Turkey Will Get a Chunk of Syria: An Advantage of Being in NATO

Source

July 14, 2019

by Eric Zuesse for The Saker Blog

The success of Turkey’s takeover of Syria’s most pro-jihadist province, Idlib, is making less and less likely that Syria will be able to continue maintaining Idlib as being a part of Syria. (This is something I had predicted, back on 14 September 2018, to be possible or even likely, and now it is actually happening.) On July 10th, Reuters headlined “Assad hits a wall in Syrian war as front lines harden”, and reported that, “More than two months of Russian-backed operations in and around Idlib province have yielded little or nothing for Assad’s side. It marks a rare case of a military campaign that has not gone his way since Russia intervened in 2015. While resisting government attacks, the insurgents have managed to carve out small advances of their own, drawing on ample stocks of guided anti-tank missiles that opposition and diplomatic sources say have been supplied by Turkey.” It continues:

Moscow has appeared keen to preserve its ties with Ankara even as its air force bombs in support of Assad: Turkey says Russia has intervened to stop attacks on Turkish forces from Syrian government-held territory. … The Idlib area is dominated by Tahrir al-Sham, the jihadists formerly known as the Nusra Front. [And before that, they were called Al Qaeda in Syria, but Western news-agencies, such as Reuters, prefer not to mention that fact, especially because the U.S. used_Nusra to train ‘our’ proxy boots-on-the-ground ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria to bring down Syria’s Government. Elsewhere, the Reuters article calls them ‘insurgents’.] Some 300,000 people fleeing bombardment have moved toward the Turkish border since April, prompting the United Nations to warn that Idlib was on the brink of a “humanitarian nightmare”.

For Ankara, the Syrian opposition’s last major state sponsor, preventing another major influx of Syrian refugees is of paramount importance: Turkey already hosts 3.6 million of them. …

A Russian private military contractor who was based near Idlib province told Reuters that rebel fighters there are far more professional and motivated than their adversary. Pro-government forces cannot win the battle for Idlib unless Moscow helps them on the ground, he said. …

Of course the regime [that’s the legitimate Government, but Western ‘news’-agencies such as Reuters call it ‘the regime’, and most of their audience don’t even recognize that their own intelligence has just been insulted by calling Syria’s Government a ‘regime’ while calling the invading regimes, Turkey and U.S., not that] has the desire to recover Idlib by force [as if the sovereign Government of Syria doesn’t have this right], but … without the Russians it can’t[those nasty Russians, who are defending Syria from U.S.-Saud-backed proxy-armies that are led mostly by Al Qaeda in Syria], because there are many militants and the Russians are completely committed to the Turks,” the source said.

Syria’s Government is fighting hard against jihadist forces in Idlib who meet Turkey’s standard of being ‘moderate rebels’ against Syria’s Government, but unless Russian forces there — which were invited in by Syria’s Government, instead of being invaders there like Turkey and the United States are — will commit far more forces for the defense of Syria (which seems increasingly unlikely), Turkey will win Idlib as being a part of Turkey.

Consequently, Turkey is already starting to build infrastructure even immediately to the north and east of Idlib in order to stake its claim to a yet larger portion of Syria than just Idlib. This might not have been part of the deal that was worked out by Russia’s Putin, Iran’s Rouhani, and Turkey’s Erdogan, in Tehran, on 9 September 2018, which agreement allowed Turkey only to take over — and only on a temporary basis — Idlib province, which is by far the most pro-jihadist (and the most anti-Assad) of Syria’s 14 provinces. Turkey was instead supposed to hold it only temporarily, but the exact terms of the Turkey-Russia-Iran agreement have never been publicly disclosed.

Until that 9 September 2018 Tehran conference, Idlib had been the province to which Syria’s Government was busing defeated jihadists who had surrendered instead of choosing to stay and die where they were. Syria’s Government had given its surrounded jihadists this final option, in order to reduce as much as possible the numbers of jihadists’ civilian hostages who would also likely be killed in an all-out bombing campaign there. So, the existing population of Idlib, which was already the most pro-jihadist in Syria, was now starting to overflow with the additional thousands of defeated jihadists who had chosen to surrender instead of to be immediately killed.

At that time, just prior to the Tehran conference — and this was actually the reason why the conference was held — the U.S. and its allies, and the U.N., were demanding that an all-out invasion of Idlib, which had been planned by the Governments of Syria and of Russia, must not take place, for ‘humanitarian’ reasons. There was all that ‘humanitarian’ concern (led by the United States) for the world’s biggest concentration of Nusra and Nusra-led jihadists — and for Syria’s most jihadist-supporting civilian population. So much ‘kindness’, such ‘admirable’ ‘humanitarianism’. Furthermore the U.S. Government was threatening to greatly increase its forces against Syria if that invasion by Syria and by Russia into Idlib (which is, after all, part of Syria — so, what business is it, even of the U.N., at all?) were to be carried out. The Tehran conference was meeting in order to resolve that emergency situation (mainly America’s threats of a possible war against Russia), so as to forestall this attack.

However, now that it’s clear that Erdogan will not  follow through on his generally understood promise that this would be only a temporary military occupation of Idlib, the question is: what can Syria and Russia and Iran do to keep Idlib inside Syria, and whether they even want to do so. If Syria loses those jihadists, then not only will it lose the perhaps hundred thousand surviving jihadists there — many of whom came from other countries in order to fight against Syria’s secular Government — but also will lose some of those Idlib natives, who were always against Syria’s secular Government. Since those people would no longer be voting against Bashar al-Assad, because they would become Turks, this would actually be a Syrian political advantage for Assad. Yet, he has been resisting it, in order to hold Syria together. He has always been committed to holding Syria together.

Turkey’s negotiating position is exceptionally strong, because Turkey now is riding the fence between the U.S. alliance, NATO (of which Turkey has been the only predominantly Muslim member ever since it joined in 1952), versus Russia. According to a major report in English from Iran’s Fars News Agency — which had translated from published Arab sources in many countries and which report hasn’t been denied by any of them — Russia had saved Erdogan’s life on 15 June 2016, when there was a coup-attempt to get rid of him. Headlining on 20 July, just five days after the failed coup, “Erdogan Warned of Incoming Coup by Russian Alert”, Fars said that,

Several Arab media outlets, including Rai Alyoum, quoted diplomatic sources in Ankara as saying that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, known locally as the MIT, received intel from its Russian counterpart that warned of an impending coup in the Muslim state.

The unnamed diplomats said the Russian army in the region had intercepted highly sensitive army exchanges and encoded radio messages showing that the Turkish army was readying to stage a coup against the administration in Ankara.

The exchanges included dispatch of several army choppers to President Erdogan’s resort hotel to arrest or kill the president.

In any case, after that event, Turkey’s foreign policies definitely switched away from being clearly U.S.-allied, to being on the fence and calculated purely to serve Turkey’s advantage, no longer tied, at all, to NATO or the U.S., and, in many important respects, very much contrary to the U.S. regime. In fact, Erdogan has been emphatic that this coup had been led by Fethullah Gulen, a billionaire Muslim cleric, formerly allied with Erdogan, who since moving to the U.S. in 1999 has been his bitter enemy. In fact, some of NATO’s forces in Turkey were participating in the attempted coup. However, Erdogan holds on tenaciously to that NATO membership, because it gives Turkey enormous leverage it can use in order to grab territory from Syria, which the U.S. regime wants Turkey to do.

Here is how Erdogan has clearlly committed Turkey to taking at least parts of Syria’s northeast:

On 6 June 2018, Reuters headlined “Turkish university to open campus in northern Syria” and reported that, “Turkey’s Harran University, in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa [Turkey], said it is preparing to open a faculty in Al-Bab [Syria] for students in towns under Turkish control. … The Turkish cabinet has also approved opening a vocational high school in Jarablus [Syria] affiliated with Gaziantep University, Turkey’s official gazette said on Tuesday.”

On 30 July 2018, Syria.LiveuaMap headlined “Turkey start[s] to build highways starting from Cobanbey-al-Bab to Jarablus-Manbij in Syria” — all of which is in the parts of Syria’s north that Turkey controls.

On 23 May 2019, Gaziantep University posted an announcement of “The Global Syrian Refugee Crisis” conference to be held in Gaziantep, Turkey, on 14-18 October 2019, and also announced that: “The medium of instruction of our university is entirely English in %80 of faculties and Turkish in some faculties. However, after the ferocious civil war in Syria, we opened four departments (Engineering, Architecture, Administration and Theology) that teach in Arabic language. This was achieved by hiring Syrian academic staff in these programs which created opportunities for refugee students who want to continue their studies in Arabic.” So, it does seem to be Erdogan’s intention that directly across the border in Syria, this part of what has, until recently, been a part of Syria, is to be instead a part of Turkey. This would be the chief favorable outcome for the U.S. regime resulting from the Syrian portion of the CIA-planted “Arab Spring” rebellions in 2011.

On 27 May 2019, the Daily Sabah headlined “Turkey to Build New Faculties to Promote Higher Education in Northern Syria” and reported that

Gaziantep University, located in southern Turkey close to the Syrian border, decided to offer education for Syrians living in the northern part of the war-torn country, the areas that were liberated by Turkey’s two cross-border operations. … 

The university applied to Turkish education officials to set up four faculties in northern Syria’s al-Bab, Azaz and Mare districts, which is planned to focus on economics, business, teaching and engineering; some 2,700 prospective students have already taken proficiency exams. The faculties will be the second move by Gaziantep University as it previously opened a vocational school last year in Aleppo’s Jarablus district. While vocational education currently continues in five departments, the university is planning to expand it with four more and to provide education for 500 students.

In 2016, Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield and cleared about 2,000 kilometers of area in northern Syria, which was once dragged into darkness by the Daesh terrorist organization.

This seems to reflect Syria’s actual capitulation to Turkey, which henceforth is to control that area — permanently. The only question now is how large the seized area will turn out to be.

The first person, it seems, who recognized quickly the significance of this takeover was the tweeter “domihol” who on 28 May 2019 posted

Turkey is also throwing serious money at its seemingly permanent slice of Syria.

You don’t build universities just so Damascus can take it over soon.

Right below that is his:

I’m sorry to say – my prediction for Syria’s near and possibly medium term future still holds …

Dominic | دومينيك added,

[15 December 2018]  prediction:

TRUMP gets the oil & gas

ERDOGAN gets the water

PUTIN gets the “mission accomplished” moment …

9:49 AM – 28 May 2019

However, his predictions there (as is routine for tweets, which are good for communicating only bumper-stickers) are unsupported by anything. For example: Where is Turkey’s oil and gas? Is it actually anywhere near to the Turkish border? Here’s a map which shows where it is, and that’s certainly not near the Turkish border.

In addition, the U.S. regime is evidently preparing to assist Turkey’s takeover of parts of Syria, but focuses it specifically against Iran. On 24 May 2019, the U.S. State Department advertised a “Grant Opportunity” for NGOs to be “Supporting Local Governance and Civil Society in Syria” and are offering up to $75 million to each, in order to “Counter extremism and disinformation perpetuated by Iranian forces” and “End the presence of Iranian forces and proxies in Syria” and otherwise support America’s war against Iran. Perhaps the U.S. and Turkey have agreed that U.S. operations against Syria will continue in the Turk-seized areas after the U.S. occupation of the remaining parts of Syria has ended.

If Assad were to give a press conference now, the first question to ask would be: “Is Syria going to allow Turkish universities and highways to be built on Turk-seized Syrian territory?” Because, if the answer to that is anything like yes, then not only would it seem that Turkey has won against Syria and Russia and Iran, but so too has the U.S., whose fall-back position, ever since it first tried a coup in Syria in 1949, has been to at least break off a piece of Syria, when and if it failed to take the whole thing. The construction of a Turkish university, highway, and/or etc., in Syria, would be a huge apparent win for Donald Trump, but an even bigger apparent victory for Tayyip Erdogan, who now seems to be, yet again, a member of America’s alliance against Russia. (And Iran, too, would seem to be endangered by Syria’s apparent defeat in that part of Syria. But maybe not: is Turkey going to end altogether its alliance with the U.S.?)

Usually, successful aggression is impossible without allies, and the U.S., again, seems to have Turkey as one — and as an extremely important one (more important, perhaps, than ever before).

The U.S. Government wants to remove land from Syria’s Government. The Turkish Government wants to be the Government that actually takes it. So, U.S. and Turkey seem to have made a deal. Turkey took Syrian territory while promising (as the Qatar regime’s Al Jazeera headlined on 5 June 2018 — “YPG confirms withdrawal from Syria’s Manbij after Turkey-US deal”). Al Jazeera reported there that, “The Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) said its military advisers would leave the town of Manbij a day after Turkey and the United States said they reached an agreement on the armed group’s withdrawal.” Those two foreign invaders against Syria (Turkey and U.S.) came to this agreement in Washington DC, regarding their respective invasions: Turkish forces won’t conquer YPG (separatist-Kurd) forces in any part of Syria unless and until that part has already become instead a part of Turkey — swallowed-up by Turkey. The U.S. will be protecting those Kurds until the U.S. ends its military occupation of Syria. After that, those Kurds will be on their own.

Back on 10 January 2018, Elijah J. Magnier had commented,

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad also considers Turkey to be another occupying force in northern Syria. He would like to liberate the entire Syrian territory, which is not the case with Russia, which would prefer to end the war as soon as possible and undertake the work at the negotiating table.”

Magnier seems to have been correct: Russia appears not to be objecting to Turkey’s land-seizures in Syria. Therefore, Turkey is a “middle-man” between both U.S. and Russia — strategizing with both.

On 19 January 2018, Tony Cartalucci commented,

The Syrian government with support from its Russian, Iranian, and Lebanese allies has embarked on a major military operation to retake parts of Syria’s northern governorate of Idlib. As it does so, the US and its regional allies are rushing to position themselves to ensure the permanent partition of Syria is achieved.”

He continued (all of which has likewise subsequently been borne out):

It should be noted that Afrin is located between [Idlib and] territory Turkey is currently occupying. Turkish troops, should they seize Afrin [which they soon did], would effectively have expanded Turkey’s “Euphrates Shield” by 30 miles (53 km) and present an opportunity for its troops to link up with troops of Turkey’s “Idlib Shield.” This would create a large, singular buffer zone within which US-NATO forces could harbor militants driven back by Syria’s most recent offensive.

Depending on Turkey’s success, the zone could be expanded even further, even as far as including Idlib city itself[which happened in September of that year] – thus granting the US an opportunity to present it as a second Syrian “capital” much in the way Benghazi was used in Libya during US-led regime change there. There remains, however, the fact that Idlib is openly occupied and administered by Al Qaeda, making the proposal of transforming it into an “opposition capital” particularly dubious.

Meanwhile, the US itself continues its own uninvited, illegal occupation of Syrian territory east of the Euphrates, having previously justified the invasion and occupation of Syrian territory under the guise of fighting the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS). …

The US occupation of Syrian territory will be difficult for Damascus and its allies to contest without being drawn into a direct military confrontation. Turkey’s occupation may be easier to confound, but if sufficient political will exists to maintain it along with US backing, it could effectively result in a Golan Heights-style occupation of Syrian territory [by Turkey] that provides a long-term geopolitical pressure point versus Damascus for years to come.

And while US efforts to destroy Syria have fallen short, the US now permanently occupies territory within one of Iran’s closest and most important regional allies. Like a splinter under the skin turning septic, the US occupation will remain a constant potential source of wider infection both for Syria and the rest of the region.

Perhaps Cartalucci was the first person publicly to recognize what has been happening here.

On 8 February 2018, Russia’s RT bannered, “US-led coalition conducts ‘defensive’ airstrikes against Syrian forces”, and reported,

The US-led coalition has also firmly stressed its ‘non-negotiable right to act in self-defense,’ since its service members are embedded with the [anti-Syrian] ‘partners’ on ground in Syria. … ‘It’s very likely that the Americans have taken a course of dividing the country. They just gave up their assurances, given to us, that the only goal of their presence in Syria – without an invitation of the legitimate government – was to defeat Islamic State and the terrorists,’ Lavrov said.

All of this, likewise, has since been borne out. Key was the September 2018 Tehran summit of Erdogan, Putin and Rouhani (Syria not even being represented there), to decide how to handle Syria’s most pro-jihadist province: Idlib. (It’s even more jihadist than Raqqah, where ISIS was headquartered, and which is the second-most-jihadist.)

On 9 September 2018, the Turkish-Government-controlled (and this also means anti-Syrian) Daily Sabah newspaper bannered “The outcome of the Tehran summit” and reported that:

We know for a fact that Erdoğan’s goal was to prevent the Russians and the Assad regime from carrying out a comprehensive operation in Idlib. In this sense, he got what he wanted. At the joint press conference, the Russian president announced that the three countries, at the request of President Erdoğan, urged all parties to lay down their arms. As such, it became possible to prevent another humanitarian disaster, a new influx of refugees, the collapse of the Astana process [which Putin had established to replace the U.N.’s peace process immediately after Obama bombed on 17 September 2016 Syria’s Army at Deir Ezzor, thus violating the ceasefire agreement that his Secretary of State John Kerry had just signed with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on 9 September 2016and the radicalization of moderate opposition, who would have moved closer to the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) [Al Qaeda in Syria]. At the same time, a clear distinction was made between ‘terrorists’ and opposition groups. At the same time, there is no doubt that the Iranian president’s proposal to remove the United States from the east of the Euphrates river was in line with Erdoğan’s own agenda.

Actually, however, the truthfulness of that last sentence is still very much in doubt.

The ultra-reliable Al Masdar News reported on 10 September 2018 that

Russia and Iran have already informed Turkey that they will not accept any jihadist factions inside of Idlib; however, the latter is attempting to convince Moscow and Tehran to avoid carrying out the attack in favor of Ankara clearing these groups.”

Putin and Rouhani accepted Erdogan’s promise there (of “Ankara clearing those groups”), and consequently allowed Turkey’s troops to handle Idlib. But, evidently, Erdogan had been lying about that. He didn’t eliminate the jihadists — he has instead been protecting them (except that his forces attack the Kurdish-independence forces against Syria’s Government, the anti-Assad fighters whom Erdogan authentically has been obsessed to kill).

The very next day, on September 11th, Paul Mansfield at Syria News headlined “Erdogan Buys Time for Terrorists at the Tehran Summit” and he observed that

The Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah released the components of Turkey’s plan for Idlib. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out it effectively means annexing Syrian territory, entrenching Turkish proxy Free Syrian Army forces, while falsely legitimizing their presence through a trilateral agreement, one made (it should be mentioned) without the presence of the country it concerns: Syria.

On 18 September 2018, another of the Turkish regime’s major newspapers, Yeni Safak, headlined “Turkey tells 50,000 FSA fighters to be ready for deployment as tensions rise in Idlib” and reported that,

As the Assad regime and Russian warplanes viciously attack the last opposition-held stronghold of Syria’s Idlib, Turkey ramped up its military reinforcements in northern Syria and instructed over 50,000 Free Syrian Army (FSA) [that being the Turkish-led anti-Assadfighters stationed in Afrin, Azaz, Jarabulus, al-Bab and al-Rai to ‘be ready for military deployment.’”

This anti-Syrian report continued, “The Bashar al-Assad regime recently announced plans to launch a major military offensive in Idlib, which is controlled by various armed opposition groups.” It didn’t mention that those “armed opposition groups” were the members of Al Qaeda-led forces defeated elsewhere in Syria who had chosen to be bused by the Syrian Government into the most pro-jihadist Syrian province, Idlib, instead of to be outright shot to death on-the-spot by Syrian troops, where they had been fighting. Such crucial information was left out of Western news-reports.

It went on: “An attack on Syria’s Idlib, the last opposition-held stronghold, would be a massacre,” and (since this newspaper reflected Erdogan’s anti-Assad, meaning anti-Syrian, viewpoint) it alleged that “Russia and Assad regime target civilians” instead of try to exterminate jihadists — especially now in Idlib itself, to which Syria’s Government had, indeed, been busing the surviving defeated jihadists. (As was previously noted, the only alternative that Syria’s Government had had regarding those hold-out fighters would have been simply to go in and slaughter not only them but the human shields behind whom they were fighting, which would have enormously increased the civilian casualties, which the ‘barbaric’ Assad-led Government was always trying to avoid doing. So: that’s how and why so many of the Al Qaeda-led forces came to be collected inside Idlib to begin with.)

NOTE:

Erdogan might be a double-agent here. But how could Turkey be building infrastructure in Syria and not be permanently taking that land? All of those “seems to be” could be wrong, but it’s hard to see how Syria’s Government could accept any such blatant grab of land away from their nation. I had written on 14 September 2018 about Erdogan’s duplicity, headlining “U.S. Protects Al Qaeda in Syria, Proven”:

Erdogan is in both camps — America’s and Russia’s — and playing each side against the other, for what he wants. But he could turn out to be the biggest loser from ‘his’ success here.

If he exterminates Idlib’s jihadists, then the U.S. side will condemn him for it. But if he instead frees those jihadists to return to their home-countries, then both sides will condemn him for having done so.

The biggest apparent ‘winner’ from all this, Erdogan, could thus turn out to be the biggest real loser from it. And the biggest apparent ‘loser’ from it, Assad, could turn out to be the biggest real winner from it.

Then, three days later, on September 17th, I argued that the big winners from this will probably be Putin, Erdogan, Rouhani, and Assad. The headline of that was “Putin and Erdogan Plan Syria-Idlib DMZ as I Recommended”, and the basic case was presented that this would turn out to be only a feint on Erdogan’s part, and that he and Putin and Rouhani (and Assad) would all benefit from this feint by Erdogan, and take home the win. It still could be that. But only Erdogan himself probably knows. And who can read his mind? The main sign I would look at is whether Putin and Rouhani just ignore, as much as possible, Turkey’s ‘seizures’ of Idlib and of the most-jihadist parts of Aleppo province bordering Idlib to Idlib’s immediate east. (For example, this fundamentalist-Sunni family from Sweida — which is perhaps the most pro-jihadist southern province — migrated during the war to Al-Bab, which is Turk-controlled.) If Putin and Rouhani ignore Turkey’s solidification of its control over those areas of northwestern Syria, then this is how the U.S. side and proxy forces — jihadists and Kurdish fanatics — might lose in Syria, and be forced out of there. This Turkish ‘win’ would entail a loss for both the U.S. and its proxy-forces, especially the Kurds. But it would also entail Syria’s loss of the areas that were always the greatest thorn in Assad’s side. In that case, America’s former proxy-forces in northwest Syria — Al Qaeda’s surviving Syrian forces, plus the separatist Kurdish forces — would henceforth be under Erdogan’s control. If Putin, Rouhani and Assad won’t object to that, then the main loser could be the U.S. regime, which would cede to Erdogan not only America’s last holdout in Syria but also all of its proxy-forces in Syria, henceforth to be totally subject to whatever Erdogan has in mind for them. However, the biggest losers could still be the Turkish and the American regimes. But that would be true only if the surrounded U.S. forces in Syria’s northeast become forced out. If the U.S. occupation stays in Syria, then the U.S. and Turkey will have taken all of northern Syria. But no oil or gas is there, either. (It’s south of there.) What, consequently, is this war even about, any longer? Is it about contending national leaders who refuse to acknowledge defeat? Is that now the only real reason for all of this ongoing death, and destruction? Is it just pure ego?

If Turkey quits NATO, then the biggest loser from the end-part of the Syrian war would be the U.S. and its allies. But, of course, the biggest losers from the entire war are the Syrian people. There’s no doubt, whatsoever, about that.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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الزهار: قبل الأزمة بشار الأسد فتح لنا كل الدنيا

Image result for ‫الزهار الرئيس الأسد فتح لنا كل الدنيا‬‎

١٠ يوليو ٢٠١٩

الزهار: قبل الأزمة بشار الأسد فتح لنا كل الدنيا

كشف محمود الزهار عضو المكتب السياسي لحركة المقاومة الإسلامية “حماس” النقاب عن جهود تبذل حالياً لعودة العلاقات بين حركة “حماس” والقيادة السورية، مشدداً على “أنه لابد من ترتيب العلاقات مع كل من وقف ويقف مع فلسطين ويعادي الاحتلال الإسرائيلي”.

وأوضح القيادي الزهار في تصريح لـ”موقع النهضة نيوز” “أنَّ من مصلحة المقاومة أن تكون هناك علاقات جيدة مع جميع الدول التي تعادي “إسرائيل” ولديها موقف واضح وصريح من الاحتلال مثل الجمهورية السورية والجمهورية اللبنانية والجمهورية الإيرانية الإسلامية.

وقال الزهار: أعتقد أن هناك جهود تبذل لإعادة العلاقة بين حماس وسوريا، لكن هناك أناس مجروحة -قاصداً سوريا عطفاً على سؤال الصحفي- من الموقف وما آلت إليه العلاقة.

وأضاف:

الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد وقبل الأزمة فتح لنا كل الدنيا، لقد كنا نتحرك في سوريا كما لو كنا نتحرك في فلسطين وفجأة انهارت العلاقة على خلفية الأزمة السورية، وأعتقد أنه كان الأولى أن لا نتركه وأنْ لا ندخل معه أو ضده في مجريات الأزمة.

وبين القيادي الزهار أن العلاقات وصلت بين حماس والقيادة السورية ممثلة بالرئيس السوري-قبل تضررها- وصلت لمرحلة متقدمة جداً، مستذكراً أنه زار دمشق ابان توليه وزارة الخارجية الفلسطينية في العام م2006 واتخذ قرارات مهمة في حينها من داخل مكتب الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد منها استقبال سوريا اللاجئين الفلسطينيين الذين علقوا على الحدود الأردنية- العراقية، موضحاً أنَّ الرئيس الأسد لم يتردد في تلبية طلبه كونه وزير الخارجية -آنذاك، مضيفاً

“سوريا لم تفتح أبوابها لحركة حماس فقط بل لكل التنظيمات الفلسطينية، علينا أنْ نصدح بكلمة الحق والصدق حتى وإن لم يرق ذلك الموقف للكثير”.

وتابع: علينا أن نكون على علاقة قوية مع كل الدول التي لها علاقات سيئة مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، وعلاقات جيدة مع الدول التي تحتل إسرائيل أراضيها مثل سوريا ولبنان، ففي الوقت الذي تؤيد فيه بعض دول الخليج الفارسي إسرائيل، ما الذي يمنع  البلاد المحتلة (فلسطين، سوريا، لبنان) أنْ تتعاون مع بضعها البعض؟، وأن توحد مواقفها وترتب علاقاتها، هذا الموقف عبرتُ عنه بصراحة خلال جولتي الأخيرة لعدد من الدول العربية والإسلامية والإفريقية أمام علماء السنة والشيعة ولم يعترض عليه أحد لأنه الموقف الأكثر منطقية وصواباً في خضم حالة الاشتباك مع العدو، وأقولها الآن وبشكل لا يحتمل اللبس لا بد أن نتوحد ونتعاون وأن تكون علاقاتنا جيدة حتى تحرير آخر شبر من أراضينا المحتلة.

يُشار إلى أنّ العلاقات بين الدولة السوريّة وبين حركة حماس مرّت في أزمةٍ بعد اندلاع الأزمة في بلاد الشام، وقيام قادة حركة حماس، الذين كانوا يُقيمون في دمشق بمُغادرة الأراضي السوريّة والانتقال إلى دولٍ أخرى، وفي مٌقدّمتها دولة قطر في الخليج الفارسي، الأمر الذي أغضب النظام الحاكِم في دمشق، الذي كان النظام العربيّ الوحيد، الذي وافق على استقبال قيادة الحركة في العام 1999 بعد طردها من المملكة الأردنيّة الهاشميّة.

وأغلقت الحركة في أواخر عام 2011، بعد أشهر على اندلاع الأزمة السورية، مكتبها الرئيسي في العاصمة السورية دمشق، وغادر البلاد معظم رموز الحركة باستثناء رئيسها خالد مشعل، لكنه غادرها بعد فترة.

وسبق الإجراء توتر في العلاقة بين الحكومة السورية وحركة حماس، إذ اتهمت دمشق الحركة بدعم المعارضة ورفع علمها في قطاع غزة في عدة مناسبات.

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وبقي الأمر على حاله حتى يونيو عام 2018، عندما أعلن رئيس المكتب السياسي لحركة حماس، إسماعيل هنية، أن “الحركة لم تقطع العلاقة مع دمشق”، واصفا ما يجري في سوريا بأنه تجاوز “الفتنة” إلى تصفية حسابات دولية وإقليمية.

وقال في تصريح صحفي إن “شعب سوريا وحكومتها وقفا دوما إلى جانب الحق الفلسطيني، وكل ما أردناه أن ننأى بأنفسنا عن الإشكالات الداخلية، التي تجري في سوريا، ونأمل أن يعود الأمن والاستقرار والسلم الأهلي، وأن تعود سوريا إلى دورها الإقليمي القومي”.

SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JULY 5, 2019: BRITISH MARINES SEIZED IRANIAN OIL TANKER

South Front

On July 4, a detachment of Royal Marines and the authorities in Gibraltar seized a supertanker suspected of carrying oil to Syria on the belief it was breaching EU sanctions. 30 Royal Marines from 42 Commando were involved in the operation targeting Grace 1 that had sailed from Iran. The operation was made upon request from the US and the UK. If the oil on board is confirmed to be Iranian, the tanker would also be violating a US ban on Iranian oil exports.

Later, Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador in Tehran, Rob Macaire, over the incident describing it as an “illegal seizure”. Nonetheless, it’s unlikely that the tanker will be released soon. Such operations mark the start of a new round of pressure campaign on the government of the Bashar al-Assad as well as Iranian oil exports in the region.

On July 3 and July 4, a fighting broke out between the Turkish-backed militant group known as the National Syrian Army and joint forces of the Syrian Army and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) near the town of Hazwan in northern Aleppo. Turkish-backed militants admitted that at least 2 of their fighters were killed.

The army and the YPG jointly control an area between Afrin and the eastern countryside of al-Bab. Some Russian Military Police units are also deployed in key positions there. Tensions at the contact line between this area and the Turkish-occupied part of Syria grow after every successful attack of Kurdish rebels on Turkish targets in Afrin.

Several senior commanders of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) have inspected the frontlines with the Syrian Army in northwestern Hama. The TIP released photos of the visit on July 2. They faces of the commanders are blurred but they may have been Abu Rida al-Turkistani and Ibrahim Mansour, the top commanders of the TIP.

The interesting fact is that the visit took place in the area near to the Turkish military observation post in Shir Mughar. It confirms the freedom of movement that terrorist groups have under the nose of Turkish troops that allegedly deployed there to prevent such developments. Under the demilitarized zone agreement radicals like the TIP and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham have to be withdrawn from the contact line. Nonetheless, this has never happened.

سورية عقدة المستسلمين وأولياء أمورهم

 

يونيو 27, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

القراءة الواقعية لتطوّر الصراع مع الكيان الإسرائيلي المحتلّ تظهر أن الدولة السورية تؤدي دور المانع لتشريع الانهيارات العربية الكبيرة منذ أربعينيات القرن الماضي ولأمد مفتوح.

فتستعمل في هذا الكفاح المتواصل الأسلوبين العسكري والسياسي وسط موازنات قوى هي دائماً لمصلحة «إسرائيل» المسنودة من أوروبا والأميركيين ومعظم العرب فتتلقى أسلحة من النووي وحتى المسدسات الصغيرة والتمويل الكامل.

لكن الدولة السورية تجاوزت نسبياً الخلل في التوازنات بدعم منظمات جهادية شبه عسكرية في فلسطين ولبنان والعراق، فحالت دون الانهيار الكامل للمنطقة كما يخطط له الأميركيون وحلفاؤهم في الخليج ومصر والأردن.

لذلك، فإنّ صفقة القرن تندرج في إطار سقوط عربي تدريجي ابتدأ سرياً منذ ستينيات القرن الماضي متطوّراً الى استسلام من دون شروط مع بدء مرحلة أنور السادات في رئاسة مصر منذ سبعينيات القرن الفائت.

يُلاحظ هنا أنّ الدول العربية غير المؤيّدة لمجابهة «إسرائيل» هي المنتمية الى المحور العربي والمتمتعة بحماياته من الخليج والأردن ومصر أنور السادات.

لكن ما حدث في كمب دايفيد في 1979 كان مشروعاً لإنهاء قضية فلسطين نهائياً واستتباع العالم العربي بأسره للمحور الأميركي الإسرائيلي.

وهذا يعني أنه مشروع شرق أوسطي من البوابة الفلسطينية وكان أقوى من الحظوط الخائبة لصفقة القرن لأنه عكس انهيار أكبر بلد عربي هو مصر التي أخذها السادات عنوة إلى «إسرائيل» في إطار حلف سياسي اقليمي ولم تعُد بعد، وعلى الرغم من انّ معاهدة كمب دايفيد لم تتمكّن في حينه من جذب دول عربية الى مفهومها وبشكل علني، إلا أنها حققت بالنسبة للحلف الإسرائيلي الخطوة الرسمية الأولى في تحطيم المناعة العربية، وأخرجت مصر من نظام عربي كان ضعيفاً، لكنه كان أفضل من الخواء الحالي.

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كمب ديفيد الساداتية هي إذاً الآلية التي سهّلت اتفاقية أوسلو الإسرائيلية مع الرئيس السابق لمنظمة التحرير ياسر عرفات وغطت الاتفاق الإسرائيلي الأردني في وادي عربة في تسعينيات القرن الماضي فأصبح في المشهد العربي حلفاً بين «إسرائيل» ومصر والاردن والسلطة الفلسطينية بدعم من السعودية والإمارات وبموافقة حذرة من دول عربية أخرى مقابل سورية وحلف المقاومة وإيران.

هناك ميزة أساسية يمكن استخلاصها من السياسة السورية إزاء قضية فلسطين بما يؤكد انّ سورية تتعامل مع فلسطين على أنها جزء أساسي من بلاد الشام سرقها المستعمر الإنجليزي في غفلة من زمن استعماري تناوب عليه «العثماني والإنجليزي والفرنسي والأميركي» بتواطؤ عربي كان يعتمد على فصاحة اللغة في الحروب الحديثة، والتآمر المدروس في الليل.

للتوضيح، فإنّ الأميركيين استعملوا أسلوب الجذب الاقتصادي لاستمالة السادات للتحالف مع «إسرائيل» ووعدوه بمشروع يُشبه مشروع «مارشال» الأميركي الذي أدّى الى ازدهار أوروبا بعد تدميرها في الحروب العالمية المتتالية. والمعروف أنّ الأوطان لا تُباع بآليات جذب اقتصادية،

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لكن السادات وعرفات والحسين بن طلال تخلّوا عن القضية ولم يوفر لهم الأميركيون الحدّ الأدنى من وعودهم لهم والدليل أنّ معدل الفقر في مصر السادات بلغ الخمسين في المئة، فيما يتجاوز الآن معدل الدين تحت خط الفقر الخمسة والخمسين في المئة إلى جانب خمسة وعشرين في المئة من المصريين يقبعون عند خط الفقر تماماً مقابل عشرين في المئة فقط هم الطبقتان الغنيّة والمتوسطة.

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والأمر مشابه في الأردن الذي تسقط دولته فور توقف المساعدات الخارجية عنه بما يدلّ على أنه باع كلّ شيء على مستوى الكرامة والسياسة مقابل التغطية الأميركية بحكمة الهاشمي، وسط اقتصاد ريفي متسوّل يبيع مواقف سياسية ووطنية مقابل الاستمرار.

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أما أبو عمار فوجد نفسه طريداً شريداً في تونس مفضلاً «مخترة» مجرّدة من السلاح والأمل والطموح في ضفة غربيّة ليس له فيها إلا مبنى مع وعد بدويلة مجهولة الجغرافيا والإمكانات فترك فلسطين التاريخية لكانتون وهمي لا تريده «إسرائيل»!

إنّ ما شكل استثناء هو سورية التي قاتلت في 1973 الجيش الإسرائيلي واستسلام السادات في آن معاً، وقاومت منذ التسعينيات حتى الآن محاولات فرض استسلام عليها بإسناد عالمي خليجي عربي تركي لإرهاب دولي أراد تدمير الدولة السورية.

وحاربت منذ 1982 وحتى 2006 بدعم حزب الله في لبنان وتتحالف مع إيران لردع أقوى هجمات أميركية تاريخية الوقع والتدمير.

لماذا تصمد سورية؟

رفضت سورية أيّ صلح مع «إسرائيل» لأنه لا يعني إلا القضاء على القضية الفلسطينية التي تشكل بدورها جزءاً بنيوياً من بلاد الشام وقسماً عزيزاً من أرض العرب.

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لذلك يجب الإقرار بأنّ الصمود السوري منذ رئاسة الراحل الكبير حافظ الأسد مروراً بالمرحلة الحالية هي التي تجعل من قضية فلسطين منيعة غير قابلة للتفكيك لا بمعاهدة كمب ديفيد ولا بصفقة القرن.

فما بين سورية والفلسطينيين ليس تحالفاً قابلاً للجذب والتراجع، لأنه مسألة بنيوية غير خاضعة لأيّ نقاش.

وما تشهده صفقة القرن الأميركية الإسرائيلية الخليجية من فرملة لأهدافها فيرتبط بالموقف السوري الفلسطيني الرافض لها، لذلك تحوّلت لقاء يجمع بين دولٍ متحالفة سلفاً ولا تحتاج الى مؤتمر لإسناد بعضهما بعضاً، فهي جزء من قمم مكة الثلاث التي لم تنتج إلا حبراً على ورق.

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وهذا مصير ورشة المنامة التي أصبحت مؤتمراً لسرقة أموال خليجية يجري تبديدها على مصر والأردن من دون أيّ فائدة سياسية لأنّ هذه الدول تعترف بـ «إسرائيل» رسمياً في ما يقيم معظم الخليج علاقات عميقة تتجه عبر صفقة القرن لأن تصبح علنية. وهكذا تبقى سورية بتاريخيتها وتحالفاتها الحصن المنيع الحافظ لحقوق السوريين والفلسطينيين والعاصي على صفقات القرن والأحادية الأميركية.

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Bias, Lies and Videotape: Doubts Dog ‘Confirmed’ Syria Chemical Attacks

Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might’ve been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question.

Global Research, June 21, 2019

Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad’s government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was assigned in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the “barbaric act” of using “banned chemical weapons” to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes. The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said “no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties,” but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad’s forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides “reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place,” due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a “high probability” that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization’s response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for “its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP), OPCW director general Fernando Ariasacknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to “stand by the impartial and professional conclusions” of the group’s original report. He played down the role of the memo’s author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they “pointed at possible attribution” and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW’s fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who’d arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren’t the first to arrive on the scene; they’d heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria’s declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria’s obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, “all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control,” the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon “identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated.”

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM’s work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon “opposition representatives” to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the “security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM,” including liaising “for the purposes of making available persons for interviews.”

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an “alleged attack with chlorine” on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, “was welcomed by the opposition.” When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from “presenting definitive conclusions,” according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, “including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact,” and public domain material, “lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks” against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into “confirmed,” “credibly substantiated,” and “comprehensively confirmed.” Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous “comprehensively confirmed” tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were “were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence.”

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their “implementing partner” Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as “friends and partners” in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and “assistance” to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated—by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not—and indeed would not—have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule—one lie, all lies—that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

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Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research

Featured image is from Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock

Hassan Nasrallah: Without Hezbollah, South Lebanon would be Israel’s, Palestinian & Syrian Refugee Crisis must be solved

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on May 25, 2019, on the 19th anniversary of the Liberation of Lebanon.
 
Transcript:

[…] One of the most important results of this (May 25), 2000 victory, which was confirmed and strengthened over time, is to have shaped the equation of force in Lebanon. In 2000, with the Israeli defeat, it became clear that in Lebanon, a force had imposed on the Israeli enemy (by force) to get out defeated, humiliated, fleeing (the battlefield). Israel has not obtained any gain nor was it able to impose any conditions, any security agreement (for an orderly retreat or a peace treaty), any reward or compensation whatsoever: on the contrary, it was a retreat (without negotiations or conditions), a (real) humiliation. And anyway, Israelis themselves unanimously acknowledge this.

All that was said at the time to (try to) confiscate the results of this victory, that what happened was allegedly the result of a secret agreement, of a deal (between so and so), a (mere) implementation by Israel of UN Resolution 425 (passed in 1978!), it all fell apart within a few days, because it was a mirage, illusions, lies, mystification attempts that had no basis of truth or reality. The whole world –and primarily Israel itself– submitted to the fact, and recognized and accepted that what happened on May 25, 2000 was a total defeat for the Israeli enemy and a clear, decisive, conclusive, radiant and glorious victory for Lebanon, for the Lebanese people, for the Resistance in Lebanon, for the Lebanese army, and for all those who have helped shape this feat and the victory in Lebanon (especially Iran and Syria). And therefore, the presence of this proactive force was revealed (to the whole world), this force that imposed a defeat on the enemy.

And ever since, Lebanon is not considered anymore as the weak link in the Arab-Israeli conflict or as the main weakness of the body of the (Muslim) Community or in the structure or situation of the region. This is well and truly over. Now, Lebanon is regarded as the holder of a large point of strength (Hezbollah). And it is not (only) me who says so. Anyone can ascertain this truth by following (the statements of) Israeli officials, the Israeli enemy, its politicians and military, security services, analysts, media, study centers, conferences held each year within the (Zionist) entity, reports, security measures, (military) maneuvers, all the measures taken by Israel at the border (construction of a defensive wall, earthworks, trenches, etc.), all this confirms that the enemy is considering seriously and follows in real time this real strength present in Lebanon.

For a long time, we have been considered by Israel as a strategic threat or as the main threat. I’m going back to the fact that we are a “threat” to them. But the fact is that the enemy recognizes our strength, and that the whole world does the same, including the United States, and that’s why they constantly ponder how they can liquidate Hezbollah as the spine and base of the new Lebanese force equation which was achieved after 2000. They constantly wonder how they can get rid of Hezbollah. They speak of assassinations, sanctions, pressure, isolation, inclusion in the lists of terrorist organizations, blockade and even total war… All this, they have undertaken, but Hezbollah has stood against all these conspiracies and all these trials.

Therefore, the enemy recognizes the presence of this force, and the reality of this great upheaval that took place in Lebanon after 2000, and took root and expanded after the victory of the Resistance in 2006. Today, Israel says about this force, particularly about Hezbollah, that it is a strategic threat or the greatest threat to Israel. I would like to… Of course, this is a glorious testimony for us, and we are proud of it and take pride with this fact, because what even our enemies acknowledge undeniably underlines our merit. But I want to present it in positive and national terms, from our front, our side, not from the perspective of the enemy. Because when Israel presents us as a strategic threat and the main threat, it aims thereby to incite the world against us. But we have to present (this reality) from our point of view, positively. In a positive way, what the enemy sees as a threat, we designate it as a defensive force, a force that prevents (aggression), a force that pushes back (the enemy), a protection, deterrence and confrontation force. In a nutshell, as an integral part of the Lebanese force that got rooted after 2000, Hezbollah represents part of the force of deterrence, response and prevention that prevents the Israeli enemy to satisfy any of its greed (in Lebanon), or to carry out any of its threats.

We all know that the enemy has ambitions in our lands, waters, country, borders, etc. So far, even in border areas –to which I shall return in a moment–, the Israeli enemy continues to claim certain strategic areas for Lebanon, like the issue of the Shebaa farms, or others who have a major value in terms of security, strategy and economy. The same goes for the issue of the (maritime) border (and offshore resources in) oil and gas. The greed of this enemy goes far beyond these borders. Anyway, Israel’s cupidity and threats are well known, and he tries to forcefully impose his choices to our country, to our people and to the Lebanese State, but this force (Hezbollah) stands before him (and neutralizes his aggressive tendencies).

This force, just like the enemy recognizes it and works to neutralize it, to liquidate it and get rid of it, as for us, we need to know, we the Lebanese, the importance of this force for the preservation of Lebanon’s sovereignty, welfare, safety, choices and resources, for the present and the future of Lebanon, and we must work to protect this force, that we dubbed the ‘Golden Equation’, namely the Army, the People and the Resistance. We must preserve this strength to face this greed and these threats. And it is thanks to this strength that we could liberate our territory.

Imagine that there were no Resistance in Lebanon, that there were no Liberation in May 2000. So imagine that the army of occupation were still occupying our territory, at least Southern Lebanon, to this date, wouldn’t we see Mr. Trump grant southern Lebanon, or at least large areas of southern Lebanon, to the enemy government, as he granted them Al-Quds (Jerusalem), as he granted them the Golan, as he will grant them the West Bank, and as his predecessors in the past granted them the 1948 territories?

Therefore, today, the Resistance, as a part of this fundamental Lebanese force, this fundamental Lebanese force, this defense force, this deterrent, this protection force, this retaliation, prevention and confrontation force, it is the force that we must protect with great care and at the best of our capabilities. When we see that our enemies target it by all means to finish it off, we need to know that they act in their interests, and therefore, as Lebanese, we must act on the basis of our national position, our sovereignty, our ethics and also according to our interests. Our interest as Lebanese is to live in security, welfare and health, to protect our territory, our capabilities, our blood, our honor, our dignity and our freedom, which implies that we should be strong. The strength is our (only) real guarantee (against Israel).

What we need to confirm during the occasion that we celebrate this day, especially in a world that appears more than ever as making no place to international law, UN resolutions, the Security Council, or to international organizations, and where only the US-Zionist tyranny, arrogance and despotism have a voice, as well as the Resistant, strong and steadfast peoples, those who are fully committed to their rights and are prepared to defend themselves and to sacrifice for these rights to be respected. As for the others, they are (mere) victims, who have no place in the equations, and must spend (huge) sums of money, pay the consequences (of their cowardice), and in the end, the (US) will get rid of them when they become a burden (refers to Saudi Arabia, etc.).

Based on the occasion that we celebrate this day, I want to briefly mention a few related points. First, on the 19th anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day, we must confirm our commitment to the Shebaa Farms, the hills of Kfar Shuba and the Lebanese part of Ghajar village (occupied Lebanese territories). The statement issued yesterday by His Eminence the President of Lebanon Michel Aoun on this issue was strong, clear and categorical. The same applies to the Declaration of the General Staff of the Lebanese Army, which affirms its absolute commitment in appropriate terms: it was, in essence, an irrevocable commitment to liberate the Shebaa Farms, the hills of Kfar Shuba and the rest of the (Lebanese) occupied territories, whatever sacrifices are required and at any cost, as high as it may be. I do not quote verbatim from their statement, but you can refer to it, and that’s what it says in substance, and its content is clearly strong and appropriate. So today, we confirm our natural right to our territory, to resist, to deploy all forms of Resistance and to implement all means to liberate the rest of our Lebanese (occupied) territory.

The second issue is the demarcation of borders. Currently, one of our elements of strength is the agreement between the various Lebanese officials, and in particular between the three Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Chamber of Deputies) on this issue. The Hezbollah Resistance supports the position shown by the State and stands behind him, as we have announced in the past. In all certainty, the Resistance, the Lebanese people and all the Lebanese trust and place their hopes in the commitment of the (three Lebanese) Presidents and of all the State officials to all of our land, sea and natural resources rights presumed in our waters, and expect from them a wise management of our case, persistence in our national claims and to see them live up to their historic responsibilities in the negotiations on these issues.

In these (indirect) negotiations, Lebanon can rely on two key points: 1 / The strength (provided by) right because what Lebanon demands is its rights. What Lebanon demands is rightfully ours. 2 / The strength (provided by) the strength I have just mentioned, and which is present in Lebanon.

Today, Lebanon is not in a weak position against Israel, not at all. And no Lebanese must feel that their country or State is in a weak position, never. Today, Israel is intimidated, scared, worried and fearful with what is in Lebanon. And just as Israel can prevent Lebanon from exploiting the oil and gas (present in the Mediterranean), similarly, Lebanon can prevent Israel from exploiting maritime resources in oil and gas. I have no need to utter new threats. The Israeli enemy, and behind them the United States are very familiar with these (deterrence) equations.

And therefore, as long as the Lebanese State and politicians rely on the strength (provided by) the righteousness of our claims, and the strength (provided by) our strength, we’ll remain committed to our rights and we can be very optimistic, as the President of the Chamber (of Deputies) Nabih Berri, in our ability to achieve a great victory in this case, God willing.

The third point (of my speech) is the issue of the (permanent) settlement (of the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and elsewhere). I would like to draw attention to the fact that the most important thing that can come out of the Bahrain Economic Conference (scheduled for June 25 and 26, 2019, to launch the ‘Deal of the Century’) and the economic investments (for Palestine) that must be discussed there, plus some incentives and financial aid here and there, all this can open the door for the naturalization of our Palestinian brothers (who are refugees) in Lebanon and in the rest of the countries in which they are located, in addition to the pressures and restrictions experienced by UNRWA, that can lead to stopping its activities (of vital aid to Palestinian refugees, especially in Gaza).

Similarly, as for the issue of the border demarcation (between Lebanon and occupied Palestine), there is common ground, a common background on the Lebanese scene, namely that all the Lebanese, despite the many differences between them, are unanimous in the refusal of the naturalization (of Palestinians), be it in the Constitution, politically, patriotically, and on all levels. It is also a common ground with our Palestinian brothers in Lebanon, as all Palestinians, whether Palestinian factions, the Palestinian people (as a whole), Palestinian refugees, all our dear and honorable Palestinians brothers in Lebanon are unanimous in their rejection of naturalization, and insist to assert their right to return to their land, Palestine, in their lands, their property and their homes. This is a common ground (between all Lebanese and all Palestinians).

Now we are at a stage where it is no longer enough for everyone to declare that we are against the naturalization (of Palestinians). O Lebanese, O Palestinians in Lebanon, it seems that the danger of naturalization is dangerously close. And that is why I call for a quick meeting, which does not need to be extensively prepared, because it is not a negotiating table, nor a set of conferences. (This meeting will not require) long days (of preparation or discussions). It is simply a meeting of Lebanese and Palestinian leaders in Lebanon to discuss seriously the creeping and imminent danger of naturalization, and to devise a plan against it.

Of course I do not mean the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee (LPDC), which debates of major problems in detail, but of a meeting that will come on top of this committee, or will be at its side, or held at a higher level, and I suggest that it be held at a high level, with the main officials, and in a serious manner. Today, we must be vigilant, and it is not enough that I make a statement (against naturalization), that the other (Lebanese groups) do the same, and that our Palestinian brothers too, and all will be well. Absolutely not. Because in our statements, we are all opposed to naturalization. But what is the Lebanese-Palestinian joint action plan (to be implemented)? We need a common plan to face the creeping and imminent danger of naturalization. We must all sit together, the Palestinian and Lebanese officials concerned must sit and devise an action plan. And as for the ideas, suggestions or active assistance that can be asked from us, of course we are very willing to participate in this fundamental, patriotic and national struggle.

The fourth point of my speech is a word about the Syrian refugees, to which I referred (at the beginning of my speech) regarding Syria. I will also speak of it briefly, although the subject deserves an entire hour, because it is full of tedious details. But today I just say this to the Lebanese: everyone is unanimous in Lebanon, and it is also a common ground – I try to be positive today, and look for common ground between all Lebanese. In terms of appearances, all Lebanese are unanimous in declaring that they want to help our brothers and families of Syrian refugees return in their country. We all agree on the principle, but we disagree on how, on the means, etc.

But the truth of the issue, because I want to reveal the truth and to be clear, and not make up false reasons for these divergences: the real reason (of the obstacles to the return of the Syrians) is a political reason. All this is related to the upcoming presidential elections in Syria. The mandate of President Bashar al-Assad will end in 2020-2021, and elections will be held no matter what happens, regardless of what may or may not occur in Astana, in Geneva, whether a constitutional committee be organized or not, whether a political solution (to the conflict) is found or not, presidential elections will be held as scheduled.

There is an insistence of the United States, of Western countries (France, Great Britain, etc.) and of the Gulf countries… We must be clear. Today, the Lebanese people is unanimous in his desire to resolve this issue, whose sufferings are shared (between Syrians and Lebanese): Syrians suffer from being displaced, except a minority of them who managed to get a good situation in Lebanon, and now have shops, restaurants, facilities, resources, and everything is fine for them, and they are comfortable, but it is a minority. The majority of the displaced Syrians are living the suffering of displacement. The Syrians are suffering, and the Lebanese also suffer, in all regions. At some point, some people, and that is unfortunate, tried to give a sectarian dimension to the differences on the issue of the displaced Syrians, and a religious or regional dimension. But today, all Lebanese, in all regions, regardless of their religious group, are suffering the consequences of this displacement and are therefore concerned by it. They suffer economically, socially, in terms of security, and you know the details of the situation. We see the news every day, and know well the details of the situation.

Why is the suffering of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon still ongoing? Why is the suffering of the Lebanese still ongoing? Why should the two sides continue to bear all these burdens? For a simple reason. This is the truth. This is the (plain) truth: the United States, the West, and at least some Gulf countries do not want the displaced Syrians to return to their country, at least not before the Syrian presidential elections. The reason is (purely) political.

This has nothing to do with humanitarian considerations. Rather, humanitarian considerations require that everyone returns home, to his house, shops and fields, to his family and beloved ones, to his country. And it has nothing to do with security reasons. All those who have returned to Syria live there (in peace), like the other Syrians. The rumors that some Lebanese officials have tried to spread about alleged murders, settling of accounts, etc., are mere inventions and lies, and I ask – I have already asked some officials at the State level, outside the media – that these false claims be the subject of an investigation because they are dangerous. And in truth, these fabrications constitute a (false) charge against all the political parties who supported or facilitated the return (of the Syrians), and especially against a respected Security institution of prime importance in Lebanon, namely the Directorate of General Security in Lebanon who mainly took charge of the issue. These lies, designed to scare the displaced Syrians so they do not return to their country, are baseless, but serve the political purpose that I just mentioned.

As for the State and the Syrian government, several years ago – it is not recent -, during a meeting with President Bashar al-Assad, I spoke to him frankly and asked him frankly: “Do you want the displaced Syrians to return to Syria?” Because it was necessary that we understand each other. We are friends and allies, and shouldn’t harm each other (even unintentionally). He answered frankly and truthfully, “Yes, we want them all back in Syria and we are ready to make it easy for everyone to return to Syria.” Today, what is the obstacle? This is the one I mentioned. It is a political obstacle. The obstacle is political.

Can Lebanon, the Lebanese State and the Lebanese government be subject to these political considerations, and should they take precedence over humanitarian considerations, security considerations and economic considerations only because the United States, the West and some Gulf countries give the priority to these political considerations, and impose on Lebanon a ban on the return (of the displaced Syrians to their country)? I say that what is happening in Lebanon is that displaced Syrians are prevented from returning to their country. It would be wrong to say that there is a voluntary return in place, and those who want to return can do so, and those who want to stay (in Lebanon or elsewhere) can do so. It is not the case! There is a real impediment. One way to prevent this return is intimidation and fear spread by some Lebanese officials in the past and to this day (for some). Some Lebanese media continue to spread (these false, scary rumors). And likewise, one of the ways to prevent the return of the displaced is to entice them, to make their staying in Lebanon desirable. Therefore, we must do away with these obstacles (preventing the return of the Syrians), and not merely (condemn them).

Today, of course, no one in Lebanon, no Lebanese political force can declare themselves in favor of maintaining the Syrians in Lebanon, or declare themselves opposed to their return to Syria, no one would dare say that, even if that’s what they really want. Everyone says that the Syrians must go back home and that we must help them. I believe that after the debate on the budget, the government and the Lebanese political forces must seriously discuss this issue and not just give their stance about it.

Anyway, the regional and international scene has become clear: the Lebanese delegations, during the conferences that were organized and the contacts that have been made with all countries of the world… And I declare that what I now reveal on television has become a certainty for the Lebanese officials for months at least, if not for years. (Lebanese officials know with certainty that the United States, the West and the Gulf are fiercely opposed to the return of the Syrian refugees) since months at least. Therefore, it is clear to all Lebanese officials and leaders that there is a political obstacle (to the return of the displaced Syrians). How will we react? What are we to do with this issue which is a major national problem? […]

See also: Nasrallah: ‘Invading Israeli Forces Would be Annihilated, Hezbollah will Liberate Shebaa Farms’  & Israeli Officials: a War against Hezbollah would be Disastrous

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“Any amount counts, because a little money here and there, it’s like drops of water that can become rivers, seas or oceans…” Hassan Nasrallah

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War. The Role of Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski

Part II

Global Research, May 08, 2019

Read Part I from the link below.

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War

By Janelle Velina, April 30, 2019

Below is the second half and conclusion of “Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War”. While the previous sections examined the economic roots of imperialism, as well as the historical context of the Cold War within which to situate the Mujahideen, the following explores the anatomy of proxy warfare and media disinformation campaigns which were at the heart of destabilizing Afghanistan. These were also a large part of why there was little to no opposition to the Mujahideen from the Western ‘left’, whose continued dysfunctionality cannot be talked about without discussing Zbigniew Brzezinski. We also take a look at what led to the Soviet Union’s demise and how that significantly affected the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and many other parts of the world. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for four decades now, and it will reach its 40th year on July 3, 2019. 

The original “moderate rebel”

One of the key players in the anti-Soviet, U.S.-led regime change project against Afghanistan was Osama bin Laden, a Saudi-born millionaire who came from a wealthy, powerful family that owns a Saudi construction company and has had close ties to the Saudi royal family. Before becoming known as America’s “boogeyman”, Osama bin Laden was put in charge of fundraising for the Mujahideen insurgents, creating numerous charities and foundations in the process and working in coordination with Saudi intelligence (who acted as liaisons between the fighters and the CIA). Journalist Robert Fisk even gave bin Laden a glowing review, calling him a “peace warrior” and a philanthropist in a 1993 report for the Independent. Bin Laden also provided recruitment for the Mujahideen and is believed to have also received security training from the CIA. And in 1989, the same year that Soviet troops withdrew, he founded the terrorist organization Al Qaeda with a number of fighters he had recruited to the Mujahideen. Although the PDPA had already been overthrown, and the Soviet Union was dissolved, he still maintained his relationship with the CIA and NATO, working with them from the mid-to-late 1990s to provide support for the secessionist Bosnian paramilitaries and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the destruction and dismantling of Yugoslavia.

The United States would eventually turn Bin Laden into a scapegoat after the 2001 terrorist attacks, while still maintaining ties to his family and providing arms, training, and funding to Al Qaeda and its affiliates (rebranded as “moderate rebels” by the Western media) in its more recent regime change project against Syria, which started in 2011. The Mujahideen not only gave birth to Al Qaeda, but it would set a precedent for the United States’ regime-change operations in later years against the anti-imperialist governments of Libya and Syria.

Reagan entertains Mujahideen fighters in the White House.

With the end to the cycle of World Wars (for the time being, at least), it has become increasingly common for the United States to use local paramilitaries, terrorist groups, and/or the armed forces of comprador regimes to fight against nations targeted by U.S. capital interests. Why the use of proxy forces? They are, as Whitney Webb describes, “a politically safe tool for projecting the U.S.’ geopolitical will abroad.”
Using proxy warfare as a kind of power projection tool is, first and foremost, cost-effective, since paid local mercenaries or terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda will bear the burden of combat and casualties rather than American troops in places like Libya and Syria. For example, it costs much less to pay local paramilitaries, gangs, crime syndicates, terrorist groups, and other reactionary forces to perform the same military operations as U.S. troops. Additionally, with the advent of nuclear weapons it became much more perilous for global superpowers to come into direct combat with one another — if the Soviet Union and the United States had done so, there existed the threat of “mutually assured destruction”, the strong possibility of instantaneous and catastrophic damage to the populations and the economic and living standards of both sides, something neither side was willing to risk, even if it was U.S. imperialism’s ultimate goal to destroy the Soviet Union.
And so, the U.S. was willing to use any other means necessary to weaken the Soviet Union and safeguard its profits, which included eliminating the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan even if it had neither the intent nor the means of launching a military offensive on American soil. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union had the means of producing a considerably large supply of modern weapons, including nuclear deterrents, to counter the credible threat posed by the United States. To strike the Soviet Union with nuclear missiles would have been a great challenge for the United States, since it would have resulted in overwhelming retaliation by the Soviet Union. To maneuver this problem, to assure the destruction of the Soviet Union while protecting the U.S. from similar destruction, the CIA relied on more unconventional methods not previously thought of as being part of traditional warfare, such as funding proxy forces while wielding economic and cultural influence over the American domestic sphere and the international scene.

Furthermore, proxy warfare enables control of public opinion, thus allowing the U.S. government to escape public scrutiny and questions about legal authorization for war. With opposition from the general public essentially under control, consent for U.S.-led wars does not need to be obtained, especially when the U.S. military is running them from “behind the scenes” and its involvement looks less obvious. Indeed, the protests against the war on Vietnam in the United States and other Western countries saw mass turnouts.

And while the U.S.-led aggression in Vietnam did involve proxy warfare to a lesser degree, it was still mostly fought with American “boots-on-the-ground”, much like the 2001 renewed U.S.-led aggression against Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In contrast, the U.S. assault on Afghanistan that began in 1979 saw little to no protest. The Mujahideen even garnered support from large portions of the Western left who joined the chorus of voices in the Western mainstream media in demonizing the PDPA — a relentless imperialist propaganda campaign that would be repeated in later years during the U.S. wars on Libya and Syria, with the difference being that social media had not yet gained prominence at the time of the initial assault on Afghanistan. This leads to the next question: why recruit some of the most reactionary social forces abroad, many of whom represent complete backwardness?

In Afghanistan, such forces proved useful in the mission to topple the modernizing government of the PDPA, especially when their anti-modernity aspirations intersected with U.S. foreign policy; these ultra-conservative forces continue to be deployed by the United States today. In fact, the long war on Afghanistan shares many striking similarities with the long war on Syria, with the common theme of U.S. imperialism collaborating with violent Sunni extremists to topple the secular, nationalist and anti-imperialist governments of these two former ‘Soviet bloc’ countries. And much like the PDPA, the current and long-time government of the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party in Syria has made many strides towards achieving national liberation and economic development, which have included: taking land from aristocratic families (a majority of whom were Sunni Muslims while Shia Muslims, but especially Alawites, traditionally belonged to the lower classes and were treated as second class citizens in pre-Ba’athist Syria) and redistributing and nationalizing it, making use of Syria’s oil and gas reserves to modernize the country and benefit its population, and upholding women’s rights as an important part of the Ba’athist pillars.

Some of these aristocratic landlords, just like their Afghan counterparts, would react violently and join the Muslim Brotherhood who, with CIA-backing, carried out acts of terrorism and other atrocities in Hama as they made a failed attempt to topple the government of Hafez al Assad in 1982.

The connection between the two is further solidified by the fact that it was the Mujahideen from which Al Qaeda emerged; both are inspired by Wahhabist ideology, and one of their chief financiers is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (as well as Israel, a regional imperial power and a key ally of the United States). In either case, these Wahhabi-inspired forces were vehemently opposed to modernization and development, and would much rather keep large sections of the population impoverished, as they sought to replace the PDPA and the Ba’athists with Sunni fundamentalist, anti-Shia, theological autocracies — Saudi-style regimes, in other words.

These reactionary forces are useful tools in the CIA’s anti-communist projects and destabilization campaigns against independent nationalist governments, considering that the groups’ anti-modernity stance is a motivating factor in their efforts to sabotage economic development, which is conducive to ensuring a favourable climate for U.S. capital interests. It also helps that these groups already saw the nationalist governments of the PDPA and the Syrian Ba’ath party as their ‘archenemy’, and would thus fight them to the death and resort to acts of terrorism against the respective civilian populations.

Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in response to the following question:

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

[Brzezinski]: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Once again, he makes it clear that the religious extremism of the Mujahideen fighters was not an issue for Washington because the real political value lay in eliminating the PDPA and putting an end to Soviet influence in the Greater Middle East, which would give the U.S. the opportunity to easily access and steal the country’s wealth. And in order to justify the U.S. imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, as well as to obscure the true nature of the Mujahideen fighters, the intervention needed to be accompanied by a rigorous mass media campaign. The Reagan administration — knowing full well that American mainstream media has international influence — continued the war that the Carter administration started and saw it as an opportunity to “step up” its domestic propaganda war, considering that the American general public was still largely critical of the Vietnam War at the time.

As part of the aggressive imperialist propaganda campaign, anyone who dared to publicly criticize the Mujahideen was subjected to character assassination and was pejoratively labelled a “Stalinist” or a “Soviet apologist”, which are akin to labels such as “Russian agent” or “Assadist” being used as insults today against those who speak out against the U.S.-backed terrorism in Syria. There were also careful rebranding strategies made specifically for Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen mercenaries, who were hailed as “revolutionary freedom fighters” and given a romantic, exoticized “holy warrior” makeover in Western media; hence the title of this section. The Mujahideen mercenaries were even given a dedication title card at the end of the Hollywood movie Rambo III which read, “This film is dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan”; the film itself added to the constructed romantic image as it portrayed the Mujahideen fighters as heroes, while the Soviet Union and the PDPA were portrayed as the cartoonish villains. The Rambo film franchise is well known for its depiction of the Vietnamese as “savages” and as the aggressors in the U.S. war on Vietnam, which is a blatant reversal of the truth.

The Hollywood blockbuster franchise would be used to make the Mujahideen more palatable to Western audiences, as this unabashed, blatantly anti-Soviet propaganda for U.S. imperialism attracted millions of viewers with one of the largest movie marketing campaigns of the time. Although formulaic, the films are easily consumable because they appeal to emotion and, as Michael Parenti states in Dirty Truths, “The entertainment industry does not merely give the people what they want: it is busy shaping those wants,” (p. 111). Rambo III may not have been critically acclaimed, but it was still the second most commercially successful film in the Rambo series, grossing a total of $189,015,611 at the box office. Producing war propaganda films is nothing new and has been a long staple of the Hollywood industry, which serves capitalist and imperialist interests. But, since the blockbuster movie is one of the most widely available and distributed forms of media, repackaging the Mujahideen into a popular film franchise was easily one of the best ways (albeit cynical) to justify the war, maintaining the American constructed narrative and reinforcing the demonization campaign against Soviet Russia and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Now, outside of the cinema, CBS News went as far as to air fake battle footage meant to help perpetuate the myth that the Mujahideen mercenaries were “freedom fighters”; American journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, although decidedly biased against the Soviet Union and its allies, documented this ruse in which the news channel participated. In terms of proxy warfare, these were just some of the ways used to distract from the fact that it was a U.S.-led war.

The dedication title card as it originally appeared at the end of the film Rambo III.

In Afghanistan, proxy forces provided a convenient cover because they drew attention away from the fact that U.S. imperialism was the root cause of the conflict. The insurgents also helped to demonize the targets of U.S. foreign policy, the PDPA and the Soviet Union, all the while doing the majority of the physical combat in place of the American military. In general, drawing attention away from the fact that it has been the United States “pulling the strings” all along, using proxy forces helps Washington to maintain plausible deniability in regard to its relationship with such groups. If any one of these insurgents becomes a liability, as what had happened with the Taliban, they can just as easily be disposed of and replaced by more competent patsies, while U.S. foreign policy goes unquestioned. Criminal gangs and paramilitary forces are thus ideal and convenient tools for U.S. foreign policy. With the rule of warlords and the instability (namely damage to infrastructure, de-industrialization, and societal collapse) that followed after the toppling of the PDPA, Afghanistan’s standard of living dropped rapidly, leading to forced mass migrations and making the country all the more vulnerable to a more direct U.S. military intervention — which eventually did happen in 2001.

Zbigniew Brzezinski: godfather of colour revolutions and proxy wars, architect of the Mujahideen

The late Brzezinski was a key figure in U.S. foreign policy and a highly influential figure in the Council on Foreign Relations. Although the Polish-American diplomat and political scientist was no longer the National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan’s presidency, he still continued to play a prominent role in enforcing U.S. foreign policy goals in upholding Washington’s global monopoly. The liberal Cold War ideologue’s signature strategy consisted of using the CIA to destabilize and force regime-change onto countries whose governments actively resisted against Washington. Such is the legacy of Brzezinski, whose strategy of funding the most reactionary anti-government forces to foment chaos and instability while promoting them as “freedom fighters” is now a longstanding staple of U.S. imperialism.

How were the aggressive propaganda campaigns which promoted the Mujahideen mercenaries as “freedom fighters” able to garner support for the aggression against the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan from so many on the Western left who had previously opposed the war on Vietnam? It was the through the CIA’s use of ‘soft-power’ schemes, because leftist opinion also needed to be controlled and manipulated in the process of carrying out U.S. foreign and public policy. Brzezinski mastered the art of targeting intelligentsia and impressionable young people in order to make them supportive of U.S. foreign policy, misleading a significant number of people into supporting U.S.-led wars.

The CIA invested money into programs that used university campus, anti-Soviet “radical leftist activists” and academics (as well as artists and writers) to help spread imperialist propaganda dressed up in vaguely “leftist”-sounding language and given a more “hip”, “humanitarian”, “social justice”, “free thinker” appeal. Western, but especially American, academia has since continued to teach the post-modernist “oppression theory” or “privilege theory” to students, which is anti-Marxist and anti-scientific at its core. More importantly, this post-modernist infiltration was meant to distract from class struggle, to help divert any form of solidarity away from anti-imperialist struggles, and to foster virulent animosity towards the Soviet Union among students and anyone with ‘leftist’ leanings. Hence the phenomenon of identity politics that continues to plague the Western left today, whose strength was effectively neutered by the 1970s. Not only that, but as Gowans mentions in his book, Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea’s Struggle for Freedom:

“U.S. universities recruit talented individuals from abroad, instill in them the U.S. imperialist ideology and values, and equip them with academic credentials which conduce to their landing important political positions at home. In this way, U.S. imperial goals indirectly structure the political decision-making of other countries.” (pp. 52-53)

And so we have agencies and think-tanks such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which has scholarly appeal and actively interferes in elections abroad — namely, in countries that are targets of U.S. foreign policy. Founded in 1983 by Reagan and directed by the CIA, the agency also assists in mobilizing coups and paid “dissidents” in U.S.-led regime change projects, such as the 2002 failed attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, as well as helping to create aggressive media campaigns that demonize targeted nations. Another instance of this “soft power” tactic of mobilizing U.S.-backed “dissidents” in targeted nations are the number of Sunni Islamic fundamentalist madrassas (schools) sponsored by the CIA and set up by Wahhabi missionaries from Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan — which started to appear in increasing numbers during the 1980s, reaching over 39,000 during the decade. Afghanistan’s public education institutions were largely secular prior to the fall of Kabul in 1992; these madrassas were the direct, ideological and intellectual antitheses to the existing institutions of education. The madrassas acted as centres for cult-like brainwashing and were essentially CIA covert psychological operations (psy-ops) intended to inspire divisiveness and demobilize younger generations of Afghans in the face of imperial onslaught so that they would not unite with the wider PDPA-led nationalist resistance to imperialism.

The NED’s founding members were comprised of Cold War ideologues which included Brzezinski himself, as well as Trotskyists who provided an endless supply of slurs against the Soviet Union. It was chiefly under this agency, and with direction provided by Brzezinski, that America produced artists, “activists”, academics, and writers who presented themselves as “radical leftists” and slandered the Soviet Union and countries that were aligned with it — which was all part of the process of toppling them and subjugating them to U.S. free market fundamentalism. With Brzezinski having mastered the art of encouraging postmodernism and identity politics among the Western left in order to weaken it, the United States not only had military and economic might on its side but also highly sophisticated ideological instruments to help give it the upper hand in propaganda wars.

These “soft power” schemes are highly effective in masking the brutality of U.S. imperialism, as well as concealing the exploitation of impoverished nations. Marketing the Mujahideen mercenaries as “peace warriors” while demonizing the PDPA and referring to the Soviet assistance as an “invasion” or “aggression” marked the beginning of the regular use of “humanitarian” pretexts for imperialist interventions. The Cold War era onslaught against Afghanistan can thus be seen as the template for the NATO-led regime change projects against Yugoslavia, Libya, and Syria, which not only involved the use of U.S.-backed proxy forces but also “humanitarian” pretexts being presented in the aggressive propaganda campaigns against the targeted countries. It was not until 2002, however, that then-American UN representative Samantha Powers, as well as several U.S.-allied representatives, would push the United Nations to officially adopt the “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) doctrine into the Charter — which was in direct contradiction to the law that recognizes the violation of a nation’s sovereignty as a crime. The R2P doctrine was born out of the illegal 78-day NATO air-bombing of Yugoslavia from March 24 to June 10, 1999. And although plans to dismantle Yugoslavia go as far back as 1984, it was not until much of the 1990s that NATO would begin openly intervening — with more naked aggression — starting with the funding and support for secessionist paramilitary forces in Bosnia between 1994-1995. It then sealed the 1999 destruction of Yugoslavia with with the balkanization of the Serbian province of Kosovo. In addition to the use of terrorist and paramilitary groups as proxy forces which received CIA-training and funding, another key feature of this “humanitarian” intervention was the ongoing demonization campaigns against the Serbs, who were at the centre of a vicious Western media propaganda war. Some of the most egregious parts of these demonization campaigns — which were tantamount to slander and libel — were the claims that the Serbs were “committing genocide” against ethnic Albanians. The NATO bombing campaign was illegal since it was given no UN Security Council approval or support.

Once again, Brzezinski was not the National Security Advisor during the U.S.-led campaign against Yugoslavia. However, he still continued to wield influence as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a private organization and Wall Street think tank. The Council on Foreign Relations is intertwined with highly influential NGOs who are essentially propaganda mouthpieces for U.S. foreign policy, such as Human Rights Watch, which has fabricated stories of atrocities allegedly committed by countries targeted by U.S. imperialism. Clearly, unmitigated U.S. imperial aggression did not end with the destruction of the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, nor with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The post-Cold War years were a continuation of U.S. imperialism’s scramble for more spheres of influence and global domination; it was also a scramble for what was left of the former ‘Soviet bloc’ and Warsaw Pact. The dismantling of Yugoslavia was, figuratively speaking, the ‘final nail in the coffin’ of whatever ‘Soviet influence’ was left in Eastern Europe.

The demise of the Soviet Union and the “Afghan trap” question

Image on the right: Left to right: former Afghan President Babrak Karmal, and former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Karmal took office at around the same time (December 1979) the PDPA requested that Moscow intervene to assist the besieged Afghanistan.

The sabotage and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that only one global hegemon remained, and that was the United States. Up until 1989, the Soviet Union had been the barrier that was keeping the United States from launching a more robust military intervention in Afghanistan, as well as in Central and West Asia. While pulling out did not immediately cause the defeat of Kabul as the PDPA government forces continued to struggle for another three years, Mikhail Gorbachev’s decision to withdraw Soviet troops arguably had a detrimental impact on Afghanistan for many years to come. Although there was no Soviet military assistance in the last three years of Najibullah’s presidency, Afghanistan continued to receive aid from the USSR, and some Soviet military advisers (however limited in their capacity) still remained; despite the extreme difficulties, and combined with the nation’s still-relatively high morale, this did at least help to keep the government from being overthrown immediately. This defied U.S. expectations as the CIA and the George H.W. Bush administration had believed that the government of Najibullah would fall as soon as Soviet troops were withdrawn. But what really hurt the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’s army was when the Soviet Union was dismantled in 1991; almost as soon as the dissolution happened and Boris Yeltsin (with U.S. backing) took over as Russia’s president, the aid stopped coming and the government forces became unable to hold out for much longer. The U.S. aggression was left unchecked, and to this day Afghanistan has not seen geopolitical stability and has since been a largely impoverished ‘failed state’, serving as a training ground for terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. It continues to be an anarchic battleground between rival warlords which include the ousted Taliban and the U.S. puppet government that replaced them.

But, as was already mentioned above, the “Afghan trap” did not, in and of itself, cause the dismantling of the Soviet Union. In that same interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski had this to say in response to the question about setting the “trap”:

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

[Brzezinski]: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Likewise with Cuba and Syria, the USSR had a well-established alliance with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, one of mutual aid and partnership. Answering Kabul’s explicit request for assistance was a deliberate and conscious choice made by Moscow, and it just so happened that the majority of Afghans welcomed it. For any errors that Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary at the time, may have made (which do deserve a fair amount of criticism, but are not the focus of this article), the 1979 decision to intervene on behalf of Afghanistan against U.S. imperialism was not one of them. It is true that both the Soviet and the U.S. interventions were military interventions, but the key difference is that the U.S. was backing reactionary forces for the purposes of establishing colonial domination and was in clear violation of Afghan sovereignty. Consider, too, that Afghanistan had only deposed of its king in 1973, just six years before the conflict began. The country may have moved quickly to industrialize and modernize, but it wasn’t much time to fully develop its military defenses by 1979.

Image below: Mikhail Gorbachev accepts the Nobel Peace Prize from George H.W. Bush on October 15, 1990. Many Russians saw this gesture as a betrayal, while the West celebrated it, because he was being awarded for his capitulation to U.S. imperialism in foreign and economic policy.

Other than that, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the Soviet Union imploded due to an accumulating number of factors: namely, the gradual steps that U.S. foreign policy had taken over the years to cripple the Soviet economy, especially after the deaths of Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov. How Gorbachev responded during the U.S.-led onslaught against Afghanistan certainly helped to exacerbate the conditions that led to the dissolution. After the deaths of Brezhnev and Andropov, the Soviet Union’s economy became disorganized and was being liberalized during much of the 1980s. Not only that, but the Reagan administration escalated the arms race, which intensified after they had scrapped the ‘detente’ that was previously made in the mid-1970s. Even prior to Reagan’s hardline, bombastic rhetoric and escalation against the USSR, the Soviet Union was already beginning to show signs of strain from the arms race during the late-1970s. However, in spite of the economic strains, during the height of the war the organized joint operations between the Soviet army and the Afghan army saw a significant amount of success in pushing back against the Mujahideen with many of the jihadist leaders either being killed or fleeing to Pakistan. Therefore, it is erroneous to say that intervening in Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan people “did the Soviet Union in.”

In a misguided and ultimately failed attempt to spur economic growth rates, Gorbachev moved to end the Cold War by withdrawing military support from allies and pledging cooperation with the United States who promised “peace”. When he embraced Neoliberalism and allowed for the USSR to be opened to the U.S.-dominated world capitalist economy, the Soviet economy imploded and the effects were felt by its allies. It was a capitulation to U.S. imperialism, in other words; and it led to disastrous results not only in Afghanistan, but in several other countries as well. These include: the destruction of Yugoslavia, both wars on Iraq, and the 2011 NATO invasion of Libya. Also, Warsaw Pact members in Eastern Europe were no longer able to effectively fight back against U.S.-backed colour revolutions; some of them would eventually be absorbed as NATO members, such as Czechoslovakia which was dissolved and divided into two states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Without Soviet Russia to keep it in check, the United States was able to launch an unrestrained series of aggressions for nearly two decades. Because of his decision to withdraw from the arms race altogether, in a vain attempt to transform the Soviet Union into a social democracy akin to those of the Nordic countries, Gorbachev had deprived the Russian army of combat effectiveness by making significant cuts to its defense budget, which is partly why they were forced to evacuate. Not only that, but these diplomatic and military concessions with the United States gave them no benefit in return, hence the economic crisis in Russia during the Yeltsin years. Suffice to say, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin years are not remembered fondly in Russia and many regard Gorbachev as a traitor and Western agent who helped to bring the Soviet Union to its collapse. In more recent years, efforts are being made to assess the actions taken by Gorbachev with regards to Afghanistan; this includes going against and revising the resolution put forth by him which suggested that the USSR intervention was “shameful”.

In short, Afghanistan did not cause the Soviet Union’s demise even if it required large military spending. More accurately: it was Gorbachev’s impulsive decision to quickly discard the planned economy in favour of a market economy in order to appease the United States, who made the false promise that NATO would not expand eastward. If there was a real “trap”, it was this and Gorbachev played right into the hands of U.S. imperialism; and so, the Soviet Union received its devastating blow from the United States in the end — not from a small, minor nation such as Afghanistan which continues to suffer the most from the effects of these past events. For many years, but especially since the end of WWII, the United States made ceaseless efforts to undermine the USSR, adding stress upon stress onto its economy, in addition to the psychological warfare waged through the anti-Soviet propaganda and military threats against it and its allies. Despite any advances made in the past, the Soviet Union’s economy was still not as large as that of the United States. And so, in order to keep pace with NATO, the Soviet Union did not have much of a choice but to spend a large percentage of its GDP on its military and on helping to defend its allies, which included national liberation movements in the Third World, because of the very real and significant threat that U.S. imperialism posed. If it had not spent any money militarily, its demise would most likely have happened much sooner. But eventually, these mounting efforts by U.S. imperialism created a circumstance where its leadership under Gorbachev made a lapse in judgment, reacting impulsively and carelessly rather than acting with resilience in spite of the onslaught.

It should also be taken into account that WWII had a profound impact on Soviet leadership — from Joseph Stalin to Gorbachev — because even though the Red Army was victorious in defeating the Nazis, the widespread destruction had still placed the Soviet economy under an incredible amount of stress and it needed time to recover. Meanwhile, the convenient geographical location of the United States kept it from suffering the same casualties and infrastructural damage seen across Europe and Asia as a result of the Second World War, which enabled its economy to recover much faster and gave it enough time to eventually develop the U.S. Dollar as the international currency and assert dominance over the world economy. Plus, the U.S. had accumulated two-thirds of the world’s gold reserves by 1944 to help back the Dollar; and even if it lost a large amount of the gold, it would still be able to maintain Dollar supremacy by developing the fiat system to back the currency. Because of the destruction seen during WWII, it is understandable that the Soviet Union wanted to avoid another world war, which is why it also made several attempts at achieving some kind of diplomacy with the United States (before Gorbachev outright capitulated). At the same time, it also understood that maintaining its military defenses was important because of the threat of a nuclear war from the United States, which would be much more catastrophic than the Nazis’ military assaults against the Soviet Union since Hitler did not have a nuclear arsenal. This was part of a feat that U.S. imperialism was able to accomplish that ultimately overshadowed British, French, German, and Japanese imperialism, which Brzezinski reveals in his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives: an unparalleled military establishment that, by far, had the most effective global reach which allowed the U.S. to “project forces over long distances”, helping it to assert its global domination and impose its “political will”. And what makes the American Empire distinct from the Japanese Empire, British Empire, and other European empires is that one of the bases for its ideology is the socially constructed international hierarchy of nations, and not races as was the case with the other aforementioned empires. This constructed international hierarchy of nations is more effective because it means not only greater expansionism, but also the greater ability to exercise global primacy and supremacy. More specific to Central Asia and the Middle East, the Wahhabist and Salafist groups propped up by the CIA were always intended to nurture sectarianism and discord in order to counter a mass, broad-based united front of nations against imperialism — an example of divide-and-conquer, which is an age-old tradition of empire, except this time with Neoliberal characteristics.

Therefore, the Mujahideen against Afghanistan should not be thought of simply as “the Afghan trap”, but rather as the U.S. subjugation and plundering of West and Central Asia and an important milestone (albeit a cynical one) in shaping its foreign policy with regards to the region for many years to come. If one thing has remained a constant in U.S. foreign policy towards West and Central Asia, it is its strategic partnership with the oil autocracy of Saudi Arabia, which acts as the United States’ steward in safeguarding the profits of American petroleum corporations and actively assists Western powers in crushing secular Arab and Central Asian nationalist resistance against imperialism. The Saudi monarchy would again be called on by the U.S. government in 2011 in Syria to assist in the repeated formula of funding and arming so-called “moderate rebels” in the efforts to destabilize the country. Once again, the ultimate goal in this more recent imperial venture is to contain Russia.

Cold War 2.0? American Supremacy marches on

The present-day anti-Russia hysteria is reminiscent of the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Cold War era; while anti-communism is not the central theme today, one thing remains the same: the fact that the U.S. Empire is (once again) facing a formidable challenge to its position in the world. After the Yeltsin years were over, and under Vladimir Putin, Russia’s economy eventually recovered and moved towards a more dirigiste economy; and on top of that, it moved away from the NATO fold, which triggered the old antagonistic relationship with the United States. Russia has also decided to follow the global trend of taking the step towards reducing reliance on the U.S. dollar, which is no doubt a source of annoyance to the U.S. capitalist class. It seems that a third world war in the near future is becoming more likely as the U.S. inches closer to a direct military confrontation against Russia and, more recently, China. History does appear to be repeating itself. When the government of Bashar al Assad called on Moscow for assistance in fighting against the NATO-backed terrorists, it certainly was reminiscent of when the PDPA had done the same many years before. Thus far, the Syrian Arab Republic has continued to withstand the destabilization efforts carried out by the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups and Kurdish militias at the behest of the United States, and has not collapsed as Libya, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan did.

But what often gets overlooked is the repeated Brzezinskist formula of funding highly reactionary forces and promoting them as “revolutionaries” to Western audiences in order to fight governments that defy the global dictatorship of the United States and refuse to allow the West to exploit their natural resources and labour power. As Karl Marx once said, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.” Such a phenomenon is no accident or a mere mistake. The geopolitical instability that followed after the overthrow of the PDPA ensures that no sound, united, and formidable opposition against U.S. imperialism will emerge for an indefinite number of years; and it seems that Libya, where the Brzezinskist-style of regime change also saw success and which is now a hotbed for the slave trade, is on the same path as Afghanistan. This is all a part of what Lenin calls moribund capitalism when he discussed the economic essence of imperialism; and by that, he meant that imperialism carries the contradictions of capitalism to the extreme limit. American global monopoly had grown out of U.S. foreign policy, and it should go without saying that the American Empire cannot tolerate losing its Dollar Supremacy, especially when the global rate of profit is falling. And if too many nations reject U.S. efforts to infiltrate their markets and force foreign finance capital exports onto their economies in order to gain a monopoly over the resources, as well as to exploit the labour of their working people, it would surely spell a sharp decline in American Dollar hegemony. The fact that the United States was willing to go as far as to back mercenaries to attack the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and fight the Soviet Union, as well as to spend billions of dollars on a highly elaborate but effective propaganda campaign, shows a sign of desperation of the American Empire in maintaining its global hegemony.

Since the end of World War II the United States has been, and is by and large still, the overwhelming world-dominating power. It is true that the American Empire is in decline, in light of increasing trends towards “de-Dollarization,” as well as the rise of China and Russia which pose as challenges to U.S. interests. Naturally, Washington will desperately try to cling on to its number one position in the world by accelerating the growth of its global monopolies — whether it is through placing wholly unnecessary tariffs against competitors such as China, or threatening to completely cut Venezuelan and Iranian oil out of the global market — even if it means an increasing drive towards World War III. The current global economic order which Washington elites have been instrumental in shaping over the past several decades reflects the interests of the global capitalist class to such an extent that the working class is threatened with yet another world war despite the unimaginable carnage witnessed during the first two.

When we look back at these historical events to help make sense of the present, we see how powerful mass media can be and how it is used as a tool of U.S. foreign policy to manipulate and control public opinion. Foreign policy is about the economic relationships between countries. Key to understanding how U.S. imperialism functions is in its foreign policy and how it carries it out — which adds up to plundering from relatively small or poorer nations more than a share of wealth and resources that can be normally produced in common commercial exchanges, forcing them to be indebted; and if any of them resist, then they will almost certainly be subjected to military threats.

With the great wealth that allowed it to build a military that can “project forces over long distances,” the United States is in a unique position in history, to say the least. However, as we have seen above, the now four decade-long war on Afghanistan was not only fought on a military front considering the psy-ops and the propaganda involved. If anything, the Soviet Union lost on the propaganda front in the end.

From Afghanistan we learn not only of the origins of Al Qaeda, to which the boom in the opioid-addiction epidemic has ties, or why today we have the phenomenon of an anti-Russia Western “left” that parrots imperialist propaganda and seems very eager to see that piece of Cold War history repeat itself in Syria. We also learn that we cannot de-link the events of the 2001 direct U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and what followed from those of 1979; Afghanistan’s colonial-feudal past, its break from that with the 1978 Saur Revolution, and the U.S.-led Mujahideen are all as much of a part of its history (and the Greater Middle East, by extension) as the events of 2001. It cannot be stressed enough that it is those historical conditions, particularly as they relate to U.S. foreign policy, that helped to shape the ongoing conflict today.

Obviously, we cannot undo the past. It is not in the interests of the working class anywhere, in the Global South or in the Global North, to see a third world war happen, as such a war would have catastrophic consequences for everyone — in fact, it could potentially destroy all of humanity. Building a new and revitalized anti-war movement in the imperialist nations is a given, but it also requires a more sophisticated understanding of U.S. foreign policy. Without historical context, Western mass media will continue to go unchallenged, weaning audiences on a steady diet of “moderate rebels” propaganda and effectively silencing the victims of imperialism. It is necessary to unite workers across the whole world according to their shared interests in order to effectively fight and defeat imperialism and to establish a just, egalitarian, and sustainable world under socialism. Teaching the working class everywhere the real history of such conflicts as the one in Afghanistan is an important part of developing the revolutionary consciousness necessary to build a strong global revolutionary movement against imperialism.

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Originally published by LLCO.org on March 30, 2019. For the full-length article and bibliography, click here.

Janelle Velina is a Toronto-based political analyst, writer, and an editor and frequent contributor for New-Power.org and LLCO.org. She also has a blog at geopoliticaloutlook.blogspot.com.

All images in this article are from the author; featured image: Brzezinski visits Osama bin Laden and other Mujahideen fighters during training.

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