Afghanistan: US dead end

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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. Read more of this post

The Planning of War Behind Closed Doors

Brussels, London, Istanbul: A Week Of Western War Councils


Rick Rozoff: The defense chiefs of all 28 NATO nations and an undisclosed number of counterparts from non-Alliance partners gathered in Istanbul, Turkey on February 4 to begin two days of meetings focused on the war in Afghanistan, the withdrawal of military forces from Kosovo in the course of transferring control of security operations to the breakaway province’s embryonic army (the Kosovo Security Force) and “the transformation efforts required to best conduct the full range of NATO’s agreed missions.” [1]

Istanbul was the site of the bloc’s 2004 summit which accounted for the largest expansion in its 60-year history – seven new Eastern European nations – and its strengthening military partnerships with thirteen Middle Eastern and African nations under the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative.

The Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis and the top commander of all U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan – soon to reach over 150,000 – General Stanley McChrystal are also in attendance, as are European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton and United Nations High Representative for Afghanistan Kai Eide as well as the defense and interior ministers of Afghanistan.

The meetings follow by a week the International Conference on Afghanistan held in London, which in turn occurred the day after two days of meetings of the NATO Military Committee with the Chiefs of Defense of the military bloc’s 28 member states and 35 more from what were described as Troop Contributing Nations; presumably NATO partner nations with troops stationed in the Afghan war theater. In all, the military chiefs of 63 countries.

The U.S.’s McChrystal was present there also as were Israeli Chief of General Staff Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi and Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Beforehand the bloc’s website reported that “The various meetings will focus on the progress made in ongoing operations and the New Strategic Concept for NATO.” [2] That 35 top military commanders from non-NATO countries were present to hear plans for the escalation of what is already the largest war in the world is understandable, as their forces are on the ground as part of a 50-nation plus force under NATO military command. Read more of this post

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