EDITOR: | October 16th, 2013 | 2 Comments

China – the first mover in Afghanistan’s resource war

| October 16, 2013 | 2 Comments

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (waving) with Chinese President Xi Jing Ping.

As 2013 enters its last lap, the departure of US and ISAF combat forces in 2014 will prove a pivotal moment for Afghanistan. Ravaged by war for more than 30 years — and despite all of its present political challenges — that star-crossed country stands closer to political stability than at any time in the living memory of its people. But that statement is clearly relative – true only because the modern history of Afghanistan has been so fractured, riven by conflict, not only from outside forces, but internal factions as well.

The question now is whether the end of armed conflict in Afghanistan will be replaced by a Resource War — a scramble to develop the vast mineral resources of the country, with minimal transparency in government policy, and little attention to delivering broad economic benefits to the Afghan people.

In fact, this Resource War has already begun. Afghanistan, even now, is choosing its economic partners, whether they be the industrial democracies — or whether its rulers will turn elsewhere to forge the country’s economic future, with China, Russia, India, and even Iran.

Indeed, China is the first-mover in the Afghan resource space, having won the massive copper concession at Aynak in Logan Province — with routes to the mining project patrolled up by US and British troops — and China oil giant CNPC pumping the first Afghan crude under a 25-year contract, concluded in late 2011. Most recently, Chinese President Xi Jing Ping declared 2014 a “key year” for Afghan-Chinese relations, and when Xi met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, the Afghan leader’s two advisors were the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Mines and Petroleum.

One headline neatly captures the symbiotic relationship:  “Afghanistan Has What China Wants

This will be no replay of the 19th-century “Great Game,” with Russia and British expeditionary forces mired in local conflicts with Afghanistan’s contending mountain clans. This modern battle for post-conflict Afghanistan will unfold not so much in the choke-point mountain passes or even the halls of government, but in the boardrooms of the world’s major mining and energy companies. Companies from the US and the industrialized democracies, assisting with — and investing in — Afghanistan’s resource development, could bring shared commercial benefits and provide the economic basis for strengthened political and strategic ties.

But this new Resource War will be the economic equivalent of what military planners call asymmetrical combat: On one side, state-backed — explicitly or implicitly — enterprises with non-transparent capital structures, controlled to varying degrees by Moscow, Beijing, New Delhi, or Teheran. On the other, a myriad of private mining multi-nationals, putting their own capital at risk, accountable to shareholders, with some degree of well-wishing from governments in Ottawa, Canberra, London, and Washington — but nothing remotely approaching the state-backing of their competitors.

The prize is vast, with Afghanistan’s potential mineral wealth running into the trillions of dollars. Indeed, even in the midst of war, the USGS and British Geological Survey completed extensive resource mapping of Afghanistan — supplementing earlier work done by Soviet geologists. In fact, 96% of the country has been mapped using the most advanced technologies (hyper-spectral imaging), giving the Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum an incomparable tool in prioritizing the most promising prospects, and allowing private sector partners to approach development with a wealth of technical knowledge, even before exploration and resource delineation takes place.

The challenge now is to communicate this tremendous potential to the industrialized democracies — and to the private sector mining and energy companies with the expertise to develop these resources. The outcome will dictate whether Afghanistan becomes an integral member of the international community and global economy, or slips back into the cycle of conflict, chaos and domination that have so tragically shaped its history.

Afghanistan’s Resource War can have several outcomes. The country’s resource riches can stay in the ground, as conflict at ground-level surges with the departure of US and NATO forces. Resources will be extracted, in a process that is opaque, with benefits flowing to well-placed officials with diminished impact on the Afghan economy. Or resources will be extracted under a transparent, market-based and rule-bounded process, with the benefits radiating out through the broader Afghan economy, in ways that will lift millions into better lives.

Forget the troop withdrawals of 2014. The next Afghanistan War has begun.



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  • China – the first mover in Afghanistan’s resource war | StratRisks

    […] Source: InvestorIntel […]

    October 21, 2013 - 4:20 AM

  • Greg Burton

    Some thoughts for your consideration:

    Since the 9/11 (inside job/Muslim boogie-man) America’s (Israel/city of London) foreign policy (AFRICOM) has been about disrupting and supplanting Chinese advances in trade through out Africa and the world.

    However, at the same time, the banking cartel (The Fed/City of London) sells billions of Treasury bills to China resulting in a huge unsustainable budget deficit, a result of the US military fighting to hold off Chinese advances.

    Meanwhile, US-based and other global transnational corporations are out-sourcing US jobs and manufacturing to China that, along with the banking/LIBOR fraud, and corporate bail-outs, have resulted in a US economic depression and cuts to the social safety net, destroying the American middle-class. The massive holding of US Treasury’s give China de facto control over US monetary policy, inflation, jobs, foreign debt, and even the US standard of living.

    Further, the US military is being slowly reduced, if not destroyed, in the central Asian “graveyard of empires”, and US veterans are being treated like garbage. while replacement parts used in the US military machines are being counterfeited in China. To make matters worse, in the wake of the contrived economic debacle, America is selling off its infrastructure, properties to China?

    Meanwhile, Japan, at the behest of the US, even though it is being devastated by Fukushima, is contesting China and North Korea, and could lead to a nuclear confrontation.

    So, after over 12 years of the eternal war-on-terror™, the 9/11 pretext to invade Afghanistan, to steal its resources and re-energize the drug trade, China is now being allowed to extract oil in Afghanistan and Iraq; and is poised to take away the supposed prize of central Asia?

    Finally, because of the deliberate financial policies of the Federal Reserve, increasing the money supply to the point where it creates hyperinflation, the War on Terror® subsidized by China buying Treasury bills, the dollar is being destroyed and the Yuan is becoming the de facto reserve currency of the world.

    Can someone tell me that this does not add up to a plan to destroy America? Destroy its economy and democratic institutions, and subordinate our country to a globalist totalitarian NWO? That the so-called “war on terror”, really the war against the growing global presence of China was never meant to be won, as was designed as a holding action to weaken America, destroy its democratic institutions, its economy, its people, to get it ready to subordinate it to a NWO run by the banking/drug cartel run by the City of London and its “gollum”, Israel?


    October 21, 2013 - 1:45 PM

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