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from Iraq to Afghanistan « Previous | |Next »
July 2, 2009

Despite all the rhetoric about bringing democracy to Iraq, it was commonly seen as a bad war. There was the breaking of international law, the lies about weapons of mass destruction, the apparent corruption of contractors, the brutal anarchy in Baghdad, the torture at Abu Ghraib and CIA's torture playbook and the outsourced torture (and torture techniques) to foreign allies.

An Islamic society is emerging from an authoritarian state and it remains to be seen whether Iraqi's can create a functioning state. As the Americans start their withdrawal from Iraq they are convinced that Iraqi democracy will protect the United States against terror.

BellSIraqUS.jpg Steve Bell

If Iraq was seen as a bad war, then Afghanistan is the good war. The US invasion was a response to 9/11, sanctioned by international law and a broad coalition; the objectives were those of self-defence and altruism. Al-Qaida has killed and continues to try to kill innocent citizens, and it is right to prevent them. Rory Stewart in The Irresistible Illusion in the London Review of Books quotes Obama as saying that the aim of the US intervention:

is to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.A necessary condition of the defeat of al-Qaida is the defeat of the Taliban becauseif the Afghan government falls to the Taliban . . . that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.

The fundamental assumption is that an ungoverned or hostile Afghanistan is a threat to global security; that the West has the ability to address the threat and bring prosperity and security; and that this requires an expanded war that includes Pakistan and Afghanistan as a single battlefield.

That means a heavier U.S. military footprint in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region that sits next door to the energy heartlands of Eurasia and the sprawling mass of energy pipelines that will someday, somehow, link the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, South Asia, Russia, and China. The Af-Pak war has an geo-ecopolitics context.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 10:45 AM | | Comments (4)
Comments

Comments

The English version of the German news yesterday reported on the withdrawal of US troops from Baghdad as the newly installed government auctioned off the oil fields to multi nationals, the new government was disappointed with the low prices at their auction.
Why do Americans think they can successfully invade Afganistan when the Moghuls didn't try, the British failed and it's regarded as Russia's Vietnam?
The Taliban was nurtured by CIA dirty tricks and the Afghani population has to live with their folly.

"Why do Americans think they can successfully invade Afganistan when the Moghuls didn't try, the British failed and it's regarded as Russia's Vietnam?"

Precisely.

"Why do Americans think they can successfully invade Afganistan when the Moghuls didn't try, the British failed and it's regarded as Russia's Vietnam?"

Well d'uh, because Americans are Teh Awesome, not pansy Brits with bad teeth or filthy commie scum.

"Why do Americans think they can successfully invade Afganistan when the Moghuls didn't try, the British failed and it's regarded as Russia's Vietnam?"

They are the only imperial power and have key imperial interests in the region. They want a military toehold in the Af-Pak region to ensure that they can play an energy version of The Great Game and access the energy sources in Central Asia through the TAPI pipeline. This is designed to deliver natural gas from Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India via Afghanistan without the involvement of either Iran or Russia.

The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline is strongly supported by the U.S. because it would block a competing pipeline from Iran---the Iran–Pakistan–India (IPI) gas pipeline-- that would bring oil to India and Pakistan. It would also reduce Russia's dominance of the energy sector in Central Asia.

The 1,680 kilometre U.S-backed pipeline, with more than 500 kilometres of it in Kandahar Afghanistan, would be an inviting target for Taliban and al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. It would be very difficult to defend. The Afghan government has made assurances that the gas route would be clear of landmines and Taliban within two years. The task of defence would fall at this stage on the Canadians.