Friday, March 25, 2011

Libya Turmoil 41
The similarities between the Afghanistan war and the Libyan war.

See here all relevant maps of Afghanistan:

From 1980 to 1996 I lived in Pakistan.
I was invited by a Pakistani Pir (Muslim Guru or Saint) to establish an engineering business in Pakistan. He was a recognized descendant of Abdel Kader Al Gailani or as the Persians said Abdul-Qadir Gilani:
I lived 6 months in his house in Karachi until I had my own house.
His mother was the direct first cousin of King Zaheer Shah of Afghanistan.
His house saw a weekly flow of people who came either to pay their respects to him or to his mother. This included every Afghan warlord you hear about in the news.
So, without any reason I was witness of the Afghan war against the Soviets from up close.
King Zaheer Shah was ousted by his nephew Daud in 1973 after the French Company TOTAL found oil in the South of Afghanistan.
Since centuries the Afghan Kings were elected by a “Loya Jirga” of all Afghan tribal chiefs (
Afghanistan being a tribal country with several ethnic groups, the King was the glue that kept the tribes together.
As soon as Daud, who had no tribal or historic rights on the trone, not being regularly elected by the Jirga, nor was Zaheer Shah dethroned by the Jirga, the fundaments of the country and of the tribal glue disintegrated.
Daud turned to the Soviets for help to beef up his powerbase and we all know what happened since then and until today.
Meanwhile everybody started to know that Afghanistan was one of the richest countries in the world as far as minerals and energy is concerned.
The oil and gas deposits are tremendous and untapped, except for one gas field which the Russians exploited for 27 years without paying a penny, except dead bodies.
I was invited by General Dostum to come to Mazhar Sharif ad look at the possibilities to convince the Russians to transport the Afghan gas to Europe through their pipeline system.
Arriving in Mazhar Sharif I saw for the first time in my life farmers who dug big pits in the morning and the pits were filled with high quality crude oil in the evening on ground level, the depth of the pits was not more than 2,5 meters.
After this visit I went to Moscow but the Russians didn’t agree to transport the gas, even at a price, they were used to getting it for free and they liked that arrangement better.
Anyway, Afghanistan has the biggest Lithium reserves in the world (electrical car batteries), gold, copper, zinc, emeralds from Panshir, the most expensive in the world, Kabuli rubies, oil, gas, rare earth metals etc. etc. and nothing, but absolutely nothing is exploited.
Afghanistan has oil
A new assessment is indicating that there is a good bit of crude oil and natural gas in Afghanistan, a country that desperately needs it. The estimates suggest that there may be 18 times more oil than previously thought and three times more natural gas.
U.S. Geological Survey researchers joined local researchers in the Jarkaduk natural gas field near Sheberghan, Afghanistan, to determine how much oil and gas lay beneath the ground. Image is courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey.
For the past two years, researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) — in collaboration with the Government of Afghanistan Ministry of Mines and Industry, and funded by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency — have been on the ground in northern Afghanistan, running geochemical and geophysical tests, as well as studying the tectonics in the area. Combining the new data with historical exploration and production analyses, primarily from limited Soviet-era oil and gas production, the USGS-led team found that in two basins in particular, “there is a substantial amount of oil and gas yet to be discovered,” says Brenda Pierce, manager of the energy program at USGS in Reston, Va.
In the assessment, USGS estimates that between 0.4 billion barrels and 3.6 billion barrels of crude oil are technically recoverable, with natural gas amounts between 3.6 trillion cubic feet and 36.5 trillion cubic feet. These undiscovered resources are in addition to petroleum discovered in Soviet-era exploration, Pierce says. Afghanistan is sitting on more than the amount of undiscovered oil that Syria is, for example, she says: “It’s no Saudi Arabia, but for a relatively small country, this is a substantial resource and can make a big difference.”
What has to happen next is actual exploration and then production, says John Shroder, a geologist and research fellow in the Afghanistan Studies Center at the University of Nebraska in Omaha (see Geotimes, October 2004). As Afghanistan does not have an oil and gas infrastructure, however, the government will need to partner with foreign companies to drill test wells to see what is there, he says. It will take several years for any substantial production, but the sooner they start, the better. “It will be nice to see the resources coming onstream to benefit the people of Afghanistan,” he says.
The assessment covered 86,000 square kilometers in northern Afghanistan — the area with the most potential for oil and gas, Pierce says. No petroleum assessments have been completed in other parts of the country, and such work could come up against serious barriers because of the security situation, she says.
Shroder says that there may be a smaller, but still significant, amount of oil and gas in southern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border, “but that’s Osama [bin Laden] country, and is the toughest place to work. It will be a long time” before anyone gets in there. In the north, however, work could start immediately, Shroder says. “The prospects are very exciting,” he says.
Megan Sever

"Afghanistan Redux: Better Late Than Never?" Geotimes, October 2004 
U.S. Geological Survey Afghanistan oil and gas resources assessment
As far as the Taliban and the warlords are concerned, they are gangsters, nothing less and certainly nothing more, they use religion as an excuse for dragging uneducated people in their fights for control. I know them all and they are worse than Al Capone ever was. They
pay their uneducated fighters 500 dollars a month in fake Afghan currency which they print themselves, Gulbuddin Hikmatiyar has his own printing press since the Afghan/Russian war, and nobody says anything.
They have no human values whatsoever and they refuse to let the country develop because they know they will lose their power in a modern society.
I think that meanwhile you are feeling where I am going with this:
Replace Zaheer Shah by Gaddafi, the ethnic Afghan groups by the Libyan tribes, the so-called “democratic rebels” by the Taliban and the different warlords and replace the negative influence of Pakistan, the I.S.I. and the fundamentalists by Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood. One can easily  see we are in exactly the same mess, be prepared for years of civil war.
Even the spoils are similar.
Libya was never a country until the British made one out of 3 Ottoman provinces in 1953.
Gaddafi is the only glue in that country and he spent all his life in trying to form a unified country.
We should bring the 3 stooges to an international criminal court for this crime against humanity.

By the way, I predicted in 1981 in a 53 page typed paper the present mess in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with names and everything, except Bin Laden, I didn't know him in 1981.

Nobody listened


  1. Similiarities, indeed! The Libyan rebel commander in the east fought against the US, i.e. shot at, tried to kill, maybe killed American servicemen, in Afghanistan. He later recruited Libyans to do the same to Americans servicemen and women in Iraq. Thank you Admiral Hillary and Commander-in-Chief Obama.

  2. @capo
    indeed and it is shocking how little informed the mainstream media is. Here in the UK they are trying to boost public opinion by showing our boys in action firing rockets/bombs to 'protect civilians' and because 'gaddafi is still attacking his own people'. The majority of people on comment sites think it is weird we are supporting rebels who are armed and are questioning why we need to bomb the country to bits. CAM

  3. I can think of two important dissimilarities between Libya and Afghanistan:

    a) living standards

    b) education standards

    The first difference can hardly be greater: while life in Afghanistan almost always means lifelong hardship, Libyans live more comfortably than Americans.

    Still, these factors are unlikely to eliminate the risk of prolonged civil war.

  4. @ Levantine

    Very interesting point which I really should have mentioned.
    In 1968, under Zaheer Shah, Kabul was lively, girls paraded in mini-skirts, the university was booming with foreign professors, French was learned in junior high classes and the living standard was comparable to Pakistan.
    There was a night-life and students prepared themselves to go to foreign universities for their doctorates.