Tuesday, February 13, 2007
From The Exile, Moscow based .alt newspaper
By Mark Ames
But then America won the war in Afghanistan much more easily and quickly than we or anyone else thought. Suddenly, we decided we didn't need Putin's help anymore. And here is where the Timeline for a New Cold War really begins.
On December 13th, 2001, after it was clear that Afghanistan had fallen to our allies, Bush announced that America was unilaterally withdrawing from the ABM Treaty.
A couple of months later, in early 2002, Bush announced that he was sending Green Berets into Georgia to fight against alleged Al Qaeda terrorists in the Pankisi Gorge. I visited Georgia then, and literally no one on the ground there believed that there was a real Al Qaeda threat. What it had everything to do with was training up a strong pro-American Georgian army to secure a planned Caspian Sea oil pipeline, which was due to be constructed through southern Georgia's territory on its way to Turkey, a route chosen to bypass Russia and remain in pro-Western (i.e., American) hands.
If Putin's first real counterstrike in Cold War II was against Khodorkovsky
2002...the Yukos battle - was coming to a head. Yukos was fast becoming one of top three or four oil companies in the world.
Khodorkovsky wanted to build up Yukos' value quickly to sell a huge chunk of it to one of Cheney's Texas oil buddies, reportedly either Exxon or Chevron. The reason this was so important for Khodorkovsky was that, since he essentially stole the company during the loans-for-shares privatization scheme
This is what led to Khodorkovsky to allegedly try to buy off and retool the Russian political system. Without political control, he might not keep and grow his assets.
In March, America invaded Iraq, turning Russian public opinion decidedly against America as a nation of Huns. That same month, Khodorkovsky was allegedly working with Duma parties he'd paid off in order to change the Constitution and weaken the powers of the President in favor of parliament. It was a kind of constitutional coup in the works, a coup which would serve his and the Bush people's mutual interests.
It all ended in July 2003 when Putin jailed Platon Lebedev, and Yukos was finished. With its destruction went Cheney's hope of getting control of Russian oil.
Today most of Yukos is in the Kremlin's hands; Putin's power is uncontested; and Khodorkovsky is in jail. The Murmansk pipeline was canceled. Now the Siberian pipelines, secure in Kremlin hands, are taking oil to Asia.
You could see why a guy like Dick Cheney wouldn't like Putin.