The Center for Cooperative Research
U:     P:    
Not registered yet? Register here
 
Search
 
Current timeline only
Advanced Search


Main Menu
Home 
History Engine Sub-Menu
Timelines 
Entities 
Forum 
Miscellaneous Sub-Menu
Donate 
Links 
End of Main Menu

Volunteers Needed!
Submit a timeline entry
Donate: If you think this site is important, please help us out financially. We need your help!
Email updates
 



  View mode (info):
  Ordering (info):
  Time period (info):

Before 9/11

Warning Signs (228)
Foreign Intelligence Warnings (27)
Insider Trading (36)
Counterterrorism Before 9/11 (181)
Able Danger (39)
Military Exercises (38)
Hunt for bin Laden (73)
Pipeline Politics

Al-Qaeda Members

Al-Qaeda in Germany (42)
Alhazmi and Almihdhar (74)
Other 9/11 Hijackers (48)
Marwan Alshehhi (21)
Mohamed Atta (37)
Ziad Jarrah (9)
Hani Hanjour (15)
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (33)
Zacarias Moussaoui (40)
Nabil al-Marabh (10)

Geopolitics and 9/11

Pakistani ISI (126)
Randy Glass (7)
Sibel Edmonds (6)
Saeed Sheikh (3)
Mahmood Ahmed (3)
Drugs (21)
Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden Family (110)
Bin Laden Family (33)
Israel (33)
Iraq (49)
US Dominance (34)

Day of 9/11

All day of 9/11 events (401)
Flight AA 11 (62)
Flight UA 175 (49)
Flight AA 77 (70)
Flight UA 93 (105)
George Bush (66)
Dick Cheney (24)
Donald Rumsfeld (24)
Richard Clarke (22)

The Post-9/11 World

Afghanistan (49)
Investigations (166)
9/11 Congressional Inquiry (0)
9/11 Commission (0)
Other 9/11 Investigations (0)
Other events (79)
Click here to join: Suggest changes to existing data, add new data to the website, or compile your own timeline. More Info >>

 

Complete 911 Timeline: Pipeline politics

 
  

Project: Complete 911 Timeline

Export to XML Printer Friendly View Email to a Friend Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size


1991-1997: Oil Investment in Central Asia Follows Soviet Collapse

       The Soviet Union collapses in 1991, creating several new nations in Central Asia. Major US oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Texaco, Unocal, BP Amoco, Shell, and Enron, directly invest billions in these Central Asian nations, bribing heads of state to secure equity rights in the huge oil reserves in these regions. The oil companies commit to $35 billion in future direct investments in Kazakhstan. It is believed at the time that these oil fields will have an estimated $6 trillion potential value. US companies own approximately 75 percent of the rights. These companies, however, face the problem of having to pay exorbitant prices to Russia for use of the Russian pipelines to get the oil out. [Asia Times, 1/26/02; New Yorker, 7/9/01]
People and organizations involved: Soviet Union, Unocal, Enron, Russia, BP, Kazakhstan, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch/Shell, Texaco
          

November 1993: Enron Power Plant Creates Demand for an Afghanistan Pipeline

      
The Dabhol power plant.
The Indian government approves construction of Enron's Dabhol power plant, located near Bombay on the west coast of India. Enron has invested $3 billion, the largest single foreign investment in India's history. Enron owns 65 percent of the Dabhol liquefied natural gas power plant, intended to provide one-fifth of India's energy needs by 1997. [Asia Times, 1/18/01; Indian Express, 2/27/00] It is the largest gas-fired power plant in the world. Earlier in the year, the World Bank concluded that the plant was “not economically viable” and refused to invest in it. [New York Times, 3/20/01]
People and organizations involved: India, World Bank, Enron
          

1995-November 2001: US Lobbies India Over Enron Power Plant

       Enron's $3 billion Dabhol, India power plant runs into trouble in 1995 when the Indian government temporarily cancels an agreement. The plant is projected to get its energy from the proposed Afghan pipeline and deliver it to the Indian government. Enron leader Ken Lay travels to India with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown the same year, and heavy lobbying by US officials continue in subsequent years. By summer 2001, the National Security Council leads a “Dabhol Working Group” with officials from various cabinet agencies to get the plant completed and functioning. US pressure on India intensifies until shortly before Enron files for bankruptcy in December 2001. US officials later claim their lobbying merely supported the $640 million of US government investment in the plant. But critics say the plant received unusually strong support under both the Clinton and Bush administrations. [Washington Post, 1/19/02; New York Daily News, 1/18/02]
People and organizations involved: National Security Council, Enron, Bush administration, Clinton administration, Kenneth Lay, India, Donald L. Evans
          

September-October 1995: Unocal Obtains Turkmenistan Pipeline Deal

       Oil company Unocal signs an $8 billion deal with Turkmenistan to construct two pipelines (one for oil, one for gas), as part of a larger plan for two pipelines intended to transport oil and gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and into Pakistan. Before proceeding further, however, Unocal needs to execute agreements with Pakistan and Afghanistan; Pakistan and Ahmed Shah Massoud's government in Afghanistan, however, have already signed a pipeline deal with an Argentinean company. Henry Kissinger, hired as speaker for a special dinner in New York to announce the Turkmenistan pipeline deal, says the Unocal plan represents a “triumph of hope over experience.” Unocal will later open an office in Kabul, weeks after the Taliban capture of the capital in late 1996 and will interact with the Taliban, seeking support for its pipeline until at least December 1997. [Coll, 2004, pp 301-13, 329, 338, 364-66]
People and organizations involved: Ahmed Shah Massoud, Taliban, Unocal, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Henry A. Kissinger, Pakistan
          

December 1995: Caspian Sea Said to Contain Two-Thirds of World's Known Oil Reserves

       The American Petroleum Institute asserts that the states bordering the Caspian Sea, north of Afghanistan, contain two-thirds of the world's known reserves, or 659 billion barrels. Such numbers spur demand for an Afghan pipeline. However, by April 1997, estimates drop to 179 billion barrels. [Middle East Journal, 9/22/00] This is still substantial, but the estimates continue to drop in future years (see November 1, 2002).
          

May 1996: US Seeks Stability in Afghanistan for Unocal Pipeline

       Robin Raphel, Deputy Secretary of State for South Asia, speaks to the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister about Afghanistan. She says that the US government “now hopes that peace in the region will facilitate US business interests,” such as the proposed Unocal gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Pakistan. [Coll, 2004, pp 330]
People and organizations involved: Russia, Unocal, Robin Raphel
          

June 24, 1996: Uzbekistan Cuts a Deal with Enron

       Uzbekistan signs a deal with Enron “that could lead to joint development of the Central Asian nation's potentially rich natural gas fields.” [Houston Chronicle, 6/25/96] The $1.3 billion venture teams Enron with the state companies of Russia and Uzbekistan. [Houston Chronicle, 6/30/96] On July 8, 1996, the US government agrees to give $400 million to help Enron and an Uzbek state company develop these natural gas fields. [Oil and Gas Journal, 7/8/96]
People and organizations involved: Enron, Uzbekistan
          

August 13, 1996: Unocal, Delta Oil Plan Afghan Pipeline

       Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia reach agreement with state companies in Turkmenistan and Russia to build a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Pakistan via Afghanistan; the agreement is finalized in 1997. [Unocal website, 8/13/96]
People and organizations involved: Unocal, Saparmurat Niyazov
          

September 27, 1996: Victorious Taliban Supported by Pakistan; Viewed by US, Unocal as Stabilizing Force

       The Taliban conquer Kabul [Associated Press, 8/19/02] , establishing control over much of Afghanistan. A surge in the Taliban's military successes at this time is later attributed to an increase in direct military assistance from Pakistan's ISI. [New York Times, 12/8/01] The oil company Unocal is hopeful that the Taliban will stabilize Afghanistan and allow its pipeline plans to go forward. According to some reports, “preliminary agreement [on the pipeline] was reached between the [Taliban and Unocal] long before the fall of Kabul . ... Oil industry insiders say the dream of securing a pipeline across Afghanistan is the main reason why Pakistan, a close political ally of America's, has been so supportive of the Taliban, and why America has quietly acquiesced in its conquest of Afghanistan.” [Daily Telegraph, 10/11/96] The 9/11 Commission later concludes that some State Department diplomats are willing to “give the Taliban a chance” because it might be able to bring stability to Afghanistan, which would allow a Unocal oil pipeline to be built through the country. [9/11 Commission Report, 3/24/04]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Unocal, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, US Department of State, 9/11 Commission
          

October 7, 1996: Future Bush Envoy to Afghanistan Wants US to Help Taliban Unify Country, Build Pipeline

       In a Washington Post op-ed, Zalmay Khalilzad calls on the US to deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan. “It is time for the United States to reengage. ...The Taliban does not practice the anti-US style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran — it is closer to the Saudi model.” He calls on the US to help the Taliban “put Afghanistan on a path toward peace,” noting that continuing violence “has been a source of regional instability and an obstacle to building pipelines to bring Central Asian oil and gas to Pakistan and the world markets.” [Washington Post, 10/7/96] However, by 2000, Khalilzad will sour on the Taliban. In a speech in March 2000, he will state, “Afghanistan was and is a possible corridor for the export of oil and gas from the Central Asian states down to Pakistan and to the world. A California company called Unocal was interested in exploring that option, but because of the war in Afghanistan, because of the instability that's there, those options, or that option at least, has not materialized.” [Los Angeles World Affairs Council, 3/9/00]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, United States, Unocal, Zalmay M. Khalilzad
          

October 11, 1996: Afghan Pipeline Key to ‘One of the Great Prizes of the 21st Century’

       The Daily Telegraph publishes an interesting article about pipeline politics in Afghanistan. “Behind the tribal clashes that have scarred Afghanistan lies one of the great prizes of the 21st century, the fabulous energy reserves of Central Asia. ... ‘The deposits are huge,’ said a diplomat from the region. ‘Kazakhstan alone may have more oil than Saudi Arabia. Turkmenistan is already known to have the fifth largest gas reserves in the world.’ ” [Daily Telegraph, 10/11/96]
          

August 1997: CIA Monitors Central Asia for Oil Reserves

       The CIA creates a secret task force to monitor Central Asia's politics and gauge its wealth. Covert CIA officers, some well-trained petroleum engineers, travel through southern Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan to sniff out potential oil reserves. [Time, 5/4/98]
People and organizations involved: Central Intelligence Agency
          

October 27, 1997: Halliburton Announces Turkmenistan Project; Unocal and Delta Oil Form Consortium

       Halliburton, a company headed by future Vice President Dick Cheney, announces a new agreement to provide technical services and drilling for Turkmenistan. The press release mentions, “Halliburton has been providing a variety of services in Turkmenistan for the past five years.” On the same day, a consortium to build a pipeline through Afghanistan is formed. It is called CentGas, and the two main partners are Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia. [CentGas press release, 10/27/97; Halliburton press release, 10/27/97]
People and organizations involved: Halliburton, Inc., Energy Information Agency, Turkmenistan, Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

November 1997: Enron and bin Laden Family Team Up for Project

       Industry newsletter reports that Saudi Arabia has abandoned plans for open bids on a $2 billion power plant near Mecca, deciding that the government will build it instead. Interestingly, one of the bids was made by a consortium of Enron, the Saudi Binladin Group (run by Osama's family), and Italy's Ansaldo Energia. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 1/22/98]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Arabia, Enron, Saudi Binladin Group, Office for the Protection of the Constitution
          

December 1997: Unocal Establishes Pipeline Training Facility Near bin Laden's Compound

       Unocal pays University of Nebraska $900,000 to set up a training facility near bin Laden's Kandahar compound, to train 400 Afghan teachers, electricians, carpenters and pipe fitters in anticipation of using them for their pipeline in Afghanistan. One hundred and fifty students are already attending classes. [Coll, 2004, pp 364; Daily Telegraph, 12/14/97]
People and organizations involved: Turkey, Osama bin Laden, Unocal
          

December 4, 1997: Taliban Representatives Visit Unocal in Texas

      
Taliban representatives in Texas, 1997.
Representatives of the Taliban are invited guests to the Texas headquarters of Unocal to negotiate their support for the pipeline. Future President George W. Bush is Governor of Texas at the time. The Taliban appear to agree to a $2 billion pipeline deal, but will do the deal only if the US officially recognizes the Taliban regime. The Taliban meet with US officials. According to the Daily Telegraph, “the US government, which in the past has branded the Taliban's policies against women and children ‘despicable,’ appears anxious to please the fundamentalists to clinch the lucrative pipeline contract.” A BBC regional correspondent says that “the proposal to build a pipeline across Afghanistan is part of an international scramble to profit from developing the rich energy resources of the Caspian Sea.” [BBC, 12/4/97; Daily Telegraph, 12/14/97]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Clinton administration, Unocal, Taliban
          

Early 1998: US Official Meets with Taliban; Promote Afghan Pipeline

       Bill Richardson, the US Ambassador to the UN, meets Taliban officials in Kabul. (All such meetings are illegal, because the US still officially recognizes the government the Taliban ousted as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan.) US officials at the time call the oil and gas pipeline project a “fabulous opportunity” and are especially motivated by the “prospect of circumventing Iran, which offers another route for the pipeline.” [Boston Globe, 9/20/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Bill Richardson
          

February 12, 1998: Unocal VP Advocates Afghan Pipeline Before Congress

       Unocal Vice President John J. Maresca—later to become a Special Ambassador to Afghanistan—testifies before the House of Representatives that until a single, unified, friendly government is in place in Afghanistan, the trans-Afghan pipeline will not be built. He suggests that with a pipeline through Afghanistan, the Caspian basin could produce 20 percent of all the non-OPEC oil in the world by 2010. [House International Relations Committee testimony, 2/12/98]
People and organizations involved: US Congress, Unocal, John J. Maresca
          

June 1998: Enron Shuts Down Uzbekistan Pipeline Project

       Enron's agreement from 1996 (see June 24, 1996) to develop natural gas with Uzbekistan is not renewed. Enron closes its office there. The reason for the “failure of Enron's flagship project” is an inability to get the natural gas out of the region. Uzbekistan's production is “well below capacity” and only 10 percent of its production is being exported, all to other countries in the region. The hope was to use a pipeline through Afghanistan, but “Uzbekistan is extremely concerned at the growing strength of the Taliban and its potential impact on stability in Uzbekistan, making any future cooperation on a pipeline project which benefits the Taliban unlikely.” A $12 billion pipeline through China is being considered as one solution, but that wouldn't be completed until the end of the next decade at the earliest. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 10/12/98]
People and organizations involved: China, Uzbekistan, Enron, Taliban
          

June 23, 1998: Future VP Cheney Raves About Caspian Sea Opportunities

       Future Vice President Cheney, currently running the Halliburton energy company, states, “I can't think of a time when we've had a region emerge as suddenly to become as strategically significant as the Caspian. It's almost as if the opportunities have arisen overnight.” [Chicago Tribune, 8/10/00; Cato Institute Library]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney
          

August 7, 1998: Al-Qaeda Bombs US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania

      
Bombings of the Nairobi, Kenya, US embassy (left), and the Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, US embassy (right).
Two US embassies in Africa are bombed almost simultaneously. The attack in Nairobi, Kenya, kills 213 people, including 12 US nationals, and injures more than 4,500. The attack in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, kills 11 and injures 85. The attack is blamed on al-Qaeda. [PBS Frontline, 2001] The attack shows al-Qaeda has a capability for simultaneous attacks. A third attack against the US embassy in Uganda fails. [Associated Press, 9/25/98]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda
          

August 9, 1998: Northern Alliance Stronghold Conquered by Taliban; Pipeline Project Now Looks Promising

       The Northern Alliance capital of Afghanistan, Mazar-i-Sharif, is conquered by the Taliban. Military support of Pakistan's ISI plays a large role; there is even an intercept of an ISI officer stating, “My boys and I are riding into Mazar-i-Sharif.” [New York Times, 12/8/01] This victory gives the Taliban control of 90 percent of Afghanistan, including the entire proposed pipeline route. CentGas, the consortium behind the gas pipeline that would run through Afghanistan, is now “ready to proceed. Its main partners are the American oil firm Unocal and Delta Oil of Saudi Arabia, plus Hyundai of South Korea, two Japanese companies, a Pakistani conglomerate and the Turkmen government.” However, the pipeline cannot be financed unless the government is officially recognized. “Diplomatic sources said the Taliban's offensive was well prepared and deliberately scheduled two months ahead of the next UN meeting” where members are to decide whether the Taliban should be recognized. [Daily Telegraph, 8/13/98]
People and organizations involved: Energy Information Agency, Northern Alliance, Taliban, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence
          

August 20, 1998: US Fires on al-Qaeda's Afghan Training Camps, Sudanese Facility

      
El Shifa Plant in Sudan.
The US fires 66 missiles at six al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and 13 missiles at a pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, Sudan, in retaliation for the US embassy bombings. [Washington Post, 10/3/01 (C)] The US insists the attacks are aimed at terrorists “not supported by any state,” despite obvious evidence to the contrary. The Sudanese factory is hit in the middle of the night when it is unoccupied. About 30 people are killed in the Afghanistan attacks, but no important al-Qaeda figures die. [Observer, 8/23/98; New Yorker, 1/24/00]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, Clinton administration
          

October 1998: Military Analyst Goes Where Spies Fail to Go, but Her Efforts Are Rejected

      
Julie Sirrs.
Julie Sirrs, a military analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), travels to Afghanistan. Fluent in local languages and knowledgeable about the culture, she had made a previous undercover trip there in October 1997. She is surprised that the CIA was not interested in sending in agents after the failed missile attack on bin Laden in August 1998, so she returns at this time. Traveling undercover, she meets with Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud. She sees a terrorist training center in Taliban-controlled territory. Sirrs claims, “The Taliban's brutal regime was being kept in power significantly by bin Laden's money, plus the narcotics trade, while [Massoud's] resistance was surviving on a shoestring. With even a little aid to the Afghan resistance, we could have pushed the Taliban out of power. But there was great reluctance by the State Department and the CIA to undertake that.” She partly blames the interest of the US government and the oil company Unocal to see the Taliban achieve political stability to enable a trans-Afghanistan pipeline (see May 1996) (see September 27, 1996). She claims, “Massoud told me he had proof that Unocal had provided money that helped the Taliban take Kabul.” She also states, “The State Department didn't want to have anything to do with Afghan resistance, or even, politically, to reveal that there was any viable option to the Taliban.” After two weeks, she returns with a treasure trove of maps, photographs, and interviews. [ABC News, 2/18/02; New York Observer, 3/11/04] By interviewing captured al-Qaeda operatives, she learns that the official Afghanistan airline, Ariana Airlines, is being used to ferry weapons and drugs, and learns that bin Laden goes hunting with “rich Saudis and top Taliban officials” (see Mid-1996-October 2001) (see 1995-2001). [Los Angeles Times, 11/18/01 (B)] When she returns from Afghanistan, her material is confiscated and she is accused of being a spy. Says one senior colleague, “She had gotten the proper clearances to go, and she came back with valuable information,” but high level officials “were so intent on getting rid of her, the last thing they wanted to pay attention to was any information she had.” She is cleared of wrongdoing, but her security clearance is pulled. She eventually quits the DIA in frustration. [New York Observer, 3/11/04; ABC News, 2/18/02] She claims that US intelligence on bin Laden and the Taliban relied too heavily on the ISI for its information. [ABC News, 2/18/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Defense Intelligence Agency, Julie Sirrs, Osama bin Laden, Northern Alliance, Ariana Airlines, Unocal, Central Intelligence Agency, US Department of State, Taliban, al-Qaeda, Ahmed Shah Massoud
          

December 5, 1998: Unocal Abandons Afghan Pipeline Project

       Unocal announces it is withdrawing from the CentGas pipeline consortium, and closing three of its four offices in Central Asia. President Clinton refuses to extend diplomatic recognition to the Taliban, making business there legally problematic. A concern that Clinton will lose support among women voters for upholding the Taliban plays a role in the cancellation. [New York Times, 12/5/98]
People and organizations involved: Energy Information Agency, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Unocal, Taliban
          

Late 1998: Taliban Stall Pipeline Negotiations to Keep Western Powers at Bay

       During the investigation of the August 7, 1998 US embassy bombings (see August 7, 1998), FBI counterterrorism expert John O'Neill finds a memo by al-Qaeda leader Mohammed Atef on a computer. The memo shows that bin Laden's group has a keen interest in and detailed knowledge of negotiations between the Taliban and the US over an oil and gas pipeline through Afghanistan. Atef's analysis suggests that the Taliban are not sincere in wanting a pipeline, but are dragging out negotiations to keep Western powers at bay. [Salon, 6/5/02]
People and organizations involved: John O'Neill, Mohammed Atef, United States, al-Qaeda, Taliban
          

1999: US Ready to Fight For Oil, Especially in Persian Gulf and Caspian Regions

       A top level US policy document explicitly confirms the US military's readiness to fight a war for oil. The report, Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense, states, “energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security,” and if an oil “problem” arises, “US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies.” Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged. [Sydney Morning Herald, 5/20/03]
People and organizations involved: United States
          

June 1999: Enron Plans Power Plant with bin Laden Family

       Enron announces an agreement to build a $140 million power plant in the Gaza Strip, between Israel and Egypt. One of the major financiers for the project is the Saudi Binladin Group, a company owned by bin Laden's family. This is the second attempted project between these two companies. Ninety percent complete, the construction will be halted because of Palestinian-Israeli violence and then Enron's bankruptcy. [Washington Post, 3/2/02]
People and organizations involved: Saudi Binladin Group, Enron
          

July 4, 1999: Executive Order Issued Against Taliban

       With the chances of a pipeline deal with the Taliban looking increasingly unlikely, President Clinton finally issues an executive order prohibiting commercial transactions with the Taliban. The order also freezes the Taliban's US assets. Clinton blames the Taliban for harboring bin Laden. [Executive Order, 7/4/99; CNN, 7/6/99]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Taliban, Osama bin Laden
          

December 20, 1999: Iran Said to Be Supporting Conflict in Afghanistan to Further Their Own Pipeline Plans

       The BBC explains one reason why the Northern Alliance has been able to hold out for so long in its civil war against the Taliban in Afghanistan: “Iran has stirred up the fighting in order to make sure an international oil pipeline [goes] through its territory and not through Afghanistan.” [BBC, 12/20/99]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Northern Alliance, Iran
          

October 12, 2000: USS Cole Bombed by al-Qaeda Militants; Investigation Thwarted

      
Damage to the USS Cole.
The USS Cole is bombed in the Aden, Yemen, harbor by al-Qaeda militants. Seventeen US soldiers are killed. [ABC News, 10/13/00]
People and organizations involved: al-Qaeda, USS Cole
          

January 21, 2001: Bush Administration Takes Over; Many Have Oil Industry Connections

      
The Chevron oil tanker named after National Security Advisor Rice.
George W. Bush is inaugurated as the 43rd US President, replacing Bill Clinton. The only Cabinet-level figure to remain permanently in office is CIA Director Tenet, appointed in 1997 and reputedly a long-time friend of George H. W. Bush. FBI Director Louis Freeh stays on until June 2001. Numerous figures in Bush's administration have been directly employed in the oil industry, including Bush, Vice President Cheney, and National Security Adviser Rice. Rice had been on Chevron's Board of Directors since 1991, and even had a Chevron oil tanker named after her. [Salon, 11/19/01] It is later revealed that Cheney is still being paid up to $1 million a year in “deferred payments” from Halliburton, the oil company he headed. [Guardian, 3/12/03] Enron's ties also reach deep into the administration. [Washington Post, 1/18/02]
People and organizations involved: William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, Louis J. Freeh, George W. Bush, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron, George Tenet
          

Late February 2001: Enron Influences Cheney's Energy Task Force to Help Troubled Dabhol Plant

       Vice President Cheney is holding a series of secret energy task force meetings to determine the Bush administration's future energy policy. Starting at this time, Enron leader Ken Lay and other Enron officials take part in a least half a dozen of these secret meetings. After one such meeting, Cheney's energy task force changes a draft energy proposal to include a provision boosting oil and natural gas production in India. The amendment is so narrow that it apparently is targeted to only help Enron's troubled Dabhol power plant in India. [Washington Post, 1/19/02]
People and organizations involved: Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Kenneth Lay, Enron, Bush administration
          

March 1, 2001: Taliban Blow Up Giant Buddha Statues, Disregard International Opinion

       The Taliban begins blowing up two giant stone Buddhas of Bamiyan (ancient statues carved into an Afghan mountainside, which are considered priceless treasures). They face great international condemnation in response, but no longer seem to be courting international recognition. Apparently, even ISI efforts to dissuade them fail. [Time, 8/4/02; Time, 8/4/02]
People and organizations involved: Taliban
          

May 2001: Cheney's Energy Plan Foresees Government Helping US Companies Expand Into New Markets

       Vice President Cheney's national energy plan is released to the public. It calls for expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants. [Associated Press, 12/9/02] There are several interesting points, little noticed at the time. It suggests that the US cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply to provide the growing amount of oil that it needs. It will also have to obtain substantial supplies from new sources, such as the Caspian states, Russia, and Africa. It also notes that the US cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies. [Japan Today, 4/30/02] The plan was largely decided through Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force. Both before and after this, Cheney and other Task Force officials meet with Enron executives (including one meeting a month and a half before Enron declares bankruptcy in December 2001). Two separate lawsuits are later filed to reveal details of how the government's energy policy was formed and whether Enron or other players may have influenced it, but as of mid-2005 the Bush administration has successfully resisted all efforts to release these documents. [Associated Press, 12/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Enron, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Bush administration
          

May 23, 2001: Former Unocal Employee Becomes Bush's Special Assistant to Middle East and Central Asia

      
Zalmay Khalilzad.
Zalmay Khalilzad is appointed Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Gulf, Southwest Asia and Other Regional Issues on the National Security Council. Khalilzad was an official in the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. During the Clinton years, he worked for Unocal. After 9/11, he will be appointed as special envoy to Afghanistan. [Independent, 1/10/02; State Department profile, 2001] He previously worked under Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and helped him write a controversial 1992 plan for US world domination.(see March 8, 1992) [New York Times, 3/22/03] He was a member of the neoconservative think tank Project for the New American Century. The Asia Times notes, “It was Khalilzad—when he was a huge Taliban fan—who conducted the risk analysis for Unocal (Union Oil Company of California) for the infamous proposed $2 billion, 1,500 kilometer-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan [TAP] gas pipeline.” [Asia Times, 12/25/03] After 9/11, he will be appointed as special envoy to Afghanistan and become what some call the “real president” of that country (see January 1, 2002).
People and organizations involved: Zalmay M. Khalilzad, Paul Wolfowitz, Taliban, Project for the New American Century, Unocal, National Security Council
          

June 2001: Enron Shuts Down Expensive Indian Plant Afghan Pipeline Fails to Materialize

       Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, is shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributes to Enron's bankruptcy in December. Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because energy from the plant cost three times the usual rates. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed. The larger part of the plant is still only 90 percent complete when construction stops around this time. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron executives meet with Commerce Secretary Donald L. Evans about its troubled Dabhol power plant during this year [New York Times, 2/21/02] , and Vice President Cheney lobbies the leader of India's main opposition party about the plant this month. [New York Times, 2/21/02]
People and organizations involved: India, Donald L. Evans, Richard ("Dick") Cheney, Enron
          

June 27, 2001: India and Pakistan Discuss Building Pipeline Project Through Iran

       The Wall Street Journal reports that Pakistan and India are discussing jointly building a gas pipeline from Central Asian gas fields through Iran to circumvent the difficulties of building the pipeline through Afghanistan. Iran has been secretly supporting the Northern Alliance to keep Afghanistan divided so no pipelines could be put through it. [Wall Street Journal, 6/27/01]
People and organizations involved: Northern Alliance, India, Pakistan
          

July 21, 2001: US Official Threatens Possible Military Action Against Taliban by October if Pipeline Is Not Pursued

      
Niaz Naik.
Three former American officials, Tom Simons (former US Ambassador to Pakistan), Karl Inderfurth (former Deputy Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs), and Lee Coldren (former State Department expert on South Asia) meet with Pakistani and Russian intelligence officers in a Berlin hotel. [Salon, 8/16/02] This is the third of a series of back-channel conferences called “brainstorming on Afghanistan.” Taliban representatives sat in on previous meetings, but boycotted this one due to worsening tensions. However, the Pakistani ISI relays information from the meeting to the Taliban. [Guardian, 9/22/01] At the meeting, Coldren passes on a message from Bush officials. He later says, “I think there was some discussion of the fact that the United States was so disgusted with the Taliban that they might be considering some military action.” [Guardian, 9/26/01] Accounts vary, but former Pakistani Foreign Secretary Niaz Naik later says he is told by senior American officials at the meeting that military action to overthrow the Taliban in Afghanistan is planned to “take place before the snows started falling in Afghanistan, by the middle of October at the latest.” The goal is to kill or capture both bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, topple the Taliban regime, and install a transitional government of moderate Afghans in its place. Uzbekistan and Russia would also participate. Naik also says, “It was doubtful that Washington would drop its plan even if bin Laden were to be surrendered immediately by the Taliban.” [BBC, 9/18/01] One specific threat made at this meeting is that the Taliban can choose between “carpets of bombs” —an invasion—or “carpets of gold” — the pipeline. [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 43] Naik contends that Tom Simons made the “carpets” statement. Simons claims, “It's possible that a mischievous American participant, after several drinks, may have thought it smart to evoke gold carpets and carpet bombs. Even Americans can't resist the temptation to be mischievous.” Naik and the other American participants deny that the pipeline was an issue at the meeting. [Salon, 8/16/02]
People and organizations involved: Tom Simons, Bush administration, Taliban, Niaz Naik, Osama bin Laden, Russia, Karl Inderfurth, Lee Coldren, Pakistan Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, Uzbekistan, Mullah Omar
          

August 2, 2001: US Official Secretly Meets Taliban Ambassador in Last Attempt to Secure Pipeline Deal

       Christina Rocca, Director of Asian Affairs at the State Department, secretly meets the Taliban ambassador in Islamabad, apparently in a last ditch attempt to secure a pipeline deal. Rocca was previously in charge of contacts with Islamic guerrilla groups at the CIA, and oversaw the delivery of Stinger missiles to Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s. [Brisard, Dasquie and Madsen, 2002, pp 45; Salon, 2/8/02; Irish Times, 11/19/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Christina Rocca
          

September 11, 2001: The 9/11 Attack: 3,000 Die in New York City and Washington, D.C.

      
The September 11, 2001 attacks. From left to right: The World Trade Center, Pentagon, and Flight 93 crash.
The 9/11 attack: Four planes are hijacked, two crash into the WTC, one into the Pentagon, and one crashes into the Pennsylvania countryside. Nearly 3,000 people are killed.
People and organizations involved: United Airlines, al-Qaeda, American Airlines, Pentagon, World Trade Center
          

October 5, 2001: Study Reveals Significant Oil and Gas Deposits in Afghanistan

       Contrary to popular belief, Afghanistan “has significant oil and gas deposits. During the Soviets' decade-long occupation of Afghanistan, Moscow estimated Afghanistan's proven and probable natural gas reserves at around five trillion cubic feet and production reached 275 million cubic feet per day in the mid-1970s.” Nonstop war since has prevented further exploitation. [Asia Times, 10/5/01] A later article suggests that the country may also have as much copper as Chile, the world's largest producer, and significant deposits of coal, emeralds, tungsten, lead, zinc, uranium ore, and more. Estimates of Afghanistan's natural wealth may even be understated, because surveys were conducted decades ago, using less-advanced methods and covering limited territory. [Houston Chronicle, 12/23/01]
          

October 9, 2001: Afghan Pipeline Idea Is Revived

       US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin meets with the Pakistani oil minister. She is briefed on the gas pipeline project from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, to Pakistan, which appears to be revived “in view of recent geopolitical developments” —in other words, the 9/11 attacks. [Frontier Post, 10/10/01]
People and organizations involved: Wendy Chamberlin, Pakistan
          

December 2, 2001: Enron Files for Bankruptcy

      
Enron's logo.
Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy—the biggest bankruptcy in history up to that date. [BBC, 1/10/02] However, in 2002 Enron will reorganize as a pipeline company and will continue working on its controversial Dabhol power plant. [Houston Business Journal, 3/15/02]
People and organizations involved: Enron
          

December 8, 2001: US Oil Companies to Invest $200 Billion in Kazakhstan

       During a visit to Kazakhstan in Central Asia, Secretary of State Powell states that US oil companies are likely to invest $200 billion in Kazakhstan alone in the next five to ten years. [New York Times, 12/15/01]
People and organizations involved: Colin Powell
          

December 22, 2001: Karzai Assumes Power in Afghanistan

      
Hamid Karzai.
Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai and his transitional government assume power in Afghanistan. It was reported a few weeks before that he had been a paid consultant for Unocal at one time (Karzai and Unocal both deny this), as well as Deputy Foreign Minister for the Taliban. [CNN, 12/22/01 (B); Le Monde, 12/13/01]
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Unocal, Hamid Karzai
          

January 1, 2002: Ex-Unocal Employee Becomes US Special Envoy and 'Real President' of Afghanistan

       Zalmay Khalilzad, already a Special Assistant to the President and a prominent neoconversative (see May 23, 2001), is appointed by Bush as a special envoy to Afghanistan. [BBC, 1/1/02] In his former role as Unocal adviser, Khalilzad participated in negotiations with the Taliban to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. He also wrote op-eds in the Washington Post in 1997 (see October 7, 1996) supporting the Taliban regime, back when Unocal was hoping to work with the Taliban. [Independent, 1/10/02] However, Zhalilzad becomes so powerful that in 2005 the BBC will note he is sometimes dubbed “the viceroy, or the real president of Afghanistan.” He is accused of “frequently overshadowing President Hamid Karzai. ... No major decisions by the Afghan government [are] made without his involvement.” [BBC, 4/6/05] Similarly, a London Times article on him will be titled “US Envoy Accused of Being the Power Pulling Karzai's Strings.” [London Times, 10/5/04] A New York Times article on him will be titled “In Afghanistan, US Envoy Sits In Seat of Power.” [New York Times, 4/17/04 (B)] He will keep this position until April 2005, when it is announced that Khalilzad will become US Ambassador to Iraq.
People and organizations involved: Taliban, Hamid Karzai, Unocal, Zalmay M. Khalilzad
          

February 9, 2002: Pakistani and Afghan Leaders Revive Afghanistan Pipeline Idea

       Pakistani President Musharraf and Afghan leader Hamid Karzai announce their agreement to “cooperate in all spheres of activity” including the proposed Central Asian pipeline, which they call “in the interest of both countries.” [Gulf News, 2/9/02; Irish Times, 2/9/02]
People and organizations involved: Pervez Musharraf, Hamid Karzai
          

February 14, 2002: US Military Bases Line Afghan Pipeline Route

       The Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv notes: “If one looks at the map of the big American bases created [in the Afghan war], one is struck by the fact that they are completely identical to the route of the projected oil pipeline to the Indian Ocean.” Ma'ariv also states, “Osama bin Laden did not comprehend that his actions serve American interests... If I were a believer in conspiracy theory, I would think that bin Laden is an American agent. Not being one I can only wonder at the coincidence.” [Chicago Tribune, 3/18/02]
People and organizations involved: United States, Osama bin Laden
          

May 30, 2002: Afghan, Turkmen, and Pakistani Leaders Sign Pipeline Deal

       Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, Turkmenistan's President Niyazov, and Pakistani President Musharraf meet in Islamabad and sign a memorandum of understanding on the trans-Afghanistan gas pipeline project. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 6/8/02; Dawn, 5/31/02] Afghan leader Hamid Karzai (who formerly worked for Unocal) calls Unocal the “lead company” in building the pipeline. [BBC, 5/13/02] The Los Angeles Times comments, “To some here, it looked like the fix was in for Unocal when President Bush named a former Unocal consultant, Zalmay Khalilzad, as his special envoy to Afghanistan late last year .” [Los Angeles Times, 5/30/02 (B)]
People and organizations involved: Hamid Karzai, Unocal, Pervez Musharraf, Zalmay M. Khalilzad, George W. Bush, Saparmurat Niyazov
          

July 16, 2002: Blair Claims Attack on Afghanistan Only Possible After 9/11

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair states, “We knew about al-Qaeda for a long time. They were committing terrorist acts, they were planning, they were organizing. Everybody knew, we all knew, that Afghanistan was a failed state living on drugs and terror. We did not act. ... To be truthful about it, there was no way we could have got the public consent to have suddenly launched a campaign on Afghanistan but for what happened on September 11.” [London Times, 7/17/02] In a book released one month later, Clinton's former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger will similarly state, “You show me one reporter, one commentator, one member of Congress who thought we should invade Afghanistan before September 11 and I'll buy you dinner in the best restaurant in New York City.” [Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 219]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, al-Qaeda, Sandy Berger
          

November 1, 2002: Caspian Oil Potential Was Wildly Overestimated

       Steven Mann, Director of the State Department's Caspian Basin Energy Policy Office, points out that the Caspian Sea nations contain 50 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. [Associated Press, 11/1/02] “Caspian oil represents four percent of the world reserves. It will never dominate the world markets, but it will have an important role to play,” said Mann. He concludes that the Caspian Sea energy “will not be a second Persian Gulf.” [Associated Press, 11/1/02] This estimation comes as a great surprise. The Energy Information Agency (EIA) had predicted that the Caspian region would contain in excess of 200 billion barrels of oil. [Energy, 1/1/03] Two months later, the magazine Energy will comment, “What ever happened to all the talk of a new oil utopia in the Caspian Sea and Central Asia? Word was that Caspian-Central Asian oil reserves would dwarf the Middle East. Yet, in the year since the Afghan War began, it seems that all the rumors of Caspian riches have died out and the center of oil interest has returned once again to Saudi Arabia and Iraq.” [Energy, 1/1/03]
People and organizations involved: Energy Information Agency, Steven Mann
          

December 27, 2002: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan Agree on Building Pipeline

      
Leaders sign the pipeline agreement.
Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Turkmenistan reach an agreement in principle to build the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, a $3.2 billion project that has been delayed for many years. Skeptics say the project would require an indefinite foreign military presence in Afghanistan. [Associated Press, 12/26/02; BBC, 12/27/02; BBC, 5/30/02] As of mid-2004, construction has yet to begin.
People and organizations involved: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan
          

January 18, 2005: Plans for a Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline Continue

       The US ambassador to Turkmenistan states that US companies might join a long-delayed trans-Afghan natural gas pipeline project. The Turkmenistan government says a feasibility study for the $3.5 billion pipeline is complete and construction will begin in 2006. The project's main sponsor is the Asian Development Bank. The pipeline is to run from Turkmenistan through Herat and Kandahar in Afghanistan, through the Pakistani cities of Quetta and Multan, and on to India. [Associated Press, 1/18/05]
People and organizations involved: Asian Development Bank, Turkmenistan
          


Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under the Creative Commons License below:

Creative Commons License Home |  About this Site |  Development |  Donate |  Contact Us
Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Use