The Crescent Report

June 14, 2010

Afghan Wealth Must Be for the Afghan People!

Filed under: From the Desk of Imam Mahdi Bray — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 1:25 pm

Surprise! Surprise! We’ve been told countless times by the Bush administration and the Obama administration that our only interest in Afghanistan is national security and our commitment to the economic development, stability and democracy in Afghanistan. Lo and behold there are minerals in “them there hills” and plenty of Lithium to boot. And it’s worth trillions $$$. Check out the piece below. Imam Mahdi Bray

Quote of Day: “What do empires do? They wage war on other peoples, and then steal their stuff.”

Afghan Wealth Must Be for the Afghan People!

An enormous amount of new mineral wealth-perhaps a trillion dollars worth-has been discovered in Afghanistan.  It’s not in the form of Opium, though.  It is newly-discovered deposits (at least by the United States) of Iron, Cobalt, Gold, Copper, Lithium, and Niobium.

The last two elements are primary materials used in the construction of electric batteries and specialty Steel products, respectively.

By some accounts, these mineral deposits could open the door to a staggering economic impact on the Afghan economy.  The mineral deposits had been previously recorded by Afghan geologists during the Soviet occupation of the country, but the knowledge was hidden during the ensuing Taliban domination of the country.

An internal Pentagon memo, previously not made public, indicated that the United States military was aware of the previous discovery of these enormously lucrative mineral deposits in Afghanistan. General David Petraeus, the United States military commander on Afghanistan, called this a startling discovery that could potentially transform the Afghan economy.  Afghan leaders have echoed this evaluation.  But the question is: who will benefit from the wealth?  And could these minerals lead to a new a new push for the economic re-colonization of Afghanistan?

We should be mindful that Afghanistan is a divided country engaged in a ferocious civil war, a place invaded by foreign armies, and a nation with foreign occupation troops that collaborate with a corrupt, and largely ineffective, central government.  Without the resolution of these internal contradictions and the establishment of just peace in the nation, it would be virtually impossible for the people of Afghanistan to insure the fair and equitable distribution of any money that derives from the exploitation of this natural wealth.

Just as Iraq has now been opened to more neo-colonial oil exploitation as a result of internal divisions and the hegemony imposed by the U.S. military and the legions of corporate interest in the country, the same-or worse, could take place in Afghanistan.  Both the multinationals and their comprador local business allies/lackeys might well try to jack-up the mineral wealth of the nation economy for their own greedy purposes, which are, in the final analysis, not national interests, but the interests of private ownership.

So before the banks and the trans-national mining companies join in a new orgy of exploration and exploitation in Afghanistan, let’s pause for a moment to block a potential neo-colonial rip-off of the Afghan people.  There needs to be a broad, popular evaluation of this new mineral discovery, and not a deal for the exclusive benefit of the wealthy elites (internal or external). The current government, tribal warlords, or business interests

After all, a trillion dollars is real money.  And way too much to be left to the machinations of people like Hamid Karzai and his cronies.

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