Saturday, June 04, 2005

Central Asia

Peter Symonds, in WSWS, 31 May 2005, wrote about US strategy in Central Asia.

The US-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline has now been opened. It runs through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey.

The US wanted:

1. to undercut the existing pipeline system in Russia
2. avoid Iran

In 2003, the USA dumped Georgian President Shevardnadze and installed openly pro-US Mikhael Saakashvili.

Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbeyev has signed a declaration committing his country to transport some of its oil through the pipeline. This will not please Russia.

BP has invested at least $15 billion in Azerbaijan.

Asia Times: “According to Baku’s street wisdom, the man who really rules Azerbaijan is David Woodward, BP’s chairman, known as ‘the viceroy’, a walking oil atlas with more than three decades working for the company from Scotland to Abu Dhabi and from Alaska to Siberia. Woodward and BP mercilessly spin that BTC is the cleanest and safest pipeline ever built. Georgian peasants and English non-governmental organisations beg to differ.”

The USA has supported the 'corrupt Azerbaijan dictatorship'. Heydar Aliyev, a former Stalinist party boss, ruled Azerbaijan until 2003, when his son Ilham, 'notorious playboy, casino owner and vice-president of the state oil company' took over.

Transparency International’s global corruption index: Azerbaijan ranks 140 out of 146 countries.

A report by Human Rights Watch recently referred to allegations of torture in Georgia.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the standard of living in both Georgia and Azerbaijan 'plummetted'.

The US has military bases in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Azerbaijan may be next.

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