Source Pravda.Ru

Anatoli Baranov: 21st century war for the Great Silk Way

The US and Great Britain’s activities in Mid Asia more and more look like a planned strategy action, in which the 11 September tragedy and the new Afghan war are just temporary attendant circumstances, historical coincidences emphasizing the main sense of what is happening. Although it looks strange, but to understand the deepest motives of the events, one has to remember something: what was before it, to what all the efforts and initiatives of the West were aimed last years, when Russian geopolitical future seemed to be over because of the USSR destruction. At that time dividing Russia in 50 or more pieces seemed the be the thing of the nearest years, or even months. The strategy thought of the West could be illustrated graphically with EU project in the framework of Tacis programme devoted to opening The Great Silk Way of 21st century, called TRACECA, or Transport Corridor Europe Caucasus Asia. What is interesting in this project? The question is about a new way linking Europe with China and South-East Asia, passing through small and non-independent CIS countries’ territories, avoiding transport arteries of Russia, Turkey and Iran. The situation with Iran is clear enough (obvious anti-Western orientation), though the NATO member Turkey becomes deprived because of political reasons. There could be only one explanation: the work of the whole transport artery directly depends on de-monopolization of every separate part of the route. The main starting points of the route from the western site harbours Odessa and Istambul must become, while reserve starting points become Konstanca, Varna and Yalta. Through these harbours, ferrying must be realized to Georgian harbours Poti and Batumi. Further, railways and highways must go through Kutaisi and Tbilisi, through Gyandju to Baku. The other hose of the route must go to Baku lengthwise of Turkish and Iranian borders, over the whole territory of Azerbaijan. Though to transport loads from Istambul to Gyumri, a direct way could be used, passing through Turkey. Though a ferry is proposed to use and roundabout ways of Georgia and Armenia. Сразу бросается в глаза, что от Стамбула через всю To immerse loads to the ferry, over two days are necessary, and than a 24-hour way through Caucasus, to Baku, while a shorter way passes through Rostov-on-Don and Makhachkala. The only conclusion is: somebody prefers to use the long way, though not through the countries which will get geopolitical advantages thanks to their unique location, like Russia and Turkey. The only section of the Great Silk Way where there is only one junction point is Baku harbour. Ruling regimes in Georgia and Azerbaijan are weak, so later western military bases could be situated in Tbilisi and Azerbajan. NATO’s inclination namely to these two Caucasus countries could be explained with expecting some benefits. One of the them is a transport perspective. Armenian regime friendly to Russia does not have key points on the way, while Gyumri transport junction would very suitable for it. The southern line of TRACECA passing through Mid Asia also looks strangely: over the whole territory of Turkmenia, than to Uzbekistan. After Bukhara and Samarkand it goes to Tashkent and joints to Kazakh line passing through Bishkek and Alma-Ata to Chinese border. Why should China and other countries using Russian harbours prefer the more expensive way? Though a line going from Samarkand to the South and the East, passing through Termez and Dushanbe looks even more curious. It goes along Tajik-Afghan border to the Kulma crossing and joins to Karakum highway. Therefore, Pakistan and India get a transport passage to Europe controlled by Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan has really lasting relations with the US while being a conductor of British policy in the region. Today Uzbekistan is limited by Iran in south and by Russia in north, though after getting an access to Karachi harbour in Pakistan it could refuse from cooperation with Russia and to start to cooperate with the West. Landing US troops in Mid Asia along the southern CIS border will become without any doubt a new stimulus to build the 21st century Great Silk Way. All the more the once troubled part of TRACECA going through Pamir highway could be now controlled by the Northern Alliance. Thanks to US troops’ landing in Bagram and creating there a new military base this section of the way becomes quite secure. Realizing this project will economically fasten geopolitical separation of CIS southern cities from Russia. The fate of Russian troops in Tajikistan, Armenia and Georgia seems to be obvious: they will be withdrawn by any reason. Georgia is ready to demand it already today. This was already declared by Shevardnadze. With NATO troops in Georgia and Azerbaijan, Russian border troops’ presence in Armenia does not have any sense. Today’s military actions in Mid Asia seem not to have immediate withdrawal of Russian troops. Though if the US manages to stabilize situation in Afghanistan, at least on the level reached by Russian troops there, Tajiks themselves could call Russian troops’ presence into question. This scenario is very possible, because it is supported with detailed projects of EU specialists and with some investments. The stability which could be reached in Mid Asia will be ruined soon, though this process will influence Russia as well. Afterwards additional investments the regimes will get which are incapable to regulate the funds. Therefore social tension in the region will grow stimulated by Islamite motives of destabilization. As a result an explosion which will make the US and their allies to leave the region and the regimes left without support will not be able to remain in power. Further processes could not be forecasted, the regional instability will cause serious changes in the continent. First of all it will badly influence Russia, especially its economical and territorial integrity. Some military troubles could aggravate this situation. So, what will be Europe’s benefit? Probably, nothing. But wedging a foreign transport body in economical space of CIS still continues, supported by NATO military expansion. War and trade go hand in hand.

Anatoli Baranov PRAVDA.Ru

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