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(en) Global War for the World Order (Part I) - http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/zirkular/61/z61e_war.htm

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Tue, 10 Dec 2002 06:38:26 -0500 (EST)

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E

Behind the attacks of September 11 weren't the
pauperized and exploited of this world, and the bombing
of Afghanistan isn't aimed at the alleged masterminds of
the attacks. Both incidents belong to the strategy of
worldwide control of labor power and protection of the
global valorization of capital. So it does not have to do
simply with profit making in the economic sense, but
rather with the protection and penetration of capitalistic
relations, i.e., of a specific class relationship. This class
relationship, as the core of a historic form of society,
finds itself in crisis, and must today be defended with

In discussions over the past weeks, a whole series of
background information has been gathered together, on the
attacks just as much as on the war in Afghanistan, which,
taken for themselves, are all correct, but which, however,
account only for facets of a global class struggle: the role of
petroleum in the Caspian Sea and the pipelines, the
geopolitical wrangling for the Central Asian territory, the
instability of the regimes of the Middle East, the religious
and ethnic fissuring of society, the international migratory
currents, the dramatic crisis of the capitalist world economy,
crisis phenomena in the industrial countries themselves, the
world market for drugs, the contradictions of so-called
globalization, the new orientation of US and NATO war
politics, the transformation of democracies into security
states. But instead of supplying the connections among these
particular aspects in the capitalist character of the
contemporary world, in the antagonistic form of social
relations, in discussions they are isolated, counterposed, and
therefore mystify more than they explain.

In part one, we observe the character of war and the social
content of the twenty-year war in Afghanistan, and explain
the meaning of the Central Asian region by means of the role
of petroleum for class relations in capitalist industry and by
means of the political dilemma of the oil regimes of the
Middle East, from which also the attacks of September 11
arose. In part two (in the next issue) we want to examine the
meaning of the Taliban, the decision for military attacks on
Afghanistan and the concrete course of the bombings, and to
situate this in the military, political and economic
perspectives of the world order. (See also our First Theses of
September 26, 2001, On the Attacks in the USA and the

Part I:
The Proletarianization of the World
and the (Oil) Machine of Capital

As the city of New York, in the middle of December, put the
number of victims of 9/11 at 2,922, an unknown professor at
the University of New Hampshire presented a meticulously
worked out examination of the number of civilian dead in
Afghanistan, in which otherwise no one had shown any
interest. For the eight and a half weeks after the beginning of
the bombing, he came up with 3 767 civilian dead, from
which he excluded all those who only later succumbed to
their injuries or died of other results of the war. [1] There are
no comparable estimates of the number of dead soldiers or
prisoners, though about 10 000 are spoken of.

Many have become outraged over this high number of
civilian victims, reproached the USA for inhuman war
waging, or advised against the use of certain weapons like
the notorious cluster bomb. In spite of or precisely because
of such appeals, the notion is maintained that war is simply a
means for some determined political goal: overthrow of the
Taliban regime, elimination of Al Qaeda terrorists, or also
access to petroleum, or for geostrategic purposes.

War as Social Politics

War is never simply a means for something else. It itself is a
determinate social relation that expresses in an extreme way
what the role of proletarians is supposed to be: impotent
objects of events occurring over their heads. In the
Washington Post, on December 16, military-psychological
considerations on the role of massive bombings from the air
were taken into account, based on experiences in the Gulf
War of 1991 and the bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, but
also based on knowledge of World War II [2]: It's not only
about physical destruction, but the total demoralization of
the attacked. Especially effective were bombings from such a
height that no airplane could even be seen. These bombs,
which, for the bombed, seemed to come out of nothing, and
against which there was no possibility of defense nor escape,
created not only the feeling of fear, but of a total
senselessness and impotence; superhuman abilities were
attributed to the enemy. These feelings were further
strengthened through isolation and the lack of water and
food. (We can add that the attackers of 9/11 also could have
been privy to such knowledge: Their bombs came just as
much out of nothing, and allowed of no defense; their
putative causer was just as much furnished with
superhuman powers, that were supposed to leave those
threatened by such attacks no other choice than to submit
themselves to a higher power.)

Marc Herold put the high number of civilian dead down, not
to the imprecision or failure of the weapons system, but to
this manner of war waging. Like already in the Gulf and
Kosovo wars, it is the highest goal of war waging to avoid all
losses. Thus the bombing from heights unreachable for the
Stinger rockets always at hand in Afghanistan. [3]

High-intelligence weapons that only hit the bad guys are
pure fairytales: They often enough land right next to them,
but because of cost factors they make up only a small part of
bombings. A cruise missile costs 1 up to 1.5 million dollars,
a cluster bomb a laughable $5 000. So, nonmilitary targets
were aimed at, like waterworks and dams; the telephone
system was taken out of commission, the broadcast system
destroyed. Several times, aid warehouses were bombed and
employees of aid organizations were killed - after the third
time not even the Red Cross took it for an accident anymore.

"As the USA warplanes on October 22-23 shot up the village
of Chowkar-Karez, 25 miles north of Kandahar, with
AC-130 cannons, and killed at least 93 civilians, an officer
of the Pentagon said "the people there are dead because we
wanted to have them dead." The reason? They sympathized
with the Taliban." [4]

There is an officer that at least once let the truth slip out.
The civilian deaths are no regrettable collateral damage but
intentional. To all - the Taliban, the civilian population, and
above all the militia of the Northern Alliance it should be
made clear that they have to follow the dictate of this power;
that this power can deliver death unto all. Statehood arises
only in the recognition of a power monopoly - in this sense
Afghanistan is practically being bombed into statehood. The
massacres that the militias or Taliban committed over the
years before do not distinguish themselves in the number of
dead from the massacre of this bombing campaign but the
latter has another meaning; it mediates the existence of a
pre-eminent power. Like when, after the liberation of the
cities in the middle of December, fighting broke out in the
north between two militias of the Northern Alliance, and the
USA didn't hesitate to end the battle with bombs from the

War as Business and Transformation of Society

The USA has waged no war, but thrown bombs. The ground
struggle it has left to the militias of the Northern Alliance.
They have waged war for many years: against the Soviet
Union and the regime in Kabul, together, and amongst
themselves; and then against the Taliban, but always also
amongst themselves. In the media, the chaos in Afghanistan
becomes insoluble, and the constant failure of the peace
negotiations is always lamented. But, in this case, who ever
wanted peace?

To explain the twenty-year war in Afghanistan, to which at
least 1.5 million people have fallen victim and by which more
millions were made refugees, ethnic and religious conflicts
as much as the competition of the interested states bordering
the region, have been cited. All this has hindered a solution.
Which solution? War was for a long time the solution. It was
in no way total chaos, but rather a stable economy for those
actively participating, on which their profits turned, and it
was a process that radically rearranged the social relations in
spite of all opposition. [5]

This war had in twenty years the effects that earlier
development dictatorships and reform programs had not
succeeded in achieving. The war in Afghanistan can be
described as an almost textbook example of »primitive
accumulation«, i.e., the ripping of humanity from its
subsistence relations and the establishment of capitalistic
relations. The ethnicization was only a means of holding the
war in place. It had its basis not in the populations (see
article from NZZ, quoted below), but rather served the
militias in the legitimation of constant war waging. The
warlords have nothing to do with the old »tribal leaders« but
rather represent a new political and economic elite.

 The Ethnic Construct in Afghanistan
"In opposition to the general representation that
ethnic groups already existed for an indeterminate
time, most of the ethnicities in Afghanistan were
only created in the course of the twentieth century.
Driven by scientific enthusiasm to classify people
on the grounds of cultural qualities, ethnologists
created a whole series of ethnic groups: Thus the
Nuristani, Paschai, Aimaq, or Farsiwan. The
concept of »Tadjik« originally came from residents
who would not let themselves be ethnically
classified. Therefore today we speak of the ethnic
group of »Tadjiks«. Because of the various
scientific claims, its unclear how many ethnic
groups there are in Afghanistan today. While a
German treatment comes to about 50 ethnicities,
the Russian counts 200.

There are no concepts that say how an Uzbek, a
Hazara, or a Pashtun has to be. Whoever claims
that all Pashtuns are Sunnis errs grossly, where
there are in the territory of Kandahar and in the
Afghan-Pakistani border region also Shiite
Pashtuns. Whoever claims that all Pashtuns speak
Pashtu errs as well. Thus Tadjiks in Jalalabad or
Hazara in Ghazni also speak Pashtu. In opposition
to the governing Kabulers, who insist on their
Pashtun identity but sometimes speak not a single
word of Pashtun. The fallacy of Western politics,
however, is to equate the ethnic groups with the
military-political movements, and to interpret
them as a unified bloc. In the contemporary debate
it goes unnoticed that in spite of the ethnicization
of the war, an ethnicization of the masses is
nowhere to be found. Because to most Afghanis
all the war parties are equally hated. Also the
ethnic problematic for them is of no importance.
Thus it goes wholly into oblivion that for the
Afghani population, not the ethnic group, but
rather, as before, the family, the clan and the
village create the essential identity reference. Even
the relevance of ethnicity as a military-political peg
remains limited in the Afghan war: Innumerable
commanders and battle units change fronts out of
political opportunism and economic incentives
independent of ethnic category".

(Conrad Schetter: The Chimera of Ethnicity in
Afghanistan, Die Neue Zürcher Zeitung, October
26, 2001.)

The social transformations of the twenty-year war in
Afghanistan can be gathered together as follows: [6]

The previous agrarian subsistence economy and the
nomad-grazing economy were permanently destroyed,
beginning with the clearing of the fruit farms by the
Soviet Army as a counterinsurgency tactic, up to the
prevention of the grazing economy through the division
of the land into militarily controlled areas and the mining
of the countryside.

Afghanistan experienced a rapid urbanization, in large
part through the formation of refugee camps in Pakistan,
which developed into proper cities; with 3.5 million
refugees, the Afghans count as the largest single refugee
group internationally, as this always forms one of the
first stages of proletarianization.

The militias just as much as the urban population
became dependent on foreign deliveries and payments;
the arms deliveries just as much as the international food
aid are an income source for the many middlemen who
enrich themselves and become »entrepreneurs«.

For the first time, the economy, which previously stood
50 percent outside of money relations, has been wholly

Where agricultural production can be taken up at times,
it is arranged around cash crops (i.e., products that can
be sold on the world market) - here, above all, poppies
for opium and heroin production.

Transport and smuggling of commodities, above all from
the duty-free harbors of Dubai (United Arab Emirates) to
Pakistan and into the Central Asian states, has become
an important source of income; here also arises an
economic sector based on wage labor and profit.

In the subsistence economy and the social and political order
based on it, there is nothing to beautify. The power inside
the clan- and village-structured order turns on a feudal-like
rent system, on which different attempts at land reform have
broken their teeth in vain. These patriarchal structures
oppose themselves to development models from above
equally whether from a Western or a Soviet orientation.

With the transition toward the war economy up came a new
elite, whose power was no longer based on disposal over
earth and water, nor in any respect on the local population.
The customary description in the press of warlords as »tribal
leaders« or »clan chief« is totally misleading. The
permeation of the new economy was above all unavoidable
because of the fact that a new power structure arose that was
no longer based on traditional relations. This change was
furthered by the decision of the USA, Pakistan and Saudi
Arabia to support not the traditional landowning elite in the
struggle against the Soviet Union, but rather only the
Islamist parties. In the same scale and manner in which the
militias and their agents were based on weapons and money
deliveries from foreign countries, they were autonomous
from the local communities, out of which they perhaps had
arisen. For the farming population, whose subsistence
foundations had been destroyed, the militias formed the
next-best form of wage labor: soldiering - often only as a
transitional halfproletarianization, as can be read in the firm
ritual of summer offensives and the cessation of fighting for
the harvest time, along with the opposition to forced
recruitment in the villages.

Only in their independence did the militias discover their
»ethnic« ascriptions as Tadjiks, Pashtuns, or Hazaris, in
order to be able to possess their own »tradition« and
naturalistic identity [7] - these identities were practiced and
demonstrated in downright massacres in the style of ethnic
cleansing. Everybody participated in them: Dostum's troops
against the Taliban (already by then a container being used
as brutal means of mass death, as has now occurred again in
November at Mazar-i-Sharif), the Taliban against the
Hazaris, or Massud against the Hazaris in Kabul.

The constant shifting of coalitions, groups, and fronts in this
war - that goes just as much for the warlords as for the
influence-grabbing states - seems irrational only to those
believing in the warlords' ethnic, religious or tribal
camouflages. The whole time it has had to do with
maintaining this war as a period of transformation and as an
income source, and it was literally that which the apostles of
globalization preach: insertion into the world market.

The War in Afghanistan as a Catalyst for the
Transformation of Central Asia

The participating great powers - above all, the USA and
Russia, but also Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and India, and Iran
and China - are there in order to maintain their access to the
Central Asian territory. Of significance are not only the
transport routes to the Caspian Sea and its oilfields, but also
the whole political-military and economic orientation of the
five states having become independent since 1991:
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan, and
Kyrgyzstan (together these form an area about 10 times that
of today's Germany, with 55 million inhabitants). The
Afghanistan of the warlords forms the operative base for
Islamist groups in those countries and forced their regimes
to insure themselves of the support of either Russia or

The constant war in Afghanistan was thereby
simultaneously a moment of destabilization and social
change in these countries, and narrowly tied together with
similar wars in Chechnya, Tadjikistan, and Kyrgyzstan. In
that the Afghanistan war was supported by all sides with
money and weapons, it stabilized the instability of all Central
Asia, which was its purpose. The usual description of this
and similar wars as »proxy wars«, in which the different
great powers of the region haggle over their influence, is
superficial, and overlooks the class-forming and thereby
capitalizing dimension of military conflicts as such.

»The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis.
There'll be Aramco, pipelines, an emir, no
parliament, and lots of Shariah. We can live with
that«. A US diplomat, on January 20, 1997. [8]

Only in the middle of the 1990s did considerations ripen to
come to a stabilization regarding Afghanistan, in order to
harvest the fruit of the preceding social destruction - the first
hope were the now-ostracized Taliban. Already in the
Kosovo war it was made clear that NATO's aims lay in the
East, in the Caucasus and the Central Asian region. [9]
During the 1990s the interests in the oilfields and gas
reserves in the Caspian Sea moved ever more strongly into
the forefront. The political shakeup in the region in 1990/91
had triggered high expectations of a new income source in
the oil branch, which also looked just as much to Siberia.
Chevron has been active since 1997 in the Caspian Sea, and
cooperated from the beginning with Tenghiz Field, the
biggest development project. In spite of that, the oil world
remains skeptical. [10]

For the strategic interests of the USA and the NATO states
in these oil sources, their meaning as a possible alternative
or complement to oil exports out of the Middle East became
decisive - not because the exhaustion of the oilfields was
feared, but because the prime oil producer, Saudi Arabia,
and the other regimes on the Arabia peninsula could
withstand less and less pressure from the proletariat. Wars
are not led on the grounds of geological predictions for the
next thirty, forty or fifty years, but on the grounds of
immediately tangible problems. One such pain threshold was
the OPEC decision of March 1999 to cut back crude
production after a long phase of low prices, in order to drive
the price back up. This was Saudi Arabia's most obvious
renunciation of its previous role in oil price regulation in the
sense of the capitalist world conjuncture - and
simultaneously it was clear to everyone that it could not be
handled otherwise, because of class pressure. [11] Around
this time, fundamental decisions for a greater military
operation in Afghanistan and a more direct presence in
Central Asia may have been made.

The Special Commodity Petroleum

»Even an idiot understands the principle. We need
the oil. It's nice to talk about freedom, but Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia are hardly democracies, and if
their main export was oranges we would have
chucked the whole thing in August over in
Washington«. [12]
In the debate on the war in Afghanistan, the role of
petroleum is especially controversial. The project of a
pipeline from the Caspian Sea through Afghanistan, that the
competing oil firms Bridas, out of Argentina, and Unocal,
out of the USA, have striven for since the mid-1990s and
then began to put into action in 1998, moved to the center of
interest, and the »great game« for the Caspian oil reserves is
in everyone's mouth. It will be objected that such a military
action cannot be explained simply by the fact that Bush,
because of his participation in the oil business, wants to
bomb his way into a pipeline. But it actually doesn't have to
do with this special pipeline - although we shouldn't
underestimate the influence of private interests in
government policy. Only the democratic illusion has it that
government actors represent some sort of embodiment of the
general will. But the interest of the oil industry from the
beginning has been in a »high number of pipelines«, in order
to be dependent on no single route. [13] Not only is the USA
interested in the Caspian oil but also, just as much, the west
European states, Japan, and the two most populous nations
on the planet, China and India, whose oil needs are
increasing terrifically fast, and who both border the Central
Asian region. This general interest is based on the meaning
of oil for the circulation of capital. Oil is the central
component of the capitalist machinery and of all
reproduction in contemporary capitalism. Energy can be won
from thousands of other sources, but oil is today the basis of
valorization of capital. The run on the Caspian Sea has
nothing to do with the steadily exhausted reserves or other
»limits to growth«. There are »limits to profits«, which have
bound the oil interests so tightly to war and bloodbaths since
its establishment as the central energy source.

The whole technological organization of production, and the
composition of the working class, is today bound up with the
fact that petroleum began to replace coal as the central
energy source at the beginning of the last century. Both
world wars were the decisive break for this gigantic
technological reorganization, with the introduction of tanks
and airplanes. And by driving back coal, capital
disempowered that part of the working class that since the
second half of the nineteenth century had symbolized the
revolutionary threat: the miners. The so-called »Fordist«
phase of capitalism - car production, mass transit, assembly
lines - was based on the nearly inexhaustible availability of
oil at low prices. In distinction to the demand for coal, the
petroleum-driven capitalist industries were based on an
extremely large geographical division between the petroleum
and the industrial workers of the world.

After 1973, and in connection with the ecology debate, many
alternatives were argued over - not least because into the
position of the miners a petroleum-producing proletariat had
stepped, whose combativity was increasingly felt. [14] But as
long as oil let itself be used in an adequate quantity as a
component of the capital circuit, it would remain in the
center [15] - especially as a greater part of the total fixed
capital (machinery, transportation vehicles, electricity and
heat production) that is supposed to be valorized is bound to
this energy form and is based on precisely this strategy of
dispersal of production segments to supplier firms, and the
scattering of production with heavy transport vehicles.

But how does oil form a center of the capital circuit? In
capitalism, commodities are not simply commodities, but
moments of the total circuit of capital, which fulfills itself
through the chain of exchanges between particular
capitalists and between capitalists and labor powers. Not only
is the availability of cheap oil important, but also the ability
to be able to influence the price of this central commodity.
So, the first »oil price shock« of 1973 was no pressure
maneuver of the oil sheiks, who wanted to stick it to the
West, but rather a component of an international crisis
strategy against the working class - a brake on growth and
simultaneously a gigantic diversion of proletarian income to
profit. [16]

The price of the commodity oil appears in all capitalist
accounts: Oil itself is a capitalistically produced commodity;
it doesn't only come out of the ground, but is just as much
pressed out of the labor power of the petroleum-producing
proletariat (in this we indicate the totality of the proletariat,
which is necessary for oil production, inclusive of the
service, transportation, and construction workers); it
embodies not only value, but also first and foremost surplus
value. [17] Besides that, it contains a component of the
(fixed) capital that was first invested in the form of
explorations, drilling machines, pipelines, etc., and which
through the sale of the commodity must flow back again,
thus succeeding in the valorization of these capitals - today,
in essence, a couple of huge multinationals. The oil price
increases of 1999 were in the compelling interest of these
capitals, whose profits and investments had sunk
dramatically in the phase of cheap oil in the 1990s. [18] They
stood, however, in opposition to the valorization possibilities
of the remaining capital, for which oil is a cost factor that
determines its composition: If oil is cheaper, then with
constant technological relations of oil, raw materials,
machinery, and labor power, relatively more of these other
»ingredients« can be bought; it mostly has to do with labor
power, out of which alone surplus value can be pressed.
Cheap oil eases accumulation in these sectors; price
increases slow it down. For that matter, oil forms a large
component of the reproduction costs of labor power itself -
transport, heating and petrochemical products make up a
large part of proletarian expenses today. Summer 2000
showed the world how high oil prices lead to massive wage
pressure on the working class - in Europe the governments
were confronted with the frightening perspective of a
Europe-wide struggle movement. [19] On the other hand,
the national budget and social-state insurance of the living
standard in countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, for
example, depend on the fact that the oil price does not fall
too far.

The meaning of oil and its price for capitalistic development
therefore moves by means of contradictions. Oil should not
be sold »too expensive« or »too cheap«, i.e., it should be
able to suit the needs of the conjunctural cycles of the world
economy. Oil and its price can change nothing about the
crisis-prone nature of capital, but on the grounds of its
centrality, it offers an important lever to intervene to change
things in the course of crisis and class struggle. Therein lies
the distinction between oil and oranges, so self-explanatorily
assumed in the opening quote: in its meaning for the global
class struggle.

But what does all this have to do with Afghanistan, where
there's no oil yet? Or we can ask: What about Chechnya?
What with bin Laden?

The Saudi Arabian Oil Price Buffer No Longer Works

The strategic alliance of the USA with Saudi Arabia since
the end of the Second World War [20] was based on the fact
that it was made out to be the ideal deliverer of petroleum for
the appropriate conditions: a low-population country with
enormous oil reserves, under strict control of a feudal
kingdom, that the local population, in largest part still
Bedouin, was content with, and which could exploit and
control the above all immigrant population in oil production.
Like no other country, Saudi Arabia could increase or
decrease its oil production and thereby influence the global
oil market. The enormous wealth that the country achieved,
mainly after the oil price increase of 1973, was in no way
used against the USA - on the contrary, it was the major
financier of the USA, supporting its policy. It bought the
most modern weapons systems of the USAmerican military
contractors and helped out all over the world as a donator to
US foreign policy: for the Afghan mujahedeen, the contras in
Nicaragua, the armament of Iraq against Iran after 1979, the
1991 Gulf War of the USA against Iraq. Furthermore, the
petrodollars from the oil sales became the most important
driving force of the international financial markets. Saudi
Arabia became a »swing producer« on the world oil market,
which could, with extreme production movements (from a
maximum of 10 million barrels per day in 1981 to 3.5 million
in 1985), influence the oil price. [21]

Since the end of the 1980s, what is now an unalterable
certainty at the end of the 1990s, has become more and more
visible: Because of changed class relations, Saudi Arabia is
becoming unable to play this role any more. Therefore the
military hunt for another oil source, which expresses itself in
the bombing of Afghanistan just as much as already in the
massacres of the Russian military in Chechnya.

Saudi Arabia could play this role as a »swing producer«,
because, in distinction to other countries, on account of its
financial reserves ($100 billion in 1981), it could handle
losses of income. It could change its output and export
quantities to influence the price on the world market and in
the sense of the world conjuncture, even when this entailed a
diminished income. This situation has turned into its
opposite today: In 2000, Saudi Arabia was over $150 billion
in debt, which surpasses its gross domestic product. Saudi
oil politics based class relations on a »social pact«, which
promised to the local proletariat a nearly work-free income,
and proceeded with repression in production and oil output
against the extremely disfranchised and exploited immigrant
workers and against any form of opposition. But the oil
income combined with high »special expenditures« (e.g.,
$26 billion for Iraq in the war against Iran, and $55 billion for
the bombing of the same Iraq by the USA and England) did
not keep up with the cost of this »social pact«. Saudi Arabia
had an extremely high population growth of three to five
percent yearly. At the beginning of the 1970s, as the »social
pact« began to develop on the basis of the oil billions, about
5 million people lived in the country; today there are over 20
million, of which 28 percent are foreigners.

As the oil price fell to a historic level in 1998, Saudi Arabia
was on the verge of a difficult financial crisis. The regime
was forced to drive the oil price back up, with no regard to
the world conjuncture of capital. In March 1999, OPEC
decided on a production cut of 2 million barrels per day (for
which Saudi Arabia was responsible for a fourth), which,
together with the unexpectedly quick increase in demand
from Asia after the 1997/98 crisis led to a strong increase in
the oil price and which allowed the Saudi regime slight
breathing room.

But the social crisis in Saudi Arabia sharpened further and
led to a heavy struggle inside the ruling elite - of which the
bin Laden faction is only one expression. With the politics of
terror acts against US-American targets [22] (on August 7,
1998, embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on September 11,
2001, the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon), they
aimed at internal Saudi power politics: via the aggravation of
a confrontation between the »Islamic« and the »Western«
world, the now-ruling clique is to be deprived of its most
important allies and its support from the USA. The local
proletariat is thereby promised the reinstatement of the
previous »social pact«, which was supposedly only
endangered by giving away the oil too cheaply.

The people who were the victims of the attacks on 9/11 were
»collateral damage« in this Saudi Arabian power poker
(which also similarly occurs in the other oil-producing lands
of the Middle East) just as much as the Afghanistan civilians
bombed to death were victims of the opening up of the
Caspian Sea oil reserves and the stabilization of the Saudi

Part II: The Way to War and the Search for Empire


[1] Marc Herold's examination can be found at pubpages.unh.edu/~mwherold.

[2] »Impact of US Bombing Is Felt in Many Ways«, Washington Post, December
16, 2001.

[3] In the 1980s the USA gave the mujahedeen several hundred Stinger rockets
for their war against the Soviet Union. After 1992 the CIA sought unsuccessfully
to buy back the noncommitted rockets.

[4] According to Marc Herold. This is in fact the same logic that bin Laden uses,
in order to justify his attacks on civilians: in the opposition between »Islam« and
»the West«, all are soldiers. And who's to deny that from time to time they
»sympathize« with their government.

[5] In the discussion about 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, this moment has
only been emphasized by »Materialien für einen neuen Anti-Imperialismus«. See
»Antiterrorismus - die Politik sozialer Feinderklärung« and »Ökonomie des
Krieges? Krieg der Ökonomie« at www.materialien.org.

[6] One of the few representations of the social process in Afghanistan is found
in Barnett R. Rubin: »The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan«,
Sweden, June 21, 1999 (www.institute-for-afghan-studies.org).

[7] These modern forms of war economy are in no way limited to Afghanistan,
but rather find themselves everywhere that, out of a strategy of »low-intensity
warfare« as containment policy, warlords arose, whose power is based above all
on their contact with the world market for weapons, petroleum, precious
minerals or drugs. See, e.g., Michael Böllig, »Zur Ökonomie des Krieges: Die
Gewalt und die Geschäfte der Afrikanischen Warlords«, Frankfurter
Rundschau, January 9, 2001.

[8] Ahmed Rashid: Taliban. Oil , War and the New Great Game in Central Asia,
London, 2000.

[9] See Sean Gervasi, »Why Is NATO in Yugoslavia?« (1996) and
»Geopolitische Aspekte des Kriegs in Jugoslawien«, Wildcat Zirkular #50/51,
Mai/Juni 1999. In the background, there already stood a pipeline project for the
transportation of oil from the Caspian over the Balkans to Western Europe.

[10] From the beginning it was clear that a time would come when the oil
multinationals would be able to stake their claim: to the one, no quick solution
was expected to the question of security of property, to withdrawal of profits and
to social stability, i.e., to the regulation of the class struggle; to the other, the
question of transportation in the Caspian just as much as in Siberia remained
open. »That's a marathon and no sprint«, as an oil manager put it. »Why Soviet
Oil Wells Won't Be Gushing Soon«, BusinessWeek, September 9, 1991.

[11] See Gregory Gause III, »Saudi Arabia: Over a Barrel«, Foreign Affairs,
May/June 2000, and George Caffentzis, A Essay on the Events of September 11,
2001 - Addressed to the Antiglobalization Movement.

[12] A George H.W. Bush adviser in August 1990, during the preparations for
war against Iraq, according to Ferrucio Gambino: Migranti nella tempesta: flussi
di lavoratori senza diritti e di petrodollari del Golfo Persico, in: altreragioni, no. 1,
1992 - German translation in Thekla No. 17.

[13] »Why the West May Come Up Empty in the World's Biggest Oil Patch«,
BusinessWeek, May 30, 1994. The route through Afghanistan doesn't merit a
single mention in this article yet.

[14] See TheKla 14, 17; Wildcat 54, 55 and 57.

[15] Between 1970 and 1998 the component of petroleum and gas in world
energy consumption has gone down a little, still, however, amounting to 60.7
percent (35 percent oil, 25.7 percent gas) with numbers growing again today - in
comparison to 64.8 (45.3 oil and 19.5 gas) in 1970. This decline is based almost
exclusively on the increase of nuclear energy, from 0.1 percent in 1970 to 7.4
percent in 1998, whose share is now decreasing; coal's share has further gone
back from 32.9 to 28.7 percent; a slight increase has been given to alternative
energy sources like water, etc., from 2.2 to 3.2 percent (Yearbook of World
Energy Statistics, United Nations).

[16] See, e.g., »Der Energiesektor als Strategischer Sektor im Klassenkampf«,
Autonomie NF, No. 11, in TheKla 14.

[17] Theoretically observed, commodities embody value only because they are
moments of the capital circuit, and thus are bearers of surplus value; the value
form of the commodity entails its function as a capital particle.

[18] »Big Oil's Priority: Pump Up the Stock Prices«, Business Week, September
25, 2000.

[19] See Wildcat-Zirkular 58, December 2000. In English the section: Struggles
over oil prices in summer 2000 on our website.

[20] Michael T. Klare, »The Geopolitics of War«, The Nation, November 22,

[21] See Gregory Gause III, op cit.

[22] Or of refering to such attacks, of which we might never learn who
committed them, in an affirmative way.

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