Marwan Bishara is Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst and just posted an article entitled “Tangoing with the Taliban” He was previously a professor of International Relations at the American University of Paris. An author who writes extensively on global politics, he is widely regarded as a leading authority on the Middle East and international affairs.
Battle of the Generals Board Game, too bad this is Not A Game
Bishara writes today in Al Jazerra the following story. He points out the sub-plots, the cold wars going on right now in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The US Military is in the middle of this mess. Bishara says "If the US withdraws in any meaningful way in the next couple of years with clear victory against the Taliban/al-Qaeda, as President Barack Obama suggested when he supported the surge, the Karzai government would fall in no time." An interesting concept: The US "Wins" and Karazi Government becomes the Taliban government?. Read this very important story about Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan dance that is going on. Action Items To Do Follow This Story:
Despite the US military ‘surge’, Afghanistan is proving more challenging than Iraq.
Unlike the general Iraqi distaste and hostility for al-Qaeda’s methods and objectives, Osama bin Laden’s network remains the Taliban’s most potent strategic partner in its fight against the central government and its US patron.
Al Jazeera has learnt that in the last several months, al-Qaeda has spearheaded certain Taliban offensives and tried to bridge and coordinate between the various Talibans, notably the Afghan and Pakistani groups. It has been mission impossible for the US thus far to sift the Taliban into so-called moderate vs radicals and hardcore vs pragmatists silos. Separating the Taliban from al-Qaeda has also failed.
In the process, the Taliban have reportedly opened new fronts in the northern regions after they consolidated their grip on the southern and eastern regions. They introduce their version of security and justice to these regions, like a parallel government. The US and the international coalition’s frustration with the Afghan army and its incapacity to counter the insurgency’s offensive, sooner rather than later, could force the US to rethink any illusions of victory.
If the US withdraws in any meaningful way in the next couple of years with clear victory against the Taliban/al-Qaeda, as President Barack Obama suggested when he supported the surge, the Karzai government would fall in no time. Perception of US failure and Taliban success would have a far-reaching psychological and political impact on opposition and notably Islamist movements in the region with strategic ramifications for US interests and its role in the Greater Middle East.
Strategy trumps all
All of which explains why the London meeting on Afghanistan has turned its eyes to finding alternative strategies to the military escalation and put emphasis on regional solutions. Notably, Washington and London are eager that Pakistan and more directly Saudi Arabia play a more prominent role in reaching political accommodation in the country between the Karzai government and the Taliban.
For Riyadh, Afghanistan is part of its open cold war with Tehran over influence in the Islamic world, whether on behalf of Washington or its own camp in the region. As in Yemen, Iraq, Palestine or Lebanon, Saudi Arabia is keen to project influence where it has assets and that includes Afghanistan and the Wahabi-influenced Taliban.
Considering Saudi Arabia has taken the US side in Afghanistan, its past support of the Taliban stemming from their religious commonality suggests that Riyadh still has leverage.
Strategically, the US-sponsored Saudi-Pakistani influence seems the best way to contain Iranian/al-Qaeda influence. Tehran considers Afghanistan to be part of its area of influence and would not hesitate to confront the US and its allies there if Washington where to threaten it or isolate it further.
For Pakistan, Afghanistan has emerged as a central front of its cold war with India. Islamabad is bothered by the US-India rapprochement and the way in which Washington’s strategy in Afghanistan ended up exporting the Taliban/al-Qaeda challenge to its territory in very violent ways. This means Pakistan has two options: Export the Taliban/al-Qaeda challenge back to Afghanistan – and its intelligence services reportedly have sufficient leverage to do it. Or, insist on being centre stage to any future arrangements in Afghanistan. It will not tolerate being a spectator.
It is not clear in the final analysis whether the Saudi-Pakistani role under US patronage would aim to reach ‘functional’ or ‘territorial’ division between the Karzai government and theTaliban. The first entails ambitious reconciliation, even if limited to the so-called moderate Taliban, which aims to bring them into the governing fold. And the second would lead to de facto, pragmatic albeit transitional division of the country into Karzai and Taliban (14?) controlled regions.
Any accommodation with the Taliban – as partners not deserters – will revolve around two important issues, al-Qaeda and Taliban Wahabism. With no global ambition, the Taliban’s main objective is to rule Afghanistan according to its version of the Islamic Sharia. Despite their serious ‘moral’ and strategic commitment to al-Qaeda, bin Laden still comes second. For the US and its coalition partners, the main objective is al-Qaeda’s isolation and defeat. Social norms in Afghanistan, even if they are committed to change them, remain secondary.
Do not be surprised if there are compromises on secondary issues, allowing the Taliban to impose its rule and the US to declare victory against al-Qaeda.
Either way, all of the regional and international powers are dancing to the tunes of the Taliban. Not exactly the victory gig they had envisaged.
Bulletin: Pentagon’s Black Budget Tops $56 Billion
STOP WAR FUNDING DEFUND WAR. ORG
The Members of Congress in this room can Stop the War(s), by voting 'NO' on the $33 Billion that President Obama is asking for to keep the war going in Afghanistan, You can tell your Representative to Vote NO, read the information below
The above link will take you to a website that will allow you to have access to some action items you can do to End the War(s) Funding Now. President Obama is asking for an additional $33 Billion for the War in Afghanistan. Call your member of Congress (phone numbers and info are at the site) and demand them to Stop Funding the War(s).
On numerous occasions, Congress has exercised its constitutional authority to end military engagements. Here are just a few examples:
Cambodia – In late December 1970, Congress passes the Supplemental Foreign Assistance Appropriations Act prohibiting the use of funds to finance the introduction of United States ground combat troops into Cambodia or to provide U.S. advisors to or for Cambodian military forces in Cambodia.
Vietnam – In late June 1973, Congress passes the second Supplemental Appropriations Act for FY1973. This legislation contains language cutting off funds for combat activities in Vietnam after August 15, 1973.
Somalia – In November 1993, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act includes a provision that prohibits funding after March 31, 1994 for military operations in Somalia, except for a limited number of military personnel to protect American diplomatic personnel and American citizens, unless further authorized by Congress.
Bosnia – In 1998, Congress passes the Defense Authorization Bill, with a provision that prohibits funding for Bosnia after June 30, 1998, unless the President makes certain assurances.
Go to defundwar.org and make a difference.
Read the Flyer: We Call for the United States to End Its Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan!
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“March on Washington on March 20, End the War(s)” was first Posted on January 2, 2010. It is being Re-Posted today because we all must participate on March 20. Read all you can and organize locally if you can’t get to Washington on March 20. Come the week before as there will be events of protest leading up to the day of the march. Please pass this Post link along to your friends.
Show your support on March 20. A day for Peace…..
The time has come for your personal action to End the War(s). The date to show how you feel is March 20, 2010. There will be a March on Washington, led by the ANSWER Coalition. Spread the word. There will be a lot of news on this in the upcoming months. Organize your local town for action on March 20. Show the world WE CARE. Take action now. Personally endorse the March 20 March on Washington, click here.
We marched when Bush was President, now let's march when Obama increases troops. Come March 20 to Washington, DC and demand the End to the War(s)
A.N.S.W.E.R. The anti-war movement responds to President Obama’s speech Statement from the ANSWER Coalition Rhetoric and Reality: Masking War Escalation as a Withdrawal Plan
Endorse the March 20 National March on Washington Click Here.
On Saturday, March 20, 2010, there will be a mass National March & Rally in D.C. We will march together to say “No Colonial-type Wars and Occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine!” We will march together to say “No War Against Iran!” We will march together to say “No War for Empire Anywhere!” Instead of war, we will demand funds so that every person can have a job, free and universal health care, decent schools, and affordable housing. A day of action and outreach in Washington, D.C., will take place on Friday, March 19, preceding the Saturday march. There will be coinciding mass marches on March 20 in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Cindy Sheehan and a coalition of groups has announced a new initiative set to begin in March 2010 called Peace of the Action, ( Click Here for More) an integral part of which will be a camp that will be set up beginning March 13.
This camp will be a staging area for people coming to DC to take part in anti-war activities. Join Peace of the Action, Click Here. Our demand is simple: Troops out of the Middle East, which includes drones, permanent bases, contractors and torture/detention facilities. We will begin Peace of the Action on March 13th when we gather in Washington, DC to erect Camp OUT NOW on the lawn of the Washington Monument, directly across the street from the White House and our actions will begin on March 22nd.
We need individuals who realize that time is running short for us to truly affect change through commitment and dedication to humanity through the end to the U.S. Empire (and its subsidiaries). March 20 is the seventh anniversary of the criminal war of aggression launched by Bush and Cheney against Iraq. One million or more Iraqis have died. Tens of thousands of U.S. troops have lost their lives or been maimed, and continue to suffer a whole host of enduring problems from this terrible war. This is the time for united action. The slogans on banners may differ, but all those who carry them should be marching shoulder to shoulder.
The initiators and endorsers of the March 20 National March on Washington (preceded by the March 19 Day of Action and Outreach in D.C.) include: the ANSWER Coalition; Muslim American Society Freedom; National Council of Arab Americans; Cynthia McKinney; Malik Rahim, co-founder of Common Ground Collective; Ramsey Clark; Cindy Sheehan; Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK; Debra Sweet, Director, World Can’t Wait; Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace; Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition; Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild; Ron Kovic, author of “Born on the 4th of July”; Juan Jose Gutierrez, Director, Latino Movement USA; Col. Ann Wright (ret.); March Forward!; Partnership for Civil Justice; Palestinian American Women Association; MANA – Muslim Alliance in North America; Alliance for a Just and Lasting Peace in the Philippines; Alliance for Global Justice; Claudia de la Cruz, Pastor, Iglesia San Romero de Las Americas-UCC; Phil Portluck, Social Justice Ministry, Covenant Baptist Church, D.C.; Blase & Theresa Bonpane, Office of the Americas; Coalition for Peace and Democracy in Honduras; Comite Pro-Democracia en Mexico; Frente Unido de los Pueblos Americanos; Comites de Base FMLN, Los Angeles; Free Palestine Alliance; GABRIELA Network; Justice for Filipino American Veterans; KmB Pro-People Youth; Students Fight Back; Jim Lafferty, Executive Director, National Lawyers Guild – LA Chapter; LEF Foundation; National Coalition to Free the Angola 3; Community Futures Collective; Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival; Companeros del Barrio; Barrio Unido for Full and Unconditional Amnesty; Michael Berg; Action Center for Justice – Charlotte, NC; Bay Area United Against War; Casa las Américas; Community Organizing Center, Columbus, Ohio; CT-SAW (Connecticut Students Against the War) ; Delaware Valley Veterans for America; Hawai’i Solidarity Committee; Malcolm X Center for Self-Determination; Texans for Peace; and many more.
Endorse the March 20 National March on Washington Click Here. Send this Post link to your friends: Thank YOU.
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War causes death and serious injuries. The United States troops hurt or dead is over 70,000. WHEN IS ENOUGH ENOUGH? End the War(s) NOW.
Read the story here: Last Week: US Iraq Casualties Rise to 72,548 From Voters For Peace By Michael Munk
End the War(s): U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now, AFP photo
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Stop the Assassination Drones:. Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.
Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.” Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.
[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]
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You can order bumperstickers at this link.
Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.