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China’s Uyghur Problem — The Unmentioned Part

By F. William Engdahl – New Eastern Outlook – 05.10.2018

In recent months Western media and the Washington Administration have begun to raise a hue and cry over alleged mass internment camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang where supposedly up to one million ethnic Uyghur Chinese are being detained and submitted to various forms of “re-education.” Several things about the charges are notable, not the least that all originate from Western media or “democracy” NGOs such as Human Rights Watch whose record for veracity leaves something to be desired.

In August Reuters published an article under the headline, “UN says it has credible reports that China holds million Uighurs in secret camps.” A closer look at the article reveals no official UN policy statement, but rather a quote from one American member of an independent committee that does not speak for the UN, a member with no background in China. The source of the claim it turns out is a UN independent advisory NGO called Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The sole person making the charge, American committee member Gay McDougall, stated she was “deeply concerned” about “credible reports.” McDougall cited no source for the dramatic charge.

Reuters in their article boosts its claim by citing a murky Washington DC based NGO, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD). In an excellent background investigation, researchers at the Grayzone Project found that the CHRD gets hundreds of thousands of dollars from unnamed governments. The notorious US government NGO, National Endowment for Democracy, is high on the list of usual suspects. Notably, the CHRD official address is that of the Human Rights Watch which gets funds also from the Soros foundation.

The ‘Uyghur Problem’

The true state of affairs in China’s Xinjiang Province regarding Uyghurs is not possible to independently verify, whether such camps exist and if so who is there and under what conditions. What is known, however, is the fact that NATO intelligence agencies, including that of Turkey and of the US, along with Saudi Arabia, have been involved in recruiting and deploying thousands of Chinese Uyghur Muslims to join Al Qaeda and other terror groups in Syria in recent years. This side of the equation warrants a closer look, the side omitted by Reuters or UN Ambassador Haley.

According to Syrian media cited in Voltaire.net, there are presently an estimated 18,000 ethnic Uyghurs in Syria most concentrated in a village on the Turkish border to Syria. Since 2013 such Uyghur soldiers have gone from combat alongside Al Qaeda in Syria and returned to China’s Xinjiang where they have carried out various terrorist acts. This is the tip of a nasty NATO-linked project to plant the seeds of terror and unrest in China. Xinjiang is a lynchpin of China’s Belt Road Initiative, the crossroads of strategic oil and gas pipelines from Kazakhstan, Russia and a prime target of CIA intrigue since decades.

Since at least 2011 at the start of the NATO war against Bashar al Assad’s Syria, Turkey had played a key role in facilitating the flow of Chinese Uyghur people to become Jihadists in Syria. I deliberately use “had” tense to give benefit of the doubt if it still is the case today or if it has become an embarrassment for Erdogan and Turkish intelligence. In any case it seems that thousands of Uyghurs are holed up in Syria, most around Idlib, the reported last outpost of anti-regime terrorists.

Washington and ETIM

In an excellent analysis of China’s Uyghur terror history, Steven Sahiounie, a Syrian journalist with 21st Century Wire, notes that a key organization behind the radicalization of Chinese Uyghur youth is the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and its political front, the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP), which is also known as “Katibat Turkistani.” He cites a speech in Istanbul in 1995 by Turkey’s Erdogan, then Mayor, who declared, “Eastern Turkestan is not only the home of the Turkic peoples but also the cradle of Turkic history, civilization and culture…” Eastern Turkestan is Xinjiang.

ETIM today is headed by Anwar Yusuf Turani, self-proclaimed Prime Minister of a government in exile which notably is based in Washington DC. ETIM moved to Washington at a time the US State Department listed it as a terrorist organization, curiously enough. According to a report in a Turkish investigative magazine, Turk Pulse, Turani’s organization’s “activities for the government in exile are based on a report entitled ‘The Xinjiang Project.’ That was written by former senior CIA officer Graham E. Fuller in 1998 for the Rand Corporation and revised in 2003 under the title ‘The Xinjiang Problem.’”

I have written extensively in my book, The Lost Hegemon, about career senior CIA operative Graham Fuller. Former Istanbul CIA station chief, Fuller was one of the architects of the Reagan-Bush Iran-Contra affair, and a prime CIA sponsor or handler of Gülen who facilitated Gülen’s USA exile. He was also by his own admission, in Istanbul the night of the failed 2016 coup. In 1999 during the end of the Russian Yelstin era, Fuller declared, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against the Russians. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.” This is what the covert US weaponization of ETIM is aimed at. Like most radical Sunni Jihadist groups, Turani’s ETIM got funding as most radical Sunni Jihadist groups from Saudi Arabia.

In the late 1990s, Hasan Mahsum, also known as Abu-Muhammad al-Turkestani, founder of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, moved ETIM’s headquarters to Kabul, taking shelter under Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, ETIM leaders met with Osama bin Laden and other leaders of the CIA-trained Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to coordinate actions across Central Asia. When the Pakistani military assassinated al-Turkestani in 2003 Turani became head of ETIM, and took his roadshow to Washington.

In his own study of Xinjiang, the CIA’s Graham E. Fuller noted that Saudi Arabian groups had disseminated extremist Wahhabi religious literature and possibly small arms through sympathizers in Xinjiang, and that young Turkic Muslims had been recruited to study at madrasas in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. He adds that Uyghurs from Xinjiang also fought alongside Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Fuller noted, “Uyghurs are indeed in touch with Muslim groups outside Xinjiang, some of them have been radicalized into broader jihadist politics in the process, a handful were earlier involved in guerrilla or terrorist training in Afghanistan, and some are in touch with international Muslim mujahideen struggling for Muslim causes of independence worldwide.”

The January 2018 Pentagon National Defense Strategy policy document explicitly named China along with Russia as main strategic “threats” to continued US supremacy. It states, “Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security.” Explicitly, and this is new, the Pentagon paper does not cite a military threat but an economic one. It states, “China and Russia are now undermining the international order from within the system by exploiting its benefits while simultaneously undercutting its principles and ‘rules of the road.’” The escalating trade war against China, threats of sanctions over allegations of Uyghur detention camps in Xinjiang, threats of sanctions if China buys Russian defense equipment, are all aimed at disruption of the sole emerging threat to a Washington global order, one that is not based on freedom or justice but rather on fear and tyranny. How China’s authorities are trying to deal with this full assault is another issue. The context of events in Xinjiang however needs to be made clear. The West and especially Washington is engaged in full-scale irregular war against the stability of China.

October 6, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Lies of our (Financial) Times

By James Petras | Dissident Voice | October 4, 2018

The leading financial publications have misled their political and investor subscribers of emerging crises and military defeats which have precipitated catastrophic political and economic losses.

The most egregious example is the Financial Times (FT) a publication which is widely read by the business and financial elite.

In this essay we will proceed by outlining the larger political context that sets the framework for the transformation of the FT from a relatively objective purveyor of world news into a propagator of wars and failed economic policies.

In part two we will discuss several case studies which illustrate the dramatic shifts from a prudent business publication to a rabid military advocate, from a well-researched analyst of economic policies to an ideologue of the worst speculative investors.

The decay of the quality of its reportage is accompanied by the bastardization of language. Concepts are distorted; meanings are emptied of their cognitive sense; and vitriol covers crimes and misdemeanors.

We will conclude by discussing how and why the ‘respectable’ media have affected real world political and market outcomes for citizens and investors.

Political and Economic Context

The decay of the FT cannot be separated from the global political and economic transformations in which it publishes and circulates. The demise of the Soviet Union, the pillage of Russia’s economy throughout the 1990s and the US declaration of a unipolar world were celebrated by the FT as great success stories for ‘western values’. The US and EU annexation of Eastern Europe, the Balkan and Baltic states led to the deep corruption and decay of journalistic narratives.

The FT willingly embraced every violation of the Gorbachev-Reagan agreements and NATO’s march to the borders of Russia. The militarization of US foreign policy was accompanied by the FT conversion to a military interpreter of what it dubbed the ‘transition to democratization’.

The language of the FT reportage combined democratic rhetoric with an embrace of military practices. This became the hallmark for all future coverage and editorializing. The FT military policies extended from Europe to the Middle East, the Caucasus, North Africa and the Gulf States.

The FT joined the yellow press in describing military power grabs, including the overthrow of political adversaries, as ‘transitions to democracy’ and the creation of ‘open societies’.

The unanimity of the liberal and right-wing publications in support of western imperialism precluded any understanding of the enormous political and economic costs which ensued.

To protect itself from its most egregious ideological foibles, the FT included ‘insurance clauses’, to cover for catastrophic authoritarian outcomes. For example they advised western political leaders to promote military interventions and, by the way, with ‘democratic transitions’.

When it became evident that US-NATO wars did not lead to happy endings but turned into prolonged insurgencies, or when western clients turned into corrupt tyrants, the FT claimed that this was not what they meant by a ‘democratic transition’ – this was not their version of “free markets and free votes”.

The Financial and Military Times (?)

The militarization of the FT led it to embrace a military definition of political reality. The human and especially the economic costs, the lost markets, investments and resources were subordinated to the military outcomes of ‘wars against terrorism’ and ‘Russian authoritarianism’.

Each and every Financial Times report and editorial promoting western military interventions over the past two decades resulted in large scale, long-term economic losses.

The FT supported the US war against Iraq which led to the ending of important billion-dollar oil deals (oil for food) signed off with President Saddam Hussein. The subsequent US occupation precluded a subsequent revival of the oil industry. The US appointed client regime pillaged the multi-billion dollar reconstruction programs – costing US and EU taxpayers and depriving Iraqis of basic necessities.

Insurgent militias, including ISIS, gained control over half the country and precluded the entry of any new investment.

The US and FT backed western client regimes organized rigged election outcomes and looted the treasury of oil revenues, arousing the wrath of the population lacking electricity, potable water and other necessities.

The FT backed war, occupation and control of Iraq was an unmitigated disaster.

Similar outcomes resulted from the FT support for the invasions of Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen.

For example the FT propagated the story that the Taliban was providing sanctuary for bin Laden’s planning the terror assault in the US (9/11).

In fact, the Afghan leaders offered to turn over the US suspect, if they were offered evidence. Washington rejected the offer, invaded Kabul and the FT joined the chorus backing the so-called ‘war on terrorism which led to an unending, one trillion-dollar war.

Libya signed off to a disarmament and multi-billion-dollar oil agreement with the US in 2003. In 2011 the US and its western allies bombed Libya, murdered Gaddafi, totally destroyed civil society and undermined the US/EU oil agreements. The FT backed the war but decried the outcome. The FT followed a familiar ploy; promoting military invasions and then, after the fact, criticizing the economic disasters.

The FT led the media charge in favor of the western proxy war against Syria: savaging the legitimate government and praising the mercenary terrorists, which it dubbed ‘rebels’ and ‘militants’ – dubious terms for US and EU financed operatives.

Millions of refugees, resulting from western wars in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq fled to Europe seeking refuge. FT described the imperial holocaust – the ‘dilemmas of Europe’. The FT bemoaned the rise of the anti-immigrant parties but never assumed responsibility for the wars which forced the millions to flee to the west.

The FT columnists prattle about ‘western values’ and criticize the ‘far right’ but abjured any sustained attack of Israel’s daily massacre of Palestinians. Instead readers get a dose of weekly puff pieces concerning Israeli politics with nary a mention of Zionist power over US foreign policy.

FT: Sanctions, Plots and Crises — Russia, China and Iran

The FT like all the prestigious media propaganda sheets have taken a leading role in US conflicts with Russia, China and Iran.

For years the scribes in the FT stable have discovered (or invented) “crises” in China’s economy- always claiming it was on the verge of an economic doomsday. Contrary to the FT, China has been growing at four times the rate of the US; ignoring the critics it built a global infrastructure system instead of the multi-wars backed by the journalist war mongers.

When China innovates, the FT harps on techno theft — ignoring US economic decline.

The FT boasts it writes “without fear and without favor” which translates into serving imperial powers voluntarily.

When the US sanctions China we are told by the FT that Washington is correcting China’s abusive statist policies. Because China does not impose military outposts to match the eight hundred US military bases on five continents, the FT invents what it calls ‘debt colonialism” apparently describing Beijing’s financing large-scale productive infrastructure projects.

The perverse logic of the FT extends to Russia. To cover up for the US financed coup in the Ukraine it converted a separatist movement in Donbass into a Russian land grab. In the same way a free election in Crimea is described as Kremlin annexation.

The FT provides the language of the declining western imperial empires.

Independent, democratic Russia, free of western pillage and electoral meddling is labelled “authoritarian”; social welfare which serves to decrease inequality is denigrated as ‘populism’ —linked to the far right. Without evidence or independent verification, the FT fabricates Putinesque poison plots in England and Bashar Assad poison gas conspiracies in Syria.

Conclusion

The FT has chosen to adopt a military line which has led to a long series of financially disastrous wars. The FT support of sanctions has cost oil companies billions of dollars, euros and pounds. The sanctions, it backed, have broken global networks.

The FT has adopted ideological postures that threaten supply chains between the West, China, Iran and Russia. The FT writes in many tongues but it has failed to inform its financial readers that it bears some responsibility for markets which are under siege.

There is unquestionably a need to overhaul the name and purpose of the FT. One journalist who was close to the editors suggests it should be called the “Military Times” – the voice of a declining empire.

October 5, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

‘We’d take out Russia’s nukes,’ US NATO envoy says, claiming ‘banned’ missiles are being developed

RT | October 2, 2018

The US would look into ways of “taking out” new Russian missiles if they become operational, the US envoy to NATO said, accusing Moscow of developing a weapon that “violates” the Soviet-US nuclear arms treaty.

US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison didn’t miss an opportunity to fire a warning shot in the direction of Russia when accusing it of building new nuclear missiles that would allegedly be pointed at Europe. Should such missiles be completed, she said at the Tuesday briefing, “at that point, we would be looking at the capability to take out a [Russian] missile that could hit any of our countries.”

Hutchison then doubled down on the threat, saying: “Counter measures [by the United States] would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty.” She added: “They are on notice.”

Hutchison was referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which bans the use of all nuclear and conventional missiles, as well as their launchers, that have ranges of between 500km and 5,500km. The US has claimed that Moscow is not complying with the INF treaty, an accusation that Russia has repeatedly rejected.

“We have been trying to send a message to Russia for several years that we know they are violating the treaty, we have shown Russia the evidence that we have that they are violating the treaty,” Hutchison maintained.

The Russian Foreign Ministry blasted the statements made by the US envoy as “aggressive and destructive,” adding that they will get a detailed response from Russian military experts. NATO doesn’t understand the degree of its responsibility and the danger posed by such aggressive rhetoric, the ministry said.

Hutchison’s comment came several weeks after President Donald Trump signed the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2019. The document contains, among other things, allegations that Moscow violated the INF Treaty.

Moscow, in turn, accuses the US and “some of its allies” of knowingly violating the INF by deploying Mk-41 launching systems close to Russian borders. These can be easily repurposed for firing banned ground-based cruise missiles, it says, while Washington denies the accusations.

Under the 2019 NDAA, US legislators allocated $58 million to counter Russia’s alleged non-compliance with the INF Treaty. The measures to counter the alleged activities include a “research and development program on a ground-launched intermediate-range missile,” which, somehow, should not itself violate the treaty.

Russian lawmakers have also promised countermeasures. “If the missile announced by Congress indeed makes it into the American arsenal, we will have to develop and adopt the same thing. Russia has the military and technical capacities for that,” Viktor Bondarev, the head of the defense committee of Russia’s Federal Council, has said.

October 2, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

US War Strategists: Military Defeats and Political Success

By James Petras • Unz Review • September 15, 2018

Introduction

In a previous article (US: The Century of Lost Wars) I recorded the repeated US military defeats over the past two decades. In this discussion I will describe the role of military strategists who bear responsibility for the US defeats, but also for Israeli political successes.

The key to this apparent contradiction is to uncover how and why the destruction of Israeli adversaries prolonged costly US military invasions.

The two outcomes are inter-related. The same US military strategists whose policies lead to failed US wars in the Middle East facilitated and augmented the power of Israel.

US war strategists’ operations reflect ‘dual loyalties’. On the one-hand they receive their elite education and high positions in the US, while their political loyalties to Tel Aviv express their Israel First strategic decisions.

Our hypothesis is that dual loyalist strategists have fabricated threats, identified adversaries and committed hundreds of thousands of US soldiers to losing wars based on calculations that effectively increase Israeli power and influence in the Middle East.

We will proceed by identifying the war strategists and their policies and conclude by proposing an alternative framework for re-thinking the relationship between dual citizens and military strategy.

The ‘Best and the Brightest’: The Blind Ally of Military Defeats

There is an apparent contradiction between the high academic achievements of elite military strategists and their abominable record in pursuing military conflicts.

Most, if not all, policy makers who led the US in prolonged wars against Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria were Israel-firsters, either Zionists or Israeli ‘fellow travelers’.

In each of these wars, the Israel firster war strategists, (1) identified the enemy, (2) exaggerated the threat to the US and (3) grossly inflated the military capacity of the targeted country. They started with Iraq and Afghanistan and then proceeded to the other nations, all opponents of Israel.

By ‘coincidence’ all countries supported the Palestinians’ rights of self-determination and opposed Israeli annexation and colonization of Arab lands.

Driven by their loyalty to Israel’s ‘expansionist goals’, the military strategists ignored the ‘real world’ political and economic costs to the US people and state. Professional and academic credentials, nepotism and tribal loyalties, each contributed to the Israel firsters advance to securing strategic decision-making positions and elite advisory posts in the Pentagon, State Department, Treasury and White House.

Their policies led to an unending trillion-dollar war in Afghanistan; losing wars in Libya, Iraq and Syria; and costly economic sanctions against Iran.

The main beneficiary was Israel which confronted less political and military opposition; zero cost in lives and money; and substantial gains in territory.

Why did the Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Chicago, Johns Hopkins’ cum laude graduates repeatedly produce the worst possible military outcomes?

In part because the US acted as an instrument of another power (Israel). Moreover, the Israel firsters never were obliged to reflect in self-criticism nor to admit their failures and rectify their disastrous strategies..

Their refusal to assume their responsibilities resulted from several causes. Their criteria for success was based on whether their policies advanced Israeli goals, not US interests.

Moreover, while their decisions were objectionable to US citizens they were supported by the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization including the powerful Zionist lobby, AIPAC, which dictated Middle East policy to both political parties and the US Congress.

Ordinarily, military strategists whose policies lead to repeated political disasters are denounced, fired or even investigated for treason. In our experience nothing of the sort happened.

The best and the brightest rotated between six-digit jobs in Washington to seven-digit positions on Wall Street, or secured positions in lucrative law firms in Washington and New York (many with offices in Israel) or were appointed to prestigious academic posts in Ivy League universities.

What Should be Done?

There are countervailing measures which can lessen the impact of the strategic policies of the Israel Firsters. Academic Israel firsters should be encouraged to remain in Academia; rather than serve Israel in the State.

If they remain in the Ivory Tower they will inflict less destructive policies on American citizens and the state.

Secondly, since the vast-majority of Israel firsters are more likely to be arm chair war monger, who have not risked their lives in any of the wars that they promote, obligatory recruitment into combat zones would dampen their ardor for wars.

Thirdly, as matters stand, since many more Israel firsters choose to serve in the so-called Israeli Defense (sic) Force (IDF) they should reimburse US taxpayers for their free ride to education, health and welfare .

Fourthly, since most Israel firsters who volunteer to join the IDF prefer shooting unarmed Palestinian protesters, medics, journalists and kite flying kids they should be drafted into the US Army to serve in Afghanistan and face armed Taliban fighters surrounding Kabul, an experience which might knock a bit of realism in their dreams of converting the Middle East into an Israeli fiefdom.

Many national loyalties are forged by shared lives with families and friends of US soldiers who endure endless wars. Israel firsters dispatched to the war front would receive existential experiences that the Harvard, Princeton and Yale military strategists who make wars for Israel failed to understand.

Obligatory courses on the genocide of millions of Palestinian, Iraqi, Syrian, and Libyan people would enrich Israel firsters understanding of “holocausts’ in diverse ethno-religious settings.

Face to face encounters in life threatening military situations, where superior arms do not prevail, would deflate the hubris, arrogance and superiority complexes which fuel the tribal loyalties of Israel firsters.

In conclusion we offer modest suggestions for educated and cultured scientists, doctors, artists and entrepreneurs:

1/ Convert your skills to raising a new generation which will defend democratic values and social solidarity and eschew wars, persecution and phony claims of anti-semitism against critics of an ethnically exclusionary state.

2/ Forsake exclusive control of the mass media which glorifies Israeli war crimes and denigrates critics as ‘anti’ Semites for speaking truth to power.

Let’s join together to liberate America from military entanglements that privilege Israel while thirty million Us workers lack health coverage and forty percent of upstate New York children live in poverty.

Yes, there is an honorable place for everyone who joins in solidarity with the victims of Israeli First war strategists.

September 16, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US: The Century of Lost Wars

By James Petras | Global Research | September 12, 2018

Introduction

Despite having the biggest military budget in the world, five times larger than the next six countries, the largest number of military bases – over 180 – in the world and the most expensive military industrial complex, the US has failed to win a single war in the 21st century.

In this paper we will enumerate the wars and proceed to analyze why, despite the powerful material basis for wars, it has led to failures.

The Lost Wars

The US has been engaged in multiple wars and coups since the beginning of the 21st century. These include Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Palestine, Venezuela and the Ukraine. Besides Washington’s secret intelligence agencies have financed five surrogate terrorist groups in Pakistan, China, Russia, Serbia and Nicaragua.

The US has invaded countries, declared victories and subsequently faced resistance and prolonged warfare which required a large US military presence to merely protect garrison outposts.

The US has suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties – dead, maimed and deranged soldiers. The more the Pentagon spends, the greater the losses and subsequent retreats.

The more numerous the vassal regimes, the greater the corruption and incompetence flourishes.

Every regime subject to US tutelage has failed to accomplish the objectives designed by its US military advisers.

The more spent on recruiting mercenary armies the greater the rate of defection and the transfer of arms to US adversaries.

Success in Starting Wars and Failures in Finishing Them

The US invaded Afghanistan, captured the capital (Kabul) defeated the standing army … and then spent the next two decades engaged in losing irregular warfare.

The initial victories laid the groundwork for future defeats. Bombings drove millions of peasants and farmers, shopkeepers and artisans into the local militia. The invaders were defeated by the forces of nationalism and religion linked to families and communities. The indigenous insurgents overcame arms and dollars in many of the villages, towns and provinces.

Similar outcomes were repeated in Iraq and Libya. The US invaded, defeated the standing armies, occupied the capital and imposed its clients—- which set the terrain for long-term, large-scale warfare by local insurgent armies.

The more frequent the western bombings, the greater the opposition forcing the retreat of the proxy army.

Somalia has been bombed frequently. Special Forces have recruited, trained, and armed the local puppet soldiers, sustained by mercenary African armies but they have remained holed up in the capital city, Mogadishu, surrounded and attacked by poorly armed but highly motivated and disciplined Islamic insurgents.

Syria is targeted by a US financed and armed mercenary army. In the beginning they advanced, uprooted millions, destroyed cities and homes and seized territory. All of which impressed their US – EU warlords. Once the Syrian army united the populace, with their Russian, Lebanese (Hezbollah) and Iranian allies, Damascus routed the mercenaries.

After the better part of a decade the separatist Kurds, alongside the Islamic terrorists and other western surrogates retreated, and made a last stand along the northern borders–the remaining bastions of Western surrogates.

The Ukraine coup of 2014 was financed and directed by the US and EU. They seized the capital (Kiev) but failed to conquer the Eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Corruption among the US ruling kleptocrats devastated the country – over three million fled abroad to Poland, Russia and elsewhere in search of a livelihood. The war continues, the corrupt US clients are discredited and will suffer electoral defeat unless they rig the vote.

Surrogate uprisings in Venezuela and Nicaragua were bankrolled by the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED). They ruined economies but lost the street wars.

Conclusion

Wars are not won by arms alone. In fact, heavy bombing and extended military occupations ensure prolonged popular resistance, ultimate retreats and defeats.

The US major and minor wars of the 21st century have failed to incorporate targeted countries into the empire.

Imperial occupations are not military victories. They merely change the nature of the war, the protagonists of resistance, the scope and depth of the national struggle.

The US has been successful in defeating standing armies as was the case in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, and the Ukraine. However, the conquest was limited in time and space. New armed resistance movements led by former officers, religious activists and grass roots activists took charge…

The imperial wars slaughtered millions, savaged traditional family, workplace and neighborhood relations and set in motion a new constellation of anti-imperialist leaders and militia fighters.

The imperial forces beheaded established leaders and decimated their followers. They raided and pillaged ancient treasures. The resistance followed by recruiting thousands of uprooted volunteers who served as human bombs, challenging missiles and drones.

The US imperial forces lack the ties to the occupied land and people. They are ‘aliens’ serving time; they seek to survive, secure promotions and exit with a bonus and an honorable discharge.

In contrast, the resistance fighters are there for the duration. As they advance, they target and demolish the imperial surrogates and mercenaries. They expose the corrupt client rulers who deny the subject people the elementary conditions of existence – employment, potable water, electricity etc.

The imperial vassals are not present at weddings, sacred holidays or funerals, unlike the resistance fighters. The presence of the latter signals a pledge of loyalty unto death. The resistance circulates freely in cities, towns and villages with the protection of the local people; and by night they rule enemy terrain, under cover of their own people, who share intelligence and logistics.

Inspiration, solidarity and light arms are more than a match for the drones, missiles and helicopter gunships.

Even the mercenary soldiers, trained by the Special Forces, defect from and betray their imperial masters. Temporary imperial advances serve only to allow the resistance forces to regroup and counter-attack. They view surrender as a betrayal of their traditional way of life, submission to the boot of western occupation forces and their corrupt officials.

Afghanistan is a prime example of an imperial ‘lost war’. After two decades of warfare and one trillion dollars in military spending, tens of thousands of casualties, the Taliban controls most of the countryside and towns; enters and takes over provincial capitals and bombs Kabul. They will take full control the day after the US departs.

The US military defeats are products of a fatal flaw: imperial planners cannot successfully replace indigenous people with colonial rulers and their local look-alikes.

Wars are not won by high tech weapons directed by absentee officials divorced from the people: they do not share their sense of peace and justice.

Exploited people informed by a spirit of communal resistance and self-sacrifice have demonstrated greater cohesion than rotating soldiers eager to return home and mercenary soldiers with dollar signs in their eyes.

The lessons of lost wars have not been learned by those who preach the power of the military–industrial complex, which makes, sells and profits from weapons but lack the mass of humanity with lesser arms but with great conviction who have demonstrated their capacity to defeat imperial armies.

The Stars and Stripes fly in Washington but remain folded in Embassy offices in Kabul, Tripoli, Damascus and in other lost battlegrounds.

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

John Bolton versus the International Criminal Court: A Simple Solution

By Thomas L. Knapp | William Lloyd Garrison Center | September 11, 2018

In a September 10 speech to the Federalist Society, National Security Advisor John Bolton offered “a major announcement on US policy toward the International Criminal Court.” The US government, per Bolton, considers the court “fundamentally illegitimate. … We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC.”

Bolton threatened sanctions against the court and those who resort to it or cooperate with it in investigations of war crimes involving the United States or Israel. He also announced the first such sanction, closure of a Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington in retaliation for the state of Palestine’s referral of charges against Israel for actions in the West Bank and Gaza.

What’s with this sudden interest in the court and its jurisdiction?

Why is Bolton suddenly so concerned with protecting notions of “sovereignty” (he uses the word nine times) that the US government itself routinely ignores at its convenience, claiming global jurisdiction over individuals and organizations outside its own borders in matters ranging from the 17-year “war on terror” to its financial regulation and sanctions schemes?

The answer, in a word: Afghanistan. The regime installed by the US after its 2001 invasion of that country, and maintained in power by the US since then, ratified the Rome Statute in 2003. Crimes committed in Afghanistan since then, regardless of the perpetrators’ nationalities, therefore fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Bolton finds it unconscionable that an American — in particular an American soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or politician — accused of crimes committed in Afghanistan might be tried in a court Afghanistan’s government has duly accepted the authority of. So much for “sovereignty.”

Bolton wants it both ways. On one hand, the long arm of US law must reach everywhere, be it to a bank in Switzerland, to a hacker’s keyboard in the United Kingdom, or to a battlefield in the Middle East. On the other hand, no foreign arm of law must ever reach a US citizen, regardless of the alleged crime or where it was committed.

Pretty messed up, but there’s a simple solution. All the US government has to do is close its embassies and consulates in, withdraw its troops from, and advise its citizens not to travel to, any of the 120-odd countries which recognize the International Criminal Court as their judicial authority for war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

Starting with Afghanistan.

Problem solved.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

September 12, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Bolton wants to sanction ICC judges who probe US war crimes

Press TV – September 10, 2018

White House National Security Adviser John Bolton wants to sanction International Criminal Court (ICC) judges who probe alleged war crimes committed by Americans in Afghanistan, according to reports.

Bolton on Monday will declare the ICC in The Hague “illegitimate” in an attempt to pressure the court which is planning to investigate the alleged US war crimes, according to a draft of his speech obtained by Reuters.

“The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court,” Bolton will say.

Bolton will threaten to punish ICC judges if they proceed with the proposal, the news agency said.

“We will not cooperate with the ICC,” he will say. “We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us.”

The chief prosecutor of the ICC has called for a formal investigation into war crimes in Afghanistan following the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

“Following a meticulous preliminary examination of the situation, I have come to the conclusion that all legal criteria required to commence an investigation have been met”, said Fatou Bensouda in a statement last year.

“There is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed,” Bensouda added.

She said US forces and CIA agents might have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan under a system of approved torture techniques, which included simulated drowning.

Human Rights Watch has welcomed the possibility of holding perpetrators to account for what it called horrendous human rights abuses against Afghans.

The United States — under Republican George W. Bush’s presidency — and its allies invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 as part of Washington’s so-called war on terror. The offensive removed the Taliban regime from power, but after more than one and a half decades, the foreign troops are still deployed to the country.

After becoming president in January 2009, President Barack Obama, a Democrat, vowed to end the Afghan war — one of the longest conflicts in US history – but he failed to keep his promise.

Trump, who has spoken against the Afghan war, has dubbed the 2001 invasion and following occupation of Afghanistan as “Obama’s war.”

But Trump has also announced to deploy thousands of more troops to the war-torn country. Trump has said that his views have changed since entering the White House and that he would continue the military intervention “as long as we see determination and progress” in Afghanistan.

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 2 Comments

Kabul Confirms to Sputnik It Won’t Attend Moscow Conference on Afghanistan

By Ksenia Shakalova – Sputnik – 23.08.2018

MOSCOW – The conference in Moscow will be held amid a conditional ceasefire between the Taliban movement and the Afghan government, which was announced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday.

“We are not going to attend [the Moscow conference]… The peace process should be led by Afghanistan only, only by the Government of the Republic of Afghanistan,” Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi told Sputnik on Thursday.

Ahmadi added that it was an independent decision that had nothing to do with Washington.

The spokesman also said that the government already had its own peace council that was working on negotiations with the Taliban.

“Of course we will lead the peace process, but by the way, we have very close relations with Russia and Russia is a big country and a powerful country in the region and one of our friends. And we have very good relations with Russia,” Ahmadi concluded.

On Tuesday, Russia said it had invited officials from 12 countries, including the US, to attend the Moscow-format consultations on Afghanistan. Moscow also confirmed that the Taliban movement expected to participate in the upcoming conference.

A US Department of State official, commenting on the talks, stated that Washington would not take part in the meeting, doubting that the talks would help to establish peace in Afghanistan.

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation | , , | 1 Comment

Leaving Afghanistan Won’t Be Easy

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 23.08.2018

Getting into Afghanistan was easy. Working with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, US special forces and CIA paramilitaries quickly overcame resistance leading to the fall of the capital Kabul. American Marines and Army units soon followed to finish the job. By the time I arrived in Kabul in late December 2001 both a US Embassy and CIA Station were up and running and fully staffed. Soon thereafter, the country had an interim government to be followed by Hamid Karzai as the new president, reportedly because he was able to speak good English, which made him ipso facto the best qualified candidate.

To be sure, Usama bin Laden and many Taliban escaped to Pakistan due to the pusillanimous decision making of General Tommy Franks at the battle of Tora Bora, but the United States could nevertheless have pulled up stakes at that point and left the country to the Afghans to sort out. The Bush Administration thought otherwise and decided to stick around for a while to stabilize the situation and “build democracy.” More than 100,000 American soldiers eventually wound up in the country supplemented by NATO allies to suppress any Taliban or al-Qaeda resurgence while rebuilding the Afghan Army.

That was nearly seventeen years ago and 14,000 US troops remain in country. More than 2,000 Americans and 90,000 Afghans have died in the process of nation building while more than a million more Afghans are refugees. The Afghan Army continues to struggle with a 30% annual desertion rate and some are beginning to ask how it is that a lightly armed and relatively untrained Taliban is able to engage it with success, in the process reacquiring control over more than a third of the country. And al-Qaeda is still around while ISIS has also appeared, having been largely driven out of Iraq and Syria.

Even though President Donald Trump has taken his generals’ advise and increased the number of US soldiers in Afghanistan – yet another surge – many in Washington believe that he is seeking a way out and will order a staged withdrawal before the end of the year, possibly before the November elections. If that is so, the recent talks between US diplomats and Taliban representatives are significant in that they might lead to a political settlement in which the Taliban has some designated role in a new government arrangement. Skeptics, of course, note how such agreements are not worth the paper they are written on and the Taliban will simply bide its time before eliminating its weaker coalition partners.

Those who are arguing for what would appear to be a permanent US military presence backed up by air power believe that there are several good reasons for hanging on. The basic argument is that it is essential to keep the Islamist Taliban out. It is also argued that the appearance of ISIS and persistence of al-Qaeda suggest that a genuine terrorist threat remains. And then there is the always useful geostrategic issue, namely that the increasing role of China in seeking to develop a “new silk road” through Afghanistan to the West must be monitored lest it bring about a new political alignment in central Asia. China is, of course, the over-the-horizon threat to American military hegemony that the military industrial complex dreams about to keep the money flowing into the coffers of the defense contractors and congressmen.

There are several problems with the thinking behind the permanent garrison in Afghanistan that is being promoted:

  • First of all, there are no indications that the Afghan Army will ever become more effective, meaning that whatever happens the Taliban will continue to gain strength and territory until it again becomes the Afghan government. Trying to avert that outcome by way of a money pit training program is futile.
  • Second, the terrorist threat is greatly overstated. Both al-Qaeda and ISIS are non-government actors that are in Afghanistan and Pakistan only because it is currently available. They are not friends of the Taliban and any Taliban government would not share power with them with the understanding that the US would bomb Kabul back into the stone age if it were to accommodate them.
  • And third, what China does will not be seriously impacted whether it is being watched by Washington or not. Beijing has been successful exploiting its own form of economic imperialism and it is a neighbor to Afghanistan. An empowered US Embassy backed up by a few thousand troops will not change that.

So getting out of Afghanistan is a lot harder than getting in and the US military appears to be mired in a conflict where it is most engaged in avoiding defeat. A continued large US presence in Afghanistan does little more than create a group of hostages to a policy that is not working and which has already cost trillions of borrowed dollars. It is time to end the farce right now and leave. The Afghans are a fiercely independent people who recognize an invasion and occupation by foreign armies when they see it. They successfully resisted Alexander the Great, the Mongols, the Mughal Emperors of India, the British Empire, Soviet Russia and eventually they will also outlast the United States. Time for America to realize all that and pull the plug.

August 23, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

Trump Regime Continues Supporting ISIS

By Stephen LENDMAN | August 18, 2018

US support for ISIS is an open dirty secret – undiscussed by media scoundrels, pretending it’s not so.

Washington actively arms, funds, trains, and directs ISIS and other terrorists – backing the scourge they pretend to oppose.

Obama and Trump’s vow to degrade and destroy ISIS was and remains a bald-faced lie, using these and other cutthroat killers as proxy fighters in Syria and other countries where they’re deployed – their presence unjustifiably justifying illegal US occupation of northeast and southwest Syrian territory.

Last November, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the following:

“The Abu Kamal liberation operation conducted by the Syrian government army with air cover by the Russian Aerospace Force at the end of the last week revealed facts of direct cooperation and support for ISIS terrorists by the US-led ‘international coalition.”

“Americans peremptorily rejected to conduct airstrikes over the ISIS terrorists on the pretext of the fact that, according to their information, militants are yielding themselves prisoners to them and now are subject to the provisions of the Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.”

US-led “coalition’s aviation tried to create obstacles for the aircraft of the Russian Aerospace Forces in this area to safely shield militants of the Islamic State.”

“There is indisputable evidence that the United States pretends it is waging irreconcilable struggle against international terrorism in front of the international community, while in reality it provides cover for the combat-ready Islamic State groups to let them regain strength, regroup themselves and advance US interests in the Middle East.”

Washington directly aids ISIS and other terrorist fighters, deploying them where Pentagon commanders want them used, relocating them to new conflict zones in Syria and other countries.

Iran has credible documents showing US support for ISIS. Its armed forces deputy chief of staff Major General Mostafa Izadi earlier said “(w)e are facing a proxy warfare in the region as a new trick by the arrogant (US-led) powers against the Islamic Republic,” adding:

“We possess information showing direct support by US imperialism for (ISIS) in the region which has destroyed Islamic countries and created a wave of massacres and clashes.”

Separately, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani condemned Washington for “align(ing) itself with ISIS in the region.”

So-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are infested with ISIS and other terrorists. Washington’s objective in Syria remains regime change – why the Obama regime launched naked aggression in the country, continued by Trump regime dark forces in charge of Washington’s geopolitical agenda.

A new Security Council report showed renewed ISIS strength in parts of Syria controlled by US forces and allies, saying:

ISIS terrorists have “breathing space to prepare for the next phase of its evolution into a global covert network.”

Aided by the Trump regime and allied forces, they control “small pockets of territory in the Syrian Arab Republic on the Iraqi border.”

Russia’s General Staff earlier accused the Pentagon of training ISIS and other terrorists at its illegally established At Tanf base in southwest Syria – calling it a staging ground for US armed struggle against the Syrian government.

ISIS and other terrorists infest the Rukban refugee camp controlled by US Forces, holding tens of thousands of defenseless Syrians hostage, using the camp to recruit anti-government terrorists.

On August 15, AMN News said US-led forces “transported over 250 trucks filled with weapons (and other military hardware) to the Euphrates River Valley this morning” – intended for Syrian Democratic Forces terrorists in Deir Ezzor province, adding:

Washington is “expand(ing) (its) bases and airports in northern and eastern Syria” – indicating US forces will remain in the country, not leave, as Trump earlier said.

Separately on August 18, AMN News said Washington and its allies “sent reinforcements to their military bases in the towns of Tal Tamer, Al-Houl, and Al-Shaddadi.”

Syria’s liberating struggle continues, no end of it in sight as long as US regime change intentions remain unchanged.

August 19, 2018 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , , | 3 Comments

Trump’s sanctions on Iran dig deeper grave for US forces in Afghanistan

By Finian Cunningham | RT | August 16, 2018

The dramatic, and seemingly unstoppable, surge of Taliban offensives across Afghanistan is proof that the US is fast becoming the latest foreign power to succumb to failure in a land known for for being the “graveyard of empires”.

But unlike past empires defeated in Afghanistan, the US stands out as singularly contributing to its own ill-fate through excessive blundering and its legacy of criminal duplicity.

In particular, Washington’s obsession with confronting neighboring Iran and plotting regime change in Tehran could well be the tipping point in Afghanistan. The point, that is, where the US tips itself into a strategic, military grave it has been digging in Afghanistan over the past two decades.

After 17 years of US military occupation costing the US taxpayer trillions of dollars, the Taliban insurgents seem to be able to launch spectacular attacks at will against the Washington-backed government in Kabul. By any measure, that portends a historic defeat for Washington’s imperial ambitions. And not just in Afghanistan.

Over the past week, a strategic city, Ghazni, only 150 kms south from the capital was under Taliban occupation for several days before the militants appeared to make a tactical retreat to surrounding areas.

Then in the capital, Kabul, on Thursday, the Taliban mounted a gun battle on a military-intelligence training base, as if to underline the ineffectualness of US-backed security forces. A military intelligence base caught in a surprise attack?

Further north, in Faryab province, an Afghan National Army base was reportedly over-run by militants with the apparent loss of 30 troops and the remaining 70 captured. Provincial elders said the base was easily captured by the Taliban because it lacked reinforcements, ammunition and food. So much for US support.

Recall that Afghanistan was supposed to be the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam”. That was how US planners like Zbigniew Brzezinski gleefully referred to Afghanistan and their nefarious scheme to inflict on the Soviets what the US had ignominiously suffered in Vietnam only a few years earlier. In 1979, Soviet troops were lured into the Central Asian country to prop up an allied government in Kabul coming under attack from US-backed tribal fighters, the Mujahideen.

Like British imperial troops a century before, the Soviets suffered defeat in the rugged mountains of Afghanistan at the hands of fearless fighters.

Of course, the Soviets were not just up against Afghans. The CIA had weaponized the Mujahideen with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and other sophisticated munitions. Along with Britain’s MI6, the Saudis and Pakistani military intelligence, the Afghan insurgents were turned into a jihadist army which later evolved into the Al Qaeda terror network.

The irony is, however, that the “Soviet Vietnam” has now turned into another US quagmire – an American Vietnam redux.

Following the September 11 terror attacks in 2001 on New York City and Washington DC, the George W Bush administration rushed into Afghanistan in an act of revenge against Al Qaeda – the very organization that the Americans had earlier helped create.

Nearly 17 years later, the US military is still bogged down in Afghanistan with no viable exit plan in sight. The war is officially America’s longest war, surpassing the duration of the Vietnam War (1964-75).

Although US casualties are much less than was incurred in Southeast Asia, the financial cost of Afghanistan to the US economy is crippling, estimated to be up to $5 trillion, along with the Iraq war. That’s a quarter of the US total national debt of $21 trillion.

US military operations were officially supposed to end in 2014 during the Obama administration. When Donald Trump ran for the presidency in 2016, one of his winning pledges to voters was to scale back US wars. Last year, however, Trump acceded to Pentagon advice to revamp military involvement in Afghanistan, albeit under the guise of “training and support” for local forces.

As this past week’s audacious attacks by the Taliban demonstrates, the US-backed government forces are fighting a losing war. Vast areas of the country are outside of their control. Even the capital appears vulnerable to heavily-mounted raids.

Moreover, the situation can only get worse for the US and its Afghan surrogates.

What may be a decisive factor is the Trump administration’s criminal policy of aggression towards neighboring Iran. In myopic fashion, Washington’s desire to squeeze Iran with “crushing” economic sanctions is liable to rebound, by significantly worsening the security conditions in Afghanistan for US-backed forces.

That’s because as the US imposes tougher sanctions on Iran, following Trump’s abandonment of the international nuclear treaty in May this year, the deteriorating Iranian economy will have a direct deleterious impact on Afghanistan. Thousands of migrant Afghan workers rely on Iran for employment. Their salary remittances are reportedly a major lifeline for families back in Afghanistan.

With the Iranian economy already faltering under US sanctions, droves of unemployed expatriate Afghan workers can be expected to pack up and leave, cutting off the remittances that sustain much of Afghanistan’s economy.

A further impact from Washington’s sanctions on Iran is that landlocked Afghanistan will not be able to avail of Iranian sea ports for imports and exports. Trump is threatening secondary sanctions on any country continuing to do business with Iran. Unless, the US gives Afghanistan a waiver, it will be cut off from commercial ties with Iran and its trading routes to the Indian Ocean.

So, as the US-imposed economic pressure on Iran intensifies through ratcheting up of sanctions – Washington wants a total oil embargo by November – the inevitable result will be worsening social conditions in Afghanistan for the general population there. That lamentable outcome, it is reasonable to assume, will only boost popular support for the Taliban, making the US-backed Afghan forces even more insecure and ineffectual in their operations.

A third factor is that Iran could exercise a more malicious option by increasing military support covertly to the Taliban. Iran is reckoned to have developed a formidable arsenal of advanced missile technology. This week, for example, Tehran showcased a new radar-evading ballistic missile.

Given that the Americans are trying to destroy the Iranian government through vicious economic measures, it would not be at all surprising if Tehran fought back by supplying the Taliban fighters with devastating fire power to hit US forces.

Thus, by running a sanctions vendetta against Iran in the calculation that the economic pain might elicit social unrest and regime change, Washington is likely to end up inflicting serious blowback on its military campaign in Afghanistan.

America’s longest overseas war could turn out to be its most ignominious and wasteful. That’s saying something given the dozens of dirty wars that the US has engaged in over the past century. The repercussions for US global standing cannot be underestimated.

It not only ran a nearly two-decade war in Afghanistan, which was arguably illegal from the very outset, resulted in tens of thousands of casualties and was financially ruinous for the US economy, but the supposed almighty US power will have been defeated in the graveyard of empires largely by its own criminality, stupidity and arrogance.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master’s graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

August 16, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , | 3 Comments

Taliban Praises Recent Talks With Washington as ‘Very Helpful’

Sputnik – August 13, 2018

The Arch enemies entered into talks following the successful implementation of a three-day ceasefire in June for the Muslim holiday of ‘Eid al-Fitr.’

A Senior Taliban official has described peace talks held last month with the US as “very helpful” in envisaging a path out of Afghanistan’s seventeen year old war.

The leader, from an organisation within the Taliban called ‘Quetta Shura,’ has been quoted as saying that both sides intend to hold the next round of talks in September, and that these “will be more specific and focused on key issues.” He also added that, “once the breakthrough is started it will be stunning for all.”

The comments come on the heels of a string of reports since the end of July, which describe an unprecedented face-to-face meeting held in the Qatari capital, Doha, between a Taliban delegation and officials from the US State Department, led by senior diplomat Alice Wells. Representatives from the Islamist insurgency were quick to laud discussions at that time too, describing them as “very positive.”

While Washington officials with detailed knowledge of the negotiations remain tight-lipped, Taliban delegates who were in attendance let a few of the specifics loose: allegedly, a key US demand is for Washington to maintain a military presence in Afghanistan while peace talks are ongoing. While initially hostile to such a suggestion, reports suggest that the insurgency’s leadership council has since suggested that it could be open to the idea on the condition that the US plays an active political role in the peace process.

The Taliban has long refused to hold discussions with Ashraf Ghani’s government in Kabul until it is given the opportunity for direct talks with the US. However, leading talks for reconciliation between the central government in Kabul and the Taliban has long been anathema to Washington, which has maintained that it would not heavily involve itself in “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned” negotiations. Echoing that sentiment in early July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo proclaimed that the Trump administration would “support, facilitate and participate in peace discussions, but peace must be decided by the Afghans and settled among them.”

Yet, as time has ticked by, reports suggest that President Donald Trump has grown impatient with the tactical stalemate on the ground and NATO’s inability to retake chunks of territory controlled by the Taliban. According to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, as of January 30 2018, approximately 56.3% of Afghanistan was under the Taliban’s sway. Frustration at such a reality may have culminated in the US president’s decision to dispatch envoys to Afghanistan in early July to open up channels for backdoor diplomacy.

The US’ sudden willingness to sit down with the Taliban has likely been bolstered by the group’s apparent commitment to extirpating foreign terrorist groups from Afghan territory — namely Daesh. This month, a Taliban onslaught reportedly caused 200 Daesh fighters to surrender in the North of the country. Additionally, the group are advancing on a Daesh stronghold in the eastern province of Nangarhar, where a large-scale battle is expected to take place.

Despite the optimism among the Taliban’s echelon, fighting with the Afghan Security Forces continues unabated. In the early hours of Friday, the group’s fighters launched an assault for control of the eastern city of Ghazni. According to the country’s 1TV television station, so far 100 people have been killed. In an effort to repel the advance, the US Air Force launched a series of air strikes on Taliban positions, raising questions as to how likely it is that these old foes are ready to sit down at the negotiating table.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment