18 maj, 2006

Anti-alliancen - og hvorfor Azerbaijan snart bliver et interessant sted

Lidt for sjov har jeg et stykke tid leget med navnet "Anti-alliancen" for det sammenrend af hel- og halvtotalitære, ex-venstredrejede stater der gør alt hvad de kan for at stoppe den spredning af demokrati, verden har set mens George Bush har været præsident i USA.

Kernen er Rusland og Kina, der via deres veto-ret i FN saboterer samtlige tiltag til befrielsen af undertrykte befolkninger rundt omkring i verden, men dertil føjer sig et stigende antal hel- og halv-totalitære venstredrejede stater i den 3. verden, der flokkes om denne kerne.

Det oprindelige tilløb til Anti-alliancen var Shanghai Five, grundlagt i 1996 af Kina, Rusland og de centralasiatiske semi-diktaturer Tajikistan, Kirgizistan og Kazakhstan. Organisationen havde oprindelig primært havde med militært samarbejde at gøre, men tog efterhånden karakter af en mere politisk samarbejdsorganisation. Den blev i 2001 omdøbt til Shanghai Cooperation Organisation da Uzbekistan blev medlem, men tabte en del i styrke da USA efter 11. september 2001 styrtede Taliban i Afghanistan og fik overdraget baser i Uzbekistan og Kirgizistan og derved mindskede russisk og kinesisk indflydelse i Centralasien betragteligt.

Koblet med Kinas og Ruslands nederlag i kampen for at forhindre en amerikansk befrielse af Irak (begge lande havde lukrative oliekontrakter med folkemorderen Saddam Hussein) og demokratiske og pro-vestlige revolutioner i Georgien og Ukraine blev Anti-alliancen trængt mere og mere i defensiven, og truede reelt med at blive overflødig.

Én ting gjorde dog, at det ikke blev tilfældet - oprøret i Andijan i Uzbekistan i maj 2005. Om det var demokrater eller islamister, der stod bag er idag et akademisk spørgsmål - det vigtige er reaktionen på det. Den amerikanske regering var til at begynde med tilbageholdende med sin reaktion på den uzbekiske massakre på flere hundrede mennesker, men endte med at kræve en uafhængig undersøgelse af massakren. Da Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) var pænt ligeglad med massakrer på folk (både Rusland og Kina har foretaget lignende ting i hhv Tjetjenien og Peking/Sinkian) fik amerikanerne i Juli 2005 180 dage til at evakuere deres base i Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan vendte således tilbage til den lejr landet havde forladt i 2001.

Med kernen således var genskabt blev SCO favoriseret af to udviklinger i international handel, en gammel og en ny. Den gamle var Kinas fænomenale økonomiske vækst de sidste 20 år, der har gjort landet mere og mere i stand til at købe sig nye klienter i den 3. verden. Den nye er olie og gasprisernes himmelflugt, der tilsvarende har begavet Rusland med en respektabel økonomisk vækst de sidste 5 år. Det har givet dem overskud til en fænomelnal ekspansion af SCO. Jeff Vail forklarer:

The global struggle for geopolitical domination never really stops, but it certainly has its periods of storm and calm. Historically, the storm never seems to develop quite where people are focused. Right now all eyes are turned towards a potential US confrontation with Iran—and as a result, virtually no one is watching the recent moves made by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Founded (out of the Shanghai Five Mechanism) in 2001 between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, the organization’s stated goal was to facilitate “cooperation in political affairs, economy and trade, scientific-technical, cultural, and educational spheres as well as in energy, transportation, tourism, and environment protection fields.” Recently, however, the SCO is beginning to look more like a modern-day Warsaw Pact, an energy-financial bloc in central Asia consciously constructed to serve as an anti-pole to US hegemony.

While no such intention is explicitly stated by the group, recent actions speak for themselves. So far in 2006, the SCO has extended de-facto offers of membership to India, Mongolia, Pakistan, and most importantly to Iran (who will officially be invited to become a full member at the SCO June 15th meeting). Beyond their expansion, the SCO member states are also taking steps to separate themselves from US-petrodollar imperialism: Russia has announced that it will open a Ruble-denominated oil and gas bourse in late 2006; China recently announced the intention to move its reserves away from the dollar and that it will use $40 billion in US dollars to purchase gold reserves; Russia’s state-owned, Vladimir Putin-controlled natural gas transport monopoly Transneft has further consolidated its pipeline control to become the sole exporter of Russian natural gas (by far the largest reserves in the world). With Iran, the SCO will control the vast majority of the world's natural gas reserves, as well as a significant portion of its oil reserves, not to mention potential control of the Strait of Hormuz.

These moves are significant because they amount to an act of energy encirclement. Central Asia, the greatest remaining promised land for oil and gas development, is completely enveloped within the SCO, limiting hydrocarbon access to non-SCO nations. China ensures the supply of energy that it will need to continue its amazing economic growth. Alternative supply sources of oil and gas to Europe now run exclusively through SCO-controlled export pipelines, allowing for a new OPEC-style cartel to bleed Europe at the optimal rate. And the ability to force the West to purchase energy in something other than dollars (to a greater extent than is currently the case) will help balance China’s export-driven surplus of foreign currency—at least until the rise of a consuming middle-class in India and China can become a self-sustaining market for their own economic production.

To the extent that this maneuvering is a move to encircle the energy supplies of central Asia, and to form an effective energy-cartel, the combined pincer maneuver is decidedly pointed at the trans-Caucus region: Georgia and Azerbaijan. With the addition of Pakistan and Iran to the SCO’s geostrategic alliance, the only remaining point of access to the riches of Central Asia are through those two nations—and the West’s “great white hope,” the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, runs precisely that route. So rather than looking towards conflict in Iran (which seems increasingly likely to be a unilateral exercise with Russia and China’s veto power firmly behind Iran at this point), perhaps we should be more carefully watching events in Georgia and Azerbaijan, as these nations represent the critical battleground between the SCO and the “West.” Russia has long been involved with fomenting problems among the Ossettians (South Ossettia in Georgia, North Ossettia in Russia), but Georgia is a traditionally Western-looking nation. More attractive to the SCO is the prize of Azerbaijan--an Asian nation with its own hydrocarbon reserves and a complete connection of the encirclement between Iran and Russia. Expect to see interesting developments regarding Azerbaijan after Iran is solidified as an SCO member on June 15th.


Har man lyst kan man læse mere om Baku-Ceyhan rørledningen her.

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