March 17, 2012
United States Secretary of State Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton’s message to Pakistan was stark; try to go ahead with the IP (Iran-Pakistan) gas pipeline, and we’re going to take you out financially.
Islamabad, its economy in tatters, living in power-cut land, and desperate for energy, tried to argue. Pakistan’s top official in the Petroleum and Natural Resources Ministry, Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry, stressed that the 2,775-km, $1.5 billion IP was absolutely crucial for Pakistan’s energy security.
That fell on deaf ears. Clinton evoked “particularly damaging” sanctions – tied to Washington’s push to isolate Iran by all means available and the no-holds-barred campaign to force particularly India, China and Turkey to cut off their imports of Iranian oil and gas.
So as Washington has been impotent to disrupt Pipelineistan moves in Central Asia – by isolating Iran and bypassing Russia – it’s now going ballistic to prevent by all means the crucial integration of Southwest Asia and South Asia, from Iran’s giant South Pars gas field to Pakistan’s Balochistan and Sindh provinces.
IP, it should be remembered, is the original, $7 billion IPI; Iran-Pakistan-India, also known as the “peace pipeline”. India dropped out in 2009 after non-stop harassment by the George W Bush and then Barack Obama administrations; India was offered access to civilian nuclear technology.
China, for its part, is still eyeing the possibility of extending IP out of Gwadar port, then crossing to Pakistan’s north alongside the Karakoram Highway all the way to Xinjiang. China is already helping Islamabad to build civilian nuclear reactors – as part of Pakistan’s energy security policy.