Why Is This Even a Story: Russians Allegedly Paid Afghans to Kill US Soldiers?

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June 29, 2020 Arabi Souri

Taliban Mujaheddin fighters in Afghanistan - Russia USSR USA

The New York Times is pushing this story, denied by Trump and his war ministry the Pentagon and his ‘intelligence’ services publicly, that Russia is running a plot paying bounties to Afghan recruits of Taliban and others to kill US troops in Afghanistan.

What were the Afghan Taliban and most of the Afghan fighters doing all the past 19 years exactly? Maybe distributing flowers to the US occupation troops who were giving them chocolate in return!

The New York Times Russia bounty to Afghan fighters to kill US troops
The New York Times Breaking News on an alleged Russian bounty to Afghan fighters to kill US troops.
This comes after Trump made some vague announcement on troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And, of course, the mainstream media jump to spread the explosive news that were uncovered by the ‘exceptional’ work of the New York Times:

Mainstream Media Hype on New York Times Russia bounty to Afghan fighters to kill US soldiers
Mainstream Media hype on New York Times Russia bounty to Afghan fighters to kill US soldiers story

That’s one side, what if Russia actually paid Afghan fighters to kill US soldiers? What’s wrong with that? Didn’t the US overtly arm the same Afghan fighters to kill Soviet troops in Afghanistan including with surface to air missiles paid for by the Saudis and the US taxpayers to shoot down Soviet planes and copters killing Russians?!

US President Ronald Reagan with Afghanistan Mujahideen plotting to kill Soviet Troops
US President Ronald Reagan with Afghanistan Mujahideen (later to be al-Qaeda) plotting to kill Soviet (mainly Russian) troops
Afghan Mujahideen al Qaeda US Surface to Air Missiles to Kill Russians and USSR Soldiers
Afghan Mujahideen al Qaeda US Surface to Air Missiles to Kill Russians and USSR Soldiers

Just a reminder to the USAians: Afghanistan was directly on the Soviet Union southern borders; the USA is across the planet, like literally on the other side of the planet, if you look at the globe and find the USA just look at the other side of the globe and you’ll find Afghanistan. Flat-Earthers: The USA is a 1 full day, that’s 24 hours trip from New York (the closest city on the eastern US coast) to Afghanistan!

The USA considers Venezuela and all of Central America and South America as their backyard and they share borders only with Mexico, Russia is 4 hours flight from Afghanistan and that’s from Kabul to Moscow, not the distance between two border cities and not the closest two points…

New York to Kabul flight - google search
New York to Kabul flight – Google search

Also a reminder to USAians, during her confirmation hearings Clinton bragged that the US created al Qaeda and armed al Qaeda and that this was a good idea.https://www.youtube.com/embed/Dqn0bm4E9yw

It’s only because the US presidential elections race has started and they want to confirm that Trump is a Russian asset, the thing they failed to prove in their lengthy costly ridiculous Muller investigations that revealed so many other things except this one. And this is not to defend Trump, he’s a lunatic war criminal, rather fearing he will impose more sanctions on Russia and push the already tense relations into further escalation to prove he’s not a Russian asset, just like how they played him all the past almost 4 years on every single subject they wanted him to act as tough on, remember his orders to withdraw from Syria?

image-A 70 Years Old President of the USA Donald J. Trump
A 70 Years Old President of the USA Donald J. Trump

Can we talk about the direct and indirect overt and covert aid the USA and all its stooges and lackeys (Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden, Australians, Gulfies, Canada, Denmark, Israel…) gave to terrorists of Al-Qaeda and all its derivatives (FSA, Nusra Front, HTS, ISISFaylaq RahmanMaghawir Thawra, Khalid Army, Jaysh Al-Islam, Turkestan Islamist Party……..) to kill and maim Syrian soldiers and Syrian civilians in Syria? Iraqis in Iraq? Lebanese in Lebanon? Libyans in Libya? Iranians in Iran? …. in ….?

The Pentagon Threatening to Revive ISIS

War is Good for Business and Organized Crime: Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Opium Trade. Rising Heroin Addiction in the US

By Michel Chossudovsky

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In December 2019, the Washington Post released a reviews of The Afghanistan Papers. A series of interviews and documents “compiled in secret” and then the subject of a “legal challenge” from the US government. The WaPo baldly called it“A secret history of the war”. But there’s nothing here that’s really secret, and very little actual history. What do they tell us? Absolutely nothing, except what we’re supposed to believe.” ( Kit Knightly, December 20, 2019)

What is the unspoken “secret truth” which has not been featured in the Afghanistan Papers? The 2001 US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan sustains the surge in heroin and opioid addiction in the United States.

The following article (first published in December 2018) is brought to the attention of Global Research readers as a contribution to the June 26 2020 United Nations “global observance to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society”. 

Michel Chossudovsky, June 25, 2020

Afghanistan’s opium economy is a multibillion dollar operation which has a direct impact on the surge of  heroin addiction in the US. 

Despite president Trump’s announced US troop withdrawal, the Afghan opium trade continues to flourish. It is protected by US-NATO occupation forces on behalf of a nexus of powerful financial and criminal  interests. 

Today a rough estimate based on US retail prices suggests that the global heroin market is above the 500 billion dollars mark. This multibillion dollar hike is the result of a significant increase in the volume of heroin transacted Worldwide coupled with a moderate increase in retail prices.

Based on the most recent (UNODC) data (2017) opium production in Afghanistan is of the order of 9000 metric tons, which after processing and transformation is equivalent to approximately 900,000 kg. of pure heroin.

With the surge in heroin addiction since 2001, the retail price of heroin has increased. According to DEA intelligence, one gram of pure heroin was selling in December 2016 in the domestic US market for $902 per gram.

The Heroin trade is colossal: one gram of pure heroin selling at $902 is equivalent to almost a million US dollars a kilo ($902,000) (see table below)

Flash back to to 2000-2001.

In 2000, the Taliban government with the support of the United Nations implemented a successful drug eradication program, which was presented to the UN General Assembly on October 12, 2001, barely a week after on the onset of US-NATO invasion. Opium production had collapsed by 94 percent.

In 2001 opium production had collapsed to 185 tons down from 3300 tons in 2000. (see Remarks on behalf of UNODC Executive Director at the UN General Assembly, Oct 2001, excerpt below)



The US-NATO led War against Afghanistan served to Restore the Illicit Heroin trade

The Afghan government’s drug eradication program was repealed.  The 2001 war on Afghanistan served to restore as well as boost the multibillion dollar drug trade. It has also contributed to the surge in heroin addiction in the US.

Opium production had declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001 as a result of the Taliban government’s drug eradication program.

Immediately following the invasion (October 7, 2001) and the occupation of Afghanistan by US-NATO troops, the production of opium regained its historical levels.

In fact the surge in opium cultivation production coincided with the onslaught of the US-led military operation and the downfall of the Taliban regime. From October through December 2001, farmers started to replant poppy on an extensive basis.” (see Michel Chossudovsky, op cit.)  

Since 2001, according to UNODC, the production of opium has increased 50 times, (compared to 185 ton in 2001) reaching 9000 metric tons in 2017. It has almost tripled in relation to its historical levels. (See Figure 1 below)

Heroin Addiction in the US

Since 2001, the use of heroin in the US has increased more than 20 times. Media reports rarely report how the dramatic increase in the global “supply of heroin” has contributed to “demand” at the retail level.

There were 189,000 heroin users in the US in 2001, before the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan. By 2012-13, there were 3.8 million heroin users in the US according to a study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Extrapolating the 2012-2013 figures (see graph below), one can reasonably confirm that the number of heroin users today (including addicts and casual users) is well in excess of four million.

In 2001, 1,779 Americans were killed as a result of heroin overdose. By 2016, the number of Americans killed as a result of heroin addiction shot up to 15,446. (see graph below)

“My Administration is committed to fighting the drug epidemic” says Donald Trump.

Those lives would have been saved had the US and its NATO allies NOT invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 2001. 

The first thing they did was to undermine the drug eradication program, restore the opium economy and the drug trade.

Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse

Opium production has increased 50 times in relation to 2001 (following the Afghan government’s drug eradication program). In 2001, the areas of opium cultivation had fallen to 8000 hectares (185 metric tons of opium).

According to the UNODC, Afghanistan produces (2007) 93% of the illegal “non-pharmaceutical-grade opiates” namely  heroin.

The 2017 Afghanistan Opium Survey (released in May 2018) by UNODC confirms that the farm areas allocated to opium are of the order of 328,000 hectares with opium production in excess of 9,000 tons.  

War is good for business. It contributed to spearheading heroin use. The Afghan opium economy feeds into a lucrative trade in narcotics and money laundering.

It is worth noting that in 2010 UNODC modified the concepts and figures on opium sales and heroin production, as outlined by the  European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA).

UNODC estimates that a large proportion of the Afghan opium harvest is not processed into heroin or morphine” (UNODC, 2010a). …EU drug markets report: a strategic analysis, EMCDDA, Lisbon, January 2013 emphasis added.

What this new methodology has done is to obfuscate the size and criminal nature of the Afghan drug trade, intimating –without evidence– that up to 20% of Afghan opium is no longer channeled towards the illegal heroin market.

More than Half a Trillion Dollars

The profits are largely reaped at the level of the international wholesale and retail markets of heroin as well as in the process of money laundering in Western banking institutions, an issue which is not addressed by the Vienna based UNODC.

The global monetary value of the heroin market (which is protected by powerful groups) is colossal.

Estimation

The retail price of heroin (sold by the gram) can vary dramatically from one country to another, it also depends on the percentage of pure heroin. This does not facilitate the process of estimating the monetary value of the global trade in heroin.

Recorded retail street prices for heroin with a low level of purity must be converted to a dollar value which corresponds to pure heroin.

What is sold at the street level usually has a low percentage of pure heroin. The process of estimation requires transforming the street level prices into what the DEA calls heroin price per gram pure (PPG)

From one ton of opium you can produce 100 kilos of pure heroin. The US retail prices for heroin (with a low level of purity) was, according to UNODC (2012) of the order of $172 a gram (namely $17,200 per kilo)

The estimated price per gram of pure heroin, however, is substantially higher.

In December 2016, the heroin price per gram pure (PPG) was of the order of $902 in the US, according to DEA intelligence  ie. $902,000 a kilo.

Heroin Prices in the UK

In the UK which is the entry point of Afghan heroin into the EU market, the recorded retail price (according to a 2015 estimate quoted by the Guardian) is consistent with that estimated for the US market by the DEA:

“An imported kilo [of heroin] cut at 25% street purity provides enough raw material for 16,000 individual deals at £10 a hit – pushing the takings to £160,000 [a kilo] (The Guardian, December 20, 2015)

GBP160,000 (25% purity) converts into GBP 640,000 per kilo for pure heroin, ie. approximately  US$960,000 per kilo (December 2015 GBP USD exchange rate).

Rough Estimate of the  Monetary Value of  Afghanistan’s Global Heroin Market

According to the UNODC, 7600-7900 tons of opium were available for heroin production and export (out of a total of 9000-9300 metric tons). According to the UNODC, approximately half of the opium is processed into heroin within Afghanistan.

The global monetary value for heroin can be roughly estimated using the US price equivalent PPG measurement for pure heroin of US 902,000 a kg. (December 2016, DEA) and the (lower) production figure of 790,000 kg of pure heroin (estimated by the UNODC).

Using the US retail price equivalent of pure heroin (DEA), the global monetary value generated by the Afghan heroin trade (2017) is of the order of  $712,580,000,000 (712.58 billion dollars), an amount equivalent to the US defense budget.

This is a conservative estimate based on adopting the “lower figure” of 7900 metric tons (2017)  (recommended by the UNODC methodology which is arbitrary and questionable, see above).

If we had based the calculation on the total production of opium which is in excess of 9ooo metric tons (2017), the global monetary value of the heroin market would have been in excess of $800 billion. It should also be mentioned that this estimate relies solely on the the US price for pure heroin (DEA).

Back in August 2018, President  Trump signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act “which authorizes a top-line [defense] budget of $717 billion”, just a few million dollars in excess of the estimated global monetary value of the Afghan heroin market.

The global monetary value of the heroin market is of the same order of magnitude as the defense budget of the USA.

Needless to say, the Pentagon not to mention the CIA which launched the opium economy in Afghanistan in the late 1970s  are intent upon protecting this multibillion dollar industry. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade were initially used to finance the recruitment of Al Qaeda Mujahideen mercenaries to fight in the Soviet-Afghan war.

ICC Probe of US War Crimes in Afghanistan. Trump Lashes Back. ICC is “Threat” to America.

By Stephen Lendman

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It is fairly well established that Afghanistan, the Taliban, and Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11 — the mother of all state-sponsored false flags, a pretext for the US to smash one nation after another.

US new millennium forever wars rage against invented enemies with no prospect for resolution because Republicans and Dems reject world peace and the rule of law.

It’s unclear what will come out of the International Criminal Court’s probe of indisputable US war crimes in Afghanistan.

Since established by the Rome Statute in 2002, the ICC never held the US, other Western nations, or Israel accountable for high crimes of war and against humanity.

Only their victims were prosecuted, falsely blamed for the highest of high crimes committed against them by the US, NATO, Israel, and their imperial partners.

For nearly two decades, the ICC operated solely as imperial tool — continuing the same agenda today unless chooses an unprecedented new course for justice.

Though mandated to prosecute individuals (not nations) for crimes of war, against humanity, genocide and aggression, the court never targeted the main offenders of these crimes.

Given its disturbing history, it requires a giant leap of faith to believe it will go where it never went before.

It’s got a lot of proving to do to convince skeptics of its intention to go another way.

In early March, ICC judges authorized an investigation into accusations of war crimes by US military and intelligence personnel, Afghan forces, and the Taliban in the country.

According to Judge Piotr Hofmanski, chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “is authorized to commence investigation in relation to alleged crimes committed on the territory of Afghanistan in the period since 1 May 2003.”

The probe may also include the period since July 1, 2002. Why not from day one of US aggression (10/7/01) wasn’t explained.

US war on the country was planned six months or longer before 9/11.

On the shelf ready to go, it was launched less than 5 weeks after that fateful day.

Many months of planning precede all US wars, nothing impromptu about them.

At the time of the ICC’s March announcement, Pompeo called it “breathtaking (and) reckless,” threatening reprisals against court officials if they investigate US actions in Afghanistan or anywhere else.

Bensouda said the ICC determined that a reasonable basis exists to probe war crimes by US military forces and intelligence operatives in Afghanistan.

She should have said just cause exists to investigate all US wars of aggression against nations threatening no one — including US state terror, illegal sanctions, and other hostile actions against peace, constituting war by other means.

All of the above falls within the ICC’s mandate.

US new millennium direct, proxy, and other types of warmaking alone have been responsible for countless millions of lost lives, vast destruction, and human misery in numerous countries.

They also inflicted enormous harm on ordinary Americans by using US discretionary income to feed the nation’s military, industrial, security complex at the expense of vital homeland needs gone begging.

WikiLeaks’ Afghan war diaries documented the highest of US high crimes against the nation and its people.

They represent the most comprehensive documentation of US aggression against a nation threatening no one since the Pentagon Papers.

Data came mainly from soldiers and intelligence officers, also from US embassies and other sources.

They revealed US criminality in Afghanistan, including coverups, collusion, distortion, and duplicity.

All wars are based on misinformation, disinformation, Big Lies and deception. Truth-telling would destroy pretexts for waging them.

The UN Charter explicitly states under what circumstances war by one nation against another is permitted.

Articles 2(3) and 33(1) require peaceful settlement of international disputes.

Article 2(4) prohibits force or its threatened use.

Article 51 allows the “right of self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member…until the Security Council has taken measures to maintain international peace and security.”

Justifiable self-defense is permitted, never preemptive wars for any reasons with no exceptions.

The Security Council alone is authorized to decide under what circumstances warmaking is permitted — not heads of state, legislators, or the courts anywhere.

In 1974, the UN General Assembly defined aggression to mean “the use of armed force by a State against the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political independence of another State, or in any manner inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.”

Throughout the post-WW II period, the US has been indisputably guilty time and again — today in multiple theaters.

What’s going on unaccountably is what chief Nuremberg Tribunal’s Justice Robert Jackson called “the supreme international crime against peace.”

Time and again, the US breached the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the US War Crimes Act, the UN Torture Convention, the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Genocide Convention, the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment and Principles, US Army Field Manual 27-10, and other US and international laws.

If all of the above doesn’t demand accountability in an international tribunal, what does!

WikiLeaks lifted the fog of war by documenting US atrocities in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning were arrested, imprisoned, and brutalized for releasing the Afghan War Diary, the Iraq War Logs, collateral murder video, and related US diplomatic cables.

They both should have been honored instead of demonized, imprisoned, and brutally mistreated — for the “crime” of truth-telling about what everyone has a right to know.

In response to the ICC’s announced intention to probe US war crimes in Afghanistan, Trump declared a national emergency for what he called a “threat” to the US by the ICC.

He issued an executive order, authorizing (illegal) sanctions and visa restrictions against ICC officials and their family members.

Pompeo lashed out at the court, saying the Trump regime is “determined to prevent having Americans and our friends and allies in Israel and elsewhere hauled in” for ICC prosecution.”

In response to Trump regime actions, a statement by the Court said the following:

“(T)hreats and coercive actions cannot be allowed to hinder the rule of law.”

“These attacks (by the Trump regime) constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”

“An attack on the ICC also represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes, for many of whom the Court represents the last hope for justice.”

In 2002, the American Service Members’ Protection Act (ASPA, aka Hague Invasion Act) was enacted to prevent US “military personnel and other (US) elected and appointed officials (from) criminal prosecution by an international court to which the United States is not party.”

The measure authorizes the president to use “all means necessary and appropriate to bring about the release of any US or allied personnel being detained or imprisoned by, on behalf of, or at the request of the International Criminal Court.”

The US is not a state party to the Rome Statute or ICC.

The principle of universal jurisdiction principle (UJ) holds that certain crimes are too grave to ignore, including genocide, crimes of war and against humanity.

Under UJ, nations may investigate and prosecute foreign nationals when their country of residence or origin won’t, can’t, or hasn’t for any reason.

US Nuremberg-level high crimes of war and against humanity in Afghanistan and numerous other countries are far too grave to ignore.

It’s long past time for unaccountability of its officials to end.

Holding them responsible may be the best chance to pursue world peace and stability over permanent US wars on humanity that one day may kill us all if not stopped.

‘Justice is Indivisible’: Placing Palestine Back at the Center of Muslim Discourse in the West

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May 4, 2020

Times Square, New York in July 2014, during Israeli brutal military attack on Gaza. (Photo: via AMP)

By Ramzy Baroud

It was nearly twenty years ago at a Muslim conference in Washington D.C. that I heard the distressing argument that Palestine should not be made a central topic in the American Muslim political agenda.

The point, which took many by surprise, was enunciated by a young American Pakistani Muslim academic, whose name is not important for my purpose here.

What I found reassuring then, however, was that almost everyone at the gathering shook their head in disagreement. The young academic was clearly an intellectual pariah. It was clear that Muslims, at least the attendees of that specific conference, will not be abandoning their advocacy for the freedom of the Palestinian people anytime soon.

A few months later, the September 11 attacks took place, unleashing a Pandora’s Box of violence, racism, orientalism, and Islamophobia, the outcome of which would continue to be felt for years to come.

A less discussed portion of the American war on Islam and Muslims in the last twenty years is the systematic and centralized attempt at breaking down the American Muslim society. The same can, of course, be said of the anti-Muslim sentiment that flourished in Europe during the West’s wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, and other Muslim countries.

Since then and till today, American Muslims found themselves forced to make bleak choices to avoid media demonization and government persecution.

Some chose to toe the line, in fact, to become an advocate of the very colonial, savage powers that were unleashed against Muslims everywhere – killing, torturing, imprisoning and sanctioning with no regard whatsoever for the very international law that the West itself had fashioned following World War II.

The likes of Hamza Yusuf, formally known as Mark Hanson, was and, perhaps, remains the best example of the so-called ‘pet Muslim’, as he became known due to his collaboration with the George W. Bush regime during the genocidal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The likes of Yusuf became immensely crucial to the American-Western designs in Muslim countries, being the ideal amalgamation between the ‘native informer’ – as a supposedly learned Muslim, although a white person himself – and the typical orientalist – the Western scholar that can be trusted in deciphering and dissecting the Muslim ‘Orient’ to the colonialist West.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Yusuf once told Muslim political dissidents, “If you hate the west, emigrate to a Muslim country”, thus displaying the same racist sentiment often lobbed by far-right chauvinists to anyone who dares question government policies on war, immigration, or anything else.

This very sentiment was repeated by US President, Donald Trump, when he tweeted last July, “In America, if you hate our Country, you are free to leave.”

According to the infinite wisdom of Yusuf and Trump, one can only earn the right to be a fully bonified citizen if one fully abandons one’s right to display any disagreement with one’s government’s policies.

In Yusuf’s shameful thinking, it also follows that a Muslim can never truly be a permanent citizen in any western polity, a sentiment embraced by the very neo-fascist movements that are currently plaguing Europe.

It should come as no surprise, then, that when US Secretary of State and well-known anti-Muslim bigot, Mike Pompeo, announced the formation of the Commission on Unalienable Rights – another platform for political and religious prejudices targeting Trump’s enemies around the world – Yusuf was immediately handpicked to be a member of that commission.

The problem, however, is bigger than a single orientalist. It has become clear that the terrible consequences of September 11 – the bloody wars that followed, and the tragic but predictable backlash of anti-Western militancy in the US, Europe and elsewhere – have, sadly, emasculated mainstream Muslim discourse in Western countries, the US especially.

Once upon a time, every Friday, hundreds of Imams throughout American mosques would breach solidarity with Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Chechnya, and so on. Money would be raised for various organizations that provided aid for victims of wars throughout the Muslim world. In fact, unity around Palestine seemed to bring millions of Muslims together despite their vastly different cultures, classes, and even their very own interpretations of Islam itself.

The outcome of September 11, namely the so-called ‘war on terror’, has changed all of that, imposing a new paradigm and a stark choice on Muslim communities all across the country.

The shutting down of the Holy Land Foundation, because of its support of Palestinian and other victims of Israeli violence, was only the tip of the iceberg. The accounts of many Muslim charities and organizations were drained, while hundreds, if not thousands of well-educated and outspoken Muslim intellectuals were either detained, deported, fired from their jobs or forced into silence by other means.

Sadly, it was the dawn of a new and tragic era where the self-loathing, self-seeking and opportunistic Muslim intellectual peddlers reigned supreme.

It is through this compromising bunch, that Western governments managed to tailor their own version of the ‘good Muslim’, to be juxtaposed with the radical, God-forbid, free-thinking Muslim, unfairly but incessantly seen as a terrorist sympathizer.

I had the displeasure of knowing or learning about many of these ‘good Muslims’ in the last twenty years, who are so keen at claiming the spots at phony ‘interfaith dialogue’ conferences, giddily serving the role of the well-behaved Muslim whenever demanded of them.

For this odd breed of Muslims, Palestine is an obstacle, and Kashmir is a forgotten, wasteland, for their mission is not to advocate on behalf of the oppressed. Instead, they are often used as middlemen who convey the official diktats of governments, states, and city councils to their fellow Muslims. In other words, they become the ‘official’ Muslims, whose agenda is not that of their own community – helping to mobilize, organize and advocate while building solidarity with other marginalized groups – but, as in the case of Yusuf, embracing the agenda of Trump himself.

The problem with these spiritual charlatans is that they feed the misguided view that Muslims can only be either quisling hacks or potential terrorists; that Muslims must be subdued or they become a danger to society; and that Muslims cannot be part of a larger collective of political dissidents who advocate justice and equality in their own society, and the world over.

Currently, at many mosques across the US, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, and other places of great and perpetual injustice are hardly mentioned. Many shy away even from political advocacy and intersectionality within their own communities. Perhaps, they fear that doing so would place them at the radar of the FBI or local enforcement agencies.

But, what is Islam without justice?

In one Quranic verse (5:8), God says, “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for God, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness”.

The emphasis on justice and the building of communities and nations that stand for what is right is at the core of Islamic values, and neither Mark Hansen nor any other self-proclaimed Muslims can possibly change that.

As for governments that are constantly caricaturing Muslims and Islam to fit their own agendas, they are not doing themselves any favors either, for a strong society is predicated on the freedom of individuals and groups to operate within a legal and democratic framework, with the overriding goal of advancing the interests of the entire nation.

Freedom for Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, as well as the rights of minorities, social justice, gender and racial equality, all go hand-in-hand. No sincere justice advocate, self-respecting scholar, and needless to say, true Muslim, would disagree with the notion that justice is indivisible, a moral doctrine has defined Islam and Muslims for fifteen centuries.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU). His website is www.ramzybaroud.net

واشنطن تخسر آخر رهاناتها الاستراتيجيّة

ناصر قنديل

ربما يكون الكثيرون على اعتقاد بأن الاحتباس الذي شهده سوق النفط الآجل في أميركا حالة عابرة، وربما بنى عليه الكثيرون بالمقابل آمالاً بانهيار اقتصادي شامل في أميركا، وكل من الاستنتاجين على قدر عالٍ من التسرع، وبعيد عن فهم حقيقة ما جرى وأبعاده وخلفياته، فالمتفق عليه هو أن الاحتباس في السوق ناجم عن بلوغ موعد البيع الآجل لشهر أيار موعد نهاية عمليات البيع في 20 نيسان، بينما لا تزال كميات ضخمة منه غير مبيعة، بحساب طاقة الإنتاج، والسبب عدم وجود دورة اقتصادية قادرة على الاستيعاب، وإشباع مراكز التخزين بفعل الانخفاض المتواصل منذ شهرين في سوق النفط وبلوغ الأسعار أرقاماً قياسية متدنية، ما حمل بعض حاملي قسائم الشراء يضاربون على المنتجين في التخلي عن قسائمهم لمن يشتريها بسعر منخفض تفادياً لحلول موعد التسليم وهم عاجزون عن تسلّم مستحقاتهم، حيث لا سوق تستهلك ولا مخازن تستوعب، وتخطّي الأزمة تم بشراء الدولة لـ75 مليون برميل ضمّتها إلى مخزوناتها، وتدوير ما تبقى من عرض في السوق لمنتجات أيار إلى معروضات حزيران، التي تنتهي مهل بيعها في 20 أيار.

عند حدود هذا “المتفق عليه” ترد الوقائع التي لم يأخذها المتفائلون بقدرة الاقتصاد الأميركي على تخطيها في حسابهم، والتي بالغ الذين يتوقعون انهياراً اقتصادياً شاملاً بفعلها في اعتبارها مجرد مؤشرات على بلوغ الاقتصاد الأميركيّ الركود الشامل، الذي قد يأتي لاحقاً بفعل استمرار الإغلاق الناتج عن كورونا، لكن ليس بفعل تداعيات ما يجري في السوق النفطية وحدها. وقد سرعت أزمة كورونا تفاعلاتها من ضمن هذا الركود الذي جلبته، وأبرز هذه الوقائع يتصل بكون السوق التي يجري الحديث عنها وتدور الأزمة النفطية حولها، هي سوق النفط الصخري الذي يتركز في غرب تكساس، وهذه السوق ليست عادية لا استراتيجياً ولا اقتصادياً. فالتطلع الأميركي لزعامة العالم جرى ربطه منذ سقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي بالسيطرة الأميركية على سوق الطاقة، بحسابات تشبه رهان الثمانينيات على سباق التسلح وحرب النجوم، الذي انتهى بانهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي.

راهن الأميركيون في العشرية الأولى من القرن الحادي والعشرين على حربي العراق وأفغانستان لتحقيق هدف السيطرة على ما أسموه بحوض قزوين، وإمداد أوروبا من خط نبوكو الآتي من كازاخستان إلى تركيا لحساب السوق الأوروبية، بعد تطويع إيران وشطب موقع العراق، واحتواء سورية. وقد باء هذا الرهان بالفشل وسقط عند تعاظم حضور إيران وإمساكها بمضيق هرمز عنق التجارة النفطية في العالم. وانتقلت المواجهة في العشرية الثانية من القرن على رهان جديد هو السيطرة على سورية، والنجاح بتحقيق فرصة التخلص من مخاطر إغلاق مضيق هرمز، وتوفير إمداد أوروبا بالنفط والغاز عبر الخليج بأنابيب تخترق سورية. وسقط الرهان بثبات وصمود سورية، وتموضع روسيا فيها واستبسال إيران وقوى المقاومة بالدفاع عنها. فبدأ الاستعداد منذ 2017 لإطلاق حصان رهان جديد يفترض أن يبدأ بفرض حضوره في العشرية الثالثة من القرن، والحصان هو النفط والغاز الصخريان، والساحة هي غرب تكساس، حيث نهضت خلال ثلاثة أعوام عشرات آلاف الشركات العاملة في القطاع، واستثمرت الدولة الأميركية وشركات النفط وكبار المستثمرين تريليونات الدولارات في هذا القطاع، والهدف إنتاج كمية عشرة ملايين برميل يومياً، تضخ إلى أوروبا بديلاً من نفط وغاز كل من الخليج وروسيا، بصورة تكون آمنة من مخاطر إغلاق هرمز، وتحكم الطوق على الحضور الروسي، بعدما فشل خط نبوكو، وخط سورية الافتراضي.

الوقائع والأرقام تقول إن الإنتاج بلغ في كانون الثاني من هذا العام رقم 8،7 مليون برميل يومياً من النفط عبر الصخور البركانية، وإن كلفة إنتاج البرميل هي 47 دولاراً، وإن السعر التجاري المناسب لتطور هذا السوق هو 65 دولاراً للبرميل، وإن المخازن الأميركية تتسع لـ580 مليون برميل للنفط الخام، ومثلها للمشتقات النفطية، وإن هذه المخازن العائدة للدولة والقطاع الخاص قد امتلأت، بعدما ضخت إليها الدولة آخر 75 مليون برميل قبل أيام، وبالتالي فإن مواصلة حال الركود ومعها الانخفاض في أسعار النفط إلى دون الثلاثين دولاراً، ستعني فقط مواصلة ما بدأ من شهر ويستمرّ، وهو إفلاس آلاف الشركات وضياع مليارات الدولارات المستثمرة في هذا القطاع. وقد أفلست حتى الآن إحدى عشرة ألف شركة والحبل على الجرار. والقدرة على إنعاش القطاع في ظل أضرار روسية سعودية مشتركة من تضخّمه تبدو مستحيلة، وسعر البرميل لن يعود إلى الستين دولاراً قبل سنتين حسب التقديرات المتفائلة لصندوق النقد الدولي، إذا تعاونت روسيا والسعودية في تجفيف العرض الزائد من السوق، وما جرى مع تسليم استحقاقات أيار سيتكرر مع حزيران وغير حزيران، حتى يجف سوق النفط الصخري ويهوي، ويسقط معه آخر رهانات الاستراتيجية الأميركية للسيطرة على سوق الطاقة، في ظل عروض صينية لعقود طويلة الأجل مع المنتجين الخليجيين على أسعار متوسطة لا تتعدّى الأربعين دولاراً لسنوات مقبلة، فيما تعرض روسيا مبيعاتها الطويلة الأجل في السوق الأوروبية بأسعار موازية.

ما جرى وما سيجري في غرب تكساس، أكبر من مسألة نفطية، وأكبر من مسألة اقتصادية، فهو خسارة حصان رهان استراتيجي، يمكن له إذا تلاقى مع نتائج تفاقم الركود في زمن كورونا، وما يترتب من حال بطالة لأكثر من ثلاثين مليون أميركي، وتراجع للنشاط الاقتصادي لخمسة عشر مليون شركة أميركية مهددة بالإفلاس، أن يتحول إلى أزمة بنيوية، تفتح الطريق لتوقعات دراماتيكية اقتصادية وسياسية واجتماعية، ربما تكون وحدة أميركا على محك التجربة فيها، وربما يكون سباق النفط عكس سباق التسلح الذي انتهى بتفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي، مرشحاً لأن ينتهي بتفكك الولايات المتحدة الأميركية.

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

Photo: REUTERS/Nasir Wakif

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March 13, 2020©

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Illusion of Restoring Peace and Stability in Afghanistan

By Stephen Lendman

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The US came to Afghanistan to stay, the same true for all its war theaters by occupation and/or installed puppet regimes serving its interests. More on this below.

Afghanistan’s troubled history goes back centuries. John Pilger explained that “no country has been abused and suffered more, and none has been helped less than Afghanistan.” 

If hell on earth exists, it’s headquartered in Afghanistan — with many global affiliate locations in the modern era, largely because of endless US wars by hot and other means.

For centuries, Afghans endured what few can imagine. Marauding armies besieged cities, slaughtered thousands, and caused vast destruction. 

In the 19th century, Afghans were victimized by “great game” struggles between imperial Britain and czarist Russia — a time of endless war, destruction, occupation and human misery, continuing from then to now, notably post-9/11.

Wherever the US shows up, endless wars and mass destruction follow, the human toll of no consequence.

According to Gideon Polya, “the horrendous carnage of the (post-9/11) US War on Terror (launched in Afghanistan caused) the deaths of 32 million Muslims abroad (by violence or imposed deprivation) and the preventable deaths of 27 million Americans at home inescapably linked to the fiscal perversion of committing to a $7 trillion long-term accrual cost of killing millions of Muslims abroad.”

The true cost is likely three-fold or more higher because of unaccounted for multi-trillions of dollars by the Pentagon since the 1990s.

“Bush, Obama and Trump are indeed American-killing US presidents,” Polya stressed, adding:

“(S)erial war criminal (Trump warned) that “no place is beyond the reach of American might.”

“The US-imposed, 4-decade Afghan Holocaust and Afghan Genocide is to continue under more draconian rules of engagement.”

Since the 1990s, Polya estimated six million preventable Afghan deaths, millions more refugees, an entire population emmiserated, largely post-9/11.

Since US aggression against North Korea in 1950, he estimates around 40 million preventable deaths and tens of millions of refugees.

Since WW II, the US invaded or otherwise attacked “52 countries.”

“American exceptionalism means that the US is disproportionately  involved in…existential threats (to) humanity” — notably possible nuclear war that could destroy all life forms on earth.

The notion of first strike with these weapons that’s stated in US National Security Strategies from Bush/Cheney to Obama to Trump should terrify everyone everywhere.

What’s unthinkable is possible because of US rage to control planet earth, its resources and populations.

The so-called Trump regime/Taliban peace agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Time and again throughout US history, it breached treaties, conventions, and agreements — clear proof that its ruling regimes can never be trusted.

Time and again throughout US history, it breached treaties, conventions, and agreements — clear proof that its ruling regimes can never be trusted.

The notion of the US agreeing to peace and an end to its occupation of Afghanistan is pure illusion.

The deal calls for reducing numbers of US and allied forces in the country in the coming months, withdrawing entirely in 14 months, including abandonment of Pentagon bases that cost billions of dollars to build and maintain.

Earlier drawdowns of US forces in the country were followed by increased deployments — troops in a so-called advisory and counterterrorism capacity.

Pentagon terror-bombing continued throughout the war.

In mid-2017, with around 8,400 US forces in Afghanistan, Trump OK’d increasing their numbers, then-US war secretary Mattis saying:

“This assures (that the Pentagon) can facilitate our missions and nimbly align our commitment to the situation on the ground (sic),” adding: 

“Our overall mission in Afghanistan remains the same, to train, advise and assist the Afghan forces so they can safeguard the Afghan people and terrorists can find no haven in Afghanistan for attacking us or others (sic).”

The Trump regime’s Afghan strategy put no limit on the number of US forces in the country.

US policy under Bush/Cheney, Obama and Trump has nothing to do with safeguarding the Afghan people or denying terrorists a safe haven — elements the US created and supports in all its war theaters and elsewhere.

Trump’s claim about “working to finally end America’s longest war and bring our troops back home” awaits its moment of truth in the coming weeks and months — the illusion of ending over 18 years of war in Afghanistan likely to be dispelled.

Whether Pentagon and allied troops stay or leave, the CIA maintains a private army of paramilitaries in the country that serve US interests.

They’re staying, not leaving, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and likeminded jihadists to be deployed to the country at the discretion of Langley and the Pentagon.

Afghanistan’s strategic value to the US includes its vast resources and its geographical location near Russia and China.

The US wants both countries encircled with Pentagon bases. It wants oil and gas pipelines constructed across Afghanistan.

It wants opium production continued for heroin manufacture and distribution to world markets — a key revenue source for Western banks and the CIA.

It wants control over the country continued under pro-Western puppet rule.

It wants endless war waged in multiple theaters, serving its imperial agenda, feeding its military, industrial, security, media complex.

Restoration of peace and stability in its war theaters defeats its interests, why new millennium wars rage — threats invented to continue them endlessly.

Restoration of peace and stability to Afghanistan is likely to last no longer than an invented US pretext to breach what was agreed on.

All US wars are based on Big Lies and deception. The possibility for either of its war party wings turning a page for world peace and stability is virtually nil.

Longstanding US history shows it’s a warrior nation — how its been from inception against its native people to today against humanity at home and abroad.

The Afghanistan ‘peace deal’ riddle

Pepe Escobar for the Saker Blog : Posted with permission 

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

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

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

We should start by stressing three points.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s break them down to four points.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No real deal without Iran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding Pashtunistan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lapis Lazuli corridor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ٍSouth Front

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Afghanistan Fiasco and the Fall of the American Military

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Afghanistan Marines 86aa5

A devastating investigative report was published in the Washington Post on December 9th. Dubbed the “Afghanistan Papers” in a nod to the Vietnam War’s famous “Pentagon Papers,” the report relied on thousands of documents to similarly expose how the US government at the presidential level across three administrations, acting in collaboration with the military brass and civilian bureaucracy, deliberately and systematically lied repeatedly to the public and media about the situation in Afghanistan. Officials from the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations have all surged additional troops into Afghanistan while also regularly overstating the “success” that the United States was attaining in stabilizing and democratizing the country. While they were lying, the senior officers and government officials understood clearly that the war was, in fact, unwinnable.

The story should have been featured all across the US as Afghanistan continues to kill Americans and much larger numbers of Afghans while also draining billions of dollars from the United States Treasury, but the mainstream media was largely unresponsive, preferring to cover the impeachment saga. Rather more responsive were the families of Army Chief Warrant Officer Second Class David C. Knadle, 33, of Tarrant, Texas, and Chief Warrant Officer Second Class Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, of Keaau, Hawaii. Both were killed in a helicopter crash on November 20th in Afghanistan’s Logar province while assisting troops on the ground, according to a Pentagon press release. They were participating in what was characteristically dubbed Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Both men were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Texas. The Taliban took credit for the downing of the chopper, but the Army is still investigating the cause.

Knadle and Fuchigami are only the most recent of the more than 2,400 American service members who have been killed in Afghanistan since October 2001, together with 20,589 wounded and an estimated 110,000 Afghan dead. In the wake of the Post’s report, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1974, told a CNN reporter that the Pentagon and Afghanistan Papers exposed the same governmental dysfunction: “The presidents and the generals had a pretty realistic view of what they were up against, which they did not want to admit to the American people.”

The New Republic observes how “The documents are an indictment not only of one aspect of American foreign policy, but also of the US’s entire policymaking apparatus. They reveal a bipartisan consensus to lie about what was actually happening in Afghanistan: chronic waste and chronic corruption, one ill-conceived development scheme after another, resulting in a near-unmitigated failure to bring peace and prosperity to the country. Both parties had reason to engage in the cover-up. For the Bush administration, Afghanistan was a key component in the war on terror. For the Obama administration, Afghanistan was the ‘good war’ that stood in contrast to the nightmare in Iraq.”

The Afghan War’s true costs have never been precisely calculated, though they certainly exceed $1 trillion and counting. The documents relied upon for the Post report include more than 2,000 pages of confidential interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, including soldiers and diplomats, as well as civilian aid workers and Afghan officials. Many of the interviews were initially carried out by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). The Post divided the interviews and supporting documentation into subject categories that demonstrate how the situation in Afghanistan began to deteriorate as soon as the United States followed up on its rapid invasion with a plan for nation building. Resorting to the usual American expedient, the occupiers flooded the country with money, which meant that the only thing blooming on the thin soil was corruption, apart from the poppies that have made Afghanistan the world’s leading supplier of opium.

One contractor who was involved in nation building described how he was required to spend $3 million daily for projects in an Afghan district roughly the size of a US county. He asked a visiting congressman if he could be authorized to spend that much money in the US “[The lawmaker] said hell no. ‘Well, sir, that’s what you just obligated us to spend and I’m doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.’ ”

In another interview the report cites Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, the White House Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, who told the interviewers in 2015. “We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” later adding “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.”

Army Colonel Bob Crowley, who served in Kabul in 2013-4, described how at headquarters “Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible,” adding also how “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.”

Part of the problem with Afghanistan was the rotation of American soldiers in and then out after one year or less, just as they were learning about the country and the problems they faced. It has led to the joke that the United States has not fought an eighteen-year war in Afghanistan: it has fought a one-year war eighteen times.

The Post investigative report coincides with an interesting deconstruction of the US military and how it operates. David Swanson of World BEYOND War provides a lengthy review of West Point Professor Tim Bakken’s new book The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris, and Failure in the US Military. Per Swanson, the book “traces a path of corruption, barbarism, violence, and unaccountability that makes its way from the United States’ military academies (West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs) to the top ranks of the US military and US governmental policy, and from there into a broader US culture that, in turn, supports the subculture of the military and its leaders. The US Congress and presidents have ceded tremendous power to generals. The State Department and even the US Institute of Peace are subservient to the military. The corporate media and the public help maintain this arrangement with their eagerness to denounce anyone who opposes the generals. Even opposing giving free weapons to Ukraine is now quasi-treasonous.”

Bakken even disputes the widely held view that the military academies have high academic standards. He describes how the “system” pays to get potential athletes and accepts students nominated by congressmen commensurate with donations made to fund re-election campaigns. Swanson sums it up by observing how the academies offer “a community college-level education only with more hazing, violence, and tamping down of curiosity. West Point takes soldiers and declares them to be professors, which works roughly as well as declaring them to be relief workers or nation builders or peace keepers. The school parks ambulances nearby in preparation for violent rituals. Boxing is a required subject. Women are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted at the three military academies than at other US universities.”

Bakken concludes that appreciating the fundamental structural flaws in the US armed forces “leads to a clearer understanding of the deficiencies in the military and how America can lose wars.” In fact, he does not even seek to identify a war that the United States has won since World War 2 in spite of the country being nearly constantly engaged in conflict.

Together the Bakken book and the Afghanistan Papers reveal just how much the American people have been brainwashed by their leaders into believing a perpetual warfare national narrative that is more fiction than fact. Donald Trump may have actually appreciated that the voters were tired of the wars and was elected on that basis, but he has completely failed to deliver on his promise to retrench. It suggests that America will remain in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future and the inevitable next war, wherever it might be, will be another failure, no matter who is elected in 2020.

What after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS ?! ماذا بعد أبو بكر البغدادي وداعش؟!

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What after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and ISIS ?!

Dr. Mohammed Sayed Ahmed 

It’s not the first time we’ve talked about the U.S. taking control of two of the world’s most important industries: terrorism and media. Through the first industry, it has been able to make significant gains at the expense of destroying societies and harvesting innocent human beings. Through the second industry, she was and still is trying to brainwash world public opinion and the illusion that she is innocent of terrorism, but the world’s first warrior, in an attempt to cleanse her blood-stained hand..

This week, the U.S. media came out to talk about the killing of Isis terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi through a U.S. military operation in Idlib, Syria, followed by the departure of U.S. President Donald Trump himself to talk about al-Baghdadi’s death through a u.S. military operation. The man continued to weave from his imagination a long story about the hunt for Al-Baghdadi, who was eventually forced to blow himself up with an explosive belt, trying to convince the world public that they had thus permanently destroyed the myth of ISIS, and therefore there is no justification for their presence in Syria..

Despite the weakness and fragility of the American narrative and its long-standing lack of resilience to the conscious mind. Within hours, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that there were no u.S. air flights or allied forces in Idlib, not on Saturday or in the days before, yet the United States, through its control of the media, was trying to promote its false news, and unfortunately World public opinion is still under the influence of this infernal media machine, which is working to falsify consciousness around the clock. In the age of digital media, man has become a prisoner of fabricated and false information and information through this new media..

The story of the United States of America with terrorism is old and began during the Cold War with the former Soviet Union on the pretext that it was an infidel state and was trying to spread atheism in the world and Muslims should fight it. Indeed, some Islamist groups have been encouraged to go to Afghanistan to fight against disbelief and atheism with the support of the United States, which has provided the sacrificed mujahedeen with money and weapons. The battle ended with the dismantling of the Soviet Union in 1990, and the mujahedeen returned from Afghanistan to their Arab and Muslim countries to practice violence and terrorism within these communities..

Then the United States created al-Qaeda, which has terrorized the world for two decades, turning osama bin Laden, the wealthy Saudi, into a legend by the mighty American media machine, which he and his organization attributed to the world’s largest terrorist incident, the bombing of two towers. World trade in the United States itself on September 11, 2001, using the latest missile and aircraft warfare technology. This has raised many questionmarks about the strength and capability of the organization that managed to penetrate the world’s largest security system, even though its leaders, as portrayed by the U.S. media itself, live in the mountains and caves of Afghanistan. America has declared war on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden on the grounds that they are responsible for terrorism in the world, and yet the organization has remained present and leading the terrorist scene around the world and issues daily statements circulated through the American media machine that he is responsible for all explosion is happening here or there.

With the activation and acceleration of the steps of the new Middle East project, through which the United States of America seeks to break up and divide the Arab region along sectarian, ethnic and sectarian lines, which requires the use of the paper of terrorist groups to be the process of partition and fragmentation from within without direct confrontation from it, As in Afghanistan and Iraq, it took advantage of popular anger within some Arab countries and poured more fire on it while pushing its trained elements to lead the street in its favor. This is where al-Qaeda disappeared from the global terrorist scene, and also disappeared from the media platforms that were promoting it, which means that it was the United States that sponsored and promoted this organization, and when its mission ended, it disappeared from existence..

It then manufactured a number of new terrorist organizations and launched its hand in the region and supported it with money and weapons. We heard about Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in Sinai, Jabhat al-Nusra and Jund al-Sham in Syria, but these organizations quickly disappeared and sold out to the new terrorist organization and the legend created by the United States and promoted to it through its powerful media machine, the Islamic State in Iraq. Al-Sham, who is known as THE MEDIA of ISIS and has become a new scare by America, scares the whole world, and it is surprising that there is no sane person on earth who wondered how these terrorist organizations appear?! And how do you disappear without introductions?! How can al-Qaeda, whose operations have terrorized the whole world, disappear from existence? We no longer hear of anything about him, even though there is no real confrontation to fight it and eliminate it?!

After the United States of America manufactured ISIS in Iraq, it gave it the signal to start entering Syria to carry out its partition plan after the first organizations that led the terrorist operations at the beginning of the global war on Syria failed to achieve what America hoped thanks to the steadfastness of the people. And the valor of the Syrian Arab Army. Here, America found itself in need of a larger organization that would manufacture, support it with money and weapons, and amplify it with its media machine, and ISIS, which began to move from one place to another, was at one moment the primary responsibility for terrorist operations around the world. There is no terrorist incident unless ISIS leaders claim responsibility for it, they have weapons that are superior to those of regular armies..

The question is, who gave them this weapon? The United States is the world’s largest arms dealer, and it is in its interest to continue this terrorism to continue its trade, because countries threatened by terrorism seek to buy weapons from the United States to fight terrorism and defend themselves. If terrorism ceases, its trade will cease. Of course, the media is one of the most important tools of the United States to promote its terrorist goods and industry, so we can now explain why the myth of ISIS began to fall and the U.S. announcement of al-Baghdadi’s death in preparation for its withdrawal from Syria after the failure of its project. It is now equipped to manufacture a new terrorist organization, its media machine is ready to promote and amplify, and the global collective mind is ready for receptions and repetitions without the realization of reason..

Oh God, I warned So bear witness

ماذا بعد أبو بكر البغدادي وداعش؟!

د. محمد سيد أحمد

ليست المرة الأولى التي نتحدث فيها عن سيطرة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية على صناعتين من أهم الصناعات في العالم وهما صناعتا الإرهاب والإعلام. وعبر الصناعة الأولى تمكنت من تحقيق مكاسب كبيرة على حساب تدمير مجتمعات وحصد أروح بشر أبرياء. ومن خلال الصناعة الثانية كانت ومازالت تحاول غسل أدمغة الرأي العام العالمي وإيهامه أنها بريئة من الإرهاب، بل هي المحارب الأول له في العالم، في محاولة لتطهير يدها الملوثة بالدماء.

وخلال هذا الأسبوع خرجت علينا وسائل الإعلام الأميركية تحدّثنا عن مقتل أبي بكر البغدادي زعيم تنظيم داعش الإرهابي عبر عملية عسكرية أميركية في إدلب السورية، ثم تبع ذلك خروج الرئيس الأميركي ذاته «دونالد ترامب» ليتحدث عن مقتل البغدادي عبر عملية نوعية للجيش الأميركي. وظل الرجل ينسج من خياله قصة طويلة حول مطاردة البغدادي الذي اضطر في النهاية الى تفجير نفسه بحزام ناسف، محاولا بذلك إيهام الرأي العام العالمي بأنهم بذلك قد قضوا بشكل نهائي على أسطورة داعش، وبالتالي لا يوجد مبرر لوجودهم في سورية.

وعلى الرغم من ضعف وهشاشة الرواية الأميركية وعدم صمودها طويلاً أمام العقل الواعي. فخلال ساعات كانت وزارة الدفاع الروسية تؤكد أنه لم يكن هناك في إدلب أي طلعات جوية للطيران الأميركي أو القوى المتحالفة معه لا في يوم السبت الذي حدّدوه أو في الأيام السابقة عليه، ومع ذلك تحاول الولايات المتحدة وعبر سيطرتها على وسائل الإعلام الترويج لأخبارها الكاذبة، وللأسف الشديد مازال الرأي العام العالمي يخضع لتأثير هذه الآلة الإعلامية الجهنمية التي تعمل على تزييف وعيه على مدار الساعة. فقد أصبح الإنسان في عصر الإعلام الرقمي أسير ما يُقدَّم له من معلومات وأخبار مفبركة وكاذبة عبر هذا الإعلام الجديد.

وقصة الولايات المتحدة الأميركية مع الإرهاب قديمة فقد بدأت أثناء الحرب الباردة مع الاتحاد السوفياتي السابق بدعوى أنها دولة كافرة وتحاول نشر الإلحاد في العالم وعلى المسلمين أن يقوموا بمحاربتها. وبالفعل تم تشجيع بعض الجماعات الإسلامية للذهاب إلى أفغانستان للجهاد ضد الكفر والإلحاد بدعم من الولايات المتحدة التي أمدت المجاهدين المضحوك عليهم بالمال والسلاح. وانتهت المعركة بتفكيك الاتحاد السوفياتي عام 1990، وعاد المجاهدون من أفغانستان إلى بلادهم العربية والإسلامية ليمارسوا العنف والإرهاب داخل هذه المجتمعات.

ثم قامت الولايات المتحدة بصناعة تنظيم القاعدة الذي أثار الرعب في العالم على مدى عقدين من الزمان تحوّل على أثرها أسامة بن لادن الثري السعوديّ إلى أسطورة بواسطة الآلة الإعلامية الأميركية الجبارة، حيث نسب إليه وإلى تنظيمه أكبر حادثة إرهابية في العالم وهي تفجير برجَي التجارة العالمية بالولايات المتحدة ذاتها في 11 سبتمبر 2001 وباستخدام أحدث أساليب التكنولوجيا الحربية من صواريخ وطائرات. وهو ما أثار العديد من علامات الاستفهام حول قوة وقدرة التنظيم الذي استطاع أن يخترق أكبر منظومة أمنية في العالم، على الرغم من أن قادته وكما صوّر لنا الإعلام الأميركي ذاته يعيشون في الجبال والكهوف في أفغانستان. وقامت أميركا بإعلان الحرب على تنظيم القاعدة وأسامة بن لادن بدعوى أنهم المسؤولون عن الإرهاب في العالم، ورغم ذلك ظل التنظيم موجوداً ومتصدراً للمشهد الإرهابي حول العالم ويصدر يومياً بيانات يتم تداولها عبر الآلة الإعلامية الأميركية أنه المسؤول عن كل تفجير يحدث هنا أو هناك.

ومع تفعيل وتسريع خطوات مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي تسعى من خلاله الولايات المتحدة الأميركية إلى تفتيت وتقسيم المنطقة العربية على أسس مذهبية وعرقية وطائفية وهو ما يستلزم استخدام ورقة الجماعات الإرهابية لتكون عملية التقسيم والتفتيت من الداخل دون مواجهة مباشرة منها، كما حدث في افغانستان والعراق، حيث استغلّت موجات الغضب الشعبي داخل بعض البلدان العربية وقامت بسكب مزيد من النيران عليه مع الدفع بعناصر مدربة تابعة لها لتقود الشارع لصالحها. هنا اختفى تنظيم القاعدة من المشهد الإرهابي العالمى، واختفى أيضاً من فوق المنابر الإعلامية التي كانت تقوم بالترويج له، وهو ما يعني أن الولايات المتحدة هي التي كانت ترعى هذا التنظيم وتروّج له وعندما انتهت مهمته اختفى من الوجود.

ثم قامت بعد ذلك بصناعة عدد من التنظيمات الإرهابية الجديدة وأطلقت يدها بالمنطقة ودعمتها بالمال والسلاح. فسمعنا عن أنصار بيت المقدس في سيناء، وجبهة النصرة وجند الشام في سورية، لكن سرعان ما اختفت هذه التنظيمات سريعاً وقامت بمبايعة التنظيم الإرهابي الجديد والأسطورة التي صنعتها الولايات المتحدة وروّجت لها عبر آلتها الإعلامية الجبارة وهو تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية بالعراق والشام والذي عرف إعلامياً بتنظيم داعش والذي أصبح بعبعاً جديداً تخيف به أميركا العالم أجمع، ومن المثير للعجب أنه لا يوجد عاقل على وجه الكرة الأرضية تساءل عن كيف تظهر هذه التنظيمات الإرهابية؟! وكيف تختفي دون مقدمات؟! فكيف لتنظيم القاعدة الذي كانت عملياته ترعب العالم أجمع يختفي من الوجود؟! ولم نعد نسمع عنه أي شيء رغم عدم وجود مواجهة حقيقية لمحاربته والقضاء عليه؟!

وبعد أن قامت الولايات المتحدة الأميركية بصناعة داعش في العراق أعطته إشارة البدء للدخول إلى سورية لتنفيذ مخططها التقسيمي والتفتيتي بعد أن فشلت التنظيمات الأولى التي كانت تقود العمليات الإرهابية في بداية الحرب الكونية على سورية في تحقيق ما ترجوه أميركا بفضل صمود الشعب وبسالة الجيش العربي السوري. هنا وجدت أميركا نفسها في حاجة إلى تنظيم أكبر تقوم بصناعته ودعمه بالمال والسلاح وتضخّمه بواسطة آلتها الإعلامية فكان تنظيم داعش الذي بدأ ينتقل من مكان إلى آخر حتى أصبح في لحظة معينة هو المسؤول الأول عن العمليات الإرهابية التي تتم حول العالم. فما من حادثة إرهابية إلا ويعلن قادة داعش عن مسؤوليتهم عنها فهم يمتلكون أسلحة تتفوق على أسلحة الجيوش النظامية.

والسؤال هنا مَن الذي أعطاهم هذا السلاح؟! الولايات المتحدة هي أكبر تاجر للسلاح في العالم، ومن مصلحتها استمرار هذا الإرهاب لتستمر تجارتها رائجة، لأن الدول التي يتهددها الإرهاب تسعى إلى شراء السلاح من الولايات المتحدة لمكافحة الإرهاب والدفاع عن نفسها. وإذا توقف الإرهاب ستتوقف تجارتها. وبالطبع الإعلام إحدى أهم أدوات الولايات المتحدة للترويج لبضاعتها وصناعتها الإرهابية، لذلك يمكننا الآن تفسير لماذا بدأت أسطورة داعش في الأفول وإعلان الولايات المتحدة الأميركية عن مقتل البغدادي تمهيداً لانسحابها من سورية بعد فشل مشروعها. فهي تجهز الآن لصناعة تنظيم إرهابي جديد، وآلتها الإعلامية جاهزة للترويج والتضخيم، والعقل الجمعي العالمي المغيب جاهز لعمليات الاستقبال والترديد دون إعمال للعقل.

اللهم بلغت اللهم فاشهد.

Video: Why Are We Still in Afghanistan?

Global Research, September 13, 201

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

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

So why are the troops still there?

What was the war in Afghanistan really about?

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

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

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

(Interview conducted in 2016)

*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michel Chossudovsky, September 12, 2019

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CIA Afghan Paramilitaries Prevent Restoration of Peace

By Stephen Lendman

Source

US aggression in Afghanistan continues unabated in its 18th year. Prospects for restoring peace and stability to the war-torn are more illusory than likely.

Talks between Trump regime and Taliban representatives have been ongoing since July last year. 

Claims about concluding them successfully in the near-term are wishful thinking — not as long as CIA-controlled paramilitaries exist in the country.

A new study by Brown University’s Watson Institute (WI) for International and Public Affairs called the “CIA army” of Afghan paramilitary forces a “threat to human rights and an obstacle to peace in Afghanistan.”

It’s involved in the US war OF terrorism, not on it. State terrorism is longstanding US policy, especially post-9/11 when remaining constraints on its imperial rage ended.

CIA controlled paramilitaries in Afghanistan serve US imperial interests. Their existence makes restoration of peace and stability to the country unattainable.

So does keeping US “intelligence assets” in the country on the phony pretext of countering the scourge of terrorism the US created and supports.

Withdrawal of Pentagon forces won’t matter, if occurs, as long as a private CIA army in Afghanistan exists — with likely no intention of leaving.

Established shortly after US aggression on the country was launched, WI said they’ve “committed serious human rights abuses, including numerous extrajudicial killings of

civilians,” adding: 

“CIA sponsorship ensures that their operations are clouded in secrecy. There is virtually no public oversight of their activities or accountability for grave human rights abuses.”

Langley paramilitaries are the modern-day equivalent of CIA-recruited Afghan mujahideen fighters against Soviet occupiers in the 1980s — today’s Taliban, combatting illegal US war and occupation of their country.

They want it back, US invaders out. It’s not likely as long as the CIA’s private army in the country exists.

“Little is publicly known about” it said WI, adding: It’s “an illegal armed group (that) no basis in Afghan law and no formal place in the state security apparatus” authorizes.

“(A)ll we know is that the CIA-sponsored forces are uniformed and well-equipped, sometimes work with American English-speaking men during raids,” and are supported by Pentagon terror-bombing, indiscriminately killing civilians time and again.

Human rights groups and investigative journalists documented their crimes of war and against humanity — “operating with impunity, unconstrained by political or judicial accountability,” WI explained, adding:

“(T)he CIA-sponsored program and activities of its Afghan Army are shielded from public oversight and accountability.” 

“Afghan authorities appear to be uninformed or unwilling to divulge anything about the program’s structure, funding or operations.” 

“UN officials investigating reports of abuses and intentional killings of civilians by (CIA paramilitaries) were unable to obtain any information from Afghan officials.”

The sinister, diabolical, secretive, unaccountable CIA operates extrajudicially at home and abroad. Its existence threatens world peace, stability and security.

Its dirty hands are all over plots against nations on the US target list for regime change — along with involvement in its wars of aggression.

Whatever the outcome of US/Taliban talks, Washington came to Afghanistan to stay, not leave, permanent occupation planned, wanting the country’s resources plundered.

They include barite, chromite, coal, cobalt, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, enormous amounts of highly-valued lithium and other rare earth metals vital for high tech products, natural gas, oil, precious and semi-precious stones, potash, salt, sulfur, talc, zinc, among other minerals.

They represent potentially trillions of dollars of economic value, a treasure Washington has no intention of relinquishing. US policymakers also aim to traverse the country with oil and gas pipelines.

Controlling it is also part of their plan to encircle Russia and China with US military bases, platforms for warmaking.

Afghanistan is the world’s largest opium producer, used for heroin production. What the Taliban eradicated pre-9/11, the US restored.

It’s a bonanza for money-laundering Western banks. The CIA relies on drugs trafficking as a revenue source. 

Permanent war is official US policy, including war by other means by illegal sanctions and other hostile actions against targeted nations.

Whatever US and Taliban representatives may agree on won’t be worth the paper it’s written on.

The history of US talks with other nations shows it can never be trusted.

No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Whatever hopes of returning to normal life regular Afghans have had until recently, these days those are all but dissolving like a morning mist. The so-called Afghan reconciliation summit that was to be held in Qatar has been put on the back burner indefinitely. It was envisioned as a separate event, unrelated to the direct talks between the Taliban […]

via No Peace Allowed in Afghanistan — Astute News

Afghan Children Disabled By War, Victims Twice Over — Rebel Voice

Child victims of war. There can be fewer more abhorrent statements than that. It is terrible to think of any child suffering or dying. But when that pain and death is avoidable, as it is in the case of armed conflict, then surely serious questions must be asked about the overall morality of our species. […]

via Afghan Children Disabled By War, Victims Twice Over — Rebel Voice

Should Pakistan expect US withdrawal from Afghanistan? — Agha Hussain

Posted originally to CRSS on 12 may 2019. Diligent minds in Pakistan pay adequate attention to the Indo-US strategic partnership across Asia. However, with this partnership as the framework, analysts may find it difficult to explain why the US began peace talks with the Afghan Taliban and negotiations as to when and how the US […]

via Should Pakistan expect US withdrawal from Afghanistan? — Agha Hussain

Terrorism Is What We Say It Is

By Jeremy Salt
Source

Ahwaz terror attack 54fc1

There is no consensus when it comes to defining terrorism. The most acceptable is ‘the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims.’ Some definitions insert the word ‘systematic’ so the act is defined as the regular, standard behavior of an individual or a group and not just one aberrant or anomalous action.

Terror is not quite the same as terrorism. Terror is experienced by many people in many ways and at many levels of their lives. There is terror at home in the hands of an abusive husband. There is the terror experienced by sexually abused children. There is terror in the school and the church, from abusive priests and teachers.

There is terror in the streets, from the man holding a knife to your throat as he demands your wallet and there can be terror at the hands of police, there to protect but frequently to abuse and even kill.

A violent father will terrorize his family for years. He will terrorize them regularly, day after day. He will assault his wife and children. He might even kill them. The family will live in a state of fear for years. There will be no end to it any more than there seems to be an end to occupation for the occupied.

This is a digression but it is not unreasonable to compare the fear of an abusive father in the home to the fear of soldiers and settlers amongst a people living under occupation. Violence is always just around the corner in both circumstances.

The home is turned into occupied territory, a place of violence and terror from which there is no escape for the trapped child. The abusive father becomes the soldier, the border police and the settler.

The state and the media tell us who the terrorist is. It is never us. It is always them. The terrorist is the Islamic State in Syria, the terrorist is the gunmen shooting dead 90 young people in the Bataclan theatre in Paris and the terrorist is the man driving a 19-ton truck into a mass of people strolling along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The central problem with this mainstream definition is that it excludes the terrorist actions of a state, except, of course, when the state is part of ‘them’ and not ‘us’ and needs to be set up as a fitting target for attack.

The killers at Bataclan and Nice had their own political motives but so do ‘western’ governments and their regional allies when launching their wars of aggression in the Middle East. Their actions meet their own criteria of terrorism – unlawful violence against civilians with a political aim in mind – and they have killed infinitely more people than the victims of all individual or group terrorist attacks put together.

Their wars would be more accurately described as onslaughts by the most powerful armies in the world on countries scarcely capable of defending themselves. Israel’s war on Lebanon in 1982 was a terrorist war directed against a civilian population, with the political aim in mind of extinguishing the PLO. Its ‘wars’ on Gaza have been terrorist attacks on a civilian population with the aim of destroying support for the Palestinian government elected in 2006.

When the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003 the entire Iraqi population south of the Kurdish region was terrorized. Across the country, people did not know whether they or someone close to them would live to see the next day. Hundreds of thousands did not.

They were the sacrifice that had to be made so a dictator could be stripped of the weapons of mass destruction he did not have and the architects of the killing of these civilians knew he did not have.

There were no elegies, no regrets, and no remorse. No flags waving over coffins and no sound of the last post. They were pulp, no more than dross, the scourings in the factory of war, a faceless, nameless pile of bodies with a sign stuck on the top reading ‘collateral damage.’

This did not mean that death did not concern the folk back home. Many were horrified and came out into the streets to demonstrate but most were concerned only with the death of their own, the soldiers sent to kill in this senseless war.

The same governments that led the attack on Iraq then took advantage of the ‘Arab spring’ to turn their attention to Libya. This most developed country in Africa was not destroyed by ‘rebels.’ It was destroyed by the air forces of the US, the UK, and France. The ‘rebels’ moved forward only under cover of aerial attack. Without it they could not have gone beyond the municipal boundaries of Benghazi.

These same governments changed gear when it came to Syria, where they knew they could not get any kind of UN Security Council backing for what they intended to do. They claimed to have been engaged in a ‘war on terror’ since 9/11 but now they and their regional allies used the terrorist gangs they had pledged to destroy to destroy Syria. Their takfiris were no more than the equivalent of the contras Ronald Reagan used against the Sandinista government in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

The criminality in all of this is enormous. The Nuremberg tribunal defined an aggressive war as the supreme international crime. The invasion of Iraq in 2003, the destruction of Libya in 2011 and the slow-motion destruction of Syria from 2011 onwards were aggressive wars and thus supreme international crimes for which no-one who commissioned them has been held accountable in a court of law.

The 2003 attack on Iraq followed ten years of sanctions described by senior UN humanitarian coordinators as genocidal. This was a decade of terror suffered by the Iraqi people, deprived of food, clean water, and energy supplies. Half a million children who would have lived died. The sanctions sickened so many governments they refused to apply them any longer.

With the sanctions regime collapsing, and with it becoming clear that Saddam would survive and Iraq would again take its place as a front line Arab state against Israel, the US decided to attack again and break Iraq up.

The second war on Iraq was launched and sustained under cover of the most reprehensible lies, not one of them being challenged let alone exposed by the corporate media. Up to one million people were killed within a few years and millions more fled their country. Until the attack on Syria, it was the greatest outpouring of refugees in the Middle East since the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948.

The refugees scattered in all directions. Some managed to reach Indonesia, where they took rickety boats across the Timor Sea to Australia. Many drowned when their boats sank.  Others were turned back and some actually made it through the naval cordon. Taking no responsibility for its military role in the destruction of their country, the Australian government then locked them up in ‘detention centers’ or in camps behind razor wire in the middle of the desert.

The vicious, inhumane treatment of such vulnerable people will rank for all time as one of the most despicable episodes in Australian history. What it exposed yet again was the racism deeply embedded in Australian society, directed against one vulnerable group of people after another, the indigenous people from the beginning of white settlement, Chinese miners in the 19th century, ‘boat people’ escaping the Vietnam war in the 1970s and most recently the ‘boat people’ escaping the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.

The irony could not be lost on anyone, as it was the white settlers themselves who in 1788 were the first ‘boat people,’ massacring the native people and claiming the entire land under the lie of terra nullius. Neither should the similarities with the Zionist occupation of Palestine be lost on anyone.

War turned Libya into a jumping-off point for Libyans and other Africans escaping war or seeking a better life in Europe. Thousands drowned crossing the Mediterranean. The Aegean was another death zone, for Iraqis driven out of their homeland or Kurds escaping theirs.

Then it was Syria’s turn.  If there is any redeeming feature in this latest attempt to destroy an Arab country it is that Syria has survived and in time foreign forces will eventually have to withdraw from the territory they have occupied.  The governments responsible have again violated international law in the most shocking fashion and again no-one has been punished or even held accountable.

These state crimes are the greatest in modern history, far worse in the scale of destruction and the numbers of people killed than the crimes of the national socialists and fascists in the 1930s. One would have to go back to the war on Vietnam for a parallel measure of death and destruction.

Israel was a central element in the wars on Iraq and Syria. It has long been agitating for war on Iran. Its politicians and lobbyists in the US were pushing for ‘regime change’ in the Middle East two decades ago, with the aim of clearing the region of all possible threats to Israeli military domination.

Psycho-historically, Israel also wanted to destroy what was left of the ‘Arab idea’ and what lay at its heart – Palestine. This project began with its establishment.  Israel would decide what the Arab world would be and Israel would tell the world what Arab and Palestinian history had been. Indeed, there would no longer be an ‘Arab world’ in any integrated sense.  As the Yinon planrevealed in the 1980s, it would be broken up into ethno-religious enclaves that Israel could dominate.

Along with the gross crimes committed in Iraq, Libya and Syria there have been the drone missile attacks ordered against Yemen, Somalia and other countries by that paragon of western liberal democracy, Barack Obama.

Now we have his successor dismissing international law with his claim that Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are part of Israel. Thus encouraged, Netanyahu is pledging that after the forthcoming elections he will annex at least parts of the occupied West Bank. ‘A Palestinian state would endanger our existence’ he says. If he does, Trump is likely to follow through with recognition.

What else are these attacks on the governments and people of the Middle East but terror and terrorism as defined – ‘the unlawful use of violence … especially against civilians … in the pursuit of political aims’?

This terrorism is not random but part of the DNA of certain states, no different in essence from the terror of the gunmen who burst into the Bataclan theatre and began shooting down civilians as innocent as the Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and Palestinians killed by tank fire and missile strikes or shot by gunmen along the Gaza fence. Only the uniform separates them from the Bataclan killers.

These two governments, the US and Israel, have turned the canons of international law upside down. Their law is no more than the law of the jungle, the law not of the civilization whose virtues they endlessly spout but of brute force. They have demonstrated by their actions that where their perceptions of national interest are concerned there is no law they will obey and every law they will break.

They are the Leviathan without the social contract. They have taken the world back to Thomas Hobbes’ ‘state of nature,’ in which, for millions of people in the Middle East the life of a man or a woman, adult or child, becomes ‘brutish and short.’

In their eyes, the ‘terrorist’ is not just the Bataclan gunmen but anyone who stands in their way, whether an individual, an organization or a state. The latest addition, put on the list of designated terrorist groups by Donald Trump, is Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), which has sent forces to support Syrian and Hizbullah resistance to western-led and Israeli aggression against Syria and Lebanon. In response, Iran’s Supreme Security Council has designated the US government as a terrorist government and CENTCOM, the US central military command, as a terrorist group.

The attack on Syria has been yet another terrible violation of international law, at numerous levels, by the US and its ‘western’ and Middle Eastern regional partners. As usual, the UN Secretary-General refuses to speak out, further whittling away the UN’s credibility as the supposed defender of international order. The response by the Syrian government and its allies to the attack on Syria is not terrorism, but resistance to it.

US and Israeli orchestrated terror in the Middle East has to be put in the right semantical order. Israel was founded through terror and by terror it has been maintained. Its terrorism is not random but normalized and necessary to its existence as a state that has chosen to live outside the law, with the full support of the US.

Israel is not ‘defending’ itself when it attacks Gaza or when its soldiers, police, and settlers kill Palestinians in Jerusalem or on the West Bank. What is it is ‘defending’ is its theft of someone else’s property. It is the Palestinians who are defending their rights, under law, not Israel.

Israeli civilians living illegally on occupied land in east Jerusalem or the West Bank put themselves in harm’s way and are to be held primarily responsible for the consequences to themselves and their families.

The terror experienced by Israeli Jews living close to the Gaza fence is the minutest fraction of the terror routinely inflicted on Palestinians on the other side of the fence. They are being targeted not because they are Jews, as Netanyahu and Zionist lobbyists would have the world believe, but because they are living on land stolen from its owners more than seven decades ago after being ethnically cleansed. It would not matter who they are.  They would still be resisted because of what they have done.

Adherence to international law would redress the situation in Palestine yet the joint US and Israeli response to the violence and terror they have initiated across the Middle East is more violence and more terror. This is their answer. You will do as we say or else, signaling that the ‘special relationship’ between these two unruly, lawbreaking countries is one of the most dangerous in history.

America Has Gone Full Circle in Afghanistan

By Adam Garrie
Source

America’s Special Representative for Afghan affairs,  Zalmay Khalilzad has announced that a preliminary draft agreement between the Afghan Taliban and Washington has been reached. Although it is clear that nothing has been finalised as of yet, this week’s announcement is the most throughout to-date when it comes to understanding America’s position vis-a-vis the Taliban.  Khalilzad said the following:

Just finished a marathon round of talks with the Taliban in Doha. The conditions for peace have improved. It’s clear all sides want to end the war. Despite ups and downs, we kept things on track and made real strides. Peace requires agreement on four issues: counter-terrorism assurances, troop withdrawal, intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire. In January talks, we “agreed in principle” on these four elements. We’re now “agreed in draft” on the first two.

When the agreement in draft about a withdrawal timeline and effective counter-terrorism measures is finalized, the Taliban and other Afghans, including the government, will begin intra-Afghan negotiations on a political settlement and comprehensive ceasefire.

My next step is discussions in Washington and consultations with other partners. We will meet again soon, and there is no final agreement until everything is agreed”. 

Whilst Khalizad’s statement ping-pongs between clarity and State Department jargon, several things become clear upon reading the text.

First of all, the United States appears more serious about leaving Afghanistan than Syria. This is to say that the US appears to be on the verge of solidifying a timeline for withdrawal that is being agreed upon through cooperation with Afghanistan’s strongest indigenous military force, the Taliban.

Secondly, based on what Khalilzad said has been accomplished when contrasted with what he said has yet to be accomplished, he has (perhaps unintentionally) alluded to the fact that it is now easier for the US and Taliban to agree on a framework for the future than it is for the US and the Kabul regime to do so. This is the case because Khalilzad indicated that of the four goals that must be achieved to finalise a peace deal, the two that have been agreed upon at the highest level thus far, are those which only require cooperation between American officials and Taliban officials. Counter-terrorism assurances and troop withdrawal in this context means that the Taliban will commit themselves to fighting various terror groups (they are already fighting Daesh for example), whilst the Taliban will work with the US to assure an orderly withdrawal of American troops.

The second too principles, “intra-Afghan dialogue, and a comprehensive ceasefire”, require not only the consent and cooperation of the Taliban, but also that of the current Kabul regime, in order to be fulfilled. Therefore, without saying so directly, Khalizad has tacitly admitted that the US is further along in its agreements that only require discussions between American and Taliban officials than it is with discussions that involve American officials, the regime, the Taliban and other smaller factions.

This about face from the US should not surprise Afghanistan’s putative leader Ashraf Ghani. The US is infamous for being a friend one day and an enemy the next, when it comes to international relations. As Ghani remains a figurehead who even with US assistance cannot control a majority of Afghan territory, the US looks as though it is on the verge of dumping its bad investment in favour of working with a reformed Taliban that might actually be able to get things done in the country.

By working with a reformed Taliban rather than a de facto illegitimate, albeit UN recognised Ganhi regime, the US would be able to save both money and save the lives of US troops, whilst still ostensibly retaining the right to exploit some Afghan resources, whilst maintaining the presence of some American mercenaries to guard US economic interests in the country. The fact that this would happen under a government that leans heavily towards the Taliban, does in fact make it clear that both sides are willing to compromise and that for Taliban officials, removing an illegitimate government and removing uniformed US troops is now more important than a blanket extrication of American economic interests from the country. The comparative rapidity with which the US became a key economic partner of Vietnam after the Cold War is a clear model for the kind of US-Afghan relationship that could well be on the horizon. If indeed the US retains economic ties with a Taliban led Afghanistan, it would perhaps be the greatest geo-economic surprise since American Presidents have embraced a Vietnamese government whose founding father is the anti-American fighter Ho Chi Minh. That being said, whilst Afghanistan remains a more difficult place in which to do business than Vietnam was in the late 1970s, the prospect for sustained economic ties looks more and more likely in respect of the US and an Afghanistan led by a new generation of Taliban.

Furthermore, as the kind of peace process that Khalilzad has said is progressing in a positive manner, is that which Pakistan has advocated for over a decade, a proper peace in Afghanistan could help to ease Pakistan-US tensions at a time when the US is leaning heavily towards India, but still seeks to retain what is left of its partnership with Pakistan. In this sense, whilst the US is more comfortable playing zero-sum games in foreign affairs, when it comes to Pakistan, the US won’t be willing to see Islamabad fully exit from the US sphere of influence and as such, by settling Afghanistan’s crisis in a manner consistent with Pakistan’s long held views, this will eliminate at least one point of contention between Washington and Islamabad. As such, the US may well be trying to engage in some sort of balancing act in the region that leans towards India, but one which is not yet willing to see Pakistan fully alienated.

In this sense, the agreement of which Khalilzad has spoken could potentially be a major win-win. China, Russia and Pakistan are now on the same page when it comes to an all parties peace settlement and ceasefire that mandates an orderly withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. Even Iran is largely in this camp now that the Taliban have assured Tehran that a new Taliban government will neither be anti-Iranian nor anti-Afghan Shi’a. For Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, it goes without saying that a stable Afghanistan is in their interests.

Finally, while India does not border Afghanistan, New Delhi has for decades sought strong relations with Kabul as part of a wider Indian desire to encircle Pakistan. This has been especially true since the war of 1971 between India and Pakistan. Just as it is increasingly likely that a new Taliban government will work with some US business firms after a formal US troop withdrawal, the same is true of Indian firms. The difference is that without US troops or those from the current regime there to protect Indian assets, India might find that investing in Afghanistan is more effort than it is wroth. In many ways, some in India are already reaching this conclusion.

In this sense, while India’s plans to encircle Pakistan may be on the verge of being thwarted, for all other parties involved, including the US and Taliban, this new reality is increasingly looking like a win-win conclusion to a war that should have never been fought in the first place. Now that American and Taliban officials are shaking hands and making agreements, many will begin to question the wisdom of a war which began in 2001 for the stated purpose of removing the Taliban from power…only to see the US help to re-legitimise the Taliban eight years later.

Afghan Civilians Fear CIA-Backed Death Squads that Can Call In Airstrikes

By Alexander Rubinstein
Source

While the U.S. continues to conduct its mission of nation-building and “democracy promotion” in Afghanistan and attempts broker a peace deal between the Taliban and the government, bombing the country at unprecedented levels and being associated with de facto death squads on the ground could fuel distrust of the Americans.

NANGARHAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN — Elite CIA-backed special forces in Afghanistan are leaving a trail of carnage in the country. As such units do not operate under the umbrella of the Department of Defense, they have been given near-impunity despite standing accused of war crimes.

Last month, the New York Times cited “senior Afghan and international officials” who said that while most strike forces in Afghanistan have been put under the purview of Afghan intelligence since 2012, two of the most “ruthless” units are “still sponsored mainly by the CIA.”

On Friday, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that at least one of these units has the capability of calling in air strikes.

Of the two special forces units that remain primarily influenced by the CIA, the name of only one was revealed: a group called “02” in the Nangarhar Province. The name of the unit in the Khost Province was not revealed. The units are trained and equipped by CIA agents and CIA contractors, and their fighters make three times the salary of a regular Afghan soldier. The unit in Khost is believed to have between 3,000 and 10,000 fighters while 02 is believed to be about 1,000 fighters strong.

A former senior Afghan security official told the Times that the strike forces were guilty of war crimes, while the United Nations has “expressed concern” about “consistent, credible accounts of intentional destruction of civilian property, illegal detention, and other abuses.” The unnamed unit in Khost was even singled out by the UN, which said it operates “with an absence of transparency and ongoing impunity.”

Brutality worthy of ISIS

In September, elders from the three Nangarhar districts gathered for a press conference in which they claimed that 100 civilians were killed by 02 in August. Elders are putting the number of civilians slain by 02 in the following two months, September and October, at 260.

One man who spoke at the conference said he and his two brothers were detained for three months as 02 tried to force video confessions of Taliban affiliation from him with threats of driving over him with a tank. He said he was placed in handcuffs and that they used needles to puncture holes in his veins.

In one case investigated by the Times, two brothers were killed as they watered their fields. In another case, a unit pursuing an alleged Taliban member entered the wrong home and killed a dozen civilians. In yet another case, 02 placed two brothers in handcuffs and spit hoods and interrogated them in front of their wives and children. After they were done being questioned, 02 dragged the brothers away and executed them in the corner of a bedroom, and then detonated the building.

According to “several current and former Afghan officials,” Americans help the unit find targets and guide operations. Those detained by such units frequently claim they have been tortured and Afghan officials say that Americans have been present at bases during such abuses. In the Nangarhar province alone, human-rights workers registered 15 complaints of torture by 02, according to the Times.

One medical worker who lives in the Bati Kot district in Nangarhar said he initially mistook 02 for ISIS when they showed up at his village surrounded by orange orchards.

“I ran and got my weapon — I thought it was the caliphate people. I didn’t know it was the government,” Khoshal Khan said. “Then they started firing, and I heard the gate blown up. They were speaking English, also.”

Afghanistan | Nangarhar

First, one man in the village, Mohamed Taher, was shot. According to his 16-year-old grandson, Sekander, one of Taher’s sons was also shot while following orders to come out of the building with his hands up. Then, 02 shot one of the grandsons in the head. And then another one of Taher’s sons.

“The women started crying. They called to be quiet, then they blew up the gates and came in,” Sekandar told the Times.

As his father bled to death in the yard after being shot while following orders, Adel, Taher’s 10-year-old grandson, was forced to take shelter inside. “They said, ‘Don’t come out — if the airstrikes hit you, then don’t complain.’” Adel still has shrapnel wounds on his face from the raid.

A relative of some of the people killed in the raid, Mohibullah, said that he sees little difference between the Islamic State and 02, since they both attack civilians without warning.

More killing power than the Caliphate

But, as it turns out, the 02 group is far better equipped than the Caliphate ever was. That’s because they have something Daesh lacked: air support. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism found instances in which 02 raids were quickly followed by airstrikes. One man they spoke to said 16 civilians were killed in an 02 raid on his village, five of whom were family members.

“When my family members heard shots being fired outside, they went out to see what was going on and were hit by an airstrike that killed the five of them. The airstrike also destroyed part of our house,” he said. The outlet claims that 02 called in the strike.

“Numerous residents and relatives” said that one month later 02 killed 13 civilians, including four children, in a raid that included airstrikes. The Interior Ministry claimed that Islamic State fighters were killed, not civilians.

“First, they attacked us with bombs. Then they entered the living room and started to shoot around,” said one witness. “They didn’t care about who they were killing. They killed my uncle and his 9-year-old son. His wife and his other child were injured.” Another man told the outlet he lost seven family members in the raid.

Bombing and death squads a strange approach to nation-building

The CIA’s training, equipping, and support of 02 is reportedly stoking resentment of America’s 18-year occupation of the country, which has little to show in regard to net gains against the Taliban. Near the end of 2018 the Afghan government controlled the smallest amountof territory since a U.S. military watchdog — the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) — started keeping track in 2015. Meanwhile, the U.S. dropped more bombs in 2018 on Afghanistan than during any other year on SIGAR record, which goes back to 2009.

United States Air Forces Central Command Combined Air Operations Center

While the U.S. continues to conduct its mission of nation-building and “democracy promotion” in Afghanistan and attempts broker a peace deal between the Taliban and the government, bombing the country at unprecedented levels and being associated with de facto death squads on the ground could fuel distrust of the Americans.

“When the U.S. also takes on the mission of state-building, then the contradictions between the two approaches — stealth, black ops, and non-transparency vs. institution building, rule of law, and accountability — become extraordinarily difficult to resolve, and our standing as a nation suffers,” bemoaned Karl Eikenberry, a former U.S. commander in Afghanistan who later became a diplomat to the country.

Already, Afghans are beginning to suspect that the U.S. sought to prolong its occupation of their country as means of securing a position to spy on Russia, China and Iran.

Reading Between The Lines: India Has Sour Grapes Over America’s Afghan Peace Talks

By Andrew Korybko
Source

The clearest indication of how the Indian military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) truly feel about America’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban can be seen in retired Major-General Harsha Kakar’s recent article on the topic for “The Statesman”, where the otherwise presumably serious former military official shows the sour grapes that his country has over this process by resorting to a chain of emotional arguments to make the implied point that the war must go on at all costs in order to advance India’s strategic interests vis-à-vis Pakistan at the US’ expense.

Intuiting India’s Interpretation

India, which hasn’t shied away from sounding off about all manner of international issues ever since Prime Minister Modi’s election in 2014, has been uncharacteristically tight-lipped about its attitude towards America’s Afghan peace talks with the Taliban, leading many observers to intuit that it’s extremely unhappy with this process but is applying the age-old wisdom about how “it’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt” in order to avoid the ignoble distinction of being the only country in the world to condemn the latest steps taken to end this nearly two-decade-long conflict. These suspicions appear to be confirmed after reading retired Major-General Harsha Kakar’s recent article on this topic for “The Statesman”, where the otherwise presumably serious former military official shows the sour grapes that his country has over this process by resorting to a chain of emotional arguments to make the implied point that the war must go on at all costs in order to advance India’s strategic interests vis-à-vis Pakistan at the US’ expense.

Double Standards On Democracy

In his piece about “Who will be responsible for Afghanistan mess?”, Kakar hits the gate running by comparing the US’ possible withdrawal from Afghanistan to its prior one from Vietnam, remarking that “Donald Trump appears desperate to fulfil his campaign promise, ignoring sound advice.” Seeing as how Trump was democratically elected as President of the United States partly on his campaign promise to draw down America’s involvement in costly overseas conflicts, Kakar is implying that the will of the people should be ignored in order to promote the interests of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracy (“deep state”), which is superficially hypocritical for someone from the self-professed “world’s largest democracy” to say but makes sense when one realizes that the Indian “deep state” (of which Kakar is a part) hijacked control of the country after Modi took office. For reasons of “narrative convenience”, Kakar ignores the fact that the withdrawal from Vietnam was extremely popular with average Americans, just like a similar one from Afghanistan would be as well.

Frustration Over “America First”

Another important factor that Kakar ignores is Trump’s signature “America First” foreign policy, as he writes that “It appears the US is presently only concerned about itself, rather than the people of Afghanistan and other states which have a stake in the country.” This should have been self-evident because Trump’s foreign policy is all about prioritizing US interests instead of ‘taking one for the team’ and ‘doing favors’ for its international ‘partners’ who he feels have been exploiting America for far too long by freeloading off of it. India, it can be said, is one such ‘partner’, at least when it comes to Afghanistan, though this will be returned to in the next section of the present article. Continuing along, Kakar’s next series of points touch upon his views on how wounded US and NATO veterans, as well as those who lost their brothers-in-arms in the conflict, might dislike that Trump’s withdrawing without a victory, but the Major-General seems to be out of touch with the rank and file because otherwise he’d know that this war is very unpopular with them.

For the second time in two paragraphs, he then whines about “America First” again by writing that “Trump has made up his mind and would follow his intuitions, the world be damned”, adding that “He did it in Syria and is repeating it here.” Once more, Kakar’s angle of approach to this issue is the same as Trump’s “deep state” foes’ in that he deliberately overlooks just how popular the President’s intention to withdraw from Syria is among average Americans in order to further his own ‘class’’ institutional interests at their expense. The next chain of interconnected points that he tries to make is that the Taliban will go back on its previously stated commitment to peace and inclusive governance as part of a preplanned conspiracy with Pakistan, though not before Islamabad “obtains US largesse, has doors for IMF loans opened and pressure…applied on India to pull out of Afghanistan.” It’s actually these three outcomes of Pakistan’s diplomatic facilitation of the peacemaking process that Kakar – and by extrapolation, the Indian “deep state” that he represents – is most fearful of.

Cutting Off India’s Free Ride In Afghanistan

The Major-General doesn’t really care about the US’ international reputation potentially taking a hit after its ‘second Vietnam’ or what its wounded veterans think about the withdrawal, but his emotional embellishment of these two topics appears to be nothing more than a poorly thought-out attempt to misportray Trump’s peace talks with the Taliban in the worst possible light because of how worried India is about the strategic consequences of their success. New Delhi knows that its interests in Afghanistan are only secured so long as the Pentagon is there to protect them and that the US’ possible withdrawal from the country would remove India’s strategic depth vis-à-vis Pakistan, therefore largely stabilizing the situation in South Asia to what New Delhi’s “deep state” believes would be their ultimate detriment per the “zero-sum” paradigm that guides their decisions. Put another way, despite the War on Afghanistan being a total military failure for the US, India wants Americans to continue dying for them in order to advance their country’s regional interests.

It was written earlier that Trump’s “America First” policy is aimed first and foremost at cutting off the US’ freeloaders, so bearing in mind the aforementioned insight about how India used the US all these years as its “cat’s paw” against Pakistan by strategically profiting off of its people’s sacrifices in blood and treasure, it can be said that the application of “America First” to the War on Afghanistan is a nightmare scenario for New Delhi. Fearing that the withdrawal of American troops will leave Indian investments without protection, Kakar suggests the deployment of historically ineffective UN peacekeeping forces as a desperate last-ditch measure to defeat the same National Liberation Movement that not even the US could crush with over 100,000 troops at the height of the Obama-era surge. Of note, for as much as he hypes up the US’ possible loss of face following any prospective withdrawal from Afghanistan, Kakar doesn’t talk about what a loss of face and money it would be for India if the Taliban seizes its many investments there in the aftermath.

The End Of An Empire, But Which One?

Right near the end, Kakar predicts that “Trump would have demitted office but would remain in history books for being responsible for the death of a nation”, concluding that “It would only prove the adage of ‘Afghanistan being the graveyard of empires’”, but the US might actually save itself from collapse by withdrawing from the war-torn state, reinvesting its money in domestic infrastructure and socio-economic projects instead, and getting out of the quagmire while it still can. On the other hand, the same can’t be said for Modi and his envisaged empire of “Akhand Bharat”, which might both be dealt political death blows ahead of India’s general elections in May if serious concern over the geopolitical consequences of a possibly impending American withdrawal from Afghanistan combines with other issues to convince voters to kick the hyper-jingoist Hindutva ideologues out of office before they lead their country to ruin. It’s little wonder then that India’s “deep state” has sour grapes over the US’ Pakistani-facilitated peacemaking progress in Afghanistan because it could end their dreams of a regional empire once and for all.

 

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