The American-Russian Cooperation in the Afghanistan War

On the first map from Columbia University, you can see with black blots the oil fields and with red blots the natural gas fields of the Middle East and the Caspian Sea.

Picture1

Χάρτης Πετρελαίου και Φυσικού Αερίου της Μέσης Ανατολής

The large red blot in the Persian Gulf is the South Pars/North Fields gas field, the largest natural gas field in the world, which holds 50 trillion cubic meters of natural gas, and it is jointly owned by Qatar and Iran. Qatar owns approximately 2/3 and Iran 1/3 of the field. The red blot at the south-east Turkmenistan, is the second largest gas field in the world, the Galkynysh, which holds 21 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Iran is the second richest country in the world in terms of natural gas reserves, Qatar is the third, and Turkmenistan is the fourth. Below you can see the richest countries in natural gas reserves in the world from Wikipedia.

Picture 2

Πλουσιότερες χώρες σε αποθέματα Φυσικού Αερίου

The Americans want to send the natural gas of the Galkynysh of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and South Asia through the TAPI pipeline (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India). The Iranians and the Qataris want to send the natural gas of South Pars to Pakistan, India and China, through the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, or any other pipelines. These two huge gas fields play a very important role for the wars in Afghanistan and the instability of Pakistan.

The Qataris and the Iranians are killing each other in Syria and Iraq, but they have common interests in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The same is true in Gaza, where they both support Hamas against Israel, because Israel agreed to sell natural gas to Egypt and Jordan. Iran and Qatar have also cooperated in Libya, where together with Turkey, they fight the Egyptian President al Sisi, who is supported by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Turkey, Iran and Qatar want the Muslim Brotherhood to come back to power in Egypt.

But in Afghanistan, all the Arabs and the Iranians want to block the TAPI pipeline, or any other pipeline which will bring the natural gas and oil of Central Asia to South Asia, because both the Arabs and the Iranians count on Asia for their exports. That’s why the Iranians support the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Talibans have been traditionally supported by the Arabs and the Pakistanis, and they have been a great rival for the Iranians. But now the Taliban block the TAPI pipeline, and that’s good for the Iranians too. As you can read at the following article of Wall Street Journal, titled της Wall Street Journal με τίτλο “Iran Backs Taliban With Cash and Arms”, June 2015, the Iranians give money and arms to the Taliban.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-backs-taliban-with-cash-and-arms-1434065528

For the Russians on the other hand, the TAPI pipeline is a good thing, or at least it is not a problem, because the Russians do not want Turkmenistan to send its natural gas to Europe, which is the market that Russia counts on for her exports. If Turkmenistan is busy sending its gas to South Asia and China it will be very difficult to send any gas to Europe. Moreover, the American attack on the Taliban was a good thing for Russia. The Sunni Islamists Taliban are an Arab and Pakistani ally, and a traditional rival of Russia. In the 80s, it was the Taliban who fought the Russians, when Russia invaded Afghanistan.

Back then the Talibans were supported by Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United States. Therefore for the Russians it is a very good thing to see the Americans attacking the Talibans. That’s why the Russians allowed the Americans to use Russia in order to support their operations in Afghanistan. However, after the crisis in Ukraine, the Russians told the Americans that they can no longer use Russia to supply their army in Afghanistan, as you can read at the following article from the Russian state owned RT (Russia Today), titled “Russia stops transit of NATO military cargo to Afghanistan”, May 2015.

http://rt.com/news/259809-russia-stops-nato-afghanistan-cargo/

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