إردوغان يتّفق مع بايدن.. جيشنا إلى أفغانستان

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باحث علاقات دولية ومختصص بالشأن التركي

26 June 2021

حسني محلي

المصدر: الميادين نت

يبدو أنَّ بايدن لن يستعجل في حسم ملف تركيا ما دام يشك في أجندات إردوغان الخاصة لإحياء ذكريات الخلافة والسلطنة العثمانية.

حديث إردوغان عن ضرورة إشراك باكستان في المهمة العسكرية التركية يهدف إلى كسب ود “طالبان”.

مع بدايات الحرب الباردة وتشكيل الحلف الأطلسي في نيسان/أبريل 1949، استعجلت تركيا في مساعيها للانضمام إلى هذا الحلف لمواجهة الخطر السوفياتي الشيوعي، كما كانت تقول آنذاك. وجاءت الحرب الكورية كفرصة ثمينة بالنسبة إلى أنقرة، التي قرّرت إرسال جيشها للقتال إلى جانب الأميركيين، في محاولة منها لإثبات ولائها للغرب، الذي فتح أبواب الحلف لها في شباط/فبراير 1952، بعد أن ضحَّت بحوالى ألف عسكري من عساكرها في كوريا.

وكان انضمام أنقرة إلى الحلف بداية التحالف الاستراتيجي التركي مع أميركا، التي أصبح لها القول الأول والأخير في مجمل تطورات تركيا الداخلية والخارجية، بعد أن أقامت عشرات القواعد البحرية والجوية والبرية في مختلف أنحاء البلاد، وما زالت تحتفظ بـ12 منها، رغم كلّ حالات الفتور والتوتر بين البلدين خلال الفترات الماضية. 

وجاء “الربيع العربي” كفرصة جديدة لإثبات ولاء أنقرة في ظل حكم حزب العدالة والتنمية لأميركا، التي أرادت تغيير خارطة الجغرافيا العربية بتسليم السلطة في العديد من دولها للإسلاميين، شرط أن يستفيدوا من النموذج التركي. وقد أثبت هذا النموذج فشله بعد إسقاط حكم الإخوان في مصر وصمود الدولة السورية والتناقضات التي عاشتها تركيا، لينتهي الأمر بها بما هي عليه الآن داخلياً وخارجياً.

لم يمنع ذلك أنقرة من الاستمرار في مساعيها لأداء دور أساسي في مجمل تطورات المنطقة، انطلاقاً من سوريا، وهي قفل كلّ المعادلات التركية اللاحقة ومفتاحها، فأرسل الرئيس التركي رجب طيب إردوغان قواته إلى العراق وليبيا والصومال وأذربيجان وقطر وألبانيا، إضافة إلى مساهمات تركيا في قوات حفظ السلام في لبنان ومالي وجمهورية أفريقيا الوسطى والبوسنة وكوسوفو. 

كما أرسلت أنقرة جيشها إلى أفغانستان بعد الاحتلال الأميركي لهذا البلد، إذ قال وزير الخارجية كولن باول في تصريح لـ”نيويورك تايمز” في 11 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2001: “إنَّ بعض الدول الإسلامية، وفي مقدّمتها تركيا، عبرت لنا عن استعدادها لإرسال قواتها إلى أفغانستان، للمساهمة في تحقيق الأمن في العاصمة كابول وجوارها”. وتحتفظ تركيا منذ ذلك التاريخ بحوالى ألفي عسكري في أفغانستان، يقومون بحماية مطار كابول، كما يقومون بتدريب عناصر الأمن الأفغاني، في الوقت الذي تنفّذ الشركات التركية مشاريع تنموية فيها. 

وجاء حديث الرئيس إردوغان بعد لقائه الرئيس بايدن عن استعداده لإرسال الجيش التركي وموافقة بايدن على ذلك، ليدفع المعارضة إلى التذكير بتجربة الجيش التركي في كوريا قبل 70 عاماً. وقال فاروق لوغ أوغلو، سفير تركيا السابق في واشنطن، “إن إردوغان، من خلال إرسال الجيش إلى أفغانستان، يسعى إلى كسب ودّ ودعم الرئيس بايدن الذي وصفه بالاستبدادي، وأكد ضرورة التخلص منه”، فيما ذكَّر الجنرال المتقاعد أحمد ياووز بـ”إرسال رئيس الوزراء الأسبق عدنان مندرس الجيش التركي إلى كوريا في بداية الخمسينيات”، وقال: “التاريخ يكرر نفسه. هذه المرة، يرسل إردوغان عساكرنا إلى أفغانستان لحماية المصالح الأميركية، وهو ما فعله في سوريا، وبعد ذلك في ليبيا، فقد زارها وزراء الداخلية والدفاع والخارجية ورئيس الأركان ورئيس المخابرات ومستشارو إردوغان قبل يوم من لقاء بايدن، وذلك إشارة من إردوغان الذي أراد أن يقول لواشنطن إنه على استعداد للتنسيق والتعاون الدائم والشامل مع أميركا في كل المناطق ذات الاهتمام المشترك بما فيها أفغانستان ولاحقاً الصومال ومنطقة الخليج والقوقاز”. 

أما رئيس تحرير قناة “Tele 1” الإخبارية، ماردان ينارداغ، فقد اعتبر “حماس إردوغان لإرسال الجيش التركي إلى أفغانستان جزءاً من أيديولوجيته العقائدية التي طبَّقها بالتحالف مع جميع القوى والفصائل الإسلامية، المسلحة منها وغير المسلحة، في سوريا وليبيا”.

حديث الرئيس إردوغان عن ضرورة إشراك باكستان وهنغاريا في المهمة العسكرية التركية يهدف إلى كسب ود “طالبان” ذات الأصول الباشتونية، فيما يسعى من خلال الحديث عن الرئيس الهنغاري أوروبان (قال إنه من أصول عثمانية) لكسب ودّ الاتحاد الأوروبي ودعمه سياسياً ومالياً، من دون أن نتجاهل علاقات أنقرة منذ فترة مع حركة “طالبان” التي توسّطت قطر (حليف إردوغان) بينها وبين “الشيطان الأكبر” أميركا، التي نسيت أنها هي التي احتلّت أفغانستان، فقد أدت واشنطن ومخابراتها مع باكستان، وبتمويل سعودي وإماراتي، دوراً أساسياً في دعم المجاهدين الأفغان خلال الاحتلال السوفياتي، كما ساهمت في تشكيل “القاعدة”، ومن بعدها حركة “طالبان”، وإيصالها إلى السلطة في أيلول/سبتمبر 1996.

وجاء مقتل أسامة بن لادن في الأول من أيار/مايو 2011 كمؤشر مهم على فتح صفحة جديدة في المخطط الأميركي في المنطقة العربية، إذ حلَّت “داعش” محلّ “القاعدة”، ثم بقيت الساحة لـ”جبهة النصرة” بعد مقتل البغدادي، مع استمرار الصراع على مناطق النفوذ بين القاعدة و”داعش” في أفريقيا، وربما لاحقاً في أفغانستان وآسيا الوسطى، بعد استلام “طالبان” السلطة هناك. 

كل ذلك مع استمرار اهتمام دول الجوار الأفغاني بهذا التغيير المحتمل، إذ تجاور أفغانستان الصين بحوالى 75 كم من الحدود البرية القريبة من منطقة مسلمي الإيغور، والآلاف منهم يقاتلون في سوريا. 

بدورها، تراقب إيران تطوّرات الوضع في أفغانستان، التي تمتدّ حدودها معها إلى حوالى 950 كم، ويعدّ حوالى 15% من سكان أفغانستان من الشيعة. أما الاهتمام الأميركي، وبالتالي الأوروبي، بهذا البلد، فله أبعاد مختلفة، إضافةً إلى موقعه الجغرافي وثرواته المعدنية المختلفة، وأهمها أن 90% من مختلف أنواع المخدرات التي تصل أوروبا وأميركا تأتي منه.

لم تبالِ هذه الدول الغربية بقنابل باكستان النووية، في الوقت الذي تقيم الدنيا وتقعدها على احتمالات امتلاك إيران مثل هذا السلاح الذي قد يهدد “إسرائيل”، بحسب ادعاءات هذه الدول وحلفائها في دول الخليج. ويعرف الجميع أنها تتنافس في ما بينها، ومعها تركيا، لكسب باكستان إلى جانبها، لأنَّ من يكسب هذا البلد، الذي يتميز بحدود بطول 2650 كم مع أفغانستان، يتقدم على الآخرين في كسب موطئ قدم استراتيجي في المنطقة، وهي بوابة الانفتاح على جمهوريات آسيا الوسطى الإسلامية ذات الأصل التركي، وهي أيضاً الحديقة الخلفية لروسيا. 

تراقب روسيا بدورها كلّ التطورات عن كثب، لما لها من ذكريات سيّئة في أفغانستان، كانت كافية لسقوط الاتحاد السوفياتي. ويعرف الجميع أن الرئيس بوتين لن يسمح لأحد بأن يكرر هذه التجربة، مع استمرار أميركا والحلف الأطلسي وحلفائهما في مساعيهما لتضييق الحصار عليها، كما يعرفون أن تركيا هي الحليف الأهم والأكثر تأثيراً في مشاريع واشنطن. وقد كانت في سنوات الحرب الباردة مخفراً متقدّماً للدفاع عن الحلف الأطلسي ضد حلف “وارسو”. 

وقد انضم معظم أعضائه السابقين، باستثناء أوكرانيا وروسيا البيضاء ومولدوفا، إلى الحلف الأطلسي، مع استمرار مساعي الرئيس إردوغان لضم أوكرانيا وجورجيا إلى الحلف. ويرى البعض في ذلك محاولة جديدة من إردوغان، وقد تكون الأخيرة، لإثبات قوته للحليف الأكبر بايدن.

ويبدو أنَّ الأخير لن يستعجل في حسم ملف تركيا، ما دام يشك في أجندات إردوغان الخاصة لإحياء ذكريات الخلافة والسلطنة العثمانية، ولو بتسميات مختلفة يريد لها أن تدغدغ مشاعر أنصاره وأتباعه في الداخل، وبين إسلاميي المنطقة والعالم، وخصوصاً بعد أن أصبح الحاكم المطلق للبلاد، وسيطر على جميع أجهزة الدولة، وأهمها جيش أتاتورك، الذي يريد له أن يتحول إلى جيش انكشاري ينفّذ تعليماته، ويخدم مشاريعه ومخططاته، ولو كان ذلك بخطوة إلى الأمام وخطوتين إلى الوراء! 

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

MAY 06, 2021

An empire in love with its Afghan cemetery

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning with a hat tip to Tacitus and dancing to the Hindu Kush groove

By Pepe Escobar with permission from the author and first posted at Asia Times

One cannot but feel mildly amused at the theatrical spectacle of the US troop pullout from Afghanistan, its completion day now postponed for maximum PR impact to 9/11, 2021.

Nearly two decades and a staggering US$2 trillion after this Forever War was launched by a now immensely indebted empire, the debacle can certainly be interpreted as a warped version of Mission Accomplished.

“They make a desert and call it peace,” said Tacitus – but in all of the vastness of the Pentagon there sits not a single flack who could imagine getting away with baldfacedly spinning the Afghan wasteland as peaceful.

Even the UN bureaucratic machinery has not been able to properly account for Afghan civilian deaths; at best they settled for 100,000 in only ten years. Add to that toll countless “collateral” deaths provoked by the massive social and economic consequences of the war.

Training and weaponizing the – largely inefficient – 300,000-plus Afghan Army cost $87 billion. “Economic aid and reconstruction” cost $54 billion: literally invisible hospitals and schools dot the Afghan landscape. A local chapter of the “war on drugs” cost $10 billion – at least with (inverted) tangible results: Afghanistan now generates 80% of the world’s opium.

All these embarrassing facts disappear under the shadow play of 2,500 “official” departing troops. What really matters is who’s staying: by no means just a few out of some 17,000 “contractors,” over 6,000 of whom are American citizens.

“Contractor” is a lovely euphemism for a bunch of mercenaries who, perfectly in tune with a shadow privatization drive, will now mingle with Special Forces teams and covert intel ops to conduct a still lethal variation of hybrid war.

Of course this development won’t replicate those David Bowie-style Golden Years in the immediate post-9/11 era. Ten years ago, following the Obama-Petraeus surge, no fewer than 90,000 contractors were dancing to the Hindu Kush groove, lavishly compensated by the Pentagon and dabbling in everything from construction, transportation and maintenance to “enhanced interrogation services.”

Collectively, this shadow army, a triumph of private enterprise many times cheaper than the state-sponsored model,  bagged at least $104 billion since 2002, and nearly $9 billion since 2016.

Now we’re supposed to trust CENTCOM commander General Kenneth McKenzie, who swears that “the U.S. contractors will come out as we come out.” Apparently the Pentagon press secretary was not briefed: “So on the contractors, we don’t know exactly.”

Some contractors are already in trouble, like Fluor Corporation, which is involved in maintenance and camp construction for no fewer than 70 Pentagon forward operating bases in northern Afghanistan. Incidentally, no Pentagon PR is explaining whether these FOBs will completely vanish.

Fluor was benefitting from something called LOGCAP – Logistics Civil Augmentation IV Program – a scheme set by the Pentagon at the start of Obama-Biden 1.0 to “outsource logistical military support.” Its initial five-year deal was worth a cool $7 billion. Now Fluor is being sued for fraud.

Enhancing stability forever

The current government in Kabul is led by a virtual nonentity, Ashraf Ghani. Like his sartorially glamorous predecessor Hamid Karzai, Ghani is a US creature, lording it over a rambling military force financed by Washington to the tune of $4 billion a year.

So of course Ghani is entitled to spin a rosy outlook for an Afghan peace process on the pages of Foreign Affairs.

It gets curioser and curioser when we add the incandescent issue that may have provoked the Forever War in the first place: al-Qaeda.

“former security coordinator for Osama bin Laden” is now peddling the idea that al-Qaeda may be back in the Hindu Kush. Yet, according to Afghan diplomats, there is no evidence that the Taliban will allow old-school al-Qaeda – the Osama/al-Zawahiri incarnation – to thrive again.

That’s despite the fact that Washington, for all practical purposes, has ditched the Doha Agreement signed in February 2020, which stipulated that the troop pullout should have happened this past Saturday, May 1.

Of course, we can always count on the Pentagon to “enhance security and stability”  in Afghanistan. In this Pentagon report we learn that “AQIS [al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent] routinely supports and works with low-level Taliban members in its efforts to undermine the Afghan government, and maintains an enduring interest in attacking US forces and Western targets.”

Well, what the Pentagon does not tell us is how old-school al-Qaeda, pre-AQIS, metastasized into a galaxy of “moderate rebels” now ensconced in Idlib, Syria. And how contingents of Salafi-jihadis were able to access mysterious transportation corridors to bolster the ranks of ISIS-Khorasan in Afghanistan.

The CIA heroin ratline

All you need to know, reported on the ground, about the crucial first years of the imperial adventure in Afghanistan is to be found in the Asia Times e-book Forever Wars, part 1.

Two decades later, the politico-intel combo behind Biden is now spinning that the end of this particular Forever War is an imperative, integrated to the latest US National Security Strategy.

Shadow play once again reigns. Withdrawal conditionals include the incompetence and corruption of the Afghan military and security forces; that notorious Taliban-al-Qaeda re-engagement; the fight for women’s rights; and acknowledging the supreme taboo: this ain’t no withdrawal because a substantial Special Forces contingent will stay in place.

In a nutshell: for the US deep state, leaving Afghanistan is anathema.

The real heart of the matter in Afghanistan concerns drugs and geopolitics – and their toxic intersection.

Everyone with transit in the Dubai-Kandahar axis and its ramifications knows that the global-spanned opium and heroin business is a matter very close to the CIA’s heart. Secure air transport is offered by bases in Afghanistan and neighboring Kyrgyzstan.

William Engdahl has offered a concise breakdown  of how it works. In the immediate post-9/11 days, in Afghanistan, the main player in the opium trade was none other than Ahmed Wali Karzai, presidential brother and a CIA asset. I interviewed him in Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, in October 2001 (the interview can be found in Forever Wars). He obviously did not talk about opium.

Ahmed Karzai was snuffed out in a Mafia-style hit at home, in Helmand, in 2011. Helmand happens to be Afghanistan’s Opium Central. In 2017, following on previous investigations by Seymour Hersh and Alfred McCoy, among others, I detailed the workings of the CIA heroin ratline in Afghanistan.

New Great Game 3.0 is on

Whatever happens next will involve layers and layers of shadow play. CENTCOM’s McKenzie, at a closed-door hearing at the US House Armed Services Committee, basically said they are still “figuring out” what to do next.

That will certainly involve, in McKenzie’s own assessment, “counter-terrorism operations within the region”; “expeditionary basing” (linguistic diversion to imply there won’t be any permanent bases, at least in thesis); and “assistance” to Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (no details on what this “assistance” will consist of).

Now compare it with the view by major Eurasian powers: Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran, three of them members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), with Iran as an observer and soon full member.

Their number one priority is to prevent any mutating Afghan jihadi virus to contaminate Central Asia. A massive 50,000 troop-strong Russia-Tajikistan military exercise in late April had exactly that in mind.

Ministers of defense of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) met in Dushanbe with the objective of further fortifying the porous Tajik-Afghan border.

And then there’s the Turkmen-Afghan border, from which the opium/heroin trail reaches the Caspian Sea and diversifies via Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Moscow, even more than the CSTO, is particularly worried by this stretch of the trail.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is poppyfield-300x168.jpg

The Russians are very much aware that even more than different opium/heroin routes springing up, the top danger is a new influx of Salafi-jihadis into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Even if analyzing it from completely different perspectives, Americans and Russians seem to be equally focused on what Salafi-jihadists – and their handlers – may come up with in post-9/11, 2021 Afghanistan.

So let’s go back to Doha, where something really intriguing is afoot.

On April 30, a so-called extended troika – Russia, the United States, China and Pakistan – issued a joint statement in Doha on their discussions regarding a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.

The extended troika met with the Kabul government, the Taliban and host Qatar. At least they agreed there should be “no military solution.”

It gets curioser and curioser again: Turkey, backed by Qatar and the UN, is getting ready to host a conference to further bridge the gap between the Kabul government and the Taliban. Realpolitik cynics will have a ball wondering what Erdogan is scheming at.

The extended troika, at least rhetorically, is in favor of an “independent, sovereign, unified, peaceful, democratic, neutral and self-sufficient Afghanistan.” Talk about a lofty undertaking. It remains to be seen how Afghanistan’s “neutrality” can be guaranteed in such a nest of New Great Game serpents.

Beijing and Moscow will be under no illusions that the newly privatized, Special Forces Afghan-American experiment will eschew using Salafi-jihadis, radicalized Uighurs or other instant assets to destabilize what in effect should be the incorporation of Afghanistan to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (where it’s already an observer) and the larger Eurasia integration project.

An extra-intriguing piece of the puzzle is that a very pragmatic Russia – unlike its historical ally India – is not against including the Taliban in an overall Afghan settlement. New Delhi will have to go along. As for Islamabad, the only thing that matters, as always, is to have a friendly government in Kabul. That good old “strategic depth” obsession.

What the major players – Russia and China – see in the framework of a minimally stabilized Afghanistan is yet one more step to consolidate the evolution of the New Silk Roads in parallel with the Greater Eurasia partnership. That’s exactly the message Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered during his recent visit to Pakistan.

Now compare it with the – never explicit – strategic deep state aim: to keep some sort of military-intel “forward operating base” in the absolutely crucial node between Central and South Asia and close, oh so close, to national security “threats” Russia and China.

The New Great Game 3.0 is just beginning at the graveyard of empires.

Debunking Bloomberg: Biden’s Afghan Withdrawal Isn’t A Blow To China

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Debunking Bloomberg: Biden

It was hyperbole for Ghosh to claim that ‘Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Is A Blow To China’. It might only be so in the worst-case scenario, which is far from certain.

Bloomberg published an op-ed last week provocatively claiming that “Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Is A Blow To China”. Opinion columnist Bobby Ghosh argues that the country might soon slip back into an all-out civil war that would not only disrupt China’s connectivity interests in the country, but also spill over to threaten the Belt & Road Initiative’s (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In addition, he predicts that Afghanistan will become “a sanctuary for jihadists of every stripe — some of whom will undoubtedly direct their attention to that very short, mountainous and porous border with China.”

This line of thinking is typical of what many in the Western mainstream media are saying. They were against former US President Donald Trump’s deal with the Taliban last year and subsequent promise to complete his country’s military withdrawal by the beginning of next month. His successor, US President Joe Biden, will instead initiate the full withdrawal by that date and complete it before the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Some establishment voices fear that this will create strategic opportunities for China and the US’ other so-called peer competitors like Russia to exploit for zero-sum ends against American interests.

In reality, however, it’s in everyone’s interests that the US completes its promised withdrawal from Afghanistan as soon as possible. America has spent trillions of dollars there without much of anything to show for it. It’s true that Afghanistan now has a governing system comparatively closer (key word) to Western democracy than before and that woman now enjoy greater rights, but the Taliban still controls large swathes of the country and ISIS’ entry to the battlefield in 2014 immensely complicated the anti-terrorist situation there. Indefinitely continuing the US’ occupation of Afghanistan would only make matters much worse without solving anything.

By boldly agreeing to withdraw from the country and clearly articulating the strategic reasons behind this decision in his national speech on Wednesday, President Biden concluded that it’s better to cut America’s losses and simply move on even though the victimized Afghan people won’t be able to move past this twenty-year dark chapter of their national history so easily. In any case, their future is arguably brighter than before, not dimmer. The completion of the US’ withdrawal will unlock promising socio-economic opportunities for Afghanistan provided that their leadership and local stakeholders have the political will to support them.

To explain, it’s precisely because of China that this is possible. Afghanistan’s geostrategic location in the center of the tri-regional Central-South-West Asian space affords it enormous potential for connecting these three massive markets through BRI. In particular, CPEC’s de facto expansion into Afghanistan via the recently agreed Pakistan-Afghanistan-Uzbekistan (PAKAFUZ) railway will complement existing rail connectivity with China via the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The Chinese-Iranian Strategic Partnership deal also creates the chance of further expanding this connectivity network to West Asia with time via W-CPEC+.

Domestically, the Afghan economy would require extensive reconstruction, but its reported $3 trillion worth of minerals – including some rare earth ones – could ideally be extracted in the most responsible way possible to ensure the equitable distribution of this wealth to every citizen. Coupled with grants and low-interest no-strings-attached loans from partner states like China and others, the Afghan people actually stand a very credible chance of succeeding in the future so long as their country can avert the all-out civil war that Ghosh fears might soon erupt.

That worst-case scenario is plausible, but nevertheless not inevitable. The Taliban, despite being designated as terrorists, have recently proven themselves to be shrewd diplomats on the international stage during multiple rounds of peace talks over the past few years. They seem to have understand the pragmatism of facilitating such connectivity and extractive projects for the purpose of improving their citizens’ living standards. Should they enter into the planned inclusive transitional government that’s been proposed, then they’ll probably not do anything to threaten those projects since they’ll too have a stake in their success.

Considering all of this, it was hyperbole for Ghosh to claim that “Biden’s Afghanistan Withdrawal Is A Blow To China”. It might only be so in the worst-case scenario, which is far from certain. What’s much more likely is that the existing low-intensity conflict continues but doesn’t reach catastrophic proportions. Instead, with the Taliban possibly becoming part of the Afghan government, the international community might remove their terrorist designation and accept them as equal stakeholders in Afghanistan’s future socio-economic success, a large part of which will be due to mutually beneficial cooperation with China.

Critics of President Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech

Critics of President Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech

February 15, 2021

from Zamir Awan for the Saker Blog

The only optimistic part of President Joe Biden’s first foreign policy speech is, “We’re also stepping up our diplomacy to finish the war in Yemen — a war which has produced a humanitarian and strategic catastrophe. I’ve asked my Middle East squad to ensure our support for the United Nations-led initiative to enforce a truce, open humanitarian channels, and restore long-dormant peace talks. This morning, Secretary Blinken appointed Tim Lenderking, a career foreign policy officer, as our special representative to the Yemen war. And I appreciate his doing this. Tim is a life — has a lifetime of experience in the region, and he’ll work with the U.N. representative and all parties of the conflict to push for a diplomatic resolution. And Tim’s diplomacy will be reinforced by USI- — USAID, working to guarantee that humanitarian aid reaches the Yemeni people suffering un- — an unendurable [sic] — unendurable destruction. This war has to finish. And to underline our commitment, we are terminating all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales. Mr. Secretary, it’s great to be here with you. And I’ve been seeing forward a long time to be able to call you “Mr. Secretary.”

It is yearned that there will be an end to bloodshed and loss of human lives.

The most important is he believed, “As I said in my opening address, we will heal our alliances and involve with the world once again, not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s. American leadership must encounter this new era of advancing authoritarianism, including the growing ambitions of China to rival the United States and the determination of Russia to damage and disorder our democracy.”

He pointed out to strengthen alliances to counter China and Russia. It means a new cold-war he is going to launch. The world has hurt a lot during the cold war from the 1850s to the 1980s. Although the former USSR was disintegrated as a result of cold-war, the rest of the world has suffered a lot. There is a fear that if a new cold war is initiated against Russian and China, it will divide the world again, hate will be promoted. The lessons learned from the previous cold-war promoted understanding, tolerance, cooperation, and harmony, to develop the world into a better place for our next-generations.

On the other hand, ex-President Trump has annoyed and humiliated the allies so much that some are unwilling to be part of any alliance created to spread hate and coerce any other nation.

The most important ally, Germany, is annoyed, and Chancellor Angela Merkel alleged that the “cold war of alliance” is a new diplomacy devising type since the United States’ Biden administration came to power. It is “the starkest manifestation that one country resists the growth of another country.” Germany believes that China has the right to the upswing. The United States has no right to force other European countries into compliance with the “selfishness” practice of serving the United States. She has condemned the US Biden administration for “forming gangs” against China. The “cold war alliance” act open-minded European countries and the World why Germany asserted this position. She made it clear that Germany will not participate in any US-led activities aimed at “encirclement and suppression” China. She also endorses other countries not to join in this “hegemonic” behavior! Because it will procure no other benefits besides damaging European unity and world economic recovery! She said that the new U.S. Secretary of State Blincoln unabashedly dispensed new threats and sanctions against China in Washington. At the same time, he harshly condemned Europe and should not sign an investment treaty with China behind its back. Great disgust, anxiety, and restlessness in Europe.

Spain, France, and Switzerland shared similar views. Youth in Europe are quite mature and are opposing any initiative for the cold-war.

Regarding the U.S. as custodian of democracy is a false narrative. The U.S. was involved in killing democracy in some of the countries and supporting dictatorship in many countries. The toplinig of democratically elected Adil Morsey, the President of Egypt, is a typical example. Supporting General Sesi is openly supporting dictatorship. U.S. history is full of hypocrisy where they have openly endorsed dictators in their own interests. In the Middle-east, Africa, and many other parts of the world, the U.S. is standing with certified dictators. Even today, the U.S. is supporting many dictators around the globe. The U.S. has double standards and stands with dictators when their interests coincide.

Regarding human rights, the U.S. was using human rights as a political tool to coerce some countries while engaged in human rights violations in the middle-East, Latin America, South America, Africa, and other parts of the world, etc. President Joe Biden was part of policymaking under various presidents in the past to launch a crusade against Muslims, war-crimes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. He may be in the habit of dictating American terms and conditions during the unipolar world. He may need to change this type of mindset.

Recently, the U.S. uses this tool to coerce China and make propaganda of Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues and keep criminals silent on Human rights violations in Kashmir and Palestine. India and the State of Israel are the two countries that have surpassed the record of human rights violations, but the U.S. is being a close ally with them, kept eyes closed.

Although President Joe and Trump’s rivalry is their internal issue, it seems that President Joe is determined to undo all initiatives and policies launched by President Trump. From Pandemic to foreign policies, he has indicated to reverse Trump’s policies. He has hinted out undo troops withdrawal from Afghanistan, as announced by President Trump earlier. It might have severe consequences on the regional peace and stability. However, President Joe Biden’s approach to re-engage Iran for Nuclear Deal is positive thinking.

President Joe has been served under various Administrations during the last few decades. He is well-matured, well-mannered, and familiar with diplomatic etiquettes, and may not embarrass others. But President Joe is still in the mindset of a unipolar world, where the U.S. was the only superpower. He needs to re-evaluate the geopolitics and understand the revival of Russia and the rise of China. With this changed geopolitics, he needs to assert in an acceptable manner. His team, especially the scholars, intellectuals, and think tanks , may advise him appropriately.

The world needs peace and stability much more than ever. Understanding, tolerance, and harmony is the only option to cooperate with each other to turn the world into a safer place to live with dignity and honor. Any initiative to serve humanity is welcomed, and any policy disgracing humankind is rejected by all equally.

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

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

Trump on Borrowed Time and Potential Dangers

By Ali Abadi, Al-Ahed News

Why are we witnessing the intensification of normalization efforts between Arab regimes and the Zionist entity following the US presidential elections? What options does Donald Trump have during the remainder of his time in office?

Prior to the US elections, it was clear that the goal of the normalization agreements was to boost Trump’s reelection campaign. But the extension of the normalization current beyond the election that Trump lost has other potential objectives:

–    Attracting additional support for Trump in his battle to cling to power by sharpening the capabilities of the Zionist constituencies to support his electoral appeals that don’t have a great chance of success. But Trump has not given up yet in his efforts to reverse the results.

–    Sending important signals to those concerned at home and abroad that Trump still has vigor, as he plans to complete the goals he set and stay on the political scene. If he were to lose the presidency now, he may return in 2024, as those close to him have hinted. In the meantime, he seeks to gain support from the Jewish and Christian Zionist circles as a “man of word and action” in supporting “Israel” absolutely and without hesitation.

With Trump preoccupied with the battle to cling to power at home, his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is abroad – touring as “Israel’s” minister of foreign affairs accompanied by Arab ministers to sign more normalization agreements. He is legalizing “Israeli” settlements and the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights and declaring a move to criminalize the campaign of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS). 

It’s worth noting that months before the US elections, Pompeo reportedly had his sights set on the 2024 presidential race. As such, Pompeo, who identifies with Trump’s approach and acts as his obedient supporter, plans to be the natural heir to the Trumpian current in the event that its leader is absent due natural causes like death or unnatural causes such as imprisonment due to his legal issues. 

He is also preparing the groundwork for the birth of an “Israeli”-Arab alliance (Saudi, Bahraini, and Emirati) standing in the face of the Islamic Republic of Iran and adding further complications to any possible return of the Biden administration to the nuclear deal.

Saudi and “Israeli” officials are now speaking in one voice about a “no return” to the nuclear agreement, as they set the conditions and limits that they feel the next American administration should abide by. This is also a reflection of widespread concerns over the failure of Trump’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran. 

This was the background for news reports about Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman meeting “Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saudi territory – a get-together arranged by Pompeo.

The choice for war is in the balance

All of the above are possibilities. But does that give way to expectations for a military adventure against Iran, for example, during the transitional period before Joe Biden takes office on January 20?

No sane person can absolutely deny such a possibility. In this context, news about the US strategic B-52 bomber’s flight to the region, the possibility of supplying US bombs that penetrate fortifications to the Zionist entity, the dismissal of US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, and the withdrawal of US units from Iraq and Afghanistan trickled in. 

The last move may be aimed at withdrawing targets near Iran in the event Washington takes military action against Tehran. However, attacking Iran militarily is not an American desire as much as it is an “Israeli” and Saudi one. The Pentagon has previously opposed military action against Iran, at a time when the US military has not recovered from its wounds in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

This view does not appear to have changed, and US military commanders are unlikely to agree to put the military during the transition period on the course of a new war in the Middle East for personal or populist purposes. 

There are other considerations too. The costs of the war and its consequences are difficult to determine. Trump also knows that the mood of the American public can’t bear sacrifices abroad, financially or on a humanitarian level.

What about other possibilities?

Based on Trump’s behavior over the past four years, it appears the US president prefers to score goals and make quick deals. He is not inclined to get involved in prolonged duels. As such, it’s possible to predict that Trump will resort to localized strikes in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen (there is talk about the possibility of placing Ansarullah on the list of terrorist organizations) or cover a possible “Israeli” strike in Lebanon under one pretext or another. 

He could also resort to assassinating figures affiliated with the axis of resistance, and this possibility is more likely, especially in Iraq and Syria. Trump revealed in recent months that he thought about assassinating the Syrian president, and there are also American threats directed at leaders of the resistance factions in Iraq.

In conclusion, any aggressive military action against Iran appears to be a rooted “Israeli” option that Netanyahu tried to market to the Americans since the Obama era but failed. He is trying to strike Iran via the Americans, but Washington has other calculations and options. 

The Saudis have also urged successive US administrations to strike Iran, according to what appeared in WikiLeaks documents quoting the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz. The window of opportunity for major military action before Trump’s departure appears narrow. He may consider the rapid operations approach followed by similar actions against Iran’s allies to deal a moral blow to Tehran, cut back its regional leadership role, and besiege its growing influence in the power equation with the Zionist entity that is challenging the US hegemony over the region.

However, we should add that the axis of resistance has its own plans for the confrontation. It withstood the maximum pressure and is able to turn any adventure into an opportunity, relying on its vigilance and accumulated capabilities.

بين إرسال “قاذفة” وإعلان سحب القوات.. ما هي رسائل إدارة ترامب للمنطقة؟

الساعدي: واشنطن لن تستطيع التغطية على رد إيران على أي عمل عسكري أميركي ضدها

المصدر: الميادين نت

22 تشرين ثاني

الخبير في الشؤون السياسية والعسكرية أمير الساعدي، يقول للميادين إن “ترامب لا يمكن أن يتجاوز الكونغرس لاتخاذ أي قرار بالحرب”، ورئيس تحرير جريدة “رأي اليوم” عبد الباري عطوان، يشير إلى أن “ترامب يريد عرقلة عودة بايدن إلى الاتفاق النووي”.

تستمر إدارة الرئيس الأميركي الحالي دونالد ترامب حتى في آخر أيامها في بعث الرسائل المتناقضة، وفيما أعلنت عن قرار خفض عديد قواتها في المنطقة، ترسل قاذفاتها الاستراتيجية.

وانطلق طاقم العمل الجوي لطائرة (B-52H) “ستراتوفورتريس” في 21 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر، من قاعدة جوية في ولاية نورث داكوتا، إلى الشرق الأوسط.

ووصفت القيادة المركزية للجيش الأميركي في بيان اليوم السبت، مهمة الطائرة بـ “الطويلة”، مشيرةً إلى أن هدفها “ردع العدوان وطمأنة شركاء وحلفاء الولايات المتحدة”. 

كما أوضحت القيادة المركزية أن “الولايات المتحدة لا تسعى لإحداث أي صراع، لكنها لا تزال ملتزمة بالاستجابة لأي طارئ حول العالم”، مشددةً على “التزامها بالحفاظ على حرية الملاحة والتبادل التجاري في جميع أنحاء المنطقة وحمايتها”.

وحيال قرارات الإدارة الأميركية الأخيرة، قال الخبير في الشؤون السياسية والعسكرية أمير الساعدي، للميادين إن “إرسال (بي 52) إلى المنطقة استعراض من إدارة ترامب الذي يحاول إذكاء قاعدة الجمهوريين في الداخل”. 

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Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

Pompeo to Meet Taliban Negotiators in Qatar

By Staff, Agencies

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will Saturday meet negotiators from the Taliban and Afghan government amid signs of progress in their talks as the United States speeds up its withdrawal.

The State Department said late Friday that Pompeo will meet separately with the Afghan government and Taliban negotiation teams in the Gulf state of Qatar.

Pompeo will also see Qatar’s ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the foreign minister on his stop in the capital Doha, the Taliban’s base for diplomacy, the State Department said on its public schedule.

The outgoing top US diplomat is on a seven-nation tour of Europe and the Middle East as President Donald Trump shores up late-term priorities.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it would soon pull some 2,000 troops out of Afghanistan, speeding up the timeline established in a February agreement between Washington and the Taliban that envisions a full US withdrawal in mid-2021.

Trump has repeatedly vowed to end “forever wars,” including in Afghanistan, America’s longest-ever conflict that began with an invasion to dislodge the Taliban following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

US President-elect Joe Biden, in a rare point of agreement, also advocates winding down the Afghanistan war although analysts believe he will not be as wedded to a quick timetable.

The Taliban for the first time are speaking to Afghanistan’s government.

The talks started September 12 in Doha but almost immediately faltered over disagreements about the agenda, the basic framework of discussions and religious interpretations.

Several sources told AFP on Friday that the two sides appear to have resolved some of the issues, however.

Among the sticking points so far, the Taliban and the Afghan government have struggled to agree on common language on two main issues.

The Taliban are insisting on adherence to the Hanafi school of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, but government negotiators say this could be used to discriminate against Hazaras, who are predominantly Shiite, and other minorities.

Another contentious topic is how the US-Taliban deal will shape a future Afghan peace deal and how it will be referred to.

The Doha peace talks opened after the Taliban and Washington signed a deal in February, with the US agreeing to withdraw all foreign forces in exchange for security guarantees and a Taliban promise to start talks.

Despite the talks, violence has surged across Afghanistan, with the Taliban stepping up daily attacks against Afghan security forces.

Trump’s plan to slash troops by January 15 – less than a week before his successor Joe Biden is to be sworn in to office – has been criticized by Kabul residents who fear it will embolden the Taliban to unleash a new wave of fighting.

Afghan civilians have long borne the brunt of the bloodshed.

Officials in Kabul also worry it will harden the Taliban position at the negotiating table, where the future of hard-won gains including women’s rights are on the line.

Is Trump’s Afghan Drawdown Driven By Principles Or Machiavellian Motives?

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Trump’s decision to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500 raised questions about whether he’s simply fulfilling a campaign promise out of principle or whether he’s hedging his bets in a Machiavellian way by preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that his opponent successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election.

Americans are divided along partisan lines over whether Trump is a man of his word or just a sore loser after he decided to cut the number of US troops in Afghanistan from 4500 to 2500. His supporters recall how he previously campaigned on doing just that with the ultimate goal of completely withdrawing the American military presence from Afghanistan while his opponents believe that he’s preemptively attempting to obstruct Biden’s possible foreign policy in the event that the Democrat candidate successfully seizes power after the disputed presidential election. The reality is probably somewhere in between. The President is moving forward with his original plans out of confidence that he’ll be certified the winner but also understands very well that this move would make Biden’s plans much more difficult to implement in that region in the worst-case scenario that he replaces him.

Although Trump is criticized even among some of his supporters for controversially bombing Syria in 2017 and assassinating Major General Soleimani at the start of this year, he nevertheless holds the distinction of being the first president in nearly four decades not to embroil America in a new war. To the contrary, despite his heavy-handed “America First” policy of so-called “surgical strikes”, “maximum pressure”, and other coercive measures against his country’s adversaries, Trump has remained committed to ending the US’ “endless wars” across the world. Nowhere is this more evident than in Afghanistan, which is the longest war in American history. So serious is Trump about executing on this ambitious vision that he even approved talks between his administration and the Taliban, the latter of which is still officially designated as a terrorist group and thus contradicts his 2016 campaign pledge to show zero tolerance towards what he calls “radical Islamic terrorists”.

For Trump, pragmatism is more important than politics, which is something that his base in general sincerely appreciates about him in contrast to his predecessors. Unlike what his opponents claim, however, he’s not just recklessly withdrawing from a war-torn region without any backup plan in mind, but actually envisions American engagement with that landlocked country and the Central Asian region beyond to be more economically driven in the future as elaborated upon by Pompeo in February. The author analyzed this new vision at the time in a piece about how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Succeed”. The gist is that the US might expand upon Pakistan’s recent infrastructural gains under CPEC to use the “global pivot state” as a platform for pioneering a trans-Afghan trade corridor to Central Asia. This would be a more peaceful way for the US to compete with Russia, China, and Turkey in that strategic region.

Biden, however, has signaled that he might appoint neoliberal war hawk Michele Flournoy as his Secretary of Defense if he “wins” the election. She’s been previously criticized by many as a warmonger who risks returning the US back to its destabilizing strategy of “endless wars” and “humanitarian interventions”, which would be the exact opposite of how it’s conducted its foreign policy over the past four years under Trump. Democrats are already decrying his Afghan drawdown as dangerous so it’s likely that they intended to at the very least retain the previous troop numbers there for a bit longer than he did, or possibly even expand them under a milder variation of the Obama-era “surge”. It doesn’t seem like there’s much appetite even among those ideologues for doubling down on the war in any traditional sense, especially since the geostrategic situation there has tremendously changed since the Obama era, but their plans would still be less peaceful than Trump’s.

Since it’s still uncertain whether or not the incumbent will remain in office next year, it makes sense that he’d also try to obstruct his potential successor’s policies, not just out of petty spite, but also in order to ensure his own legacy. By reducing the US military presence in Afghanistan by almost half of its current number (which is already much less than what he inherited), Trump would make it more difficult for Biden’s team to sabotage the sensitive peace process that he oversaw across the past four years. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t still ruin everything in the event that they seize power, but just that they’d have to try harder and their subversive efforts would be much more noticeable. It’s therefore with these points in mind that the author concludes that Trump made his Afghan drawdown decision for both principled and Machiavellian reasons.

Why Trump Has Been Unable to End Endless Wars. US Troop Withdrawals from Afghanistan?

By Keith Lamb

Global Research, November 19, 2020

The Times of London reported, on November 16, that Trump’s recent installation of loyalists in top Pentagon jobs is likely to be for the purpose of fulfilling his long-term pledge to bring an end to the U.S.’ “endless wars”. It is expected that Trump will order the withdrawal of 4,500 troops from Afghanistan and so end 19 years of occupation.

There are two prominent objections to Trump’s likely proposal. Firstly, a swift withdrawal of U.S. forces, that would have to take place before January, will bring logistical chaos. However, the daily state of chaos which occupation brings to the lives of millions is barely considered.

Secondly, an “early” withdrawal will disrupt efforts to stabilize Afghanistan. Christopher Miller the current U.S. Acting Defense Secretary sent out a memorandum saying, “we are on the verge of defeating Al Qaida and its associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish.” A fair point, but if not now then when? Furthermore, who gets to define when a mission is accomplished?

If 19 years of occupation, by the mightiest military force of our modern age, has not led to a suitable conclusion then unlikely will another year make any difference. The fact is the U.S. occupation, of Afghanistan, has been an unmitigated disaster that next to Libya, Syria, and Iraq represents a litany of the greatest human rights violations of the 21st century.

There are now 2.7 million Afghani refugees worldwide while Afghanistan’s GDP per capita stands at a paltry $531. Afghanistan now cultivates over two-thirds of global opium and has 2.4 million opium addicts. Tragically, the U.S. spent $52 billion occupying Afghanistan, in 2019, which is more than twice Afghanistan’s GDP at $20.68 billion.

With the devastating suffering which occupation has brought to the Afghani people, notwithstanding the criticisms of an abrupt exit, Trump’s efforts to bring an end to the occupation of Afghanistan and end U.S. wars are commendable.

In contrast, unlikely will the mild-mannered, but often hawkish, Biden take the same line. While he has not always supported military action he nevertheless believes in the U.S. hegemonic right to use hard force. For example, Biden supported the catastrophic 2003 illegal invasion of Iraq and he pushed for NATO’s expansion eastwards.

However, Trump’s actions, in regards to Afghanistan, may be too little too late. Instead of concentrating on ending U.S. global occupation, he has been busily engaged with a self-destructing economic war with China who could have been a useful ally in ending the Afghanistan quagmire. Why then has President Trump been distracted by China at the expense of fulfilling his pledge to “bring home the troops”?

Trump’s problems stem from being able to recognize the unease of working-class America that arise from both national and transnational capital, i.e. the one-percent, while concurrently being beholden to the propaganda of the one-percent used to control the ninety-nine percent.

For example, Trump, in contrast to previous presidents, captures the zeitgeist of a large section of traditional working-class Americans who serve in the military. It is they who make needless sacrifices, through their blood and taxes, for the service of an elite who care little for their subaltern. However, due to Trump’s billionaire status, and his own willingness to swallow the propaganda fed to the working-man, he has been ideologically crippled.

Firstly, being a billionaire, he has been unable to see that unfettered U.S. capital, both in their national and transnational forms, represents the nucleus of where the U.S.’ primary contradiction emanates from. On one hand, Trump has supported capital with avaricious tax breaks. On the other hand, the military-industrial-complex, that has resisted Trump, is a business itself that feeds on the suffering of never-ending wars.

Secondly, Trump’s rightly sees that the American worker has been disempowered due to U.S. transnational capital shifting production to Asia. However, Trump unfortunately falls into the trap of jingoism by predominantly vilifying China for events beyond China’s own control. China then is as much an innocent party as the American working-class who are taught to hate China.

In addition, Trump, when it suits him, is quick to criticize the disseminating of “fake news” by the U.S. mass-media itself controlled by transnational capital. However, Trump like much of the U.S. working-class has nevertheless been indoctrinated to accept simplistic narratives this mass-media propagates. It is these narratives which justify and distract Americans from their home-grown problems which stem from U.S. class contradictions.

For example, the mass-media’s constant China-bashing, which has been a feature long before Trump’s arrival, along with their support of U.S. foreign interventions work hand in hand. Threats are used to justify war at an ideological level, to the masses, while the war itself is used to achieve the strategic and economic goals of the one-percent.

In addition, foreign threats and wars work to distract Americans from their own deep-state’s machinations. This in turn drums up a national fanaticism that provides an “emasculated” working-class with a masculinized American identity linked to the U.S.’ global supremacy and “righteous wars”. Trump, of course more than any other president, has tapped into this masculinized American “tough man” image.

While the existence of a corporate media, along with deep-state interests, negate U.S. democracy and make the country ungovernable for the ordinary citizen, it is, these same external influences which form the “embodying features” of Trump who being from the swamp has been unable to extradite himself from the swamp.

Thus, the very quagmire that is U.S. democracy and that is Trump is also the quagmire of Afghanistan today. Regrettably, transnational capital, who Trump calls the globalists, has played Trump well throughout his presidency. As such, unless serendipity allows the U.S. to withdraw from Afghanistan, in the next two months, Biden, who cannot be accused of being ideologically naïve will be ready to take over the reins from where Bush and Obama left off which is the never-ending journey to war.

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Featured image is from InfoBricsThe original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Keith Lamb, Global Research, 2020

Trump Must Choose Between a Global Ceasefire and America’s Long Lost Wars

حرب فضربة فعمليّة

طبّلت وزمّرت وسائل الإعلام الخليجية لمشروع حرب يشنها الرئيس الأميركي المنتهية ولايته دونالد ترامب وتقلب معادلات المنطقة، انطلاقاً من خبر قيام ترامب بإقالة وزير دفاعه مايك إسبر. وخلال أيام وبعد تعيين وزير جديد كتبت الصحف الأميركية عبر تسريبات ترامب نفسه أنه كان يفكر بضرب المفاعل النووي الإيراني في نطنز، لكنه صرف النظر عن الفكرة بعد تلقيه تحذيرات من مستشاريه بخطورة فتح حرب كبرى في المنطقة.

في الخبر نفسه أن وزير خارجية ترامب مايك بومبيو كان الوحيد في فريقه المؤيّد للعمل العسكري في المدة المتبقية من ولاية ترامب ووجاءت جولة بومبيو الخارجية تعبيراً عن سعيه لتسويق مشروعه وربط الخطوات السياسيّة في المنطقة بنتائج هذا المشروع.

في باريس كان واضحاً أن بومبيو سعى لتجميد ولادة الحكومة اللبنانية الجديدة تحت شعار أن متغيرات كبرى مقبلة وستقلب الوقائع في المنطقة ومنها لبنان ولاستبعاد أي فرضية تربط كلام بومبيو بفرضية عمل عسكري أميركي أصدرت وزارة الدفاع الأميركية بياناتها عن تنفيذ قرار انسحاب متدرّج من المنطقة بتوجيهات ترامب.

لم يكن كافياً تقلّص الحرب الى ضربة فتقلص المرجع أيضاً من ترامب الى بومبيو الذي حط رحاله في كيان الاحتلال وقام بجولات استفزازية وصلت الى الجولان تعبيراً عن الوقوف الأعمى مع الكيان في كل خطواته العدوانية وفي طليعتها ضم الجولان، لكن يبدو أن زيارة الجولان كانت تعبيراً رمزياً عن أبوة بومبيو لتقلص جديد حيث الضربة صارت عملية تنفذها قوات الاحتلال على تخوم الجولان المحتل وتمنحها وسائل الإعلام الخليجية تغطية استثنائية بصفتها تغييراً نوعياً لقواعد الاشتباك وإصابة استراتيجية لمحور المقاومة.

الشهداء عندما يسقطون مهما كانت رتبهم ومهما كان عددهم هم إصابات موجعة، لكن التغيير الاستراتيجي شيء آخر.

بلغ الهزال في حالة المشروع الأميركي حدّ أن يكون الردّ على قرار الانسحاب الجزئي صواريخ على السفارة الأميركيّة وأن يكون سقف المقدور عليه أميركياً وإسرائيلياً هو تكرار لما سبق وتمّ اختباره من عمليات توجع بسقوط الشهداء، لكنها لا تغير معادلات باتت فوق طاقة الأميركي والإسرئيلي والمطبع الخليجي معهم ولا تعوّض عجز الفقاعات الإعلاميّة ولا النقل المباشر للقنوات الخليجية وخروج بعض المعلقين المدفوعي الأجر ليكرروا عبارة تحول استراتيجي.

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هل يقلب ترامب الطاولة إلى فوق أم إلى تحت؟

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بعدما هدّد الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب بقلب الطاولة داخلياً عبر رفض التسليم بنتيجة الانتخابات يبدو كل شيء يسير بالاتجاه المعاكس. ففي الداخل الأميركي وفي الخارج الدولي تسليم بأن جو بايدن هو الرئيس الأميركي المقبل، وكلام مستشار الأمن القومي الأميركي المعين من ترامب روبرت أوبراين عن الانتقال السلس والفريق الانتقالي المحترف لبايدن كافٍ لمعرفة الاتجاه المقبل، وفي الخارج جرى تسويق نظرية قلب الطاولة لجهة القول بخطوات تصعيدية حربية سيُقدم عليها ترامب، ومما تداولته وسائل الإعلام الأميركية من تسريبات من فريق ترامب للحديث عن ضربة لمفاعل نطنز النووي في إيران، ثم الكلام عن نصائح أدّت لصرف ترامب النظر عن العملية.

فجأة أعلن ترامب عبر وزارة الدفاع التي غير وزيرها قرار البدء بسحب قواته تدريجياً من العراق وأفغانستان، وخطة الوزارة للانسحاب لا تكتمل قبل نهاية ولاية ترامب ما يعني أن مواصلتها تحتاج موافقة الرئيس الجديد، فما هي خيارات ترامب لقلب الطاولة، إن لم تكن الضربات العسكرية التي صرف النظر عنها تفادياً لتداعيات خطيرة، كما قيل، وإن لم تكن الانسحابات التي لن تكتمل خلال ما تبقى من ولايته؟

نشرت مجلة فورين بوليسي مقالاً تبيض فيه صفحة ترامب مضمونه أن سياسات ترامب غيّرت الشرق الأوسط. فالعقوبات أنهكت إيران وجعلت التفاوض معها أسهل، والتطبيع الإماراتي والبحريني مع كيان الاحتلال فتح طريقاً لفك العلاقة بين التعاون العربي «الإسرائيلي» والقضية الفلسطينية، لكن فورين بوليسي التي تعتبر أن ترامب قلب الطاولة وانتهى تتجاهل أن استنتاجها بتغيير الشرق الأوسط متسرّع جداً، فمن قال إن التفاوض مع إيران بات أسهل، والمعلوم أن إيران لن تفاوض من خارج إطار الاتفاق النووي، فما لم يعد الأميركي سواء كان اسمه ترامب أم بايدن إلى الاتفاق وأطره وقواعده للتفاوض، لا تفاوض مهما بلغت العقوبات ومهما بلغت التهديدات، ومهما أراد الأميركي من الانسحابات.

في الشرق الأوسط القضية ليست حل النزاع العربي «الإسرائيلي» وقد صارت المقاومة هي اللاعب الرئيسي وليس النظام العربي الرسمي الذي فشل فشلاً ذريعاً في نظريته التي صاغها انور السادات بأن 99% من أوراق اللعبة بيد أميركا، بينما اليوم المعادلة هي أن 99% من أمن «إسرائيل» بيد المقاومة، فماذا ستفيد تفاهمات التطبيع مع دول لا تمثل تهديداً لأمن الكيان، بينما التهديد الذي تمثله المقاومة يتزايد، وما يحتاجه الكيان قبل الوفود السياحية الإماراتيّة هو الاطمئنان إلى وجوده وأمنه.

الصواريخ التي تساقطت على السفارة الأميركية في بغداد تقول إن على الأميركي أن يختار بين الانسحاب تحت النار أو الذهاب لاتفاق مضمونه التسليم بالسيادة العراقية الكاملة، ومثلها في سورية، وفي الحالتين التسليم بسقوط مشروع الهيمنة، والصواريخ التي سقطت قرب تل أبيب تقول إن أمن الكيان لن يجلبه التطبيع.

ما يفعله ترامب ليس موجهاً ضد محور المقاومة بقدر ما هو موجه لبايدن بمحاولة خلق وقائع تربك مسيرته الرئاسية، وقائع متناقضة بين مناخ تصعيدي مع محور المقاومة، وانسحابات تترك الساحة فارغة أمامه، وهي في مضمونها تسليم بأن زمن ترامب ينتهي وزمن جديد يبدأ، ليس أكيداً انه زمن بايدن، فمن يملك الأرض يملك الزمن، والكلمة الفصل لم تُقَلْ بعد.

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مصير أردوغان في سراقب

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يعرف الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان أنه لو بقي صامتاً أمام تقدم الجيش السوري في حملته التي حررت الطريق الدولي بين حلب ودمشق، واتجه في حملة ثانية لتحرير طريق اللاذقية حلب، لكان المقرّر للعمليات العسكرية فتح باب مصير مدينة إدلب عبر تطويقها، ومنح النظام التركي دوراً في سحب السلاح الثقيل منها والتمهيد لحل سياسي يقضي بتسيير دوريات روسية تركية فيها، لأنه يعرف بالحرف والنقطة والفاصلة ما تمّ الاتفاق عليه في اللقاءات التي جمعته بالرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، وبالتفاهمات التي أنجزها عسكريّوه مع العسكريين الروس. كما يعرف بالنقطة والفاصلة والحرف أن العملية العسكرية جاءت بعدما تلكأ أو أعلن عجزه عن تنفيذ ما تعهّد به بالنسبة للطريقين الدوليين ومصير الجماعات الإرهابيّة الممسكة بهما.

تحرّك أردوغان عسكرياً، لأنه وقع ضحيّة الفخ الذي ورّطه به الأميركيون عندما أبلغوه أنهم يهمون بالانسحاب من المنطقة انطلاقاً من أفغانستان، وأنهم يعتمدون عليه لملء الفراغ في سورية بعد انسحابهم منها، وأن عليه الإمساك جيداً بالمناطق الشمالية الغربية ليتسنى له الدخول إلى المناطق الشمالية الشرقية حيث تتمركز القوات الأميركية، فانقلب على التفاهمات بعدما أدرك أن الانتصارات العسكرية للجيش السوري المدعوم بالنيران الروسية وبالمشاركة الفعالة من قوى المقاومة قد نتج عنها انهيار شامل في وضع الجماعات الإرهابية، وبات تدحرجُ الانتصارات يهدد بسقوط الإمارة التي بناها للجماعات التابعة لتنظيم القاعدة تحت رعايته، فبدأ بزج قواته لمنحها المعنويات اللازمة للصمود، وعندما اكتشف عدم كفاية ذلك قرّر دخول المعركة إلى جانبها أو بالنيابة عنها، إذا اقتضى الأمر.

كان واضحاً لأردوغان أن روسيا ليست على الحياد، وأنها تقف مع الجيش السوري في مواجهة الجماعات الإرهابية، وتتفهم رفض سورية للوجود التركي على أراضيها ووصفه بالاحتلال، كما كان واضحاً له أن الدعم الأميركي والأطلسي لن يتخطى حدود التشجيع السياسي، لكنه كان يظن أن وقف تقدّم الجيش السوري في ظل هاتين المعادلتين ممكن، وأن تحقيق نصر معنوي وجغرافي يقطع طريق مواصلة النصر متاح، وأن فرض هذا الأمر في الواقع الميداني، يقع في منطقة رمادية يمكن ألا تضعه في مواجهة شاملة مع روسيا، وألا تختبر سلبية الأطلسي بصورة فاضحة، بل ربما تستنهض الأطلسي من جهة، وتفتح الباب لرهانات جديدة، ولمساعٍ سياسية روسية تنطلق من الوقائع التي فرضتها المعارك.

المعركة التي كان يحتاجها أردوغان محدودة في المكان والزمان، مطلوب أن تكون ذات قيمة استراتيجية، وأن تُحسم خلال أيام، ولذلك كانت سراقب. فسراقب نقطة تقاطع الطريقين الدوليين بين حلب وحماة وحلب واللاذقية، وسراقب أبرز مدن محافظة إدلب، وتتخطّى أهميتها الاستراتيجية إدلب نفسها بكثير، والرهان على طائرات الدرون المسيّرة من الجيل الخامس في التمهيد للهجوم، وبالقصف المدفعي الكثيف وإعطاء الأمر لوحدات الكوماندوس تساندها نخبة جماعات جبهة النصرة والشيشان والتركستان والإيغور للتقدّم بسرعة ووحشية وعنف وضراوة، وهذا ما تمّ على مدى ثلاثة أيام متتالية، سقط خلالها عشرات الشهداء للجيش السوري وحزب الله والحلفاء، وتحقق للقوات التركية وحلفائها من الجماعات الإرهابية المتنوّعة خرقاً مهماً في جبهات سراقب. وحملت صور الفيديو المسجّلة عمليات فاضحة لنوعية المهاجمين وارتكاباتهم، فظهرت شعارات داعش واضحة لعناصر يتنقلون بمدرعات الجيش التركيّ، وظهر الجنود الأتراك وهم يحزّون رؤوس الشهداء، ويقطعون أوصالهم.

خلال أربع وعشرين ساعة كانت المعركة الفاصلة، وقال فيها الجيش السوري وحزب الله وقوى المقاومة كلمتهم الفاصلة، ومعهم النار الروسية، خلافاً لما يتمّ ترويجه عن تخلٍّ روسي في المعركة، وحسمت المعركة بين منتصف ليل أول أمس وفجر أمس، وعادت كامل المدينة إلى عهدة الجيش السوري، وسقط حلم أردوغان، فعاد للحديث عن وقف للنار؛ بينما الجيش السوري يمشّط سراقب، ويواصل تقدّمه على جبهات جبل الزاوية ضمن خطة عملياته لفتح طريق اللاذقية حلب، وربما ينجح بإحداث إنجاز كبير قبل أن يحين موعد قمة أردوغان مع الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، الذي سيفاوض من موقع القوة بعد فشل الخطة التي توهّم أردوغان أنها ستدخله على حصان أبيض للقاء بوتين، والأهم هو ما قالته المعركة من نتائج حول توازن القوة بين الجيش السوري من جهة، وثاني جيوش الناتو من جهة مقابلة، في صورة تشبه معارك جنوب لبنان خلال عدوان تموز 2006، وتستعيد اسم ستالينغراد في الحرب العالمية الثانية.

ظهر الجيش السوريّ ومعه قوى المقاومة كجيش لا يُقهر مرة أخرى، وظهر أردوغان كأحمق لا يتقن فنون الحرب والسياسة مرة أخرى أيضاً.

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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.

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