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Tag Archives: Afghanistan
Two days ago, the Calcutta Telegraph on its headlines referred to the recent events in Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as “a ring of fire encircling India”. In many Indian newspapers the international section only mentions Pakistan. It seems, Indians are similarly caught in the net of their internal affairs as the US-citizens, and know little of what happens in the rest of the world. Pakistan is an exception. In the Indian media Pakistan bashing has a long tradition and it is extremely rare, that this country is mentioned in a positive way.
However, regarding Pakistan, I stumbled upon an interesting article by Chris Floyd bearing the title “Rolling Out the Product Again: A Full- Court Press for Pakistan War”, where he draws a picture of concern about similarities with the war-pushing propaganda before the Iraq war. There is a point in that. The first act of the New Great Game (in Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan) has almost been lost for the US during the last 7 years and there seems to be a struggle going on within their leadership whether to continue walking towards a new Vietnam or to raise their stakes and take the game to a new level, a new round of violence.
For those who don’t know it yet: Kabul is rounded up by Taleban forces on three sides and only one road from the north is left open. The vital supply route over the Kyber Pass had been under repeated attack during the recent months and the Taleban have re-established permanent strongholds in about two thirds of the country and have established a save haven in northern Pakistan.
Here are some excerpts from Chris Floyd’s article which, I think, are important:
“…the New York Times is only one front in the new campaign. On the same day as Anonymous Guy was working his militarist mojo, McClatchy Newspapers fired off a resounding fusillade of largely unnamed “experts” from the military-security apparat, all of them, remarkably enough, with the same message: Pakistan is falling to the Muslim kooks who want them nukes.”br>
…and citing the NYT article, Floyd continues:
“A growing number of U.S. intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials have concluded that there’s little hope of preventing nuclear-armed Pakistan from disintegrating into fiefdoms controlled by Islamist warlords and terrorists, posing a greater threat to the U.S. than Afghanistan’s terrorist haven did before 9/11.
‘It’s a disaster in the making on the scale of the Iranian revolution,’ said a U.S. intelligence official with long experience in Pakistan who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly… ‘Pakistan has 173 million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al Qaida sitting in two-thirds of the country which the government does not control,’ said David Kilcullen, a retired Australian army officer, a former State Department adviser and a counterinsurgency consultant to the Obama administration.”
Significantly, one of the few people named in the article is directly connected to the White House, giving an official seal of approval to the other, anonymous alarmists: “The experts McClatchy [from the NYT] interviewed said their views aren’t a worst case scenario but a realistic expectation based on the militants’ gains and the failure of Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership to respond. ‘The place is beyond redemption,’ said a Pentagon adviser who asked not to be further identified so he could speak freely. ‘I don’t see any plausible scenario under which the present government or its most likely successor will mobilize the economic, political and security resources to push back this rising tide of violence. ‘I think Pakistan is moving toward a situation where the extremists control virtually all of the countryside and the government controls only the urban centers,’ he continued. ‘If you look out 10 years, I think the government will be overrun by Islamic militants.’ Are you scared to death yet? Or even better: are you scared enough to give your approval to “whatever it takes” to save us? After all, the president himself says that the situation in Pakistan is a “mortal threat” to the sacred Homeland; a view reiterated by his special “Af-Pak” envoy, Richard Holbrooke, who told Congress yesterday (on yet another front in the roll-out campaign) that “our most vital national security interests are at stake,” in Pakistan. A mortal threat to our most vital interests — can there be a greater, more urgent, more noble casus belli?
Floyd then cites different Pakistani sources, which are clearly not of this opinion and regard the Pakistani people in its majority as strongly opposed to any Taleban rulership – including the majority of the Pakistani army. However, it is hard to tell how kemalistic the Pakistani forces really are and there have been strong concerns about the appeasement-politics with the Taleban in the northern provinces (Swat valley).
The former ARD correspondent Christoph Hörstel, who knows the Taleban well and is in regular contact with them, even believes the US went for a strategy of escalation from the beginning on. His arguments are strong. From this viewpoint, the lost battle for Afghanistan would be part of the game. Afghanistan would not become a second Vietnam; instead, the strong resistance would have been fueled by the Americans (maybe even NATO) themselves (!) to provide an argument for pulling Pakistan into the war and getting a second foot into Pakistan.
So, how big is this game really? Is is evident, that Afghanistan is largely meant to serve as a permanent base for the US-empire to encircle China, Iran and maybe Russia. The first two are clearly the – somehow hidden – main concerns of the Empire.
“The U.S. intelligence official, however, said that Pakistan’s elite, dominated since the country’s independence in 1947 by politicians, bureaucrats and military officers from Punjab, have failed to recognize the seriousness of the situation. ‘The Punjabi elite has already lost control of Pakistan, but neither they nor the Obama administration realize that,’ the official said. ‘Pakistan will be an Islamist state — or maybe a collection of four Islamic states, probably within a few years. There’s no civilian leadership in Islamabad that can stop this, and so far, there hasn’t been any that’s been willing to try.’” Of course, Islamabad has been carrying out military operations against insurgents for many years, losing hundreds of soldiers in the campaigns. But this history is being erased and rewritten to accommodate the new narrative: The United States will be forced to intervene directly in Pakistan because the Pakistanis are too stupid to realize the danger posed by the militants, and too weak and cowardly to even try to stop them. The whole damned place was “beyond redemption,” so we have to step in. We have been here before, and not so long ago either. The signs are there — for anyone who wants to see them.”
The US have a long history in Pakistan, pumping money into it, financing politicians and working closely together with the ISI. One other alarm clock is ringing, when we hear that China officially speaks of Pakistan as its biggest ally and is building a gigantic harbor at Gwardar, for both Container ships and Oil tankers. The work was begun in 2002, surprisingly shortly after the major rival (USA) started to push into the region. So in my opinion, there is a Great Game going on. But this time, the chess figures are not just small pockets of agents and ground troops, but heavily armed forces of millions of men; and the Queens and Kings now have the shape of bombs and mushrooms. And maybe even this is not the ‘real’ game: We are living on the brink of a free-energy civilization, that could be highly decentralized in a few years. If virtually everybody is producing his/her own electricity, the struggle for oil would be left as a farce. So who is standing behind the chess-players and makes them act as if it was for oil and gas? There are clearly people who know, that oil is not the energy of the 21st century. But for them it is useful to keep people dependent on it. Control over energy is control over the population and virtually everything. In the light of this, oil becomes not a goal but simply a tool – and we should realize this very possible scenario.
Map: “Taleban presence in 2008″ (Afghanistan only): Dark Pink: Permanent Taliban Presence (72% in 2008) = Average of one or more insurgent attacks per week, according to public record of attacks. It is highly likely that many attacks are not publicly known.
Light Pink: Substantial Taliban Presence (21% in 2008) = Based on number of attacks and local perceptions (Frequency of Taliban sightings)
Grey Areas: Light Taliban Presence (7% in 2008) = Based on number of attacks and local perceptions (Frequency of Taliban sightings)
The colour coded dots on the map represent civilian, military or insurgent fatalities since January 2008: Red = civilian fatalities; Green = military fatalities; Yellow = insurgent fatalities
Here’s a good and quite impressive video from the daily life in Afghanistan. It is from July but still of high actuality. In general I’d like to recommend LiveLeak as a high quality alternative media – especially for the Middle East conflict region.