plans because India has come very close to becoming an economic rival of the United States.


1. One logical consequence is that India and Pakistan would probably go to war or at least move their forces to the borders in a position of war readiness. Every expert knows that keeping forces ready for war is nearly seven to eight times more expensive than keeping them in the barracks. This is an excellent way to make sure that Indian and Pakistani economies would be crippled for a long time to come.

2. India and Pakistan are negotiating for two gas pipelines, one from Iran and the other from Turkmenistan. There are also plans to put oil pipelines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to South Asia. USA would use every method to deny India the energy resources of Central Asia and IranIndia is not what USA has in mind. The tide has reversed already and it is not to the liking of the Americans. Students from the United States are now coming to India, Indian businessmen are giving tough time to American corporations worldwide, and India has entered some of the export markets that were traditionally dominated by the west. In short, a weak India will be acceptable as a friend but a strong India will be a pain in the neck for Americans.

The game changers and the current situation sits well with the Neo-Cons who have ensured that Obama is tied to the events and plans as envisaged by the Neo - Cons.

Obama has kept Robert Gates as defense secretary. And Bill Richarson comes in as Energy Secretary - the same Bill Richardson who as US Ambassador to the UN in 1988 met the Taliban officials in Kabul (illegally as US did not recognize the Taliban as legitimate Afghanistan government) - all for pipeline through Afghanistan. Which means - under Obama - Afghanistan policy will not change.

MICHAEL VICKERS in 2006 said: "Again, Pakistan is a critical ally in the war on terror, but life’s not perfect. But again, what’s the alternative—invade the Northwest Frontier Provinces? Good luck. You know—and so there’s a—you know, there’s a time and place."

The time is now INDIA - it is NOW!

However, Pakistan feels at most India will precision bomb the terrorist training camps (which are anyway emptied out) in POK and nothing more. All this "bravado" that Congress is showing is only for elections that are due in 2009 to steal the thunder from BJP. Are they correct?

MY 2 CENTS WORTH : This article to show the importance of USA and how India must hedge its bet in the Great Game. The villain is not USA, it is PAKISTAN. Pakistan attacked because it wanted to. Pakistan's aims and designs on India remain the same - To bleed India by 1000 cuts and use home grown "jehadis" for terrorism. Mumbai attacks have opened an avenue for Indian military action - let us not shy away from this moment. CARPE DIEM - SIEZE THE DAY. JAI HIND!

(CLICK ON THE MAP FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW). This map is drawn by an American, so please excuse their lack of knowledge of the map of J&K. If I were to remove this map, on the basis of this serious error, I will not be able to present their plans to you - the detailed NATO bases. Also you will have noticed the derogatory term used "hillbillies" which connotes to people who dwell in remote "mountainous" areas. (earlier referred to American Indian tribes of Appalachia and Ozarks).

Friday, December 19, 2008


The world needs energy and hence we have the term “energy security”. For the longest time, energy meant OIL. Well, that is changing now – to OIL & GAS, and then onto Renewable energy, Solar energy, Wind energy et al.

Today we are the initial cusp, where we are moving from OIL based energy dependence to a Gas based energy dependence. A few countries have made the leap, but globally we are at the inflexion point.

Why this shift ?

Oil has a finite supply and that supply is on the verge of coming to an end. According to the Energy Bible : BP Statistical Review, at current levels of production, Oil reserves of -

1. Saudi Arabia is projected to last only 66 years
2. Iraq & Kuwait is projected to last 100 years
3. India, Australia, Italy, Brazil is projected to last 21 years.

In contrast to the dipping oil reserves, the gas reserves are growing as new findings are being made. Cars which are running on gasoline (petrol) and diesel will be run on Auto LPG, CNG etc and these are all gas derived. Subsequently these cars will run on hydrogen and even on Compressed Air (Our very own TATA NANO). Industry, home etc will make this shift as pipeline infrastructures are put in place.

And most of this Gas is located in a place called Central Asia. The access to this by major global powers has been romantically called “THE GREAT GAME” - to get a toehold to the supply lines of Central Asia Gas.

Currently the largest gas reserves are in Russia with 48 TCM, followed by Iran with 28 TCM. However, all this is changing and will continue to change. With the discovery of Yolotan Osman gas field in Turkmenistan in October 2008, the gas equation and dynamics have changed. Preliminary indications are the gas reserves in Turkmenistan is around 38.4 TCM – far more than Iran and just 20% lower than Russia. And this means immense geopolitical movements around this neighbourhood.

It is to be understood, gas needs to be extracted and then moved over pipelines, some running over thousands of kilometres to reach its ultimate destination. Mostly the end destinations are ports – from where super tankers carry their cargoes around the world. Getting hold of gas fields in not enough. Hence, it is also a game of getting hold of “warm water ports”. The major players in Central Asia are Russia, USA and China.

Let us look at the map of Central & South Asia.

Turkmenistan is atop Afghanistan & Iran and this Yolotan Osman gas field is just near the Afghanistan – Turkmenistan border. Other than this, for other gas fields too, Afghanistan is of extreme importance – pipeline infrastructure to warm ports – hence USA will be embedded in Afghanistan for “generations".

Central Asian nations were part of Soviet Union and the breakup of Soviet Union was the handiwork of USA where MICHAEL VICKERS played a sterling part in arming and training the Mujahideen from bases in Pakistan. The goal – Access to Central Asian gas reserves, maintaining its superpower status etc etc.

The other major concern for USA is to keep both Russia and China out of the gas reserves of Central Asia. And also ensure that India and Russia do not join hands with Iran (USA remembers Northern Alliance).


Azerbaijan was the true success story of US oil diplomacy. Clinton literally snatched it from Russian orbit in the 1990s by pushing through the Baku – Tbilsi – Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline against seemingly impossible odds. The pipeline meanders from Baku (capital of Azerbaian) to Tbilsi in Georgian and then onto the Turkish port of Ceyhan. From here gas is filled in super tankers and shipped to Europe for consumption.

BTC completely bypasses Russia and this was the main purpose of this line.


The other important pipeline for the USA is the Nabucco pipeline. However, question marks have appeared regarding the future of the Nabucco gas pipeline, which, if constructed, would bypass Russian territory and bring Caspian gas from Azerbaijan via Georgia and Turkey to the European market. What if Azerbaijan accepts the Russian offer to buy gas at "European prices"? Has the Caucasus conflict fatally hurt Nabucco's prospects? It seems, for the present, it has.

Europe has pinned its hopes on Nabucco, but it can only be implemented with Russian participation and also Iran. Nabucco is a serious threat to the Russian “South Stream pipelines” that feed Europe.


USA was planning and plotting and came to the conclusion that it has to make BLACK SEA into a NATO LAKE. If you look at the map of Central Asia, notice that other than Russia the other 2 countries of ex-Soviet Union that skirt the Black Sea are Ukraine and Georgia. And guess, who have been offered NATO memberships – you guessed it right – Ukraine and Georgia.

However, Russia remains vehemently against this NATO intrusion into its former republics and has made its opposition very clear. USA overplayed its hands in Georgia and gave Russia the chance to kill two birds with one stone.

Georgia has two breakaway provinces – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It has majority Russian population. The Georgian maverick President Mikhail Shakashvili, under direction from his US experts, started bombing these two provinces to take them over by force.

Russia just drove in and in deft military manoeuvres took control of these provinces. Russia annexed these two provinces, and thus took de-facto control of two major Black Sea ports of Sukhumi & Poti. This was a great tactical blow to USA, because with this single Russian manoeuvre, the US dream of making BLACK SEA into A NATO LAKE was LOST - probably FOREVER.

There were reports that Israel wanted to use bases in Georgia to attack Iran and one of Russia’s aim was to pre-empt that. Interesting to note – Israel got wind of the Russian attack a week before the attacks and left Georgia with its advisers (note: USA stayed behind). The Israelis went to Russia and admitted that arming Georgia was a mistake and implored Russia NOT to arm Hezbollah and Iran with sophisticated armaments and missiles.

Germany came running to Russia and told them that they will block Ukraine’s and Georgia’s entry into NATO and this is exactly what they did – together with France. Germany, scarred from WWII memories of Russia and currently dependant on gas sales from Russia is in no position to take on Russia, nor is there any inclination to anger the Russian bear.

Condoleeza Rice came out defeated and admitted, “Georgia and Ukraine are not ready for (NATO) membership. That is very clear”. Russia won through coercive diplomacy.

Russia also sent a message through this military move to all its former republics, to take cognizance of Russian interests while plotting their gas sales – which have all been duly noted.

Central Asian republics all saw that USA is actually in NO position to militarily help them – Georgia was a case in point.

Russia deftly followed this by meeting Syrian President Assad and getting the port of Tartus as a resting place for its Black Sea maintenance quarters.

With a series of further moves, Russia has made USA nearly redundant in the Caspian region. Russia is flush with funds, and the economic might of USA has taken a serious beating in the economic crisis.

Russia has re-negotiated to buy gas from Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan at prevailing “European prices” thus raising the bar.

The four Russian oil majors had asked Putin for $ 80 billion package to pay off their foreign debts and finance strategic projects. Putin responded by saying that the government will disburse upto $ 50 billion.

How many Western governments can match Russia providing such backing of sovereign wealth funds to its oil majors at the present time of global credit crunch?

Moscow offered $4 billion loan to Ukraine for establishing two nuclear power plant in its western region. This is despite the pro-US stance of Ukranian Victor Yushchenko.

Also, there is huge political symbolism when Iceland expresses “dissapointment” with the Western world and turns to Moscow for a 4 billion Euro ($ 5.5 billion) loan to salvage its economy from imminent bankruptcy.

Such images make a lasting impression on the Central Asian steppes.

Russia with its vast deposits of oil and gas is already an energy superpower. And unlike Iran and Venezuela, it does not subsidize its economy from the oil proceeds – hence with the oil price down, its economy is still strong unlike those that of Iran and Venezuela. The EU is heavily dependant on Russia for gas imports and this dependence is expected to increase further as a result of declining offshore production of North Sea.


Currently there are 3 major pipelines running from Baku (capital of Azerbaijan). 2 are US sponsosred - the BTC pipeline and the Baku - Supsa pipleline (Supsa in Georgia). The 3rd one is the Russain pipeline : Baku - Novorossiisk pipeline. SEE MAP ABOVE.

Azerbaijan is negotiating with Russia to increase the annual capacity of the Baku – Nvorossiisk pipeline. At the same time Azerbaijanis reducing its commitment to the US sponsored Baku – Supsa and BTC pipelines and this is a major breakthrough for the Russians. Azerbaijan understands the Russian resurgence in southern Caucasus and Baku’s new interest in the Russian pipeline stems from a desire to protect its relationship with Moscow.

The implications are very serious for Washington. Any reduction in the Baku export through BTC could impact the viability of the pipeline which has been the cornerstone of US diplomacy in the region, pumping nearly 1 million barrels of oil / day from Azerbaijan to Turkey’s coast from where it is shipped to Europe. BTC, though secure now, has come under the watch of the Russians.

In September 2008, Uzbekistan and Russia agreed to build a new pipeline with a capacity of 26 to 30 billion cubic meters (bcm) annually to pump Uzbek and Trukmen gas to Europe. Such a pipeline will again undermine the US efforts to pump trans-Caspian energy routes bypassing Russia.

On top of this, neither Azerbaijan nor Kazakhstan appears interested in US entreaties to re-route energy exports bypassing Russia. Both hope to maintain good relations with USA but that cannot be done by picking a quarrel with Russia.

It seems the US phrase – “either you are with us or against us” is not finding any takers in Central Asia. Central Asian countries would do business with both but not at the expense of Russia and this rankles the USA as it has clearly fallen from the high “horse” they thought it was in.


At the same time China is anxious to get its act together and bind its energy security in this region. It has formed SCO to cement its energy needs in this region which the US is vehemently trying to push out. China knows that it cannot match US power for at least the next 15 years and its naval forces are no match to the US fleet and even the Japanese fleet. Hence it is going out of its way to get to the Central Asian gas reserves through land routes, even though many of them look unviable at the present time.

One of the better tieups will be to tag along the Russian ESPO pipeline. Russia is expected to complete this East Siberia to Pacific (ESPO) by 2012 for routing oil to Asian markets. Kazakhstan’s state oil pipeline operator KazTransOil is interested in transporting Kazakh oil through the ESPO. To note – Astana has shown no hurry to commit Kashagan oil to the US sponsored BTC pipeline but has committed to the Russian ESPO pipelines. US influence has truly reached its nadir in this region.

Unlike the USA or Russians, the Chinese have their own method of doing business overseas. Being a mercantilist and free of moral and political constraints, it hopes that it will continue doing what it loves best – making money. Chinese hope to sell cheap DVD players and exotic Chinese prostitutes, build roads and docks and in the bargain – gobble up Central Asian energy.

Washington is clearly nervous that Kazakhstan is showing alarming signs of shifting towards Moscow. All early investments by the USA in this region has come to naught. Astana supported Russian action in the Caucasus and cut down its investment in Georgia.

Clearly the Russians and Chinese have outmanoeuvred the American in Central Asia stakes.


We had touched earlier on the fact : Preliminary indications are the gas reserves in Turkmenistan is around 38.4 TCM – far more than Iran and just 20% lower than Russia (largest gas reserves in the world). The British consultancy company Gaffney, Cline & Associates (GCA) presented the first results of its audit of Turkmen gas reserves.

The biggest gas field discovery was in October 2008 – called the Yoloten Osman deposits. It is located near the Afghan – Turkmenistan border.

Turkmenistan has contracts to supply Russia with 50 bcm annually, China with 40 bcm and Iran with 8 bcm annually. The Russian energy giant GAZPROM requires this Turkmen gas to meet its export obligations in the European market, which accounts for 70% of the its total revenue. Gazprom sells 2/3 of Russia’s 550 bcm annual gas production in the rapidly growing domestic market. This compels it to secure Turkmen supplies to meet contracted European demands.

Looks like Russia is all set to gobble up gas supplies from Turkmenistan – but look again. Gazprom’s agreement with Turkmengaz DOES NOT INVOLVE YOLOTEN – OSMAN reserves.

Russia thought it held in its hand a chimera when it fancied that the July 25th Agreement put GAZPROM in charge of all of Turkmenistan’s exports. Surely, this is proving to be a misconception of Himalayan proportions.

USA has deftly moved in to claim its stakes on the Yoloten-Osman gas reserves and for Russia the game starts again.

Take a look at the map. USA is well places in Afghanistan and can easily draw pipelines from Yoloten-Osman gas reserves through Afghanistan. And after that, it needs a warm water port to load it on super tankers.

The only viable ports are Karachi in Pakistan and also Gwadar port in Baluchistan area of Pakistan. Pakistan has built Gwadar with Chinese help to serve several purpose and one of them was access to Central Asian oil. USA is in no mood to see that this happens. Gwadar may well become the Chinese naval base in future and have eyeball to eyeball confrontation with the US naval fleet.

The other port is Chabahar in Iran. This has been built by India. Look how close the ports of Gwadar and Chabahar are.

We must not forget this part :

When Afghanistan was under the control of Taliban, USA was willing to shake hands with the devil – just to get access to pipelines through Afghanistan. UNOCAL the US company in the thick of pipeline planning through Afghanistan, was acting as the unofficial lobby for the Taliban and they were regularly briefed by CIA and Pakistan’s ISI.

The then US Assistant Secy of State for South Asian Affairs, ROBIN RAPHAEL went on to state – “The Taliban capture of Kabul is a POSITIVE STEP.”

Another senior US Diplomat stated : “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an Emir, no parliament and lots of shari’a law. We can live with that

We must not lose sight of these statements. These are not statements of two individuals - they represent the USA mindset.

The USA will have tolerated Taliban and Shari’a just to get gas pipelines and this approach has not changed. USA tolerates the Saudi emirs. It may be a democracy itself, but in matters of business, it follows only one policy – “ANYTHING GOES” as long as its interests are met.

USA is looking for any stable partner that will guarantee it “peace” to “do business” in Afghanistan. Hence, for India, this becomes very important – Who will guarantee this “Peaceful business environment in Afghanistan”?

Will it again be Taliban + Pakistan or will it be Pushtuns + Balochis through independent countries created out of parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan?

If the USA game plan is the former – Taliban + Pakistan, we must ensure that this never comes into being. This will be disastrous for India. The latter, we can deal with and we will come to this part in the next article.

The Central Asia as it will look in the future. Afghanistan will play a pivotal pipeline role.

India too has legitimate energy concerns but USA will see to it that the Iranian – Indian gas pipeline or even the TAPI (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) does not come into being.

The US with its dipping wealth and high levels of corruption is unable to stake claim of any sort in Central Asia. It is clutching at the straws with BTC and Nabucco pipelines. It will surely seek to leverage its presence in Afghanistan on the Yolotan-Osman gas fields to salvage pride and standing in the region.


USA is not going to give up without a fight. The attacks of NATO supply trucks recently in Pakistan has given planners in Washington time to formulate alternative strategies. The US has begun working on an entirely new supply route for Afghanistan which steers clear of Tehran, Moscow and Beijing and which, more importantly, not only dovetails but holds the prospects of augmenting and even strengthening the US's containment strategy towards Russia and Iran.

Thus, the US has begun developing an altogether new land route through the southern Caucasus to Afghanistan, which doesn't exist at present. The US is working on the idea of ferrying cargo for Afghanistan via the Black Sea to the port of Poti in Georgia and then dispatching it through the territories of Georgia,Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. A branch line could also go from Georgia via Azerbaijan to the Turkmen-Afghan border.

The project, if it materializes, will be a geopolitical coup - the biggest ever that Washington would have swung in post-Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. At one stroke, the US will be tying up military cooperation at the bilateral level with Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.

The US will have virtually dealt a blow to the Russia-led Collective Security Treat Organization (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Not only will the US have succeeded in keeping the CSTO and the SCO from poking their noses into the Afghan cauldron, it will also have made these organizations largely irrelevant to regional security when Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the two key players in Central Asia, simply step out of the ambit of these organizations and directly deal with the US and NATO.

Therefore, the US is making a determined bid to render Russian diplomacy on Afghanistan toothless. Interestingly, the US has allowed NATO at the same time to negotiate with Russia for transit route facilities, which Moscow will be hard-pressed to refuse.

Washington has certainly done some smart thinking. It is having the best of both worlds - NATO taking help from Russia with the US at the same time puncturing the CSTO and undercutting Russian interests in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Ever since the conflict in the Caucasus (Russia - Georgia conflict) in August, the US has maintained a continuous naval presence in the Black Sea, with regular port calls in Georgia. The indications are that the US is planning a carefully calibrated ground presence in Georgia as well. Talks are in the final stages for a US-Georgia Security and Military Agreement.


Another dramatic fallout is that the proposed land route covering Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan can also be easily converted into an energy corridor and become a Caspian oil and gas corridor bypassing Russia. Such a corridor has been a long-cherished dream for Washington. Furthermore, European countries will feel the imperative to agree to the US demand that the transit countries for the energy corridor are granted NATO protection in one form or the other. That, in turn, leads to NATO's expansion into the Caucasus and Central Asia.

RUSSIA is not expected to keep quiet and watch US intrusion into its former territories passively. The chief of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces, General Nikolai Makarov, just about lifted the veil on the geopolitics of the Afghan war to let the world know that the Bush administration was having one last fling at the great game in Central Asia. Russia, it seems is about to transfer the S-300 missile defense system to Iran. S-300 is one of the most advanced surface-to-air missile systems capable of intercepting 100 ballistic missiles or aircraft at once, at low and high altitudes within a range of over 150 kilometers. As long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure put it, "If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. This is a system that scares every Western air force." Russia stated that giving Iranians the S-300 will avoid "wars" in the region. More than US, the Israelis view this as a threat to their existence. the head of political-military policy in the Israeli Defense Ministry, Major General Amos Gilad, was traveling to Moscow with a demarche that Russia should not transfer S-300 to Iran. If things are not sorted out on the Iran front, Israel may have a go at Iran's suspected nuclear sites - ALONE.

All this is expected to unfold in India's backyard and soon.

The veiled threat of reopening the "Kashmir file", which is patently aimed at keeping India at bay, also serves a useful purpose. Plainly put, the US faces a real geopolitical challenge in Afghanistan if only a coalition of like-minded regional powers like Russia, China, Iran and India takes shape and these powers seriously begin exchanging notes about what the Afghan war has been about so far and where it is heading and what the US strategy aims at. So far, the US has succeeded in stalling such a process by sorting out these regional powers individually.

Was India getting too close to Russia and Iran for USA's liking and was the Mumbai blast a timely reminder for India not to meddle in the "GREAT GAME"?