Monday, March 23, 2009

Let's call the whole thing off

I recently attended a peace gathering that included a variety of speakers. One was a U of O Professor, Anita Weiss, who is an expert on Afghanistan & Pakistan. Not only has she done extensive studies, but has also visited the region often, and speaks the language.
She shed some light on the region in ways I was not familiar with.
For one thing she said Pakistan is on the vergeof spilling over into major civil unrest.
A repeat of recent events, where lawyers & journalists have been jailed, and a dispute over courts and judges are in huge dispute. Sure enough I read such a headline in the paper today.

Most interestingly, she spoke about Mujahideen, Taliban, and al Qaeda.

• The Mujahideen ~ The U.S helped. creat this monster. Furthermore 1979 Gates was meddling in middle Eastern affairs for the CIA, is the same guy a Bush admin leftover, at the helm as the CURRENT Secretary of Defense.... promoting meddling in middle Eastern affairs. UghQ

The anti-communist rebels garnered support from the United States. As stated by the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and current US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, in his memoirs From the Shadows, the US intelligence services began to aid the rebel factions in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet deployment. On July 3, 1979, US President Jimmy Carter signed an executive order authorizing the CIA to conduct covert propaganda operations against the communist regime.
Carter advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski stated: "According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, December 24, 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise." Brzezinski himself played a fundamental role in crafting US policy, which, unbeknownst even to the mujahideen, was part of a larger strategy "to induce a Soviet military intervention." In a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Brzezinski recalled: "We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would...That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Soviets into the Afghan trap...The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the Soviet Union its Vietnam War."
Additionally, on July 3, 1979, Carter signed a presidential finding authorizing funding for anticommunist guerrillas in Afghanistan. As a part of the Central Intelligence Agency program Operation Cyclone, the massive arming of Afghanistan's mujahideen was started.

• Mujahideen Morphed

The mujahideen won when the Soviet Union pulled troops out of Afghanistan in 1989, followed by the fall of the Mohammad Najibullah regime in 1992. However, the mujahideen did not establish a united government, and many of the larger mujahideen groups began to fight each other over the power in Kabul. After several years of devastating infighting, a village mullah organized a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan. This movement became known as the Taliban, meaning "students of Islam", and referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools known for producing extremism. Veteran mujahideen were confronted by this radical splinter group in 1996.

By 2001, the Taliban, with backing from the Pakistani ISI (military intelligence) and possibly even the regular Pakistan Army, as well as al-Qaeda which found a refuge in Afghanistan, had largely defeated the militias and controlled most of the country. The opposition factions allied themselves together again and became known as the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan (Northern Alliance). In 2001 with U.S. help and international military intervention, they ousted the Taliban from power and formed the new government, and gradually militias were either incorporated into the new national army and police forces or demobilized.
At present the term "mujahideen" is sometimes used to describe insurgents, including the Taliban/Al Qaeda, fighting NATO troops and the security forces of the US-backed government of Hamid Karzai and allied militias in Afghanistan, although most of the Mujahideen leaders who fought the Soviet Union later fought against the Taliban.

• al Qaeda

This is the most radical extremist branch with a penchant for jihad. She gave a very simplistic overview of the situation with bin Laden. He had been involved with Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union. He was done, and had returned to Saudi Arabia.
The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 had put the country of Saudi Arabia and its ruling House of Saud at risk as Saudi's most valuable oil fields (Hama) were within easy striking distance of Iraqi forces in Kuwait, and Saddam's call to pan-Arab/Islamism could potentially rally internal dissent.
In the face of a seemingly massive Iraqi military presence, Saudi Arabia's own forces were well armed but far outnumbered. Bin Laden offered the services of his mujahedeen to King Fahd to protect Saudi Arabia from the Iraqi army. The Saudi monarch refused bin Laden's offer, opting instead to allow U.S. and allied forces to deploy on Saudi territory.
The deployment angered Bin Laden, as he believed the presence of foreign troops in the "land of the two mosques" (Mecca and Medina) profaned sacred soil. After speaking publicly against the Saudi government for harboring American troops, he was quickly forced into exile to Sudan.
On April 9, 1994 his Saudi citizenship was revoked. His family publicly disowned him. There is controversy over whether and to what extent he continued to garner support from members of his family and/or the Saudi government.

Basically, Gulf War #1 (Old Man Bush's war), created this situation that stirred up dissent from the guy who now have control of the Mujahideen, which had previously been armed & supported by the US Government!
His jihad is an angry mob with a mission to pull off terrorist attacks. Even though they dwelled & plotted in remote outposts, they had a pretty sophisticated network of moving people, around, and a string of terrorist attacks. (Wiki used as a reference)

So the Taliban are more like local , sectarian, regional territorial warlords, and al Qaeda are the radical faction with more global
terrorist activities.

You can't help but notice the patterns of the U.S. involvement, and how we shifted from arming & supporting them, to now surging against them, It creeps me out more now to think of Robert Gates prolonged involvement.

What is the current reason for war in Afghanistan?

We quit looking for bin Laden years ago.

(Pardon this crass remark) They have no oil.

So what does that leave us with?

We just have to be in a war & are in the neighborhood.

US Servicemen on a flight to Afghanistan

If we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it?

Looping back to the title:

Let's call the whole thing off


D.K. Raed said...

re: being doomed to repeat history ... this whole sad affair is reminding me less and less of vietnam and more and more of how we messed around in latin america for decades, arming & supplying anyone, no matter how brutal, as long as they mouthed the words anti-communist. I tend to believe Zbigniew.

Fran said...

It's become clear to me "the plan" is endless war.
I wonder if Obama is getting ANY council from experts on the region with a penchant for peace?

Just as a surgeon recommends surgery.
The war hawks will recommend war or military action as the "solution".

The biggest fear is that the region is already distrustful of the US & how the whole Iraq occupation came down-- and is still in Iraq. It is an easy sell to get recruits against the US.

I dislike the one war leads to another trend-- especially since Pakistan has nukes.

Not only is Afghanistan the "graveyard of empires", but we really don't have the money. $608 billion has already been wasted on wars.

We are always on the cusp of winning or "meeting the objective". More than ever, they really have figured out how to manipulate the news we get.

Gates long term involvement & playing both sides really bothers me.