A Mass Murdering Regime Dares to Lecture the World on Human Rights

December 24, 2021

Source

Washington is a criminal regime as its illegal wars and deliberate mass murder demonstrate beyond any doubt.

An important report published this week reveals in extensive detail the shocking scale of war crimes committed by the United States in the Middle East. Thousands of civilian deaths, including children, are documented as a result of aerial bombardments conducted by the U.S. military.

It is crucial to remark that the published survey – while voluminous involving thousands of pages and documents – represents only a fraction of the full scale of mass murder. The research focuses on Syria and Iraq over a three-year period between late 2014 and early 2018. Considering that U.S. forces have been occupying those two countries alone for over a decade and considering American military operations contemporaneously in other nations, one can safely assume that the full scale of murder perpetrated is orders of magnitude greater.

The report known as the Civilian Casualty Files was commissioned by the New York Times. It took five years to compile and tortuous legal wrangling to obtain secret Pentagon files. The survey also involved the authors visiting hundreds of locations in Syria and Iraq to record witness testimonies. A good summary is provided here.

Separately, it has been previously estimated that the U.S. decade-long war in Iraq from 2003 onwards caused over one million deaths. What this latest report provides is granular detail of the countless incidents of violence from airstrikes and drone assassinations. Times, dates, villages, hamlets, towns, families, mothers, fathers and children are named in the atrocities that were carried out. But as noted, while the reported information is huge, it is still only a tiny fraction of the full extent of mass murder.

What is disturbingly clear too is the cold and barbaric logic of the Pentagon chiefs and senior figures in both the Obama and Trump administrations. Sitting president Joe Biden was vice-president in the Obama administrations (2008-2016). Civilian deaths were deemed acceptable as “collateral damage” in the pursuit of military-political objectives. Whole families were knowingly obliterated in a haphazard and vague effort to kill suspected terrorists or simply to extend the writ of U.S. imperial power.

What’s more, the Pentagon and the U.S. government covered up the extent of their psychopathic operations. Not one member of the American military or White House administration has ever been disciplined – even internally – for the rampant criminality.

A more recent incident outside of the published study period cited above would fall into the typical mold. That was the killing of a family of 10, including children, in Kabul during the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan at the end of August. Recall how the Pentagon investigated itself and concluded that no one was to blame for that drone carnage. That case garnered some publicity because the circumstances of a historic U.S. retreat were in the news. Now just imagine how easy it was for the Pentagon to bury other mass murders of civilians that occurred in remote areas of Syria and Iraq.

The published Civilian Casualty Files is substantive evidence for prosecuting U.S. political and military leaders for war crimes. Realistically, this will not happen in the near future, but nevertheless, it is an important archive for future prosecutions and the historical record.

The information is also a devastating exposition of the moral bankruptcy pervading Washington. Thus, a mass-murdering regime in Washington has no authority to lecture, as it arrogantly presumes to do all the time, the rest of the world on human rights and rule of law.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden convened a so-called “Summit for Democracy” for invited world leaders. Biden pointedly excluded Russia and China from the online videoconference, as well as other nations deemed to be “authoritarian” or “undemocratic” by Washington.

It truly is revolting that Washington has such hubris and shamelessness. U.S. governments have systematically waged illegal wars all around the planet involving the destruction of nations and millions of innocent lives. And yet the president of the U.S. has the audacity to pontificate to the whole world about the presumed virtues of democracy, human rights and upholding international law.

This grotesque duplicity and delusion of American leaders is why the U.S. is on a collision course with Russia and China. Washington relentlessly accuses Moscow and Beijing of alleged violations. The tensions being stoked by the United States over Ukraine and Taiwan are pushing the world to the brink of war.

Just this week, President Biden signed into law a ban on imports from China’s western province of Xinjiang. The U.S. accuses China of “genocide” against the minority Uighur Muslim population. Beijing categorically rejects the claims, pointing out that the Uighur population has actually grown over recent years. Beijing says that it takes security measures against radical Uighurs who have been weaponized as part of the U.S. 20-year war in neighboring Afghanistan. In any case, Washington does not provide credible evidence to substantiate its claims. The notable thing is that such lecturing by the United States towards China serves to aggravate tensions which exacerbate other issues over Taiwan and the Olympic Games that Washington is boycotting.

Washington has zero moral authority. It is a criminal regime as its illegal wars and deliberate mass murder demonstrate beyond any doubt.

It should be observed that the Western media largely remained silent this week over the shocking Civilian Casualty Files. The New York Times deserves some credit for publishing the information conducted by outside authors. However, the monstrous scale of criminality has been met with stunning relative silence. That illustrates how the Western media is actually a propaganda system that cannot compute or comment on information that is incongruous with its day-to-day coverage.

The injustice against imprisoned whistleblower Julian Assange should also be highlighted. The mass-murder programs uncovered by the Civilian Casualty Files vindicate Assange and Wikileaks’ earlier publications exposing U.S. war crimes. It is an abomination that Assange is being persecuted and awaiting extradition to the United States where he could be jailed for the rest of his life on fabricated charges of “hacking and espionage”.

The criminality and duplicity of U.S. governments is something to behold in a perverse sort of way. It is astounding that the world is being driven further towards dangerous tensions and possible confrontation by a regime whose record is so nefarious and hypocritical. How is such a gross deception enabled? That is partly due to the function of a Goebbels-like mass media that pretends to publish news instead of propaganda.

الأميركي للسعودي: افعلوا ما فعلناه في أفغانستان: «لستم أقوى منا وليسوا أضعف من طالبان»

نوفمبر 18 2021

 ناصر قنديل

تخصص ورشات عمل العديد من مراكز الدراسات الأميركية أبحاثها للوضع في اليمن، في ضوء المستجدات التي لم يعد ممكناً إخفاؤها، والتي تتلخص بالتقارير المجمع عليها حول اعتبار سقوط مدينة مأرب بيد أنصار الله مسألة وقت، والتي اختصرها معاون وزير الخارجية الأميركي السابق ديفيد شنكر بقوله في إحدى ورشات العمل البحثية، إن استحواذ الأنصار على مأرب بات محسوماً، واصفاً ذلك بالسيناريو الأسوأ لواشنطن والرياض، وبخسارة الحرب على اليمن خسارة كاملة، والإجماع على مكانة مأرب يطال الجميع أميركيين وسعوديين ويمنيين، وعلى ضفاف ما يجري في مأرب برز المؤشر الثاني وهو تضعضع التحالف المناوئ للأنصار، وما ظهر على جبهة الحديدة كاف لإثبات ذلك، فإن كان ما جرى نتيجة صفقة فهو كارثة تشي بانهيار التحالف، وإن كان نتيجة سوء تنسيق بخلفية الخوف من تداعيات انهيار جبهة مأرب على القوات المنتشرة في الساحل بلا عمق يحميها، فتلك مصيبة، وفي الحالتين ستتواصل التداعيات، خصوصاً إذا أضيف للمشهد التمايز الإماراتي عن السعودية بخطوات يمنية يظهرها تمايز وضع الجنوب اليمني، وإقليمية كان آخرها التواصل العالي المستوى بين الإمارات وإيران وما نشر عن زيارة شخصية إماراتية كبيرة لطهران قريباً، فيما تبقى الإمارات بخلاف السعودية بمنأى عن استهداف الأنصار لمدنها وسفنها بصورة تثير شكوك السعودية بتفاهمات تحت الطاولة.

أغلب الباحثين الأميركيين يشبه الوضع في اليمن بالوضع في أفغانستان عشية اتخاذ قرار الانسحاب الأميركي، فوضع قوات منصور هادي ليست أفضل حالاً من قوات أشرف غني، وعزم وعناد واقتدار أنصار الله ليس أقل مما أظهرته حركة طالبان، وحجم الحصار المفروض على أفغانستان لم يكن دون مستوى الحصار على اليمن، والأميركيون يقولون إنهم وهم يختلفون على ظروف الانسحاب يتفقون على أنه كان خياراً مراً لكن لا بد منه، فالوضع بدا ميؤوساً منه، والبقاء لعشرين سنة أخرى لن يغير المشهد، إلا باستنزاف المزيد من الأموال وإزهاق المزيد من الأرواح، ويقول بعض هؤلاء الباحثين، ربما يكون وزير الإعلام اللبناني جورج قرداحي آخر من استخدم توصيف الحرب العبثية، بما يتضمنه التوصيف لحرب لا نصر فيها، لكن لا هزيمة، بينما صارت اليوم حرباً مضمونة الخسارة، ولم يعد لدى السعوديين ترف الوقت لاتخاذ القرار بالانسحاب، وتجاوز الأمر حدود الحديث عن كارثة إنسانية محققة، فقد أنتجت الحرب تحولاً استراتيجياً كبيراً.

السعوديون عبر وسائل إعلامهم يغيبون عن النقاش، لكن فلتات مواقف وردت على قناة العربية الحدث، كانت تدعو واشنطن للتساؤل عما يعنيه نشوء أفغانستان ثانية على البحر الأحمر تمسك بمضيق باب المندب، بدت رداً أو مناقشة للنصيحة الأميركية، من خلال المقارنة بين الموقع الاستراتيجي لكل من أفغانستان واليمن، حيث اليمن بقوته الصاعدة شريك مقبل في أمن الطاقة والملاحة الدولية، وباب المندب أحد أهم المضائق العالمية، الذي يزيد أهمية عن مضيق هرمز ومضيق جبل طارق، فهو وحده يربط أربعة بحار ومحيطات، هي البحر الأحمر والمحيط الهادئ والخليج والبحر الأبيض المتوسط، ويطرح السعوديون أسئلة ينتظرون أن يتلقفها الإسرائيليون حول الخلل الاستراتيجي في موازين القوى التي تترتب على التسليم بخسارة اليمن، الذي لا تخفي قيادته اصطفافها في محور المقاومة، وما أظهرته من مقدرات يجب أن يحسب له الحساب في كل ما يطال أمن «إسرائيل»، فيما يرد الأميركيون أنهم خسروا مع الخروج من أفغانستان التواجد من مسافة صفر مع كل من إيران والصين وروسيا، وتركوا الفرص مفتوحة لاحتوائها من التحالف الإيراني الصيني الروسي، بالإضافة لفرص تواصل أطراف هذا التحالف عبر اليابسة للمرة الأولى عبر الجغرافيا الأفغانية، لكن كل هذا كان لا بد من تقبله لاستحالة البقاء.

كيف سيتصرف الأميركيون والإسرائيليون، وكيف سيتفاعل السعوديون، يقول الأنصار إنهم جاهزون لكل احتمال، وأن بديل النصر هو النصر فقط، والخيار بين نصر لليمن لا يشعل المنطقة ونصر يأتي بعد اشتعالها، لكنه لن يكون محصوراً باليمن عندها.

فيديوات متعلقة

تدرييات ‘قاسية’ إستعدادا للحرب.. الوحدة السعودية الخاصة تسيطر على باص إيراني

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The whitewashing murder day (UPDATED)

November 11, 2021

The whitewashing murder day (UPDATED)

Propaganda is easy to unpack once you get down a few basic rules.  One of them is this: “the louder the slogan, the bigger the lie“.

That is also the case with Veteran’s Day in which US Americans thank their veterans for their “service”.

Now even setting aside the true reasons why US Americans sign up, there is a much more important fact which the US propaganda machine is trying to whitewash: US “servicepersons” (yup, let’s keep up with the times!) ALWAYS fight in the other guy’s backyard.  Always.

So they have to somehow resolve this self-evident contradiction: I fight for the other guy, in his own backyard, by fighting against him.

In order to make that one stick or, at least, to damped the cognitive dissonance, you do two things: first, you demonize the other guy while, second, you claim to “serve” for high, lofty and utterly meaningless notions like “manifest destiny”, “democracy” or even, as I heard recently, to “save the Jews from the Nazi gas chambers”.

And it works.

The bigger the lie, the louder the slogans, the more energetic the flag-waving and the bigger the patriotic-hysteria around the “gratitude” towards those who are, undeniably, hired murders (even those who do not pull the trigger, but help others do so).

Of course, no matter what kind of mental gymnastics are needed to obfuscate the true nature of what the veterans really did (and still are doing), the truth seeps under this ideological concertina wire, especially when veterans blow their brains out, suffer from PTSD, drown in drugs and booze and end up homeless in immense numbers.

So Veteran’s Day is not about veterans at all, it is about self-absolution, about just for one day pretending to care about veterans and their “service”.  But crucially, this day of shame is about whitewashing murder.

Violence and lies are twin brothers always working hand in hand towards their common goal.

We can get a feeling for the magnitude of the violence perpetrated by the US servicepersons by observing the ideological intensity of the “protective shield” of lies which are needed to conceal its true nature of their actions.

I don’t know of Latin American drug cartels have a “Dia del Sicario” but if they don’t they should emulate the “The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” and create one, celebrated with lots of flags and expressions of patriotic piety.

I personally will join those few souls who hope that the day will come when the US military will truly be what it has never been before: a force whose mission is to protect the people of the USA from foreign threats (not that I see from where this threat may come from).

Only then will the US sicarios become real soldiers.

Andrei

UPDATE: in one of the comments which the mods (rightly) sent to trash there was one question which I feel needs to be addressed: what about the Russians in Syria?  Ain’t that the same?

Nope, for the following reasons:

  • The Russians went to Syria not to start a war (the Empire did that), but to STOP one
  • The Russians did not commit mass atrocities in Syria
  • The Russians were directly threatened by “Axis of Kindness” operations in the Middle-East (what the CIA was doing in Afghanistan in the 70 it never stopped doing and was STILL at it in Syria)
  • Last, but not least, the Russians did not flee in disgrace from Syria (or Afghanistan, for that matter)

So no, it ain’t the same.

Wall Street Journal: Former Afghan Officials Join ISIS After Being Abandoned by the US

2 Nov, 2021

Source: The Wall Street Journa

See the source image

Al Mayadeen

Wall Street Journal details how some former members of Afghan intelligence services and special military units have joined the ranks of ISIS.

The journal details that the number of members remains minimal; however, they are rising.

The publication highlights that the danger in the joining members is that their expertise encompasses enhanced capabilities of intelligence and war tactics, enabling ISIS to compete with the Taliban.

Visual search query image
Wall Street Journal: Hundreds of thousands of intelligence officers and soldiers in Afghanistan are unemployed. 

ISIS reportedly provides large sums of money for their new recruits – an enticing offer to many hundred thousands of unemployed former Afghans after US withdrawal.

A senior Western official expressed, regarding what is happening in Afghanistan that “It’s exactly how it started in Iraq — with disenchanted Saddam Hussein generals.” 

The Wall Street Journal formerly quoted a senior official in the Pentagon, telling US lawmakers that the ISIS-K in Afghanistan may be able to launch attacks on the West and its allies within six months and that al-Qaeda can do the same within two years.

According to United Nations estimates, there are about 2,000 ISIS fighters operating in Afghanistan and an estimated 70,000 Taliban fighters.

Taliban spokesman on rising ISIS threat, & relations with US, China & Iran

October 28, 2021

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Description:

In a recent extended interview with RT Arabic, Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem commented on the adequacy of the Taliban’s internal security measures following concerns of a rising ISIS threat; relations with neighboring states and the international community (including the US, China and Iran); the makeup of the new Afghani government; and the possibility of international recognition for the Taliban-led government in Kabul following a major conference in Moscow.

The third meeting of the Moscow Format Consultations on Afghanistan took place in the Russian capital on October the 20th, 2021. It brought together representatives from Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan as well as a high-level Taliban delegation.

The following is a transcript of major translated segments from that interview.

Source: RT Arabic (YouTube)

Date: October 21, 2021

(Note: Please help us keep producing independent translations by contributing a small monthly amount here )

Transcript:

Host:

Let’s ask about the (current) reality (as you’re suggesting): with the withdrawal of foreign forces (from Afghanistan), (and) Taliban’s control and even the establishment of a government in Kabul, Dr Mohammad, there are warnings (being issued) – Russian information says there are 2,000 members of ISIS deployed in Afghanistan, and we’ve seen in the past days (suicide) bombings targeting mosques in several areas and unfortunately most of (these mosques) seem to have a specific sectarian identity. Perhaps the concerns of neighbouring states and world state stem from here; how will the Taliban, and you (as officials) in the government, deal with this threat that you do not deny is present in Afghanistan today?

Mohammad Naeem, spokesman for the Taliban’s political office:

I wish I would get a chance to answer (your questions) –

Host:

– Yes please –

Naeem:

– You ask questions, and there must be a (chance to answer clearly) so as not to confuse the viewers and to (let them) understand what we’re saying and what’s being asked.

Well, if there’s a certain problem in a certain country taking place, does this mean that there are many problems? If it is so, (why don’t we look at what) happened a few days ago in a certain Arab country (Lebanon), where someone killed 6 or 7 (people); so, (can we say) that this country has turned into total chaos, or that it (is suffering from) many problems? Problems can happen anywhere, in any country, (even) in advanced states that might – (despite) having great (security) capacity, capabilities, expertise, and security experts – they (might) have everything (that allows them to secure a stable security situation), yet still (security issues) take place. If we want to judge (the Taliban’s security capabilities) based on reality, we must at least see what Afghanistan was like six months ago, how the situation was in Afghanistan a year ago, and how it has become today –

Host:

– Yes –

Naeem:

– This is (how) we must judge, based on reality, that’s what reason requires, and this is (how we make a) judgement based on logic; we (must) observe (the change that has been occurring) from six months till now, how the situation in Afghanistan was three months ago and how it has become now. This is well known to all!

Host:

Would you allow me, Dr Mohammad, to ask: perhaps we do not deny (the fact) of the ISIS presence in Afghanistan, (in light of this,) are you open to – and I wish to mention again, it’s a concern for neighbouring states and world state, are you open to cooperating with neighbouring states and other states to fight ISIS? Perhaps in the form of exchanging (intelligence) information? For example, the Russian side is talking about 2,000 (ISIS) fighters (present in Afghanistan), does this information intersect with the information you have?

Naeem:

Here I must go back to a point you referred (to) in the previous question, you said there is a problem (in Afghanistan). About two weeks ago, in a certain European country, a voice was raised in support of what you’re worrying about now (i.e. the ISIS threat emerging from Afghanistan). Why are all of (these states) silent now? We haven’t even heard a voice denouncing the (stance) of that advanced state (which was) supporting those (ISIS) members! Why? Who would answer this question? If we want to be realistic, we should look at the reality…Why would having a problem in a certain part of the country, (suicide) bombings or other problems, be an issue (of international concern), while the support of a certain state for these (suicide) bombings and those (ISIS members isn’t denounced) and nobody says a word (against it)? Why is that?

Host:

So, Dr Mohammad, what you’re saying is that the (threat posted to neighbouring states by the) presence of ISIS (in Afghanistan) is being exaggerated. Have you explained this issue during your meeting with the states participating in the Moscow Format (meeting)?

Naeem:

Is the (truth) hidden from anyone? (The truth) that media is exaggerating a problem, (because) it’s a directed media that receives orders (and publicises information accordingly), they tell them this (should be portrayed as) a serious issue, so they exaggerate (the situation). On the other side, a country supports those (ISIS terrorists) but nobody denounces it, neither you, nor any other media outlet (denounces it) or at least explores this issue. Why? You should at least hold a session to discuss such matters! –

Host:

– Can we ask in this regard –

Naeem:

–  That’s (regarding) the (first) point. As for the issue of (international) cooperation (to fight ISIS), we are capable of controlling the situation (ourselves) –

Host:

– Yes –

Naeem:

– and (capable) of controlling the problems in the country and eliminating those problems (ourselves). We don’t need the help of others in the security and military fields; we have proven this and the whole world has seen (our capabilities). We were fighting in Afghanistan on three fronts; one against the occupation (forces), another against the puppet administration created by the occupation, and the (third) against those (ISIS members). You know (very) well that those (ISIS) members had specifically chosen a certain geography (to deploy in, which is) in Nangarhar and Kunar in the eastern part of the country, and in Jawzjan and Faryab in the northern part of the country. But today, is it reasonable for anyone to come and tell us that this geography, no matter how small it is, is under the control of those (ISIS members which threaten our security)? That’s (not acceptable) at all! We’re capable of (controlling the situation ourselves) –

Host:

–  So, you’re giving assurances now (to neighbouring countries and the international community) –

Naeem:

– if we were able to defeat the occupation (forces) –

Host:

– Yes –

Naeem:

– and get the occupation (forces) out of our country, and defeat that (puppet) administration that enjoyed great capacities, capabilities, and expertise, why wouldn’t we be able to defeat these groups of extremists?

……….

Host:

Let’s ask in this regard; in Afghanistan, we’re speaking about a transitional stage, (about) a caretaker government – a transitional government, after the occupation of this country that lasted for 20 years. In the coming period – and this also raises concerns and demands for states all over the world, do you intend to hold elections or form a broader government that includes more segments (of Afghan society)? Perhaps all segments of Afghan society?

Naeem:

In terms of inclusiveness, the (current system) is a comprehensive system in which the various segments of people are represented, and this is clear to all, as there are (members representing) the Pashtun, Tajik, Uzbek, Baloch and other ethnicities. Therefore, there is no problem in terms of (comprehensive representation of different ethnicities). However, if someone has a problem (with the current government’s composition because) they want to (include) some corrupt names or figures, whose (performance) was experienced over the past 20 years, and they wish to bring them (back) and include them in this system in order to corrupt it as they corrupted the previous one, this is out of the question. We do not allow anyone to interfere in our internal affairs, as we do not wish to interfere in the affairs of other (states), and fortunately, there were voices in the Moscow (Format) meeting today supporting this idea, that internal affairs are a matter that concerns each (specific) country and (its) people (alone) –

Host:

– So, you’ve seen this at the Moscow meeting by the participating states; the issue of respect for Afghan sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan?

Naeem:

Of course, there was support for this issue (i.e., respect for Afghan sovereignty), and it’s an indispensable matter…every state suffers from internal issues, however, it’s out of the question (for any state) to dictate to other (states) that their system should be according to its (own) opinion. That’s unrealistic and unacceptable; no state accepts the interference of any other state in its (internal) affairs, so why would any state (allow itself) to interfere in another state’s (internal) affairs?

Host:

Yes. How do you describe security coordination with neighbouring states? Are the lines of communication with the US still open?

Naeem:

We have relations with neighbouring and regional states, and the international community in general, and they have been good (relations) for a long time, not only today. As for the Americans, there were meetings (held) for two days in past weeks, (we) exchanged ideas and views and (we had) discussed (certain) topics, and there is ongoing communication (between us and the Americans). In the end, we want to resolve issues through dialogue and understanding. Fortunately, everyone is convinced with this idea (i.e., resolving issues through dialogue), even those who used the language of war have understood and realised (what) reality (requires) – they realised that problems cannot be solved through guns, tanks, and (military) aircrafts, but by sitting at the (negotiation) table and discussing matters and reaching the (realisation) that what is reached by understanding is the best (solution), and this is a positive step, and we support this perception.

Host:

Is there a possibility to have communication (on) security (matters), or even security coordination with the US side?

Naeem:

I have previously said, we do not need assistance in the military or security fields, we can eliminate problems ourselves –

Host:

– (I’m speaking in terms) of coordination Dr Mohammad, all states coordinate with each other, and as it’s known, Moscow coordinates with Washington in the exchange of information (for example, to inform each other) about a certain issue (or to) call attention (to the need for addressing a certain matter), such issues are in the context of normal relations between states, (so,) why doesn’t Kabul coordinate with Washington in the context of information exchange (between the two states)?

Naeem:

If a certain side or state coordinates with another state regarding security matters or information, this is a matter that depends on each state’s (preferred approach), however, as for us – I represent the side I speak for – we do not need (any external assistance). (Let’s speak about) our goal, we want to know what’s (our) goal (and work accordingly to achieve it), the goal is to not (allow) anyone to use Afghan territory against the security of any (other) state, and we pledged to (work towards) that and we’re committed to that pledge, as we are capable of eliminating problems if there were any, and if (we’re speaking about) some existing issues, (those) are minor problems that we can put an end to. Therefore, we do not feel the need (to coordinate with anyone) as we’re capable of resolving our internal issues ourselves.

Host:

How do you describe (Afghanistan’s) relation with Iran, Dr Mohammad, especially that it views the targeting of Shia minorities – (i.e.,) Shia mosques in Afghanistan – with suspicion, how do you describe (your) relations with Tehran?

Naeem:

Iran is a neighbouring state just like other neighbouring states, and we have relations (with Iran that have been existing) for years, (and they’re) good relations, and we wish for these relations to develop in light of – we have two basic fundamentals; the fundamental provisions of the Islamic Shariah, and the higher interests of our people and country. So our relations with all neighbouring and regional states and states worldwide are moving forward in light of these two basic fundamentals. Therefore, we don’t have any problem (with any state in terms of relations), and we have normal relations (with states worldwide) which are developing forward with time.

Host:

So, what about (Afghanistan’s relations with) Tajikistan?

Naeem:

We have no problems with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or –

Host:

– lately, there were tensions that led to a military build-up across the (common) borders (between Afghanistan and Tajikistan).

Naeem:

No (it’s not like that), (but) of course (it’s seen that way because) unfortunately, some media outlets spread negative thoughts in societies instead of performing their mission, which is to spread positive thoughts in societies and among individuals.

……..

Host:

Do you see China, Dr Mohammad, as the country that will play an economic role – the most important economic role in the coming period in Afghanistan?

Naeem:

China is also a neighbouring country of ours, and everyone knows well that China is a major state in the world that has influence on international issues, and is a member of the UN Security Council (as well). So, we deal with China as a neighbouring state, and as it’s known, China is a major economic state, and if it has investment (plans in Afghanistan), we’d support (China’s) contribution to the reconstruction of Afghanistan, (and we also wish) to have improved economic relations (with China) in the future.

Host:

Briefly, Dr Mohammad, I’ll go back to the Moscow Format (meeting) – the Moscow platform, in your opinion and according to your readings, information, and position of responsibility, will this platform be the starting point of international recognition for the Afghan government?

Naeem:

You know there were meetings (held) previously in Doha as well, meetings with the US and European states, (in which) we met with about 15 states, (and those) meetings were positive to some extent. We also travelled to Turkey, Uzbekistan, and other countries (to hold international meetings). Therefore, the Moscow (Format) meeting was undoubtedly a positive step, a good one (too), and we consider it a step towards solving the problems (of Afghanistan) for the future – God willing –

Host:

Thank you very much, spokesman of the Taliban political office, Dr Mohammad Naeem.


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Pepe Escobar’s new ebook: Forever Wars, recaptured in real time

October 14, 2021

Pepe Escobar’s new ebook:  Forever Wars, recaptured in real time

About 20 days ago, Pepe Escobar let us know that part 2 of his Forever Wars series is now available for purchase and download as an e-book.  I sat down to read it in order to write a book review for The Saker Blog.  It is now 20 days later and I am still in awe, comparing the historical with the recent.   It is as if the same bells are ringing once again, yet they are more muted and discordant.  So my book report is that I am still on part 1, which starts before 9/11 and to 2004.  I don’t want to miss one moment of Pepe’s evocative word sketches of the War on Terror, which he calls the War on Terra, and want to take my own sweet time to read Forever Wars I and II.  Because I am reading slowly, let us then not hold up the announcement of the new book.


It is my great pleasure and honor to announce that Pepe Escobar, our friend, our colleague, fellow warrior, and outstanding journalist, has published the second part in the series, Forever Wars.

Now Pepe will take the podium:

(Amarynth exists, stage left, spots on Pepe!)


Forever Wars, recaptured in real-time

By Pepe Escobar

The 21st century, geopolitically, so far has been shaped by the U.S.- engineered Forever Wars.

Forever Wars: Afghanistan-Iraq, part 2, ranging from 2004 to 2021, is the fourth in a series of e-books recovering the Pepe Escobar archives on Asia Times.

The archives track a period of 20 years – starting with the columns and stories published under The Roving Eye sign in the previous Asia Times Online from 2001 all the way to early 2015.

The first e-book, Shadow Play, tracked the interplay between China, Russia and the U.S. between 2017-2020.

The second, Persian Miniatures, tracked the Islamic Republic of Iran throughout the “axis of evil” era, the Ahmadinejad years, the nuclear deal, and “maximum pressure” imposed by the Trump administration.

Forever Wars is divided in two parts, closely tracking Afghanistan and Iraq.

Forever Wars, part 1 starts one month before 9/11 in the heart of Afghanistan, and goes all the way to 2004.

Part 2, edited by my Asia Times colleague Bradley Martin, starts with the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Taliban adventures in Texas and goes all the way to the “Saigon moment” and the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

The unifying idea behind this e-book series is quite a challenge: to recover the excitement of what is written as “the first draft of History”.

You may read the whole two-volume compilation chronologically, as a thriller, following in detail all the plot twists and cliffhangers.

Or you may read it in a self-service way, picking a date or a particular theme.

On part 1, you will find the last interview by commander Massoud in the Panjshir before he was killed two days before 9/11; the expansion of jihad as a “thermonuclear bomb”; life in “liberated” Kabul; life in Iraq in the last year under Saddam Hussein; on the trail of al-Qaeda in the Afghan badlands; who brought us the war on Iraq.

On part 2, you will revive, among other themes:

Abu Ghraib as an American tragedy.

Fallujah as a new Guernica.

Iraq as the new Afghanistan.

The myth of Talibanistan.

The counter-insurgency absurdities in “AfPak”.

How we all remain hostages of 9/11.

The Pipelineistan Great Game.

The failing surges – in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

How was life in Talibanistan in the year 2000.

NATO designing our future already in 2010.

Afghanistan courted as a player in Eurasian connectivity.

And since July 7, the chronicle of the astonishing end of the 20-year-long Forever War in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021.

The majority of the articles, essays and interviews selected for this two-part e-book were written in Afghanistan and in Iraq and/or before and after multiple visits to both countries.

So welcome to a unique geopolitical road trip – depicting in detail the slings and arrows of outrageous (mis)fortune that will continue to shape the young 21st century.

Ride the snake.

Afghanistan, Taliban, the Resistance, and the Region

October 05, 2021

by Mansoureh Tajik for the Saker Blog

Afghanistan, Taliban, the Resistance, and the Region

Disproportionate attention has been paid to Cirque du Soleil-style departure by the United States armed forces from Afghanistan, the scene of the West’s most dragged out heist. Clumsily-written roles for Russia, China, and others that seem to be pre-scripted are bandied about in the media (right, left, and center).

The Taliban, attired in quasi-reformed dunces and utilized as convenient props for more than three decades, have now been shoved into the center stage for their final participatory act dressed as independent defiance. Initially, they were dumbfounded with the position in which they had found themselves and kept glancing at their rears with dazed looks to figure out who was it that pushed them. If it were not so tragic for the people of Afghanistan, it would be comedic.

Here, I would like to sidestep catchpenny thrills for a moment and describe the events through a regional historical and contemporary wide-angle Iranian lens. Specifically, I would like to offer evidence that fracturing Afghanistan into what is dubbed as “zones of influence” but more accurately “fragmented infernos” is a mechanism to thrust a lethal sword into the heart of the heartland of the world[1] and to force Afghanistan to metastasize spreading instability and chaos into the entire region, and more specifically into Iran, China, and Russia, in order to unravel serious economic and political upturns and advancements.

There are two overarching goals for the West, US/England to be exact, to achieve. One is to “buy time” to recuperate economically, militarily, and politically while trying to keep the rising powers down. In an article was titled “Injustices Deadline and a Nation’s Ajal” published by the Saker last year, addressed the whole “buying time” preoccupation (See Here). In that article, I discussed why I believe the AngloZionist regimes’ time is up. The other overarching goal is to disperse and reposition the Resistance forces away from the vicinities of the Occupied Palestine/Zionist Regime west of Iran to Afghanistan in its east.

Afghanistan is a major keystone species in this ecosystem. Disintegration of Afghanistan means the new “Silk Road” will first turn into a “Rough Road” and then into an “Abandoned Road” and ultimately destroys the concord among the main players in Asia. In addition, it can serve as a tool for the application of internal-external clamp-style customized and separate pressures on Iran, Russia, China, and other countries in the region.

When the Taliban took over Kabul and the US military put its full power on display last month, Ayatullah Khamenei likened their newly emerging image as a deceitful fox. He stated:

“To be fair, [US] America, behind the scene of diplomacy, is a savage wolf. The appearance is diplomacy, smiles, and talks, occasionally self-righteous and seemingly truthful talks. But in its essence, it is wolf, a wild savage wolf that one sees around the world. Of course, sometimes it takes different shapes, sometimes a wolf and sometimes a deceitful fox, a manifestations of which has been put on display in Afghanistan today.”[2]

Very well. In this article, I would present information and discuss key players in Afghanistan from an angel I have not seen discussed in other essays. First though, I would conceptualize the image of the events (and the crux of this article) in the collage below (I am not a good artist). We shall see what unfolds amounts to unzipping or zipping up.

Afghanistan: Unknown Demographics

Notable facts on the ground regarding Afghanistan are helpful in understanding the past, deciphering the present, and predicting the future. There are some facts & figures, like demographics, that serve as foundations for quantitative analysis of things. These figures must, therefore, have certain level of reality and accuracy.

Take any source of information regarding Afghanistan’s demographics, be it the UN, the CIA “fakt” book, World Bank, IMF, etc. Take any analytic and/or opinion article that uses maps and figures containing descriptive data on ethnicity, religion, and geographic distribution of people in Afghanistan. Let’s take a look at an article posted on this very blog as an example:

“Before the 1979 Soviet incursion and the 1980s jihad, that accounted for 40% to 55% of Pashtuns, 35% to 45% to Persian-speaking ethnic groups, and 10% to 15% to Turkish-speaking ethnic groups. It hasn’t changed much since.”

Let us look at a critical fact as well: In the history of Afghanistan, there has been absolutely no official or unofficial census count taken in full. Ever. Efforts undertaken by Soviet Union for an official population census count that began in 1979 amounted to little, the endeavor was aborted, data collection was abandoned midway, and the whole project was left unfinished.

Another decision was made by the so-called transition Afghan government in 2008 to take a count. The efforts then, too, suffered early miscarriage. A third attempt, planned and funded by the United Nations’ Population Fund in 2013 began a door-to-door census count beginning with the “most secure” districts at the time. That attempt ended in abortion in the first trimester. These are the facts on the ground.

In a 2013 article with a rather telling title, “Afghan census dodges questions of ethnicity and language,” The Guardian reporter, Emma Graham-Harrison wrote:

“[T]he complexity of Afghanistan’s ethnic politics means any kind of counting is controversial. The first results, from normally calm central Bamiyan province, showed an actual population barely half official estimates. The area is mostly home to Hazaras, a Shia minority who have often been persecuted in Sunni-dominated Afghanistan, and many took the findings as another form of attack. ’Death to the enemies of Bamiyan! The statistics are wrong!’ shouted more than 1,000 demonstrators as they marched on UN offices in the small town this summer, the Pajhwok news agency reported. A previous attempt to end the decades-long wait for a count of the Afghan people, in 2008, was scrapped, with the government citing security problems. In December officials even dropped plans to unveil a new estimate of the population.”[3]

Things are, of course, even more interesting than they appear. The Guardian article I cited above included a reference to a 170-pages 2012 report by Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In there, I came across a particularly noteworthy, albeit flippant, remark. It states,

“Several sources for detailed data on Afghanistan provide an amazing amount of precision for a country at war, that has had massive population displacements, and that has been in a crisis or civil war for more than three decades. The fact that such data are generated, however, in no way makes them reliable or useful. Trend data are particularly suspect because many past estimates are either made long after the fact, or rely on estimates that had to be made at a time when the Afghan government either did not have any real sources for such data, had nothing approaching its current CSO [Central Statistics Organization], and/or did not have a functioning presence in many districts throughout the country.”[4]

Even for the partial attempts of telephone or door-to-door surveys by young locals hired for the task, CSIS report is even blunter:

“This is particularly true when the analysis does not provide maps of the collection effort or relies on phone sampling and interview numbers where the collector is effectively paid by the claim or simply for providing output, and not by a validated collection effort. Corruption is not simply the privilege of senior power brokers and the wealthy.”

If precise and accurate demographic information do not serve an important function in our assessments, then we should not base any of our assessment on that. If, however, they do, it would be a good start to say, “We really don’t know what percent of who is where.” Even more importantly, if this information were not that important and guestimates with wide margins would have sufficed, why were so many attempts made and why did they all fail? Assumptions based on non-existing data are counter-productive to deep understanding of things.

At any rate, I recommend a thorough read of the above somewhat dated (almost a decade old) CSIS report for those who are interested to see into what sort of a quagmire the US had gotten itself which had become quite evident in the very first years. In addition, it gives clear and detailed description of how and why the US/West plan for Afghanistan had already fallen apart. The report exudes frustration since billions upon billions of funding were tied to specific population sub-groups, regions, and the like, all adorned with extremely meticulous stats that were fabricated year after year:

“Unfortunately, however, no one knows how much outside money is being spent on, much less inside, Afghanistan. There are no reliable figures for how the US and other ISAF countries are actually spending on the war. Moreover, there is a major security aspect of this issue. In early 2011, the US and ISAF were planning on spending some $7-9 billion a year after Transition in 2014 on the ANSF for a force of over 300,000 through 2020 – most of the financing coming from the US. As of June 2012, the US was talking about a total of $4.1 billion a year for a force of 230,000, with only 25% to come from the US, 50% from other donors, and 25% from the Afghan government. This may be a more credible and sustainable figure, but it presents a real risk that Afghanistan cannot sustain the forces it needs and will see large numbers of young men with arms and military/police experience thrust back on an economy that cannot give them anything like the same job opportunities or income.”

The plan and process appear to have been set up to fail right from the beginning.

The Taliban

Ethnically, the Taliban is Pashtun, with an apparent twist. On January 17, 2010, The Guardian headlined a report titled: “Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel: Genetic study sets out to uncover if there is a 2,700-year-old link to Afghanistan and Pakistan.” An excerpt from the article read:

“Some leading Israeli anthropologists believe that, of all the many groups in the world who claim a connection to the 10 lost tribes, the Pashtuns, or Pathans, have the most compelling case. Paradoxically, it is from the Pashtuns that the ultra-conservative Islamic Taliban movement in Afghanistan emerged. Pashtuns themselves sometimes talk of their Israelite connection, but show few signs of sympathy with, or any wish to migrate to, the modern Israeli state. Now an Indian researcher has collected blood samples from members of the Afridi tribe of Pashtuns who today live in Malihabad, near Lucknow, in northern India. Shahnaz Ali, from the National Institute of Immuno­haematology in Mumbai, is to spend several months studying her findings at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology, in Haifa.”[5]

Allow me to give a bit of background so that you could better contextualize the events. In the past few decades, projects to “Jewrize” several local populations in India, that is, to convince them they are actually one of the lost tribes of Jews and revert them back to becoming Jews, appeared to have been going rather smoothly.

Shavei Israel, a supposed non-profit organization, “has been spearheading the movement to bring back Jews from the lost tribe looking to immigrate to Israel and have coordinated the aliyah (immigration) of most of the Bnei Menashe community members living in Israel[6]. On May 31, 2021, it was reported that: “Some 160 Jews from the north-eastern Indian community of Bnei Menashe reached Israel on Monday but 115 others were left behind in India after 38 of them tested positive for COVID-19, according to authorities here.”[Ibid]

I must also note that evidence on the ground, however, shows the communities inside Israel are not that receptive to this sort of “grafting” and, in fact, said efforts have had destabilizing effects inside the Israeli society itself. On the other hand, in the communities within India, where a noteworthy number of people have been convinced of their “Jewish” origin 27 centuries later, good many have been trained to serve as 5th columns, pressure levers, and sticks over Indian government’s head.

Since 1970’s into 1980’s, Israel has been busy with similar projects to wake the Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan to their “Jewish” origins. Just a few days ago, on September 9th, 2021 to be exact, the Jerusalem Post ran an article titled: “Are the Taliban descendants of Israel?” The article goes on to assert:

“The Pashtuns, or Pathans, are said to number in the tens of millions, with the bulk living in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. They consist of several hundred clans and tribes that have fiercely preserved their heritage amid waves of foreign conquest and occupation. Prior to the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the region, many of the Pashtuns declared themselves to be what they referred to as Bani Israel (Sons of Israel), an oral tradition that their ancestors passed down through the generations.”

“The mere possibility of a shared historical identity could serve as a basis for discussion between Jews and Pashtuns, one that could lead to a dampening of hostility and suspicion and perhaps lay the groundwork for a stronger relationship in the future. In light of their fanatical theology, the Taliban are of course not an address for such efforts. But there are plenty of other Pashtuns worldwide with whom we should seek to build bridges, whether or not one believes them to be our long-lost cousins.”[7]

There your have it, Taliban! Your “cousins” are knocking. What’s going to be? While Taliban is pondering “to be or not to be” a Zionist or a Zionist puppet, at the least, a bit more specific background might be useful. An Iranian specialist on Afghanistan, Muhammad Ruhi, who was interviewed by IRIB a few months back, stated: “During 70’s and 80’s, Zionist organizations conducted significant activities to ‘Jewrize’ various Pashtun tribes of Afghanistan by employing and developing young Pashtuns in Beirut, Lebanon, and some other Western countries.”[8]

A well-known character who benefited from those sorts of activities was none other than Zalmay Khalilzad. An anthropologist who was formerly with Northern Illinois University, Dr. Muhammad Jamil Hanifi, who is also a contributor to the website Khorasan Zamin, wrote an essay (2015) titled: “Afghanistan in the Claws of Zionized Imperial Feminism.” In that essay, he referenced Khalilzad’s and Ghani’s past and presented interesting thoughts on the role they and their respective Zionist wives have been playing in Afghanistan. The essay followed the broadcast of an interview Rula Ghani (Ashraf Ghani’s wife) had done with BBC. Hanini stated,

“Rula Saade Ghani’s desire for Afghan men to become like her father or husband, her aspirations to Christianize the women of Afghanistan, her demand of more respect for Afghan women, and her consciousness about the presence of Judaism (see below) in her matrilineage, offer an opportunity to speak to her laments, longings, and aspirations and to identify and historicize the social context in which her cosmologies for changing social life in Afghanistan were constructed. An important layer of this context consists of a quartet: two Kabuli young boys—Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Zalmay Khalilzad—seeking “higher education” and two hypermodern young women—Rula Saade, a Europeanized Lebanese Zionist Christian and Cheryl Benard, a Euro-American staunch Zionist Jew. All four contemporaneously attended the ultra-liberal American University of Beirut (AUB) during the early 1970s. Ashraf Ghani and Zalmay Khalilzad are prominent names in the American political discourse about the occupation of Afghanistan from its first step during October 2001 to the present.”

“Here I wish to draw attention to the young women (especially Rula Ghani) in this quartet and reflect on how these two women and the two Kabuli boys coalesced into one of the most influential bands of Zionized feminists and feminized compradors in the service of the American imperial savagery in Afghanistan. How did two Western-struck Kabuli boys and their Western Zionist wives end up playing such crucial roles in the bloody American destruction of Afghanistan? Specifically, how did a Westernized hypermodern fiery feminist Lebanese Christian woman (with Zionist genes) end up being the “banu-ye awal” (Farsi, first lady) of Afghanistan being interviewed by the BBC in the presidential palace of Afghanistan?” [9]

It is useful to remember that Zalmay Khalilzad was in charge of negotiation with Taliban and served under Bush, Obama, Trump, and Biden until he fully handed Afghanistan back to Taliban.

Just as a side note, it might be interesting for you to note that Wikipedia reports the following information about Dr. Hanifi, the author of the essay quoted above:

“Hanifi received his Master’s degree from Michigan State University, and his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Hanifi was a faculty member at Northern Illinois University and under consideration for the chairmanship of the Department of Anthropology when allegations of plagiarism in his dissertation surfaced. He wound up resigning from the university. He is no longer affiliated with the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University.”[10]

People in the US have “freedom of speech” but whoever interpreted it to mean “freedom of consequences of speech” is beyond me.

It is well beyond the reasonable length of this essay to go into more details. I think there is enough material to give the gist of events that are unfolding. I would like to go back to the Muhammad Ruhi’s interview referenced earlier and quote him in the conclusion of his interview in which he summed the situation with a question posed to Taliban:

“This is a critical test to verify the truthfulness of Taliban’s knowledge of Islam and their love of the motherland. For Taliban, cleansing their hands and garbs of collaborating with Islam’s oldest sworn enemy and rejecting Zionist Regime’s claim regarding Jewish origin of Pashtun and Taliban is at the moment more critical and necessary than talks with the [US] America to obtain all seats to power in Afghanistan. This is also a test for other groups and tribes who claim some sort of Islamic rule in Afghanistan. At what price are they going to achieve their claims to power?”[8]

He went further and called for unity among all people of Afghanistan:

“It is, therefore, imperative for all ethnic groups, warriors, fighters, opposing groups, Ansar, all Afghans, young and old, regardless of their religion, school of thought, and tradition, to save the territorial integrity of Afghanistan. Of the utmost importance at this juncture is preserving Afghanistan as one cohesive nation and cutting off the hands of the ill-wishers. Let Afghanistan not to become another Occupied Palestine. With collaboration and participation of all groups and respect for all religions of God, the people of this country could ward off the danger the [US] America and the occupying regime of Al-Qos has concocted for our region.”[Ibid]

Taliban Not Involved in Iranian diplomats’ Massacre. On Mordad 17, 1377 [August 8, 1998], a group of armed men dressed like Taliban stormed into the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Consulate in Mazar Sharif, Afghanistan. They took nine Iranian diplomats and a reporter to a room in the basement of the Consulate, opened fired on 9 diplomats and an Iranian reporter. Taliban returned to the Consulate that night, threw the bodies of 8 diplomats and the reporter in a well in Sultan Razi school yard right behind the Consulate. One severely injured diplomat by the name of Allah Madad Shahsevan managed to escape and return to Iran. In an interview with Iranian Students News Agency on Bahman 27, 1393 [February 16, 2015], he described the events as follows:

“I dislike speaking about myself. However, since this story concludes with me, I am forced to speak. Seventeen years has passed since Mazar Sherif’s incident. For 17 year, for specific reasons, they left me in isolation. Although I love life and work hard, but I received treatments that I wished I would have been martyred, too. The martyrdom of those beloved people was bitter but since this one person had survived that event, it was sweet. I review the scenes with myself and I realize without a doubt, it was a real miracle. I journeyed 800 kilometer, sometimes on foot and sometimes in a vehicle, to get myself to the border. I did not show any weakness.”

“I had communicated with Tehran two months earlier and had explained the situation in Mazar Sharif. In Mazar Sharif, the amount of work was so much that I would begin work in the morning while it was still dark. I found out the Balkh Brigade had fallen and Taliban commanders had bought this brigade and Afghanistan’s Minister of Interior had told the commander of this brigade they will send a helicopter to get him over the border. When I heard this, I knew everything was finished. I immediately began hiding and destroying the special files. I woke everyone up and told them Mazar Sharif had fallen. I helped [Martyr] Saremi to communicate the news [to Tehran].”

“My work was such that I knew a lot. When [Martyr] Rigi who was the head consular told me I must stay, I obeyed. Otherwise, the conditions were such that I wanted to collect my belonging and return to Tehran. They told me to stay and I stayed but I also told them about the threats.”

“After these events, I found out this was an operation conducted by Pakistan since before then, they had told us from Tehran that ‘we have put you under the protection of Pakistanis.’ When this group came in, it was clear they were operating separately from Taliban. They had an order. They executed it and immediately left the scene. When one of those who had stormed in [to the Consulate] asked if he could contact Pakistan, I began to doubt them. Right then and there, I knew this was Pakistan’s work. After I had reached the Foreign Ministry and told them this, Mr. Brojerdi who was a special envoy in Afghanistan affairs just confessed that the operation had been done by Pakistan.”[11]

Alaeddin Brojerdy was then President Khatami’s special envoy to Afghanistan at that time. In an interview published on Mehr 16, 1391 [Oct. 7, 2012] by Mashregh News, he explained:

“Two to three days later, group of Taliban came to Mazar Sharif and killed our people. Of course, they had an order to do this. Mr. Jafarian (who has made a documentary about this) told me something that was quite significant. He told me a high-ranking ISI officer [Pakistani Intelligence] who had some position at that time had somehow relayed the news our embassy in Pakistan about a month before it happened that ISI has made this decision and was going to carry it out. He had said he was baffled as to why the information was not sent back to Iran.”[12]

When directly asked if indeed Taliban had killed the Iranian diplomats, Mr. Brojerdi said, “Multiple evidence show that this massacre was not the work of Taliban. Even Mr. Jafarian believes that Pakistan feared a closer relationship between Taliban and Iran.

Mohammad Hussain Jafarian was the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cultural attaché in Afghanistan from 1375 to 1377 [1996 to 1998]. He also made a documentary titled “Who killed us?” and was interviewed by Quds Online News and said, “Taliban had not part in the martyrdom of our diplomats.” In making the documentary, he explained how he went to that building in Mazar Sharif with “Allah Madad Shahsavan” so that the scene can be fully constructed. He also interviewed Wahidullah Mojdeh who had been one of Taliban’s commanders at the time:

“He [Mojdeh] vigorously denied Taliban’s role. He was quite logical. ‘For what would we want the dead bodies of diplomats? Could we have obtained important intelligence from them? Could we have used them as hostages to exert pressure on Iran for something? If the goal was punishing Iran, we could have constructed some sort of scene in which two or three people would be injured or killed. What sane mind would say this would have had any benefit what so ever for Taliban to order the massacre of the diplomats?’ Why of all foreign consulates in the city of Mazar Sharif, only the Iranian diplomats suffered that fate?!”[13]

At the same time, the Zionist-driven media outlets were quite busy beating the drums of war between Iran and Afghanistan:

Inside September 11, 1998 article, it was written though: “The Taliban, who control most of Afghanistan, said the Iranians had been killed by renegade forces who had acted without orders. But Iran, which had responded to the diplomats’ disappearance with a major military buildup along the Afghan border, appeared in no mood for swift forgiveness.”

And September 12, 1998 article reported: “Some Iranian officials took pains today to emphasize that Iran would not be drawn into hasty action. But the public declarations compounded an atmosphere of heavy tension already overlaid by an Iranian troop buildup along the Afghan border.”

CNN, Guardian, and multiple other mainstream media were salivating over the prospect of a war. However, getting the Islamic Republic of Iran into a war of attrition with Taliban in Afghanistan while reconstruction of the country after 8-year Iraq-Iran war was still ongoing was a dream of the US Inc. that never materialized.

I conclude this section by an excerpt from Ayatullah Khamenei, the Leader for piloting this ship in very turbulent waters:

“I quoted something from a well-known [US] American officials. Later s/he denied it. Apparently, they confessed that they themselves created these currents. Even if they had not confessed, we have evidence. We know. I don’t forget, late Sheykh Saeed Sha’ban – brining up his name now is not a problem – he was a well-known Sunni scholar in Mashhad. At that time, it was during the war [Iraq-Iran war during ‘80’s]. He told me, ‘I have information they are working to get you busy and involved in your eastern borders.’ I said, ‘Well, to our east is Afghanistan.’ He said, ‘Yes. From Afghanistan.’ This was before any of those talks about Taliban and Al-Qaedah in Afghanistan had taken shape. He had connections with all sorts of political and religious circles of Ahl-e Sunnah. He was present in sensitive places and was a very respectable character and had become aware of this. He said to me, ‘I feel it was my obligation to tell you.’”

“Before long, these events occurred and we understood they were as he said. There is no doubt that these currents are created by these very Western powers and their agents in the region. Now, sometimes they do not enter into the scene directly and enter others. But sometimes they act directly.”[14]

The Fatemiyoun

The Fatemiyoun unit is the Afghan arm of Qods Force and a significant fighting unit in Syria against ISIS and other terrorists. In a video documentary “The Time to Be,” the formation of the Fatemiyoun, why they joined the Qods Force, and some of their operational encounters are explained.

The documentary is in Farsi and I have chosen to translate specific excerpts of the transcript for you in this article. The excerpts are limited. However, they could give some clues into why there might be a sudden surge in media propaganda (especially in Western-funded Persian language media) urging the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the Fatemiyoun into some sort of “intervention” in Afghanistan:

“It was around the year ’90 [2011], some events in Syria had taken place the news of which got to us as well. People protests were happening…and these people’s protests began to gradually take a new shape. Gradually, it transformed into chaos and armed battle and increasingly fighters from other countries began to pour into Syria. They advanced their ways toward Muslims’ holy places to destroy them…And we began to feel the danger that this movement of theirs go towards Hazrat Zeynab’s (Salaamullah Alayha) holy shrine. Our honor was threatened and we needed to do something.”

“One day Mr. Tavasolli, we were friends, we knew each other, he came and said, ‘have you heard the news? Of what has happened?’ I said, ‘yes.’ He said, ‘Are you to be?’ I asked, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, “Right now, there is a war in Syria. This war has advanced to haram of Hazrat Zaynab (SA). There is a probability the desecration that happened to the tomb of Hujr Ibn Aday to be brought upon the tomb of Hazrat Zaynab (SA).’ I said, ‘Of course we are. Why wouldn’t we Be?!’ Mr. Tavasolli said, ‘So, what should we do? What is the solution? How can we enter?’”

“There were all these questions and we had no information. So, there was not much talk after that. He said, ‘Very well, then. We will let you know. But you just be alert and prepared so that whenever we called you, you would be ready.’ I said, ‘For sure.’ That was it. We made our decision right then and there.”

Thus the time “to Be” arrived and the journey began. Over the following few months and after much ups and downs, a small group of Afghans were deployed to Syria on Ordibehesht of 1392 [April 2013]. They had no formal unit and were placed with Heydarioun unit of Iraqi forces. Sayyad Mousavi narrates:

“Because there were very of us, they didn’t take us seriously at first. In the very first operation in Ferrosiah, they sent us to an area and told us to go and take that area and secure it. Iraqi brothers were to our right and Hizbullah brothers were to our left. So, we were all supposed to conduct a coordinated attack and take the region.”

“As soon as the operation began, our kids went and got the entire area and even took a few houses beyond that. That means, before Lebanese kids and Iraqi kids did anything, our kids took the region and secured it and went a few houses beyond that. So, they kept on asking through the wireless where we were and we told them where, they kept on saying, ‘no, that is impossible because the terrorists are herehere and here. We want to make sure to know where you are so that we could begin the operation and hit those points.’”

“So, we told them not to hit because we were there. They said, ‘there is no way possible that you are there.’ We told them that no, we were there and gave them signals to show them we had secured the region… Here was when they realized these kids are good warriors. Gradually, Afghan forces increased and experience showed that any operation in which they participated they gained victory…That was when they gave these kids an axial position and more ammunition.”

“One day we were at Forousiyyah base, Mr. Tavasolli said that every group here has a name and we should choose a name for our unit. He said, ‘Iraqis are called Haydariyoun; Lebanese are Hizbullah, so, we, too, should have an identity.’ So, we said we came for the love of Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (SA), we call ourselves Fatemiyoun.”

The above excerpts give some information about the formation of the Fatemiyoun. However, it is at 15:31 into the documentary that things get more interestingly relevant. Three warriors (one of whom, Abu Hamed aka Mr. Tavassoli who was martyred later) are standing atop a hill overlooking Golan Heights in the horizon. It is the voice of Abu Hamed:

“Here is now Tal Mari’ah [Mari’ah mount]. The final mission is that white high mountain ahead of us which is Golan Heights and in the hands of Israelis. And now we are very close to Israel.”

Another voice says,

“Haj Agha, what is the plan? When are we going to go to there, Inshallah? Abu Hamed responded, ‘In the Summer!’ ‘Tal-a-Qarin, under a heavy bombardment by the enemy…’ In Tal-a-Qarin different and unusual events happened. The kids [i.e. Fatemiyoun fighters] were now in a one-to-one fight with the enemy [Israelis] …gun-to-gun and face-to-face in a real face off…”

Abu Hamed (Marty Alireza Tavasolli) was martyred in Tal-a-Qarin on Esfand 9, 1393 [February 28, 2015]. In the final few minutes of the video, the crux of the presence of Fatemiyoun in Syria is explained:

“The hardships of which I spoke were not even a fraction of the hardship the kids endured. The kids in Edlib, too, were fighting for the love of fighting with Israel. The battles in Edlib and Tedmore is just a preparation for the Fatemiyoun kids for a fight against Zionists. We truly love fighting these cowards. They are more of cowards than what is talked about them. Israel and [US] America with the help of their sycophants began this fire so that they could increase Israel’s security and reduce the power of the Resistance. But they committed a grave mistake because a force like Fatemiyoun was added to the Resistance’s camp. And till we have not brought the life of Zionists to its end, we are not going to let go. In remembering Abu Hamed an in his memory, we will continue his path until there is no Zionist is left.”

When some previews of that documentary had been released, newspapers in Israel went into a panic mode[15].

Fork in the Taliban’s Road

Atlantic Council headlined an article on August 20, 2021, that read: “Iran spent years preparing for Taliban victory. It may still get stung.”[16] Within the first few opening paragraphs and in the closing paragraphs, the article did not fail in being quite predictable:

In opening paragraphs: “Twenty-three years ago, the Taliban murdered eleven diplomats and a journalist at Tehran’s mission in Mazar-i-Sharaf, nearly sparking a war between the two countries.”

In closing paragraphs: “Even as Iranian officials boasted that the embassy in Kabul and consulate in Herat would remain open, the foreign ministry revealed on August 15 that it quietly shuttered missions in Jalalabad, Kandahar and, of course, Mazar-e Sharif, where the Taliban murdered Iranian personnel.”

I am not too sure whether Atlantic Council is more worried about the Iranians’ safety and security or is anxious to separate the Pashtun cousins from their Muslim roots so that they could find and embrace their supposed Jewish roots in isolation from the region.

I am dead certain, however, that only Taliban and Pashtun could demonstrate with their actions whether they are with the Zionists or with the people of Afghanistan and their Muslim brothers in the region.

References

[1] Mackinder HJ (1904). “The Geographical Pivot of History.” The Geographical Journal, No. 4, Vol. 23, Pages 421-437.

[2] Ayatullah Khamenei. Speech delivered during visit with the new president [Ayatullah Raisi] and the members of the 13th Administration on Shahrivar 6, 1400 [August 28, 1400]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=48588

[3] Graham-Harris E. “Afghan census dodges questions of ethnicity and language: Door-to-door interviewers embark on controversial project to count population of country for first time since 1979.” Thu 3 Jan 2013 17.47 GMT. Accessed online at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/03/afghan-census-questions-of-ethnicity

[4] Cordesman AH, Gold B, and Mann ST (2012). “The Afghan War: Creating the Economic Conditions and Civil-Military and Efforts Needed for Transition.” Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Sept. 18, 2012. Accessed online at: http://www.CSIS.org/burke/reports

[5] McCarthy R. (2010). “Pashtun clue to lost tribes of Israel.” The Guardian, Sunday, January 17, 2010. Accessed online at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/17/israel-lost-tribes-pashtun

[6] Harinder Mishra (2021). 160 Indian Jews immigrate to Israel, several left behind after testing positive.” Outlook, 31 May 2021; Last Updated at 7:14 pm. Accessed online at: https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/160-indian-jews-immigrate-to-israel-several-left-behind-after-testing-positive/2093378

[7] Michael Freund (2021). “Are the Taliban descendants of Israel?” The Jerusalem Post, September 9, 2021 @ 04:16. Accessed online at: https://www.jpost.com/opinion/are-the-taliban-descendants-of-israel-678995

[8] Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency, “[US] America’s peace with Taliban or Jewrizing Afghanistan?” Ordibehesht 15, 1400 [May 5, 2021] @ 7:10; News Code: 3096197; Accessed online at: https://www.iribnews.ir/00CzSf

[9] M. Jamil Hanifi (2015). “Afghanistan in the Claws of Zionized Imperial Feminism.” Khorasan Zamin, January 30, 2015. Accessed online at: https://www.khorasanzameen.net/php/en/read.php?id=2873

[10] M. Jamil Hanifi, Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Jamil_Hanifi

[11] Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA). “Untold Account of the only survivor of Terror of the Iranian Diplomats.” Monday, Bahman 27, 1393 @ 14:23 pm, News Code: 93112715048. Accessed Online at: https://www.isna.ir/news/93112715048/

[12] Mashregh News. “Broujerdi interview, Khatami Administration had recognized Taliban Government.” Mehr 16, 1391 [October 7, 2012], @ 16:57; News Code: 160945. Accessed online at: mshrgh.ir/160945

[13] QUDSonline: News-Analytical Website. “A documented account of the martyrdom of Iranian diplomats in Mazar Sharif.” Azar 6, 1393, @ 00:51; News Code: 249169. Accessed online at: http://www.qudsonline.ir/news/249169/

[14] Ayatullah Khamenei. Speech delivered in a visit with members of the Assembly of Khobregan Rahbari on Shahrivar 13, 1393 [September 4, 2014]. Accessed online at: https://farsi.khamenei.ir/speech-content?id=27356

[15] Seth J. Frantzman. “Iran’s Afghan mercenaries threaten Israel: Final target is the Golan.” The Jerusalem Post, December 24, 2019 @ 14:23. Accessed online at: https://www.jpost.com/middle-east/irans-afghan-mercenaries-threaten-israel-from-golan-611967

[16] Borzou Daragahi. “Iran spent years preparing for a Taliban victory. It may still get stung.” Atlantic Council, Friday, August 20, 2021. Accessed online at: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/iransource/iran-spent-years-preparing-for-a-taliban-victory-it-may-still-get-stung/

Imposing Human Rights conditions on Afghan Government.

September 15, 2021

Imposing Human Rights conditions on Afghan Government.

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

The US is exerting pressure on the Afghan Government for respecting human rights. Also, the US is lobbying with its allies to exert pressure on Afghanistan and should not recognize their legitimacy unless they meet few demands, among which is Human rights at the top of the list.

What the US was doing in Afghanistan for twenty years? Was it in respect of Human rights? Bombing Marriage parties, funeral ceremonies, Mosques, Shrines, Schools, Hospitals, was respecting Human rights? Dropping Mother of all bombs, extensive use of force, weapons, and ammunition was it the respect of Human rights? Use of dirty tricks, and high-tech weapons and technologies, was in respect to Human rights? The US was maintaining several jails in Afghanistan, was it in respect of Human Rights? Keeping many detention centers, was it in respect of Human rights? Creation of so many torture cells, was it the rest of Human rights? So many investigation centers, was am to protect human rights? The US involved 46 countries to attack Afghanistan was it human rights exercise? Additional 11 countries also supported in war against Afghanistan, was it aimed to protect human rights? Keeping 150,000 troops in Afghanistan (peek time), was it respecting human rights? Killing innocent citizens, children, civilians, women, elder people, was part of the American Human Rights adventure? Use of drones and killing Taxi driver along with his two young children, was it also the respect of Human right? Excessive use of powers, draconian laws, and extrajudicial killings, was part of US policy of Human Rights? How many women were raped, insulted, humiliated, is this American rest to Human rights? Child abuse was a common phenomenon, is this the American way of resting human rights? Shame! Shame! Shame!

The US has no moral authority to talk about Human Rights and put extraordinary conditions on the Afghan Government and irrational excuses to coerce Afghans. The entire world knows, what happened in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and in many other countries, the American role is very much obvious and known to everyone. The US is a partner in extreme violations of Human rights in Palestine and Kashmir. The US is extending extraordinary support to Israel and India, which are notorious for Human rights violations. Yet, if the US is talking about human rights, is beyond our imaginations. A country, who is committing the worst human rights violations, is talking about Human rights, is not matching its actions and words. Even, inside America, what so ever is happening with minorities, immigrants, and black people, is well-known to everyone.

American human rights violations and war crimes in Afghanistan must be trial and fix responsibilities on all individuals involved. Punish them according to respective law according to the degree of crime and level of involvement.

However, in Afghanistan, life is rapidly restoring toward normalcy. 20 years of American illegitimate occupation has ended and the Taliban are restoring peace, stability, and law & order situation, which is improving gradually. Now people feel safer and secure. Government offices are functioning properly. Women are working with full confidence as usual. Girls are getting an education in a routine matter. Taliban government has ensured the safety of all its citizens. People of Afghanistan are happy and have welcomed the Taliban.

Taliban are real representatives of Afghanistan and very much loyal and sincere with their country and enjoy public support and trust. Unlike President Noor Muhamad Turkey, President Hafizullah Amin, President Babrak Karmal, and President Dr. Najeeb, who were traitors and planted by the USSR, and were working on foreign agenda, the Taliban are keeping the Afghan interest at the top. Unlike President Hamid Karzai, and President Ashraf Ghani, who were CIA agents, and puppets, and installed by the US. Both of them were implementing and serving their masters. Taliban are Afghans and serving Afghans only.

If the US demands to include such traitors, it may not be possible, as it is illogical to bring traitors and foreign agents back. Taliban fought for twenty years for freedom and finally defeated the US. Taliban has sacrificed many precious lives, close relatives, suffered jails, tortures, and exiles, and now after victory, they have the right to form their own government. It is their legal and legitimate right, the world must accept this fact and realize it, the sooner the better.

Taliban are true Afghans, they understand their culture, traditions, and tribal society, and they will form a system of government, which suits Afghanistan. There is no need for any dictation from the outside world. Let Afghans lead their country and manage their affairs in the best possible manner, which suits them. Outside interference needs to reach an end. The status of human rights in Afghanistan under Taliban rule is much better than in the last twenty years of American occupation. People feel relaxed and thank the Taliban for providing them dignity, safety, respect, and protection. Under American occupation, no one was sure that if he or she leaves home, and come back safe. Any time anywhere anything can happen, as the US troops were wild and treating Afghans just like sheep and goats, mistreating them, insulting and humiliating them. Especially, the women can be raped, tortured, humiliated by troops. How many young Afghan girls were smuggled and trafficked to America and Europe to work in the sex industry? Can Americans justify it as human rights? Taliban has provided respect and protection to women. Majority of women are very happy with Taliban rule. Exceptions must be there, we may not deny exceptional cases, but vast majority of women are happy and satisfied.

Taliban were freedom fighters and won the long war of twenty years against a superpower and they are competent and equipped with all modern knowledge. They understand how to manage a country and how to run a country. Of course, they are facing huge challenges, but these challenges are created artificially by the US and its allies. Like freezing Afghan assets, using IMF, World Bank, International Financial Institutions, and donors, to coerce Afghans.

The US has planned something else, but what happens is the opposite. The US evacuated its troops from Afghanistan in a haphazard manner to create a vacuum, leading toward civil war. The US deployed around twenty thousand private defense contractors to create unrest and civil war in Afghanistan. The US shifted ISIS-K to Afghanistan, equipped them, funded them, and provided those training, to create unrest and civil war in Afghanistan. But on the ground Taliban has managed very well and avoided any civil war or unrest on the ground. The US is desperate, taking measures to destabilize the new government in Afghanistan.

The US is using various tricks to destabilize Afghanistan, it includes economic measures, human rights excuses, women’s rights, etc. to create unrest. The US is pursuing allies and other countries to exert pressure on Afghanistan to achieve its ill-designs. Pakistan is facing such pressure from the US. Unfortunate!

However, the Taliban performed very well on grounds, and the world has seen and witnessed that the Taliban are capable and honest, kind, gentle, competent. Taliban got international recognition already. The Qatar deputy foreign Minister has already paid an official visit. Many other countries are ready to establish good relations with the new Government as soon as they announce formally.

The Whole region suffered a lot due to the American invasion of Afghanistan for twenty years, and cannot afford any further unrest. All the regional countries with a stable, safe, and prosperous Afghanistan. If few countries like America, want to spoil it, may not succeed.

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

Taliban seeking vital Chinese investments to rebuild Afghan economy: Video Report

September 13, 2021

Taliban seeking vital Chinese investments to rebuild Afghan economy: Video Report

Original link: http://middleeastobserver.net/taliban-seeking-vital-chinese-investments-to-rebuild-afghan-economy-video-report/https://www.youtube.com/embed/V_wVtjTaiY0?feature=oembed

Description:

News report on the Taliban movement’s efforts to secure vital Chinese investments to rebuild Afghanistan’s economy and infrastructure.https://thesaker.is/taliban-seeking-vital-chinese-investments-to-rebuild-afghan-economy-video-report/

Source: Al Jazeera (YouTube)

(Please help MEO keep producing independent translations for you by contributing a sustainable monthly amount https://www.patreon.com/MiddleEastObserver?fan_landing=true)

Transcript: 

Reporter:

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s reception of leaders of the Taliban movement at the end of July is the first indicator of the nature of future cooperation between the two sides, even before the movement’s entry into the Afghan capital of Kabul in mid-August.

The Taliban has a cooperative relationship with China, which shares a border with Afghanistan that is only 76 kilometers long. The (Taliban) movement says it hopes to secure much-needed economic benefits and Chinese investment in Afghanistan.

The Taliban spokesman noted that China’s assistance will help the movement to revitalize the country’s economy, and added that China is a vital outlet for Afghanistan into the international market, especially because access to foreign markets is hampered by sanctions and the absence of international recognition. Thus, cooperation with China is a timely opportunity for the Taliban movement.

Access to these markets requires a modern transportation network, which prompted the Chinese Sany Group to express its willingness to invest in Afghanistan. The company contributes to establishing what is known as the Belt and Road Initiative, a project (through which) China plans to expand its international trade influence.

China has long sought to include Afghanistan in the China-Pakistan economic corridor, a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the Taliban confirmed that it supports this initiative since it serves the development and prosperity of the region.

Another vital challenge for the Taliban movement is the power crisis, an (area) which would form a major investment opportunity, as only 35% of Afghans have access to electricity, and 70% of Afghanistan’s electricity needs are imported from abroad.

As for the rich natural wealth and reserves that Afghanistan enjoys, they seem to be a priority in the joint plans for cooperation, considering that the Taliban confirmed that copper mines in Afghanistan will be back in operation with the help of China.

9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

September 11, 2021

9/11: A U.S. Deep State Insider Speaks …

An 8 part tweet stream by Pepe Escobar and posted with his permission

Pepe has two requests as follows:

  • Please retweet as much as possible
  • Please alert the Saker community – because at least parts of this thread may be “disappeared”, post-Allende-style, in no time. These are the parts that totally destroy the official narrative.

9/11: A U.S. DEEP STATE INSIDER SPEAKS Old school. Top clearance. Extremely discreet. Attended secret Deep State meetings on 9-11. Tired of all the lies. The following is what’s fit to print without being redacted.

Part 1 THE PHONE CALL. Up next.

“An emergency phone conference was held in the early afternoon of 9/11 based on the fact that WTC Building Number Seven was still standing. Demolitions were engineered to cause the building, as well as the others, to fall into its own footprint. I attended this call.”

Part 2 On WTC7: “No plane hit Building Number Seven.” “The CIA was brought to cover it up. The CIA set up failed asset bin Laden to blame as misdirection, then pulled the plug on Building Number Seven.” “The CIA doctored boarding tapes to show Arabs entering the planes.”

Part 3 On Mullah Omar: “Our CIA Arabists knew that if we blamed Osama, who was innocent of 9-11, Mullah Omar would not give him up in violation of the laws of Islamic hospitality. Mullah Omar requested evidence: then he would turn Osama over. Of course, we did not want that.”

Part 4 On heroin: “The Afghanistan heroin war was justified by 9-11. No one in Afghanistan was involved in 9/11. No member of Islam was involved. We invaded Afghanistan for only one purpose, which was to restart heroin production shut down by a righteous act of Mullah Omar.”

Part 5 On CIA and heroin: “CIA heroin plantations in Afghanistan funded external, clandestine operations and lined some important people’s pockets. That was common practice when the CIA ran the heroin operation in the Golden Triangle.”

Part 6 On MOTIVE: “It was never in the U.S. strategic interest to lay a curse on Islam in the West.” “9-11 was a kind of Gulf of Tonkin false flag operation justifying a war on Islam and the invasion of Iraq, followed by other invasions of Islamic nations.”

Part 7 Afghanistan-Iraq: “The Taliban loved us as they did not know that we lured Russia into Afghanistan. It was idiotic to think that they wanted to hurt their ally on 9-11.” “With Iraq invaded over a new falsity, the neocons created a war of hatred against Islam.”

Part 8 Who’s in charge: “The apex of the U.S. command structure is not the presidency. It’s the Deep State. I use that term even though we did not as it is commonly used.”

9/9 and 9/11, 20 years later

September 09, 2021

9/9 and 9/11, 20 years later

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

It’s impossible not to start with the latest tremor in a series of stunning geopolitical earthquakes.

Exactly 20 years after 9/11 and the subsequent onset of the Global War on Terror (GWOT), the Taliban will hold a ceremony in Kabul to celebrate their victory in that misguided Forever War.

Four key exponents of Eurasia integration – China, Russia, Iran and Pakistan – as well as Turkey and Qatar, will be officially represented, witnessing the official return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. As blowbacks go, this one is nothing short of intergalactic.

Massoud leaving Bazarak in the Panjshir after our interview in August 2001, roughly three weeks before his assassination. Photo: Pepe Escobar

The plot thickens when we have Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid firmly stressing “there is no proof” Osama bin Laden was involved in 9/11. So “there was no justification for war, it was an excuse for war,” he claimed.

Only a few days after 9/11, Osama bin Laden, never publicity-shy, released a statement to Al Jazeera: “I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks, which seems to have been planned by people for personal reasons (…) I have been living in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and following its leaders’ rules. The current leader does not allow me to exercise such operations.”

On September 28, Osama bin Laden was interviewed by the Urdu newspaper Karachi Ummat. I remember it well, as I was commuting non-stop between Islamabad and Peshawar, and my colleague Saleem Shahzad, in Karachi, called it to my attention.

Saudi-born alleged terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in a video taken ‘recently’ at a secret site in Afghanistan. This was aired by Al Jazeera on October 7, 2001, the day the US launched retaliatory bombing of terrorist camps, airbases and air defense installations in the first stage of its campaign against the Taliban regime for sheltering bin Laden. Photo: AFP / Al Jazeera screen grab

This is an approximate translation by the CIA-linked Foreign Broadcast Information Service: “I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. Neither I had any knowledge of these attacks nor I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children and other people.

“I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it.

“Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country or ideology could survive. Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year (…) They need an enemy.”

This was the last time Osama bin Laden went public, substantially, about his alleged role in 9/11. Afterward, he vanished, and seemingly forever by early December 2001 in Tora Bora: I was there, and revisited the full context years later.

And yet, like an Islamic James Bond, Osama kept performing the miracle of dying another day, over and over again, starting in – where else – Tora Bora in mid-December, as reported by the Pakistani Observer and then Fox News.

So 9/11 remained a riddle inside an enigma. And what about 9/9, which might have been the prologue to 9/11?

Arriving in the Panjshir valley in one of Massoud’s Soviet helicopters in August 2001. Photo: Pepe Escobar  

A green light from a blind sheikh

“The commander has been shot.”

The terse email, on 9/9, offered no details. Contacting the Panjshir was impossible – sat-phone reception is spotty. Only the next day it was possible to establish Ahmad Shah Massoud, the legendary Lion of the Panjshir, had been assassinated – by two al-Qaeda jihadis posing as a camera crew.

In our Asia Times interview with Massoud, by August 20, he had told me he was fighting a triad: al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Pakistani ISI. After the interview, he left in a Land Cruiser and then went by helicopter to Kwaja-Bahauddin, where he would finish the details of a counter-offensive against the Taliban.

This was his second-to-last interview before the assassination and arguably the last images – shot by photographer Jason Florio and with my mini-DV camera – of Massoud alive.

One year after the assassination, I was back in the Panjshir for an on-site investigation, relying only on local sources and confirmation on some details from Peshawar. The investigation is featured in the first part of my Asia Times e-book Forever Wars.

The conclusion was that the green light for the fake camera crew to meet Massoud came via a letter sponsored by CIA crypto-asset warlord Abdul Rasul Sayyaf – as a “gift” to al-Qaeda.

In December 2020, inestimable Canadian diplomat Peter Dale Scott, author among others of the seminal The Road to 9/11 (2007), and Aaron Good, editor at CovertAction magazine, published a remarkable investigation about the killing of Massoud, following a different trail and relying mostly on American sources.

They established that arguably more than Sayyaf, the mastermind of the killing was notorious Egyptian blind sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, then serving a life sentence in a US federal prison for his involvement in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993.

Among other nuggets, Dale Scott and Good also confirmed what former Pakistani foreign minister Niaz Naik had told Pakistani media already in 2001: the Americans had everything in place to attack Afghanistan way before 9/11.

In Naik’s words: “We asked them [the American delegates], when do you think you will attack Afghanistan? … And they said, before the snow falls in Kabul. That means September, October, something like that.”

As many of us established over the years after 9/11, everything was about the US imposing itself as the undisputed ruler of the New Great Game in Central Asia. Peter Dale Scott now notes, “the two US invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003 were both grounded in pretexts that were doubtful to begin with and more discredited as years go by.

“Underlying both wars was America’s perceived need to control the fossil fuel economic system that was the underpinning for the US petrodollar.”

Deceased Taliban founder Mullah Mohammed Omar in a file photo. Photo: Wikimedia

Massoud versus Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar did welcome Jihad Inc to Afghanistan in the late 1990s: not only the al-Qaeda Arabs but also Uzbeks, Chechens, Indonesians, Yemenis – some of them I met in Massoud’s riverside prison in the Panjshir in August 2001.

The Taliban at the time did provide them with bases – and some encouraging rhetoric – but deeply ethnocentric as they were, never manifested any interest in global jihad, in the mold of the “Declaration of Jihad” issued by Osama in 1996.

The official Taliban position was that jihad was their guests’ business, and that had nothing to do with the Taliban and Afghanistan. There were virtually no Afghans in Jihad Inc. Very few Afghans speak Arabic. They were not seduced by the spin on martyrdom and a paradise full of virgins: they preferred to be a ghazi – a living victor in a jihad.

Mullah Omar could not possibly send Osama bin Laden packing because of Pashtunwali – the Pashtun code of honor – where the notion of hospitality is sacred. When 9/11 happened, Mullah Omar once again refused American threats as well as Pakistani pleas. He then called a tribal jirga of 300 top mullahs to ratify his position.

Their verdict was quite nuanced: he had to protect his guest, of course, but a guest should not cause him problems. Thus Osama would have to leave, voluntarily.

The Taliban also pursued a parallel track, asking the Americans for evidence of Osama’s culpability. None was provided. The decision to bomb and invade had already been taken.

That would have never been possible with Massoud alive. A classic intellectual warrior, he was a certified Afghan nationalist and pop hero – because of his spectacular military feats in the anti-USSR jihad and his non-stop fight against the Taliban.

Jihadis captured by Massoud’s forces in a riverside prison in the Panjshir in August 2001. Photo: Pepe Escobar

When the PDPA socialist government in Afghanistan collapsed three years after the end of the jihad, in 1992, Massoud could easily have become a prime minister or an absolute ruler in the old Turco-Persian style.

But then he made a terrible mistake: afraid of an ethnic conflagration, he let the mujahideen gang based in Peshawar have too much power, and that led to the civil war of 1992-1995 – complete with the merciless bombing of Kabul by virtually every faction – that paved the way for the emergence of the “law and order” Taliban.

So in the end he was a much more effective military commander than politician. An example is what happened in 1996, when the Taliban made their move to conquer Kabul, attacking from eastern Afghanistan.

Massoud was caught completely unprepared, but he still managed to retreat to the Panjshir without a major battle and without losing his troops – quite a feat – while severely smashing the Taliban that went after him.

He established a line of defense in the Shomali plain north of Kabul. That was the frontline I visited a few weeks before 9/11, on the way to Bagram, which was a – virtually empty and degraded – Northern Alliance airbase at the time.

All of the above is a sorry contrast to the role of Masoud Jr, who’s in theory the leader of the “resistance” against Taliban 2.0 in the Panjshir, now completely smashed.

Masoud Jr has zero experience either as a military commander or politician, and although praised in Paris by President Macron or publishing an op-ed in Western mainstream media, made the terrible mistake of being led by CIA asset Amrullah Saleh, who as the former head of the National Directory of Security (NDS), supervised the de facto Afghan death squads.

Masoud Jr could have easily carved a role for himself in a Taliban 2.0 government. But he blew it, refusing serious negotiations with a delegation of 40 Islamic clerics sent to the Panjshir, and demanding at least 30% of posts in the government.

In the end, Saleh fled by helicopter – he may be now in Tashkent – and Masoud Jr as it stands is holed up somewhere in the northern Panjshir.

In this file photo taken on September 11, 2001, a hijacked commercial aircraft approaches the twin towers of the World Trade Center shortly before crashing into the landmark skyscraper in New York. Photo: AFP / Seth McAllister

The 9/11 propaganda machine is about to reach fever pitch this Saturday – now profiting from the narrative twist of the “terrorist” Taliban back in power, something perfect to snuff out the utter humiliation of the Empire of Chaos.

The Deep State is going no holds barred to protect the official narrative – which exhibits more holes than the dark side of the moon.

This is a geopolitical Ouroboros for the ages. 9/11 used to be the foundation myth of the 21st century – but not anymore. It has been displaced by blowback: the imperial debacle allowing for the return of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan to the exact position it was 20 years ago.

We may now know that the Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11. We may now know that Osama bin Laden, in an Afghan cave, may not have been the master perpetrator of 9/11. We may now know that the assassination of Massoud was a prelude to 9/11, but in a twisted way: to facilitate a pre-planned invasion of Afghanistan.

And yet, like with the assassination of JFK, we may never know the full contours of the whole riddle inside an enigma. As Fitzgerald immortalized, “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” probing like mad this philosophical and existential Ground Zero, never ceasing from asking the ultimate question: Cui Bono?


Ed Note:  Pepe Escobar started a new Twitter Stream:  https://twitter.com/RealPepeEscobar

 

Marking the twentieth anniversary of “9/11”

Marking the twentieth anniversary of “9/11”

September 08, 2021

By Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

President Joe Biden, smartly announced that the US troops will withdraw from Afghanistan by 11 September 2021, marking the twentieth Anniversary of the staged drama of “9/11”. He deviated from the actual deal reached between President Trump and the Taliban in February 2020, which was to complete evacuation before May 2021. President Joe Biden has the right to become a hero and get credit by linking withdrawal with “9/11”. Because he was part of scriptwriting the drama “9/11”. Without going into details, of 9/11, many reports are available describing it as a pre-planned play only.

The US was keeping its eyes on the natural resources and oil wealth of the Muslim world. He needed an excuse to impose a war on Muslim World to achieve its economic and political objectives. President Bush used “9/11” as a false flag operation, and without investigating or compiling any concrete pieces of evidence, he announce the launch of the Crusade against the Muslim world. Maybe it was written in the script already, and he have to perform accordingly. Although, it was never proved that Afghanistan was involved in “9/11”.

A massive media campaign was launched, the unholy media, played a dirty role and spread fake news, fabricated stories, and distorted stories of Muslims. Media is merely a tool for Western powers to malign any country, nation, or individual. Ugly media is one sale or for money ready to serve them, The unholy media, keeping ethics and their conscious out and looking after materialistic gains only. Projected Muslims as terrorists, barbaric, uncivilized, etc.

The BBC broke the news of Weapons of Mass destruction, and after destroying Iraq, they found nothing, and BBC accepted that the news of Weapons of Mass destruction was wrong, Prime Minister of the UK have to apologize later on. Similar tactics were used to destroy Libya. Again, it was BBC, reported, the use of Chemical weapons by Syrian Governments, which could not be verified later on, but the war in Syria has killed millions of innocent people, made millions homeless, economic loss worth hundreds of billions were caused to a poor country like Syria.

Afghanistan was attacked, and the Taliban were pushed out. Two-decades war, caused two trillion dollars, few thousand American lives, but millions of Afghans innocent citizens were killed, made homeless. Marriage parties were bombed, funerals were bombed, mother all bombs were used, schools were destroyed, hospitals were destroyed, Mosques were destroyed, agriculture, businesses were damaged. The whole society was made suffering.

The US and its close allies were beneficiaries of wars and looted the oil wealth of many Muslim countries. The net losers were the Muslim world, millions were killed, millions were injured, arrested, tortured, made homeless. The economies of Muslim countries were destroyed, Agriculture destroyed, image distorted.

Yet have to leave humiliated. The US is claiming, the safe evacuation of its troops, as its victory, and the Joe Biden administration is trying to get credit. Actually, it was the part of the peace deal, that the Taliban will allow and facilitate the safe exit with face-saving to all US troops. Taliban are responsible people and stick to their words, and did allow safe exit. It is no credit to US-Administration, but credit goes to the Taliban.

In fact, the Taliban has not harmed anyone and pardoned everyone with an open heart. Since 15 August, from peaceful recapture of Kabul to safe evacuation, law and order situation in Afghanistan, the world has witnessed, something different from the narrative which bias Western media was propagating. Taliban are behaving gently, kindly, modestly, and much more maturely, wisely, and smartly.

They have been announcing one by one important figure with their responsibilities in the new set-up. They were vigilant, and watching the response of the international community. They were engaged in diplomatic and political activities and coordinating with the international community. Now the stage has come where they are more confident and already got international recognition informally and are in a position to announce new Government.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid on Tuesday announced 33 members of the “acting” government, saying that it will be led by Mohammad Hasan Akhund while the group’s co-founder Abdul Ghani Baradar will be the deputy Afghan leader.

Key figures in the interim govt include Prime Minister, Mohammad Hasan Akhund. Deputy Prime Minister, Abdul Ghani Baradar. Interior Minister, Sirjauddin Haqqani. Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi. Deputy Foreign Minister, Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai. Defence Minister, Mullah Yaqoob. Army Chief, Fasihuddin Badakhshani.

Finance Minister, Mullah Hidayatullah. Information Minister, Zabihullah Mujahid. Taliban’s deputy leader Sirajuddin Haqqani will be the acting interior minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi will be the acting foreign minister, political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai will be the acting deputy foreign minister and Mullah Yaqoob will be the acting defense minister, he announced during a press conference in Kabul.

Mujahid himself will be the information minister, Fasihuddin Badakhshani will be the army chief, and Mullah Hidayatullah will be the finance minister.

The heads of various other ministries will be appointed soon, Mujahid added.

“All groups have been represented in the cabinet,” he said. The Taliban spokesperson said Afghanistan had “gained freedom”, stressing that “only the will of Afghans” will be applicable in the country. “After today, no one will be able to interfere in Afghanistan,” he emphasized. Mujahid said that the Taliban had been in contact with various countries and their envoys had visited Afghanistan. In response to a question, the spokesperson said the country will now be called the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Mujahid said there was no fighting in Panjshir, the last holdout of anti-Taliban forces in the country and the only province the Taliban had not seized during their blitz across Afghanistan last month. Separately, in a written statement, Acting Prime Minister Mohammad Hasan Akhund congratulated Afghans for the “withdrawal of all foreign forces, end of the occupation and complete liberation of the country”.

A caretaker and “committed” cabinet had been announced which will start working at the earliest, he said, adding that the leaders will “work hard towards upholding Islamic rules and Sharia (Islamic law) in the country, protecting the country’s highest interests, securing Afghanistan’s borders, and ensuring lasting peace, prosperity, and development”.

All governance and life in the country will henceforth be in accordance with Islamic law, Akhund said.

“We want to have a peaceful, prosperous, and self-reliant Afghanistan, for which we will strive to eliminate all causes of war and strife in the country, and [for] our countrymen to live in complete security and comfort.”

He also emphasized that the interim government will take “serious and effective steps” to protect human rights as well as the rights of minorities and underprivileged groups within the framework of the demands of Islam.

“All Afghans, without distinction or exception, will have the right to live with dignity and peace in their own country. Their lives, property, and honor will be protected.”

Terming education “one of the most important requirements”, the Taliban leader said it will be the government’s duty to provide a healthy and safe environment to all citizens to study religion and modern sciences.

“We will pave the way for the country’s development in the field of education and build our country with knowledge and understanding,” he added.

He pointed out that the country had been suffering from war and economic crises for the last four decades. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan will use all its resources for economic strength, prosperity, and development on top of strengthening security,” he assured.

Talking further about his government’s plans, Akhund said: “It will manage domestic revenue properly and transparently, provide special opportunities for international investment and various sectors of trade [and] will work to fight unemployment effectively. Our ultimate goal will be to get our country back on its feet as quickly as possible, and efficiently perform reconstruction and rehabilitation work in our war-torn country.”

He added that the interim government would reach out to Afghan businessmen, investors, and sensible citizens to ask for their support and help in ending poverty and strengthening the country’s economy.

Talking about the media, he said the government would work towards its freedom, functioning, and improvement in quality. “We consider it our duty to take into account the sacred precepts of Islam, the national interest of the country, and impartiality in our broadcasts,” he added.

Furthermore, the Taliban wanted to have “strong and healthy” relations with all countries based on mutual respect, he said.

“We are committed to all international laws and treaties, resolutions and commitments that are not in conflict with Islamic law and the country’s national values,” Akhund stressed.

Akhund said he wanted to give Afghanistan’s neighbors, the region, and the world the message that Afghan soil would not be used against any other country, stressing that there was “no concern”.

“We assure all foreign diplomats, embassies, consulates, humanitarian organizations, and investors in the country that they will not face any problem. The Islamic Emirate is doing its best for its complete security and safety. Their presence is a need of our country, so they should carry out their work with peace of mind.”

Akhund emphasized that “no one should be worried about the future.” He said the country needed the support of its people and assured skilled people, including doctors, engineers, scholars, professors, and scientists that they would be valued.

No one was allowed to destroy, waste, or take possession of the public treasury, including military vehicles, weapons, ammunition, government buildings, and national property, he said.

The Taliban who swept to power last month has been expected to announce a government since the United States-led evacuation was completed at the end of August. They have promised an “inclusive” government that represents Afghanistan’s complex ethnic makeup, though women are unlikely to be included at the top levels. As they transition from insurgency group to governing power, the Taliban have a series of major issues to address, including looming financial and humanitarian crises.

The caretaker Government is all-inclusive, all ethnic groups, religious factions, minorities, Women, etc were given representation. Of course Traitors, CIA agents, Foreign implants, and disloyal with Afghanistan, will be not considered in political setup. Either they belong to Hamid Karzai, or Ashraf Ghani groups, or Dr.Najeeb, Hafizullah Amin, Babrak Karmal, or Noor Muhammad Turkey group, will be out of new government. Both groups were foreign agents, either baked by USSR or the US, are not to be considered for any political role in the future of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has a long history, its uniques tribal society, traditions, and culture, the Western world can not understand their psychic and should not impose any democratic demands. The West should fulfill its moral obligation by paying them the war compensation so that reconstruction of Afghanistan can be made possible. The US spent Two Trillion Dollars to destroy Afghanistan, it is expected only a percentage of this amount should pay for rebuilding Afghanistan.

It is expected that the Taliban will formally announce their Government on September 11, 2021, marking the twentieth anniversary of “9/11”.

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

Afghanistan: US defeat stems from its ruinous response to 9/11 attacks

6 September 2021 10:08 UTC 

Peter Oborne

Osama bin Laden outwitted George W Bush by dragging America into its unwinnable ‘war on terror’. If the US had reacted more rationally, the world today would look very differently

US President George W Bush being informed by his chief of staff, Andrew Card, of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York during a visit to a Florida school, 11 September 2001 (AFP)

Today George W Bush lives a comfortable life in his adoptive home state of Texas. He has reinvented himself as a painter.

Osama bin Laden was shot dead by US special forces and reportedly buried at sea.

But the two men will always be remembered for the same reason: Osama bin Laden’s attack on the United States on 11 September 2001 – and Bush’s ruinous response. The memories of these terrible events are still raw, though some of the facts remain disputed. 

Looking back with the perspective of 20 years, we can judge which man came closest to realising his objectives.

It was not George W Bush. With the Taliban back in charge in Afghanistan, the neoconservative project in ruins and the United States in headlong retreat from its global ambitions, Bush has a claim to be, by some distance, the most disastrous president in his country’s history.

Morally abject figure

Bin Laden is a morally abject figure, a preacher of death and hatred. Yet he outwitted Bush, the leader of the western world, the trustee of all its values, the beneficiary of its intellectual and scientific vitality. 

Before 9/11, bin Laden could command at most a few thousand followers: a sandal-wearing tribal militia whose most powerful military weapons were machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. But, paradoxically, that gave it an advantage against the most powerful and well-equipped armed forces the world has ever known. Two decades since 9/11: The human toll of the ‘war on terror’

Bin Laden induced the United States to commit itself to an open-ended asymmetric war against him and any other group of terrorists America deemed to be his allies. He wanted the US to invade Muslim countries so that jihad could bleed America’s military in prolonged guerrilla warfare. Only that way could the US, like the Soviet Union before it, be defeated.

This forced the US into committing colossal military resources for limited and impermanent gains. Above all, it imposed a steady flow of US casualties in faraway countries largely unknown to the American population, with no prospect of an end that would allow their loved ones to come home. 

Those armed forces have been defeated. Not just once, but twice. First in Iraq, then in Afghanistan. They have not lost any conventional battle – but they failed, totally, to achieve their objectives.

Historians and analysts have not yet even begun to grasp the meaning and consequence of 9/11 and its aftermath. US military thinkers and their British equivalents are in open denial. 

Superficial parallel

The first important point to grasp is that bin Laden himself did not defeat them. After the destruction of the Twin Towers, the al-Qaeda leader was either in hiding or on the run. His lines of communications were broken, while by the end of 2001 his organisation could count on no more than a few dozen fighters. 

9/11 crash
A hijacked plane approaches the World Trade Center in New York, 11 September 2001 (AFP)

Meanwhile, the world was on the side of the United States, including candlelit vigils in Tehran. 

George W Bush rejected these offers, a mistake brought about by a misunderstanding of the meaning of 9/11. Bush interpreted it as an act of war equivalent to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.

It was a superficial parallel. For while Pearl Harbor and 9/11 were both unforeseen by intelligence agencies and came from the air, Pearl Harbor was an act of conventional war, launched by Japan, an organised state, and as such demanded a conventional military response.

Bin Laden played the United States president with the proficiency of a highly skilled judoka, whose objective is to use the weight of his opponent to defeat him

The attack on the Twin Towers, for all its horror, was a terrorist atrocity, by what modern jargon describes as a “non-state actor”. The US president could and should have dealt with it by hunting down bin Laden and his murderous associates using counterterrorism methods – those which ultimately secured his death. 

He chose not to do so, launching instead his “war on terror”, an abstract, undefined and open-ended concept which played mightily into the hands of al-Qaeda. The “war on terror” gave an immediate boost in domestic politics for an undistinguished, underachieving presidency. Bush’s popularity ratings soared and his administration, with suspicious promptitude, was able to introduce a raft of tough security legislation, which it passed with minimal resistance. But it was a military and foreign policy disaster. 

Bush was not alone in his error. In the UK, Prime Minister Tony Blair shared his analysis (and so did the media: even the Guardian’s headline the following day read “A declaration of war”). But this formulation laid open the question: who was the US fighting against? 

Remember, no national government had supported the attack; not even the Taliban in Afghanistan supported bin Laden’s plan for international jihad. Bin Laden played the United States president with the proficiency of a highly skilled judoka, whose objective is to use the weight of his opponent to defeat him.

‘Head of the snake’

To quote Professor Fawaz Gerges, historian of al-Qaeda: “Bin Laden and his inner circle developed a strategic vision that involved forcing the United States to fight the war on bin Laden’s terms and lash out angrily against the Muslim world at large. As a small elitist vanguard, they could neither challenge American power nor survive direct confrontation with it. The only way to level the playing field lay in asymmetric warfare, one that ignited a greater clash between America and the world of Islam.”

To an astonishing extent, bin Laden caused all this to happen. His underlying objective was always to drive American forces out of Muslim countries, in particular his native Saudi Arabia, the land of the two holy places, Mecca and Medina. (That has still not been achieved, though with America exposed as an unreliable ally in headlong retreat, it is a more likely outcome than ever before.)

bin laden rally, Pakistan
Protesters flash victory signs during a rally in support of Osama bin Laden in Lahore, Pakistan, on 21 September 2001 (AFP)

While other jihadis wanted to fight the “near enemy” – US-sponsored client regimes across the Muslim world – bin Laden’s special insight was the strategic utility of striking “at the head of the snake” and thus provoking the United States into a violent and irrational response which would poison its relationships with Muslim states and communities and make all of his Muslim opponents look like collaborators with the enemy. 

Chaos and carnage

Bin Laden knew also that he and his followers could prevail in the struggle simply by remaining in being and forcing the US to accept more casualties and costs than its population would be ready to endure. 

The course of events suggests that bin Laden may have understood the United States rather more clearly than Bush. He induced the US president to do exactly what he wanted, plunging much of the Muslim world into a period of chaos and carnage, from which it has yet to emerge, and creating the conditions for al-Qaeda and other terror groups to prosper.

For the neocons as for al-Qaeda, there was no middle way. The world was divided into two opposing forces: Islam and the West – and only one could emerge victorious

The neoconservatives who directed Bush’s response to 9/11 and al-Qaeda mirrored each other. They were both revivalist movements at odds with what they saw as a corrupt modernity seeking inspiration in the Salaf – the ancients. They both despised due process and the rule of law. They preferred violence to diplomacy.

For the neocons as for al-Qaeda, there was no middle way. The world was divided into two opposing forces: Islam and the West – and only one could emerge victorious. Both saw themselves as the ultimate good fighting the ultimate evil. Both despised moderate Muslims as much as western liberals. 

Al-Qaeda and the neocons thus shared the false interpretation of Islam as a religion of violence and the same demented belief in an irreconcilable clash of civilisations between Muslims and the West. 

Between them, they plunged much of the world into a death spiral. Muslims have suffered far worse in terms of lives lost. But America’s reputation across the world as a force for good has been destroyed, while the country now faces military defeat and a deep moral crisis from which it may not recover.

Had George W Bush acted rationally, Osama bin Laden would be despised as another terrorist – and no more. Thanks to Bush, he became a terrorist who changed world history, and a model for other terrorists across the world.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.Peter ObornePeter Oborne won best commentary/blogging in 2017 and was named freelancer of the year in 2016 at the Online Media Awards for articles he wrote for Middle East Eye. He was also named as British Press Awards Columnist of the Year in 2013. He resigned as chief political columnist of the Daily Telegraph in 2015. His latest book, The Assault on Truth, was published in February 2021. His previous books include The Triumph of the Political Class, The Rise of Political Lying, and Why the West is Wrong about Nuclear Iran.

On Propaganda and Failed Narratives: New Understanding of Afghanistan is a Must

September 02nd, 2021

US Afghanistan Feature photo
US-Western propaganda, which has afflicted our collective understanding of Afghanistan for twenty years and counting, has been so overpowering to the point that we are left without the slightest understanding of the dynamics that led to the Taliban’s swift takeover.

By Ramzy Baroud

Source

For twenty years, two dominant narratives have shaped our view of the illegal US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, and neither one of these narratives would readily accept the use of such terms as ‘illegal’, ‘invasion’ and ‘occupation.’

The framing of the US ‘military intervention’ in Afghanistan, starting on October 7, 2001, as the official start of what was dubbed as a global ‘war on terror’ was left almost entirely to US government strategists. Former President, George W. Bush, his Vice President, Dick Cheney, his Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld and an army of spokespersons, neoconservative ‘intellectuals’, journalists and so on, championed the military option as a way to rid Afghanistan of its terrorists, make the world a safe place and, as a bonus, bring democracy to Afghanistan and free its oppressed women.

For that crowd, the US war in an already war-torn and extremely impoverished country was a just cause, maybe violent at times, but ultimately humanistic.

Another narrative, also a western one, challenged the gung-ho approach used by the Bush administration, argued that democracy cannot be imposed by force, reminded Washington of Bill Clinton’s multilateral approach to international politics, warned against the ‘cut and run’ style of foreign policymaking, whether in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere.

Although both narratives may have seemed at odds, at times, in actuality they accepted the basic premise that the United States is capable of being a moral force in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Whether those who may refer to themselves as ‘antiwar’ realize this or not, they, too, subscribe to the same notion of American exceptionalism and ‘Manifest Destiny’ that Washington continues to assign to itself.

The main difference between both of these narratives is that of methodology and approach and not whether the US has the right to ‘intervene’ in the affairs of another country, whether to ‘eradicate terrorism’ or to supposedly help a victim population, incapable of helping themselves and desperate for a western savior.

However, the humiliating defeat suffered by the US in Afghanistan should inspire a whole new way of thinking, one that challenges all Western narratives, without exception, in Afghanistan and throughout the world.

Obviously, the US has failed in Afghanistan, not only militarily and politically – let alone in terms of ‘state-building’ and every other way – the US-Western narratives on Afghanistan were, themselves, a failure. Mainstream media, which for two decades have reported on the country with a palpable sense of moral urgency, now seem befuddled. US ‘experts’ are as confused as ordinary people regarding the hasty retreat from Kabul, the bloody mayhem at the airport or why the US was in Afghanistan in the first place.

Meanwhile, the ‘humanistic interventionists’ are more concerned with Washington’s ‘betrayal’ of the Afghan people, ‘leaving them to their fate’, as if the Afghans are irrational beings with no agency of their own, or as if the Afghan people have called on the Americans to invade their country or have ‘elected’ American generals as their democratic representatives.

The US-Western propaganda, which has afflicted our collective understanding of Afghanistan for twenty years and counting, has been so overpowering to the point that we are left without the slightest understanding of the dynamics that led to the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country. The latter group is presented in the media as if entirely alien to the socio-economic fabric of Afghanistan. This is why the Taliban’s ultimate victory seemed, not only shocking but extremely confusing as well.

For twenty years, the very little we knew about the Taliban has been communicated to us through Western media analyses and military intelligence assessments. With the Taliban’s viewpoint completely removed from any political discourse pertaining to Afghanistan, an alternative Afghan national narrative was carefully constructed by the US and its NATO partners. These were the ‘good Afghans’, we were told, ones who dress up in Western-style clothes, speak English, attend international conferences and, supposedly, respect women. These were also the Afghans who welcomed the US occupation of their country, as they benefited greatly from Washington’s generosity.

If those ‘good Afghans’ truly represented Afghan society, why did their army of 300,000 men drop their weapons and flee the country, along with their President, without a serious fight? And if the 75,000 poorly-armed and, at times, malnourished Taliban seemed to merely represent themselves, why then did they manage to defeat formidable enemies in a matter of days?

There can be no argument that an inferior military power, like that of the Taliban, could have possibly persisted, and ultimately won, such a brutal war over the course of many years, without substantial grassroots support pouring in from the Afghan people in large swathes of the country. The majority of the Taliban recruits who have entered Kabul on August 15 were either children, or were not even born, when the US invaded their country, all those years ago. What compelled them to carry arms? To fight a seemingly unwinnable war? To kill and be killed? And why did they not join the more lucrative business of working for the Americans, like many others have?

We are just beginning to understand the Taliban narrative, as their spokespersons are slowly communicating a political discourse that is almost entirely unfamiliar to most of us. A discourse that we were not allowed to hear, interact with, or understand.

Now that the US and its NATO allies are leaving Afghanistan, unable to justify or even explain why their supposed humanitarian mission led to such an embarrassing defeat, the Afghan people are left with the challenge of weaving their own national narrative, one that must transcend the Taliban and their enemies to include all Afghans, regardless of their politics or ideology.

Afghanistan is now in urgent need of a government that truly represents the people of that country. It must grant rights to education, to minorities and to political dissidents, not to acquire a Western nod of approval, but because the Afghan people deserve to be respected, cared for and treated as equals. This is the true national narrative of Afghanistan that must be nurtured outside the confines of the self-serving Western mischaracterization of Afghanistan and her people.

آفاق استراتيجية واشنطن في المنطقة على ضوء تراجع النفوذ الأميركي

حسن حردان

يرى الكثير من المحللين والمراقبين في المنطقة والعالم أنّ الهروب الأميركي المذلّ من أفغانستان، سوف يعجل بخروج أميركا من المنطقة، لمصلحة تركيزها على الشرق الأقصى في مواجهة تنامي النفوذ الصيني في شرق آسيا والعالم…

وإذا كان من المنتظر ان يعقب الخروج الأميركي من أفغانستان، انسحاب أميركا من سورية ومن ثم العراق، لا سيما بعد توارد أنباء تفكيك واشنطن ثلاث قواعد عسكرية لها في شمال شرق سورية من ناحية، وتواتر عمليات المقاومة الوطنية العراقية والسورية ضدّ أرتال القوات الأميركية في العراق والقاعدة الأميركية في ريف دير الزور من ناحية ثانية…

فإنّ من الطبيعي أن يُطرح السؤال الكبير، حول مستقبل النفوذ الاستعماري الأميركي في باقي دول المنطقة، وأمن كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني، خصوصاً أنّ الانسحاب من سورية والعراق سوف يؤدّي إلى تداعيات سلبية على الدول الموالية لواشنطن وعلى أمن ووجود الكيان الصهيوني…

هل انّ واشنطن سوف تنسحب من كامل دول المنطقة، وتترك كيان العدو الصهيوني يواجه تداعيات هذا الانسحاب والتبدّل الذي سيحدثه في موازين القوى لمصلحة حلف المقاومة الذي أصبح يحاصر كيان الاحتلال؟

الجواب الأكيد هو أنّ واشنطن لن تنسحب نهائياً من المنطقة، لعدة أسباب:

السبب الأول، حاجتها لحماية مصالحها الاستعمارية المتمثلة بالنفط والغاز، وهي تشكل أساس وجودها العسكري والأمني، وطالما انّ هناك نفطاً وغازاً يشكلان شريان الاقتصاد العالمي وعصب هذا الاقتصاد فإنّ أميركا ستبقي على جزء من قواتها وقواعدها لحراسة هذه المصالح.

السبب الثاني حماية خطوط إمداد النفط والغاز التي تعبر المضائق والبحار من الخليج ومروراً بمضيق هرمز ومضيق باب المندب، وقناة السويس، ووصولاً إلى الدول الصناعية الكبرى.

السبب الثالث، حماية أمن ووجود كيان الاحتلال الصهيوني الذي يشكل ركيزة أميركا الاستعمارية الأساسية في قلب الوطن العربي، فهذا الكيان زرع من قبل الاستعمار لأجل تقسيم وتجزئة الوطن العربي، وضمان استمرار نهب الشركات الأميركية الغربية للنفط والغاز في العالم العربي.

لكن تراجع الحضور العسكري الأميركي وتنامي قوة حلف المقاومة، سيحدث خللاً في موازين القوى، يجبر أميركا على اعتماد سياسات لتحديد خسائرها والحدّ من تراجع نفوذها، طالما أنها لم تعد قادر على شنّ حروب عسكرية مكلفة لها وتتجاوز قدراتها…

ولهذا يتوقع ان تلجأ واشنطن إلى وضع استراتيجية تقوم على البراغماتية هدفها الحدّ من تراجع نفوذها، وحماية مصالحها، وقوام هذه الاستراتيجية المتوقعة ما يلي:

أولاً، العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي من دون ايّ تعديل، ورفع العقوبات عن إيران، بعد أن تستنفذ واشنطن محاولات إدخال تعديلات على الاتفاق واستثناء بعض العقوبات، لكن من دون جدوى…

ثانياً، دفع الدول الحليفة والموالية لأميركا لتجاوز خلافاتها وتوحيد صفوفها بما يجعلها قادرة على مواجهة حلف المقاومة بعد تراجع النفوذ الأميركي.. وهو ما بدأت المباشرة به هذه الدول بإيعاز أميركي.

ثالثاً، العمل على إقناع المسؤولين «الإسرائيليين» لأجل العودة لإحياء المفاوضات مع السلطة الفلسطينية على أساس حلّ الدولتين باعتبار ذلك هو الضمانة الإستراتيجية لتحقيق أمن واستقرار الكيان «الإسرائيلي» على المدى البعيد، لأنّ البديل عن ذلك مواجهة الكيان الصهيوني مقاومة فلسطينية تزداد قوة وقدرة وعزيمة، مدعومة من حلف المقاومة الخارج منتصراً من مواجهة حروب أميركا المباشرة وغير المباشرة…

Zakharova: Russia to Mull Recognizing Taliban as Afghanistan’s Authority

 September 2, 2021

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Maria Zakharova voiced Russia’s concern over “growing social and economic tension in Afghanistan,” urging the international community to help.

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova

Russia condemned the latest US raid, which resulted in civilian casualties, in the Afghan capital of Kabul, and asserted that it’s in search of a way to offer humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan.

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova noted during a press conference she held today, that “the final chord of the international coalition’s military presence was another incident resulting in the death of civilians in a strike by a US drone, which caused the collapse of a home and the death of nine people, including six children. We strongly condemn such indiscriminate use of force.”

Zakharova also described the result of NATO’s mission in Afghanistan as a failure and a disaster, clarifying that “the problems of terrorism, drug trafficking, and low living standards of the local population have not been resolved,” rather, they deteriorated.

Zakharova also considered that the situation throughout these years did not get any better or more stable, rather NATO left behind what is evident in footage broadcast all around the world.

“We are particularly concerned about the growing social and economic tension in Afghanistan, which is associated with the suspension of financial and technical assistance from traditional Western donors. There is still uncertainty about the resumption of work of state institutions and banks,” she said.

She also added that Kabul and other major cities are witnessing dissatisfaction towards “Taliban” policies in light of rising prices, calling on the international community to “take effective measures to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” also saying that Russia is mulling the possibility of “delivering Russian humanitarian aid to Kabul.”

Zakharova also expressed that Russia is in favor of the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan, noting that there are signs that the “Taliban” is ready to develop its relationship with the international community.

Asked whether Russia will recognize the “Taliban” as Afghanistan’s legitimate authority, the Spokesperson said that the question will be put on the agenda after the formation of an inclusive government in the country.

Bin Salman Is Said To Have Played Role in Kabul Airport Attack

September 2, 2021 

Bin Salman Is Said To Have Played Role in Kabul Airport Attack

By Staff, Agencies

A Saudi opposition figure, Abdul Rahmad Suhaimi, has spoken of the role of crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman [MBS] in supporting Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group] elements during the attack on Kabul airport.

According to the opponent, sources close to the Saudi government in Bin Salman’s offices and ministries have confirmed the Saudi Crown Prince’s support for the Daesh terrorist group in the attack on Kabul Airport.

As Suhaimi described, MBS has sought to show the Taliban is incapable of ensuring Afghan people’s security and prove that under the Taliban Afghanistan will be a hub of terrorism.

Two suicide bombers and gunmen attacked crowds of Afghans flocking to Kabul Airport on Thursday, August 26.

A “complex attack” on Thursday at the airport in Afghanistan’s capital caused a number of US and civilian casualties, the Pentagon said.

Several US service members were also killed in the attack.

US Global Wars Cost 900k Lives, $8 Trillion Over Two Decades

 September 2, 2021

US Global Wars Cost 900k Lives, $8 Trillion Over Two Decades

By Staff, Agencies

The US so-called war on terror has taken almost one million lives across the globe and cost the country $8 trillion, over the past two decades, says a new report.

A report issued by Costs of War Project at Brown University, at end of the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan, estimated 897,000 to 929,000 people have lost their lives as a direct result of war, whether by bombs, bullets or fire, in some 80 countries.

“The war has been long and complex and horrific and unsuccessful… and the war continues in over 80 countries,” said co-director of Costs of War, Catherine Lutz on Wednesday.

The death toll, includes US military members, allied fighters, opposition fighters, civilians, journalists and humanitarian aid workers, the report said.

The figure, however, does not include the many indirect deaths the war has caused by way of disease, displacement and loss of access to food or clean drinking water.

“The deaths we tallied are likely a vast undercount of the true toll these wars have taken on human life,” said Neta Crawford, another co-founder of the project.

The project also revealed that the wars have cost the US an estimated $8 trillion in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.

Of the $8 trillion, $2.3 trillion is attributed to the Afghanistan/Pakistan war zone.

“The Pentagon and the US military have now absorbed the great majority of the federal discretionary budget, and most people don’t know that,” said Lutz.

“Our task, now and in future years, is to educate the public on the ways in which we fund those wars and the scale of that funding,” she added.

Another researcher of the project, Stephanie Savell said, “Twenty years from now, we’ll still be reckoning with the high societal costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars – long after US forces are gone.”

US Global Wars Cost 900k Lives, $8 Trillion Over Two Decades
Source: Costs of War Project – Brown University

The United States and its allies invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 as part of the so-called war on terror. While the invasion ended the Taliban’s rule in the country back then, it is now ended with the return of the group to power.

On August 31, the picture of US Army general Chris Donahue appeared on the news as the last US soldier to leave Afghanistan. US media outlets had headlines indicating that the US war in Afghanistan was finally over.

US President Joe Biden also addressed the nation, and defended his decision to withdraw, saying, “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not extending a forever exit” and “It’s time to end the war in Afghanistan.”

For the first time in 20 years now, there is no US military presence in Afghanistan, but observers say no troops on the ground does not mean that the US war in the country is over.

They said the withdrawal simply means that one method of waging war in Afghanistan is no longer occurring.

Why the current hysteria?

Why the current hysteria?

September 01, 2021

by Andrei for the Saker Blog

The current mass hysteria about what just happened in Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan is not dying down.

Why is that so?

I believe that what is happening is this: if we compare the people of the USA to the passengers on the Titanic, we could say that our passengers were listening to the still playing orchestra until their feet got soaked in ice cold water, at which point denial is not an option.

For folks in Zone A, the events in Afghanistan quite literally, unthinkable.  So while some of us saw the writing on the wall already years, if not decades ago, those who lived, mentally, in Zone A what is happening now is impossible.  Impossible but happening.

The nature of what the events in Kabul showed is such, that those living in the mental Zone A cannot accept them.  But neither can they deny it anymore.

  • The Empire died in January 8th 2020
  • The USA (at least as we knew them) died on January 6th 2021

Unthinkable!  Absolutely unthinkable!  My ankles are in ice water, but the Titanic cannot sink!  It’s too big to fail.

If hope dies last, than delusions die just before it.

There is a good chance now “Biden” will not finish his term.  If, and that’s still an “if” (never say never) Kamala Harris replaces Biden, the internal negative reaction inside the USA will be huge.  Bliken looks to me like a tailor with the facial expression “I am so sorry that suit does not sit well on you” – so he is out.  The DefSec is a clown who should resign anyway (responsibility of command).

In the US ruling classes we are now beyond any kind of plan making, this is a “run for your life” kind of situation, and that means “each man for himself”.

Hence the current hysterics.

After them, most US Americans will enter some variant of the five stages of grief before, inevitably, realizing the truth and getting the energy and courage to get back again.

Until then, expect more hysterics and infighting.

Cheers

As ‘Israelis’ Watch Afghanistan, they Remember Lebanon

September 2, 2021

As ‘Israelis’ Watch Afghanistan, they Remember Lebanon

By Staff, New Lines

In a commentary following the humiliating US defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan, Neri Zilber wrote for New Lines that senior ‘Israeli’ military officers have looked on at the chaotic and speedy events with a glimmer of recognition.

“Those now leading the ‘Israeli’ military came of age as young soldiers and junior officers during the Zionist entity’s own ill-fated foreign expedition in southern Lebanon during the 1980s and 1990s: A bloody, inconclusive guerrilla war — “‘Israel’s’ Vietnam” it came to be known — that culminated in an equally shambolic withdrawal in May 2000, after two decades of fighting” said Zilber.

While ‘Israel’ isn’t the US, and Lebanon isn’t Afghanistan, the common themes that run through both sets of wars are jarring, especially in the way a Western democracy tries to end a military campaign and how it manages [or not] the fate of local allies who fought alongside it.

“‘Israel’ left Lebanon with its tail between its legs,” Brig. Gen. Eli Amitai, one of the last Zionist commanders in southern Lebanon, told the author. “This wasn’t a withdrawal — it was a house of cards, like dominoes falling.”

The Zionist occupiers started their misadventure in Lebanon. Later on, Hezbollah began firing rockets into northern ‘Israeli’-occupied territories, causing fatalities among Zionist occupiers places in the so-called Security Zone at some two dozen a year. Increasingly, the impression inside the Zionist community was that this was a campaign with no end and with no discernible objective.

The withdrawal started becoming popular and the political tide was shifting.

By early 2000 Hezbollah increased its resistance operations on the Zionist military inside Lebanon.

In the ensuing weeks, the Zionist military began thinning the number of its forces inside the so-called ‘Security Zone’ and handing off outposts to its militia in Lebanon, the so-called ‘South Lebanon Army’ [SLA].

As resistance operations stepped up, then Zionist Prime Minister Ehud Barak was left with no choice: He ordered the military to move up the withdrawal, starting immediately. The last of the Zionist military’s positions was blown up, and soldiers evacuated May 23-24.

Closing the gate behind him, the last ‘Israeli’ soldier to leave Lebanon was the Zionist commander for the ‘Security Zone’, Benny Gantz, the ‘Israeli’ entity’s current war minister. A 20-year scheme of war and occupation was undone in four days.

The question remains, however, whether a dramatically “better” way could have been found. The real lesson of the Zionist regime’s experience in Lebanon is likely that the decision itself to withdraw unleashes its own dynamics.

The hasty withdrawal [“with its tail between its legs”] from Lebanon emboldened Hezbollah and decreased ‘Israeli’ deterrence vis-à-vis its enemies.

Meanwhile, watching events unfold in Kabul over the past two weeks, Zionist officials are less concerned about what it says about the US commitment to the Zionist entity and other close allies. “I’m not sure it’ll have a major impact on us directly and on how the US does things here,” one senior ‘Israeli’ government official told the author when queried regarding Afghanistan. Yet there is concern in some ‘Israeli’ quarters that a similar dynamic will play out among America’s enemies as happened after the Lebanon withdrawal.

“Everyone is looking at these pictures,” a senior IDF official told me.

As Tel Aviv found out the hard way, even after you rightfully end a war, the war never really ends.

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