Friday, May 29, 2009

The Real War "Game", Pipelineistan poker - It all comes down to the top two global players - Pepe Escobar, Asia Times

May 12, 2009 3:37 pm

Tomgram: Pepe Escobar, Pipelineistan Goes Af-Pak

Back in March, Pepe Escobar, that itchy, edgy global reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, began laying out the great, ongoing energy struggle across Eurasia, or what he likes to call Pipelinestan for its web of oil and natural gas pipelines. In his first report, he dealt with the embattled energy corridor (and a key pipeline) that runs from the Caspian Sea to Europe through Georgia and Turkey -- and the Great Game of business, diplomacy, and proxy war between Russia and the U.S. that has gone with it.

Now, in the second of what will be periodic "postcards" from the energy heartlands of the planet, he plunges eastward into tumultuous Central and South Asia and the great devolving battleground that, in Washington, now goes by the neologism of Af-Pak (for the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater of operations). There, the skies are filled with planes and unmanned aerial drones, and civilians as well as combatants die every day in increasing numbers as ever more frequent attacks and expanding conflicts make daily headlines, while, in Afghanistan, Washington continues to build new military bases and ready itself to send in reinforcements.

Those are, of course, the front-page stories. Energy, especially in the form of oil and natural gas, fuels everything from civilization to its various discontents and means of destruction, and yet it remains largely on the business pages of our papers. Even in a time of relatively depressed oil and gas prices, energy runs like an undercurrent just beneath global headlines. Under the carnage of war, that is, courses what Escobar likes to call the Liquid War, and just how the energy flows and through which territories controlled by whom does turn out to make -- quite literally -- a world of difference, even if that isn't what captures our attention most of the time.

Today, let Escobar, whose latest book is Obama Does Globalistan, take you deep into the "New Great Game" that will determine the shape of our future planet. Tom

Blue Gold, Turkmen Bashes, and Asian Grids

Pipelineistan in Conflict
By Pepe Escobar

As Barack Obama heads into his second hundred days in office, let's head for the big picture ourselves, the ultimate global plot line, the tumultuous rush towards a new, polycentric world order. In its first hundred days, the Obama presidency introduced us to a brand new acronym, OCO for Overseas Contingency Operations, formerly known as GWOT (as in Global War on Terror). Use either name, or anything else you want, and what you're really talking about is what's happening on the immense energy battlefield that extends from Iran to the Pacific Ocean. It's there that the Liquid War for the control of Eurasia takes place.

Yep, it all comes down to black gold and "blue gold" (natural gas), hydrocarbon wealth beyond compare, and so it's time to trek back to that ever-flowing wonderland -- Pipelineistan. It's time to dust off the acronyms, especially the SCO or Shanghai Cooperative Organization, the Asian response to NATO, and learn a few new ones like IPI and TAPI. Above all, it's time to check out the most recent moves on the giant chessboard of Eurasia, where Washington wants to be a crucial, if not dominant, player.

We've already seen Pipelineistan wars in Kosovo and Georgia, and we've followed Washington's favorite pipeline, the BTC, which was supposed to tilt the flow of energy westward, sending oil coursing past both Iran and Russia. Things didn't quite turn out that way, but we've got to move on, the New Great Game never stops.

Now, it's time to grasp just what the Asian Energy Security Grid is all about, visit a surreal natural gas republic, and understand why that Grid is so deeply implicated in the Af-Pak war....

In Full @ TomDispatch

Travus T.Hipp @ Cabale News Service also has a few commentaries committed to audio at on the topic:

[November 03 2009] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: Facing Up To Reality In Central Asia - The West Is Losing The AfPakistan War... And Losing Badly [Here]

[August 04 2005] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: A Laymans Guide to the 'Stans: Chapter 1 - 'Themistan' [Here]

[August 01 2005] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: The 'Stans: Quietly, we are a very big part of it as Uzbekistan drops out of 'The Great American Alliance' [Here]

[March 24 2005] Travus T. Hipp Morning News & Commentary: The 'Stans & The U.S. Military Presence In Central Asia [Here]

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