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Friday, November 16, 2007

France to step up Afghan commitment

France is going to increase its military commitments in Afghanistan.

France has around 2000 troops in Afghanistan but most of them are located in safer areas of the country near Kabul. Canada, US and UK should ask other NATO partners to agree to a rotation system through out Afghanistan.

Posted by Winston on November 16, 2007 in International Affairs, Military | Permalink


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I never thought I'd ever say this, but thank goodness for the French Army.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-11-16 4:05:23 PM

"France is going to increase its military commitments in Afghanistan."

I'm still waiting for the punch line.

Posted by: Darrell | 2007-11-16 4:17:12 PM

Oh don't worry - the French will be behind us all the way - where they usually are.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-11-16 5:35:50 PM

France is... Franc i... Fran... huh? i, uhh... hmmm...

France is getting... hawkish? holy crap. what next? i thought the French were, to use their own excuse, "lovers, not fighters".

what's next? French immigration reform?

good night

Posted by: shel | 2007-11-16 6:10:55 PM

The French waged very aggressive, if unsuccessful, wars in Indochina and Algeria since WWII. More recently they fought in the Cote D'Ivoire and Afghanistan.

They can fight, but they tend to act only when they feel like it. It looks like Sarkozy has given them that feeling all over again.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2007-11-16 6:16:01 PM

Nicolas Sarkozy has more spine than the leaders of France for a very long time--well, since Napoleon. And if any of you stayed awake long enough in history class--you may well recall that Napoleon was a Corsican.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-16 7:12:37 PM

Anyone who has read the history of France knows what Caesar faced trying to conquer Gaul. Knows that it was Charles Martel that stopped the Muslims on the outskirts of Paris, knows the great achievements of Charlemagne, knows the events of the 100 years war, knows the great battles with England around the globe from the 1750's through Napoleon, knows of the French sacrifice in WW1 and WW2.

Dont give me this French surrender BS. Not buying it for an instant.


Posted by: epsilon | 2007-11-17 12:40:44 AM

"Anyone who has read the history of France knows what Caesar faced trying to conquer Gaul"

reading Asterix would do too.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-17 1:22:55 AM

Sarkozy has been getting pressure from French oil cartels to get in and grab a chunk of the Afghan pipeline corridor action that is being secured with this pacification process.

For a minor military commitment France will later claim Petro fina-ELF deserve some crumbs that fall from the trans Afghan pipeline projects.

Not like Decadent socialist Muslim-infected France actually found their balls...just a profit motive thay can't resist.

Posted by: WL Mackenzie Redux | 2007-11-17 7:50:15 AM

Epsi sez: "Dont give me this French surrender BS. Not buying it for an instant."

Yeah well that's all behind them now...French nationalists and patriots never had to face an enemy like the one they finally succumbed to...decadent degenerative socialism...today's French nationalist has "entitlements" where his balls used to be.

Posted by: WL Mackenzie Redux | 2007-11-17 7:55:32 AM

... fun with stereotypes! :)

i'm talking about France within modern history.

no one is denying the sacrifice of all the soldiers, including the French during WWI. i think France lost around one million men.

however, the French were the only army to mutiny en masse, in 1917. they hitched up their pantaloons and hitailed it outa there! more than half the divisions fled.

WWII speaks for it's self. tons of history on that.

please read "La Decadence 1932-1939" by Jean-Baptiste Durocelle for a fairly objective view. it's a good read, and not too dry.

i'm making fun but, to be fair, there were some extenuating circumstances that led to France's collective lack of will and strange existentialist malaize, which still lingers.

hopefully Sarkozy can begin the cure for some of that.

Posted by: shel | 2007-11-17 8:26:10 AM

You folks throw the wet blanket of reality on my flights of hyperbole, with all these actual facts and citations...darn.

But for those who only read the last comment in a thread:

Consider the impact of an individual human who provides Leadership, in this instance, for an entire nation, a people.

Turned around on a dime. And the crippling transportation strike? One man (back thirty years, it was one woman, Thatcher).

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2007-11-17 9:16:24 AM

After a cabinet meeting, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion emerged saying:

"Golda (Meir) is the only man in my cabinet."

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-17 9:18:45 AM

All you modern France bigots and generalists have never lived in France. I have. I was in Paris during the riots.

You know nothing of France.


Posted by: epsilon | 2007-11-17 12:04:52 PM

At this moment in time Canada has several Exchange Officers from the Canadian Army, and Air Force serving with French Army Units and Famous French Air Force Squadrons flying some of the most sophisticated turbine fighters in the world. French Air Force and Naval Pilots serve with Canadian Air Force Fighter and Transport Squadrons on a regular basis and have for many decades. French Nuclear Submarines (SSN's)
call on the Port of Halifax Nova Scotia on a regular
basis and tie up at the SSN Jetty 12 Wing Shearwater
NS -The Canadian Forces will welcome French military units to serve along side them in Afghanistan I would think, especially with their
excellent weapons and military firepower -MacLeod
I agree with Epsi -how many of you have actually met a serving member of the French Military! Macleod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2007-11-17 12:27:54 PM

WL Mackenzie Redux: Get a grip on reality, do some research, and stop spouting pipeline drivel.

A letter of mine in the Ottawa Sun, April 25:

'In his letter of April 23, Albert Bertrand claims that the war in Afghanistan is about American "access to the petroleum from Central Asia." That is simply left-wing mythical nonsense.

Afghanistan has no relevance to access to central Asian oil. Most of that oil is in Kazakhstan, far to the west of Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan has no need for Afghanistan as a pipeline route.

Kazakh oil is exported via Russia and to China. It will now also be shipped, following an agreement with Azerbaijan last year, across the Caspian Sea to Azerbaijan and onward by pipeline to a Turkish port on the eastern Mediterranean. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan equally have no need for any Afghan pipeline should they ever become major oil exporters.'

There is however a long-standing plan for a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afstan to Pakistan and (maybe) India. But that is
hardly a vital French (or US) national security or capitalist interest.

'Turkmenistan: A Pipeline Long In The Pipeline'

And not likely to be built for a while.

More on the possible gas pipeline through Afstan:

"As India-Iran gas pipe sputters, Turkmenistan plan surges ahead"


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2007-11-17 1:54:25 PM

"All you modern France bigots and generalists have never lived in France. I have. I was in Paris during the riots.

You know nothing of France."


Hey epsi go roger yerself with a baguette! Use some Truffle paste if it's too rough at first - oh and send the bill to the French public :P

Posted by: Voltaire's Bastard child | 2007-11-17 3:09:03 PM

Hay Mark: do yourself a favor and stop staring at global petro commerce and the power politics that accompany it, with partisan blinders on...I swear to gawd you reactionary partisan right are as stressed out as the dogmatic left when it comes to seeing realities that challenge your tiny partisan templates.

You need some oil patch experience before you spew such Pollyanna idealism to me...But I'll cut you slack on your ignorance of the petroleum industry coming from Ottawa. ;-)

the Caspian and central Asian region, one of the world's last great frontiers for the oil industry due to its tremendous untapped reserves. The U.S. government believes that total oil reserves could be 270 billion barrels. Total gas reserves could be 576 trillion cubic feet.

The presence of these oil reserves and the possibility of their export raises new strategic concerns for the U.S. and other Western industrial powers. "As oil companies build oil pipelines from the Caucasus and central Asia to supply Japan and the West, these strategic concerns gain military implications," argued an article in the Military Review, the journal of the U.S. Army, earlier in the year.

Host governments and Western oil companies have been rushing to get in on the act. Kazakhstan, it is believed, could earn $700 billion from offshore oil and gas fields over the next 40 years. Both American and British oil companies have struck black gold. In April 1993, Chevron concluded a $20 billion joint venture to develop the Tengiz oil field, with 6 to 9 billion barrels of estimated oil reserves in Kazakhstan alone. The following year, in what was described as "the deal of the century," AIOC, an international consortium of companies led by British Petroleum, signed an $8 billion deal to exploit reserves estimated at 3-5 billion barrels in Azerbaijan.

The oil industry has long been trying to find a way to bring the oil and gas to market. This frustration was evident in the submission by oil company Unocal's vice-president John Maresca, before the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998: "Central Asia is isolated. Their natural resources are landlocked, both geographically and politically. Each of the countries in the Caucasus and central Asia faces difficult political challenges. Some have unsettled wars or latent conflicts."

The industry has been looking at different routes. The Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) route is 1,000 miles west from Tengiz in Kazakhstan to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk and came on stream in October. Oil will go by tanker through the Bosporus to the Mediterranean. Another route being considered by AIOC goes from Baku through Tbilisi in Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey. However, parts of the route are seen as politically unstable as it goes through the Kurdistan region of Turkey and its $3 billion price tag is prohibitively expensive.

But even if these pipelines are built, they would not be enough to exploit the region's vast oil and gas reserves. Nor crucially would they have the capacity to move oil to where it is really needed, the growing markets of Asia. Other export pipelines must therefore be built. One option is to go east across China, but at 3,000 kilometers it is seen as too long. Another option is through Iran, but U.S. companies are banned due to U.S. sanctions. The only other possible route is through Afghanistan to Pakistan. This is seen as being advantageous as it is close to the Asian markets.

Unocal, the U.S. company with a controversial history of investment in Burma, has been trying to secure the Afghan route. To be viable Unocal has made it clear that "construction of the pipeline cannot begin until a recognized government is in place in Kabul that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company."


Scientists Find Big Afghan Oil Resources

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

(03-14) 14:29 PST WASHINGTON, (AP) --

Two geological basins in northern Afghanistan hold 18 times the oil and triple the natural gas resources previously thought, scientists said Tuesday as part of a U.S. assessment aimed at enticing energy development in the war-torn country.

Nearly 1.6 billion barrels of oil, mostly in the Afghan-Tajik Basin, and about 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, mainly in the Amu Darya Basin, could be tapped, said the U.S. Geological Survey and Afghanistan's Ministry of Mines and Industry.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai described the estimates as "very positive findings," particularly since the country now imports most of its energy, including electricity.

"Knowing more about our country's petroleum resources will enable us to take steps to develop our energy potential, which is crucial for our country's growth," said Karzai, whose government was created after the U.S.-led invasion in 2001 and later won national elections.

The $2 million assessment, paid for by the independent U.S. Trade and Development Agency, was nearly four years in the making, said Daniel Stein, the agency's regional director for Europe and Eurasia. The total area assessed was only about one-sixth of the two basins' 200,000 square miles that lie within Afghanistan.

Interior Secretary Gale Norton, whose agency includes the U.S. Geological Survey, said the assessment would help Afghanistan better understand and manage its natural resources.

Afghanistan's petroleum reserves were previously thought to hold 88 million barrels of oil and 5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, based on Afghan and Soviet estimates for 15 oil and gas fields opened between 1957 and 1984. But just three of those have operated recently.

"There is a significant amount of undiscovered oil in northern Afghanistan," said Patrick Leahy, the U.S. Geological Survey's acting director. He said the other oil fields were abandoned, or the equipment there is damaged and rocks have filled the wells.

More work remains to assess petroleum reserves, conduct seismic exploration and rehabilitate wells, say government and industry officials.

Companies could drill relatively quickly, potentially bringing in billions of dollars in revenue to the transitional government, said H.E. Said Tayeb Jawad, Afghanistan's ambassador to the United States.

"Within two to three years, the prospects are there for companies to start exploring oil and gas. The legal infrastructure is in place for the companies to come in," Jawad said in an interview.

"As far as security, they may have to take some additional precautions. But the country is much safer than what's perceived in the media," he said. "But of course we are fighting terrorism, it's a phenomenon, it's a danger, but it's not limited to one country."

The danger comes with the territory, said Barry Gale, a private energy consultant and former director of the Energy Department's international science and technology office.

"This is a pretty risky investment," he said. "But there's ferocious competition out there among multinationals just to get a foot in the door, even if it's a scary door."

Karzai is struggling to deal with an upsurge in violence and suicide bombings in recent months, though Bush administration officials have praised the progress Afghanistan has made since a U.S.-led coalition toppled the hard-line Taliban regime in 2001. The United States plans to give $1.1 billion in aid next year to the nation where Osama bin Laden once trained terrorists and plotted the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


Posted by: WL Mackenzie Redux | 2007-11-17 3:35:55 PM

I think Bastard is an appropriate enough name for you.

Just what exactly is your point anyway other than proving your self une grande mineu.

You disgrace Voltaire with your ridiculous and misguided opinion.


Posted by: epsilon | 2007-11-17 3:58:24 PM

United States financial "investment: in Afghanistan will depend on who the President of the United States is next year. Russia will not sit back and let the potential of oil reserves and natural gas to go to US Interests -nor will the PRC. Japan will also show much interest in this pipe dream.Last time the US and CIA had a pipe dream they ended up selling sophisticated arms and munitions to many if not most of the same people whom they are fighting today. Ain't too many world class and smart Generals around the old barrack blocks today in the United States of America. Macleod

Posted by: Jack Macleod | 2007-11-17 4:00:59 PM

WL Mackenzie Redux: Still pap. There is no need for a trans-Afstan oil pipeline.

Your first quote is dead wrong in a key part:

"Another route being considered by AIOC goes from Baku through Tbilisi in Georgia to Ceyhan in Turkey. However, parts of the route are seen as politically unstable as it goes through the Kurdistan region of Turkey and its $3 billion price tag is prohibitively expensive."

Nuts. The TPC pipeline is open:

Maybe this was your source:

It's from an Oct. 24 2001 story in the Guardian. Nice try using a source six years old (you could Google it). Total fraud on your part.

As for your second quote, time will tell. But in any event the supposed oil reserves ("Nearly 1.6 billion barrels of oil") are pretty small beer by international standards:

"Kazakhstan's combined onshore and offshore proven hydrocarbon reserves have been estimated between 9 and 40 billion barrels (comparable to OPEC members Algeria on the low end and Libya on the high end)."

Not proven, not likely to be exploited for years, and hardly worth a military effort.

Really you need to get that grip and do better research. And stop using six-year old quotes--without giving your source, misleading people into thinking they're current.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2007-11-17 4:12:02 PM

What's a "mineu" ?

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-17 4:15:54 PM

Mineu is a pussy cat in French

Posted by: John | 2007-11-17 5:35:39 PM

Consider that the French have never won a war. Maybe it's better that they sit it out.

Posted by: John | 2007-11-17 5:37:12 PM

WL Mackenzie Redux: My error above. It's the BTC pipeline that's open (not TPC). It still remains that your source on that subject is irrelevant to the current reality and should not have been quoted.

More on the BTC pipeline's current operation here:

Read it.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2007-11-17 7:32:35 PM

Like those french pussies will do anything besides our jackets while we do the heavy lifting.

Posted by: nastyboy | 2007-11-17 7:47:05 PM

Like those french pussies will do anything besides hold our jackets while we do the heavy lifting.

Posted by: nastyboy | 2007-11-17 7:47:34 PM

Hopefully the WON'T do our jackets.

Sick bastards probably will.

Posted by: nastyboy | 2007-11-17 7:49:51 PM

Hopefully they WON'T do our jackets.

Sick bastards probably will.

Proof reading is for pansies!

Posted by: nastyboy | 2007-11-17 7:50:56 PM

Read French history. You have no idea how much the French contributed to modern democracy, culture, science and the advancement of western values.

I lived in rural France. These people are the most conservative in the west, proud, strong, and determined.

They are also highly cultured and intellectual.

They are the biggest allies we have and you treat them like trash.

Shame on you. you are so provincial.


Posted by: epsilon | 2007-11-17 10:26:13 PM


Maybe big allies, but they also applied the veto in the security council, that left the US and other NATO forces to go it without the UN in Iraq. Of course, the Security Council does not have authority over NATO--and the real reason why France did not want to remove Saddam and his lousy sons, was they had a pretty good oil deal, and the retaining of the monies of the oil for medicine scandal would have been discovered, along with France, and some lesser known countries who processed oil from Iraq--who also agreed with France, to leave the mad dogs and rapists in power.

Although it is ever so true that France is responsible for the invention of the essay, and other modern matters, and the people of France are Conservative red-necks with values similar to the other western nations, they have not exactly done away with the bad rap they got when they actually did surrender to the Nazis--while many actually did assist the Nazis in rounding up Jewish people. Although the French Catholics did actually place many Jewish children into foster homes during WWII--they NEVER returned them after WWII, and the names of those Jews and their identities has been witheld from the Jewish people.

There's more, but we'll start with that.

Posted by: Lady | 2007-11-17 10:55:38 PM

I lived with a family that was in the French Resistance.

I shall never ever accept any criticism of the people of France. Not even you my dear lady!


Posted by: epsilon | 2007-11-18 12:06:57 AM

The old harpy hates everybody equaly, epsi.
Don'y take it personally.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-18 12:26:23 AM

Hahahahahhahahaha !
It's Minou - not mineu. And, forget the cat.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-18 12:30:12 AM

It will be interesting to observe what units of the
French military are committed to Afghanistan.I doubt
if the Republic will send the famous Foreign Legion
which in fact is mostly composed of Eastern Europeans and East Germans. Several French Reserve Military Officers are Professors at the University of Moncton -one is the present temporary leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Reservists are subject to recall -Citoyen Dion may very well serve
his compulsory military service in Afghanistan.

Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2007-11-18 6:09:25 AM

Every frenchman you meets says they were, or their family was, in the french resistance during the Nazi occupation. It's BS, to make up for the shame of french cowardice.

Posted by: nastyboy | 2007-11-18 8:26:07 AM

"I lived in rural France. These people are the most conservative in the west, proud, strong, and determined."

Epsi, I live in rural Canada and the same can be said for the people right here. And in middle America as well.

But the sad truth is the cities have been under attack (successfully) by the Stalinists for years who figured out long ago that they are the key to gaining and controlling the western democracies.

It is also why you see insidious programs like the gun registry aimed at disarming the rural class.

And sadly the strongest among us, the people you describe above, are powerless politically, and can only watch in amazement as these once great countries are brought to their knee's from within by these despicable people.

Both France and Canada have recently elected leaders who are our only hope for survival.

Lets hope they can gain successful majorities and ar least try and bring these once proud countries back to their rightfull, respectable places in the world.

Posted by: deepblue | 2007-11-18 8:28:28 AM

deepblue ~

That is why it is essential for us to remain armed, despite any further "metrosexual laws" that are enacted to emasculate us.

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-18 8:38:38 AM


Most liberal swill, which they tried passing off as policy, and in particular the gun registry, has been simply ignored by the class of people epsi so aptly described above.

Posted by: deepblue | 2007-11-18 8:55:44 AM

And here's further evidence of why we must remain armed:

"B.C. gangster escapes maximum-security jail"

People are mystified about how a gangster managed to escape from one of British Columbia's most secure jails.

"Well, my first response is one of amazement," Simon Fraser University criminologist Robert Gordon told CTV British Columbia on Saturday about the escape by Omid Tahvilli from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre.

The maximum-security centre is where accused serial killer Robert Pickton is being held.

SO AN SFU PROFESSOR is amazed he escaped! Maybe Robert Pickton will find his way out next. SHEESH!

If we excecuted those deserving of capital punishment, they would NEVER escape.

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-18 8:59:40 AM


If you and the rest of the country are lucky, he will try breaking into my house...

Posted by: deepblue | 2007-11-18 9:10:23 AM

i just read through the thread.

sheesh! c'mon guys. calm down. we're on the same team!

i look like a typical blond squareheaded German (well, more grey these days). i've gotten lots of good natured (and bad natured) ribbing over the years. i can take it. i'm not precious.

you know the old saying:
if you can't laugh at other people, who ca...
sorry. i'll try it again:
if you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?


i drink cognac and armagnac. nothing else.

obc and deep blue~

almost all rural folk i know, including myself, have unregistered firearms.

Posted by: shel | 2007-11-18 9:11:01 AM

"almost all rural folk I know, including myself, have unregistered firearms"

. . . and an increasing number that I know are armed in the cities as well. They just don't advertise it.

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-18 9:12:57 AM

deepblue & shel ~

I'm off to my youngest son's birthday party, so I'll leave this blog in your capable hands.

Posted by: obc | 2007-11-18 9:14:53 AM

"That is why it is essential for us to remain armed, despite any further "metrosexual laws" that are enacted to emasculate us"

obc needs a gun to feel like a Man. That tells a lot on the personnage. This guy is a real minou.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-18 9:31:15 AM


people have guns for hunting and self defence of their person and property.

i loved Asterix when i was a kid. :)

Posted by: shel | 2007-11-18 9:36:46 AM

... i should add "family" to that little list.

Posted by: shel | 2007-11-18 9:38:30 AM


If you're afraid of guns, don't own one.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-11-18 10:41:07 AM

I'm a hunter.
No laws will hold me from protecting my familly.
But, I don't fell more or less "a Man" because of it...

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-18 11:08:07 AM

Having a gun don't defines me.

Posted by: Marc | 2007-11-18 11:09:12 AM

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