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Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War ……Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (Ret.)

Classifying Defeat: Hiding Data on the Losing Afghan War

in 

Anti-War.com

 

Editor’s Note: I was a student in the US during the Vietnam War. I lost many US classmates either wounded mentally or killed. When the US was entering Afghanistan, I told my American friends not to enter Afghanistan. My words, “You can enter Afghanistan easily, but getting out is next to impossible.”
Troops in Afghanistan
Note: All US Troop Stationed Near Pakistan Border-US has not learned an iota from Vietnam. Afghanistan is the death knell of invaders.

 

The longest war in U.S. history has cost 2400 American lives and nearly a trillion dollars. Still, the government in Washington conceals the truth and most of the populace yawns. By now there should be no doubt that America has lost the battle for Afghanistan, placing it in good company with the British and Soviet empires that failed to conquer that famously xenophobic country. I just wish the Trump administration – as self-touting “truth-tellers” – would admit it. Seriously, public acceptance of defeat would be strangely refreshing. But don’t count on it!

Trump and company have a better idea. They’ll just stop telling the American people anything about how this perpetual war is going. Seriously, the powers that be have taken just about all the relevant, measurable data on the war and either stopped tracking it or deemed it classified. How’s that for some Orwellian political spin? The thing is I kind of get it. The news out of Afghanistan is so awful, and “progress” so fitful, that I wouldn’t want to report it either. Too bad these are life and death matters and that in an (ostensible) republic the people are owed the truth about the wars fought in their name. Call me old fashioned but I still value facts and transparency.

So let us consider what exactly they are hiding from us. It began with last year’s announcement that the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) – the congressionally mandated watchdog on all aspects of this war – would no longer report Afghan Security Force (ASF) casualty data. It’s now classified. I wonder why. Could it be that the US trained and equipped (to the tune of some $70 billion) Afghan military is suffering unsustainable casualties, is losing troops faster than it can recruit? Maybe its because Washington finds it inconvenient to admit that the ASF is nowhere near its target personnel strength, that desertions and absence without leave are rampant in the ranks, and that the Afghan GDP is insufficient to pay for its own security forces.

After all, every president from Bush to Obama to Trump has told us that advising the ASF is America’s number one priority and the key to a successful exit. Given that, one would think it rather important to face the truth about the utterly insufficient Afghan military and police force. Instead, it’s classified. You’re no longer allowed to know that discomfiting truth.

 

 

 

Then, last week, we were told that the US military will no longer track district-level insurgent or government control or influence. In other words, data on what percentage of the country is controlled by the Afghan government versus the Taliban. Sounds like vital info, no? Apparently, according to the US command in Afghanistan, that district data “was of limited decision-making value to the Commander.” That’s news to me! Even as a company commander, a lowly captain, I tracked and reported data on the relative security and stability of even individual villages in my sector. It’s how we knew if we were making progress or not!

So why would the Trump administration really decide to hide, or just stop tracking this pivotal information? Could it be that the Taliban has been progressively gaining ground and now control or contest more of the country – about 50 percent – than at any time in this 18-year-old war? Surely it’d be rather inconvenient to admit that the U.S.-backed regime in Kabul is losing control of half the country. The solution: stop keeping track altogether.

Seriously, rather than assess the data and decide either 1) that the situation on the ground demands a new strategy or more American investment; or 2) that the war is unwinnable and it was always an absurd pipe dream to think we could forge a Jeffersonian Democracy in remote Central Asia, and thus cut our losses and withdraw. Now, I’m a strong proponent of option two and have said so time and again. Still, at least option one would grapple with reality rather than ignore it.

Look, SIGAR is a government-sanctioned watchdog agency, not a touchy-feely human rights nonprofit. These aren’t hippie peaceniks, not by a long shot. Perhaps we should listen to what they have to say, because, well, it is really disturbing. Last week, John Sopko, the inspector general himself, asserted that “Almost every indicia, metric for success or failure is now classified or nonexistent…Over time, it’s been classified or it’s no longer being collected … The classification in some areas is needless.” Translation: we are losing the war and hiding that fact from the people! That’s a big deal, America!

There are other indicators that this war has run off the rails, and one suspects this data will also soon be classified or “no longer tracked.” For example, the fact that 2018 was the first year in which U.S. and allied Afghan forces killed more civilians than the Taliban. So much for winning hearts and minds. It seems Washington has taught Kabul to fight in its own image, confident – despite all the historical evidence to the contrary – that it can bomb its way to victory. Too bad killing innocent civilians is a sure way to alienate the populace and feed an insurgency. If you didn’t know any better, you might think Washington is trying to prolong the war indefinitely.

Remember that the owners of this country – the real owners in the corporate-military-industrial complex – count on your apathy. They count on a distracted populace. They count on you not caring so they can perpetuate ill-advised, counterproductive (but quite profitable) wars indefinitely. We’re through the looking glass, folks – sleepwalking to defeat on the inertia of uniquely American forever war. If we’re not careful we might lose our republic along with the war.

So I say let’s demand better for once. That we demand transparency and the truth about the war in Afghanistan. That we demand to know what is done in our name and what thousands have sacrificed their lives for. That would mean millions of calls to our congressmen, marching in the streets, shutting down the system if necessary. I can see it, almost like a dream – a sea of Americans saying no to a losing war, no to the plunder of our treasury, no to the gradual rollback of our civil liberties.

Only when I wake up from my daydream, gaze around the airport, and…everyone is too busy on their iPhones to care. And that’s the real America. So the war must go on…

Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and regular contributor toAntiwar.com. His work has appeared in the LA Times, The Nation, Huff Post, The Hill, Salon, Truthdig, Tom Dispatch, among other publications. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

Copyright 2019 Danny Sjursen

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American Militarism is Destroying the Future of Humanity. 

American Militarism is Destroying the Future of Humanity. 

Uncommon Thoughts

American Militarism Is Destroying the Future of Humanity

 

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Editor’s Note

As the United States moves once again to provoke a situation in the Middle East, this time focused on Iran, we have to ask whether the American people withstand against more war and regime change, or whether the apathy of endless wars has inured them to the true costs of what war with Iran would mean. I must say that I am terribly afraid that the media war is being won by the Lords of Chaos who see nothing but profit in both wars in itself, and the target – Iran. Further, we seem to be at a point where one party, which controls the Senate, has no will to serve not only as a check on the wild gyrations of the Executive Branch but even to protect its own Constitutional powers – namely the right to declare war in this case. So even if the people resist, there is no spine in the GOP to speak even in a whisper the Hell that would be unleashed in such massive destruction and destabilization.It is very likely that large numbers of US troops will be sent to join the Carrier group steaming into the Strait of Hormuz, guns aimed at Iran. Regardless of Trump saying that he doesn’t want war with Iran and he “hopes” that doesn’t happen, the reality is that he has been pushing for this since he was campaigning for President. Further, he has continued to push and provoke and brought in Bolton and Pompeo – both of whom have been pushing to attack Iran for decades. Proclamations of a perpetual liar to the contrary should fall on deaf ears, but apparently whether he shoots someone in cold blood in Times Square (a claim of his immunity from consequences for his actions), or shoots the US arsenal at another nation, no blood will stick to him – or so he and the GOP believe.

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

“The culture of peace is universal. It is shared by people and nations Worldwide. Today’s “culture of war” is a US hegemonic project predicated on the creation of conflict and divisions within and between countries. It is this (unilateral) project of global warfare which is intent upon destroying civilization.” (Professor Michel Chossudovsky, “Towards a Culture of World Peace”. Global Research: 5/16/2019).

Warmongering is an Anti-Human Impulse

The draconian ferocity of wars continues as we watch the unwarranted aggressive events unfolding against Iran in the Persian Gulf Region. One sees a contrast between a real issue and an imaginative problem. The motivating factor signals one thing that American ruling elite thinks: “we are the most powerful nation on earth and nobody else should challenge our supremacy” – the naïve malignity of the mindset of the current American leadership. In the advanced technological warfare of the 21st century, consequential outcomes will leave nothing intact and few living beings will remain. Neither Bolton, Pompeo or Trump, seem to have any understanding or concern as to how their actions could undermine the rest of living humanity. In all probability, the war hysteria is a distraction from domestic issues facing the Trump administration.

Making and maintaining peace requires rational objective reasoning. Could we, the conscientious humanity, hold these naïve people back from triggering a nuclear disaster in the Middle East Arab region? Can we promote the resolution of problems by reason and dialogue rather than belligerency and aggression? Sanctity of human life is grounded in the tenets of moral and intellectual leadership, and being open to listening to and learning from voices of REASON. If the Iranian leadership was smart, it should have acted quickly to seek a unity of its immediate neighbours (Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia), and of all the Arab and Muslim nations, to constitute a powerful moral force of reason to thwart the US plan. The world is fast becoming a violent place at crossroads. All ways of human life require to safeguard and protection from great evils. Ben Tarnoff (“Weaponised AI is Coming. Are Algorithmic Forever Wars our Future?” ICH: 10/13/18), notes the speedy belligerency:

“The wars of 9/11 continue, with no end in sight. Now, the Pentagon is investing heavily in technologies that will intensify them. By embracing the latest tools that the tech industry has to offer, the US military is creating a more automated form of warfare – one that will greatly increase its capacity to wage war everywhere forever.”

America, or its allies in the Arab Middle East, face no formidable enemy except themselves in their own naïve belief in their military superiority. There is no substance to any perceivable challenge or military threat to America from Iran. So why should America rush its armada to the Persian Gulf? It is not for peace, and not to protect humanity from any imminent threat of war from any corners of the strategic game-play in the region. Rationally speaking, the mindset of American leadership appears devoid of reason and accountability. Wars do not bring diverse humanity to peacemaking, but they do destroy the opportunities for dialogue and peaceful resolution of problems. Undoubtedly, the current US administration needs a powerful challenge to make a navigational change. Imagine if Russia or China were to deploy their armadas across the Atlantic or the Pacific regions, would it be seen as a rational and peace-making strategy by either global observers or American leadership? Today some 62 American organizations have asked the US Congress to consider a resolution to stop the war threats against Iran. America is imposing a sadistic war strategy on the rest of mankind.

The UNO and its major organs responsible for global peace and security have proven to be ceremonial debating clubs, and are acting contrary to the essence and purposes of the Charter. Global humanity is tormented by the pain of impending hostilities and demands systematic change and development of a new global organization responsible to the global community, not to the abstract Nation States. It feels like history is repeating itself as once again a few Western egoistic leaders have manipulated the opportunities to dictate and undermine the interests of mankind.  Humanity is the net object of all their deliberations but without any meaningful role in challenging the few global warlords.

President Trump desperately needs to rethink his role as an effective leader in America. Being a responsible leader, one cannot propel willful and premeditated plans of foolish animosities and human destruction.  Once America was enriched with intellectual foresight to safeguard the rest of mankind, but its contemporary leaders and major institutions seem to defy the logic of co-existing with the rest of the global community. For sure, American leaders lack even the essence of Thomas Paine’s historic “Common Sense” to change, but historical change will replace America’s global leadership with others, more understanding and relevant to mankind. American politicians are used to ignoring the imperatives of global peaceful co-existence.

Egoistic Politicians Pursue the War Economy but US Soldiers Are Against the War Culture

America appears to be at the threshold of an unavoidable moral and intellectual transition of reasoning, but it is not following through the rational process of change and future-making.  The Washington-based war culture has incapacitated the US policymakers ability to think rationally and act responsibly in global affairs. Strange as it seems, President Trump and John Bolton cannot explain why 18-25 US war veterans commit suicides every day. (“Why Do Soldiers Commit Suicide and Global Warlords.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA). Moral and intellectual darkness is renewed under the leadership of the current Commander-in-Chief of the US armed forces. Do the leaders care to protect precious human life?

 

[Photo: Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton]

 

 

 

Most contemporary politicians are not responsible leaders but stage actors pretending to represent the national interests. They learn to excite the emotions of the electorates to win elections but fail to act as responsible leaders. They view humanity just numbers, not precious life which has value in the larger universal context. Most often, these people are disconnected from the annals of normal human thinking and affairs, suspicious and paranoid and they see success to be achieved through ruthlessness, hatred, degeneration and viciousness – all part of their inborn value system, making politics a dreadful game of egomaniacal minds, deception and strategic priorities. This is the opposite of the intelligent commitment to principles of international peace and security for all required to achieve non-aggression in global systems. These systems should be focused on the protection of life and a balanced ecological culture of co-existence within the encompassed Universe -Man and Humanity. America, a leading industrialized power is indifferent to these critical factors of life.

We, The People – Humanity – Have the Capacity to Challenge the Dreadful Calamity of War

The aim of human happiness and solidarity is not violence, wars and aggression. All wars perpetuate violence, fear and vindictiveness against mankind and are aimed at the destruction of civilizations and dehumanization of succeeding generations. Bruce Gambrill Foster (“The Scourge Of War: The Shameless Marketing of Violence” Information Clearing House), observes: “The connection between combating the violence of organized crime, for example, and war is easily bridged. In both, blood is spilt…. If even our simplest joys are couched in terms of conflict, death and domination, what hope is there to distinguish and abhor and eventually end the true villainy of armed conflict, the scourge of war?”

Global mankind is the next victim of the catastrophic madness of the few warlords. Did President Trump learn anything from knowledge, history and facts of life, to understand his weaknesses and strengths? Has he the vision and courage to change and reform his mind and behaviour when facts warrant a change, be it in policy making or global interactive behaviour? After all, listening and learning are critical factors for the changing role of the 21st-century political leadership, as is the importance of flexibility for effective leadership. However, there seem to be no intelligent and proactive leaders with a vision to see the imperative of a United Humanity. Instead, that vision is perverted by egomaniacs full of the sensation of power that they use for trivial and vicious ends to torture and kill mankind and destroy living habitats. Contrary to the brutal perceptions and actions of the US-former Europeans imperialists, the international community is increasingly informed, mature, and enjoys the moral and intellectual capacity to know and understand the facts of life. They are standing up to challenge the leaders promoting insensitivity to universal accord and fighting against the brutality of the Terrorism of Wars. The deliberate efforts at control through destruction and hatred are uniting the people as we share a common fate more than divides us by any token of adversity and separate national identities.

Progressively evolving is a new information-age plausible global culture of Thinking of One Humanity and a new proactive civilization of strong bonds and affinity of people to people cultural communications – global citizenry participation in social, economic and political Thinking and Globalization – a person in one part of the world feels, thinks and acts-reacts to what happens to any person in another remote corner of the globe. Mankind is neither blind nor inept, it defines its own purpose, meaning and identity for peace and harmony that the established institutions of governance – be it in America, the Middle East or Europe or elsewhere miserably failed to recognize or value their importance in global political affairs. Paul Craig Roberts (The Next War on Washington’s Agenda.”), had a rational thought to ask the right question:

We, as Americans, need to ask ourselves what all this is about? Why is our government so provocative toward Islam, Russia, China, Iran?  What purpose, whose purpose is being served? Certainly not ours…………Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government. That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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US Exit From Afghanistan Isn’t This Simple by Ishaal Zehra

US Exit From Afghanistan Isn’t This Simple

Ishaal Zehra

 

 

Received with a mixed response, the long and greatly overdue decision of complete departure of US forces from Syria and Afghanistan has excavated some uncomfortable truths. Ever since the US president has announced an exit from these war-webs, the pro-military media of US has started bombarding a common man with articles and reports from worthy war-journals telling us how this decision will engulf peace from this already not-so-very-peaceful world. But I say, let’s face it. Let’s not kid ourselves. The American presence in both the countries “will not” and “cannot” help change the situation at the ground. Whether its ISIS or Taliban, you cannot control them with the presence of a paltry number of American troops around. The same will continue to loaf in Syria and Afghanistan for some more time, where this NATO and ISAF check might not limit but encourage the group’s nefarious undertakings in the name of foreign boots on grounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indeed, ending this quagmire is not simple. To leave? Or to stay? Or when to leave? And why to stay? All these decisions must be made in support of well-crafted exit policy. Interestingly, a US think tank dealing with defence and security issues, in their recent report, warns the US leadership that exit from Afghanistan will pull entire region into Afghan conflict. RAND, in the latest report on Afghanistan titled “Consequences of a Precipitous US Withdrawal from Afghanistan”, warns president Trump not to decide exit of the US Forces from Afghanistan in haste. An early withdrawal, the report argues, will cause the insurgents to lose interest in negotiating peace with the United States. The report also causes the speculations of chaos in the region where regional players will likely exert pressure in support of respective groups. The subsequent consequences call for an overly sensitive debate.

Although US’s longest war in the history has remained highly unpopular in the masses since its beginning yet Afghanistan is not so easily dismissed. As a matter of fact, a vast majority of Americans do not actually know what is going on in Afghanistan today. They are fed by articles and reports meant to show the side that actually suits the underwriters. The headlines and opinion sections of big news giants may carry reports on air quality or on an anti-corruption campaign in Kabul disregarding the actual conditions of the combat raging in and around Kabul because reporting in the war areas is simply not possible in such mounting war conditions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While hawks in the US military along with their supporting politicos in the Afghan government have been grumbling on Trump’s war-exit policy, their reasons for this holler are somewhat different from what is reported by the media. While the Afghan puppet government don’t want to let go on power and money gains of this war, the US military wing views Afghanistan, acknowledged by few intellects, as one pillar in a broader regional web of US surveillance over the whole of the greater Middle East. Geopolitically, Afghanistan is located conveniently close to “the soft underbelly” of Russia and China, and also Iran. That’s why they would want selective intelligence and military capabilities in South Asia for many years to come.

Robert D. Kaplan rightly says that no other country in the world symbolizes the decline of the American empire as much as Afghanistan. There is virtually no possibility of a military victory over the Taliban and little chance of leaving behind a self-sustaining democracy — facts that Washington’s policy community has mostly been unable to accept. But it seems president trump had anticipated this well, hence entered the office with the promise to end this fruitless US venture where his security establishment has been opposing his exit strategy since onset.

However, President Trump’s new approach of reaching out to the Taliban carries a lot of sense for the people of the affected region as well as for the entire world. Most importantly for masses of Afghanistan and Pakistan, worst affected by the war. The truth is that no US strategy in Afghanistan has worked this far. Reports suggest that in recent years the ISIS-Khorasan has probably become the strongest and largest ISIS affiliate outside Syria and Iraq. Apparently, it has set up shop in the mountain ranges of Afghanistan bordering Pakistan which means that the heat of US-ISIS fiasco might have to be tolerated by Pakistan as well, willingly or unwillingly.

Reworking the exit policy the US has sought Pakistan’s help in facilitating the peace talks with the Taliban where the latter has offered its unstinting support and help. The process has gone well so far with minor hiccups. What we need to understand is that the Taliban, who control more than half of Afghanistan are actually in the dialogue from a position of strength.  And only a better understanding in between the US and Taliban (backed by the regional players) can help bring stability in the region. Meanwhile, gradually declining in size, the US should continue with its financial support and engagement to help the war-ravaged economy of Afghanistan for some more time. While the Afghans should sustain the patient hope that their country will stabilize and strengthen over time.

 

 

 

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Pakistan Should Ditch Washington by Brian Cloughly

To the despair of State Department professionals (who are very professional indeed), the art and craft of US diplomacy have taken a very nasty knock since the appearance of Donald Trump on the world stage. To be sure, the practice of sending rich political donors to prime ambassadorial posts such as Berlin, Tokyo and London has been the norm for decades, but some of Trump’s appointees have stretched the bubble of amateurism a little too far.  The man in Germany, for example, was only in the job for a day, in May this year, before he gave orders that “German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately,” which début debacle was met with derision by the German people.

The pompous ass in London, billionaire Woody Johnson, was interviewed by Sky News in June 2018 and cast an intriguing light on his expertise concerning his host country. When he was asked the nature of his relationship with Sadiq Khan he replied: “with whom?”  The interviewer then told him that Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of London, whereupon Woody announced that “My relationship is very good.”

Then President Trump informed London’s Sun newspaper that “You have a mayor who has done a terrible job in London. He has done a terrible job.”

 

Image result for Trump US Stabs Pakistan

 

 

There’s not much joined-up diplomacy in the Trump Administration, but although these examples are mildly amusing and show the people involved to be the fools they are, there is a most serious side to the international diplomatic devastation created by Trump, the man so well described by dismissed White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as “tawdry, cruel, vindictive.”

The disconnect was highlighted on August 13, the day before Pakistan’s Independence Day, when US Secretary of State Pompeo messaged “On behalf of the Government of the United States of America, I would like to extend my best wishes to the people of Pakistan as they celebrate their independence day.  For more than seven decades, the relationship between the United States and Pakistan has rested on the strong foundation of close ties between our two peoples.  In the years ahead, we hope to further strengthen these bonds, as we continue to look for opportunities to work with the people and Government of Pakistan to advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity in South Asia.”

This supposedly friendly greeting was sent to a country about which Trump had tweeted that “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

“Strengthen bonds”, anyone? Washington must be unhinged (to employ the title of the Omarosa book) to imagine that a few clichés about “shared goals” might in some way cancel out Trump’s malevolent insults.

Not only this, but Washington has made one of the gravest diplomatic errors of its many with Pakistan by suspending the US International Military Education and Training (IMET) programme. This doesn’t sound much, but it is probably the most serious setback in Pakistan-US relations thus far in the Trump regime’s fandangos of international incompetence.

The most important part of IMET was the annual training in the US of some 60-70 Pakistan armed forces’ officers, including at the US Army War College (one of the most professional —  that word again — military academies in the world). It cannot be emphasised too much that this sort of hosting pays enormous dividends. Not only is participation in specialised discussion and mixing with people of different views most beneficial to students and hosts, but personal contacts build trust and expand horizons.  It cannot be valued in money.  You simply can’t put a price on it, which I found an enormous and indeed insuperable hurdle when I was trying to convince pointy-headed Australian bureaucrats that hosting foreign students and sending our people abroad would pay dividends in the future.

Not for nothing is the motto of the US War College “Prudens Futuri, which is usually translated as “Be provident for the future.” But at the moment, Washington’s thinking about the future appears to be limited to the mid-term elections and (appalling thought) the re-election of Trump in 2020.

Meantime, Pakistan suffers from US bullying and intimidation, with the “bond-strengthening” Pompeo making threats about what might happen as a result of a loan to Pakistan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  He issued a warning that an IMF credit would be conditional on a promise that none of the money is used to repay Chinese debt, which is a weird way of trying to “advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity.”

Pompeo told CNBC that “Make no mistake. We will be watching what the IMF does. There’s no rationale for IMF tax dollars, and associated with those American dollars that are part of the IMF funding, for those to go to bail out Chinese bondholders or China itself.”

But the arrogant assumption that Washington can dictate everything to the world doesn’t intimidate China, Russia or Pakistan.  The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project linking China’s western provinces through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea is worth $62 billion, and other economic and defence links with China are commercially, politically and socially of much more importance to Pakistan than its tenuous and increasingly fragmenting connections with the United States. There are some who scoff at CPEC, like Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington and CIA asset, who, according to the Washington Post, “quipped that the Chinese-Pakistan Economic Corridor . . . actually should be called “Colonizing Pakistan to Enrich China.”

Washington’s growing arrogance doesn’t intimidate Russia, either, and in the light of increasing confrontation by the US-NATO military alliance, it is apparent that a new era in Moscow-Islamabad cooperation has dawned. For a start, as reported by Voice of America on August 8, “Pakistan has wrapped up a ground-breaking contract with Russia that would, for the first time, open doors for Russian military training of Pakistani army officers. The rare deal comes amid deteriorating relations between Islamabad and the United States, which has resulted in the halt of all military exchange programs with Pakistan and left a void that Moscow has stepped in to fill.” Washington will rue the day it closed the doors of professional colleges to Pakistan’s military officers.

Not only that, but Russia has provided Mi-35M combat helicopters to Pakistan, and the two countries’ armies have held two counter-terrorism military exercises, while their navies “recently participated in joint antidrug exercises in the Arabian Sea. The latest naval collaboration took place last week in St Petersburg, where a Pakistani warship participated in the major Russian Navy Day parade.”  Their cooperation will develop and expand, to their mutual benefit.

Pakistan is wise to engage with China and Russia and should ditch the Washington Empire.

Prudens futuri.

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Brian Cloughley writes about foreign policy and military affairs. He lives in Voutenay sur Cure, France.

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Nuclear Chutzpah By Eric Margolis

Nuclear Chutzpah

By Eric Margolis

May 07, 2018

 

 

 

‘Chutzpah’ is a wonderful Yiddish word that means outrageous nerve, or unmitigated gall.

This week’s Chutzpah Award goes to Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Standing in front of props of data files and cd’s, Netanyahu claimed Israel’s renowned Mossad spy agency had stolen a small mountain of secret Iranian nuclear data from a warehouse in Tehran.

The never-understated Netanyahu claimed that the purloined material proved that Iran was lying about having halted its covert nuclear program and must not be trusted.

Netanyahu’s supposed nuclear bombshell was likely the warm-up act for President Donald Trump to reject Iran’s nuclear freeze deal with the US, Russia, China, Germany, and France, blessed by the UN and the European Union. The only thing Trump apparently hates more than Muslims is his predecessor, former President Barack Obama (whom he accused of being a secret Muslim). The Iran nuclear deal was the most important foreign policy accomplishment of the Obama administration.

Netanyahu repeatedly warned the world about Iran’s alleged nuclear arsenal while making no mention at all of Israel’s own large, secret nuclear arsenal, which is believed to comprise of over 100 warheads, perhaps even several hundred, that can be delivered by aircraft, missiles and submarines. Every Mideast nation can be hit by Israeli nukes as well as Russia, which some experts say is or was on Israel’s target list.

Trump, of course, made no mention of the awkward fact that Israel had stolen much of its nuclear technology and uranium from the United States, sometimes with the connivance of very senior US government officials. France, that paragon of world peace, had the rest.

Listening to Netanyahu accuse Iran of hiding secret nuclear facilities was a pure pot calling the kettle black. Israel’s early nuclear program at Dimona in the Negev desert was entirely concealed from US and UN inspectors, including fake walls in the nuclear complex that completely fooled them. When Netanyahu accused Iran of cheating, he knows of what he speaks.

Most of what Netanyahu ‘revealed’ about Iran’s alleged nuclear program was old stuff, dating back to 1999-2003 and readily available in reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency. This respected UN agency now reports that Iran has fulfilled all of its commitments and abandoned its earlier nuclear program that did not produce any weapons before it was ended.

But facts don’t matter in this Trump-produced, made-for-TV drama. The key point is that with the naming of Michael Pompeo as US Secretary of State, and appointment of the rightwing fanatic John Bolton as US national security advisor, Israel’s rightwing government has completed its virtual takeover of US Mideast policy. As I’ve previously written, Trump looks more and more like a Trojan Horse for Netanyahu and his extremist allies.

 

Dimona-Israel Nuclear Program-Actual Nuclear Bombs are kept near Airbases such as one around Accor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides Pompeo and VP Mike Pence, both ardent Christian Zionists, and Bolton, Trump now has around him the UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, of Indian origin, who is the darling of the US far right and a handmaiden of arch-pro Israel billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, a major bankroller of the Republican Party. Add in Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and, of course, Trump’s daughter and son-in-law. In short, an amen-chorus for Israel’s far right.

This American Israel-first coalition has joined Netanyahu’s Likud alliance in pressing for war against Iran. The first skirmishes have already begun with over 100 Israeli air attacks on Syria, ostensibly against Iranian positions. A great propaganda hue and cry against the purported dangers of Iran is being raised in the US and Europe. According to Israel’s right, Assyrian hordes are about to engulf Israel.

 

 

 

 

In reality, Iran has very little offensive power. Like Iraq before it, Iran is militarily dilapidated with 40-year old equipment, a largely grounded air force, little artillery and poor communications. Tehran has a few inaccurate missiles but no nuclear warheads.

Israel’s powerful air force could easily turn any attacking Iranian forces into chopped falafel. Iran’s only strength is defensive, in urban combat or mountainous terrain. Iran has no capability to seriously threaten Israel except by aiding the Lebanese Hezbollah movement in showering northern Israel with light artillery rockets, a nuisance rather than a mortal danger.

Israel is moving to repeat its triumph in 2003 when the Bush administration, US partisans of Israel, and dishonest US media pushed the nation into a war of pure aggression against Iraq. Israel emerged the victor from this unprovoked war and is trying to repeat its success again with Iran.

Overthrowing Iran’s Islamic Republic would leave Israel the unchallenged power in the Mideast.

Eric S. Margolis is an award-winning, internationally syndicated columnist. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune the Los Angeles Times, Times of London, the Gulf Times, the Khaleej Times, Nation – Pakistan, Hurriyet, – Turkey, Sun Times Malaysia and other news sites in Asia.https://ericmargolis.com/

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