The Poison From Afghanistan 88

Foreign policy is a nexus of issues and relationships.. Once you get an important issue seriously wrong, it has ramifications across the whole. A seriously misguided enterprise like the occupation of Afghanistan spreads its poison across whole areas of foreign policy.

Only one such consequence, but a very bad one, is British support for the Karimov regime in Uzbekistan, and other Central Asian dictatorships. This is based on our “need” for Uzbekistan as a transit route for supplies to Afghanistan.

I had already noted the extraordinary enthusiasm of the current British Ambassador for promoting the Uzbek regime and apologising for past “misunderstandings” over Uzbekistan’s political system.

Now Joy is actively promoting Gulnara Karimova’s activities in the world of Fashion TV. That Chopard and Prado are shallow enough to be gulled by Gulnara’s billions is par for the course. For the British Ambassador to flank her at a press conference for her fashion show is unforgivable.

Note that the headline “British Diplomats Toadying to Uzbek Dictator’s Daughter” was written by Uzbeks, not by me.

The policy of backing dictators is in my view wrong in principle. But even in terms of realpolitik, it depends on a judgement of whether you believe extreme repression in Uzbekistan stops or increases the prospect of Islamic extremist violence. I think extreme regimes spawn violence and instability. The British government now has its money firmly on the dictator.

The real motivation is short term support for military occupation of Afghanistan. The Northern supply route, or “Northern Distribution Network” as the Pentagon calls it, is all important. I highly commend to you this extremely revealing report for the Center for Security and International Studies in the US.

Now the CSIS are bought and paid for cheerleaders for the Karimov regime and unquestioning supporters of the war in Afghanistan. They are extremely well connected in Washington and have excellent sources. This paper is a fairly definitive guide to the State Department view of Central Asia – and nowadays the FCO view of Central Asia is what the State Department tells them it is.

The CSIS position is reflected, for example, in the characterisation of the Andijan massacre as an “uprising”. Human rights and democracy are never mentioned as factors in the discussion of US relations with Uzbekistan. But nonetheless the paper does make some highly revealing statements:

The NDN was designed to provide redundancy to this critical Pakistan supply line and to help handle the surge of supplies associated with an increase of 21,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2009 and, with the recent announcement by the Obama administration, an additional 30,000 troops in 2010. This obvious need and vulnerability has placed the United States’ Afghanistan war resupply squarely in the hands of other nations….

The first misunderstanding concerned priorities and expectations. In the authoritarian regimes of Central Asia, the elite’s top national priority?”its overriding policy consideration?”is to maintain its hold on power. Additional considerations can and do exist, but they are necessarily secondary in the absence of democratic mechanisms for the orderly transfer of power. An attendant expectation is that international cooperation should strengthen the regime’s hold on power. At the very least, it cannot under any circumstances weaken it….

Crony capitalism and the enmeshment of ruling dynasties in moneymaking schemes mean that commercial shippers servicing the NDN are almost certain to be woven into the dense nexus of personal and state interests that characterize post-Soviet business.

This last is a very interesting admission. I have reported previously that Gulnara Karimova is making hundreds of millions of dollars from Pentagon supply contracts. Here you see it admitted, with a slight cover of academic coyness.

The core funding for the CSIS project is from Carnegie, and one of the authors, Andrew Kuchins, is a former director of the Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The CEIP this summer published a paper on much the same subject “written” by a certain “Professor” Gulnara Islamovna Karimova. Strangely Carnegie did not mention that she was the dictator’s daughter. The article in Gulnara’s name discusses supply to Afghanistan without mentioning her personal commercial interest in it. Yet again an example of the respectability the Washington establishment is trying to confer upon the Karimovs.

I gather that a visit by Hillary to visit Karimov is planned before the end of the year.

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88 thoughts on “The Poison From Afghanistan

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  • dreoilin

    “we are illuminated, in the know, we are special”

    but we’re not banned. And I don’t understand why Larry’s inane posts are still all over this page.

  • Alfred

    “Heh Alfred – are you otherwise followed by Jewish agents?”

    Otherwise? You’re not following me are you Larry?

  • dreoilin

    I just posted on the previous thread that Monsanto has bought Blackwater/Xe. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation just bought 500,000 shares of Monsanto, for more than $23 million.

    Monsanto + Blackwater/Xe. A marriage made in hell.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    dreoilin, now you’ll just have to find out that Bill Gates is controlled by the Jews and YOU’LL HAVE FIGURED IT ALL OUT!!!


  • crab

    Sorry, correction they haven’t been bought, just work together.

    Great to see Craig back and all the diverse comments! (and the old crew too – where is writerman? 🙂

    The problematic topic of old black ops/inside-jobs activates old trolls.. what to do – Clean up and keep shtum?

  • angrysoba


    Just about 10 days after the then Soviet Union invaded Afghansitan, on the 6th January, 1980, the UN Security Council by a vote of 13 to 2 expressly itself as “gravely concerned” about developments in Afghanistan in relation international security and peace. It went further and affirmed the right of all people to self-determination, free from foreign interference.

    It is now just shy of a decade that the US and NATO troops have invaded ?” so ?” is anyone at the highest level of the UN still “gravely concerned” and what about the right of a people to self-determination without foreign interference?”

    Well so what? The Soviet Union had the veto so no Security Council resolution could be passed without the Soviet Union’s agreement. Only a non-binding General Assembly vote could pass.

  • CheebaCow

    From the interview that Courtenay posted:

    “Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

    B: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.


    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it?”

    It’s strange seeing Brzezinski deny plotting for the Soviets to invade while at the same time saying how good it was, and how it was an excellent plan and doesn’t regret a thing.

    ‘Your Honour, I didn’t force the girl to fall asleep, I just slipped a rooffie in her drink to increase the probability that she would’

  • angrysoba

    “It’s strange seeing Brzezinski deny plotting for the Soviets to invade while at the same time saying how good it was, and how it was an excellent plan and doesn’t regret a thing.”

    As for Brzezinski, his words need to be taken with a slight pinch of salt. I am sure there could have been a number of outcomes that could have come from the funding of the mujihadeen in Afghanistan. The Soviet Union could have been deterred from entering the country or their puppet government in Afghanistan could have been overthrown. (William Blum, who translated that, for his own part seems to be of the opinion that Hafizullah Amin was a CIA plant and that the Soviet Union was therefore forced to murder him in a coup and set up an even more brutal regime).

    Of course, if Brzezinski is correct then the funding of the mujihadeen led to a Soviet invasion which then exhausted and bankrupted it. Brzezinski can claim to be the man whose plan won the Cold War for the United States. That’s quite an achievement and one that would be considered quite impressive except to those who are nostalgic for the Soviet Union. The thing is that I am not sure that Brzezinski could know this would happen. What the US was most worried about at this time was the possibility that the Soviet Empire would expand through Afghanistan and Iran down to the Persian Gulf. The Iranian Revolution had just occurred and the US probably feared the Tudeh Party there more than the Islamic fundamentalists under Khomeini.

    This interview also took place before 9/11 and Brzezinski was making the case that he had been acting with great foresight pursuing a policy that he expected could bring down the Soviet Union and end the Cold War and rubbishing claims that such a policy was reckless or that it would have unforeseen negative consequences. In fact, William Blum’s motive for bringing it up is to show that the US were essentially responsible for 9/11 by funding the very people who would end up attacking the US on that day. It’s actually a rather lazy accusation that fails to make the very distinctions that Brzezinski himself thinks should be made.

    Courteney Barnett: “Should we now conclude that this so-called “war on terror” with Islam and Muslims as the declared main enemy – that this “war” is something that is contrived and lacking in credibility?”

    Well, first of all I think you should show us the declarations of war against Islam and Muslims. As far as I have seen most US policy makers have gone out of their way to say that Islam and Muslims are NOT the enemy. Whether you believe that or not is another issue but I have never seen such a declaration. Brzezinski’s since then written another book called the Choice in which he thinks the US under Bush failed to discriminate between actual threats and non-threats. He doesn’t think that Islamic fundamentalists cannot pose any threat at all he simply thinks that the threat has been exaggerated.

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  • dreoilin

    As far as “the Jews” are concerned, we now have a Catch 22 from Rupert Murdoch:

    “When Americans think of anti-Semitism, we tend to think of the vulgar caricatures and attacks of the first part of the 20th century,” Murdoch said. “Now it seems that the most virulent strains come from the left. Often this new anti-Semitism dresses itself up as legitimate disagreement with Israel.”

    So you see, there can never be any legitimate disagreement with Israel, cos it’s all just anti-Semitism “dressed up”.

  • Ingo

    Thanks Courtenay for that french snippet, lets hope the translation has done it justice.

    My studies on the construct called war on terrorism, I was somewhat flabbergasted that the connections between Mujaheddin and CIA were already up and running when Najibullah finally called in the Russians.

    Brezinzkis overall strategic paws are all over the last thirty years of US mistakes, his glib generalisations and the pressure from vested interests pushing, old codgers and cold war warriors are seemingly in charge of directing US foreign policy goals.

    Dreolin thats a well spotted purchase of shares, and what a takjeover. Agent Orange takes over agent Blackwater.

  • angrysoba

    “I was somewhat flabbergasted that the connections between Mujaheddin and CIA were already up and running when Najibullah finally called in the Russians.”

    Najibullah didn’t call in the Russians. Najibullah was the guy who was left in charge when the Russians left.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah man from St Louis, i bet the peer reviewed article (scientifically proven moron) of high grade explosive material in the dust of the WTC’s is just another fanciful wacko nut-job then ain’t it?

  • Larry from St. Louis

    That article wasn’t peer-reviewed. It was published in a vanity journal. Anyone could have a paper published there for $800.

    Tell me – why do you think it was peer-reviewed? What does peer review mean?

  • ingo

    Sorry Angry, you are right, I mixed my times up, it was Taraki and his intense rivalry with Amin within the Kalqhe coalition, who initially asked Koszygin for military intervention.

    I believe some 700 paras were the first troops to arrive, but the soviets, just as the americans were funding the Mujaheddin to undermine the left leaning Government and provoke the USSR, Russia was funding civil and military projects since at least 1978.

  • Anonymous

    OFF TOPIC: Craig and reader

    Now, gotta say its good to have you back. There is one website you must look at if you dont already. It would also be good if have a link section on your homepage

    anyways check out:

    The stuff on it is absolutely staggering!

  • angrysoba

    I’ve mentioned it before, maybe too many times now, but Steve Coll’s book on this subject is excellent Ghost Wars pp.38-52

    The Soviets had been active in Afghanistan for far longer than 1978 and had been nurturing Communist groups to take over which they did in a coup d’etat that led to the murder of Daoud, the previous president of the republic and the accession of Taraki.

    But, as with the US, the Soviets completely misread the significance of the Iranian Revolution which became far more militantly Islamic as time went on and led to an increase in Islamic militancy in Afghanistan, particularly in Herat which has a large Shia population. There was a backlash by the Communists against Muslims in Afghanistan and an attempt to convert the country to secularism and Marxist-Leninism – a foolish idea that literally blew up in the faces of the Communists who then asked the Soviet Union for help.

    The Soviet Union actually did worry about some kind of domino effect that would spread upwards into the Central Asian region and dithered when it came to whether or not to invade at the “invitation” of the Afghan government and tried to stop Taraki and Amin from tearing the government apart. When Amin had Taraki killed the KGB started spreading stories that Amin was a CIA plant to discredit him (later on they came to believe that their false story was in fact correct, as Amin had had links with the Asia Foundation, which – as Suhayl can tell you – is known to be CIA-backed).

    Anyway, Brzezinski’s apparent claim that it was all his doing that led to the Soviets invading and then crumbling is more of an interpretation from reading history backwards. Now that we know that the Soviet Union collapsed partly due to their intervention in Afghanistan it is easy for Brzezinski to say that he expected that to happen all along (although he doesn’t even say that!)

    If you read the pages of the book I recommended to you you’ll see that the Presidential finding that Jimmy Carter signed on July 3rd was for assistance of 500,000 dollars which was in the form of medical equipment and radios transferred to Mohammed Zia ul-Haq’s ISI who passed them on to Afghan guerillas.

    But the Soviets didn’t go in because Carter and Brzezinski had sent radios and medical kits to the guerillas. They went in to assassinate Amin, which they did, and install a more reliable government under Babrak Kamal.

    Later memos show that Brzezinski didn’t really have a firm idea of the effect that the aid would have on the Soviet Union and knew that the parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam were too simplistic to expect the same results. In fact, he feared that the Soviet Union would be far more effective in suppressing opposition and rebel groups in Afghanistan than the US was in Vietnam simply because the Soviets didn’t have to appeal to public opinion so much and had quite effectively put down uprisings before.

  • Alfred

    According to this:

    Monsanto did not buy Blackwater (Xe) they merely employed them to “to infiltrate activist groups organizing against the multinational biotech firm…”

    Still, that’s scary enough, if you’re any kind of activist. I mean, it’s bad enough being called a moron all the time by Larry and Alan Campbell. But what if they’re here to blow us all up.

  • Roderick Russell

    As Alfred reports on Monsanto’s purchase of private intelligence agency Blackwater – “Still, that’s scary enough, if you’re any kind of activist”

    It is just as scary for those who aren’t activists since involvement of these private intelligence groups with business is a serious threat to democracy, not to mention free market competition (who wants to compete with Monsanto now unless you have some protection). The fact is that these private sector spooks work closely with, and ultimately employ, public sector spooks so that the line between them is at best blurred.

  • Roderick Russell

    May I just make one further comment. As somebody who has been a victim of close relationships between business and intelligence, I know where it can lead to. It might start with some fairly innocuous favours, but it won’t stop there.

  • dreoilin

    Roderick, it wasn’t a purchase. The report I quoted was obviously badly translated from the original Spanish. Monsanto have employed/used Blackwater/Xe, not bought it.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Interesting, angrysoba. That sounds like a good book; I shall check it out. Thanks again. Yes, I agree entirely that the Saur Revolution with its imposition of Lenninim, etc. was a very bad thing (understatement) for Afghans. Evolutionary change in the context of a republic, as was happening under Daoud, (no angel, but these things are relative) would have been incalculably better. Khalqs and Parchamis…

    So, the charity for which Dr Norgrove worked arguably may have been funded by a transational company which buys the services of an infamous private army that vigorously and systemically serves US plutocratic interests in various theatres of war, including the sector in which the charity operates.

    Could that intersection be contiguous with one definition of fascism?

  • somebody

    From medialens

    Pentagon asks media not to publish war leaks

    Posted by David Sketchley on October 18, 2010, 5:20 pm


    Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is asking media organizations not to publish or post on websites classified war files released by the WikiLeaks Web site.

    The Defense Department has been bracing for a possible leak of as many as many as 400,000 documents from a military database on the Iraq war. In July, the self-described whistleblower organization obtained and released nearly 77,000 records on Afgahnistan.

    The documents are mostly field reports, summarizing actions taken by troops and intelligence gathered.

    Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has told Congress that the July leak did not expose the nation’s most sensitive intelligence secrets. But, he also maintained that the release still put U.S. interests at risk because it exposed the names of some Afghans who had cooperated with U.S. forces.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    “Could that intersection be contiguous with one definition of fascism?”


    For a number of reasons, no.

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