Sunday, April 28, 2002

Konspiracy Korner

Never ever claim that I'm not good value, for I bring you not one conspiracy theory, but two. The first is from the Telegraph. It is the most reliable source in the world, I must admit that I believed just about everything that Ambrose Evans Pritchard wrote about Clinton - but it is hardly the PLO's information office. However, I think that they go just about bonkers in this piece about "Sharon's plan is to drive Palestinians across the Jordan":

First, the country's three ultra-modern submarines would take up firing positions out at sea. Borders would be closed, a news blackout imposed, and all foreign journalists rounded up and confined to a hotel as guests of the Government.

A force of 12 divisions, 11 of them armoured, plus various territorial units suitable for occupation duties, would be deployed: five against Egypt, three against Syria, and one opposite Lebanon. This would leave three to face east as well as enough forces to put a tank inside every Arab-Israeli village just in case their populations get any funny ideas.

The expulsion of the Palestinians would require only a few brigades. They would not drag people out of their houses but use heavy artillery to drive them out; the damage caused to Jenin would look like a pinprick in comparison.

This wasn't written by Tom Clancey but by "leading Israeli historian Martin van Creveld".

Now the other bit of conspiracy theory is from the 1998 hearing on "U.S. interests in the Central Asian Republics" which I'm ploughing through at the moment. An absolute boon for geo-politics nerds like myself it has gems like this from the Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Department of Energy:

Mr. BEREUTER. Switching geography slightly, what is the status of proposals by Unocal and others to build a gas pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan?
Mr. GEE. Perhaps the Unocal witness can give you more detail. I do understand that they do have an agreement with the government of Turkmenistan. They have also been in discussions with the various factions within Afghanistan through which that proposed pipeline would be routed.
The U.S. Government's position is that we support multiple pipelines with the exception of the southern pipeline that would transit Iran. The Unocal pipeline is among those pipelines that would receive our support under that policy.
I would caution that while we do support the project, the U.S. Government has not at this point recognized any governing regime of the transit country, one of the transit countries, Afghanistan, through which that pipeline would be routed. But we do support the project.

They've "not at this point recognized any governing regime", at this point? Any way the rest of the document is much drier than this, and does not really give much scope for conspiracists. After all if the Bush bunch really were in it for themselves why would they want to increase the world supply of oil, and hence lower prices of Texas oil? And if they were interested in an oil route over Afghanistan why would they break up the Taliban who for their many faults were a unifying and stabilising force, and bring back the warlords - who weren't. Or perhaps shrub is trying to stymie any route out, maybe that's the theory.

However, if there is anyone who doesn't think that there is not a strong energy element in US (or European) foreign policy in that part of the world. It is particularly informative about America's strategic competition with Iran and Europe's unwillingness to play along with this anti-Iranianism.


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