Thursday, 7 January 2010

A Tale of Two Triangles


From the cradle, we are born into a system of institutionalised indoctrination and 'education' that moulds the way in which we perceive the world and how we believe it works.

The mainstream 'News' of television and printed media feeds us with a constant diet of this received ideology - a black and white world in which our governments are always benevolent and well intentioned and any anomalies are due to 'mistakes' or 'systemic failures' and 'a few bad apples'. Meanwhile, offically designated 'enemies' such as 'Al Qaeda' and 'Taliban' provide a catch-all soundbite to describe anyone the United States and its Nato 'partners' want to kill or have killed, at which point these labels are retrospectively applied in order to normalize such murders, especially when it becomes clear that the victims were civilian men, women and children.

Because of these basic assumptions, which are seldom challenged, the true motives of our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and more recently in the Yemen, remain safe from widespread scrutiny. As a result the narrative of propaganda about 'keeping the streets of Britain safe' and 'spreading democracy', while occasionally receiving criticism, is still assumed to be the genuine policy and at worst is viewed as 'misguided'. The real motives of Realpolitik however, are never even allowed to enter the debate.

Dissident writers and commentators who have either stepped outside of, or never entered the mainstream of 'allowed' thought realise that the world seldom works in the manner of this generally unquestioned orthodoxy. Rather, the world works in a very different way, which can only be glimpsed by dismantling the propaganda and spin surrounding the shallow narrative presented to us by the spokesman of corporate government and media, or by examining independent sources, not subject to the corporate establishment and its pervasive interests.

It is at this point that we come to the latest US military escapade in the Yemen, with its accompanying deceptive government narrative and my hypothesis of the 'Two Triangles'.

On December 17th 2009, US Warplanes bombed camps in the northern part of Sana'a, the Yemeni capital killing dozens of civilians including children. The bombings went almost unreported in the Western Media, but when they were mentioned, official claims that the dead were 'Al Qaeda' or 'Militants' were regurgitated without question.

Then on Christmas Day, a young Nigerian, Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab was the alleged perpetrator of a botched attempt to bring down Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit. The mainstream News and Press having virtually ignored the reports of US military action in the Yemen, jumped gleefully on this story and it's 'Yemen' connection, universally approving this incident as 'justification' for military action in the Yemen against 'Al Qaeda'. Again however, things are perhaps not as they seem.

Although Anti-War Activists seem to be flagged as 'no fly' listees by security services at airports with regularity, Mutallab had no such difficulties in boarding his flight. Even a lack of luggage and passport didn't appear to trigger any alarm bells.

But this should come as no surprise. In October of last year, Analyst and Researcher Nafeez Ahmed wrote in The New Internationalist:

"Islamist terrorism cannot be understood without acknowledging the extent to which its networks are being used by Western military intelligence services, both to control strategic energy resources and to counter their geopolitical rivals. Even now, nearly a decade after 9/11, covert sponsorship of al-Qaeda networks continues."

So what was the purpose of this apparently staged 'underwear bomber' incident?

In the same article, Ahmed notes that:
"In recent dispatches for the New Yorker, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh cites US Government and intelligence officials’ confirmation that the CIA and the Pentagon have funnelled millions of dollars via Saudi Arabia to al-Qaeda affiliated Sunni extremist groups, across the Middle East and Central Asia. The policy, which Hersh says began in 2003, has spilled over into regions like Iraq and Lebanon, fuelling Sunni-Shi’a sectarian conflict."

This is interesting, because in the earlier linked Presstv article that detailed the 17th December US bombings in Yemen, it is also apparent that the Houthi fighters whom the US is joining the Saudi and Yemen governments in bombing, are a Shi’a group. Typically, the targets of US bombs will likely be labelled 'Al Qaeda' as Washington once again ramps up the generic '9/11' related 'threat' of the no longer so described, yet still active 'Global War on Terror'. Ironically then, this could be a case of the US using its expendable 'Al Qaeda' assets to engage in sectarian violence against Shi’a groups, then labelling Shi’a groups as 'Al Qaeda'. In any case, we have two US client states engaged with their Imperial Overlord against ethnic Shi’a groups probably backed reservedly by Iran, who feels increasingly threatened by the buildup in both rhetoric and militarism toward it.

The Geopolitics of Yemen have shifted significantly in the last year. As detailed by F. William Engdahl, the situation in Yemen is one of a desperate US backed Dictator, President Ali Abdullah Saleh, losing control due to a split with former ally Tariq al Fadhli, a former Jihadist leader, who has joined a coalition known as the 'Southern Movement' in its opposition to the two decades long regime of Saleh. The stability of this amalgamated country also took a turn for the worst when the worldwide crash in Oil prices in 2008 vastly reduced the income on which the Yemen relies for 70% of its GDP.

Hopefully now, I can attempt to come around to explaining the 'Two Triangles' of this article's title. The first is a 'Golden Triangle' of the Middle East, encompassing an area from Mosul in Northern Iraq, to the Straits of Hormuz, across to the Saudi Arabian Superfields some 75 miles from the coast, and back up to Mosul - essentially the area surrounding the Persian Gulf. This is the region containing approximately 60% of the worlds oil - maps of which, after numerous court cases, were released among 7 pages from the hundreds if not thousands of documents in Dick Cheney's secretive NEPDG report.

So now we know where most of the oil lies, what of the 2nd Triangle?

Around the Arabian peninsula are 3 chokepoints of importance to nautical trading and transit. The first is the Straits of Hormuz, the only opening to the dead end of the Persian Gulf and one of the busiest departure routes in the world for Oil Exports. The second is the Suez canal, shortcut to the Mediterranean from the Red Sea and essential to Saudi Arabia's Western Coastal ports of Jeddah and Yanbu al Bahr, the latter of which is the offloading point for a dual Oil and Gas pipeline that transits all the way across from Al Ghawar, the worlds largest oil field.

The United States has substantial control of both these chokepoints of world Oil Trade; via its client States of Oman and the United Arab Emirates in the case of Hormuz; and Egypt in the case of Suez, watched over no doubt by Israel. To complete the Triangle, Washington is now attempting to militarize the final chokepoint of Bab al Mandab at the Gulf of Aden. It's no coincidence that the worlds major powers have been patrolling here for some time under the pretext of Somali Piracy from across the water.

There is one anomaly in the earlier linked Engdahl analysis: the failure to recognise and understand Peak Oil. Engdahl quotes an unnamed source telling him at a private meeting 15 years ago:

"[there is] enough undeveloped oil [in the Yemen] to fill the oil demand of the entire world for the next 50 years."

Anyone who understands oil consumption and production will realise that this cannot be accurate. The world currently uses over 80 million barrels a day and even back in the 90's was using 70 mbpd. The world's biggest producer, Saudi Arabia currently supplies about 9.5 mbpd or about 12% of Global demand. It is simply not possible to have such high rates of production from a single country that would satisfy all daily world demand.

Even if it were, the reserves would have to be equivalent to all the current known consumed and remaining reserves on the planet - i.e. some 2 Trillion barrels - in order to supply the world for 50 years when growth in demand is taken into consideration. Even if we interpret the statement to mean satisfying an increase in demand in view of a peaking of other sources, this is still a tremendous amount of oil when we consider declining production of major fields set against rising demand.

That said however, there are substantial reserves to be exploited and since the world's 'Giant' fields are peaking or in decline, diversification of supply is becoming rapidly critical. The Gulf of Aden and the straits of Bab al Mandab are intricately related to, not only these new Yemeni Oil prospects, but Middle Eastern Oil trade and shipping as a whole. In addition, exploitation of the energy reserves of the Eastern African states such as the Sudan are dependent on this vital shipping thoroughfare, and US control of both ends of the Red Sea would seriously threaten China's interests there.

So we can see the ever more clearly emerging strategy of the US led Empire in the Middle East. A series of Military occupations, destabilisations and escalations to control the Nations in which the oil resides, and the chokepoints of supply upon which trade and delivery of this oil depends. Together with the quest for Hegemony being played out in Central Asia, these two triangles represent part of the large picture of Zbigniew Brzezinski's 'Grand Chessboard'.

The United States is an insolvent and overstretched, failing Empire. The other Nations of the world are sensing weakness and are beginning to make their own moves in this 'Great Game'. With the worlds major and regional powers massing around Hormuz and Aden, and the volatility of the situation in Israel how long can it be before demand for declining energy reserves leads the world into a wider war in this region?

No comments: