Engdahl: Color Revolutions, Geopolitics and the Baku Pipeline


Richard Moore

Color Revolutions, Geopolitics and the Baku Pipeline

By F. William Engdahl, author of 'A Century of War:
Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order,' from
Pluto Press Ltd.

After a short-term fall in price below the $50 a barrel level,
oil is now bounding back towards $60 a barrel and likely far
higher. In this situation one might think that the
announcement of the opening of a major new oil pipeline to
pump Caspian oil to world markets might dampen the relentless
rise in prices.

However, even when OPEC agreed on June 15 to raise its formal
production quota by another 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), the
reaction of NYMEX oil futures prices was to rise, not fall.
Estimates are that world demand in the second half of 2005
will average at least 3 million barrels a day more than the
first half.

Oil has become the central theme of world political and
military operations planning, even when not always openly

Caspian Pipeline Opens a Pandora's Box

In this situation it is worth looking at the overall
significance of the May opening of the Baku to Ceyhan, Turkey
oil pipeline. This 1,762 km long oil pipeline was completed
some months ahead of plan.

The BTC (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan) Oil Pipeline was begun in 2002
after four years of intense international dispute. It cost
some $3.6 billion, making it one of the most expensive oil
projects ever. The main backer was BP, whose chairman Lord
Browne is a close adviser to Britain's Tony Blair. BP built it
in a consortium including Unocal of the US and Turkish
Petroleum Inc., and other partners.

It will take until at least late September before 10.4
milllion barrels can provide the needed volume to start oil
delivery to the Turkish port Ceyhan on the Mediterranean.
Ceyhan is conveniently near to the US airbase Incirlik. The
BTC has been a US strategic priority ever since Clinton first
backed it in 1998. Indeed, for the opening ceremonies in May,
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman attended and delivered a
personal note of congratulations from US President George W.

As the political makeup of the Central Asia Caspian region is
complex, especially since the decomposition of the Soviet
Union opened up a scramble in the oil-rich region of the
Caspian from the outside, above all from the United States, it
is important to bear in mind the major power blocs which have

They are two. On the one side is an alliance of
US-Turkey-Azerbaijan and, since the Rose Revolution, Georgia,
that small but critical country directly on the pipeline
route. Opposed to it, in terms of where the pipeline route
carrying the Caspian oil should go, is Russia, which until
1990 held an iron grip over the entire Caspian outside the
Iran littoral. Today, Russia has cultivated an uneasy but
definite alliance with Iran and with Armenia, in opposition to
the US group. This two-camp grouping is essential to
understand developments in the region since 1991.

Now that the BTC oil pipeline has finally been completed, and
the route through Georgia has been put firmly in
pro-Washington hands, an essential precondition to completing
the pipeline, the question becomes how will Moscow react? Does
Putin have any serious options left short of the ultimate
nuclear one?

A clear strategy

A geopolitical pattern has become clear over the past months.
One-by-one, with documented overt and covert Washington
backing and financing, new US-friendly regimes have been put
in place in former Soviet states which are in a strategic
relation to possible pipeline routes from the Caspian Sea.

Ukraine is now more or less in the hands of a
Washington-backed 'democratic' regime under Viktor Yushchenko
and his billionaire Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko, known in
Ukraine as the 'gas princess' for the fortune she made as a
government official, allegedly through her dubious dealings
earlier with Ukraine Energy Minister Pavlo Lazarenko and

The Yushchenko government's domestic credibility is reportedly
beginning to fade as Ukrainian Orange Revolution euphoria
gives way to economic realities. In any event, on June 16 in
Kiev, Yushchenko hosted a special meeting of the Davos World
Economic Forum to discuss possible investments into the New

At the Kiev meeting, Timoshenko's government announced that
they plan to build a new oil and gas pipeline from the Caspian
across Ukraine into Poland which would lessen Ukraine's
reliance on Moscow oil and gas supplies. Timoshenko also
revealed that the Ukrainian government was in positive talks
with Chevron, the former company of Condoleezza Rice, for the

It goes without saying that such a project would run counter
to the Russian regional interest. One reason for Washington's
strong backing for Yushchenko last year was to counter a
decision by the Kuchma government and Parliament to reverse
the flow of the Brody-Odessa pipeline from a planned route
from the Black Sea port into Poland. The initial
Odessa-to-Poland route would have tied Ukraine to the West.
Now Ukraine is discussing with Chevron to build a new pipeline
doing the same. The country presently gets 80% of its energy
from Russia.

A second project Ukraine's government, and the state NAK
(Naftogaz Ukrainy) are discussing is with France's Gaz de
France to build a pipeline from Iran for natural gas to
displace Russian gas. Were that to happen it would
simultaneously weaken ties of mutual self-interest between
Russia and Iran, as well as Russia and France.

On the same day as the Kiev conference, Kazakhstan's
government told an international investors' conference in
Almaty that they were in negotiations with Ukraine to route
Kazakh oil as well through the proposed new Ukrainian pipeline
to the Baltic. Chevron is also the major consortium leader
developing Kazakh oil in Tengiz. Given the political nature of
US Big Oil, it is more than probable that Condoleezza Rice,
Dick Cheney and the Administration in Washington are playing a
strong role in such Ukraine pipeline talks. The Orange
Revolution, at least from the side of its US sponsors, had
little to do with real democracy and far more with military
and oil geopolitics.

Pipelines and US-Azeri ties

The Baku-Ceyhan pipeline was originally proclaimed by BP and
others as The Project of the Century. Zbigniew Brzezinski was
a consultant to BP during the Clinton era, urging Washington
to back the project. In fact, it was Brzezinski who went to
Baku in 1995, unofficially, on behalf of President Clinton to
meet with then-Azeri President Haidar Aliyev, in order to
negotiate new independent Baku pipeline routes including what
became the BTC pipeline.

Brzezinski also sits on the board of an impressive, if
little-known, US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC). The
chairman of USACC in Washington is Tim Cejka, President of
ExxonMobil Exploration. Other USACC Board members include
Henry Kissinger, and James Baker III, the man who in 2003
personally went to Tbilisi to tell Shevardnadze that
Washington wanted him to step aside in favor of the US-trained
Georgian President Mikhail Shaakashvili. Brent Scowcroft,
former National Security Adviser to George H.W. Bush, also
sits on the board of USACC today. And Dick Cheney was a former
board member before he became Vice President. A more
high-powered Washington team of geopolitical fixers would be
hard to imagine. This group of prominent individuals certainly
would not give a minute of their time unless an area was of
utmost geopolitical strategic importance to the United States
or to certain powerful interests there.

Now that the BTC pipeline to Ceyhan is complete, a phase 2
pipeline is in consideration undersea, potentially to link the
Caspian to Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan with its rich gas
reserves, directing that energy away from China to the West in
a US-UK-controlled route.

In this context, it's worth noting that President Bush himself
made a trip to Tbilisi on May 10 to address a crowd in Freedom
Square, promoting his latest war on tyranny campaign for the
region. He praised the US-backed 'color revolutions' from
Ukraine to Georgia. Bush went on to attack Roosevelt's Yalta
division of Europe in 1945. He made the curious declaration:

        'We will not repeat the mistakes of other generations,
        appeasing or excusing tyranny, and sacrificing freedom in the
        vain pursuit of stability," the president said. "We have
        learned our lesson; no one's liberty is expendable. In the
        long run, our security and true stability depend on the
        freedom of others.' Bush went on to say, 'Now, across the
        Caucasus, in Central Asia and the broader Middle East, we see
        the same desire for liberty burning in the hearts of young
        people. They are demanding their freedom -- and they will have

What color will the Azeri revolution take?

Not surprisingly, that speech was read as a 'go' signal for
opposition groups across the Caucasus. In Azerbaijan four
youth groups - Yokh! (No!), Yeni Fikir (New Thinking), Magam
(It's Time) and the Orange Movement of Azerbaijan - comprise
the emerging opposition, an echo of Georgia, Ukraine and
Serbia where the US Embassy and specially-trained NGO
operatives orchestrated the US-friendly regime changes with
help of the US National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House
and the Soros Foundation.

According to Baku journalists, Ukraine's Pora (It's Time),
Georgia's Kmara (Enough) and Serbia's Otpor (Resistance) are
cited by all four Azeri opposition organizations as role
models. The opposition groups also consider George Bush's
February meeting in Bratislava with Pora leader Vladislav
Kaskiv as a sign that Washington supports their cause.

It seems the same team of Washington regime change experts are
preparing for a 'color revolution' for the upcoming November
elections in Azerbaijan as were behind other recent color

In 2003, on the death of former Azeri President, Haider
Aliyev, his playboy son, Ilham Aliyev, became President in
grossly rigged elections which Washington legitimized because
Aliyev was 'our tyrant,' and also just happened to hold his
hand on the spigot of Baku oil.

Ilham, former president of the state oil company, SOCAR, is
tied to his father's power base and is apparently now seen as
not suitable for the new pipeline politics. Perhaps he wants
too big a share of the spoils. In any case, both Tony Blair's
UK Government and US State Department's AID are pouring money
into Azeri opposition groups, similar to Otpor in Ukraine. US
Ambassador Reno Harnish has stated Washington is ready to
finance 'exit polling' in the elections. Exit polling in
Ukraine was a key factor used to drive the opposition success

Moscow is following the Azeri events closely. On May 26 the
Moscow daily, Kommersant wrote, '"While the pipeline will
carry oil from the East to West, the spirit of 'color
revolutions' will flow in the reverse direction.' The
commentary went on to suggest that Western governments want to
promote democratization in Azerbaijan out of a desire to
protect the considerable investment made in the pipeline. That
is only a part of the strategic game, however. The other part
is what Pentagon strategists term 'strategic denial.' Until
recently the US had supported the corrupt ruthless
dictatorship of the Aliyev's as the family had 'played ball'
with US geopolitical designs in the area, even though Haider
Aliyev had been a career top KGB officer in the Soviet
Gorbachev era. Then on April 12, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld
went to Baku, his second visit in four months, to discuss
demands to create a US military base in Azerbaijan, as part of
the US global force redeployment involving Europe, Mideast and

The Pentagon already de facto runs the Georgia military, with
its US Special Forces officers, and Georgia has asked to join
NATO. Now Washington wants to have direct bases in Azerbaijan
proximate to Russia as well as to Iran. The Pentagon has also
allocated $100 million to build a Caspian Guard of special
forces military, ostensibly to guard the new BTC pipeline,
though the latter was deliberately built underground to make
it less vulnerable, one reason for its high cost. Part of the
Pentagon money would go to build a radar-equipped command
center in Baku, capable of monitoring all sea traffic in the
Caspian. The US wants airbases in Azerbaijan which naturally
would be seen in Teheran and Moscow as a strategic

In all this maneuvering from the side of Washington and Ten
Downing Street, the strategic issue of geopolitical control
over Eurasia looms large. And increasingly it is clear that
not only Putin's Russia is object of the new Washington War on
Tyranny. It is becoming obvious to most now that the grand
design in Eurasia on the part of Washington is not to pre-empt
old Osama bin Laden and his Tora Bora cave dwellers.

The current Washington strategy targets many Eurasian former
Soviet republics which per se have no known oil or gas
reserves. What they do have, however, is strategic military or
geopolitical significance for the Washington policy of
dominating the future of Eurasia.

That policy has China as its geopolitical, economic and
military fulcrum. A look at the Eurasian map and at the target
countries for various US-sponsored Color Revolutions makes
this unmistakeably clear. To the east of the Caspian Sea,
Washington in one degree or another today controls Pakistan,
Afghanistan, potentially Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
These serve as a potential US-controlled barrier or buffer
zone between China and Russian, Caspian and Iranian energy

Washington is out to deny China easy land access to either
Russia, the Middle East or to the oil and gas fields of the
Caspian Sea. Whither Kyrgystan?

Since early 2005 when a series of opposition protests erupted
over the fairness of parliamentary elections in February and
March, Kyrgystan has joined the growing list of Eurasian
republics facing major threat of regime change or color
revolution. The success of former Kyrgystan Prime Minister
Kurmanbek Bakiev in replacing ousted President Askar Akayev in
that country's so-called 'Tulip Revolution,' becoming interim
President until July Presidential elections, invited
inevitable comparisons with the Orange Revolution in Ukraine,
or the Georgian Rose Revolution.

Washington's Radio Liberty has gone to great lengths to
explain that the Kyrgystan opposition is not a US operation,
but a genuine spontaneous grass roots phenomenon. The facts
speak a different story however. According to reports from
mainstream US journalists, including Craig Smith in the New
York Times and Philip Shishkin in the Wall Street Journal, the
opposition in Kyrgystan has had 'more than a little help from
US friends' to paraphrase the Beatles song. Under the Freedom
Support Act of the US Congress, in 2004 the dirt poor country
of Kyrgystan got a total of $12 million in US government funds
to support the building of democracy. Twelve million will buy
a lot of democracy in an economically desolate, forsaken land
such as Kyrgystan.

Acknowledging the Washington largesse, Edil Baisolov, in a
comment on the February-March anti-government protests,
boasted, 'It would have been absolutely impossible for this to
have happened without that help.' According to the New York
Times' Smith, Baisolov's organization, the Coalition for
Democracy and Civil Rights, is financed by the National
Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a
Washington-based nonprofit organization in turn funded by
Condi Rice's State Department. Baisolov told Radio Liberty he
had been to Ukraine to witness the tactics of their Orange
Revolution, and got inspired. But that isn't all. The whole
cast of democracy characters has been busy in Bishkek and
environs supporting American-style democracy and opposing
'anti-American tyranny.'

Washington's Freedom House has generously financed Bishkek's
independent printing press which prints the opposition paper,
'MSN,' according to its man on the scene, Mike Stone.

Freedom House is an organization with a fine-sounding name and
a long history since it was created in the late 1940's to back
the creation of NATO. The chairman of Freedom House is James
Woolsey, former CIA director who calls the present series of
regime changes from Baghdad to Kabul, 'World War IV.' Other
trustees include the ubiquitous Zbigniew Brzezinski, former
Clinton Commerce Secretary Stuart Eizenstat, and National
Security Adviser Anthony Lake. Freedom House lists USAID, US
Information Agency, Soros Foundations and the National
Endowment for Democracy, among its financial backers. One more
of the many NGO's active in promoting the new democracy in
Kyrgystan is the Civil Society Against Corruption, financed by
the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).The NED which, with
Freedom House, has been at the center of all the major Color
Revolutions in recent years, was created during the Reagan
Administration to function as a de facto privatized CIA,
privatized so as to allow more freedom of action, or what the
CIA likes to call 'plausible deniability.' NED chairman Vin
Weber, a former Republican congressman is close to
neo-conservative Bill Bennett. NED President since 1984 is
Carl Gershman, who had previously been a Freedom House
Scholar. NATO General Wesley Clark, the man who led the US
bombing of Serbia in 1999, also sits on the NED Board. Allen
Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED,
said in 1991, 'A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25
years ago by the CIA.' Mmmmmm UhHuh...

Not to be forgotten, and definitely not least in Kyrgystan's
ongoing Tulip Revolution is George Soros' Open Society
Institute -- which also poured money into the Serbian,
Georgian and Ukraine Color Revolutions.

The head of the Civil Society Against Corruption in Kyrgystan
is Tolekan Ismailova, who organized the translation and
distribution of the revolutionary manual used in Serbia,
Ukraine and Georgia written by Gene Sharp, of a
curiously-named Albert Einstein Institution in Boston. Sharp's
book, a how-to manual for the color revolutions is titled
'From Dictatorship to Democracy.' It includes tips on
nonviolent resistance -- such as 'display of flags and
symbolic colors' -- and civil disobedience.

Sharp's book is literally the bible of the Color Revolutions,
a kind of 'regime change for dummies.' Sharp created his
Albert Einstein Institution in 1983, with backing from Harvard
University. It is funded by the US Congress' NED and the Soros
Foundations, to train people in and to study the theories of
'non-violence as a form of warfare.' Sharp has worked with
NATO and the CIA over the years training operators in Burma,
Lithuania, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine to Taiwan, even Venezuela
and Iraq.

In short virtually every regime which has been the target of a
US-backed soft coup in the past twenty years has involved Gene
Sharp and usually, his associate, Col. Robert Helvey, a
retired US Army intelligence specialist. Notably, Sharp was in
Beijing two weeks before student demonstrations at Tiananmen
Square in 1989. The Pentagon and US intelligence have refined
the art of such soft coups to a fine level. RAND planners call
it 'swarming,' referring to the swarms of youth, typically
linked by SMS and web blogs, who can be mobilized on command
to destabilize a target regime. Then UzbekistanŠ?

Uzbekistan's tyrannical President Islam Karimov had early
profiled himself as a staunch friend of the Washington War on
Terror, offering a former Soviet airbase for US military
actions including the attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan.
Many considered Karimov too close to Washington to be in
danger. He had made himself a 'good' tyrant in Washington's

That's also no longer a sure thing. In May Secretary
Condoleezza Rice demanded Karimov institute 'political
reforms' following violent prison uprisings and subsequent
protests over conditions in the Ferghana Valley region in
Andijan. Karimov has fiercely resisted independent inquiry
into allegations his troops shot and killed hundreds of
unarmed protesters. He insists the uprisings were caused by
'external' radical Muslim fundamentalists allied with Taliban
and intent on establishing an Islamic 'caliphate' in
Uzbekistan's Ferghana Valley bordering Kyrgystan.

While ouster of Karimov is unclear for the moment, leading
Washington backers of Karimov's 'democratic reform' have
turned into hostile opponents. As one US commentator expressed
it, 'the character of the Karimov regime can no longer be
ignored in deference to the strategic usefulness of
Uzbekistan.' Karimov has been targeted for a Color Revolution
in the relentless Washington War on Tyranny.

In mid-June Karimov's government announced changes in terms
for the US to use Uzbekistan Karshi-Khanabad military airbase,
including a ban on night flights. Karimov is moving
demonstrably closer to Moscow and perhaps also to Beijing in
the latest chapter of the new Great Game for geopolitical
control over Eurasia.

Following the Andijan events, Karimov revived the former
'strategic partnership' with Moscow and also got a red carpet
welcome at the end of May in Beijing, including a 21-gun
salute. At a June Brussels NATO meeting Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Ivanov backed Karimov, declaring there was no
need for an international investigation of what happened in

Tajikistan, bordering Afghanistan and China, is so far the
only remaining Central Asian republic not yet to undergo a
successful US-led Color Revolution. It's not for lack of
trying. For several years Washington has attempted to woo
Dushanbe away from its close ties to Moscow, including the
economic carrot of US backing for Tajik membership in WTO.
Beijing has also been active. China has recently upgraded
military assistance to Tajikistan, and is keen to strengthen
ties to all Central Asian republics standing between it and
the energy resources to the Eurasian west from Russia to Iran.
The stakes are the highest for the oil-dependent China.

Washington Playing the China Card

The one power in Eurasia that has the potential to create a
strategic combination which could checkmate US global
dominance is China. However China has an Achilles Heel, which
Washington understands all too well-oil. Ten years ago China
was a net oil exporter. Today China is the second largest
importer behind the USA.

China's energy demand is growing annually at a rate of more
than 30%. China has feverishly been trying to secure long-term
oil and gas supplies, especially since the Iraq war made clear
to Beijing that Washington was out to control and militarize
most of the world's major oil and gas sources. A new wrinkle
to the search for Black Gold, oil, is the clear data
confirming that many of the world's largest oil fields are
peaking or rapidly declining while new discoveries fail to
replace lost volumes of oil. It is a pre-programmed scenario
for war. The only question is, with what weapons.

In recent months Beijing has signed major oil and economic
deals with Venezuela and Iran. It has bid for a major Canadian
resources company, and most recently made the audacious bid to
buy California's Unocal, a partner in the Caspian BTC
pipeline. Chevron immediately stepped in with a counter bid to
block China's.

Beijing has recently also upgraded the importance of the
four-year-old organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization,
or SCO. SCO consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan,
Kyrgystan and Tajikistan. Not surprisingly, these are many of
the states which are in the midst of US-backed attempts at
soft coups or Color Revolutions. SCO's July meeting list
included an invitation to India, Pakistan and Iran to attend
with Observer Status.

This June the foreign ministers of Russia, China and India
held a meeting in Vladivostock where they stressed the role of
the United Nations, a move aimed clearly at Washington. India
also discussed its project to invest and develop Russia's Far
East Sakhalin I, where it has already invested about $1
billion in oil and gas development. Significantly, at the
meeting, Russia and China resolved a decades-long  border
dispute, and two weeks later in Beijing, discussed potentials
for development of Russia's Siberian resources.

A close look at the map of Eurasia begins to suggest what is
so vital here for China and therefore for Washington's future
domination of Eurasia. The goal is not only strategic
encirclement of Russia through a series of NATO bases ranging
from Camp Bond Steel in Kosovo to Poland, to Georgia, possibly
Ukraine and White Russia, which would enable NATO to control
energy ties between Russia and the EU.

Washington policy now encompasses a series of 'democratic' or
soft coup projects which would strategically cut China off
from access to the vital oil and gas reserves of the Caspian
including Kazakhstan. The earlier Asian Great Silk Road trade
routes went through Tashkent in Uzbekistan and Almaty in
Kazakhstan for geographically obvious reasons, in a region
surrounded by major mountain ranges. Geopolitical control of
Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan, Kazakhstan would enable control of any
potential pipeline routes between China and Central Asia just
as the encirclement of Russia controls pipeline and other ties
between it and western Europe, China, India and the Mideast.

In this context, the revealing Foreign Affairs article from
Zbigniew Brzezinski from September/October 1997 is worth again

        'Eurasia is home to most of the world's politically assertive
        and dynamic states. All the historical pretenders to global
        power originated in Eurasia. The world's most populous
        aspirants to regional hegemony, China and India, are in
        Eurasia, as are all the potential political or economic
        challengers to American primacy. After the United States, the
        next six largest economies and military spenders are there, as
        are all but one of the world's overt nuclear powers, and all
        but one of the covert ones. Eurasia accounts for 75 percent of
        the world's population, 60 percent of its GNP, and 75 percent
        of its energy resources. Collectively, Eurasia's potential
        power overshadows even America's.
        'Eurasia is the world's axial supercontinent. A power that
        dominated Eurasia would exercise decisive influence over two
        of the world's three most economically productive regions,
        Western Europe and East Asia. A glance at the map also
        suggests that a country dominant in Eurasia would almost
        automatically control the Middle East and Africa. With Eurasia
        now serving as the decisive geopolitical chessboard, it no
        longer suffices to fashion one policy for Europe and another
        for Asia. What happens with the distribution of power on the
        Eurasian landmass will be of decisive importance to America's
        global primacyŠ.'

This statement, written well before the US-led bombing of
former Yugoslavia and the US occupations in Afghanistan and
Iraq, or the BTC Pipeline, helps put recent Washington
pronouncements about 'ridding the world of tyranny' and about
spreading democracy, into a somewhat different context from
the one usually mentioned by George W. Bush. 'Elementary, my
dear Watson. It's about global hegemony, not democracy you



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Wexford, Ireland
blog: http://harmonization.blogspot.com/

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