Losing Afghanistan, Losing Central Asia

by craig on September 20, 2011 11:33 am in Uncategorized

Obama is now asking Congress for a waiver on Uzbekitsan’s human rights record – arguably the worst in the world – in order to restart military supplies to President Karimov of Uzbekistan. Even Bush stopped these, after the 2005 Andijan massacre of at least 800 civilian demonstrators.

This blog has repeatedly pointed to the ever-increasing role of the “Northern Distribution Network” for getting supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan, with Uzbekistan as the point of entry. The Wikileaks cables from Tashkent outline a consistent US policy of sacrificing the human rights of Uzbeks in order to promote this military agenda.

Unfortunately, by promoting evil dictatorship in Central Asia, the United States and NATO are not advancing their own long term interests. Like Mubarak, Karimov is passing his sell-by date. But all rational thinking is thrown out of the window as NATO concentrates on the war it is losing in Afghanistan.

I am advised by the British Embassy that to visit the scenes of the November 1841 uprising in central Kabul as research for my book on Burnes is too dangerous. After ten full years of occupation, with 180,000 troops and billions of dollars in military hardware, they do not even control a few square miles in the centre of the capital, let alone the country. The recent attacks on the US Embassy and British Council have proved that. This war is lost.

America’s increasing fawning to Karimov is yet more evidence of that. The reason America is now so desperate for his favour is that, as they leave defeated, taking Karzai with them, they have to get out millions of tonnes of vehicles and military equipment, which has to pass overland. They have lost this war so absolutely that they no longer have possession of the ground they started with. They cannot get out the way they went in, through Pakistan, as they would be attacked in the Bolan and Khyber passes, and along the entire route. So they have to leave through Uzbekistan. The Americans will do anything for Karimov, just as long as they get permission to slink out through his country. I hope as they go they look into the faces of the people whose continued enslavement buys their permission.

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49 Comments

  1. They came for bin Laden. They got him. They don’t care about Afghans any more than they care about Libyans or Egyptians or Palestinians or Uzbeks or Chagos Islanders.

  2. Even in Libya the war is not over and is likely to go on for a long time to come. Do they not care for anything except oil and strategic occupation? It never seems to occur to the US or UK and other NATO countries that if someone dies in a civil-war a family member might seek revenge. If it did occur to them surely they would not get involved. Would they? For grieving families it is human-nature to act on impulse. It is not easy to take an objective view if a loved one has been killed. My dad used to use the expression “cut one of us and we all bleed”, though not in a military sense. It would appear that for NATO countries commercial interests take precedence over the sanctity of life, and the support for cruel dictators for a specific goal is more important than children’s rights.

  3. “if someone dies in a civil-war a family member might seek revenge. ”
    .
    No skin off the nose of NATO et al – the occasional blown-up bus or train, airstrikes on tower blocks, threatening video messages etc are useful for manufacturing consent. They don’t really care about us either. In fact you can see how important it is to them to deny the link between their foreign policy and the obvious blowback – just look at the Republican debates. Ron Paul points out the obvious, everyone boos, and some jerk like Santorum or Perry brings out the old line ‘they hate us for our freedom’. They know why the US is the most hated nation on earth but they don’t want the man in the US street to get it, because the answer is so obvious. They want to keep on doing what they’re doing, and they don’t want the voters asking for a more respectful, lawful, peaceable foreign policy.

  4. I was standing in a queue in Pakistan, and the people behind me were using my resistance to pull themselves forward in front of me. The USUK sense of injustice about 911 is the fulcrum by which the Muslims have levered themselves in front of them.
    The injustices done to the Muslims infinitely outweigh the Zionist controlled demolition of the World Trade Centre buildings. More fool USUK.
    There is also a concept of self-sacrifice in Afghanistan which is unparalleled in the world. I’m not sure it has its roots in Islam and may derive from a pre-Islamic possibly Judaeo-pagan tradition from the time of the Jewish captivity. Celts have long memories, and Jews even longer than those!
    What seems obvious to me is that the Zionists set up USUK for failure, while at the same they set up Islamic Jihad for success. Why would they do such a thing? In order to use Islamic Jihad as a fulcrum by which to lever their own toxic brand of freemasonry and global banking power to the front.
    There are two kinds of power, the power which is the reward from Allah for good deeds and the power which is the result of political treachery. Zio- Christian fundamentalism and Islamism have formed a partnership against a partnership of Christian and Islamic moderation. So who’s going to win this war? The answer is always and always will be the path of moderation, defended by force, not the paths of zealotism, defended by treachery.
    It just takes longer to win by righteousness rather than by confusion, division and breaking the rules of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
    USUK had a chance to twig the message presented to them by Usama bin Laden that their colonialism and oppression were unacceptable, but they chose to listen to the counsel of the Zionists and carpet bomb, drone murder, and media demolish Islam. They didn’t listen then and they won’t listen now.
    They still think that the chaos will give them a smokescreen.
    In reality the political rise of Zio-Christian fundamentalism in the US and the winning of this war by the ultra-controlling Taliban does not mean that either of them have gained legitimacy to govern.
    The winners will be the people who have seen these partners in violence exposed for what they are, self-seeking, law-defying outlaws. In the real world, there isn’t a Clinty to walk into the sunset; just long, patient effort to change the agenda from extremism to common-sense and freedom.

  5. John Goss, the US, the UK and NATO are structures, organisations. The decisions they make are determined by their structures, and their relationship to other structures such as corporations. Each individual person in the structure is replaceable, just as cells are replaced in a body without affecting the personality or the appearance. So no, “they” do not “care”.

  6. I today received what seems to be a very unusual scam e-mail. It would seem to be something to do with my contributions at this site. The e-mail return address is disguised. It appears to be
    .
    webmasters [at] unhcr.org
    .
    but is in fact
    .
    unrefugee_ambassador_officer [at] post.com
    .
    Has anyone else received anything like this?
    .
    “IN COURTESY OF THE GOVERNMENT OF GHANA AND THE UNITED NATIONS
    DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC INFORMATION.
    .
    I am Hon Dr. Johnson Williams, the United Nations Special Presidential Task Force Chairman for Refugees here in Ghana, West Africa.
    .
    I am tasked by the Forces mentioned above to pass this information to you that you have been nominated as an Ambassador to the African refugees from Libya and Sudan by the United Nations and the Honorable Members of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana.
    .
    The meeting was held yesterday in the Osu Castle with five representatives from United States of America, New York and three representatives from United Kingdom, London respectively from the offices of the United Nations and nominated you to occupy the position of Ambassador for the Government of the Republic of Ghana.
    .
    By virtue of this act, the High Panel of the UN and of the House of Parliament of the Republic of Ghana demands that you forward your particulars to this noble office including a scan copy of your passport or driver’s license or national identification card with immediate effect.
    Should you have any question(s), please contact the UN Appointment Committee on:
    .
    We look forward to working with you soon.
    .
    Best Regards,
    Hon. Dr. Johnson Williams
    Special Presidential Task force Chairman
    United Nations Head Quarters, Accra-Ghana.

  7. Clarke
    I was driving home on the M1 recently when a rangerover fully of Africans gave me a beep and a shout and a wave and a big laugh.
    It cheered me up a bit. Why not send a copy of your bank details too?

  8. Clark,

    Just a fairly standard scam email by the look of it. I don’t think it’s any connection to this site. I once got one from “the widow of Sam Jonah, Chairman of Anglo Gold”, which was hilarious because I had just come back from drinking with him and his wife!

  9. Good work again, Craig. There are few, if any, more authoritative voices in this arena.

  10. I can’t see the Americans leaving Afghanistan !! Just like Iraq, there never was an exit plan.

  11. Given the wars and revolutions over the past few years, I would have thought that any sensible tyrant who took patronage from NATO should be supping with a very, very long spoon.

    One month you are OK, the next month you are dead, metaphorically speaking.

  12. One month you are OK, the next month you are dead, metaphorically speaking.
    .
    Or literally. They engineered the death of ex-President Milosevic.

  13. another blow to peace efforts in Afghanistan-former President Mr Rabbani is killed today. He was apparently holding peace talks with representatives of Taliban at his home when the bomb blasted.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8776911/Former-Afghanistan-president-Burhanuddin-Rabbani-killed-in-Kabul-blast.html

  14. So Burhanuddin Rabbani, former Afghan president and Peace Council chair, is now dead too – suicide bombed in Kabul today. I heard a US politician explain that the attack on the US embassy in Kabul the other day was a clear sign that “we are winning” – it’s too dangerous for the Taliban to operate out in the country now, you see, so they’re desperate and have been reduced to carrying out attacks in the capital.
    .
    Reminds me of that old war criminal Rumsfeld back in the early months of the Iraq invasion and occupation. Asked about all these bombings taking place, he explained that it was a sign of our success – “They” are bombing “us” because we’re making them unhappy. And if we’re making them unhappy, that’s a sure sign that “we are winning”!

  15. They’re not leaving Afghanistan anytime soon.
    “U.S. to build new massive prison in Bagram”
    By Glenn Greenwald
    .
    “As the Obama administration announced plans for hundreds of billions of dollars more in domestic budget cuts, it late last week solicited bids for the construction of a massive new prison in Bagram, Afghanistan. Posted on the aptly named FedBizOps.Gov website which it uses to announce new privatized spending projects, the administration unveiled plans for “the construction of Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP), Bagram, Afghanistan” which includes “detainee housing capability for approximately 2000 detainees.”
    It will also feature “guard towers, administrative facility and Vehicle/Personnel Access Control Gates, security surveillance and restricted access systems.” The announcement provided: “the estimated cost of the project is between $25,000,000 to $100,000,000 …”
    .
    “… One last point: recall how many people insisted that the killing of Osama bin Laden would lead to a drawdown in the War on Terror generally and the war in Afghanistan specifically. Since then — in just four months since bin Laden’s corpse was dumped into the ocean — the U.S. has done the following: renewed the Patriot Act for four years with no reforms; significantly escalated drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan; tried to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with no due process; indicted a 24-year-old Muslim for “material support for Terrorism” for uploading an anti-American YouTube clip after he talked to the son of a Terrorist leader; pressured Iraq to keep U.S. troops in that country; argued that it has the virtually unlimited right to kill anyone it wants anywhere in the world; and now finalized plans to build a sprawling new prison in Afghanistan. If that’s winding things down, I sure would hate to see what a redoubling of the American commitment to Endless War looks like.”
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/19/bagram
    .
    Meanwhile in Iraq:
    Massive U.S. Embassy In Iraq Will Expand Further As Soldiers Leave
    {http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/16/us-embassy-iraq-state-department-plan_n_965945.html}

  16. As if the above wasn’t bad enough:
    .
    Pakistan flood aid relief hurt by CIA’s Osama bin Laden ‘vaccination programme':
    .
    Flood relief efforts in Pakistan have been jeopardised because the country’s security services fear aid agencies are riddled with spies, it was claimed on Monday.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8774184/Pakistan-flood-aid-relief-hurt-by-CIAs-Osama-bin-Laden-vaccination-programme.html
    .
    Just as aid isn’t getting to the starving in Somalia because of US political shenanigans there.

  17. Coming up on Sept 28th Ch 4 Dispatches – The Wonderful World of Tony Blair. Some comments on Media Lens.
    .
    http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1316528133.html

  18. Clark, congratulations on your new ambassadorship. Dos this mean we have to call you, Your Excellency? (!)
    .
    It is likely, I would suggest, that that the Pakistani ISI killed Rabbani.

  19. Black humour, Glenn.
    .
    It looks like the British Embassy gave you good advice, Craig. Like you say “the war is lost” and nobody seems to have any idea who’s in control in Kabul anymore. Nobody knows where the next threat is coming from, or who the target is.

  20. It has become a proxy war again b/w Pakistan and the USA/India.
    .
    Who do people think might have been behind the assassination of Rabbani? Any ideas? It would serve Pakistan’s military-security to scupper any chance of a peace deal in Afghanistan and to push for the fall of the Karzai/NATO regime there. NATO is killing the Pakistani Taliban in drone strikes (and of course, OBL, the Pakistan military’s most prized possession) and so maybe this was the Pakistan military’s way or getting back at NATO. It’s important to understand that the Pakistan Government has little real power in the important matters of defence, etc. The Army controls all of that, and much more. They – os the ISI, etc. – run the Islamist forces within Pakistan. It is in the Army’s interests to have bombs going off all over the place. So, when analysing policy, don’t ask ‘What is in Pakistan’s interests?’, ask rather, ‘What is in the Pakistan military’s perceived interests?’

  21. “I can’t see the Americans leaving Afghanistan !! Just like Iraq, there never was an exit plan.”
    .
    .
    they had started on phase two contracts (post 2013) for military infrastructure projects quite a while back. they are no longer to outsource torture once bagram has been expanded (that is old news for some reason rehashed in the media today/recently).
    .
    .
    “It is in the Army’s interests to have bombs going off all over the place”
    .
    .
    there’s no interest in that for the army. and the pak taliban are in part funded / trained by external forces. curious that the afghan taliban dont attack pakistan and yet the so called pak taliban do. .. and with 7000 unvetted usa cia/blackwater-xe running around along with uk/usa sponsored balochi terrorists not to mention the likes of ray davis .. things arent that transparent .. even less so with mqm’s chief nicely living in the uk (exiled) whilst the mqm “people” in pakistan create widespread terrorism and murder in karachi…

  22. Rabbani was never going to be an acceptable interlocutor with the Taliban – a Tajik, not a Pashtun, he was appointed to please those in the Karzai camp against negotiations rather than to make progress in them.

    That said, could have been almost anyone who killed him – enormous number of suspect groups and interests. Who knows – but more evidence it’s a disaster generally.

  23. What if… Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya, are more than mere blunders, mistakes, the result of incompetence?

    What if the strategy is perfectly sensible and rational, but so outrageous and cynical that one cannot state it publically, and the leadership of the United States would prefer to be called idiots rather than criminals?

    I don’t believe the US will ever retreat from Iraq or Afghanistan. Look at the new US embassy in Baghdad. It’s absolutely enormous, close to the size of 100 football fields. It’s effectively a city within a city. A militerized castle dominating Baghdad with a garrison numbering thousands and a total population exceeding 15,000. One could compare it in significance to a power statement like the Tower of London.

    Iraq is awash with both oil and gas, and a recent UN report boldly states that Iraq has the potential to develope into a gigantic source of oil comparable to Saudi Arabia. The idea that the US will simply walk away from such a prize is… fanciful.

    Afghanistan is a strategic bridgehead in Asia. It is of vital importance if one is going to invade the Asian heartland and the area around the Caspian Sea, more oil and gas. It’s also an outpost which can be used to cut off China’s oil and gas supplies from the Caspian Basin and throtle any attempt to re-establish the Silk Road and pushing it even further into Africa and its resources, thereby undermining China’s attempts to establish an alternative route for its imports and exports that avoids a potential American naval blockade of the China Sea at some future point.

    Finally, one can also see the Nato attack on Libya and the attempt to put a pro-western regime in power, as a brilliant strategic thrust. Almost at a stroke one has control over African’s largest reserves of oil and gas, a land route into the heart of the Sahara Desert, and perhaps most importantly, China has been strategically defeated. Over 36,000 Chinese workers and technicians have left Libya, China is down 3 billion dollars and is unlikely to participate in the carving up of Libya’s energy resources. Nato seems to be sending a message to China… we’re back and Africa is ours.

  24. Writerman, yep, wrt geostrategic matters, that’s always been my suspicion too. S’what I said in 2002 when asked what I thought the USA’s motivation was wrt the impending Iraq invasion. We’re back to colonialism as an overlay on neocolonialism. The prize? Continued and intensified hegemony, wealth, power (for the elites). All the rest is persiflage. Let’s see what China and India do next.

  25. Suhayl Have you any views on Imran Khan’s bid for Pakistan’s premiership? He is here on Radio 5 Live today. 7 mins in on cricket and politics http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b014r2t1/Richard_Bacon_Imran_Khan_Samantha_Womack_and_Harry_Hill/

  26. Mary, thanks. Imran Khan is a corporate right-wing hemi-Islamist apologist. He should have stuck to charitable causes, eg. his cancer hospital, which is a wonderful endeavour, and of course to sport. He’d have been better as an outside commentator, a national figure worthy of respect, rather than (esp. in Pakistan, where the ‘mainstream’ politics is of the lunatic variety) a down-and-dirty, nitty-gritty politician (which he is not). He’s not a good public speaker. His party has no mass base and no chance of developing one. He’s hugely built-up in the West, esp. in the UK and USA, but in Pakistan, politically he is regarded as somewhat irrelevant. However, his aligning himself with Islamists/ the ISI/ the Pakistan Army is dangerous and wrong. I definitely don’t want anything bad to happen to him, though – he’s a sporting/charity hero and a heartthrob! He’s courageous – anyone who leaps into Pakistani poloitics, esp. these days, without a goon squad to protect them would have to be either courageous, stupid or both. Then again, if he’s being protecetd by the ISI/Army, etc. that might be his de facto goon squad. To be fair, he could’ve continued to have an easy life in London, Paris, New York. I mean, who, really, would want to become involved in such a horrible situation? His marriage to Jemima (both of them are pleasant people on an individual level, I hear, though of course, one is aware of Jemima/Zak/James Goldsmith, etc.) broke up because of his political commitment. Through Jemima, he was good friends with Princess Diana. He’s obviously rich, but I think not corrupt (though who knows, these days?).
    .
    So, I have very mixed feelings about Imran Khan. He’s not a friend of the downtrodden masses, shall we say. He’s a social and economic liberal, but one who becomes more Islamist when in the context of Pakistani politics. An opportunist, perhaps.
    .
    There are leftist groups trying to build structures with workers/peasants, etc. in industry and agrarian life. He is not one of those.

  27. ‘The reason America is now so desperate for his favour is that, as they leave defeated, taking Karzai with them, they have to get out millions of tonnes of vehicles and military equipment, which has to pass overland. They have lost this war so absolutely that they no longer have possession of the ground they started with. They cannot get out the way they went in, through Pakistan, as they would be attacked in the Bolan and Khyber passes, and along the entire route.’

    If that is true (and I’ve absolutely no reason to quibble with Craig’s analysis here)it is eerily reminiscent of the mess the UK got itself into at Port Said in late ’56. In which case, the humiliation heaped upon the US could even trump that of Saigon in April ’75.

  28. Basically, in Pakistan, the main thing would be get the military permanently out of economic and political life. As in India, the civilian policians are hugely corrupt and unlike in India (where Nehru very sensibly also got rid of its feudal system/feudal lords soon after independence, while Pakistan was created to some extent through a deal with some of those feudal lords, the ones in Sindh and Punjab esp.)- but in India, the army stays in barracks and does not have placemen in every walk of civil society/life. The Army/ISI creates and supplies the Islamists to justify their ENORMOUS black, grey and white budgets. Only a revolution will get rid of the army. It is a cancer.

  29. Sad to hear. It’s looking more and more like the main difference between Obama and Bush on foreign policy is the tone of his voice rather than what actually gets done.

    I hope that will stop short of war on Iran but even that isn’t guaranteed – if anything it’s worrying that most people seem to think Obama is too sane to do that. Obama is extremely establishment oriented on foreign policy and very quick to cave in to the Republicans and the right wing of his own party if they criticise him for being supposedly to ‘liberal’ or ‘weak’.

    Obama seems to see being half-way between the Republicans (now dominated by the Tea Party nuts who make Cheney and Rumsfeld look moderate) and the Democrats (slipping right at about the same rate) is ‘centrist’ , ‘moderate’ and ‘non ideological’. In fact US foreign policy is nine tenths the greed of oil and arms companies, Israeli lobbying and extreme nationalism.

    Obama needs more criticism from the left in the US to pull him back from the brink.

    Interesting on the reasons for trying to mollify Karzai. I knew NATO had to mollify the Pakistani military and even some Taliban to get enough supplies to their forces in Afghanistan as they can’t fly in nearly what’s needed in fuel and food and ammunition. Hadn’t thought of how they’d get all their trucks and tanks and APCs out though – i’d assumed they’d leave these to the Afghan army to give them a chance of holding off the Taliban.

  30. Absolutely, Duncan. Oh, and I should’ve said too that the Pakistan Army is hugely corrupt. Many of the anti-Zardari, etc. stories in the foreign and domestic media wrt Pakistan are planted by those sympathetic to the army/ISI and against esp. PPP civilian govts. The PPP is stuck in its feudal base, any leftist elemnets having long since departed. There are a few corporate liberals in it – Sherry rehman, the late Salmaan Taseer et al – but corporate liberalism will not ‘save’ Pakistan. We see this right now wrt the floods, where once again the military is posing as saviour. Tales of Orla Guerin’s heroic pilots and so on. If the f…ing army didn’t take so much of the GDP (overtly and covertly), and if debt didn’t comprise so much (IMF et al), there might be some dosh left for flood defences, etc. All the organs are corrupt, but for the top military, Christmas Day comes every day.

  31. DonnyDarko – ‘I can’t see the Americans leaving Afghanistan !! Just like Iraq, there never was an exit plan.’
    .
    The US is also building a new prison at Bagram
    Monday, Sep 19, 2011 15:20 ET
    U.S. to build new massive prison in Bagram
    By Glenn Greenwald
    .
    As the Obama administration announced plans for hundreds of billions of dollars more in domestic budget cuts, it late last week solicited bids for the construction of a massive new prison in Bagram, Afghanistan. Posted on the aptly named FedBizOps.Gov website which it uses to announce new privatized spending projects, the administration unveiled plans for “the construction of Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP), Bagram, Afghanistan” which includes “detainee housing capability for approximately 2000 detainees.” It will also feature “guard towers, administrative facility and Vehicle/Personnel Access Control Gates, security surveillance and restricted access systems.” The announcement provided: “the estimated cost of the project is between $25,000,000 to $100,000,000.”
    .
    /….http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/19/bagram

  32. Thanks Suhayl for your informed comments. I thought as much about Imran. He is still a heartthrob though. That is a strange word to type. One ‘t’ or two.
    Noun
    .
    heartthrob (plural heartthrobs)
    1.A heartbeat
    2.The object of one’s desires or infatuation; a sweetheart
    3.A usually handsome movie star who plays romantic roles

  33. Heartthrob – Ha!! Yes, I also tried typing it with one ‘t’ and two!

  34. “I am advised by the British Embassy that to visit the scenes of the November 1841 uprising in central Kabul as research for my book on Burnes is too dangerous. After ten full years of occupation, with 180,000 troops and billions of dollars in military hardware, they do not even control a few square miles in the centre of the capital, let alone the country”

    So, how arethey possibly going to stop you writing your book on Burns campaign in the last millenium, if they can’t make ends meet in Afghanistan.

    Obama has been sitting between the chairs since he got elected, now he’s resinged to play along with the military industrial complex, well said Duncan.

    Karzai can’t possibly play any political role in a future Afghanistan, he sold his soul long before he got into power as an executive of UNOCAL. The Taliban seems to believe that they can dislodge the thin blue line in the Tajik police and army, that they once again can form an islamic Government of Afghanistan. Blowing up Rabbani,a Tadjik, was planned from day one of the ‘peace talks’ with the Taliban, alledgedly, will pitch the Northern Alliance of old against the Pashtuns of the south, both are armed to the teeth.

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2011/09/20119214047314327.html

    Some warlords in the north, after the killing of Dawoud Dawoud, the police chief, are getting exasperated at the brazen attacks and we are going to see some confrontation and civil strife to come. Whence we leave it will be more like leaving Vietnam, in a hurry.

    Hence Craig is right, schmoozing up to Karimov has more to do with an organised retreat than with strategic planning.

    Should the US attack Iran before they’re due to leave, than their presence in western Afghanistan will be more crucial to them than Helmand or Kabul, so I expect some switching of priorities, very soon., another reason why they need the K2 bridgehead in Uzbekistan.

  35. Uzbek in the UK

    21 Sep, 2011 - 11:02 am

    Thank you Mr Murray for a very thoughtful article. It is indeed deeply disappointing that despite failure of the US/Uzbekistan cooperation in 2005 White House seem again falling into the same trap. If anything Karimov is not a reliable ally. His only interest is to cling on to the power as long as possible by any means. This will create even more dangerous and unstable circumstances in Central Asia in a long run. But this all seem to be irrelevant at the moment when US are seeking ‘reliable’ supply routes to their failing mission in Afghanistan.
    .
    I think that US are not going to leave Afghanistan in any near future. Their mission there was not to bring peace and development to a long time victims of the great powers proxy war strategy but to occupy Afghanistan in order to project power in a very geostrategically important region. It was clear that Russia as long as it has any influence over former colonies will not permit US to settle in Central Asia safely and in this circumstances Afghanistan seems to be an ideal ground for the US to have vast region under potential supervision. With China growing, having strong US military presence just outside of Chinese borders is very important for Pentagon strategists. Unfortunately once again Afghanis are falling victims of their land’s geographical position which is considered to be more important for great powers than the prospects of long term stability and development.

  36. Following on from that, the workers in a US weapons plant express their feelings including anxiety, depression and guilt.
    .
    The Maker or The Tool?
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/09/20/34529/

  37. Off-topic but thanks:

    The family of Babar Ahmad are calling for 100,000 people to sign an e-petition calling for him to be tried in the UK. They wish for a full discussion to take place at a parliamentary level in relation to his extradition, and this can only happen if 100,000 people support the petition. The link to the petition can be found here:
    .
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/885
    .

    News from DoctorsforIraq:
    .
    There appears to be some evidence from a doctor in Iraq who has told me that a group of foreign fighters funded by ‘American aid’ (American dollars) and known to be in Al-Shumali are planning to cause ‘death and destruction’ [translated] in neighbourhoods of Baghdad. They may be targeting Iraqi police and soldiers.

  38. “The reason America is now so desperate for his favour is that, as they leave defeated, taking Karzai with them, they have to get out millions of tonnes of vehicles and military equipment, which has to pass overland.”
    .
    .
    alternatively the reason usa needs his favor is because it needs to take into afghanistan its military and fuel if it is to engage iran and or pakistan in the near future. clearly pakistan would not provide a safe route for its (the usa) materials.
    .
    .
    recently the usa has said it is seeking to take its war into pakistan , in return pakistan has sought to reduce the number of usa ‘advisors’ by half ..and is seeking via the unhrc to prevent drone attacks which take effect from a base within pakistan which is leased out to the uae. though wikileaks suggest pakistan has given its consent to the usa for these strikes.

  39. “What if… Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya, are more than mere blunders, mistakes, the result of incompetence?

    What if the strategy is perfectly sensible and rational, but so outrageous and cynical that one cannot state it publically, and the leadership of the United States would prefer to be called idiots rather than criminals?”
    .
    .
    PNAC and subsequent documents pretty much detailed current events.
    .
    .
    “Imran Khan is a corporate right-wing hemi-Islamist apologist.”
    .
    its interesting how right and left wing get confused in south asian politics.
    .
    .
    “However, his aligning himself with Islamists/ the ISI/ the Pakistan Army is dangerous and wrong.”
    .
    its wise. its also patriotic in the national interest.
    .
    .
    “but I think not corrupt (though who knows, these days?)”
    .
    he says his books are open for you to scrutinise.
    .
    .
    “He’s not a friend of the downtrodden masses, shall we say. He’s a social and economic liberal, but one who becomes more Islamist when in the context of Pakistani politics. An opportunist, perhaps.
    There are leftist groups trying to build structures with workers/peasants, etc. in industry and agrarian life. He is not one of those.”
    .
    i tend to think he is closer to the idea of social -ism and reform and many of his projects would suggest his building of structures as matter of welfare and opportunity.

  40. “Basically, in Pakistan, the main thing would be get the military permanently out of economic and political life.”
    .
    .
    it has been the military and its infrastructure that has maintained pakistan not its less than democratic leaders.
    .
    .
    “As in India, the civilian policians are hugely corrupt and unlike in India (where Nehru very sensibly also got rid of its feudal system/feudal lords soon after independence,”
    .
    .
    a bit rose tinted, india is full of feudal landlords .. not to mention the internal pressures of the naxalites , hinduvtas and a variety of regions seeking greater autonomy.
    .
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    “but in India, the army stays in barracks and does not have placemen in every walk of civil society/life.”
    .
    .
    again rather rose tinted view.
    .
    .
    “The Army/ISI creates and supplies the Islamists to justify their ENORMOUS black, grey and white budgets. Only a revolution will get rid of the army. It is a cancer.”
    .
    .
    again a bit ott. whilst the military has backed certain factions it has been largely for the purposes of creating stability in afghanistan – with a friendly govt. . at present the afghan govt is hostile since the main players today are essentially the same players that were backed by the soviets and india along with their proxy militia (pre taliban) who now are used to attack pakistan via nwfp/balochistan.
    .
    why does the usa now support the soviet era players .. because they can be bought and are amenable to usa intent.
    .
    you see both sides including isaf/usa/uk/india are using islamist proxies…the usa/india – predominently tajeks and uzbeks and balochis… including groups such as jundullah.
    .
    .
    pakistan was born out of nothing, it did not have the political infrastructure nor wealth , it is merely 60 years young, whereas india was born with a silver spoon in comparison. so to ask for reforms that have taken centuries elsewhere to develop and be enacted is unreasonable especially so if one is to consider the direct western interference .
    .
    one last fact in pakistan pre 9/11 there was 1 recorded suicide attack .. and sunni shia conflict is rising (it took 3 yrs of uk/usa special ops in iraq to create the conditions) along with uk/indian backed balochi nationalists operating from afghansitan along with blackwater-xe / cia operatives etc

  41. Gary Stockdale

    21 Sep, 2011 - 8:32 pm

    Brilliantly articulated Craig.

  42. Yes, I know, Wendy, these matters are not simple. But the military, and its union with pre-capitalist feudalism, is Pakistan’s central problem and always has been – since at least the mid-1950s. I know about Partition; pakistan got a bum deal from the British and Gandhi/Nehru, yes I know that. Both the ruling politicians of all parties and the generals in Pakistan are shits. Get rid of both! It needs, as I said a redistributive revolution. But until the military and its proxies are gone, nothing will change. It’ll only get worse. I’m not being rose-tinted. I simply saying that in spite of all its huge problems and fucked-up politicans and Bofers gunners, Hindutva bastards, Islmaistsm secessionsits and so on, India has largely avoided rule by soldiers (except in indira’s 1975 so-called ‘Emergency’ and except of course for Kashmir, which is another aspect of th discussion). Non-Pakistani people in the UK who support the Pakistan Army tend to be right-wing old British imperialists. I’m NOT saying you’re that – you’re obviously not – but that’s been my experience. Don’t buy their arguments. ‘Strategic depth’ is a lie made up by the ISI ex-Chief. I agree with much of your last third, though. All these states use killers. My point was that in Pakistan, the killers are utterly dominant and checks and in civil society balances, barely-operative. Also, it is NOT the case the the USA/India support the ex-Soviets in Afghanistan. There are some – Dostum et al – who switch sides every 5 secs – but in the main, these countries support the Islamist Northern Alliance, which was baisically the 1980s ‘Mujaheddin’. A bunch of killers, drug barons and extermist Islmaists. of course, the Marxists were also brutal and so on. The last relatively semi-reasonable rulers of Afghanistan were King Zahir Shah and Prime Minsister (and then President) Daoud, back in the 1970s. Not ideal, and Daoud esp. had all hell to deal with wrt the Cold War, but 1,000 times better than everything that followed and 1,000 times better than hat’s in place right now.
    .
    Please don’t allow the Pakistan military any benefit of the doubt. They have screwed-up the country over many decades. They are laregly the reason why only corrupt and venal, feudal civilian leaders come to fore. It is a toxic symbiosis.

  43. In other words, contrary to what some Pakistanis (eg. the Army) would have you believe, there is no dichotomy b/w the civilian leaders and the military – they are part of one apparatus of hegemony. The military have acquired ever-greatre power in the relationship over the past several decades, but in essence, they are not oppositional vis a vis each other. they are ‘Milbus’ (Military Business).

  44. Of course India has landowners. However, they got rid of the until then officially sanctioned feudal political class of massive estate feudal landowners – rajas, nawabs, tc. – whereas in pakistan, the state was handed over to the big feudal landowners. If Pakistan had done that at the outset, its history might well have been very different. India (and Bangladesh) have active, mass Leftist and secular movements, some of whom are in positions of power in various places and parts of the politcial structure. Pakistan does not. Many problems, of course, are common to all the countries of South Asia – neoliberalism being the most prominent. hat you call “rose-tinting” was actullay an attempt to simplify; it is a complex subject. But in broad brush, I believe that what I have written is failr accurate.
    .
    I’d recommend Ayesha Siddiqa’s book, ‘Military Inc.’ (2007).

  45. And work by Hassan Abbas:
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    http://www.watandost.blogspot.com/
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    He wrote a good book:
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    http://pakistandrift.blogspot.com/
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    He’s an ex-Pakistani police officer, btw.

  46. after mullens declaration of war, pakistan is readying itself for defence (war) from an US (isaf) attack or false flag.
    .
    .
    quite extraordinary events in pakistan over this weekend.

  47. “Suhayl Saadi”
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    .
    thanks for your considered reply and links.
    .
    .
    “Please don’t allow the Pakistan military any benefit of the doubt. They have screwed-up the country over many decades. They are laregly the reason why only corrupt and venal, feudal civilian leaders come to fore. It is a toxic symbiosis.”
    .
    .
    you might as well be describing politics of the uk for the last 30 years or so ..

  48. My pleasure, Wendy. Yes, that occurred to me too as I typed it!

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