The Mumbai terrorist attack is being played as a religious holy war between Moslem and Hindu fundamentalism. But behind that lies what is killing millions of workers worldwide today: the dogfight among the world’s imperialists and their lackeys for control of the energy resources, pipelines (see below article) and the right to super-exploit workers.
In South Asia, this deadly mixture has brought two regional nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, to the brink of another war, and exposed the weaknesses of U.S. imperialism’s policy towards Afghanistan-Pakistan. “The crisis…fallout may… [expand] to include the United States, NATO, Afghanistan and Iran,” reports the NY Times (Week In Review, 12/7)
The U.S.-NATO Afghan war has had a devastating destabilizing effect on Pakistan (see CHALLENGE, 12/10). A fractured Pakistani ruling class is so divided that it cannot help U.S. imperialism’s design for the region. “A collapsing Pakistan, and with it the loss of any real border separating India from Pakistan, is India’s worst nightmare,” says Robert Kaplan, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “Making matters worse, every time the United States launches an air attack into Pakistan from Afghanistan, it further destabilizes the Pakistani state.” NY Times, 12/8)
Any of the many factions of the Pakistani ruling class could had been behind the Mumbai massacre — which killed 192 people and injured hundreds more — as well as the recent bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Many in the ISI (Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence service) see India as the main enemy of Pakistan. Killing innocent people is business as usual for imperialism’s big bosses and their goons.
The Mumbai massacre has shaken India’s growing alliance with the U.S., enabling India’s old ally, Russia, to re-emerge. Following the Mumbai massacre, Russian president Medvedev visited India and not only made a deal to sell India 80 M1-17 helicopters but also got an extra $2.2 billion from India for an aircraft carrier.
Mumbai has not only led to Russian weapons’ sales to India but has now brought India’s bosses closer to the Russian position in Afghanistan.
During Medvedev’s visit, in a Joint Declaration, India and Russia shared their concern over the “deteriorating security situation” in Afghanistan and called for a “coherent and a united international commitment” to deal with the threats emanating from that country.
The implied criticism of the U.S.-led war is obvious as is the rejection of the U.S. strategy to retain the war as its exclusive domain. The Joint Declaration then says, “Both sides welcome Russia’s initiative to organize an international conference in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, involving its Member states and Observers.”
Both India and Russia are derailing the U.S.-Saudi plan to make a deal with some Taliban leaders at the expense of the former’s interests in energy-rich Central Asia.
This mixture of imperialist-capitalist rivalries and their use of religious fundamentalism is deadly for the region’s workers and their allies. The urban and rural workers and youth, from Kabul to Karachi to Mumbai, have a long history of fighting capitalism and imperialism. What’s needed is a revolutionary communist outlook to unite and destroy all the bosses and their various ideologies.J
Imperialists’ Battle Over Oil Pipelines Will Widen War
The Mumbai massacre (see above) highlights the rapid, blood-letting pace of the sharpening inter-imperialist rivalry for control of the Caspian region’s vast oil and gas resources and its strategic pipeline routes to world markets. This rivalry, intensified by the worldwide, deepening capitalist economic crisis, is leading eventually to World War III.
U.S. imperialism’s seven years of indescribable carnage in Afghanistan was originally intended as a quick military operation to secure pipeline routes for transporting Caspian region resources to the Indian Ocean Gwadar port in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, by-passing Russia and Iran.
Now, with the U.S. bosses bogged down in two wars — and major ones with Iran, Russia and/or China looming — while facing one of the worst economic crises in their history, they’re desperately trying to stem their rapid decline and remain the number one imperialist power. Oil, despite its sharply lower price, is still crucial to this endeavor, as it is to Russia’s and China’s rise as rival super-powers.
IF YOU CAN’T BEAT THEM, HAVE THEM JOIN YOU
With the Russian victory in Georgia making it unfeasible to build new U.S. trans-Caspian pipelines, Afghanistan is again (short of invading Iran) the most realistic, practical route to transport Caspian energy to market, by-passing Russia and Iran. That’s why the “U.S. is actively considering [peace] talks with elements of the Taliban….in a major policy shift that would have been unthinkable a few months ago.” (Wall Street Journal, 10/28/08)
The objective is to “pacify and stabilize” Afghanistan enough to guarantee safe transport of these resources, while occupying the country indefinitely. At a recent NATO meeting, “the alliance visualized a long haul in Afghanistan.” (Asia Times on-Line, 10/15/08)
U.S. bosses hope to have everything in place by 2013 when Kazakhstan oil, being developed by U.S. oil companies, will start flowing. With this outlet, U.S. imperialists hope to reverse Russia’s gains in the energy-rich ex-Soviet republics.
RUSSIA, CHINA, IRAN AND THE NORTHERN ALLIANCE
These plans directly threaten the geopolitical interests of Russia, China and Iran, so they’re pushing back. This fight will only lead to wider, and eventually global war.
Russian President Medvedev criticized the U.S. for creating chaos in Afghanistan. He called for a new pan-European security pact, saying NATO can’t ensure the continent’s security. He said the “United States’ desire to consolidate its global role” is unrealizable in a multi-polar world.
Defying Russia’s warning, U.S. imperialists arrogantly think they can unilaterally expel Russia and Iran from Afghanistan. But the Northern Alliance, Afghan President Karzai’s main base of support, is very dependent economically and militarily on Russia and China.
Iran also has close ties with former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, leader of the anti-Taliban coalition (Northern Alliance) in the 1990s. Kabul is courting Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a holy warrior who fought for the CIA against the Soviet army in Afghanistan. He leads the fastest-growing insurgent group in Afghanistan.
China, a major player in the region, opposes the U.S.-NATO permanent military presence in the area. Afghanistan is being courted by the SCO to become a member. The SCO is a regional organization created by Russia and China to stop U.S.-NATO expansion in the Caucuses-Caspian regions. Since 2004,
Karzai has been a guest of honor at all the SCO’s summit meetings.
U.S. bosses are also supporting the Balochistan secessionist movement, which could eventually break up Pakistan if it degenerates into a failed state or becomes too independent. This would both deny China access to alternative energy resources and transport routes, and provide U.S. bases to further encircle Russia and China militarily.
PLP condemns the terrorists behind the Mumbai attack, along with all the capitalists-imperialists and their religious fanatics terrorizing workers worldwide. Workers need the ideas in CHALLENGE to fight all the bosses and build a mass international revolutionary PLP to fight for a communist world, without any bosses and their mass terror.
Pakistan and China in U.S. Bosses’ Sights
U.S. actions in Afghanistan and the region are also aimed at preventing China from importing 80% of its oil by skirting the Strait of Malacca, a narrow passage-way which the U.S. can block in case of war.
For China, the closest and safest sources of energy are Iran and the Caspian region, by-passing the Malacca Strait. Thus, China has signed mega energy contracts with Turkmenistan and Iran, a country the U.S. strives to isolate.
China’s other alternate routes are Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan with prospective pipelines from there to China’s remote western regions; and the Myanmar’s Sittwe port from which it will build two 900-mile pipelines to its Yunnan province.
Other possible routes for China to bypass the Malacca Strait are in the Indian Ocean. Thus, the U.S., using pirates in the area as pretext, has sent warships to “patrol” it. The U.S. is also negotiating bases there to gain full control of the Indian Ocean and adjacent seas, and temporarily thwart all Chinese solutions to their Malacca dilemma.