Pajhwok Afghan News
|KANDAHAR, Aug 5, 2009 : Villagers look at the bodies of three children after they were killed in an airstrike by foreign troops in Arghandab district of Kandahar, south of Kabul, on Wednesday. Four local civilians including three children were killed in the last night bombing. (Photo: PAN/Bashir Nadim)
August 5, 2009
KANDAHAR CITY (PAN): Four civilians three of them children – were killed during an attack of foreign troops Tuesday night in Arghandab district of southern Kandahar province, civilians said.
Dozens of protesting villagers brought the bodies this morning from their village to the governor’s house in Kandahar City, about 12 kilometers away.
ISAF said it is investigating the incident.
A tribal elder, Haji Bacha, told Pajhwok Afghan News that foreign fighter jets had bombarded a house in their village, killing four people and injuring two others.
The village residents came to the city with the bodies and laid them in front of the governor’s house, chanting slogans against US forces. They demanded that the government investigate the attack.
After the protest, the injured people were taken to Merwais hospital for treatment and then, the villagers took the bodies of those killed back to the district for burial.
A statement from the ISAF press office said that a helicopter intercepted four insurgents on motorcycles in a field near Arghandab at 1:30 a.m.
The insurgents were in open ground with no residential areas in the vicinity. The insurgents were carrying weapons and plastic jugs and were identified as possibly emplacing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in an area known for IED attacks, the statement said.
ISAF shot rockets and small arms from the helicopter and killed the insurgents, and no bombs were dropped, the statement said.
There was a large explosion after the people were hit, indicating that they had explosive material, ISAF said.
:: Article nr. 56676 sent on 05-aug-2009 17:51 ECT
By Mel Frykberg
BREJ, Gaza, Aug 5 (IPS) – Tens of thousands of children in Gaza are still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following Israel’s three-week bombing December- January.
Several crisis counselling teams run by international organisations and NGOs have been carrying out intervention programmes aimed at helping Gaza’s most vulnerable put the pieces of their lives back together.
But these groups warn that while there has been some improvement in the collective psyche of Gaza’s children, the long-term effects of war are now beginning to show, and unless the rights of Gazans are respected, the next generation’s future will be hard to predict.
“What is needed is sustained advocacy at a political level to ensure practical changes can be implemented,” says Marixie Mercado from the UN International Children’s Fund (Unicef).
Well over half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people are under 18 years of age.
More than 70 percent of children in Gaza are likely to present with PTSD, and 34 percent have anxiety symptoms of likely clinical significance, according to a report from the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme (GCMHP). A further 43 percent are considered by their parents to have significant mental health morbidity.
Ahmed Abu Jabara, 15, was forced to help drag the bodies of his father, his two siblings and his badly injured mother from underneath the rubble of their home during the war.
“Our home was hit by seven missiles fired by an Israeli drone on January 5 at about five in the morning,” said Jabara, who lives in the Brej refugee camp just south of Gaza city.
“I was fast asleep. When the thunderous explosions first woke me I thought it was the neighbours who had been bombed. After a little while I realised that it was our home,” Jabara told IPS.
Ahmed’s father and his brothers Osama, 21, and Basil, 29, were killed, while his mother lay under the rubble with serious leg injuries.
But Jabara was one of the luckier children. He was among a group of 73 children flown to Poland as part of a three-week recreational and psychological support tour in June. The children, accompanied by mental health professionals, were taken there by the GCMHP, with the support of Polish President Lech Kaczynski.
“There was a remarkable improvement in the behaviour of the children while they were in Poland,” Raghda Al-Jadeely from the GCMHP told IPS. “They became more relaxed and cheerful. But when they arrived back, the sense of despair and tension was there again.”
“I still have nightmares where I wake up in the middle of the night sweating, and thinking we are being bombed again,” says Jabara. “But when we were in Poland I experienced no fear, and I saw another kind of life.”
Unicef has counselled over 11,000 children and 5,500 primary caregivers in an individual and group capacity. Together with 30 partner organisations the number of children reached is far higher. “Children’s fears since the war have diminished,” Mercado told IPS. “They are clinging less to their parents, and there are fewer cases of bed-wetting. But at the same time the long-term effects of war such as chronic depression, a sense of hopelessness, a lack of joy, and worry for the future have set in.”
Eyad Abu Hejair from the Palestinian Centre for Democracy and Conflict Resolution (PCDCR), one of Unicef’s partners, speaks of three strategies in the counselling programmes his organisation runs.
“We tell the children not to deny or forget their experiences, and to understand the context in which they happened,” Abu Hejair told IPS. “Secondly, we encourage them to talk openly about what they saw and heard; and finally we teach them coping mechanisms while explaining to them that they have the power to recover and that life isn’t over.”
In one of the projects children played at reading out a news bulletin from a radio station. They told the world what was happening to them, their feelings, and asked for international help.
A group of German psychologists have helped arrange a number of activities for children at Gaza’s Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children. “The children were involved in dance, music, entertainment, comedy workshops and other forms of creative expression,” says director Muhammad Al-Sharif.
“The kids were laughing and having fun as they were able to forget their problems and enjoy the innocence of childhood for a few brief hours each afternoon. The Germans commented that being deaf had ironically protected the children from being exposed to the full trauma of the war, as they were able to interact more quickly than hearing children,” Al-Sharif told IPS.
Mercado says education is vital for the rehabilitation of children. “Last week a Unicef team surveyed the schools damaged and destroyed during the war. There has been no progress in rebuilding them as Israel is preventing most building material for reconstruction from entering Gaza.
“Even if the schools are rebuilt and massive aid pours in, without political will on an international level to improve the dire situation in the Gaza Strip the children will remain at risk.”
Jabara does now dream of a future. “I want to finish school and go to university to study to be a doctor, so I can help other people who are wounded and sick.” (END/2009)
:: Article nr. 56678 sent on 05-aug-2009 18:03 ECT
German Bundeswehr manual challenges US and UK denials over depleted uranium in Afghanistan
International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons
A classified German Army manual has thrown doubt over US and UK assurances that no depleted uranium munitions have been used in Afghanistan.
21 July 2009 – ICBUW
A military manual that was handed over to German campaigners has reignited allegations that the US used DU ammunition in Afghanistan. If true, it runs counter to repeated assurances given by the US military that no DU was used. The manual, a war-fighting guide for Bundeswehrcontigents in Afghanistan is marked classified and for official NATO use only. It was written by the Bundeswehr’s Centre for Communication and published in late 2005. Campaigners have long suspected that the US military has not been entirely candid over the issue and papers have emerged showing that DU munitions were transported to Afghanistan. The use of A10 Warthog aircraft – one of the main users of DU ammunition – remains widespread to this day, although the number of armoured targets is now much diminished. Estimates by Janes Defence in 2003 suggested that the Taliban had at least 100 main battle tanks and 250 armoured fighting vehicles at the beginning of the conflict. It would be unusual if the US Army had chosen not to engage these targets with DU munitions from the air.
The section on DU munitions begins with:
During the operation “Enduring Freedom” in support of the Northern Alliance against the Taliban-Regime, US-aircraft used, amongst others, armour-piercing incendiary munitions with a DU-core. Because of its pyrophoric character, when this type of munition is used against hard targets (e.g. tanks, cars) the uranium burns. During the combustion, toxic dusts can be deposited, particularly at and around the targets, which can then be re-suspended easily. It then warns troops how to recognise contaminated targets and of the potential health threat from DU munitions, suggesting precautions that troops should take. It is notable that they suggest the use of full Nuclear Chemical and Biological warfare suits:
DU-munitions can therefore induce toxic and radiological damage to exposed personnel through heavy metal poisoning and very low-level radiation. When it is suspected that these weapons have been used (burnt out cars or tanks, burnt out convoys, typical 30mm bullet holes) NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) protection suits and NBC masks have to be worn in the vicinity of the munitions’ impact, until NBC security troops can rule out any threat.
Bundeswehr precautionary measures:
– No unnecessary contact with munitions, munitionparts, or any other potentially contaminated material
The contents of the manual raise a variety of questions. Not least of which is that if the Bundeswehr were required to record DU strike sites, is it possible to get access to that information? German campaigners and the German Green Party have submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for any data that the military holds. Also of interest is the decision by the US to deny that DU was used in Afghanistan – a decision that runs counter to their usual position, which justifies the use of DU because it is, apparently, safe.
German campaigners call for government to support DU ban
Release of the manual comes at a time of growing political interest in DU in Germany. In particular the Green Party has been agitating for action on the issue, however it has come across resistance from the country’s centre and right-wing parties.
The UN’s repeated resolutions on DU encouraged the Greens to propose that the German government implement a domestic ban on DU weapons, urge other countries through the EU, NATO and UN to agree on a moratorium and ultimately work towards a worldwide ban. In a hearing of the Subcommission for Disarmament, the Green proposal was dismissed after the Social Democrats voted against the plans and the Liberals abstained. The Conservative Union, who form part of the ruling coalition, refused to attend. The Subcommission heard evidence from Prof. Dr. Meineke, Head of the Institute for Radiobiology of the Bundeswehr.
German campaigners believe that government movement towards a ban or moratorium on uranium weapons seems unlikely at the moment; a position exemplified by Eduard Lintner of the Conservative Union, who said that DU munitions present no hazard to civilians and only minor threats to troops, which can easily be prevented with appropriate safety measures.
Nevertheless, there are potential signs of support among the Social Democrats and Liberals. The former have said that they are generally in favour of a moratorium, although coalition agreements meant that they dismissed the Green’s proposal. Meanwhile the latter would be interested in further commitment on the DU issue but they abstained from a vote on the proposal because it included a clause about the prohibition of transit and storage of DU in Germany. During the hearing it emerged that the German Department of Defence couldn’t tell committee members how much DU is stored in, or transported through Germany by its allies because it holds no data on shipments.
The German Parliament is now on its summer break and when it returns in September there will be a general election. This means that campaigners will have to wait a little longer for the results of their inquiries into the use of DU in Afghanistan to bear fruit.
:: Article nr. 56688 sent on 06-aug-2009 02:42 ECT
21 03 2009
[NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAN ONLY “SAVE US” IF WE USE THEM AS A TOOL FOR TOTAL DISARMAMENT]
By Richard Tanter*
Hiroshima had a profound effect upon me. Still does. My first reaction was personal relief that the bomb had ended the war. Frankly, I never thought I would live to see that end, the casualty rate among war correspondents in that area being what it was. My anger with the US was not at first, that they had used that weapon – although that anger came later. Once I got to Hiroshima, my feeling was that for the first time a weapon of mass destruction of civilians had been used. Was it justified? Could anything justify the extermination of civilians on such a scale? But the real anger was generated when the US military tried to cover up the effects of atomic radiation on civilians – and tried to shut me up. My emotional and intellectual response to Hiroshima was that the question of the social responsibility of a journalist was posed with greater urgency than ever.
Wilfred Burchett 1980 
Wilfred Burchett entered Hiroshima alone in the early hours of 3 September 1945, less than a month after the first nuclear war began with the bombing of the city. Burchett was the first Western journalist – and almost certainly the first Westerner other than prisoners of war – to reach Hiroshima after the bomb. The story which he typed out on his battered Baby Hermes typewriter, sitting among the ruins, remains one of the most important Western eyewitness accounts, and the first attempt to come to terms with the full human and moral consequences of the United States’ initiation of nuclear war.
For Burchett, that experience was a turning point, ‘a watershed in my life, decisively influencing my whole professional career and world outlook’. Subsequently Burchett came to understand that his honest and accurate account of the radiological effects of nuclear weapons not only initiated an animus against him from the highest quarters of the US government, but also marked the beginning of the nuclear victor’s determination rigidly to control and censor the picture of Hiroshima and Nagasaki presented to the world.
The story of Burchett and Hiroshima ended only with his last book, Shadows of Hiroshima, completed shortly before his death in 1983. In that book, Burchett not only went back to the history of his own despatch, but more importantly showed the broad dimensions of the ‘coolly planned’ and manufactured cover-up which continued for decades. With his last book, completed in his final years in the context of President Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ speech of March 1983, Burchett felt ‘it has become urgent – virtually a matter of life or death – for people to understand what really did happen in Hiroshima nearly forty years ago . . . It is my clear duty, based on my own special experiences, to add this contribution to our collective knowledge and consciousness. With apologies that it has been so long delayed . . .” 
That one day in Hiroshima in September 1945 affected Burchett as a person, as a writer, and as a participant in politics for the next forty years. But Burchett’s story of that day, and his subsequent writing about Hiroshima, have a greater significance still, by giving a clue to the deliberate suppression of the truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and to the deeper, missing parts of our cultural comprehension of that holocaust.
[Read Burchett’s eye-witness testimony below]
|Dr. John Hall, author of ‘A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America’|
By Dixie Pape 04.AUG.09
In what first starts like a bizarre cloak-and-dagger tale and turns into something from a sci-fi movie, ends up being the true story of terrorism endured on an epic scale by a Bulverde resident, his loved ones and friends. Who is watching over us? A threat is stalking us and we don’t even know it. After years of research and fighting for his life and of those he loved, Bulverde resident and new author Dr. John Hall brings this terrifying account of real life events to the masses in his first book, “A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America” which tells what happens when Big Brother goes too far. The events Hall writes about didn’t occur in some distant land or in a place like New York where criminal activity may be far greater, nor did the victims have knowledge of secret information or criminal activity that may have made them a risk. They are ordinary people… living in communities like Bulverde, Alamo Heights, San Antonio, and elsewhere that are experiencing a new form of stalking and surveillance… a new form of terrorism that is unseen. So what is the connection? Why would an average person be under surveillance? The answer to both questions may be: It is more random than you think and has to do with a vulnerability factor. As a young adult in his hometown of San Antonio, Dr. Hall’s life was not much different from many others attending college. “I made some close friends in college and partied when I could and worked when I should,” says Hall. With his sights in the medical field, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from University of Texas at San Antonio, with a minor in Philosophy and Theology. He graduated medical school at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth and completed his residency in Ohio, before returning to San Antonio in 1996 to start his medical practice. Currently Dr. Hall practices anesthesia and pain management in San Antonio. It was during his college years in San Antonio and after he lost his girlfriend in a drunken automobile accident during Spring Break at the coast that he went to work part-time at an ambulatory surgical center as an anesthesia technician. It was here that he met one doctor in particular, out of the group of doctors that owned the center, who would play a sinister role in the unimaginable events which took place in the years that followed, and in part still continue today. “A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America,” is a chronicle of Hall’s encounters as he tells the story of Mallory, his ex-finacee, who was an attractive young woman with a bright future. Upon beginning a new profession, Mallory begins experiencing unexplainable events, including mind control, surveillance, stalking and rape. It was back in 1949 when the fictional novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell, became famous for its portrayal of pervasive government surveillance and control, and government’s increasing encroachment on the rights of the individual, and the term “Big Brother” has since entered the popular vernacular. Although Orwell’s work was fictional, Dr. Hall’s story and research shows these possibilities have become more fact than fiction. Since that time, generations have seen tremendous advancement in medical science and technology. With the technological advances, American’s concerns have grown as well, especially over loss of privacy rights, and continues to escalate due to the Patriot Act, and FBI or NSA phone taps. We all know there are a multitude of satellites in space and most everyone has tapped into only a fraction of their capabilities in one way or another, whether it is by phone, internet service, or imagery and mapping like Google Maps and Google Earth. From these glimpses of satellite capability, it is accurate to say that most people imagine, and are somewhat fearful, that the government has more technology than we even know about. When people think of stalking and surveillance, hidden cameras and microphones come to mind, and being followed or having someone sitting in a car outside your home…watching and listening. We’ve all seen it time and time again in television shows and movies. That’s old technology, Hall says. Now, imagine they no longer need a camera to watch you in your home, they can hear your phone calls, hear your very thoughts and control your moods and actions. “Imagine no further, this technology does exist,” says Hall. “It’s called satellite surveillance; a weapon meant for government use.” Hall recalls the 1998 movie release of ‘Enemy of the State’ starring Will Smith. In the movie Smith’s character is trying to evade rogue NSA Agents tracking his every move with satellite surveillance and HD cameras. While it may have seemed far-fetched at the time he says, the technology was already in existence then and is more advanced than sci-fi writers can even imagine. What happened to Mallory? Hall believes satellite surveillance and tracking systems are a new way for criminals to take over our finances and our minds. He and others sacrificed themselves and their careers to bring her nightmare to an end. “Criminals are accessing the government’s most powerful surveillance tool to commit near perfect crimes,” says Hall. It’s classified technology that the government cannot admit exists, regardless of the lack of safeguards keeping the system from being hacked into, he writes in his book. With his medical background and his technology research, he touches on the ways that both can and are being used in combination with regards to this new form of terrorism. “In the book I cover the basics of satellite imaging and weaponry and the effects it has had on it’s innocent victims.” According to Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance www.freedomfchs.com the CIA MKULTRA hearings held in the 70’s revealed the existence of secret mind control experimentation programs being conducted by the government. Although the CIA officially abandoned these programs after the hearings, many are reporting a variety of effects and abuses consistent with the findings of the Church Committee investigation. Since that time and because of secrecy and lack of congressional oversight, the research and development of mind control and surveillance technology have advanced far beyond what most would imagine. The website provides the following list of symptoms as well as additional information and guidance on what you can do. List of Associated Harassment Activities: You may be a victim of Organized Stalking if you:
• Sense you are being watched and followed everywhere
• Notice consistently rude behavior from people you don’t know for no apparent reason
• Hear excerpts from conversations you had in the privacy of your home, coming from people around you
• Feel that those around you have access to your thoughts (*Related to Remote Neural Monitoring and/or Remote Behavioral Influencing Technology)
• Your relationships and friendships all become distant or strained for no apparent reason
• Have problems on the job where groups of people are plotting to have you terminated
• Your business deals consistently fall through for no apparent reason
• Experience vandalism on a regular basis
• Notice that your things are not in the same place you left them when you left home or some small items may be missing
• Experience frequent car repairs
• Experience frequent appliance or electronic malfunctions You may be a victim of Electronic Harassment if you:
• Experience burning sensations on your skin or internal organs
• Feel pin pricks on various parts of your body
• Feel some type of energy moving inside your body
• Experience extreme head pains
• Feel drop-in-your-tracks fatigue on a regular basis
• Continually have difficulty sleeping
• Experience forced speech (*Relates to Remote Neural Monitoring)
• Experience uncontrolled-by-you movements of limbs or other body parts
• Hear voices of other people inside your mind with no other signs of mental illness
*In this last grouping, most of the items mentioned pertain to Bio-electromagnetic Weapons, unless otherwise noted. Another website that may be for the scientifically inclined is Mind Justice www.mindjustice.org/symptoms.htm , who also provide information on mind control symptoms and the studies behind them. Below is a sampling of information available: • Microwave Hearing – The hearing of voices in the head from an outside source, but nobody else can hear the voices except the targeted individual.
• Transmission of specific commands into the subconscious
• Read thoughts remotely
• Manipulation of emotions
• Seeing, as a camera, through your eyes, i.e. to see what you see Dr. Hall has treated numerous patients who have complained about voices in their heads, eventually driven to a form of serious psychosis. “People hearing voices aren’t always delusional,” he says. In the book Hall writes about Mallory and others hearing voices in their heads or coming from computer speakers. “Sometimes these voices are being generated by a criminal in front of a computer wearing a headset and trying his best to drive you crazy.” He goes on to reference John Fleming, who touched on the problem in 1996 when he wrote “The Shocking Menace of Satellite Surveillance.” “A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America” is about this technology gone astray. “I’ve put up with it for years, as have others. It may read like fiction…it’s not. Thousands of people are being targeted by criminals accessing this satellite surveillance system.” In his book he exposes a ruthless criminal fringe group in a neighboring Hill Country town who have managed to hack their way into a government intranet and gain access to some of the most advanced technology and weaponry available. In his case, Hall knows who the criminals are, but it is fair to say that he is one of the very few, if any, that do. “Big Brother is definitely watching… but he may be one of your neighbors, not the government,” says Hall. He stresses the importance to “get to know your neighbors before they get to know you.” Why is Hall telling his story now? His goal is to educate the masses, for he firmly believes “Knowledge is Powerful.” Educating the public as to the extent of satellite surveillance is currently our best defense against total loss of privacy and our most basic human rights, he says. Hall is currently working on a second book detailing the safeguards against this type of surveillance. He urges anyone who has experienced or is experiencing the symptoms as noted on the Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance website to register with the website. He and others are organizing a massive screening for Neuro Transmitters to gather enough proof and/or evidence as they can of these activities. Outside of book signings, Hall and his partners plan on organizing conferences in the near future for the Austin and San Antonio area to educate as many people as possible, plus there are plans for a clinic where people can come for testing to determine if they have been the victim of Big Brother’s technology. If you would like to learn more about this new type of terrorism that is being used on countless individuals across the United States, and to read his true story, you are encouraged to pick up a copy of Dr. John Hall’s new book, “A New Breed: Satellite Terrorism in America” which can be found at Barnes & Noble bookstores or online at Amazon.com. Once you start reading, you won’t be able to put it down! For more information on the author or the book, visit www.satweapons.com .
06 August 2009By Niko Mchedlishvili, Matt Robinson / ReutersBASHKOI, Georgia — More than 800,000 barrels of high-quality Caspian crude oil flow daily to the Mediterranean beneath this Georgian village, 42 kilometers from breakaway South Ossetia.
Bashkoi marks the closest point at which the BP-led Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline — one of several crossing the region — skirts the Russian-backed territory, underscoring the risks to investors with stakes in Georgia as an energy corridor to the West.
Last August’s five-day war over South Ossetia rattled nerves over the flow of oil and gas. Analysts cite current plans to expand BTC as evidence the worst fears were misplaced.
But a year on, with the sides facing off over tense boundaries and no sign of a peace process, the risk of renewed hostilities remains high.
That threat could impact future projects, notably the U.S.- and European Union-backed Nabucco gas pipeline plan, a 3,300-kilometer transit route to bring gas to Europe from the Caspian and Middle East by 2014.
Villagers in Bashkoi, a bumpy 110-kilometer drive west of the Georgian capital, recall seeing jets and Russian Mi-24 helicopter gunships during the war, and people fleeing the fighting.
“We still think about the possibility of another war with Russia,” said 45-year-old school librarian Ketino Devdariani. “Do you think war will start?” she asked a visiting reporter.
Devdariani said she hoped Nabucco would be built nearby, providing a much-needed boost to the impoverished rural area, where some homes stand abandoned by villagers who left looking for work elsewhere.
Nabucco’s rationale is to reduce Europe’s energy dependence on Russia, but it has long been beset by problems with supply and financing.
Last month’s breakthrough transit deal between EU countries and Turkey “indicates confidence in Georgia as a transport corridor,” said Kate Hardin, head of Russian and Caspian Research at U.S.-based Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
A new war, however, would renew doubts about the viability of Nabucco, which has yet to secure gas supplies from Azerbaijan. Instability in Georgia has already played into Azeri thinking about where to sell its gas, with Baku now looking to Russia as an attractive alternative.
“We still have no map for the pipeline and as a result there is no discussion yet about Georgia being a transit nation,” said Ana Jelenkovic, an analyst at Eurasia Group.
“If Azeri supplies are secured by the Nabucco consortium and pipeline construction discussions begin in earnest, then Georgia would be discussed as a potential transit nation,” Jelenkovic said. “I think at that point you might have that issue [instability in Georgia] raised.”
Georgia hosts major pipelines feeding oil and gas to Europe from the Caspian Sea, including BTC and gas counterpart Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum. It also has three major Black Sea ports — Batumi, Poti and Supsa — handling oil products and crude.
The war shattered progress made since Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution to attract investment to the former Soviet republic under pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Poti was briefly held by Russian troops, and thousands of Russian soldiers remain in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, some 50 kilometers from Tbilisi at their nearest point.
BTC was closed for two weeks at the time of last year’s war due to an unrelated explosion in Turkey, and it was not damaged in the conflict. But bombs did fall within 15 meters of the Baku-Supsa pipeline, which BP was then in the process of reopening, two years after it had been closed for maintenance.
Russian troops seized the main East-West highway, and explosions hit the key railway also used to export Azeri oil.
But the immediate impact of the war “was more like a hiccup in terms of export disruptions — oil and gas exports were interrupted only briefly, and the long-term impact on transportation has been less than it could have been,” Hardin said.
Azerbaijan re-routed some oil through Russia.
Then in June, it agreed to sell Russia a modest 500 million cubic meters of gas beginning in 2010. Russian state-run gas giant Gazprom said it had secured priority in buying gas from the second phase of Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz deposit — Europe’s main hope for supplying Nabucco.
Analysts say Azerbaijan, faced with an unstable Georgia and trying to balance political interests between East and West, wants to diversify export options.
Underscoring the interplay between energy interests and territorial disputes in the Caucasus, Baku is also looking for Moscow’s backing in its dispute with Russian ally Armenia over the Armenian-backed rebel region of Nagorno-Karabakh.