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unhappycamper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 07:12 AM
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In Afghan cauldron, realism can trump the rulebook
In Afghan cauldron, realism can trump the rulebook
(AP) 18 hours ago

SANGIN, Afghanistan (AP) "Clear, hold and build" is the official formula for fighting the Taliban, but in this southern river valley, the most dangerous place in Afghanistan, the experts say you have to be a realist to succeed.

That may mean coordinating with the Taliban to get their approval for development projects, accepting that some money may end up in insurgents' pockets, and understanding that the best way to help certain people is simply to leave them alone.

The U.S. Marines and British civilian advisers in Helmand province's Sangin district are trying to build roads and schools in terrain which, far from being cleared, still teems with insurgents and crackles with the sounds of machine gun fire and explosions from multiple daily Taliban attacks.

"I'm definitely not trying to build the shining city upon a hill here," said Lt. Karl Kadon, head of civil affairs for the Marine battalion in Sangin. "I'm just trying to build something that is stable enough that it's not going to bother us."

Even that is a daunting task. The Marines arrived in Sangin in October following four years of fighting by British forces that suffered heavy casualties and struggled to show progress.
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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 07:57 AM
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An Afghan trade route: What could possibly go wrong with that?
The Silk Road Strategy and Policy was writeen and has been in effect for many years now, being updated recently to reflect changes (did the bill pass?). However the general plan is the same. I and others have posted many articles on this at DU if you want to do a search. Here are some recent articles:

An Afghan trade route: What could possibly go wrong with that?
From June 2010

The U.S. military is studying a plan to solve Afghanistan's problems by turning it into a superhighway of roads, railroads, electricity lines and energy pipelines connected to the entire Eurasian landmass. According to a piece in the National Journal by Sydney Freedberg, the proposal has the ear of Gen. David Petraeus, whose confirmation hearings to be the new U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan start today in the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The plan is heavy on ringing optimism. I have my doubts. They are rooted in the last time this was tried, in the 1990s, when Unocal -- now part of Chevron -- sought to build an $8 billion oil-and-natural gas pipeline network from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan. The plan -- which Unocal saw as so potentially lucrative that it could catapult the company into the big leagues of the industry -- attracted much attention, hoopla and hopes for peace after years of war and chaos in the country. ..cont'd


The Caspian Sea: Chinas Silk Road Strategy Converges with Damascus

Publication: China Brief Volume: 10 Issue:
17August 19, 2010

The Caspian region is becoming enmeshed in a web of overlapping political, military, trade and energy interests of countries extending from Asia, to the Middle East, to Russia, to Europe. Given the rising instability of Middle East energy supplies, the Caspian basin has emerged in prominence as an alternative resource for the world's growing energy consumers. It is estimated that the Caspian Sea is home to the worlds largest reservoir for oil and natural gas after the Persian Gulf and Russia <1>. Historically, Russia had a monopoly of influence in the region during the Soviet era, but after 1991 the United States began making inroads into the region to reduce Russias influence over the newly formed independent states <2>. In recent years, both China and the European Union have stepped up their presence and have become active players in the region. Other new players albeit smaller but with increasing footprints include countries such as India, Japan and South Korea. Of the various players, China has the fastest growing presence in the regiondriven by its voracious energy appetite but also enabled by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) framework. As China embarks on its look west development Silk Road Strategy, Syrias look east policy appears to be converging with Chinese interests at the Caspian Sea. The interplay of Chinas growing footprint in the Caspian region via its modern Silk Roadreinforced by Syrian President Assads nascent Four Seas Strategywill have important implications for the United States, the European Union and other allies.

Over the past few years, China has poured investments into Central Asia and the Caspian regionespecially Kazakhstan and Turkmenistanwith two main infrastructure projects: the Kazakhstan-China oil pipeline and the Turkmenistan-China gas pipeline (also known as Central Asia-China gas pipeline). Below is a brief overview of Chinese investments in the Caspian region countries.

Chinas Current Footprint in the Caspian Sea Landscape...cont'd


Syria in China's New Silk Road Strategy

Central Asia-Caucasus Institute
Silk Road Studies /

Papers on The Silk Road Policy


This is why we're in Afghanistan.

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Dover Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-03-10 07:57 AM
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1. dupe...n/t
Edited on Fri Dec-03-10 07:59 AM by Dover
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