Posted by Charles II on June 23, 2008
As Faulkner said, the past isn’t even past. But is Brendan Nyhan paying attention?
Eric Margolis says Bob Scheer was right:
Afghanistan just signed a major deal to launch a long-planned, 1,680-km pipeline project expected to cost $8 billion. If completed, the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) will export gas and later oil from the Caspian basin to Pakistan’s coast where tankers will transport it to the West….
In 1998, the Afghan anti-Communist movement Taliban and a western oil consortium led by the U.S. firm Unocal signed a major pipeline deal. Unocal lavished money and attention on the Taliban, flew a senior delegation to Texas, and hired a minor Afghan official, Hamid Karzai….
Enter Osama bin Laden. He advised the unworldly Taliban leaders to reject the U.S. deal and got them to accept a better offer from an Argentine consortium. Washington was furious and, according to some accounts, threatened the Taliban with war.
In early 2001, six or seven months before 9/11, Washington made the decision to invade Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and install a client regime that would build the energy pipelines. But Washington still kept sending money to the Taliban until four months before 9/11 in an effort to keep it “on side” for possible use in a war against China. (emphasis added)
Scheer took a lot of grief for making this assertion back in 2001, although the NYT was pretty explicit in labeling the payments as a reward/bribe. However, I have seen no independent confirmation. I find it interesting that Margolis, who comes at things from the opposite end of the political spectrum than Scheer, agrees with him on this point.
Especially since we are now seeing the confirmation that the invasion of Iraq was indeed all about the oil.
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