It’s all about the oil!!!!

by Andy on 4/16/2004 · 2 comments

Well, partially anyway.

There is certainly no doubt that the oil and gas deposits under Central Asia have a major impact on both the motivations of external actors in the region and on domestic politics too. External actors get more closely involved than they otherwise would, and the extra money coming in from oil and gas revenues is, sadly, acting to destabilize the region and support dictators, rather than working to the benefit of its people.

Which is all really just a long winded introduction by me to a weblog I wanted to tell you about: African Oil Politics. It’s fascinating to see that many of the political problems and issues facing Africa today are very similar to those in Central Asia. Not only is the oil bringing in fantastic amounts of revenue, but the balance between terrorism, Islam and poverty is almost exactly a match for Central Asia.

Islamic traditions in Africa are rather moderate and peaceful, but economic problems allow politicians to use religion as a weapon of choice. Poverty is the enemy, not islam. In Nigeria, it has killed more people than al Qaeda

US involvement in Africa and Central Asia also have striking similarities. This comment comes from General Charles Wald deputy commander of the US European Command which also has responsibility for US military missions to Africa…

Now, once again, most of what we’re doing in Africa today does not cost a lot of resource. It doesn’t cost a lot of troops, it isn’t very expensive, it doesn’t take a lot of deployment time. It’s mostly intellectual capital, and advocacy, and proponency as far as participation and cooperation.

Low cost, high yield.

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calixte April 17, 2004 at 2:48 am

Nathan – As far as I know about Central Asia, what I uncover each day in African Oil Politics confirms a lot of what you said. For instance, the US-led “train and equip” program developed in Georgia is being applied to Sahel countries (Mauritania, Mali, Chad, Niger).

Nathan April 17, 2004 at 12:27 pm

Thanks, but it was Andy!

I’ve known for a little while now that I need to put the author tag on the individual posts archive.

I might as well do it right now.

I personally think that US & European involvement in Central Asia proper (I’m talking Soviet Turkestan), at least where the military is concerned (because that’s what everyone seems to focus on) isn’t as much about oil as people would like to think. US, French, and German bases are in three oil-poor countries. NATO (mostly German & US) was training Uzbek paratroopers and special forces for years and it was 9/11 that saw a rapid increase in attention.

Russian and Chinese involvement on the other hand… I think the US and Europe are fairly aware that these two countries are the ones who will win out in the end. But it’s interesting to note how sly those Turkic states are. Kazakstan’s a little slut with it’s oil, making sure it gets passed around well and good.

I can’t speak for other countries, but the high yield that the US military usually goes for is strong ties with officers in foreign forces. These come in handy for any number of reasons, benevolent and nefarious.

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