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America, Russia and NATO look for new frontiers of influence by MAHBOOB A. KHAWAJA

America, Russia and NATO look for new frontiers of influence

 MAHBOOB A. KHAWAJA

Why the Lessons of History are Ignored

America, Russia and NATO’s Geneva diplomatic talks ended in failure without any formal course of action to avoid military confrontation on Ukraine’s border. Other vital issues include how to treat each other in a futuristic imaginary encounter of common interests. The global community is watching the prelude to a staged drama of unwarranted warfare with profligacy, malevolence and unknown miseries of unthinkable multitudes. All the superpowers — the stage actors of the 21st century have fictitious monsters equipped with innovative sophistry and captivating eloquence to talk about peace, security, human rights, global order and justice. They are master of deception playing on the passion of entrenched and exhausted mankind as if they could stop the emerging pains, horrors and devastations of warmongering to ensure a return to normalization of human affairs. To an inner human analytical eye encompassing proactive sense of global peace and harmony, it does not appear rational to articulate fears and misleading intentions to safeguard human peace and dignity while all the actions speak of a different language of obsessed assertions based on their own despotic national interests.

They claim peace but talk about threats of wars — how to rationalize the irony of human wickedness and inherent deception. Was the same stage drama not enacted during the First and 2nd World Wars killings millions and millions of people across this Planet Earth?

Human progress and future-making are jeopardized when lessons of history are deliberately misinterpreted and ignored by the paranoid, vengeful and suspicious leaders. If war is the only avenue to seek peace, we are on the wrong side of history and thinking of our future. It took several centuries to Europeans to understand the false shadows of apprehension of peace and harmony and to come to terms with nation-building, some resemblance of democracy, human equality of rights and unity for future-making via the EU. A reasoned perspective would illustrate that Russia after breakdown of the former USSR is not the same inheriting entity of Communist authoritarian ideology, leadership, institutions, political thought, policies and practices within the working systems of global order. There are visible progressive movements for political change, open communications, elections, institutional developments and global interactions and seeking reunion with the global order, UNO, world institutions, friendly relationships with adversaries and balanced socio-economic ties with others. To enlarge the scope of reason and understanding, Russia needs formidable change as it appears to be forging on different national strategic interests; its position on Ukraine is not the same as eluded by most NATO members. Ukraine and Russia have common geography and history just like Britain, France and Germany have. Would it not be a matter of extreme political-strategic sensitivity if other perceived enemies would dare to come close to military confrontations in Western Europe? It is logical that true friends of humanity will not act blindly to cause wild uproars and evil-mongering against the people anywhere on this planet.

Is NATO relevant to the 21st Century Emerging Conflicts

The focal issue seems to be the prospective membership of Ukraine to the community of NATO in Western Europe. America and Russia and other EU members enjoin conflicting views on this issue. Ukraine claims its freedom to join any international organizations for its betterment, peace and security. Russia and America should not be concerned except that they want to draw certain strategic gains out of this chaotic perceived tragedy of futuristic warfare. After the dreadful consequences of the Two World Wars, NATO was formed by the Europeans to maintain peace and security and avoid futuristic unwarranted national wars within the European hemisphere. Its formation and scope is limited to nationalistic conventional warfare in the European theatre.

One wonders, what wars did NATO fight to protect its ideals and strategic priorities after the 1945 WW? What NATO had to do with Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? Were these accidental engagements or simply an extension of planned mischievous catastrophic instances of tyranny against the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and elsewhere who never posed any threat to NATO, America or to any Western European nations?

  • American and European leaders pushed soldiers to fight unwanted draconian wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other parts of the Middle East.
  • Millions of innocent Afghans, Iraqi and Libyan civilians and Western troops were killed during the US-led NATO wars in these regions.
  • Could any American-European leaders explain why every day approximately 18-25 US war veterans commit suicides? (“Why Do Soldiers Commit Suicide and Global Warlords.” Uncommon Thought Journal, USA).

How would one rationalize the role and actions of NATO in a global theater of strategic interests? The history of NATO and its plans and ideological motives are equally distorted and disfigured on the global screen of reason, honesty and accountability. Russia overtook eastern parts of Ukraine — Crimea by forces aligned to Russian speaking masses and trying to integrate those territories into the Russian federation. This issue has been discussed between Russian President Putin, former German Chancellor Merkel and French President Macron on several occasions. Could America, Russia and Europeans not talk again for a peaceful resolution of this and other related problems?

Looking for Hope of Peace Beyond the Lens of Geopolitics

Scott Ritter (is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD): What War with Russia Look Like (Global Research: 01/11/2022): explains the irony of current affairs:

If the U. S. tries to build up NATO forces on Russia’s western frontiers in the aftermath of any Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia will then present Europe with a fait accompli in the form of what would now be known as the “Ukrainian model.” In short, Russia will guarantee that the Ukrainian treatment will be applied to the Baltics, Poland, and even Finland, should it be foolish enough to pursue NATO membership. Russia won’t wait until the U. S. has had time to accumulate sufficient military power, either. Russia will simply destroy the offending party through the combination of an air campaign designed to degrade the economic function of the targeted nation, and a ground campaign designed to annihilate the ability to wage war. Russia does not need to occupy the territory of NATO for any lengthy period-just enough to destroy whatever military power has been accumulated by NATO near its borders.

Is NATO being managed by those people who lived in the distant past and perhaps post WW2 historic culture is still alive and flourishing? Is there any glimpse of hope for change and new reasoned relationships between America, Russia and West European people? The future of violence and nationalistic resentment looks embedded into the distorted strategic necessities of the current affairs, be it the argument of Russia or American-led NATO and or the EU on its own. NATO is run by the wrong people, glued to wrong thinking and doing the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. Craig Murray (NATO-an idea Whose Time has Gone), a former British diplomat and Rector of the University of Dundee, UK, foresees the body as obsolete to emerging strategic thinking and needs of the Western alliance:

It is also the case that the situation in countries where NATO has been most active in killing people, including Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan, has deteriorated. It has deteriorated politically, economically, militarily and socially. The notion that NATO member states could bomb the world into good was only ever believed by crazed and fanatical people like Tony Blair and Jim Murphy of the Henry Jackson Society. It really should not have needed empirical investigation to prove it was wrong, but it has been tried, and has been proved wrong….NATO’s attempt to be global arbiter and enforcer has been disastrous at all levels. Its plan to redeem itself by bombing the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria is a further sign of madness. Except of course that it will guarantee some blowback against Western targets, and that will “justify” further bombings, and yet more profit for the arms manufacturers. On that level, it is very clever and cynical. NATO provides power to the elite and money to the wealthy.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and is author The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West, How America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order. “Provocations Have A History Of Escalating Into War: Can War Be Avoided and the Planet Saved?” Information Clearing House: (8/31/2018), strikes a proactive caution to all Western policy makers:

The Zionist neoconservatives who rule in Washington are capable of the same mistake that Napoleon and Hitler made. They believe in “the end of history,” that the Soviet collapse means history has chosen America as the model for the future. Their hubris actually exceeds that of Napoleon and Hitler. When confronted with such deluded and ideological force, does turning the other cheek work or does it encourage more provocation.

Every beginning has its end. America needs Navigational Change after January 6, 2021 Trump’s Revolutionary attack on democracy and the Constitution, and so does Russia and NATO in their search for peaceful transition to sustainable future-making. We, the People of global community live on one floating Planet Earth, and we must be conscious — who we are, how connected we are in human solidarity and where are we heading to in our imagination of the present and future. It is awful and a tragedy of human conscience to be speaking of military conflicts and territorial gains when mankind urgently needs an effective cure for the Covid-19 pandemic. George Floyd cries continues to be heard all over the globe: “I can’t’ breathe.” We are One People, One Humanity — ignorance, natural disasters, and man-made fatalities know not any borders, flags and nationalities but surge like wildfire as being witnessed in the COVID-19 pandemic worldwide. Again political absolutism heightens animosity and hatred rather than human understanding and cooperation for a precious cause of saving human lives on Earth. To save life of one human being is to safeguard the whole of humanity. We are all born equal One Humanity: — the Divine Message of Al-Qur’an clarifies the truth:

“Proclaim in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created, Created man (human being) out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood, Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful, He Who taught (the use of) the Pen, Taught man (human being) that which he knew not.”


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Post US withdrawal from Afghanistan Part – 2   Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Post US withdrawal from Afghanistan

Part – 2

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

“We are all brothers and sisters under the skin and above it . . . it’s super important that we stop lobbing bombs over the top of the wall and start trying to dismantle it, so that we can say ‘hi’ to whoever is on the other side, whether the divide is religious or nationalistic or politic or economic.” – Roger Waters

Punitive acts

The western world is bent upon teaching a lesson to the Taliban for their audacity to degrade the sole superpower and NATO. Calculated steps are being taken to crumble Afghanistan’s economy and to make it a failed state. Apart from freezing their foreign exchange reserve and directing the IMF and World Bank to suspend financial aid, the US is pressuring the international community not to recognize the new regime in Kabul. Without recognition, humanitarian aid cannot be galvanized.

Instead of bailing out the new Taliban regime in Kabul from the economic crisis by providing humanitarian assistance and according it diplomatic recognition, it is accentuating its melancholies. It will provide assistance based on conditions that aid will be distributed by its NGOs and 2600 Afghani agents who were evacuated by CIA. Fake news are being spread by Indo-western media and sponsored protest marches for women rights organized in Kabul and other big cities to debase the Taliban.

Upset by the growing rapport between Pakistan and Taliban, the US wants to penalize both by using the tools of diplomatic isolation, economic war, proxy war, hybrid war and sanctions. Dollars are pouring into Pakistan to destabilize the political situation, weaken the economy and possibly bring about a regime change.    

The USA being the biggest war monger and violator of democratic and human rights is demanding from the Taliban not to violate human and women rights, promote girls education and to form an inclusive regime of its choice.

Ironically, massive human rights abuses committed by India and Israel against the Kashmiris and Palestinians, and both involved in ethnic cleansing to change the demography have never bothered the biased US leadership.

India’s undiminished bellicosity

Egged on by the US and Israel to intensify bellicosity against Pakistan, Indian media has intensified fake propaganda by claiming that Pakistan is behind the incidents of target killings of 9 Indian soldiers and some others in occupied Kashmir, as well as the attack by rebellious Sikhs against the RSS thugs in India, who are brutalizing minorities especially the Muslims. Hype similar to the post-Pulwama incident in Aug 2019 has been created and demand for surgical strikes has reached a crescendo. India’s Home Minister Amrit Shah has hurled a threat in this regard.

To up the ante, Indian anchors are screaming and straining their lungs over the incident of the Indian submarine saying that Pakistan’s claim of detecting it and forcing it to trudge backwards is false. Another threat was tossed to cancel the India-Pakistan T-20 cricket match due on Sunday. Earlier on, India was behind the cancellation of cricket series in Pakistan by the New Zealand and British teams. These bullying tactics are not new and have always been used to hide the genocide and rapes of the Kashmiris, and to placate Indian masses fed up of price spiral, growing poverty, rising cases of rapes and crimes and groaning under the misrule of fascist Modi regime.  

Desperate to return to Afghanistan, India is making concerted efforts to win over the new regime in Kabul and is offering extensive humanitarian assistance. Moscow’s help to convince the Taliban has also been sought.             

ISIS-Khorasan (IS-K) pitched against Taliban

The IS-K which was imported from Iraq and Syria in 2015 has been propelled to carryout suicide and bomb attacks in the major cities of Afghanistan and foment sectarianism to create insecurity. The CIA Director had stated last August that the best way to fuel trouble would be to make the Shias fight against the Sunnis as had been done in the Middle East. Sectarian game is being played with a dual purpose to show to the world that Afghanistan is an insecure country and it is beyond the capacity of the Taliban to control them. Secondly, justify the US air intervention.

 

The two most battle hardened and ideologically driven Sunni groups (Deobandis and Salafists) have been pitched against each other to once again engulf the war-ravaged country into another round of civil war. While the hardline IS-K is war monger, and has an international agenda of change, the reformed Taliban desire peace and friendship with all the countries. They had given ample chance to the militants led by Ahmad Masood in Panjshir to settle the matter through dialogue and when Masood refused, the valley was forcibly wrested on Sept 6. Tajikistan and Iran are feeling uneasy with Panjshir coming under the control of the Taliban.  

Time is not far when the Taliban would be forced to launch a full-fledged offensive to eliminate IS-K, which is also posing a threat to Pakistan. Earlier this menace is eliminated from the Af-Pak region, better it will be for the overall peace and security of the region.         

G-7 Conference

It was held on Aug 24 by video to discuss the Afghan situation. The EU members were more concerned about the safety and evacuation of their nationals and their Afghan loyalists from Afghanistan. They promised one billion Euros humanitarian aid for the Afghans but so far the amount has not been received. 

 

G-20 Extraordinary Conference

 

Pakistan and Iran, the two important immediate neighbors of Afghanistan were not invited to the conference by video held on Oct 12. Although the purpose of the conference was to generate donations for Afghanistan, no tangible results came out since the reps of western countries “wanted to tell the Taliban how to run their country and how to treat the women”, and laid down these terms as necessary conditions for doling out assistance. Russia and China wanted to follow the policy of non-interference. Another meeting is scheduled on Oct 30-31.  

 

Russia’s role

 

Russia hosted a summit at Moscow on Oct 14-15 to discuss the evolving situation in Afghanistan which was attended by reps from China, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, five Central Asian States and India. The US was absent. It was a follow up of the Dushanbe Summit of the SCO. A bombshell was dropped by Russia’s foreign minister Lavrov bluntly stating that the core burden of post conflict economic & financial reconstruction and development of Afghanistan must be shouldered by the USA-NATO occupying the country for 20 years.

While India and Tajikistan expressed their grievances, the Taliban PM Abdul Salam Hanafi argued that the current interim regime is already inclusive. 500,000 employees of the former regime have kept their jobs.

Vladimir Putin praised the Taliban efforts to tackle the threat posed by the IS-K and he said that there are 2000 Jihadis of this outfit, whose locations are known to the Russian intelligence and can easily snuff them if the Taliban gave a green signal. He also lauded Pakistan’s role, emphasizing that it was among the most important players in Afghanistan. It was decided to convene an international donor conference under the auspices of the UN.

The NATO Summit

 

The NATO summit of the defence ministers was held at Brussels on 19-20 Oct. The insensitive participants did nothing to help out Afghans except for giving sermons to the Taliban and holding them accountable for the ongoing acts of terror and alleged human rights violations in Afghanistan.  

 

Pakistan’s endeavor for peace

Pakistan is making hectic efforts to provide relief goods to the stressed segments in Afghanistan and has assured Rupees 5 billion immediate relief, but is itself deeply immersed in a host of internal issues. It has been appealing to the neighbors of Afghanistan as well as the OIC for a collective humanitarian response and is also urging the world bodies including the USA to come out of their materialistic mode and for the sake of humanity, mobilize international assistance for the Afghans who have been living in hellhole for the last 40 years.

Their miseries would proliferate in the winter season, but egotism, antagonism, greed and bigotry is coming in the way of humanity. There is an urgent need for global convergence in Afghanistan to avoid the humanitarian crisis and coordinated efforts for the economic uplift of the Afghan people.            

 

Pakistan’s challenges

Pakistan has decided not to play into the hands of global powers like a hired gun to fight their wars and has opted to become a strong proponent of peace. It is in the backdrop of this change of policy that Imran Khan in reply to the question of the nosy western reporter asking him whether Pakistan will extend airbase facility to the US, had spontaneously retorted ‘Absolutely Not’. His curt response has not been received well in Washington. It is not reconciling with the policy of defiance of Pakistan and wants Islamabad to do as told to do or else get prepared for the consequences. The ruling regime is already feeling the heat of the external and internal fronts.

Domestically, the people are getting restive due to rising inflation and uncontrollable price hike. The global economic crunch and Covid-19 have severely hit the economies of the developing world. The energy crisis has soared the prices of oil, gas and coal. Pakistan’s economy which has been in the grip of the IMF since 1990 is tumbling and debts are surging. External debt repayment is $ 14 billion and internal debt Rs 2.7 trillion. Economist magazine has listed Pakistan’s inflation 4th highest out of 42 countries. Pakistan needs gross external financing of $ 51 billion in current and next financial year to fulfil its needs. The IMF is levying tough conditions which if implemented would further enrage the people. FATF has again postponed its decision of taking Pakistan out of the grey list till next February.

Under the prevailing grim environment and foreign agenda of a regime change, the possibility of coming out of an economic crisis is getting dimmer. Taking advantage of the unsettling trends, the PDM, PPP, Jamaat-e-Islami and the TLP have started flexing political muscles. They have embarked upon another round of protest marches and are hopeful to dislodge the government which they consider as incompetent. Their target is Imran Khan and they want to pay him in the same coin. Tough times are awaiting the rulers. What is urgently needed is political consensus and economic certainty as well as bridling up of paid media spreading gloom to ride out the brewing storm.      

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, & Member CWC PESS & Veterans Think Tank.

 asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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Future of Pakistan-US relations   Asif Haroon Raja

Baleful intentions of USA

 

Future of Pakistan-US relations

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

“The 9/11 attacks gave the US an ideal pretext to use force to secure its global domination … the so-called ‘war on terrorism’ is being used largely as bogus cover for achieving wider US strategic geopolitical objectives … In fact, 9/11 offered an extremely convenient pretext to put the PNAC plan into action. The evidence again is quite clear that plans for military action against Afghanistan and Iraq were in hand well before 9/11.”  – Michel Meacher

Occupational agenda based on fake charges

The initial target of the George W. Bush administration influenced by the Zionists, the neo cons, and the American Jewish lobby was Iraq, but in Sept 2001 the order of priority of taking on eight Muslim countries was changed and Afghanistan was picked up as the first target country. Seven Muslim States in the Middle East were listed to change its boundaries, capture oil, and pave the way for the establishment of Greater Israel. Based on this agenda 9/11 attacks were fore-planned. 

Afghanistan was chosen to make it a permanent military base of the US, from where it could eliminate all the Islamic radicals including Al-Qaeda who had taken part in the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets, block China’s economic growth and Russia’s resurgence, denuclearize Pakistan, bring a regime change in Iran and harness the resources of Central Asia and gain dominance over the Eurasian belt.   

Afghanistan was invaded, heavily bombarded and occupied since the ruling Taliban regime was accused of violating human rights, particularly women rights, committing the grave sin of harboring Al-Qaeda and refusing to hand over Osama Bin Laden.

Apart from avenging the deaths of 2977 people in World Trade Centre in New York allegedly by Al-Qaeda, declared objectives of occupying Afghanistan were to free the Afghans from the clutches of cruel Taliban, reset the ideology of the country from Islamic Emirate to a Republic, make the Afghans well-educated, progressive and to make the country peaceful and prosperous by introducing western democracy, and promoting human/ women rights.

Factually, the US had no intentions of accomplishing these objectives since its hidden motives revolved around geo-economics. Not only attacks on the WTC on 9/11 were engineered, both Afghanistan and Iraq were occupied on fake charges.  

It was due to insincere and baleful intentions that in spite of spending $ 2.3 trillion during its 20 years period of occupancy, the socio-economic conditions and security of Afghanistan instead of improving further deteriorated. Standard of life of the elite class living in major urban centres was improved and the women liberalized, but 70% of the downtrodden people continued to live in abject poverty.

Quest for military solution proved fruitless

Bush, Obama and Trump firmly believed in the use of military force for a military solution, failed on all counts and created a big mess which went beyond their capacity to clear it. Other than the nukes, the invaders employed all sorts of lethal weapons to crush, or intimidate, or tire their opponents but achieved zero-sum results.

After failing to gain a military edge over the Taliban with the help of two troop surges and raising the combat level to over 140,000 in 2009, Obama concluded that it was beyond the capability of the ISAF and ANDSF to defeat the Taliban. He ordered the completion of the drawdown of troops by Dec 2014, starting in July 2011. Pentagon and ISAF Commander Gen Petraeus prevailed upon him to retain a small Resolute Support Mission (RSM) of about 12000 troops to back up ANDSF which till then had not acquired desired operational preparedness to fight independently. Islamic State of Khurasan (IS-K) was also brought in from Iraq and Syria in 2015 by CIA and RAW as a backup support.      

Donald Trump raised the level of RSM to 20,000 in 2017, escalated the air and drone war and dropped the mother of all bombs at Nangarhar. Finding the US-NATO troops in a logjam, and their well-trained and equipped 350,000 strong ANDSF unable to even contain the momentum of attacks of the Taliban, Trump had to sullenly open parleys with the Taliban to arrive at a political settlement. The Kabul regime was excluded from talks since the Taliban considered them collaborators, puppets and not worth talking about.

Doha deal and its implementation

The US-Taliban remained engaged in a series of peace-talk sessions for 18 months (Sept 2018-Feb 2020) and signed the Doha peace agreement on Feb 29, 2020 according to which all foreign troops were required to quit by May 1, 2021. In compliance with the Doha deal, the Taliban desisted from attacking foreign troops and allowed them to pull out safely. Not a single attack was carried out from March 2020 onwards. 

After the agreement, Trump had ten months (March to December 2020) to withdraw forces by air and to shift heavy baggage, military vehicles/equipment by land through Pakistan. By the time he handed over power to his successor Joe Biden in Jan 2021, the US troop level in Afghanistan had been reduced from 20, 000 to 2500 and the exit was orderly and graceful with no mishap.

Biden had four months at his disposal (Feb to May 2021), which were quite sufficient, but under intense pressure, he extended the date of departure to Sept 11, and then pushed it back to Aug 31. Seven months period was long enough to undertake an orderly drawdown of only 2500 troops, but the intentions were dishonest. Instead of making any gain by this extension, a sudden flurry of attacks by the Taliban which reached a crescendo in July triggered fright and everything was lost.

Many were surprised to hear Biden giving his expert opinion in July 2021 that the Taliban will take six months to reach the outskirts of Kabul and that the ANA will fight it out. This optimism that Kabul would hold on, was based on the feedback of thousands of the US think tanks, Pentagon, CIA, RAW and NDS. The policy makers in Washington were confident that six months’ time was sufficient to arrive at a political settlement and to tie up all details for a smooth withdrawal.

Much against the speculation that they would take at least 6-8 months to threaten and take over Kabul, sudden encirclement and occupation of Kabul on August 15 by the Taliban, resulted in panic and a hasty and disorderly withdrawal, which was more of a rout.

Misreading of Taliban’s final offensive

The Taliban spring offensive was launched after May 1, 2021 by which date all foreign troops were supposed to have exited. It was the final phase towards the victory stand. Their rapid gains bewildered the policy makers in Washington as well as the spoilers. Their hurricane-like advances on multiple fronts flabbergasted the Pentagon, leaving it with no choice but to vacate the military bases in haste. Vacation of the biggest Bagram airbase on the midnight of 2/3 July was a classic example of confusion, disorder and jangled nerves. They were left with no choice other than destroying the weapons and equipment stacked in the fortified military bases. 

Photo Courtesy-https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/21/taliban-afghanistan-war-propaganda/

One fails to comprehend why this big timeframe of fall of Kabul in six months was given, which was later reduced to three months in August, when most of the provinces had been captured by the Taliban, seven military bases abandoned, only 650 US troops were garrisoned in Kabul base, and the ANA had been surrendering one province after another without a fight.

It is also intriguing as to why Ashraf Ghani behaved so obstinately till the very end when his boat was fast sinking, and why the US didn’t force him to step down on August 14 if not earlier when his goose was cooked?

Was Ghani forced not to resign in order to create conditions for bloodshed? Was his sudden flight to UAE with lots of cash on the afternoon of August 15 by design so as to create an administrative and security vacuum and to stimulate bedlam in Kabul since the Vice President Amrullah Saleh and Deputy President Rashid Dostum had already fled?

The war mongers hoped against hope that a broad-based government in Kabul inclusive of the leaders of Northern Alliance would pave the way for continuation of the US presence in Afghanistan. They had also wishfully hoped that extending the cutout date given by Biden might convert defeat into victory. Tussle between the two sides, one favoring and the other disfavoring, was at the cost of wasting precious time and prolonging the agony. Extending the date proved costly for Biden.

Ill-intentioned narrative and expectations

One wonders on what basis the Indo-Western media started harping from June onward that there will be disarray, bloodshed, civil war and refugee exodus. The biased media stuck to this narrative when not a single incident of violence was reported in all the districts and cities captured by the Taliban? Intelligence reports speculated pitched battles between the Taliban and ANA in cities and it was expected that the former would resort to retributions.

The detractors were very hopeful that the fleeing refugees from the big cities would home towards Pakistan and taking advantage of the melee, all the terrorists and spies would be pushed into Pakistan.    

To ensure the safety of Kabul, and in case of its fall, safe exit of the US diplomats and other American nationals as well as the Afghan interpreters and loyalists, the US took control of Kabul airport and its security where a sophisticated air defence system was installed.  

An engineered suicide attack at the gate of Kabul airport by IS-K was launched on August 25, about which the US officials had been warning from August 22.

If the US was in the know of an impending attack, why did the US take such a big risk of inducing thousands of Afghans to reach Kabul airport to be flown to the wonderland of the USA, and presented such a lucrative target? Besides putting the lives of Afghans in danger, it endangered thousands of its troops, diplomats and nationals stranded in Kabul. Was the real purpose to foment chaos?

As predicted, the mob assembled outside the airport gate was struck by a suicide bomber on August 25 killing 170 Afghans, 13 US Marines and wounding hundreds. Reprisal actions with drones on August 26th and 29th struck innocent civilians. The US C-130s airlifted thousands of Afghans packed like sardines, but left behind US-NATO troops, diplomats and nationals. The US apologized for the August 29 attack and has offered compensation to the next of kin of the 11 victims.    

Future of Pak-US relations

From 1954 onwards, Pakistan had put all its eggs in the basket of the USA and on several occasions had put its national security at stake to prove that it was the most allied ally of the USA. Infatuation to the USA by successive regimes of Pakistan didn’t lessen even after getting betrayed repeatedly.  Pakistan was put off the radar of Washington in 1990 after which it only sees India in this region and none else. Pakistan has become an eyesore due to its nuclearization, closeness with China and the CPEC.  

After 9/11, the US unenthusiastically took Pakistan on board to ease its occupation of Afghanistan, and then to fight the longest war and lastly to pull out safely.

Pakistan was forcibly dragged into the US imposed war on terror which it fought tenaciously and produced best results but suffered the most. Since the US was governed by baleful intentions from the very outset, all the achievements of Pakistan security forces distressed the US and India.

When the heavily fortified strongholds of Swat and South Waziristan were overpowered in 2009, and all the tribal agencies of FATA less North Waziristan, that had been taken over by the foreign supported TTP, were recaptured in 2010, and the ISAF had to abandon its boots on ground strategy in Afghanistan and announce a plan of withdrawal due to resurgence of the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan, the flummoxed Obama and Pentagon took out their anger on Pakistan in 2011 by carrying out series of hostile acts starting from Raymond Davis incident, to Abbottabad attack, to Memogate and Salala attack. The last hostile act against the so-called ally which dipped Pak-US relations to lowest ebb forced Pakistan to respond defiantly.

Pakistan a convenient scapegoat

Throughout the war, the US and its strategic partners kept hatching conspiracies to disable Pakistan’s nuclear program while Pakistan considered them allies and kept doing more and in the process got bled.

Pakistan played a key role in the success of Afghan peace talks culminating into historic Doha agreement, in starting intra-Afghan dialogue in Sept 2020, and in restraining the Taliban from attacking foreign military targets. It played a historic role in evacuating 10,000 people from Kabul including American-NATO forces, American diplomats, IMF-World Bank officials and Afghan nationals and lodging them in Islamabad hotels.

Pakistan’s sacrifices and its efforts to please the overbearing USA were rudely brushed aside and was held responsible for the cataclysmic ending of the war. Conversely, India which failed the US on all fronts was kept in its tight embrace and handsomely rewarded simply because it offered profitable economic and IT markets, bought heavy consignments of armaments from the US and Israel, helped in boosting the game of intrigue and deceit, and in spreading fake news and narratives.

With all its troops back home, the US now wants to avenge its humiliation at the hands of the Taliban allegedly supported by Pakistan. The whole blame of the US defeat and its chaotic exit is pinned on the convenient scapegoat Pakistan.     

 

Pakistan no more useful to USA

The only interest the US has in Pakistan is to make it agree to provide an air base or air corridor to enable the US air force to conduct counter terrorism air operations in Afghanistan. In other words, the US is least interested in peace in the Af-Pak region and is determined to stoke instability and to keep the Chinese, Russian and Iran influences in Afghanistan at bay.

If Pakistan relents, it will be tolerated, and if it defies, it will be punished. Currently, the US leaders are in a bad mood and their patience is wearing thin. The indicators to that end are Joe Biden refusing to make a telephone call to Imran Khan, the unfriendly statements of the American civil and military leaders, Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stating that “we don’t see ourselves building a broad relationship with Pakistan”, anti-Pakistan bill moved by the 22 Republican Senators, and American Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad hobnobbing with Pakistan’s opposition leaders.

The other hostile acts are the IMF’s sinister dictations, pressing Pakistan to further devalue its currency and raise the taxes on petroleum, gas and electricity, FATF hesitating to whiten Pakistan, and India’s recent threat of launching a surgical strike, and Indian submarine sneaking into Pakistan’s waters which was chased out. India’s belligerence is encouraged by the USA.

Under the given circumstances, India and not Pakistan will be the preferred partner of the USA in South Asia. Any hope nurtured by the ruling regime in Pakistan or GHQ to alter the frostiness in Pak-US relations into friendly relations is like chasing the rainbow.           

 

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, & Member CWC PESS & Think Tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com    

   

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Why did the USA lose in Afghanistan? by Brig.Gen (Retd)Asif Haroon Raja

Why did the USA lose in Afghanistan?

 

Brig.Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan Army

 

 

 

The US and its allies were drunk with power and took pride in their sophisticated war munitions, technology and wealth. They were sure to win the war irrespective of having no cause, and having sinister hidden motives. The Taliban had no resources but had an edge over their opponents in the intangibles. They had complete faith in Allah and were on the righteous path. Their faith is still unshakable, and are unpurchasable. Hence their total victory is a foregone conclusion.

 

Causes of the US defeat in Afghanistan

 

Insincere and mala fide intentions filled with prejudices and injustices.

 

Cooked up charges to invade Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

 

No grounds to wage a cruel war against so many Muslim countries.

 

No love lost for the Afghans, Iraqis, Libyans and Syrians, or any Muslim.

 

Minority non-Pashtun Afghans were empowered and majority Pashtuns sidelined and persecuted.

 

Pakistan which was instrumental in making the US the sole superpower, was mistrusted, ridiculed and penalized, while India which has no roots in Afghanistan, didn’t take part in the war on terror, and has been the biggest spoiler of peace, was trusted and made the main player by the US.  

 

Despite allocating over a trillion dollars development funds, the US failed to better the lives of Afghans living in poverty stricken rural areas.

 

The US continued to back the inept, corrupt and unpopular regimes of Karzai and Ashraf Ghani (AG) and failed to establish a stable government in Kabul.

 

One trillion dollars were spent on raising, training and equipping the ANSF, but the US-NATO trainers failed to develop their moral fibre, sense of discipline, motivation and will to fight.

 

ISAF and ANA were pampered, heavily paid and provided luxuries, which made them comfort loving and drug addicts. 

 

All the social crimes that were cleansed by the Taliban re-appeared and Afghanistan became the leading exporter of opium in the world.

 

Practice of ruthless bombings by jets and drones caused maximum deaths and injuries to the civilians; even funerals and weddings were not spared. Torture of prisoners and night raids were the tools widely used to break the will of opposing fighters. It gravitated the sympathies of the people towards the Taliban.

 

Too much trust in military might and no attention paid to winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans.

 

Weak military commanders who didn’t know much about Afghanistan’s geography, tribal history and culture, and terrain. They never strategized or modified tactics to grapple with the tactics of the resistance forces. The IEDs threat couldn’t be tackled. More so, they didn’t inspire their own troops, what to talk of the military contingents from 48 countries. Some top commanders were involved in love affairs and sex scandals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy – Global Times, People’s Republic of China

The initial plan of occupying Afghanistan by the Western and Northern Alliance forces left much to be desired. The country was strategically ringed by establishing air bases in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan, but the inner circle was not contemplated to encircle and trap the leaders and fighters of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Probably avoidance of boots on ground to avoid casualties hindered this option.

 

It was a frontal invasion from the north by the Northern Alliance troops under the umbrella of airpower. Gigantic carpet bombing was carried out recklessly. With their rear areas safe, the defenders first withdrew to the caves of Tora Bora with ease, and then slipped into FATA. No effort was made to circle Tora Bora where all the wanted elements including OBL were present. Emphasis was on dropping tons and tons of molten lava from the air.

 

No effort was made to seal the porous and vulnerable border with Pakistan, again due to shortage of troops. Whole reliance was on Pakistan but it had to be a collective effort to make the concept of anvil and hammer successful. The reason was that the US wanted the border with Pakistan to remain open for clandestine use by the RAW-NDS. That’s why the Kabul regime and the US strongly objected to fencing of western border by Pakistan.

 

The ISAF made up of 48 military contingents including 28 from NATO fought the war without initial battle inoculation, and acquisition of basic knowledge of geography, terrain, culture of tribes, meaning of Pashtunwali, and training in guerrilla warfare. No motivational training was given to the troops to inculcate in them the will to fight and die. Except for top commanders, none knew the aims and objectives of the war.

 

Opening of the second front in Iraq in 2003 when the Afghan front was fluid, indulgence in covert wars, and hybrid war were at the cost of consolidating gains in Afghanistan through development and education. Only important capitals were finely developed while the vast rural areas were neglected.  The two-front war resulted in distraction and division of resources and enabled the Taliban to bounce back in 2006.     

 

The real war started in 2009 after the two troop surges swelling the combat strength of the ISAF from 8000 to 1, 40,000, but Gen McChrystal lost heart in the first major offensive in Helmand due to heavy casualties of the ISAF. 

 

Biggest mistake made was when the ISAF troops were withdrawn backwards and bunkered in the safety of 8 military bases in capital cities in 2009. The entire rural belt in the eastern and southern Afghanistan was vacated thereby allowing the Taliban to gain initiative and a military edge over the occupiers and their collaborators.

 

Obama should have exited from Afghanistan after he concluded that it was an unwinnable war, and the main mission of killing OBL and professed destruction of Al-Qaeda had been accomplished. Clinging on to Afghanistan for next nine years on the insistence of Pentagon and Resolute Support Mission commanders was militarily unsound. This inordinate delay swelled the avoidable human and financial losses of occupational troops as well as of the ANSF and the civilians.  

 

The next mistake made by Obama was his broadcasted plan to withdraw troops by Dec 2014. The thinning out started in July 2011 and by 2013 frontline security was handed over to the ANA. It demoralized the ANA, snatched the fighting spirit of the ISAF whose troops wanted to return home alive and in one piece, spurred the Taliban and they stepped up their offensive. Their momentum accelerated from 2015. From that time onwards, the US for all practical purposes had lost the war, but due to pressure from the Pentagon, the US kept reinforcing failure.

 

To avoid body bags, Obama introduced the deadly pilotless drones as a choice weapon of war. Disproportionate use of drones was cowardly and unethical.

 

The US didn’t seriously negotiate with the Taliban between 2006 and 2014 when it was strong on ground and became serious in 2018-19 when it had become weak.

 

The decentralized Taliban field commanders under one Ameerul Momenein Mullah Omar outclassed the ISAF commanders in strategy and tactics. No change came in their vigor under Mullah Mansour and incumbent Mullah Haibatullah. New recruits kept getting enrolled and the numbers swelled. 

 

The US spent more time on blame game rather than focusing on its primary mission of stabilizing Afghanistan. By blaming Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Quetta Shura for its political and military failures, the US tried to cover up its fault lines. This blame-game continued even after all the terrorist groups were flushed out of FATA in 2015   

 

Trump tried to salvage the fast deteriorating security situation but failed and ultimately had to sign a peace agreement with the Taliban at Doha in February 2019. All foreign troops were to withdraw by May 2021. That was another turning point in the fortunes of the Taliban since the historic agreement had given them recognition and enhanced their stature internationally. 

 

Yet another defining moment came when Joe Biden announced on April 14, 2021 that the longest war will be winded up and all foreign troops would pull out by Sept 11, 2021. This date was advanced to August 31.

 

All roads in Afghanistan were opened for the triumphant Taliban to race forward and capture as much territory in May, June and July. With 80% territory and most trade transit points in the control of the Taliban, the final phase to capture cities that are already under their siege is likely to start after August 31, or Sept 11. For the ANA, the summer period up to Oct/early November is tough.

 

Endgame

 

In the endgame, the losers have suddenly changed their stance from a military solution to a peaceful solution of the tangle. Their narrative of blaming Pakistan for the instability in Afghanistan has been modified and now the Taliban are painted as violence prone and anti-peace.

 

While the winning Taliban have expressed their willingness to accommodate all less Ashraf Ghani (AG) and his team, the US and the whole world in general including Pakistan are standing behind the unpopular regime in Kabul and are pressuring Taliban to share power with AG and accept him as the elected president till next elections. The spoilers as well as others are also against the basic demand of the Taliban to establish Islamic Emirate.

 

This change of narrative clubbed with a petrifying story that there will be chaos, prolonged civil war, bloodshed and refugee exodus due to Taliban’s obstinacy and fancy for bloodletting, has drifted the attention of the world from the stupefying victory of the Taliban and disgraceful defeat and abrupt exit of the US forces. Whole focus has shifted to the future horrid scenario of Afghanistan based on premeditated assumptions.

 

For 20 years the world quietly stomached the brutalities of the mad adventurers wanting to bludgeon Al-Qaeda and the Taliban without a murmur. A minority government of non-Pashtuns remained in power and the majority Pashtuns remained in the backwoods. 

 

And now when the Taliban are getting closer to regain power which was illegally snatched from them, the world led by the spoilers of peace are giving sermons of peace to the winners and advising them that there is no military solution to Afghan crisis.

 

The infatuation of the US for the puppet regime in Kabul is so passionate that the US has announced its full diplomatic and financial support to it and air support to the shaky ANA. While Pakistan is in two minds, China is unhesitant in extending full support to the Taliban and to fill the power vacuum in Afghanistan.

 

                                 

 

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The Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine

The Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine

by Thierry Meyssan

 

For two decades, the Pentagon has been applying the “Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine” to the “wider Middle East”. Several times, it thought of extending it to the “Caribbean Basin”, but refrained from doing so, concentrating its power on its first target. The Pentagon acts as an autonomous decision-making centre that is effectively outside the power of the president. It is a civil-military administration that imposes its objectives on the rest of the military.

Voltaire Network | Paris (France) | 25 May 2021

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The maps of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2001, published in 

2005 by Colonel Ralph Peters, still guide the actions of the US 

military in 2021.

 

In my book L’Effroyable imposture [1] [2], I wrote, in March, 2002, that the attacks of September 11 were aimed at making the United States accept :
– on the inside, a system of mass surveillance (the Patriot Act) ;
– and, externally, a resumption of imperial policy, about which there was no documentation at the time.

Things only became clearer in 2005, when Colonel Ralph Peters – at the time a Fox News commentator – published the famous map of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the map of the “reshaping” of the “broader Middle East” [3]. It came as a shock to all chancelleries: the Pentagon was planning to redraw the borders inherited from the Franco-British colonization (the Sykes-Picot-Sazonov Agreements of 1916) without regard for any state, even an ally.

From then on, each state in the region did everything in its power to prevent the storm from falling on its people. Instead of uniting with neighboring countries in the face of the common enemy, each tried to deflect the Pentagon’s hand to its neighbors. The most emblematic case is that of Turkey, which changed its position several times, giving the confused impression of a mad dog.

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Two visions of the world clash. For the Pentagon since 2001, 
stability is the strategic enemy of the United States, while 
for Russia, it is the condition for peace.

 

However, the map revealed by Colonel Peters -who hated the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld- did not make it possible to understand the overall project. Already, at the time of the September 11 attacks, he had published an article in the US Army magazine, Parameters [4]. He alluded to the map that he did not publish until four years later, and suggested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing to carry it out by means of atrocious crimes that they would have to subcontract in order not to dirty their hands. One might think that he was referring to private armies, but history showed that they could not engage in crimes against humanity either.

The final word on the project was in the “Office of Force Transformation,” created by Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon in the days following the 9/11 attacks. It was occupied by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski. This famous strategist had been the designer of the computerization of the armed forces [5]. One could believe that this Office was a way to finish his work. But no one disputed this reorganization anymore. No, he was there to transform the mission of the U.S. armed forces, as the few recordings of his lectures in military academies attest.

Arthur Cebrowski spent three years lecturing to all senior U.S. officers, thus to all current general officers.

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The target determined by Admiral Cebrowski is not only the 

“wider Middle East”, but all regions not integrated into the 

globalized economy.

 

What he was teaching was quite simple. The world economy was becoming globalized. To remain the world’s leading power, the United States had to adapt to financial capitalism. The best way to do this was to ensure that developed countries could exploit the natural resources of poor countries without political obstacles. From this, it divided the world into two: on the one hand, the globalized economies (including Russia and China) destined to be stable markets and, on the other, all the others that were to be deprived of state structures and left to chaos so that transnationals could exploit their wealth without resistance. To achieve this, the non-globalized peoples were to be divided along ethnic lines and held ideologically.

The first region to be affected was to be the Arab-Muslim area from Morocco to Pakistan, with the exception of Israel and two neighboring micro-states that were to prevent the fire from spreading, Jordan and Lebanon. This is what the State Department called the “broader Middle East. This area was not defined by oil reserves, but by elements of the common culture of its inhabitants.

The war that Admiral Cebrowski imagined was to cover the entire region. It was not to take into account the divisions of the Cold War. The United States no longer had any friends or enemies there. The enemy was not defined by its ideology (the communists) or its religion (the “clash of civilizations”), but only by its non-integration into the globalized economy of financial capitalism. Nothing could protect those who had the misfortune not to be followers, to be independent.

This war was not intended to allow the US alone to exploit natural resources, as previous wars had done, but for all globalized states to do so. Moreover, the United States was no longer really interested in capturing raw materials, but rather in dividing up work on a global scale and making others work for them.

All this implied tactical changes in the way wars were waged, since it was no longer a question of obtaining victory, but of waging a “war without end”, as President George W. Bush put it. Indeed, all the wars started since 9/11 are still going on on five different fronts: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen.

It doesn’t matter if allied governments interpret these wars in accordance with the US communication: they are not civil wars, but stages of a plan preestablished by the Pentagon.

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              Esquire Magazine, March 2003

 

The “Cebrowski Doctrine” shook up the US military. His assistant, Thomas Barnett, wrote an article for Esquire Magazine [6], then published a book to present it in more detail to the general public: The Pentagon’s New Map [7].

The fact that in his book, published after Admiral Cebrowski’s death, Barnett claims authorship of his doctrine should not be misleading. It is just a way for the Pentagon not to assume it. The same phenomenon had taken place, for example, with the “clash of civilizations”. It was originally the “Lewis Doctrine”, a communication argument devised within the National Security Council to sell new wars to public opinion. It was presented to the general public by Bernard Lewis’s assistant, Samuel Huntington, who presented it as an academic description of an inescapable reality.

The implementation of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski Doctrine has had many ups and downs. Some came from the Pentagon itself, others from the people who were being crushed. Thus, the resignation of the commander of Central Command, Admiral William Fallon, was organized because he had negotiated a reasoned peace with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran on his own initiative. It was provoked by… Barnett himself, who published an article accusing Fallon of abusing President Bush. Or again, the failure to disrupt Syria was due to the resistance of its people and the entry of the Russian army. The Pentagon has come to burn down crops and organize a blockade of the country to starve it; revengeful actions that attest to its inability to destroy state structures.

During his election campaign, Donald Trump campaigned against the endless war and for the return of the GI’s to their homes. He managed not to start new fronts and to bring some men home, but failed to tame the Pentagon. The Pentagon developed its Special Forces without a “signature” and managed to destroy the Lebanese state without the use of soldiers in a visible way. It is this strategy that it is implementing in Israel itself, organizing anti-Arab and anti-Jewish pogroms as a result of the confrontation between Hamas and Israel.

The Pentagon has repeatedly tried to extend the “Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine” to the Caribbean Basin. It planned an overthrow, not of the Nicolás Maduro regime, but of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. It finally postponed this.

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The eight members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

 

It must be noted that the Pentagon has become an autonomous power. It has a gigantic budget of 740 billion dollars, which is about twice the annual budget of the entire French state. In practice, its power extends far beyond that, since it controls all the member states of the Atlantic Alliance. It is supposed to be accountable to the President of the United States, but the experiences of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump show the absolute opposite. The former failed to impose his policy on General John Allen in the face of Daesh, while the latter was led astray by Central Command. There is no reason to believe that it will be any different with President Joe Biden.

The recent open letter of former US general officers [8] shows that nobody knows who is in charge of the US military anymore. No matter how much their political analysis is worthy of the Cold War, this does not invalidate their observation: the Federal Administration and the general officers are no longer on the same wavelength.

William Arkin’s work, published by the Washington Post, has shown that the federal government organized a nebulous group of agencies under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security after the September 11 attacks [9]. In the greatest secrecy, they intercept and archive the communications of all people living in the United States. Arkin has just revealed in Newsweek that, for its part, the Department of Defense has created secret Special Forces, separate from those in uniform [10]. They are now in charge of the Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine, regardless of who is in the White House and what their foreign policy is.

The Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine, by Thierry Meyssan

Thierry Meyssan,Voltaire Network

For two decades, the Pentagon has been applying the “Rumsfeld/Cebrowski doctrine” to the “wider Middle East”. Se…

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The Pentagon has a clandestine Special Forces of 60,000 men. 

They do not appear on any official document and work without 

uniform. Supposedly used against terrorism, they are in fact the 

ones who practice it. The classic armies are dedicated to the fight 

against Russian and Chinese rivals.

 

When the Pentagon attacked Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001, it used its conventional armies – it had no other – and those of its British ally. However, during the “endless war” in Iraq, it built up Iraqi jihadist forces, both Sunni and Shiite, to plunge the country into civil war [11]. One of them, derived from al-Qaeda, was used in Libya in 2011, another in Iraq in 2014 under the name of Daesh. Gradually these groups have replaced the US armies to do the dirty work described by Colonel Ralph Peters in 2001.

Today, no one has seen US soldiers in uniform in Yemen, Lebanon and Israel. The Pentagon itself has advertised their withdrawal. But there are 60,000 clandestine, i.e. non-uniformed, US Special Forces creating chaos, via civil war, in these countries.

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