Noilly Prattle: IPI, TAPI, NATO, SCO - acronym soup in “Pipelineistan ”

Thursday, July 12, 2012

IPI, TAPI, NATO, SCO - acronym soup in “Pipelineistan ”

Remember LBJ on the IRT going down to 4th Street USA and finding the youth of America on LSD? Hint: "Hair" Hair has nothing to do with this post, I just like the colorful poster.

The use of acronyms has grown like mushrooms on damp rotten tree trunks since those innocent days before the revival of the Great Game in Central Asia which has brought us the GWOT (global war on terror) otherwise nicknamed the neverending war. Forget all the media spin about humanitarian interventions; WMD; he-gassed-his-own-people; global war on terror; Taliban, Pashtuns and other “abettors of terrorists”; wars for liberation, freedom and the blessings of democracy; there-is-no-way-WE-will-allow -THEM (Iran) to-develop-nuclear-weapons; yada, yada, yada. Uh-uh boys and girls! Nope! It's all about whose gonna get the gas and oil from where and whom and piped to where and whom. It's not fashionable to state the obvious, you have to have the cover of some noble-sounding purpose to justify occupation (by any other name) and “carefully targeted” drone attacks on hapless populations in the way of the desired pipelines, and enormous payoffs to puppet regimes in the lines of sight of the pipelines. 

The first “Great Game” in Central Asia was a series of skirmishes between the British and Russian Empires in the 19th Century. “From the British perspective, the Russian Empire's expansion into Central Asia threatened to destroy the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire, India. The British feared that Afghanistan would become a staging post for a Russian invasion of India...” * Etc., etc.

The “New Great Game” finds two modern empires--Russia and. the USA--vying for supremacy over the gas and oil fields of the Caspian Basin and the energy rich “-stans” and trying to contain and keep the moving of the stuff away from each other and, especially, away from China. It is also, of course, unfashionable and politically incorrect to call either of the contenders “empires”--especially the latter one. Which brings us to IPI, TAPI, NATO and SCO and the resurgence of the new Russian “Tsar” Vladimir Putin vs. whoever occupies the White House. Basically it's all about moving gas and oil through Central Asia through various pipe lines, some already extant, others in the pipeline, so to speak. So, follow the money and the political rivalries money entails.

More energy to energy-hungry China equals more competition for an economically and socially weakened United States. Therefore, the US and its “allies” (read NATO) are interested in diverting gas flow away from China. Russia, an “ally” of China, is interested in thwarting that ambition and keeping the USA out of its backyard (pretty much all of the areas under current contention in Central Asia). Afghanistan and Pakistan, the current focus of US military involvement, are critical territories through which both the IPI and TAPI pipelines have to pass. To counter NATO, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have set up the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) which is both an economic and security pact. Afghanistan, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan are “observer” states; Turkey is a “dialogue partner”. A comparison of the accompanying graphics shows two rather considerable power blocs. Of utmost interest is the fact that all the oil and gas “producers” are in SCO; all the “consumers” are in NATO.

Pipelineistan's IPI and TAPI
NATO backs the TAPI (Turkmenistan (not associated with SCO)-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline while SCO backs the IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline. A quick look at the missing letter (A) in IPI, and you can see what the Afghanistan adventure is really all about whereas the first (I) in IPI strongly suggests what all the brouhaha about Iran's “nuclear weapons ambitions” is really all about. Interestingly enough TAPI and IPI could cross each other, in the planning stage at least, somewhere in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan south of the Afghanistan border near Kandahar. In the Pipelineistan map on the right the TAPI is highlighted in orange and the IPI in blue. India stands to benefit either way and has to be careful to back the right horse and is said to be playing its cards close to the chest while being wooed by emissaries of both blocs. 

If you've actually read this far, any bets on how soon the USA is really gonna withdraw all troops from anywhere in the region anytime soon? If so, I have a nice bridge you might be interested in. LOL!

* Wikipedia quote <>

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