Wednesday, December 04, 2002

New links I've been checking out. Plus more scary stuff on Kissinger courtesy of Smoking Joe.

In 1995, Kissinger showed up for the signing ceremony in New York that sealed Unocal's agreement to build a $2 billion, 1,000-mile pipeline from the gas fields of Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. The torturous negotiations leading to that aborted deal -- including Kissinger's cameo -- are fully described in Chapter 12 of "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil & Fundamentalism in Central Asia," by Ahmed Rashid, an authoritative journalist who now works for the Wall Street Journal. Unocal eventually withdrew from Turkmenistan, amid charges of bribery and influence-peddling. (Working for the rival bidder at the time was Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal, director of the kingdom's intelligence agency.)

What makes that old story interesting again is the role of Unocal's partner, described in the Los Angeles Times in May 1998 as "a small and mysterious Saudi company called Delta Oil Co. Ltd." At the time, Unocal and Delta were cultivating the friendly leaders of the Taliban to win approval for their pipeline.

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