Afghanistan: US dead end
June 5, 2010 2 Comments
by I. M. Mohsin
A host of confusing signals is coming out of the US which reflect concerns to ensure its security. President Barack Obama announced, as usual, a nicely-worded doctrine which would anger the rightwing while inducing the thinking Americans to ponder where they are headed. What they are reaping now is what was sown by the neocons and their accomplices, as George W. Bush appears to have been only a cover-up for the promotion of a certain lobby. The Americans themselves and all their well wishers must be feeling sore at how they were fooled to grant two terms to a guy who had no inkling of what was happening.
Now their new President has to tell them that it was ruinous for the US to talk like “you are either with us or against us”, as it may have suited a cowboy of yore but not an occupant of the White House. As things go awry in Afghanistan and regular blood-letting in Iraq by the status quo, the US commanders and their troops are feeling the heat all the way. What to talk of south, even north is acting hostile after about nine years of foreign occupation. In this scenario, it is even more demoralising for the US that the new British coalition is highly conscious of the poor progress of this war, as well as the history of the region.
Surely a visit by UK’s foreign and defence secretaries would have made the US miss Tony Blair, the ‘lapdog’ who allegedly coaxed up all controversial intelligence with the connivance of Italy’s Berlu-sconi to mislead the world on Bush’s gaffes.
The NATO troops in Afghanistan also appear to be fed up as all kinds of progress is drying up. Lately, their commander has emphatically called for the convening of Loya Jirga to reach an understanding among all parties to the war. This is what Karzai has been advocating which the US hesitates to support openly, while the Taliban have cold-shouldered it. The fact that even the Saudis support a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan is very important, more so as they have a great understanding with the US on important issues. So the troops deployed by the US must be under tremendous pressure due to the ‘enemy attacks’ all over that gets compounded by the uncertainty in their camp. Its net result is that generally the EU countries are unwilling to risk any more troops in Afghanistan. Chancellor Merkel’s Christian Democrats have suffered some electoral reverses which represent the despondency about their troops’ involvement in Afghanistan. The German President’s resignation would only boil the cauldron further.
A similar cost had to be borne by Gordon Brown and the Labour Party in UK, mainly, for the same reason. This must be an eye-opener for President Obama, who has the requisite intellect and experience, to be able to recognise what is cooking for his country. So, unlike his prankish predecessor, he has been trying assiduously to build bridges with various countries, who had been alienated during the eight years when the neocon paradigm prevailed. Apparently, the damage done to the US credibility can hardly be undone. Accordingly, Hillary Clinton claimed that the US is braced for working in a multilateral world.
Nevertheless, the US appears to be utterly confused. Greg Miller writing in the Washington Post, over the weekend, blew the whistle on the planning being done to attack Pakistan, possibly North Wazir-istan, in case some successful hit is made by Al-Qaeda in America.
Recently, CIA Chief Leon Panetta accompanied by National Security Advisor Jim Jones flew to Islamabad to talk about the issue. Thus the incumbent Pakistani government hit by governance issues and growing discontent among the people, due to the worsening law and order situation, killings and inflation, has to make some serious decisions which would have long-term fallouts. Its failure to give protection to the minorities is writ large all over and makes a great embarrassment for all Pakistanis. The way the trouble is brewing in Karachi, we will have to pull up a solution or we could end up being in dire straits which would only help the extremists. In this backdrop, an expedition by the US in Pakistan’s territory directly killing people and causing other damage would carry long-term costs for us, as well as America.
The US appears to be losing goodwill in our area which also opposes those who are killing Pakistanis through terrorism. So much so that the 9/11 official story is being generally questioned. BBC recently indicated that Philip Alston, UN Rapp-orteur on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, has denounced the “drone attacks being launched in Pakistan regularly.” Such attacks make many more Taliban in Afghanistan and helps their ilk in Pakistan. It is also being believed here that Bin Laden is dead and his bogey is being kept up as a devious game. If the US gives the impression of being afraid of Al-Qaeda even without Bin Laden, what message would it send to the world?
The US has to organise its intelligence services which appear to be facing a crisis, as is indicated by Dennis Blair’s resignation. Incidents like Shahzad’s alleged crude attempted blast in New York have to be intercepted by an army of agencies maintained by it. The US bully, Israel, has landed navy commandoes on a peace flotilla which was meant to aid the beleaguered Palestinians. This is in the tradition of Hitler or a mad Brigadier Dyer in India, who had opened fire in Amritsar in 1920s on ordinary civilians to teach them a lesson.
The Israeli commandoes killed 20 peace activists, mostly Turkish, which has emphatically denounced the atrocity. For Taliban such a crisis caused by Israeli arrogance, prompted by US support, would be a God sent break and they will get thousands of volunteers, initially, in Afghanistan. It is customary to blame the owner of a mad dog when it attacks somebody. Hence the US, as the only sponsor of Israel, would earn considerable opprobrium all over but more so in Muslims countries.
President Obama must find some way of putting Israel, the US dog, on leash; otherwise Muslims the world over, as yet weak, may lose their faith in it. Such disgust could open up many more Afghanistans!