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Antony Wright: The New Great Game

The New Great Game

With corporate media still tying itself in knots to justify US foriegn policy, more evidence emerges to support the obvious conclusion that 'its all about oil'.
by: Antony Wright on: 6th Jun, 05

Now that the bloody massacre of hundreds of civilians in Andijan is fast becoming yesterdays 'story', the West will soon be free to continue its blind dance with the brutal dictator Karimov.
There seems no prospect now of a Rose, Orange or any other kind of revolution for the Uzbeks, their lot is to continue to suffer the disappearences, torture and 6000 political & religious prisoners held in hell hole jails.

The only good thing to come from this terrible situation is that I no longer have to read and listen to western journalists earnestly spouting drivel about the Bush vision of bringing democracy to the Middle East and Asia, well for now at least.

However whilst talk of democracy is pretty much off the media agenda for the time being, except perhaps at the ideoligical heart of the Neo-Conservative project who have been embarrassed by this washing of bloody laundery in the full glare of the worlds media, there is no rest for the important corportate media task of obfuscation.

The most likley outcome for Karimov, if he can keep his head down, will be a short term reduction in aid. Then he can expect the kind of favoured treatment recieved by Kazakhstan last month when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exercised a waiver to allow continued military aid 'on national security grounds' despite what State Department spokeswoman Julie M. Reside said were "numerous steps backward" on human rights.

Ms Reside went on to say that U.S. military aid "enhances democracy" and so Washington will stay "fully engaged" despite what she outlined as Kazakhstan's many recent regressions -- shutting down newspapers and opposition parties and considering laws that would "paralyze" U.S.-funded nongovernmental groups.

The problem for the Uzbeks is that their 'leader' is considered a strategic US asset, in much the same way that Saddam was. Suspected terrorists are transported in secret to Uzbekistan to be tortured by the Stasi like secret police, it has also become home to US forces who used it as jumping off point for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

With the lease on Khanabad airbase in Uzbekistan due to run at least until 2008 and further bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan Iraq and Afghanistan, the USA now has the region nicely sown up. But is this massive mobilisation of one of the most powerful military machines ever assembled really about terrorism or does fundamentalist Islam provide an easy cover for some other foreign policy goal.

Well the actions of the US in invading Afghanistan and Iraq had predictable consequences in scattering what few terrorists there were and further radicalising a whole new generation. This suggests a level of stupidity beyond belief and whilst the rumour is that George is too dumb to be embarrassed by his IQ, I suspect that even if he is challenged in the cerebral department his entourage are not.

The clues to this puzzle (look I know you know the answer but don't spoil it for me) lie in the fact that this relationship began well before the 11th September 2003 and in fact before the Presidency of George Bush Jnr.

In 1995, on Bill Clintons watch, the US provided Uzbekistan with military assistance through the International Military Education and Training program. In 1997 they gave grants to buy U.S. equipment with Foreign Military Financing funds and the US military personal undertook a series of joint exercises with Uzbek special forces including a parachute drop with 500 soldiers from the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division.

So what was so special about the mid nineties that drove the US to cultivate relations with this vile dictator? Incidentally this was the same period during which the Taliban were being received in Washington at the request of the oil company Unocal.

Oops I've let the cat out of the bag, yes of course its all about the control of oil. But then you already knew that didn't you?

Well here is something that perhaps you didn't know. This image of a memo arrived in my inbox today, it is from Kenneth Lay (charges pending) former CEO of Enron and once heavily tipped for a cabinet position. It is a memo to non other than George W Bush when he was Governor of Texas telling him to lay out the red carpet for Ambassador Safeav of Uzebkistan. Why? Because Lay wanted a piece of a natural gas extraction and pipeline deal going down in the region.

Click for big version

Wow more pipelines and more fossil fuels. Well you and I already know the truth but just how much more evidence will it take before our corporate media can no longer sustain the farytale of the war on terror?
I'll leave the last word to Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan,

"We back a dictator in Central Asia to get access to oil and gas, and we remove a dictator in Iraq to get access to oil and gas. Explain American policy in terms of freedom and democracy and you get a contradiction. Explain it in terms of oil and gas and it's completely consistent."


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