PHILIP M. GIRALDI: “RUSSIA-BAITING IS THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN”

Washington again becomes hysterical

Source

PHILIP GIRALDI • JULY 7, 2020

There is particular danger at the moment that powerful political alignments in the United States are pushing strongly to exacerbate the developing crisis with Russia. The New York Times, which broke the story that the Kremlin had been paying the Afghan Taliban bounties to kill American soldiers, has been particularly assiduous in promoting the tale of perfidious Moscow. Initial Times coverage, which claimed that the activity had been confirmed by both intelligence sources and money tracking, was supplemented by delusional nonsense from former Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who asks “Why does Trump put Russia first?” before calling for a “swift and significant U.S. response.” Rice, who is being mentioned as a possible Biden choice for Vice President, certainly knows about swift and significant as she was one of the architects of the destruction of Libya and the escalation of U.S. military and intelligence operations directed against a non-threatening Syria.

The Times is also titillating with the tale of a low level drug smuggling Pashto businessman who seemed to have a lot of cash in dollars lying around, ignoring the fact that Afghanistan is awash with dollars and has been for years. Many of the dollars come from drug deals, as Afghanistan is now the world’s number one producer of opium and its byproducts.

The cash must be Russian sourced, per the NYT, because a couple of low level Taliban types, who were likely tortured by the Afghan police, have said that it is so. The Times also cites anonymous sources which allege that there were money transfers from an account managed by the Kremlin’s GRU military intelligence to an account opened by the Taliban. Note the “alleged” and consider for a minute that it would be stupid for any intelligence agency to make bank-to-bank transfers, which could be identified and tracked by the clever lads at the U.S. Treasury and NSA. Also try to recall how not so long ago we heard fabricated tales about threatening WMDs to justify war. Perhaps the story would be more convincing if a chain of custody could be established that included checks drawn on the Moscow-Narodny Bank and there just might be a crafty neocon hidden somewhere in the U.S. intelligence community who is right now faking up that sort of evidence.

Other reliably Democratic Party leaning news outlets, to include CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post all jumped on the bounty story, adding details from their presumably inexhaustible supply of anonymous sources. As Scott Horton observedthe media was reporting a “fact” that there was a rumor.

Inevitably the Democratic Party leadership abandoned its Ghanaian kente cloth scarves, got up off their knees, and hopped immediately on to their favorite horse, which is to claim loudly and in unison that when in doubt Russia did it. Joe Biden in particular is “disgusted” by a “betrayal” of American troops due to Trump’s insistence on maintaining “an embarrassing campaign of deferring and debasing himself before Putin.”

The Dems were joined in their outrage by some Republican lawmakers who were equally incensed but are advocating delaying punishing Russia until all the facts are known. Meanwhile, the “circumstantial details” are being invented to make the original tale more credible, including crediting the Afghan operation to a secret Russian GRU Army intelligence unit that allegedly was also behind the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury England in 2018.

Reportedly the Pentagon is looking into the circumstances around the deaths of three American soldiers by roadside bomb on April 8, 2019 to determine a possible connection to the NYT report. There are also concerns relating to several deaths in training where Afghan Army recruits turned on their instructors. As the Taliban would hardly need an incentive to kill Americans and as only seventeen U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan in 2019 as a result of hostile action, the year that the intelligence allegedly relates to, one might well describe any joint Taliban-Russian initiative as a bit of a failure since nearly all of those deaths have been attributed to kinetic activity initiated by U.S. forces.

The actual game that is in play is, of course, all about Donald Trump and the November election. It is being claimed that the president was briefed on the intelligence but did nothing. Trump denied being verbally briefed due to the fact that the information had not been verified. For once America’s Chief Executive spoke the truth, confirmed by the “intelligence community,” but that did not stop the media from implying that the disconnect had been caused by Trump himself. He reportedly does not read the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB), where such a speculative piece might indeed appear on a back page, and is uninterested in intelligence assessments that contradict what he chooses to believe. The Democrats are suggesting that Trump is too stupid and even too disinterested to be president of the United States so they are seeking to replace him with a corrupt 78-year-old man who may be suffering from dementia.

The Democratic Party cannot let Russia go because they see it as their key to future success and also as an explanation for their dramatic failure in 2016 which in no way holds them responsible for their ineptness. One does not expect the House Intelligence Committee, currently headed by the wily Adam Schiff, to actually know anything about intelligence and how it is collected and analyzed, but the politicization of the product is certainly something that Schiff and his colleagues know full well how to manipulate. One only has to recall the Russiagate Mueller Commission investigation and Schiff’s later role in cooking the witnesses that were produced in the subsequent Trump impeachment hearings.

Schiff predictably opened up on Trump in the wake of the NYT report, saying “I find it inexplicable in light of these very public allegations that the president hasn’t come before the country and assured the American people that he will get to the bottom of whether Russia is putting bounties on American troops and that he will do everything in his power to make sure that we protect American troops.”

Schiff and company should know, but clearly do not, that at the ground floor level there is a lot of lying, cheating and stealing around intelligence collection. Most foreign agents do it for the money and quickly learn that embroidering the information that is being provided to their case officer might ultimately produce more cash. Every day the U.S. intelligence community produces thousands of intelligence reports from those presumed “sources with access,” which then have to be assessed by analysts. Much of the information reported is either completely false or cleverly fabricated to mix actual verified intelligence with speculation and out and out lies to make the package more attractive. The tale of the Russian payment of bribes to the Taliban for killing Americans is precisely the kind of information that stinks to high heaven because it doesn’t even make any political or tactical sense, except to Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Adam Schiff and the New York Times. For what it’s worth, a number of former genuine intelligence officers including Paul Pillar, John KiriakouScott Ritter, and Ray McGovern have looked at the evidence so far presented and have walked away unimpressed. The National Security Agency (NSA) has also declined to confirm the story, meaning that there is no electronic trail to validate it.

Finally, there is more than a bit of the old hypocrisy at work in the damnation of the Russians even if they have actually been involved in an improbable operation with the Taliban. One recalls that in the 1970s and 1980s the United States supported the mujahideen rebels fighting against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. The assistance consisted of weapons, training, political support and intelligence used to locate, target and kill Soviet soldiers. Stinger missiles were provided to bring down helicopters carrying the Russian troops. The support was pretty much provided openly and was even boasted about, unlike what is currently being alleged about the Russian assistance. The Soviets were fighting to maintain a secular regime that was closely allied to Moscow while the mujahideen later morphed into al-Qaeda and the Islamist militant Taliban subsequently took over the country, meaning that the U.S. effort was delusional from the start.

So, what is a leaked almost certainly faux story about the Russian bounties on American soldiers intended to accomplish? It is probably intended to keep a “defensive” U.S. presence in Afghanistan, much desired by the neocons, a majority in Congress and the Military Industrial Complex (MIC), and it will further be played and replayed to emphasize the demonstrated incompetence of Donald Trump. The end result could be to secure the election of a pliable Establishment flunky Joe Biden as president of the United States. How that will turn out is unpredictable, but America’s experience of its presidents since 9/11 has not been very encouraging.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is https://councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org.

The Afghan-Pakistani Rapprochement Complicates India’s Hybrid War Plans

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By Andrew Korybko

11 JUNE 2020

The Afghan-Pakistani Rapprochement Complicates India

Pakistani Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Bajwa visited the Afghan capital of Kabul earlier this week for talks with the country’s leadership as part of his country’s efforts to facilitate the ongoing peace process in the neighboring state, with the resultant rapprochement between both sides being a welcome development that also complicates India’s Hybrid War plans to exploit the landlocked country as a terrorist-spewing proxy against its rival.

A surprise development took place earlier this week after Pakistani Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) Bajwa visited the Afghan capital of Kabul for talks with its leadership as part of his country’s efforts to facilitate the ongoing peace process in the neighboring state. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) media wing of its armed forces published a press release about their meeting, but it should also be added that it was about much more than just the concise summary that they shared.

Pakistan believes that Kabul’s reluctance to release the 5,000 Taliban prisoners that was previously agreed to is dangerously threatening the nascent peace process, hence why COAS Bajma must have presumably emphasized the necessity of complying with this clause to his hosts. He would have also assured them of his country’s assistance in supporting a peaceful political solution to the long-running conflict in coordination with all of the neighboring stakeholders. After all, Pakistan is the obvious solution to Afghanistan’s economic problems, but bilateral trade can only surge upon the stabilization of their border. Once that’s achieved, and the prerogative rests with Kabul for doing so after Islamabad already fulfilled its responsibilities in this respect, then the several million Afghan refugees in Pakistan can have an early and honorable return to their homeland. Afterwards, people-to-people ties can flourish and more meaningful COVID aid can be disbursed.

What’s important to take note of amidst all of this is that India’s Hybrid War plans to exploit Afghanistan as a terrorist-spewing proxy against Pakistan have become more complicated following the nascent Afghan-Pakistani rapprochement of the past week. That development reduces, but crucially doesn’t completely eliminate, India’s ability to continue waging its campaign of terror against Pakistan from the landlocked country that its policymakers regard as providing them with so-called “strategic depth”.

This couldn’t have been possible without the US’ support, strongly suggesting that it’s decided to limit its Indian ally’s involvement in Afghanistan for the sake of protecting its strategic relations with Pakistan in pursuit of their much more closely aligned goals in that third country. So as to better understand the motivation behind the US encouraging its Afghan political proxies to reciprocate Pakistan’s peacemaking outreach to the point of their current rapprochement, here’s a simplified breakdown of all three main players’ interests in that country:

* Pakistan:

– Peace

– Repatriation of refugees

– Promote regional connectivity as the global pivot state

– Counter-Terrorism

* India:

– Indefinite warfare

– Exploit refugees as “Weapons of Mass Migration” against Pakistan

– “Contain/Isolate” Pakistan from the rest of the region

– Controlled chaos against Pakistan via Afghan-based terrorist proxies

* US:

– Use India to economically “contain” China in the region through the Chabahar Corridor

– Rely on Pakistan to diplomatically assist the Afghan peace process

– Achieve reliable post-war economic access to Central Asia (N-CPEC+)

– Selectively employ terrorist proxies for strategic ends

The US’ goals in relation to India are the first and fourth ones whereas those of pertinence to Pakistan are the second and the third. Considering that America allowed its Afghan proxies to enter into their current rapprochement with Pakistan, it can be concluded that its grand strategic goals in the contemporary context are best advanced by aligning closer with Pakistan’s than India’s.

This insight reveals that India’s US-backed role in Afghanistan might soon diminish since America wouldn’t need India in this respect to economically “contain” China through Chabahar if it actively invests in N-CPEC+ with this intention (even if that said intention isn’t shared by Pakistan which might only regard the US’ role as an apolitical investment). Nor, for that matter, would the US actively support Indian-backed terrorist groups there since they could endanger the safety of any of the its forthcoming N-CPEC+ investments in Pakistan.

Looking forward, Pakistan proverbially won a strategic battle with India in Afghanistan but has yet to win the war there since New Delhi’s pernicious influence is still pervasive. Nevertheless, the credible presumption that the US supports the Afghan-Pakistani rapprochement gives rise to cautious optimism that India’s new patron is reconsidering the wisdom of its prior assistance to its proxy there upon recalibrating its regional strategy in order to accommodate it to new realities.

American political analyst

Two Decades of Afghan War… and a Shabby U.S. Retreat

Photo: REUTERS/Nasir Wakif

Source

March 13, 2020©

Is that it? Nearly two decades of war – America’s longest-ever, almost twice as long as the Vietnam War – and now, finally, a dubious peace deal.

It’s a “deal” that could have been signed years ago by previous U.S. administrations, thereby saving hundreds of thousands of casualties and trillions of dollars in damages.

The Afghan combatants that the U.S. vowed to defeat back in 2001 – the Taliban – are stronger than ever and look set to take back control when the Americans eventually tuck tail and get out. The militants view it as a “victory over a superpower”, according to NBC.

President Trump’s administration is of course trying to sell the conclusion of the Afghan War as some kind of honorable exit from the Central Asian country. But the shaky peace pact – cobbled together in haste and with no input from the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul – looks more like an electioneering ploy by Trump.

There are some 13,000 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. That’s about 10 per cent of the levels that were there under the GW Bush and Obama administrations. Trump’s peace deal with the Taliban mandates that troop levels will be drawn down to about 8,500 in the next four months. After 14 months, the aim is to have no U.S. troops remaining there.

The scheduling looks arranged to give Trump a timely electioneering boost. After all, he took office in January 2017 promising to end the “endless” Afghan War. Nearly four years on and just in time for the November election, Trump can claim he is delivering on that promise.

The flimsiness and contradictions of the bargain – the word “deal” seems misplaced – also indicate more haste than honor. Washington wants the Taliban to cease military attacks on U.S. troops over the drawdown period, but the militants appear to have leeway to continue assaults on the local U.S.-backed Afghan security forces.

Washington says its wants to see an “intra-Afghan” political dialogue on the future polity of the country. But the Americans fatally undermined the authority of its Kabul regime by excluding it from talks with the Taliban. The regime looks set to collapse without U.S. support. Why would the Taliban bother to engage with an entity it sees as a corrupt American puppet? Trump has even admitted that he sees the possibility of the Taliban taking full control of Afghanistan once the U.S. finally pulls out.

Here there is an echo of the “Fall of Saigon” when the Americans sold out the venal South Vietnamese regime in a 1973 peace deal with Communist North Vietnam which then went on to rout the crumbling U.S. Saigon puppet in 1975.

On a wider note, it is understandable that the region is apprehensive about the future of Afghanistan. Two decades of war and a botched retreat by the Americans could leave the country as a miserable failed state with no stable government for many years to come. Russia and Iran have good grounds to be concerned about the security implications from such a failed state. Fortunately, Russia has been developing working relations with Afghan parties over recent years, including the Taliban and its opponents. Thus, Moscow may be well-placed to help stabilize the country in the aftermath of Washington’s exit from the Afghan quagmire. How ironic is that? Afghanistan was supposed to be Moscow’s “Vietnam”, according to U.S. imperial planners. Turned out, however, that Afghanistan became America’s “Second Vietnam”.

An absurd contradiction in Washington’s deal-making with the Taliban is the expectation from the Trump administration that the Taliban will cooperate to prevent the emergence of Al Qaeda-linked terror groups. Hold on a moment. The official reason why the Americans invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 was a “war on terror” against the Taliban following the September 9/11 attacks in New York. Now we are told that the Taliban are some kind of legitimate partner against terrorism.

No wonder most U.S. military veterans are disillusioned with the Afghan War and the latest attempt to end it. As one former soldier told Time magazine: “I’m okay with the Afghans fighting for their own country and us supporting them from a distance. I’m not comfortable with us just walking away. It is morally wrong to give legitimacy to an enemy that continues to murder our people,” he said. “And it undermines our credibility around the world. Who can – or should – trust an America that cavalierly surrenders an ally like this?”

War fatigue in America is understandable. But the fact is this war should never have been started in the first place. The Afghan War stands as a monumental crime by the American state. Its aim and justifications by Washington were always a farrago of lies, as declassified U.S. documents show.

About 157,000 people are estimated to have been killed, with 43,000 of the dead being civilians. If there was any justice in this world, American leaders and generals should be prosecuted in a Nuremberg-type war crimes court, including Bush, Obama and the incumbent president, Donald Trump.

A reduction in violence is unquestionably welcome. We may hope the Afghan people can somehow develop a political process for a peaceful future. But eternal shame on Washington. It’s the Afghan people and the region which are having to pick up the pieces from criminal American adventurism.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

إدلب: يدُ «الجهاديّين» على الحزام!

سوريا

صهيب عنجريني الثلاثاء 10 آذار

لا يلقي «الجهاديون» بالاً كثيراً لاتفاق وقف إطلاق النار الذي أُبرم أخيراً في شأن إدلب. تتالت مواقف التنظيمات الرافضة للاتفاق، مع مواصلتها الاستعداد والتحشيد، لجولة جديدة محتملة من القتال. وانطلقت وراء الكواليس جهود تنسيقية مكثّفة، بين مختلف الجماعات، بهدف خوض المعارك القادمة «صفّاً واحداً»

«لا تنادوا بالسلام، إنّما السلم كلام. إنما السلمُ خداع، فاستفيقوا يا نيام». كانت هذه الجملة «بيت القصيد» في إصدار مرئي جديد نشرته «غرفة عمليّات وحرّض المؤمنين» أمس. تضم الغرفة المذكورة عدداً من التنظيمات «الجهادية» العاملة في سوريا (تحديداً في إدلب)، وهي «تنظيم حرّاس الدين»، و«جبهة أنصار الدين»، و«جماعة أنصار التوحيد»، و«جماعة أنصار الإسلام». حمل الشريط عنواناً لافتاً، هو «هدم الأسوار». وكما هو معروف، فقد سبق استخدام العنوان نفسه من قبل تنظيم «داعش» المتطرف، الذي أطلقه على سلسلة عمليات كانت عنوان مرحلة فارقة من مراحل صعود التنظيم.

الشريط المصوّر يكتسب أهميّة مضاعفة بفعل كونه مجرّد حلقة في سلسلة مواقف «جهادية» رافضة للاتفاقات حول إدلب (أرشيف)

يصعب الجزم بأن اختيار تكرار العنوان مقصود، لكن احتمال المصادفة لا يبدو وارداً، في ظل شهرة «هدم الأسوار» الخاص بـ«داعش» ورمزيته الماثلة في الأذهان. وليس من المستبعد أن ينطوي الأمر على محاولة لاستمالة بقايا التنظيم في سوريا، أو إرضاءً لبعضهم، ممن نجحوا في الوصول إلى إدلب، وانضووا بالفعل تحت راية «حراس الدين». تضمّن الشريط الجديد لقطات تم تصويرها السبت الماضي، أي في اليوم التالي لسريان وقف إطلاق النار المفترض، ويظهر فيها مقاتلون تابعون لـ«غرفة عمليات وحرّض المؤمنين»، يطلقون صواريخ، ويؤكّدون عدم التزامهم باتفاق وقف إطلاق النار الذي أُبرم أخيراً، بين موسكو وأنقرة. ولم يمنع قصر مدة الشريط (خمس دقائق) احتواءه رسائل بالغة الدلالات، من بينها تنوّع لغات المقاتلين المتحدّثين، ما بين العربيّة (بلهجة سورية)، والإنكليزية، والقوقازية.

ورغم أهميّته منفرداً، فإنّ الشريط المصوّر يكتسب أهميّة مضاعفة بفعل كونه مجرّد حلقة في سلسلة مواقف «جهادية» رافضة للاتفاقات حول إدلب، من أبرزها بيان صدر عن «هيئة تحرير الشام/ النصرة»، ووسم بعنوان «اتفاقيّة موسكو.. سراب جديد»، وكلمة صوتيّة بعنوان «يا أهل الشام الثبات الثبات» لأبو همام الشامي، زعيم تنظيم «حرّاس الدين»، الفرع السوري لتنظيم «القاعدة». وتشارك التنظيمان المتطرّفان المذكوران موقفاً واحداً من «اتفاق موسكو»، رغم التباين في كثير من المواقف بينهما، ورغم علاقتهما المضطربة التي وصلت حدّ الاحتراب في بعض المراحل. ولكن كان من بين الاختلافات المتوقعة بين الموقفين، انفراد «هيئة تحرير الشام» بشكر أنقرة على «وقوفها الواضح والداعم للثورة»، الأمر الذي قابله في كلمة الشامي تحذير من «هيمنة الداعمين على إرادة المجاهدين». جاء مضمون شريط «هدم الأسوار» مشابهاً لمضمون كلمة أبو همام الشامي في ما يتعلّق بـ«الداعمين» (وهو أمر طبيعي لأن الشامي يتزعّم أكبر مكوّنات الجهة التي صدر عنها الشريط). وذهب المقاتلون الظاهرون في الشريط أبعد من زعيمهم، عبر تصعيد لهجة الخطاب الموجّه إلى أنقرة، ولكن من دون تسميتها. يقول أحد المتحدثين بالإنكليزية، موجهاً الكلام إلى «إخوانه في كل أنحاء العالم»، إن «بعض الحكومات تتظاهر بأنها صديقة للسوريين، لكنها لا تريد إلا القضاء على الحركات الجهادية، كل ما يفعلونه مصالحهم الوطنية لا غير».

«القاعدة» سبق الاتفاق!

ثمّة تفصيل شديد الأهميّة في ما يتعلّق بمواقف التنظيمات المتطرفة من «اتفاق موسكو»، وهو أن تنظيم «القاعدة» كان قد استبق الاتفاق بدعوة «المجاهدين» إلى توحيد مواقفهم و«رص صفوفهم». في مطلع الشهر الجاري، دعا التنظيم «مجاهدي الشام» إلى «رفض التفاهمات الدولية»، و«نبذ الخلافات» في ما بينهم. جاء ذلك في الإصدار الرقم 32 من نشرة «النفير» الدورية التي تصدرها «مؤسسة السحاب الإعلامية»، مصحوباً بتحريض «الجهاديين» على شنّ حرب استنزاف طويلة الأمد. والواقع أن كلمة أبو همام الشامي، جاءت أشبه بإعلان التزام سريع بتوجيهات «القاعدة» الأم، وقد تمّ تسجيلها على الأرجح قبل إبرام «اتفاق موسكو»، إذ أعلن التنظيم عنها قبل ثلاثة أيام من الاتفاق، ثم أرجأ نشرها إلى ما بعد إبرامه، لتكون بمثابة موقف رسمي. ولم تقتصر استجابة الشامي لتوجيهات «قيادته» على الكلمة المسجلة، بل اشتملت أيضاً على إطلاق «حملة تبرعات» تسعى إلى جمع أموال، لتمويل جولة جديدة من المعارك، من المقرّر أن تأخذ شكل «حرب عصابات». ويعاني «حراس الدين» من صعوبات مالية، في ظل عدم ثبات التمويلات التي يتلقّاها، خلافاً لحال «تحرير الشام» القادرة على تمويل نفسها عبر موارد عديدة، فضلاً عن أن التمويلات السياسية لم تنقطع، ولو خفّت وتيرتها. ورغم الخلافات بينهما، فقد دأبت «هيئة تحرير الشام» على إمداد «حراس الدين» بأسلحة وأموال، بين وقت وآخر، تبعاً لطبيعة المرحلة.

«جهاديو فرنسا» حاضرون

لم يلتقط «الجهاديون» الفرنسيون الحاضرون في إدلب أنفاسهم بعد. ورغم توقّف المعارك في الأيام الأخيرة، فإنّ عناصر «فرقة غرباء» لم يأخذوا فترة استراحة، بل انهمكوا في الاستعداد لجولة ثانية، لا تبدو بعيدة. تشكّل الكتيبة المذكورة إطاراً تنظيمياً حاضناً لمعظم «الجهاديين» الفرنسيين المتبقّين في سوريا، وقد سُجلت أنشطة قتالية لها بالتنسيق والتعاون مع «جبهة النصرة» في العام 2016، ثم مع «الحزب الإسلامي التركستاني» في معارك إدلب قبل عامين (راجع «الأخبار» 23 أيار). وتكرّرت مشاركة «الفرقة» في معارك إدلب الأخيرة، لكن هذه المرّة بالتنسيق والتعاون مع «حراس الدين». ويعود سبب تغيير التحالفات إلى خلافات استفحلت بين متزعّم «غرباء»، عمر أومسين، و«هيئة تحرير الشام» قبل عامين. (راجع «الأخبار»، 26 تشرين الثاني) .

«القاعدة» كان قد استبق «اتفاق موسكو» بدعوة «المجاهدين» إلى «رصّ صفوفهم»

ونشرت قناة «فرانس 24» قبل أيام تقريراً لافتاً، يسلط الضوء على مشاركة الفرقة في المعارك. ويجدر التذكير بأن العنصر «الجهادي» الأوروبي يشكّل عاملاً شديد الأهمّية في مواقف دول الاتحاد من معارك إدلب، إذ باتت المنطقة ملاذاً أخيراً لـ«الجهاديين» الأوروبيين بمختلف جنسياتهم. ويبدو تسرّب هؤلاء إلى دولهم الأم أكبر الهواجس الأوروبية، وهو أمر تعيه أنقرة جيداً، وما فتئت تلوّح به بين سطور تهديداتها المستمرة بفتح الحدود أمام اللاجئين. وحتى اليوم، لم يصل الأوروبيون (ولا سيّما الفرنسيّون) إلى خاتمة «معقولة» لملف «الجهاديين» الأوروبيين الذين كانوا يقاتلون في صفوف «داعش» أو عائلاتهم. وما زالت أعداد كبيرة من هؤلاء تقبع في «مخيّمات» شرقي الفرات في مناطق نفوذ «قسد».

والأوزبك… والألبان

شاركت «كتيبة الإمام البخاري» بفاعلية في معارك إدلب الأخيرة، وتحديداً معارك مدينة سراقب. وتقول مصادر «جهادية» حاضرة في إدلب إن عدداً من قادة «البخاري» عقدوا اجتماعات منفصلة في الأيام الأخيرة مع قادة مجموعات مختلفة، من بينها «تحرير الشام»، و«حراس الدين». تعدّ المجموعة المذكورة واحدة من أشرس المجموعات «الجهادية» في سوريا، وكانت قد بايعت «جبهة النصرة» حين كانت الأخيرة فرعاً لتنظيم «القاعدة» (راجع «الأخبار» 1 تشرين الأول 2015). بدأت «البخاري» العمل منفردة، عقب فك «النصرة» ارتباطها التنظيمي بـ«القاعدة»، وكان هذا على الأرجح أحد الأسباب التي دفعت الولايات المتحدة إلى إدراج الكتيبة على لوائح الإرهاب. وكانت «البخاري» واحدة من المجموعات «الجهادية» القليلة التي أعلنت موقفاً واضحاً من الاتفاق الذي عقدته «حركة طالبان» مع واشنطن أخيراً. وأرسل أبو يوسف المهاجر، زعيم الجماعة، رسالة تهنئة إلى «طالبان» بتاريخ 29 شباط الماضي، عدّ فيه الاتفاق «نصراً للجهاد». كما كانت «الكتيبة» قد ربطت نفسها بـ«بيعة» علنية لـ«إمارة أفغانستان الإسلامية» في العام 2018، فيما بدأت بتوريد بعض «الجهاديين» عكسيّاً، من سوريا إلى أفغانستان عام 2016، حين استحدثت فرعاً لها هناك. ومنذ العام الماضي، سجّلت «البخاري» تنسيقاً عالي المستوى مع جماعة «جهادية» أوروبية مستحدثة في سوريا، هي «جماعة الألبان» التي باتت رأس حربة «الجهاد» الأوروبي في سوريا. لم ينخرط «الألبان» في معارك إدلب الأخيرة، بسبب تمركزهم في ريف اللاذقية الشمالي، معقلهم الأبرز (راجع «الأخبار» 25 أيلول 2019) . رغم ذلك، تفيد معلومات موثوقة بأنّ «جماعة الألبان» كانت في «استنفار» مفتوح طوال فترة المعارك، ولم تنهه حتى اليوم.

 

The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle

Pepe Escobar for the Saker Blog : Posted with permission 

As far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military want to stay in what is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques

In this photo taken on February 21, youths and peace activists gather as they celebrate the reduction in violence, in Kandahar. A week-long partial truce took hold across Afghanistan on February 22, with some jubilant civilians dancing in the streets as the war-weary country prepared for this coming Saturday’s planned agreement on a peace deal between the Taliban and the United States. Photo: AFP / Javed Tanveer

Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban.

We should start by stressing three points.

1- The Taliban wanted all US troops out. Washington refused.

2- The possible deal only reduces US troops from 13,000 to 8,600. That’s the same number already deployed before the Trump administration.

3- The reduction will only happen a year and a half from now – assuming what’s being described as a truce holds.

So there would be no misunderstanding, Taliban Deputy Leader Sirajuddin Haqqani, in an op-ed certainly read by everyone inside the Beltway, detailed their straightforward red line: total US withdrawal.

And Haqqani is adamant: there’s no peace deal if US troops stay.

Still, a deal looms. How come? Simple: enter a series of secret “annexes.”

The top US negotiator, the seemingly eternal Zalmay Khalilzad, a remnant of the Clinton and Bush eras, has spent months codifying these annexes – as confirmed by a source in Kabul currently not in government but familiar with the negotiations.

Let’s break them down to four points.

1- US counter-terror forces would be allowed to stay. Even if approved by the Taliban leadership, this would be anathema to the masses of Taliban fighters.

2- The Taliban would have to denounce terrorism and violent extremism. That’s rhetorical, not a problem.

3- There will be a scheme to monitor the so-called truce while different warring Afghan factions discuss the future, what the US State Dept. describes as “intra-Afghan negotiations.” Culturally, as we’ll see later, Afghans of different ethnic backgrounds will have a tremendously hard time monitoring their own warring.

4- The CIA would be allowed to do business in Taliban-controlled areas. That’s an even more hardcore anathema. Everyone familiar with post-9/11 Afghanistan knows that the prime reason for CIA business is the heroin rat line that finances Langley’s black ops, as I exposed in 2017.

Otherwise, everything about this “historic” deal remains quite vague.

Even Secretary of Defense Mark Esper was forced to admit the war in Afghanistan is “still” in “a state of strategic stalemate.”

As for the far from strategic financial disaster, one just needs to peruse the latest SIGAR report. SIGAR stands for Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. In fact virtually nothing in Afghanistan has been “reconstructed.”

No real deal without Iran

The “intra-Afghan” mess starts with the fact that Ashraf Ghani eventually was declared the winner of the presidential elections held in September last year. But virtually no one recognizes him.

The Taliban don’t talk to Ghani. Only to some people that are part of the government in Kabul. And they describe these talks at best as between “ordinary Afghans.”

Everyone familiar with Taliban strategy knows US/NATO troops will never be allowed to stay. What could happen is the Taliban allowing some sort of face-saving contingent to remain for a few months, and then a very small contingent stays to protect the US embassy in Kabul.

Washington will obviously reject this possibility. The alleged “truce” will be broken. Trump, pressured by the Pentagon, will send more troops. And the infernal spiral will be back on track.

Another major hole in the possible deal is that the Americans completely ignored Iran in their negotiations in Doha.

That’s patently absurd. Teheran is a key strategic partner to its neighbor Kabul. Apart from the millenary historical/cultural/social connections, there are at least 3.5 million Afghan refugees in Iran.

Post 9-11, Tehran slowly but surely started cultivating relations with the Taliban – but not at a military/weaponizing level, according to Iranian diplomats. In Beirut last September, and then in Nur-Sultan in November, I was provided a clear picture of where discussions about Afghanistan stand.

The Russian connection to the Taliban goes through Tehran. Taliban leaders have frequent contacts with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Only last year, Russia held two conferences in Moscow between Taliban political leaders and mujahideen. The Russians were engaged into bringing Uzbeks into the negotiations. At the same time, some Taliban leaders met with Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) operatives four times in Tehran, in secret.

The gist of all these discussions was “to find a conflict resolution outside of Western patterns”, according to an Iranian diplomat. They were aiming at some sort of federalism: the Taliban plus the mujahideen in charge of the administration of some vilayets.

The bottom line is that Iran has better connections in Afghanistan than Russia and China. And this all plays within the much larger scope of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The Russia-China strategic partnership wants an Afghan solution coming from inside the SCO, of which both Iran and Afghanistan are observers. Iran may become a full SCO member if it holds on to the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, until October – thus still not subjected to UN sanctions.

All these actors want US troops out – for good. So the solution always points towards a decentralized federation. According to an Afghan diplomat, the Taliban seem ready to share power with the Northern Alliance. The spanner in the works is the Hezb-e-Islami, with one Jome Khan Hamdard, a commander allied with notorious mujahid Gulbudiin Hekmatyar, based in Mazar-i-Sharif and supported by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, more interested in restarting a civil war.

Understanding Pashtunistan

Here’s a blast from the past, reliving the context of the Taliban visit to Houston, and showing how things have not changed much since the first Clinton administration. It’s always a matter of the Taliban getting their cut – at the time related to Pipelineistan business, now to their reaffirmation of what can be described as Pashtunistan.

Not every Pashtun is a Taliban, but the overwhelming majority of Taliban are Pashtuns.

The Washington establishment never did their “know your enemy” homework, trying to understand how Pashtuns from extremely diverse groups are linked by a common system of values establishing their ethnic foundation and necessary social rules. That’s the essence of their code of conduct – the fascinating, complex Pashtunwali. Although it incorporates numerous Islamic elements, Pashtunwali is in total contradiction with Islamic law on many points.

Islam did introduce key moral elements to Pashtun society. But there are also juridical norms, imposed by a hereditary nobility, that support the whole edifice and that came from the Turko-Mongols.

Pashtuns – a tribal society – have a deep aversion to the Western concept of the state. Central power can only expect to neutralize  them with – to put it bluntly – bribes. That’s what passes as a sort of system of government in Afghanistan. Which brings the question of how much – and with what – the US is now bribing the Taliban.

Afghan political life, in practice, works out from actors that are factions, sub-tribes, “Islamic coalitions” or regional groups.

Since 1996, and up to 9/11, the Taliban incarnated the legitimate return of Pashtuns as the dominant element in Afghanistan. That’s why they instituted an emirate and not a republic, more appropriate for a Muslim community ruled only by religious legislation. The diffidence towards cities, particularly Kabul, also expresses the sentiment of Pashtun superiority over other Afghan ethnic groups.

The Taliban do represent a process of overcoming tribal identity and the affirmation of Pashtunistan. The Beltway never understood this powerful dynamic – and that’s one of the key reasons for the American debacle.

Lapis Lazuli corridor

Afghanistan is at the center of the new American strategy for Central Asia, as in “expand and maintain support for stability in Afghanistan” coupled with an emphasis to “encourage connectivity between Central Asia and Afghanistan.”

In practice, the Trump administration wants the five Central Asian “stans” to bet on integration projects such as the CASA-1000 electricity project and the Lapis Lazuli trade corridor, which is in fact a reboot of the Ancient Silk Road, connecting Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia before crossing the Black Sea to Turkey and then all the way to the EU.

But the thing is Lapis Lazuli is already bound to integrate with Turkey’s Middle Corridor, which is part of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, as well as with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Plus, also part of Belt and Road. Beijing planned  this integration way before Washington.

The Trump administration is just stressing the obvious: a peaceful Afghanistan is essential for the integration process.

Andrew Korybko correctly argues that “Russia and China could make more progress on building the Golden Ring between themselves, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey by that time, thus ‘embracing’ Central Asia with potentially limitless opportunities that far surpass those that the US is offering or ‘encircling’ the region from a zero-sum American strategic perspective and ‘forcing’ it out.”

The late Zbigniew “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski’s wishful thinking “Eurasian Balkans” scenario may be dead, but the myriad US divide-and-rule gambits imposed on the heartland have now mutated into hybrid war explicitly directed against China, Russia  and Iran – the three major nodes of Eurasia integration.

And that means that as far as realpolitik Afghanistan is concerned, with or without a deal, the US military have no intention to go anywhere. They want to stay – whatever it takes. Afghanistan is a priceless Greater Middle East base to deploy hybrid war techniques.

Pashtuns are certainly getting the message from key Shanghai Cooperation Organization players. The question is how they plan to run rings around Team Trump.

Pakistan’s Big Victory Against Terrorism

February 11, 2020

Source

by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for The Saker Blog

The term “terroriste” in French, meaning “terrorist”, is first used in 1794 by the French philosopher François-Noël Babeuf, who denounces Maximilien Robespierre’s Jacobin regime as a dictatorship. Terrorism has many definitions but the well-recognized by the UN is “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act”.

Although the terms “terrorist” and “terrorism” originated during the French Revolution of the late 18th century but gained mainstream popularity in the 1970s in news reports and books covering the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, and Palestine. The increased use of suicide attacks from the 1980s onwards was typified by the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. in 2001.

Pakistan became the victim of Terrorism since the 1980s, the Afghan War. Traditionally, Pakistan was a very peaceful state and the people of Pakistan were known for its peace, hospitality, and tolerance. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Pakistan was heaven for foreign tourists, especially from the Western World. Pakistan is blessed with natural beauty, high mountains, Glaciers, Rivers, Beaches, Pilatus, Jungles, Deserts, Archaeological & historical places, and religious places. Pakistani society was famous for the acceptance of Foreigners with all different backgrounds, religions, cultures, and ethnicities. In history, Pakistan has absorbed various cultures, especially the National Language of Pakistan “Urdu” is a mixture of Arabic, Persian and Turkish. The typical Pakistani cultures have roots from Central Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and Greek-Alexander the Great. During the one century-long British rule, has Westernized Pakistani Society and is a member of Commonwealth Country, English language and culture was dominating visibly. By nature, Pakistanis are peace-loving nature and a rather submissive society.

However, due to the former USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US gathered Muslim youth from all over the world in Pakistan. Provided them training, weapons, and Dollars to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. This all was possible by radicalizing them. The US used religion to charge these youth for “Jihad”. The Muslim scholars were paid to promote “Jihad” and textbooks taught in educational schools were modified to promote “Jihad”. The US has funded such scholars’ generously who preach “Jihad”.

Cash and religion were used to exploit Muslim youths for “Jihad” (Holy War). And Taliban, involved in Jihad were treated as heroes. White House was open for them and President Reagan hosted banquets in honor of the Taliban. Some of President Regan’s remakes about the Taliban are denied recently, but it was acknowledged that the Taliban enjoyed the highest degree of respect and honor in the US during the Afghan War during the 1980s.

However, with the help of the Taliban, the US won the war in Afghanistan and the former USSR was to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in 1988-89, under an agreement. But unfortunately, the US also lost its interest in Afghanistan and left Pakistan alone to face the consequences of unstable Afghanistan.

Deliberately, Pakistani society was radicalized. Intolerance, extremism, religious divide, ethnicity, and factionists were promoted. The US-funded the individuals with an extremist ideology to promote a division in the society. Insurgency and separatist movements were supported and society was led toward chaos.

Furthermore, during the former USSR invasion of Afghanistan since 1979, Pakistan became the hub of international intelligence agencies. In the beginning, their operations were focused on Afghanistan only. But later on, it was spread and their scope also covers Pakistan is self too. It was not only the US, but many friendly countries also strengthen their Intelligence operation from Afghanistan. Later on, it was noticed that some of the unfriendly countries were also involved in similar operations. After the former USSR withdrawal, some of the international intelligence agencies were using Pakistan as a training ground and executing live operations, sometimes only for the experience.

The easiest way was to identify disgruntles or destitute Pakistanis, brainwash them, fund them and exploit them, was a routine matter. Still, we are facing such incidents, that Pakistanis were used by foreign agents in sabotage, subversion, insurgencies, separatism, and terrorism. This practice is still in exercise, but with a lot reduction in size.

Although the terrorism phenomenon was started since the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the intensity gained momentum from 200 to 2014, with a peak in 2009. Only in 2009, the worst of any year, 2,586 terrorist, insurgent, and sectarian-related incidents were reported that killed 3,021 people and injured 7,334, according to the “Pakistan Security Report 2009” published by PIPS. These casualties figure 48 percent higher as compared to 2008. On the other hand, the rate of suicide attacks surged by one third to 87 bombings that killed 1,300 people and injured 3,600.

Turning point

Since, the 16 December 2014 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar, which killed 150, mainly children, claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (Taliban Movement of Pakistan-TTP), was ostensibly a game-changer. A week later the government unveiled a new counter-terrorism strategy, the twenty-point National Action Plan (NAP), with Prime Minister and Army Chief, vowing to target all terror groups without distinction.

A massive military action was taken along with the judicial reforms with the involvement of civil society. The death penalty was restored, military courts were established, through media and civic society educational reforms were implemented. Military action was supported by the educational reforms and rehabilitation of effect was implemented. As a re4sult some of the terrorists were killed, some were run into Afghanistan and remaining were changed by education. People were educated toward tolerance, and acceptance of diversity in this society.

While fighting against terrorism, we encountered many tough challenges. The terrorists were well trained and well equipped. Sometimes, they were using many advance tactics and weapons, even better than the Pakistan Army. They were using Satellite phones and Hummer Jeeps, while the Pakistan Army was using rather old communication systems and vehicles. Terrorists were supported by foreign powers and getting logistics and supplies against Pakistan. The terrain was very tough and the region was mountainous and difficult to accessibility. Pakistan blames India and Afghanistan for supporting Terrorists officially. However, India kept on denying and Afghanistan has confirmed. In fact, there were many other foreign powers supporting these terrorists. We suspect many countries like the US, Russia, Israel, Iran, etc. But with no confirmed evidence.

Pakistan Army, Civilian Government, and General public was committed to rooting out the menace of terrorism, once for all. Devotion and firm commitment made us possible to overcome this serious issue. Pakistan is the only country with the highest success in its war against terrorism. Today the number of terrorist attacks has been reduced to around 200 from 2500 at the peak in 2009. Pakistan is still engaged in a war footing against terrorism.

The Irony is that Pakistan was radicalized by some of the friendly nations to achieve their goals. Once they achieved their goals, they left, Pakistan alone to suffer. In fact, those friends played a dirty role to isolate Pakistan and made propaganda against Pakistan as a hub of terrorism. While in fact, Pakistan was the victim of terrorism and suffered huge losses. Pakistan’s sacrifices were not acknowledged or recognized. Pakistan is not seeking any reward for its sacrifices but deserves compensation from those friends who caused this terrorism in Pakistan. Hilary Clinton has committed publically that the US has created the Taliban. It is obvious that Islamophobia is the root cause of terrorism. It is a moral obligation that those who are responsible for the creation of terrorism should assist Pakistan to overcome it. Pakistan expects from the international community to acknowledge and recognition of its sacrifices. I believe, it is the moral duty of the Western World to extend cooperation toward Pakistan to defeat terrorism.

However, Pakistan is a resilient nation and after a lot of effort has succeeded to eliminate terrorism in Pakistan. Pakistanis are genetically peace-loving people and very much accommodative. Our society is open and integrate all immigrants or foreigners in this country. Pakistan accommodated many immigrants from many different countries. These immigrants are well integrated into our society and face no discrimination. There were around 5 million Afghanis in Pakistan at the peak time of war and around 3 million are settled in Pakistan since the 1980s. Their third and fourth generations are living in Pakistan now. There also exists a huge number of Bengalis, Indians, Burmese, Iranian, Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, African, Chinese, etc., in Pakistan and enjoying a complete harmony.

Pakistan is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society and diversity is our strength. We won against terrorism by promoting tolerance, education, and traditional culture. I believe Pakistan’s soft power is our best tool to win against all challenges. Today, Pakistan has emerged as a Peace-Loving nation, a mature and responsible state. Prime Minister Imran Khan is a visionary leader and a messenger for Peace. He believes in Peace and wanted to resolve all regional and global issues through peaceful dialogue. He has demonstrated to avert a War with Indian in February 2019 and still insists on his stand of Peaceful resolution of all issues between India and Pakistan, as well as all international disputes.

The rest of the world may avail Pakistan’s experience to counter-terrorism and utilize Pakistan’s expertise in fighting against terrorism globally. We wish to eliminate the menace of terrorism completely.


Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.

US AIR FORCE E-11A AIRCRAFT CRASHED IN AFGHANISTAN – IRANIAN REVENGE?

ٍSouth Front

On January 27, an E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node aircraft of the US Air Force crashed in the Taliban-controlled Deh Yak district of Ghazni province, 150 kilometers from the Afghan capital.

When the incident took place, the crashed plane was initially described as a passenger plane with up to 83 people on board. However, after Taliban-affiliated media accounts released videos from the crash site, the passenger plane version was debunked and the Pentagon confirmed that the incident happened with a US military aircraft.

The crashed E-11A (tail number 11-9358) was one of just four Bombardier Global Express Business jet aircraft purchased by the U.S. Air Force and equipped with the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN).

The BACN is a communications relay and gateway system that enables real-time information flow across the battlespace between similar and dissimilar tactical data link and voice systems through relay, bridging, and data translation in line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight situations.

The BACN can allow surface and air forces to overcome communications difficulties caused by rough terrain, distance and different types of communications networks employed by different types of aircraft and equipment.

The unit cost of a single E-11A equipped with the BACN has not been officially revealed. However, it is approximately $1 billion. In January 2020, the Pentagon announced that Northrop Grumman Systems was awarded a $217.2 million modification contract to support payload equipment and services for the BACN. Work will be carried out in San Diego and at undisclosed overseas locations, with an expected completion date of January 23, 2021. The total cost of the contract after the recent modification is $570.2 million.

The crashed aircraft was assigned to the 430th Expeditionary Electronic Combat Squadron based at Kandahar Air Field and providing service across the CENTCOM area of operations.

All existing E-11As are deployed in Kandahar. The E-11A flies over Afghanistan constantly. It surpassed 10,000 sorties in 2017, about eight years after being initially deployed to the country.

The loss of such a high-value asset as the E-11A is a major blow to the US capabilities in the region by itself. Prior to the January 27 incident, the US had 8 aircraft equipped with the BACN: four E-11As and four unmanned EQ-4Bs which are modernized variants of the RQ-4 Global Hawk. Now, there are only 7 such aircraft capable of performing command-and-control battle management functions, communication, electronic warfare tasks, and surveillance. 12.5% of the BACN fleet was lost in a single day.

The mystery surrounding the crash is another issue. The Taliban was first to report that the incident involved a US military aircraft on January 27 and release videos and photos from the site. The movement claimed that the aircraft was shot down by a rocket and applauded “the bravery and courage” of the “men” that did this.

Reports appeared claiming that Michael D’Andrea, head of the CIA’s Iran Mission Centre and one of the persons that orchestrated the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, died in the E-11A crash, which he supposedly used as a mobile command. This story describes the E-11A crash as Iranian revenge for the actions of the United States. Nonetheless, these claims remain unconfirmed.

The US military did not comment on the supposed death of D’Andrea, but strongly denied reports that the aircraft was shot down by enemy fire. It also announced that on January 28 US forces recovered the remains of two personnel from the site, the flight data recorder and destroyed the remnants of the aircraft.

The aircraft destruction was needed to prevent high-tech equipment from falling into the hands of the Taliban. The aforementioned casualties were identified as Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30.

In general, the E-11 flies with a crew of two. So, the casualtie part of the US official version is plausible. The problem is the ability of US forces to ensure that no high-tech equipment or sensitive data leaked to the Taliban.

Images from the crash site released from the Taliban on January 27 show at least one burned body.

  • If we adopt the version that two US personnel died in the crash and US forces evacuated their bodies, it becomes evident that Taliban forces were there first and took all that they wanted. This may include BACN components that will later become accessible for third parties. Washington and mainstream media have repeatedly accused Russia and Iran of contacting the Taliban despite the fact that the US itself is in talks with the group.
  • If we imagine that US forces somehow reached the crash site first and just announced this on January 28 to trick its rivals, the question appears: to whom did the images of the body shown by the Taliban belong? In this case, reports claiming that the US is hiding some vital casualties become reasonable.

The D’Andrea death story could easily appear to be just a successful example of propaganda in the ongoing US-Iranian media and diplomatic standoff. However, the reality behind this media noise may appear even more hard-hitting with some BACN components soon appearing in the hands of key US geopolitical competitors.

Afghan Peace: A Pre-requisite for Prosperity in Eurasia Region

Afghan Peace: A Pre-requisite for Prosperity in Eurasia Region

October 10, 2019

by Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan for The Saker blog

Afghanistan is a landlocked country located within South-Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. With its population of 35 million approximately, having a GDP (nominal) of 22 billion US dollars in total, and per capita income of 600 Dollars only. Rich with minerals and natural resources, and well-known for its fruits and nuts, still suffering and laying among the least developed country of the world, ranked 177. Four decades of war have damaged the whole country and the whole nation is a victim of war imposed on them.

Its geopolitical location is vital for the whole Eurasian region, as it connects Central Asia, Iran, China, and Russia, with Pakistan, leading towards Warm Waters – the Arabian Sea or the Indian Ocean. All of the countries are suffering due to instability in Afghanistan and desires a long-lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Very unfortunate! Afghanistan is under war or war-like situation for the last 4 decades. Are Afghans are people of lesser God??? No sufficient food, No education, No health care, severe shortage of electricity, Shortage of fuel, are witnessed in Afghanistan. It seems the sufferings of Afghans are going to end. The world has realized that it is enough and now think in the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan. The common man has suffered for more than 4 decades, which started with the former USSR entry of Afghanistan on the 25th of December 1979 and then internal power struggle among various factions of Afghanistan and finally after 9-11 incident happened in the US, NATO and allied forces entered into Afghanistan. NATO allies have been fighting in Afghanistan for 18 long years, but are still without control anywhere in the country. Even now, the US Army cannot move freely and fearlessly outside of Bagram Airbase. Taliban forces still control major parts of the country. After spending trillion Dollars, killing thousands of innocent people, testing and dumping tons of explosives, finally, the US has understood that they cannot win in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, the US economy cannot sustain anymore, such as heavy and expensive wars. That is why the US has also decided to withdraw its troops from Syria too.

In fact, Afghanistan was never totally ruled by foreign powers, although in the country’s history many misadventures happened. The people of Afghanistan always defeated invaders. It has been invaded by Alexander the Great, Mauryas, Muslim Arabs, Mongols, British, Soviets and since 2001, by the United States with NATO-allied countries. But it has proved itself unconquerable. Afghans are brave people and believe in freedom only.

All of the regional countries, including Central Asian States, Russia, Iran, China, and Pakistan were trying to bring Peace and Stability in Afghanistan. Several initiatives for peace in Afghanistan were taken in the past, but none as successful as they were not involved or owned by locals –Taliban and were opposed by the US and its allies. The US-backed elected Governments in Afghanistan, do not enjoy popularity among masses and may not represent the voice of common Afghan nationals.

Pakistan, being neighbors with a long common border, understands Afghanistan well. We share rivers, mountains and a common culture, language and ethnicity, and language. That is why we understand Afghanistan much better than anybody else. The role which Pakistan can play, no other nation can. There is no other country to substitute Pakistan in this regard. The US was trying to involve India in Afghan Issues, but due to the reason it does not have any land linkage, neither any cultural or ethnic commonalities with Afghan, cannot understand their society or issues and helpless in resolving their issues. The world may acknowledge Pakistan’s sacrifices and positive role in this region. Pakistan sincerely wishes for peace and stability in Afghanistan, and as we have suffered losses of around 75,000 lives and $250 billion due to unrest in Afghanistan. We will be the first nation to support peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistan was a very close ally with the US-led West alliance, for almost seven decades. We were partners during the Cold War against “Communism Threat” and a frontline state against the USSR invasion of Afghanistan, a strong supporter and close ally during the war on terror. Pakistan was strongest ally with West out-side NATO. Pakistan can play a vital role in a sustainable solution to the Afghan conflict. Complete withdrawal and an Afghan-led solution is the only permanent way out. Pakistan can facilitate an honorable and safe passage for US withdrawal.

Prime Minister, Imran Khan, a longtime critic of the Afghan war, is in the driving seat in Pakistan. In his maiden speech after winning the election on July 26, he expressed his wish to resolve Afghan issues. His stance, though very unpopular a few years ago, is extremely popular now, domestically as well as internationally, especially coincides with the currently emerged Americans approach. The US government knows that Pakistan under Khan’s leadership can woo the Taliban into accepting some kind of long-term ceasefire.

Pakistan wants to help with the Afghan peace process; peace in Afghanistan would be the best thing that could happen to Pakistan in decades, but certainly not at Pakistan’s expense. The US has asked Pakistan to bring the Taliban back to the table. How can Pakistan do this when the US had previously intentionally derailed the peace process? Recently U-turns by President Trump is even a major obstacle as a credibility issue. Yet, Pakistan did a lot to bring the Taliban on the negotiating table. But the peace process needs sincerity and persistence.

The US has to wake up to the realities in Pakistan. It cannot expect on one hand to harm Pakistan’s core interests and on the other hand strengthening its ties with India, especially after the Indian accession of Kashmir on the 5th of August 2019.

Criticizing Pakistan only, while ignoring Israel and India, who are engaged in genocide and worst atrocities against muslin and other minorities in their countries. On one hand, the US objects to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and resists Pakistan’s economic takeoff. And not extending any support to Pakistan to overcome its economic crisis.

The Taliban have been very clear in their demands from the very beginning, and that is a complete withdrawal of the US and its allied forces from Afghanistan. However, the US cannot sustain economic pressure and have to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan just like Syria. There are people in the US who think that after spending trillions of dollars, and still no achievement on the ground, is a blunder. Taxpayer are asking the government for accountability of heavy expenditures and wastage of their tax collected money. We hope, in the wider interest of humanity, the US may show flexibility and seriously consider the Afghan Peace Process. It will be good for Afghanistan, the region and over-all for the whole world.

Instability in Afghanistan makes many of its people flee into Pakistan, which has hosted up to 5 million Afghan refugees at peak times. No other country has accepted such a huge number of refugees, while Pakistan, a country with meager resources and a weak economy has accommodated them for such long 4 decades.

Pakistan was in the past a very tolerant and peace-loving, balanced society, but during the 1980s war in Afghanistan, Pakistan suffered extremism, intolerance, terrorism, gun culture, and drug culture. For four decades, the war in Afghanistan pushed Pakistan to give the highest priority to its defense and ignore other sectors such as education, health, science and technology, and innovation, as well as the social sector and developmental sectors. As a result, the nation was pushed backward.

In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s Pakistan’s economy was performing very well – it was one of the most rapidly developing countries in South Asia. Singapore, South Korea, and Malaysia wanted to learn from Pakistan and its development model. The Pakistani passport was well respected in the world, with many countries offering us visas on arrival.

But since December 25, 1979, with the situation in Afghanistan has impacted Pakistan severely. Terrorism reached extreme levels and bombings, suicidal attacks and insecurity were witnessed everywhere.

After a school attack on December 16, 2016, in Peshawar, Pakistan formulated a National Action Plan (NAP). With the implementation of this program, Pakistan has achieved significant improvement in the country’s overall security landscape in recent years.

However, while Pakistan is successfully fighting the terrorists on its soil, it also expects the US, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Afghan forces to do the same in Afghanistan.

Several Peace initiatives are witnessed recently, either it is Doha talks, Moscow Format, Beijing or Islamabad talks, Talban’s are serious and moving forward with a hope to restore peace in Afghanistan permanently. Talban’s are the actual pillar of Power in Afghanistan, who holds major part of the country in their control and enjoys popularity inside Afghanistan. The US administrations has also realized their power and believes talking with them directly. A peaceful and developed Afghanistan is vital for the whole Eurasian region. It will promote trade and economic activities and change the whole pattern of trade around the world. Beneficiary will be not only Afghanistan only, but the whole Eurasian region.

Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Sinologist, ex-Diplomate, Academician, Researcher, Peace-activist, Geo-analyst, Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), Islamabad, Pakistan. E-mail: awanzamir@yahoo.com)

Video: Why Are We Still in Afghanistan?

Global Research, September 13, 201

18 years later, the US and its NATO allies still have troops in Afghanistan with no plans on leaving.

We were told this was about 9/11 and Osama Bin Laden, but these were lies.

So why are the troops still there?

What was the war in Afghanistan really about?

The decision to invade Afghanistan was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks and that Al Qaeda was supported by the Afghan government.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization joins us to explain.

(Interview conducted in 2016)

*

October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan

The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Michel Chossudovsky, September 12, 2019

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We are all hostages of 9/11

Pakistanis raise their weapons in the border town of Bajour as they shout anti-US slogans before leaving for Afghanistan in October 2001. Thousands from this tribal area go to join the Taliban in its ‘holy war’ against the US. Photo: AFP /Tariq Mahmood

September 11, 2019

BWe are all hostages of 9/11y Pepe Escobar – Posted with permission

After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved

Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel).

Back in Peshawar, I learned that something really big was coming: my article was published by Asia Times on August 30. Commander Massoud was killed on September 9: I received a terse email from a Panjshir source, only stating, “the commander has been shot.” Two days later, 9/11 happened.

And yet, the day before, none other than Osama bin Laden, in person, was in a Pakistani hospital in Rawalpindi, receiving treatment, as CBS reported. Bin Laden was proclaimed the perpetrator already at 11am on 9/11 – with no investigation whatsoever. It should have been not exactly hard to locate him in Pakistan and “bring him to justice.”

In December 2001 I was in Tora Bora tracking bin Laden – under B-52 bombers and side by side with Pashtun mujahideen. Later, in 2011, I would revisit the day bin Laden vanished forever.

One year after 9/11, I was back in Afghanistan for an in-depth investigation of the killing of Massoud. By then it was possible to establish a Saudi connection: the letter of introduction for Massoud’s killers, who posed as journalists, was facilitated by commander Sayyaf, a Saudi asset.

Saudi-born alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is seen in a video taken at a secret site in Afghanistan. This was aired by Al-Jazeera on Oct. 7, 2001, the day the US launched bombing of terrorist camps, airbases and air defense installations in its campaign against the Taliban for sheltering bin Laden. Photo: AFP

For three years my life revolved around the Global War on Terror; most of the time I lived literally on the road, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and Brussels. At the start of ‘Shock and Awe’ on Iraq, in March 2003, Asia Times published my in-depth investigation of which neo-cons concocted the war on Iraq.

In 2004, roving across the US, I re-traced the Taliban’s trip to Texas, and how a top priority, since the Clinton years all the way to the neo-cons, was about what I had baptized as “Pipelineistan” – in this case how to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline, bypassing Iran and Russia, and extending US control of Central and South Asia.

Later on, I delved into the hard questions the 9/11 Commission never asked, and how Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign was totally conditioned by and dependent on 9/11.

Michael Ruppert, a CIA whistleblower, who may – or may not – have committed suicide in 2014, was a top 9/11 analyst. We exchanged a lot of information, and always emphasized the same points: Afghanistan was all about (existent) heroin and (non-existent) pipelines.

In 2011, the late, great Bob Parry would debunk more Afghanistan lies. And in 2017, I would detail a top reason why the US will never leave Afghanistan: the heroin rat line.

Now, President Trump may have identified a possible Afghan deal – which the Taliban, who control two-thirds of the country, are bound to refuse, as it allows withdrawal of only 5,000 out of 13,000 US troops. Moreover, the US ‘Deep State’ is absolutely against any deal, as well as India and the rickety government in Kabul.

But Pakistan and China are in favor, especially because Beijing plans to incorporate Kabul into the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and have Afghanistan admitted as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, thus attaching the Hindu Kush and the Khyber Pass to the ongoing Eurasia integration process.

Praying for a Pearl

Eighteen years after the game-changing fact, we all remain hostages of 9/11. US neocons, gathered at the Project for the New American Century, had been praying for a “Pearl Harbor” to reorient US foreign policy since 1997. Their prayers were answered beyond their wildest dreams.

Already in The Grand Chessboard, also published in 1997, former National Security Adviser and Trilateral Commission co-founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, nominally not a neocon, had pointed out that the American public “supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”

So, Brzezinski added, America “may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat.”

As an attack on the homeland, 9/11 generated the Global War on Terror, launched at 11pm on the same day, initially christened “The Long War” by the Pentagon, later sanitized as Overseas Contingency Operations by the Obama administration. This cost trillions of dollars, killed over half a million people and branched out into illegal wars against seven Muslim nations – all justified on “humanitarian grounds” and allegedly supported by the “international community.”

Year after year, 9/11 is essentially a You Have The Right to Accept Only The Official Version ritual ceremony, even as widespread evidence suggests the US government knew 9/11 would happen and did not stop it.

Three days after 9/11, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that in June 2001, German intelligence warned the CIA that Middle East terrorists were “planning to hijack commercial aircraft to use as weapons to attack important symbols of American and Israeli culture.”

In August 2001, President Putin ordered Russian intel to tell the US government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks on airports and government buildings, MSNBC revealed in an interview with Putin that was broadcast on September 15 that year.

No US government agency has released any information on who used foreknowledge of 9/11 in the financial markets. The US Congress did not even raise the issue. In Germany, investigative financial journalist Lars Schall has been working for years on a massive study detailing to a great extent insider trading before 9/11.

While NORAD sleeps

Discrediting the official, immutable 9/11 narrative remains the ultimate taboo. Hundreds of architects and engineers engaged in meticulous technical debunking of all aspects of 9/11’s official story are summarily dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.”

In contrast, skepticism rooted in Greek and Latin tradition came up with arguably the best documentary on 9/11: Zero, an Italian production. Just as arguably the most stimulating book on 9/11 is also Italian: The Myth of September 11, by Roberto Quaglia, which offers a delicately nuanced narrative of 9/11 as a myth structured as a movie. The book became a huge hit in Eastern Europe.

Serious questions suggest quite plausible suspects to be investigated regarding 9/11, far more than 19 Arabs with box cutters. Ten years ago, in Asia Times, I asked 50 questions, some of them extremely detailed, about 9/11. After reader demand and suggestions, I added 20 more. None of these questions were convincingly addressed – not to mention answered – by the official narrative.

World public opinion is directed to believe that on the morning of 9/11 four airliners, presumably hijacked by 19 Arabs with box cutters, traveled undisturbed – for two hours – across the most controlled airspace on the planet, which is supervised by the most devastating military apparatus ever.

American Airlines Flight 11 deviated from its path at 8.13am and crashed into the first World Trade Center tower at 8.57am. Only at 8.46am did NORAD – the North American Aerospace Defense Command – order that two intercepting F-15s take off from Otis military base.

A hijacked commercial plane crashes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 in New York. Photo: AFP / Set McAllister

By a curious coincidence a Pentagon war game was in effect on the morning of 9/11 – so air-controllers’ radars may have registered only ‘ghost signals’ of nonexistent aircraft simulating an air attack. Well, it was much more complicated than that, as demonstrated by professional pilots.

‘Angel was next’

World public opinion is also directed to believe that a Boeing 757 – with a wingspan of 38 meters – managed to penetrate the Pentagon through a six-meter-wide hole and at the height of the first floor. A Boeing 757 with landing gear is 13 meters high. Airliners electronically refuse to crash – so it’s quite a feat to convince one to fly five to 10 meters above the ground, landing gear on, at a lightning speed of 800 kilometers an hour.

According to the official narrative, the Boeing 757 literally pulverized itself. Yet even after pulverization, it managed to perforate six walls of three rings of the Pentagon, leaving a two-meter wide hole in the last wall but only slightly damaging the second and third rings. The official narrative is that the hole was caused by the plane’s nose – still quite hard even after pulverization. Yet the rest of the plane – a mass of 100 tons traveling at 800 kilometers an hour – miraculously stopped at the first ring.

All that happened under the stewardship of one Hani Hanjour, who three weeks before had been judged by his flight instructors to be incapable of piloting a Cessna. Hanjour, nonetheless, managed to accomplish an ultra-fast spiral descent at 270 degrees, aligning at a maximum 10 meters above ground, minutely calibrating the trajectory, and keeping a cruise speed of roughly 800 kilometers an hour.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard Myers, left, and US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld brief reporters at the Pentagon on Oct. 8, 2001 following the US bombing raids on Afghanistan in response to 9/11 attacks. Photo: AFP / Luke Frazza

At 9.37am, Hanjour hit precisely the Pentagon’s budget analysts’ office, where everyone was busy working on the mysterious disappearance of no less than $2.3 trillion that Defense Secretary Donald “Known Unknowns” Rumsfeld, in a press conference the day before, said could not be tracked. So, it’s not only Boeings that get pulverized inside the Pentagon.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that Newtonian physics was suspended as a special bonus for WTC 1 and 2 on 9/11 (not to mention WTC 7, which was not even hit by any plane). The slower WTC tower took 10 seconds to fall 411 meters, starting from immobility. So it fell at 148 kilometers an hour. Considering the initial acceleration time, it was a free fall, not the least impeded by 47 massive, vertical steel beams that composed the tower’s structural heart.

World public opinion is also directed to believe that United Airlines Flight 93 – 150 tons of aircraft with 45 people, 200 seats, luggage, a wingspan of 38 meters – crashed in a field in Pennsylvania and also literally pulverized itself, totally disappearing inside a hole six meters by three meters wide and only two meters deep.

Suddenly, Air Force One was “the only plane in the sky.” Colonel Mark Tillman, who was on board, recalled: “We get this report that there’s a call saying ‘Angel’ was next. No one really knows now where the comment came from – it got mistranslated or garbled amid the White House, the Situation Room, the radio operators. ‘Angel’ was our code name. The fact that they knew about ‘Angel,’ well, you had to be in the inner circle.”

This means that 19 Arabs with box cutters, and most of all their handlers, surely must have been “in the inner circle.” Inevitably, this was never fully investigated.

Already in 1997, Brzezinski had warned,

“it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America.”

In the end, much to the despair of US neocons, all the combined sound and fury of 9/11 and the Global War on Terror/Overseas Contingency Operations, in less than two decades, ended up metastasized into not only a challenger but a Russia-China strategic partnership. This is the real “enemy” – not al-Qaeda, a flimsy figment of the CIA’s imagination, rehabilitated and sanitized as “moderate rebels” in Syria.

 

واشنطن تبحث عن بدائل لداعش وأخواتها من كابول الى بغداد

سبتمبر 4, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

تحاول واشنطن عبثاً تأخير إعلان هزيمتها التاريخية المدوية امام مشروع المقاومة…! وذلك من خلال تبديل أسماء ميليشياتها، بعد توالي الهزائم عليها في أكثر من عاصمة عربية وإسلامية، ظناً منها انّ تبديل الجلد كفيل بإطالة عمرها الاستعماري.

وكما بدأت غزوها الحديث لبلادنا عبر الحرب بالوكالة من أفغانستان ها هي تحاول الهروب المنظم من أفغانستان…

1 ـ يعود تاريخ العمل السري للمخابرات المركزية الأميركية في أفغانستان الى حقبة الوجود العسكري السوفياتي في هذا البلد، خلال عقد الثمانينات من القرن الماضي، حيث كانت سي أي آي هي الجهة التي تقدّم الدعم اللوجستي فيما تقدّم السعودية الدعم المالي للمجموعات الجهاهدية الأفغانية آنذاك. وكان أسامة بن لادن هو المنسّق الرسمي لنشاطات المجموعات الأفغانية التي تقاتل القوات السوفياتية.

2 ـ بدأت وكالة المخابرات المركزية الأميركية، بالتعاون مع الاستخبارات العسكرية الباكستانية وبتمويل سعودي أيضاً. بإنشاء ميليشيا مسلحة جديدة، تحت قيادتها وإدارتها المباشرة، وذلك مع بدء انسحاب القوات السوفياتية من أفغانستان سنة 1989.

تلك الميليشيا التي كانت قد أعدّت مسبقاً، أيّ قبل الانسحاب السوفياتي، في مدارس باكستان الدينية المموّلة من آل سعود، وهي حركة طالبان، التي كانت تدعو لـ الجهاد العالمي مما أدخلها في نزاع مسلح مع المجاهدين الأفغان انتهى باستيلاء حركة طالبان على الحكم في أواسط تسعينيات القرن الماضي.

أيّ انّ الولايات المتحدة، بالتعاون مع آل سعود، قد زرعت بذور الفوضى الشاملة الحروب الأهلية والإرهاب في أفغانستان منذ أواخر ثمانينيات القرن الماضي، خاصة أنها أفشلت محاولة دبلوماسية، قامت بها منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية على سبيل المثال، وهدفت الى إقامة حكومة متفق عليها بين الاتحاد السوفياتي والمجاهدين وملك أفغانستان السابق، الملك محمد ظاهر شاه، ورئيسة الوزراء الباكستانية آنذاك، بنظير بوتو.

فالولايات المتحدة، عبر المخابرات المركزية الأميركية، كانت هي من أفشلت هذا الاتفاق الذي تمّ التوصل إليه بعد اتصالات وجهود مضنية مع الأطراف المعنية وفي ثلاث قارات من قارات العالم.

3 ـ والآن ومع قرب التوصل الى اتفاقية وقف لإطلاق النار، بين الولايات المتحدة وحركة طالبان، تمهّد لانسحاب القوات الأميركية وقوات حلف الناتو من أفغانستان، فإنّ من الضروري الإضاءة على السياسة الميليشياوية، التي تواصل الولايات المتحدة تنفيذها في هذا البلد، من خلال إنشائها لتنظيمات مسلحة جديدة ميليشيات منذ احتلالها لأفغانستان في شهر تشرين الأول 2001.

4 ـ وأشهر هذه التنظيمات وأكثرها قوة وتسليحاً هو تنظيم: قوات حماية خوست Khost Protection Force والتي تدار عبر غرفة عمليات لها في قاعدة المخابرات المركزية الأميركية التي تسمّى: قاعدة شابمان CIA s Camp Chapman والموجودة في مقاطعة خوست الأفغانية، جنوب شرق العاصمه كابل.

علماً انّ إجمالي تعداد هذه الميليشيات، التي تموَّل وتدار بالكامل من قبل المخابرات الأميركية، قد وصل الى ثلاثة عشر ألف رجل منتشرين في معظم أنحاء أفغانستان.

5 ـ أما عن علاقتهم بالاتفاق، المزمع إعلانه قريباً بين الولايات المتحدة وحركة طالبان، فهو طرح موضوعهم، من قبل المفاوض الأميركي سلمان خليل زاد، على طاولة البحث مع طالبان، حيث طلب خليل زاد ضمانات من طالبان لأمنهم بعد انسحاب القوات الأميركية. وهو الأمر الذي ترفضه طالبان، حتى الآن، مما يؤخر الإعلان عن الاتفاق، أملاً من الطرف الأميركي في التوصل الى صيغة ما، تحافظ على عنصر التفجير هذا الميليشيات لاستخدامه مستقبلاً، الى جانب فلول داعش، التي نقلتها طائرات سلاح الجو الأميركي من سورية والعراق ونشرتها على حدود أفغانستان مع إيران وجمهوريات الاتحاد السوفياتي السابقة شمالاً.

6 ـ إذن فالولايات المتحدة الأميركية، وكما يتضح من المشار إليه أعلاه، تقوم بإنشاء تشكيلات مسلحة وزرع بذور الفوضى والحروب قبل ان تنسحب من أيّ مكان. فما يعيق انسحابها من سورية والعراق، هو استكمال تدريب وتسليح القوات العميلة، سواء في شمال شرق سورية أو في مناطق أخرى، والتي يجري تدريبها وإمدادها بالسلاح في قاعدة التنف في سورية وفي قواعد أميركية أخرى في الأردن، كما في قاعدة عين الأسد غرب بغداد وفِي قواعد ميليشيا البرزاني الكردية والتي يشرف على تشغيلها وتحريكها ضباط من الاستخبارات العسكرية الإسرائيلية.

7 ـ وهذا بالضبط هو العامل الذي يحدّد موقف المراوغ الأطلسي، أردوغان، في ما يتعلق بمحافظة إدلب وغيرها من المحافظات السورية المحتلة أميركياً أو تركياً. انه أمر عمليات القيادة المركزية الأميركية للمنطقة الوسطى، ومقرّها قاعدة العيديد في قطر، الذي يقضي بإيجاد الترتيبات الضرورية، للحفاظ على المجموعات المسلحة، في سورية والعراق كقوات احتياط، يمكن للولايات المتحدة وحلف شمال الأطلسي ان يناوروا بها، في الزمان والمكان الذي يقرّرونه مستقبلاً.

وبكلمات أكثر وضوحاً فإنّ ذلك يعني: الحفاظ على هذه العصابات المسلحة، سواءً في العراق، حيث يقوم الجيش الأميركي بهذا الدور، أو في سورية حيث يتشارك الأميركي والتركي تنفيذ مؤامرة إطالة عمر العدوان على سورية، من خلال تغليف ذلك بغلاف ما يطلقون عليه الحلّ السياسي، أو في العراق من خلال ما يسمّونه استكمال محاربة داعش ومواجهة تعاظم النفوذ الإيراني في هذا البلد.

8 ـ أما ما يغيب عن بال المخططين الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين فهو عامل الانقلاب الذي شهدته موازين القوى، في المنطقة والعالم، والتي لم تعد تسمح لهم بفرض إرادتهم وهيمنتهم على الشعوب كما كان الأمر في العقدين الماضيين. الأمر الذي يجعل تكتيكاتهم تلك، ايّ المناورة بالعصابات الإرهابية المسلحة هنا وهناك، عاجزة عن تحقيق أهدافهم، وبالتالي فإنّ عليهم البحث عن استراتيجيات تنطلق من موازين القوى الدولية المستجدة والاعتراف بهزيمة مشاريعهم وفتح مسار جديد في سياساتهم، بالعودة الى الأسس والقوانين الدوليهة، التي يجب ان تحكم علاقات الدول بين بعضها البعض، ما يخلق الأرضية لعلاقات متوازنة بين الدول ولاستقرار سياسي على الصعيد الدولي سيمثل القاعدة الصلبة لمسار اقتصادي اجتماعي دولي يمنع إشعال الحروب ويبعد الأزمات الاقتصادية والمالية عن دول وشعوب العالم أجمع. كلّ هذا شرطه استخدام واشنطن لعقلها وهو ما بات مشكوكاً فيه كثيراً في عهد إدارة ترامب المتخبّطة في استراتيجيتها والغارقة في التيه الإسرائيلي .

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

Trump Warns Again He Could “Kill Millions of Afghans”!

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump has once again warned that American troops could win the Afghan war within days by killing millions across the conflict-ridden country.

Trump made the warning on Friday as he hailed the “progress” made in peace talks between his administration and the Taliban militant group.

“We’ve made a lot of progress. We’re talking,” Trump told reporters at the White House.

He further claimed that US forces, bogged down in the country for nearly two decades, “could win Afghanistan in two days or three days or four days, but I’m not looking to kill 10 million people.”

In a similar comment in July, Trump spoke about 10 million casualties but this time he specified that no nuclear weapons would be involved, saying, “I’m talking conventional.”

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.  While the invasion ended the Taliban’s rule in the country, it has failed to eliminate the militant group. Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] has also emerged in the Asian country more recently.

The US has been attempting to negotiate an alleged peace deal with the Taliban militant group, which now controls or influences about half of Afghanistan’s territory.

The Afghan government is left out of the talks between the Taliban and the US. The Taliban say they don’t recognize the Kabul government and that they will not hold talks with it unless all foreign forces exit the country.

Meanwhile, about 20,000 foreign troops, mostly Americans, are based in Afghanistan.

Washington representatives and those of the Taliban are soon expected to begin their eighth round of talks in the Qatari capital of Doha to reach an agreement on ending the Afghan war, with the US saying it wants to see a deal inked by September 1.

According to a UN report released this week, at least 1,366 civilians were killed and another 2,446 wounded during the first six months of 2019 as a result of the conflict in Afghanistan.

Javed Rana: US Driven by “Might is Right” with Little Morality

Javed Rana: US Driven by “Might is Right” with Little Morality

TEHRAN (FNA)– Javed Rana, journalist and political analyst, says the US policy has been to conduct attacks on only the defenseless countries such as Libya, Iraq, Syria and even Afghanistan; but, it has avoided any military conflicts with nuclear armed states such as India or Pakistan.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with FNA, Javed Rana said Washington always overstates its military capabilities and achievements, saying,

“The US along with 40 other countries invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 to eliminate over 400 fighters of Alqaeda. 18 years down the line, the US is now literally begging Taliban who control 70 percent of the territory to let Pentagon withdraw from Afghanistan with some grace.”

Javed Rana has over two decades of journalistic experience, including a long stint with Al-Jazeera. He was the witness to countless monumental developments taking place in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East. He focuses on non-state armed actors, legal, political and geostrategic issues.

Below is the full text of the interview:

Q: Pakistan and India both are armed with nuclear weapons. Why has the US never confronted India and Pakistan?

A: The US needed Pakistan of 210 million people badly in 1980s to fight its cold war against the then communist Soviet Union which had occupied Afghanistan. Washington was pumping money and providing all kind of political support to Pakistan to help it to recruit jihadists to fight against the Soviets. Islamabad discreetly used this opportunity to complete its nuclear program in mid 1980s amid US suspicion. However, the US could not have pressurized Pakistan to a tipping point to cap its nuclear program. After the dismemberment of the USSR, the US did not take much time to place Pakistan under economic sanctions and withheld military hardware given its secret nature of nuclear program in early 1990s. In August 1998 Pakistan conducted seven nuclear tests in retaliation to similar tests by India. Again Islamabad came under heavy US economic sanctions. So did it happen with India. The geo-strategic situation changed after 9/11 attacks in the US and Washington lifted its all previous sanctions on Pakistan to help it overthrow Taliban government in Afghanistan. In 2008 the US opted Pakistan’s arch rival India to be its long term geo-strategic partner and decided to retain its bilateral relations with Pakistan on tactical basis to help it end 18 years long war in neighboring Afghanistan given Islamabad’s alleged support for the Taliban.

Pakistan remains de facto nuclear state but the US is short of conceding to grant the dejure status to India as a nuclear state after Washington signed commercial deal to provide New Delhi nuclear technology and later used its diplomatic leverage on nuclear watch dog – International Atomic Energy Agency – to have this agreement approved amid objections from Pakistan who wanted to be treated equally. The US opted to provide virtual dejure support to India to counterbalance rising China which has close military and economic cooperation with Pakistan.

Q: The US claims to be the world’s police in dealing with nuclear proliferation. How do you see its conflicting approaches in dealing with different countries?

A: The ancient principal “the might is right” is still in place; but, it has transformed into different shapes. The global geo-strategic politics is largely driven by hard facts and less by the moral principles which mostly end up of being consumed to propagate the stances of powerful western capitals. The US is bombing the countries which did not have or could have potentially nuclear weapons. Pentagon bombed Libya, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan because they did not have nuclear weapons. Iran is next target simply because it doesn’t have nuclear warheads. The US opted not to bomb Pakistan only because it has the third large stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world with the ability to nuke all American strategic installations in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. So is the case with North Korea. In case of Iran, the US is trying to choke it economically to pressurize Tehran to renegotiate 2015 nuclear deal, The US suspects that Iranian nuclear program could be used for military purposes after 2025 when the sunset clause of 2015 nuclear deal expires which may potentially allow Iran to increase enrichment of uranium to weapon grade.

Q: Do you believe such US policies will make this region safer?

A: The US along with 40 other countries invaded Afghanistan in November 2001 to eliminate over 400 fighters of Alqaeda. 18 years down the line, the US is now literally begging Taliban who control 70 percent of the territory to let Pentagon withdraw from Afghanistan with some grace. And now there is mushroom growth of militant groups across the region from Afghanistan to Middle East. Similarly if the US bombs Iran, there would be more terrorism and unrest in the region. While the US would create conditions that in case of war, Iran attacks Saudi Arabia who would give it a religious color to seek support from other Muslim countries. This could potentially trigger a sectarian conflict where Sunni-Shia could target each other elsewhere in the world.

How to kill 10 million Afghans and not win

July 24, 2019

by Pepe Escobar : Posted with permission

Afghan security officials inspect the scene of a bomb blast near the University of Afghanistan in Kabul, Afghanistan on July 19. At least 8 people were reported killed and 33 others injured. Two vehicles caught fire following the explosion. Photo: AFP / Haroon Sabawoon / Anadolu Agency
How to kill 10 million Afghans and not win

“We’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war. If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. But I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.”

Even considering the rolling annals of demented Trumpism, bolstered every single day by a torrent of outrageous tweets and quotes, what you’ve just read is simply astonishing. Here we have the President of the United States asserting that,

1) The US is not fighting a war in Afghanistan;

2) If the US wanted a war, the President would win it in a week;

3) He would kill 10 million people – although he doesn’t want it;

4) “Afghanistan” as a whole, for no meaningful reason, could be wiped off the face of the Earth.

Trump said all of the above while sitting alongside Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan – who, in a deft move, is trying to appease the White House even as he carefully positions Pakistan as a solid node of Eurasia integration alongside Russia, China and Iran.

When Trump says the US is not fighting a war in Afghanistan, he’s on to something, although it’s doubtful that Team Trump have told the boss that the real game in town, from the beginning, is the CIA heroin rat line.

It’s also doubtful Trump would ask for input from his hated predecessor Barack Obama. Obama may not have killed 10 million people, but the forces under his command did kill scores of Afghans, including countless civilians. And still Obama did not “win” – much less “in a week.”

Barack Obama did entertain the notion of “winning” the war in Afghanistan. After deliberating in solitary confinement for 11 hours, as legend goes, he “methodically” settled for a two-step surge, 21,000 troops plus 30,000. Obama believed the war on Afghanistan was a noble crusade and during his presidential campaign in 2008 always defined it as “the right war.”

Obama defended his surge on humanitarian imperialist grounds: “For the Afghan people, the return of Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people, especially women and girls.” The New York Times and the Washington Post applauded.

But, Kabul, we have a problem. Afghanistan, bombed and invaded under the Cheney regime, was never a “right” or “just” war. There was never any established Taliban connection to 9/11. Plotting and financing for 9/11 involved Saudis and cells in Germany, Pakistan and the UAE. Mullah Omar never dispatched any “terra-rists” on one-way tickets to America.

Nevertheless, the Taliban leadership in Kandahar did agree to a deal – brokered by Moscow – to surrender Osama bin Laden, who, without even the hint of an investigation, was proclaimed the evil 9/11 culprit only a few hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers. The Cheney regime rejected the Taliban offer, as well as a subsequent one, to hand over Osama to a Muslim nation for trial. The Cheney regime only wanted an extradition to the US.

The SCO steps in

With puppet Hamid Karzai barely reigning in Kabul, and the neocons already focused on their real target, Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan was handed over to NATO. This had already been decided even before 9/11, at the G8 in Genoa in July, when it became clear Washington had a plan to strike Afghanistan by October. The Cheney regime badly needed a beachhead in the intersection of Central Asia and South Asia not only to monitor Russia and China but also to coordinate a drive to take over Central Asia’s massive gas wealth.

Notoriously fickle history in the Hindu Kush ruled otherwise. Incrementally, the Taliban started to get their mojo back throughout the 2010s, to the point that now they control as much as half of the country.

Even that fountain of vanity General David Petraeus – who had crafted the (failed) Iraq surge – always knew the Afghan war was un-winnable. Disgraced General Stanley McChrystal at least was more surgical: “We’ve shot an amazing number of people and killed a number, and to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat.”

Still, certified fun and games were assured by stuff such as Lockheed Martin’s high mobility artillery rocket system laying waste to Pashtun villages and devastating wedding ceremonies. Pentagon propaganda about “low collateral damage” never disguised the absence of real, actionable intel on the ground.

Seymour Hersh argued that Obama’s version of the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011 was an elaborate work of fiction – subsequently duly enshrined by Hollywood. One year later, Obama’s surge still had 88,000 soldiers in Afghanistan plus nearly 118,000 contractors. The surge then died a slow, ignominious death.

Anyone remotely familiar with the fractious geopolitics at the intersection of Central and South Asia knows that, for the US military-industrial-security complex, to withdraw from Afghanistan is anathema. Trump may be emitting some noise – but that’s just noise. Bagram air base is an invaluable asset in the Empire of Bases to monitor the evolving Russia-China strategic partnership.

The only feasible solution for Afghanistan is a pan-Eurasia mechanism being advanced by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with Russia and China at the helm, India and Pakistan as full members and Iran and Afghanistan as observers. Afghanistan will then be fully integrated as a node of the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative, as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor as well as the Indian mini-Silk Road through Afghanistan towards Central Asia starting from the Iranian port of Chabahar.

This is what all major Eurasia players want. This is how you “win” a war. And this is how you don’t need to kill 10 million people.

Afghan Government Seeks Clarification of Trump’s ’Wiping Out Afghanistan’ Remarks

By Staff, Agencies

The Afghan government called on Tuesday for clarification of US President Donald Trump’s remarks that he could win the Afghan war in just 10 days by “wiping out Afghanistan from the face of the earth”, the presidential palace in Kabul said.

Trump’s remarks followed a meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the White House on Monday.

He voiced optimism that Pakistan could help broker a political settlement to end the nearly 18-year-old war in Afghanistan.

“The Afghan nation has not and will never allow any foreign power to determine its fate,” Kabul presidential palace said in a statement.

Trump Says He “Could Win Afghanistan War in 10 Days”

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump is seeking help from Pakistan to extricate Washington from the war in Afghanistan, saying that he could “win” that war in a week if he wanted to kill millions and wipe off the country.

“I could win that war in a week,” Trump claimed on Monday, as he met with Pakistani PM Imran Khan at the White House. “Afghanistan would be wiped off the face of the earth… literally in 10 days.”

“I don’t want to go that route,” Trump added. “I don’t want to kill 10 million people.”

Instead, Trump claimed that Pakistan will help “extricate” the US from the long war in Afghanistan the previous administrations have got entangled in.

“We’ve been there for 19 years, and we’ve acted as policemen, not soldiers,” Trump said, adding he has been withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan solution.”

“This is the closest we’ve been to a peace deal,” Khan added, hoping that in the coming weeks the Afghan government would agree to direct talks with the Taliban.

Meanwhile, US peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has been holding talks with the Taliban for months, reaching an “agreement on principle” in January on withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, but with many issues still left unresolved.

“It’s clear all sides want to end the war,” Khalilzad said at the time.

Related News

16 hours ago

America’s Latest Mideast Crisis May Have No Escape

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN • 

In October 1950, as U.S. forces were reeling from hordes of Chinese troops who had intervened massively in the Korean War, a 5,000-man Turkish brigade arrived to halt an onslaught by six Chinese divisions.

Said supreme commander General Douglas MacArthur:

“The Turks are the hero of heroes. There is no impossibility for the Turkish Brigade.”

President Harry Truman awarded the brigade a Presidential Unit Citation.

In 1951, Turkey ended a neutrality dating back to the end of World War I and joined NATO. In the seven decades since, there has been no graver crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations than the one that erupted this week.

Turkey has just received the first components of a Russian S-400 air and missile defense system, despite U.S. warnings that this would require the cancelation of Turkey’s purchase of 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

“The F-35 cannot coexist with a Russian intelligence collection platform that will be used to learn about its advanced capabilities,” said the White House.

The sale has been canceled. The Turkish pilots and instructors training in the U.S. are being sent home. Contracts with Turkish companies producing parts for the F-35 are being terminated. Under U.S. law, the administration is also required to impose sanctions on Turkey for buying Russian weaponry.

Wednesday, the Pentagon warned Turkey against military action in an area of Syria where U.S. troops are deployed. The Turks appear to be massing for an incursion against American-backed Syrian Kurdish forces that Ankara regards as terrorist allies of the Kurdish PKK inside Turkey.How America and Turkey avoid a collision that could wreck NATO, when the Turks field the second-largest army in the alliance, is not easy to see.

U.S. hawks are already calling for the expulsion of Turkey from NATO. And the withdrawal of American forces and nuclear weapons from the Incirlik air base in Turkey in retaliation is not out of the question.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sounds defiant:

“We have begun to receive our S-400s. …God willing, they will have been installed in their sites by April 2020. …The S-400s are the strongest defense system against those who want to attack our country. Now the aim is joint production with Russia. We will do that.”

While potentially the most crucial of recent developments in the Middle East, the U.S.-Turkish situation is not the only one.

The United Arab Emirates is pulling its forces out of Yemen as Congress seeks to restrict U.S. support for Saudi forces fighting Houthi rebels there and to sanction Riyadh for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

If the UAE pulls out, and the U.S. cuts its military aid, the Saudis cannot prevail in a war they have been unable to win with our help after four years of fighting. And if the Houthis win, the Saudis and Sunni Arabs lose, and Iran wins.

This week, to strengthen the U.S. presence for any confrontation with Iran, President Donald Trump is sending 500 additional American troops to Saudi Arabia.

While the U.S. and Iran have thus far avoided a military or naval clash that could ignite a major war, the “maximum pressure” sanctions Trump has imposed are choking Iran’s economy to death. How this ends in a negotiated resolution and not a shooting war remains difficult to see.

In Doha, Qatar, the U.S. is negotiating with the Taliban over the conditions for a withdrawal of the 14,000 American troops still in Afghanistan. And with the Taliban controlling more of the countryside than they have since being ousted from power in 2001, and conducting regular suicide bombings in Afghan cities and towns, it is hard to see how this Kabul regime and its army prevail in a civil war when we are gone, when they could not while we were there.

In this new century, leaders of both parties have plunged our country into at least five wars in the Middle and Near East.

In 2001, after ousting the Taliban and driving al-Qaeda out, we decided to use our power and ideas to build a new democratic Afghanistan. In 2003, we invaded and occupied Iraq to create a pro-Western bastion in the heart of the Middle East.

In 2011, Barack Obama ordered U.S. planes to attack Colonel Gaddafi’s forces in Libya. We brought him down. Obama then backed Syrian rebels to overthrow the dictator Bashar al-Assad. In 2015, U.S. forces supported a Saudi war to roll back the Houthi rebels’ victory in Yemen’s civil war.

None of these conflicts has produced a victory or success for us.

But taken together, they did produce a multitrillion-dollar strategic and human rights disaster. Meanwhile, China gained much from having its great rival, the world’s last superpower, thrashing about ineffectually in the forever wars of the Middle East.

“Great nations do not fight endless wars,” said Trump.

Yes, they do. As the British, French, Germans, Japanese, and Russians have shown during the last century, that is how they cease to be great nations.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at http://www.creators.com.

Related

 

The CSTO members build a defensive system – from information and politic to logistics and equipment

The CSTO members build a defensive system – from information and politic to logistics and equipment

http://redstar.ru/eshelony-kollektivnoj-oborony/

Alexander ALEXANDROV for the Red star newspaper

Translation by Scott Humor

 

The upcoming joint operational-strategic exercises of the Joined forces of the Collective Security Treaty organization called “Combat brotherhood – 2019” are intended to demonstrate the unity of the states parties in matters of collective security. During the maneuvers that will unfold on territories of four member states, political and diplomatic tools, combat potential, as well as mechanisms of information and other non-military impact for prevention and settlement of military conflicts in the zone of responsibility of the organization will be tested.

This, in particular, was discussed at a press conference held in Moscow by acting Secretary General of the organization Valery Semerikov via the satellite connection with locations in Minsk, Yerevan, Nur Sultan and Bishkek. However, the administrative head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization began the conference discussing threats of predominantly collective nature.

According to the CSTO Secretary General, the situation in Afghanistan, primarily on the Tajik – Afghan border, and its impact on the region of Central Asia is the focus of attention of the organization’s member states. “Tensions remain in the Caucus region due to an unresolved Karabakh conflict, tensions are also rising due to NATO’s military development on the territory of Georgia,” Valery Semerikov continued.

He also expressed collective concerns about NATO’s regular exercises in Eastern Europe, at the borders with Belarus and Russia. The Alliance’s obvious unwillingness to work with the colleagues from the CSTO, and instead – NATO insistence to cooperate with each of the member states separately, only confirms the conclusions of the Russia’s Security Council about a possible preparation by NATO to stage so-called color revolutions. This was confirmed by attempts of cyber attacks on the national infrastructure of the organization.

To respond to these threats, as the acting Secretary General made it clear, is a responsibility of the Crisis Response Center, whose tasks include information and analytical support of competent structures to combat the “hidden threats” “The CSTO crisis response center is engaged in monitoring military and political situation in the zones of responsibility of the states, identifying the prerequisites for crisis situations and analyzing the appropriate response,” Valery Semerikov explained.

The focus of the organization’s member states is on the situation in Afghanistan, primarily on the Tajik-Afghan border, and its impact on the Central Asian region.

The center was involved in a recent business game, in which a set of political and diplomatic response measures of the organization’s members were worked out in response to the crisis situation in some fictional state. In development, it gave a start to preparation for the operational and strategic exercises of the CSTO Joined forces named the “Combat brotherhood – 2019”.

“In 2019, we will hold six exercises on the territory of four countries: Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, – Valery Semerikov said, answering journalists’ questions. – The total number of forces involved, according to our calculations, will be about 12 thousand”.

During these operational and strategic exercises of the CSTO Joined forces “Combat brotherhood – 2019,” as reported, an entire complex of measures of prevention or deterrent, as well as resolution of military conflict with the subsequent restoration of peace will be worked out in a logical sequence. National contingents of troops will work out different tasks as parts of separate episodes of one untied work-frame of a single military-political situation with a single strategic plan.

For example, the training of anti-drug units of the CSTO “Thunder-2019” in August will take place in Kyrgyzstan. The actions of the intelligence units within the framework of the “Search-2019” will continue with “Interaction-2019” drill of the Joined Rapid Response forces. It is also envisaged that maneuvers of the “Unbreakable Brotherhood” of peacekeeping forces will be held in conjunction with the exercise “Rubezh-2019” of the border guards on the territory of Tajikistan.

All actions of the coalition groups in the East European and Central Asian regions of collective security will be accompanied by deployment of troops within the framework of the exercise of the collective aviation forces “Air Bridge – 2019” and for the first time with a single material and technical support in a course of joint actions of the MTO logistics troops units “Echelon-2019”.

Memo to Trump: Trade Bolton for Tulsi

 

 • JUNE 28, 2019

“For too long our leaders have failed us, taking us into one regime change war after the next, leading us into a new Cold War and arms race, costing us trillions of our hard-earned tax payer dollars and countless lives. This insanity must end.”Donald Trump, circa 2016?Nope. That denunciation of John Bolton interventionism came from Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii during Wednesday night’s Democratic debate. At 38, she was the youngest candidate on stage.
Gabbard proceeded to rip both the “president and his chickenhawk cabinet (who) have led us to the brink of war with Iran.”In a fiery exchange, Congressman Tim Ryan of Ohio countered that America cannot disengage from Afghanistan: “When we weren’t in there they started flying planes into our buildings.”“The Taliban didn’t attack us on 9/11,” Gabbard replied, “Al-Qaida attacked us on 9/11. That’s why I and so many other people joined the military, to go after al-Qaida, not the Taliban.”When Ryan insisted we must stay engaged, Gabbard shot back:“Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? ‘Well, we just have to be engaged.’ As a solider, I will tell you, that answer is unacceptable. … We are no better off in Afghanistan that we were when this war began.”
By debate’s end, Gabbard was the runaway winner in both the Drudge Report and Washington Examiner polls and was far in front among all the Democratic candidates whose names were being searched on Google.Though given less than seven minutes of speaking time in a two-hour debate, she could not have used that time more effectively. And her performance may shake up the Democratic race.
If she can rise a few points above her 1-2% in the polls, she could be assured a spot in the second round of debates.If she is, moderators will now go to her with questions of foreign policy issues that would not have been raised without her presence, and these questions will expose the hidden divisions in the Democratic Party. Leading Democratic candidates could be asked to declare what U.S. policy should be — not only toward Afghanistan but Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Jared Kushner’s “Deal of the Century,” and Trump’s seeming rejection of the two-state solution.
If she makes it into the second round, Gabbard could become the catalyst for the kind of globalist vs. nationalist debate that broke out between Trump and Bush Republicans in 2016, a debate that contributed to Trump’s victory at the Cleveland convention and in November.The problem Gabbard presents for Democrats is that, as was shown in the joust with Ryan, she takes positions that split her party, while her rivals prefer to talk about what unites the party, like the terribleness of Trump, free college tuition and soaking the rich.Given more airtime, she will present problems for the GOP as well.

For the foreign policy Tulsi Gabbard is calling for is not far off from the foreign policy Donald Trump promised in 2016 but has since failed to deliver.

We still have 2,000 troops in Syria, 5,000 in Iraq, 14,000 in Afghanistan. We just moved an aircraft carrier task force, B-52s and 1,000 troops to the Persian Gulf to confront Iran. We are about to impose sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister with whom we would need to negotiate to avoid a war.Jared Kushner is talking up a U.S.-led consortium to raise $50 billion for the Palestinians in return for their forfeiture of sovereignty and an end to their dream of a nation-state on the West Bank and Gaza with Jerusalem as its capital.

John Bolton is talking of regime change in Caracas and confronting the “troika of tyranny” in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Rather than engaging Russia as Trump promised, we have been sanctioning Russia, arming Ukraine, sending warships into the Black Sea, beefing up NATO in the Baltic and trashing arms control treaties Ronald Reagan and other presidents negotiated in the Cold War U.S. policy has managed to push our great adversaries, Russia and China, together as they have not been since the first Stalin-Mao decade of the Cold War.
This June, Vladimir Putin traveled to Beijing where he and Xi Jinping met in the Great Hall of the People to warn that in this time of “growing global instability and uncertainty,” Russia and China will “deepen their consultations on strategic stability issues.”Xi presented Putin with China’s new Friendship Medal. Putin responded: “Cooperation with China is one of Russia’s top priorities and it has reached an unprecedented level.”At the end of the Cold War, we were the lone superpower. Who forfeited our preeminence? Who bled us of 7,000 U.S. lives and $6 trillion in endless Middle East wars? Who got us into this Cold War II?Was all this the doing of those damnable isolationists again?Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.”Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War

Part I

July 3, 2019 marks the 40th anniversary of when the United States’ first military assault against Afghanistan with the CIA-backed Mujahideen began. It would be a mistake to treat the present-day conflict as being separate from the U.S. intervention that began in 1979 against the then-government of the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan. Afghanistan was not always known as the chaotic, ‘failed state’ overrun by warlords as it is now; this phenomenon is a product of that U.S.-led regime change operation. The article below, originally published on March 30, 2019, summarizes and analyzes the events that transpired during and after the Cold War years as they relate to this often misunderstood, if not overlooked, aspect of the long war against Afghanistan. 

When it comes to war-torn Afghanistan and the role played by the United States and its NATO allies, what comes first to mind for most is the ‘War on Terror’ campaign launched in 2001 by George W. Bush almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks. And understandably so, considering that the United States and its allies established a direct “boots-on-the-ground” military presence in the country that year. Not only that, but during the Bush-Cheney years, there was an aggressive propaganda campaign being played out across U.S. media outlets which used women’s rights as one of the pretexts for the continued occupation. The irony of this, however, is not lost on those who understand that the conflict in Afghanistan has a long history which, much like Syria, stretches as far back as the Cold War era — especially when it was the United States that provided support for the Mujahideen in destabilizing the country and stripping away the modernizing, progressive economic and social gains, including Afghan women’s emancipation, which the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had fought for. With the overthrow of the independent Soviet-aligned PDPA government, the Taliban emerged as a powerful faction of the Mujahideen; the U.S. would develop a working relationship with the Taliban in 1995. The war was never truly about women’s rights or other humanitarian concerns, as Stephen Gowans explains:

“Further evidence of Washington’s supreme indifference to the rights of women abroad is evidenced by the role it played in undermining a progressive government in Afghanistan that sought to release women from the grip of traditional Islamic anti-women practices. In the 1980s, Kabul was “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs.” There were female members of parliament, and women drove cars, and travelled and went on dates, without needing to ask a male guardian for permission. That this is no longer true is largely due to a secret decision made in the summer of 1979 by then US president Jimmy Carter and his national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski to draw “the Russians into the Afghan trap” and give “to the USSR its Vietnam War” by bankrolling and organizing Islamic fundamentalist terrorists to fight a new government in Kabul led by the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The goal of the PDPA was to liberate Afghanistan from its backwardness. In the 1970s, only 12 percent of adults were literate. Life expectancy was 42 years and infant mortality the highest in the world. Half the population suffered from TB and one-quarter from malaria.”

Moreover, and contrary to the commonly held belief that the conflict in Afghanistan started in 2001, it would be more accurate to say that the war started in 1979. As a matter of fact, the Carter Administration’s 1979 decision to overthrow the PDPA and destabilize Afghanistan is at the root of why the country is in the state that it continues to be in today.

Afghan women during the PDPA era vs. Afghan women today.

The Cold War – a new phase in the age of imperialism

The Democratic Republic of Afghanistan’s military welcome their Soviet counterparts

The 1979 to 1989 period of the Mujahideen onslaught is often referred to as the ‘Soviet-Afghan War’ because of the Soviet army’s heavy involvement. Although it is true that they were heavily involved, it is not an entirely accurate descriptor because it completely ignores the fact that it was a war that was actually crafted, instigated, and led by the United States. In what was also known then as the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, the years from 1978 to 1992 are inextricably linked with Soviet history — but not because it was a Soviet “invasion” of Afghanistan and that the West had to intervene to stop it, as U.S. imperialist propaganda would have us believe. The Carter administration had already begun the planning, recruitment, and training for the Mujahideen in 1978 and had launched the attack on Afghanistan months before the Soviet army militarily intervened near the end of 1979. Also, the “Afghan trap” alone did not cause the dismantling of the Soviet Union; however, it was related. But more on that when we look at the Gorbachev years. Nevertheless, the destruction of Afghanistan was declared as a final blow to the Soviet Union, and the Soviet Union’s 1991 dissolution was celebrated as “the victory of capitalism over communism” by the United States. To begin to understand the conflict in Afghanistan, it is important to examine the context in which it began: the Cold War.

In the early 1900s, Vladimir Lenin observed that capitalism had entered into its globalist phase and that the age of imperialism had begun; this means that capitalism must expand beyond national borders, and that there is an internal logic to Empire-building and imperialist wars of aggression. Lenin defines imperialism as such:

“the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life; (2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy; (3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance; (4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and (5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed. Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.”

It should be clear that imperialism is not just merely the imposition of a country’s will on the rest of the world (although that is certainly a part of it). More precisely: it is a result of capital accumulation and is a process of empire-building and maintenance, which comes with holding back development worldwide and keeping the global masses impoverished; it is the international exercise of domination guided by economic interests. Thus, imperialism is less of a cultural phenomenon, and more so an economic one.

Lenin also theorized that imperialism and the cycle of World Wars were the products of competing national capitals between the advanced nations. As he wrote in Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, World War I was about the competition between major imperialist powers — such as the competing capitals of Great Britain and Germany — over the control of and the split of plunder from colonies. Thus, finance capital was the driving force behind the exploitation and colonization of the oppressed nations; these antagonisms would eventually lead to a series of world wars as Lenin had predicted. During the First World War, the goals of the two imperial blocs of power were the acquisition, preservation, and expansion of territories considered to be strategic points and of great importance to their national economies. And during the Great Depression, protectionist measures were taken up by Britain, the United States, and France to restrict the emerging industrial nations — Germany, Italy, and Japan, also known as the Axis states — from access to more colonies and territories, thereby restricting them from access to raw materials and markets in the lead up to World War II. In particular, the two advanced capitalist industrialized powers of Germany and Japan, in their efforts to conquer new territory, threatened the economic space of Britain, the U.S., and France and threatened to take their territories, colonies, and semi-colonies by force — with Germany launching a series of aggressions in most of Europe, and Japan in Asia. WWII was, in many ways, a re-ignition of the inter-imperialist rivalry between the Anglo-French bloc and the German bloc, but with modern artillery and the significant use of aerial assaults. It was also a period of the second stage of the crisis of capitalism which saw the rise of Fascism as a reaction to Communism, with the Axis states threatening to establish a world-dominating fascist regime. For the time being, WWII would be the last we would see of world wars.

At the end of WWII, two rival global powers emerged: the United States and the Soviet Union; the Cold War was a manifestation of their ideological conflict. The Cold War era was a new phase for international capital as it saw the advent of nuclear weapons and the beginning stages of proxy warfare. It was a time when the imperialist nations, regardless of which side they were on during WWII, found a common interest in stopping the spread of Communism and seeking the destruction of the Soviet Union. By extension, these anti-communist attacks would be aimed at the Soviet-allied nations as well. This would increase the number of client states with puppet governments acting in accordance with U.S. interests who would join the NATO bloc with the ultimate aim of isolating the Soviet Union. It should also be noted that the end of WWII marked the end of competing national capitals such that now, financial capital exists globally and can move instantaneously, with Washington being the world dominating force that holds a monopoly over the global markets. Those countries who have actively resisted against the U.S. Empire and have not accepted U.S. capital into their countries are threatened with sanctions and military intervention — such as the independent sovereign nations of Syria and North Korea who are, to this day, still challenging U.S. hegemony. Afghanistan under the PDPA was one such country which stood up to U.S. imperialism and thus became a target for regime change.

In addition to implementing land reforms, women’s rights, and egalitarian and collectivist economic policies, the PDPA sought to put an end to opium poppy cultivation. The British Empire planted the first opium poppy fields in Afghanistan during the 1800s when the country was still under the feudal landholding system; up until the king was deposed in 1973, the opium trade was a lucrative business and the Afghan poppy fields produced more than 70 percent of opium needed for the world’s heroin supply. These reforms in 1978 would eventually attract opposition from the United States, which had already embarked on its anti-communist crusade, providing backing to reactionary forces dedicated to fighting against various post-colonial progressive governments, many of which were a part of the ‘Soviet Bloc’ — such as the right-wing Contras in Nicaragua who mounted violent opposition to the Sandinista government. Despite having gained independence on its own merits, Afghanistan under the PDPA — much like other Soviet-allied, postcolonial successes such as Cuba, Nicaragua, Syria, Libya, and North Korea — was seen as a “Soviet satellite” that needed to be brought back under colonial domination, and whose commodities needed to be put under the exclusive control and possession of the United States. Not only that, but it was considered a strategic point of interest that could be used to enclose upon the Soviet Union.

In order to undermine the then-newly formed and popular PDPA government, the Carter administration and the CIA began the imperialist intervention by providing training, financial support, and weapons to Sunni extremists (the Mujahideen) who started committing acts of terrorism against schools and teachers in rural areas. With the assistance of the Saudi and Pakistani militaries, the CIA gathered together ousted feudal landlords, reactionary tribal chiefs, sectarian Sunni clerics, and cartel drug lords to form a coalition to destabilize Afghanistan. On September 1979, Noor Mohammed Taraki — the first PDPA leader and President of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan — was assassinated during the events of the CIA-backed coup, which was quickly stopped by the Afghan army. However, by late 1979, the PDPA was becoming overwhelmed by the large-scale military intervention by U.S. proxy forces — a combination of foreign mercenaries and Afghan Ancien Régime-sympathizers — and so they decided to make a request to the USSR to deploy a contingent of troops for assistance. The Soviet intervention provided some much-needed relief for the PDPA forces — if only for the next ten years, for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia “upped the ante” by pouring about $40 billion into the war and recruiting and arming around 100,000 more foreign mercenaries. In 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev would call on the Soviet troops to be withdrawn, and the PDPA was eventually defeated with the fall of Kabul in April 1992. Chaos ensued as the Mujahideen fell into infighting with the formation of rival factions competing for territorial space and also wreaking havoc across cities, looting, terrorizing civilians, hosting mass executions in football stadiums, ethnically-cleansing non-Pashtun minorities, and committing mass rapes against Afghan women and girls. Soon afterwards in 1995, one of the warring factions, the Taliban, consolidated power with backing from the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. On September 28, 1996 the last PDPA Presidential leader, Mohammad Najibullah, was abducted from his local UN compound (where he had been granted sanctuary), tortured, and brutally murdered by Taliban soldiers; they strung his mutilated body from a light pole for public display.

A renewed opium trade, and the economic roots of Empire-building

U.S. troops guarding an opium poppy field in Afghanistan.

After the fall of Kabul in 1992, but some time before the Taliban came to power, the reactionary tribal chiefs had taken over the Afghan countryside and ordered farmers to begin planting opium poppy, which had been outlawed by the Taraki government. Prior to that, the Pakistani ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence agency) set up hundreds of heroin laboratories at the behest of the CIA so that by 1981, the Pakistani-Afghan border became the largest producer of heroin in the world. Alfred McCoy confirms in his study, “Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade”:

“Once the heroin left these labs in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, the Sicilian Mafia imported the drugs into the U.S., where they soon captured sixty percent of the U.S. heroin market. That is to say, sixty percent of the U.S. heroin supply came indirectly from a CIA operation. During the decade of this operation, the 1980s, the substantial DEA contingent in Islamabad made no arrests and participated in no seizures, allowing the syndicates a de facto free hand to export heroin.”

It is apparent that by putting an end to the cultivation of opium poppy, in addition to using the country’s resources to modernize and uplift its own population, the independent nationalist government of the PDPA was seen as a threat to U.S. interests that needed to be eliminated. A major objective of the U.S.-led Mujahideen — or any kind of U.S. military-led action for that matter — against Afghanistan had always been to restore and secure the opium trade. After all, it was during the 1970s that drug trafficking served as the CIA’s primary source of funding for paramilitary forces against anti-imperialist governments and liberation movements in the Global South, in addition to protecting U.S. assets abroad. Also, the CIA’s international drug trafficking ties go as far back as 1949, which is the year when Washington’s long war on the Korean Peninsula began. The move by the PDPA to eradicate opium-poppy harvesting and put an end to the exploitation brought about by the drug cartels was seen as “going too far” by U.S. imperialists. A significantly large loss in opium production would mean a huge loss in profits for Wall Street and major international banks, which have a vested interest in the drug trade. In fact, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that money-laundering made up 2-5% of the world economy’s GDP and that a large percentage of the annual money-laundering, which was worth 590 billion to 1.5 trillion dollars, had direct links to the drug trade. The profits generated from the drug trade are often placed in American-British-controlled offshore banks.

The rationale behind the PDPA’s campaign to eradicate the opium poppy harvest was based not only on practical health reasons, but also on the role played by narcotics in the history of colonialism in Asia. Historically, cartel drug lords enabled imperialist nations, served bourgeois interests, and used cheap exploited slave labour. Oftentimes, the peasants who toiled in these poppy fields would find themselves becoming addicted to heroin in addition to being, quite literally, worked to death. Cartels are understood to be monopolistic alliances in which partners agree on the conditions of sale and terms of payment and divide the markets amongst themselves by fixing the prices and the quantity of goods to be produced. Now, concerning the role of cartels in ‘late-stage capitalism’, Lenin wrote:

“Monopolist capitalist associations, cartels, syndicates and trusts first divided the home market among themselves and obtained more or less complete possession of the industry of their own country. But under capitalism the home market is inevitably bound up with the foreign market. Capitalism long ago created a world market. As the export of capital increased, and as the foreign and colonial connections and “spheres of influence” of the big monopolist associations expanded in all ways, things “naturally” gravitated towards an international agreement among these associations, and towards the formation of international cartels.

This is a new stage of world concentration of capital and production, incomparably higher than the preceding stages.”

International cartels, especially drug cartels, are symptoms of how capital has expanded globally and has adapted to create a global wealth divide based on the territorial division of the world, the scramble for colonies, and “the struggle for spheres of influence.” More specifically, international cartels serve as stewards for the imperialist nations in the plundering of the oppressed or colonized nations. Hence the mass campaigns to help end addictions and to crack down on drug traffickers which were not only implemented in Afghanistan under the PDPA, but in Revolutionary China in 1949 and by other anti-imperialist movements as well. Of course, the opium traffickers and their organized crime associates in Afghanistan saw the campaign against opium poppy cultivation, among other progressive reforms, as an affront; this made them ideal recruits for the Mujahideen.

But why the “breakdown” in the relationship between the U.S. and the Taliban from the early 2000s and onwards? Keep in mind that, again, the members of the Taliban were amongst the various factions that made up the Mujahideen whose partnership with the United States extends as far back as the late 1970s; and it was clear that the U.S. was aware that it was working with Islamic fundamentalists. The human rights abuses committed by the Taliban while in power were well-documented before their relations with the U.S. soured by the year 2000. What made these relations turn sour was the fact that the Taliban had decided to drastically reduce the opium poppy cultivation. This led to the direct U.S. military intervention of 2001 in Afghanistan and the subsequent overthrow of the Taliban; the U.S. used the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon as a pretext even if there was no proof that the Taliban had a hand in them or had been in contact with Osama bin Laden at all during that time. The U.S. would soon replace the Taliban with another faction of the Mujahideen that was more compliant with the rules that the imperialists had set out. In other words, the Taliban were ousted not necessarily because they posed a significant challenge to U.S. hegemony as the PDPA had, or because of their treatment of women — nor were they hiding Osama bin Laden; it was because they had become more of liabilities than assets. It is yet another case of the Empire discarding its puppets when they have outlived their usefulness due to incompetence and being unable to “follow the rules properly” — not unlike the U.S. removal of military dictator Manuel Noriega who was staunchly pro-American and who, in collaboration with fellow CIA asset and notorious cartel drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, previously sold drugs for the CIA to help finance the anti-communist campaign in Central America.

George W. Bush visits Hamid Karzai, who participated in the Mujahideen in the past and led the puppet government that replaced the Taliban.

By 2002, and as a result of the 2001 intervention, the lucrative opium poppy production had seen a huge boom once again. In 2014, Afghanistan’s opium poppy production made up 90% of the world’s heroin supply, leading to a decrease in opium prices. And according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the opium production in Afghanistan increased by 43% to 4,800 metric tons in 2016.

Although the United States has always been one of the top producers of oil in the world, another reason for establishing a permanent U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was to gain control over its vast untapped oil reserves, which the U.S. had known about prior to 9/11. Oil is yet another lucrative commodity, and ensuring that Afghanistan had a compliant government that would acquiesce to its demands was important for the U.S. in this aspect as well. Naturally, the nationalist government of the PDPA was also seen as a threat to the profit-making interests of U.S. oil companies, and any nation that was an independent oil producer (or merely a potential independent oil producer, in Afghanistan’s case) was seen as an annoying competitor by the United States. However, Afghanistan would not begin its first commercial oil production until 2013, partly because of the ongoing geopolitical instability, but also because opium production continues to dominate the economy. Plus, it is likely that neither the monarchy nor the PDPA realized that there existed such vast untapped oil reserves since there were very limited volumes of oil (compared to the higher volumes of natural gas) being produced from 1957 to 1989, and which stopped as soon as the Soviet troops left. Later, reassessments were made during the 1990s; hence the U.S. ‘discovery’ of the untapped petroleum potential. But, when intensive negotiations between U.S.-based oil company Unocal and the Taliban went unresolved in 1998 due to a dispute over a pipeline deal that the latter wanted to strike with a competing Argentine company, it would lead to growing tensions between the U.S. and the Taliban. The reason for the dispute was that Unocal wanted to have primary control over the pipeline located between Afghanistan and Pakistan that crossed into the Indian Ocean. From this point on, the U.S. was starting to see the Taliban as a liability in its prerogative of establishing political and economic dominance over Central and West Asia.

In either case, oil and other “strategic” raw materials such as opium are essential for the U.S. to maintain its global monopolistic power. It is here that we see a manifestation of the economic roots of empire-building.

*

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Continued in Part 2.

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

Janelle Velinais a Toronto-based political analyst, writer, and an editor and frequent contributor for New-Power.org andLLCO.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.

How the West’s War in Libya Has Spurred Terrorism in 14 Countries

The Saker

May 09, 2019

[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]

Introduction

It is sometimes helpful not to look at any one specific issue in detail, but rather make a survey of ongoing processes instead. The resulting picture is neither better nor worse, it is simply different. This is what I want to do today: to take a bird’s eye view of our suffering planet.

Putin trolls the Empire

It is all really simple: if the Ukrainians will give passports to Russian citizens, and we in Russia will be handing out passports to the Ukrainians, then sooner or later will will reach the expected result: everybody will have the same citizenship. This is something which we have to welcome.

Vladimir Putin

It appears that the Kremlin is very slowly changing its approach to the Ukrainian issue and is now relying more on unilateral actions. The first two measures taken by the Russians are maybe not “too little too late”, but certainly “just the bare minimum and at that, rather late”. Still, I can only salute the Kremlin’s newly found determination. Specifically, the Kremlin has banned the export of energy products to the Ukraine (special exemptions can still be granted on a case by case basis) and the Russians have decided to distribute Russian passports to the people of Novorussia. Good.

Zelenskii’s reaction to this decision came as the first clear sign that the poor man has no idea what he is doing and no plan as to how to deal with the Russians. He decided to crack a joke, (which he is reportedly good at), and declare that the Ukrainian passport was much better than the Russian one and that the Ukraine will start delivering Ukrainian passports to Russian citizens. Putin immediately replied with one of his typical comebacks declaring that he supports Zelenskii and that he looks forward to the day when Russians and Ukrainians will have the same citizenship again. Zelenskii had nothing to say to that 🙂

Zelenskii finally finds something common to Russia and the Ukraine

I have been thinking long about this “a lot in common” between Ukraine and Russia. The reality is that today, after the annexation of the Crimea and the aggression in the Donbas, of the “common” things we have only one thing left – this is the state border. And control of every inch on the Ukrainian side, must be returned by Russia. Only then will we be able to continue the search for [things in] “common”

Vladimir Zelenskii

Well, almost. He did eventually make a Facebook post in which he declared that all that Russia and the Ukraine had in common was a border. This instantly made him the object of jokes and memes, since all Russians or Ukrainians know that Russia and the Ukraine have many old bonds which even 5 years of a vicious civil war and 5 years of hysterically anti-Russian propaganda could not sever. They range from having close relatives in the other country, to numerous trade and commercial transactions, to a common language. The closest thing to a real Ukrainian language would be the Surzhik which is roughly 50/50 in terms of vocabulary and whose pronunciation is closer to the south Russian one than to the Zapadenskii regional dialect spoken in the western Ukraine and which is used (and currently imposed) by the Ukronazi junta in Kiev.

The malignant manatee threatens the planet with fire and brimstone

We have Pompeo, a malignant manatee looking to start wars in which he will not risk his flabby amorphous ass also parading his Christianity. Bolton, a mean sonofabitch who belongs in a strait jacket, at least doesn’t pose as someone having a soul. And the Golden Tufted Cockatoo, too weak to control those around him, preening and tweeting. God save us.

Fred Reed

The term “malignant manatee” is not from me, the brilliant Fred Reed came up with this one, but I can only fully endorse it because it fits. Perfectly. And our malignant manatee sure is on a roll! Just this week he managed to threaten VenezuelaIran, and even Russia and China together. I think that it is high time to declare that Pompeo is a bona fide nutcase, a dangerous, arrogant and ignorant psychopath whose crazy statements represent a direct threat to the entire planet. Not to say that his pal Bolton is any less crazy. Now combine these two rabid thugs with the spineless “Golden Tufted Cockatoo” (to use Fred Reed’s equally hilarious but accurate characterization) and you see that the planet is in big, big trouble.

Turns out that Putin is a crypto-Zionist and an Israeli puppet.

Here I won’t even bother with any quotes. The alternative Internet/blogosphere has, again, been hit by a wave of articles declaring that Putin is Netanyahu’s puppet and a crypto-Zionist. I have debunked that nonsense in the past (see here and here) and I won’t repeat it all here. Besides, what this surge in “Putin the Zionist” propaganda is, is not so much the result of a gradual realization about the true agenda or Putin himself as much as it is, yet again, a desperate scramble for clicks. I already discussed that recently too (see here). I will just reiterate my conclusion here: clickbaiters are never experts and experts are never clickbaiters.

Frankly, to all those who email me and ask “Is it really true? Putin is an Israeli puppet? He helps Netanyahu in Syria, does he not?!” I would suggest simply looking at what the Israelis and Zionists write about Putin (for starters, you can click herehere or here). Even better, ask the defenders of Putin the crytpo-Zionist to explain the hysterically anti-Putin campaign the US legacy Ziomedia has been engaged in for the past years! But don’t hold your breath for an answer – since Russia has comprehensively foiled all Israel’s many plans for Syria, it takes a remarkable determination not to see that Putin is hated by Neocons and Zionists alike, and for good cause, I would add.

Oh, and Putin is a crypto-Muslim too!

Yes, besides being a crypto-Zionist, Putin is also a crypto-Muslim. This latest nonsense usually comes from Alt-Right circles who can forgive Putin his friendliness to Israel, but not to Islam. These are the folks who believe that Putin is not a real defender of the “White Race”. They are opposed by those who believe that Putin and the Moscow Patriarchate will somehow jump-start the “Christian West”. We are talking about some hardcore “single-issue” folks here whose main disagreement is whether Jews or Muslims are to be hated (and feared!) most.

[Having had to deal with both groups myself – I have been accused of being a Jew, a Jew lover and a Muslim and a Muslim lover many times! – I know that reasoning with these folks is a total waste of time. Their paranoid hatred is completely incompatible with any fact-based and logical discussion. Besides, by arguing with them you threaten their income and livelihood – which due to their lack of expertise depends entirely on their ability to generate clickbait revenue. If you do engage with them, they will call you a Jew-lover or an Islam-lover and that’s it. Not worth your time IMHO].

The quasi-comical truth is that the Alt-Righters don’t get Russia *at all*. They keep transposing their narrow horizons on a nation with which they have absolutely nothing in common, not even religiously or racially (even if they think otherwise). Hence their love-hate relationship with Putin: on one hand, they would love to have a champion like Putin (Ann Coulter or Milo Yiannopoulos do not qualify), but on the other, they hate Putin for not endorsing their racist and fascist agenda. Truth be told: Russia has no use for these intellectual midgets.

Russia is “selling out” to the Taliban?

Well, since we are making a (tongue-in-cheek) “inventory” of all of Putin’s (and even Russia’s) sins, let’s include cozying up to the Taliban (who even agreed to put on Saint George’s Ribbons!) and… … and what exactly is happening here?

How about trying to bring peace back to Afghanistan? You know – the same thing Russia is doing in Venezuela, in Syria and elsewhere. This implies talking to the other side, and even striking smiling poses when asked by the press.

Needless to say, the thugs running the AngloZionst Empire have accused Russia or aiding and even arming the Taliban. And why not? This is no more ridiculous than saying that Saddam and Iran are helping al-Qaeda, or than saying that Russia “hacked” DNC computers, or told Maduro not to run for his life. Hey! We are living in “Skripal times” and the rules of evidence have changed to “highly likely” – so why not claim that Russia is also selling out to the Taliban (maybe even on Netanyahu’s orders?).

In the meantime, Russian soldiers are busy ducking missiles…

Yep, apparently unaware that their Commander-in-Chief is a puppet of both Israel and the worldwide Islamic Ummah, Russian servicemen are ducking missiles in Syria. The latest attack saw them shoot 36 missiles (and one targeting drone) out of the sky. This is good news, of course, but this just goes to show that these (US and Israel backed) Islamists shooting these missiles have not been informed that the Russian military in Syria is here to help Netanyahu and Trump. Somebody should probably tell them 😉

Conclusion: just one more crazy and terrifying week, with many more to come

I tried to be a little tongue-in-cheek here, but the reality is that what is taking place before our eyes is both absolutely insane and most terrifying. Why? Because the world is now ruled by a most dangerous gang of ignorant thugs who are very rapidly losing their grip on our planet and who is simply neither intellectually equipped to understand, nor deal with this very complex and rapidly changing situation.

What we are seeing is a full-spectrum collapse of the unipolar world and its gradual, but also inexorable, replacement with a multi-polar world in which things like “speaking with your adversaries or even enemies” becomes the norm rather than the exception. Even more importantly, this is a world in which US threats always fall on deaf ears simply because nobody takes the US seriously anymore. While the US military probably has the capability to re-invade Grenada or “bring democracy” to the inhabitants of the North Sentinel Island – no adults in the room will be impressed (least of all the Iranians!).

It is this quiet indifference which enrages the likes of Pompeo, Bolton or Trump – for all their narcissistic chest-thumping – they are, and will forever remain, the ultimate losers – folks who simply couldn’t get *anything* done. Even more terrifying is their sense of total impunity. If Obama was “democracy with a human face” then Trump is “democracy with a simian face” – not much better.

When I think that a “Golden Tufted Cockatoo” (to use Fred Reeds wonderful image) has the authority to press the nuclear button I feel terrified. I also realize that the survival of the human species will depend on Putin and Xi and their ability to gradually disarm or neutralize the US threat without triggering a nuclear war.

These are truly terrifying times. If you are not terrified, then you are delusional.

But if being terrified is a natural and absolutely normal reaction, we need to overcome it and fearlessly resist. Like Maduro does, surrounded by his men.

This refusal to be afraid, even while being terrified, is how we will eventually defeat the Empire!

Venezuela is, by far, the weakest link in the chain of resistance to the Empire. But look at these faces! All I can say is this: may the courage of the kids protecting not only Maduro, but also the sovereignty of their country, be an inspiration to us all, no matter how terrified we are.

UPDATE: turns out that it was not Russia or Cuba which are responsible for the failed coup. According to Neocon US Senator from Florida, Venezuela regime change crusader Marco Rubio, it’s the Chinese! I wonder whom the US leaders are going to blame next? Any guesses?

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