Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 23:56:26 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Eisenscher <>
Subject: Real Cause of Caucasus War: Oil
Article: 81607
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

Caucasus belli

Editorial by Chamsoudin Mamaev, The Times Diary, Wednesday 10 November 1999

In the Northern Caucasus, it is not Islamic extremists who direct or finance the rebels. There are other forces, much more influential and much more respectable, who have no interest in introducing Islamic law.

Dagestan was condemned to war two years ago when two world powers entered into pitiless competition. The Caucasus became their battleground. In August 1997, the CIA had a secret meeting with Madeleine Albright on the subject of Caspian oil. After listening to them, Madeleine Albright decreed that taking charge of the future of this region would be “one of our most exciting tasks”.

A few days later, Bill Clinton honoured with his presence the signing ceremony of a petrol deal between the President of Azerbaijan and the oil company Amoco. President Aliev returned home happy and the US decreed the Caucasus to be a zone of strategic American interests.

Between a southern route for the oil pipeline, from Baku to Ceyhan on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, and a northern one to Novorosisk via Grozny, it was the former which was chosen. In parallel, however, an opposite system was being set up, launched by oil-producing Arab countries.

They struck at the weakest part of the American operation, the pipeline project. Washington's project from Baku to Ceyhan via Tbilisi is the least profitable of all possible choices. The only reason why the Americans preferred it is that they want to ensure that the West has a supply of energy which is independent from Russia and from the Moslim world, especially from the Arab countries and Opec.

Shortly after the pipeline was opened from Baku to Soupsa on March 23, Opec decided to cut its production. Chechnya was the first to apply the resolution: it closed the taps on March 30. Russia started to transport petrol through Dagestan: the rebels appeared soon afterwards.

When one thinks that in the meantime the price of petrol has doubled, this means of stopping oil production is worth millions of dollars. But what does Allah have to do with all that?