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Bin Laden and Minerals…and Abu Dalama’s Fate? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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We were expecting the Americans in Afghanistan to announce, any time now, that they had discovered the whereabouts of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and had arrested him as a result, as that is the stated aim of the Afghanistan invasion. However, the surprise was that Washington announced the discovery of unused mineral deposits in Afghanistan, the value of which is estimated at nearly a trillion dollars. This is nothing like the known [mineral] reserves and is enough to make a radical change to the Afghan economy and perhaps to the Afghanistan war itself according to recent evaluations.

What’s strange is that the Americans also occupied Iraq in search of forbidden weapons that Saddam Hussein was reported to be hiding and in order to establish democracy in Iraq and for democracy to spread in the region as a result. Unluckily, and in contrast to what happened in Afghanistan and the discovery of minerals there, the Americans discovered forbidden politicians in the manner of forbidden weapons and they brought the sectarian giant out of its magic lamp for us and are still insisting on the date for withdrawing from Iraq which is now quite soon. Whilst in Afghanistan, instead of finding Osama Bin Laden (which was the stated aim), the Americans, who have had better luck than the former Soviet Union and the so-called jihadists who are exposing them to danger, found treasures of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and key industrial minerals such as lithium. These are minerals that are considered necessary for the modern industry and this might make Afghanistan one of the most important centers of mining in the world.

According to a report that was published in the New York Times, which quoted an internal Pentagon memo, Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium” which is a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and also BlackBerry phones.

What’s interesting about all of the above is that the Americans, who were seeking to create an armed international coalition in the war in Afghanistan, have started to fear the day that others will compete with them and reap the fruits of their efforts, money and blood, and control the development of the mineral wealth in Afghanistan and as a result Washington will lose all the large investments it made there. The state that the Americans are attaching importance to in this regard is China and the clearest example of Washington’s concern was when the Chinese won a contract to develop the Aynak copper mine in the Logar Province in Afghanistan.

However, after the Americans discovered the treasure of the Afghan minerals, and if the information is accurate, and with Washington’s insistence that it will withdraw from Iraq by a certain point, thus leaving Baghdad as it is today on a golden platter for the Iranians, what we really fear is that Abu Dulama’s joke applies here. When the Abbasid Caliph and Ali Bin Suleiman went hunting they saw a herd of gazelle so the hunting dogs were sent and a horse was prepared for the hunt. The Caliph threw an arrow and it hit a gazelle whilst Ali Bin Suleiman threw an arrow and it hit one of the dogs and it died so Abu Dulama said [in jest]:

The Caliph throws [an arrow] and it pierces the heart of a gazelle

Ali Bin Suleiman throws [an arrow] and hits a dog!

Congratulations to both and each shall feed on the provisions he has provided for himself!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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