↑ Grab this Headline Animator

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pepe Escobar: Backstage at the theater of 'terror'

Afghanistan is not only the graveyard of empires; it's a graveyard of misconceptions.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden believed that the mujahideen single-handedly defeated the Soviet empire; so a more compact mujahid band, al-Qaeda, would be the vanguard in defeating the American empire. It was never that simple.

In the United States, the myth rules that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) delivered the Soviets "their Vietnam"; thus this was

basically a US victory, with the "freedom fighters" (copyright president Ronald Reagan) as supporting actors. It was never that simple.

The Pakistani military-intelligence establishment believes since the late 1970s, that a puppet Afghanistan was essential for its "strategic depth". It was never that simple.

It's also useful to remember today that little has changed regarding the Afghan tragedy in these past three decades. And that makes the upcoming US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) surge in Afghanistan a certified road to ruin.

Historian, diplomat, strategist and US foreign policy establishment icon George Kennan - the author of the "containment" of communism strategy - was one
of these voices; he dismissed Carter as "immature".

Kennan also made two points that remain extremely valid today; that if the Persian Gulf was so "vital" for the US, that was because of US oil greed; and that instability in the Middle East was not due to USSR moves but to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the US blindly backing one side.

The freedom fighters return

Unlike standard Obama rhetoric, Afghanistan is not the "central front in the war on terror". The key to the riddle lies in the middle-echelons of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the army. The ISI "invented" the Taliban - and the middle to upper ranks, as well as some Pashtun army officers, continue to fully support not only the "historic" Taliban of the Mullah Omar group but the neo-Taliban of the Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Sufi Mohammed varieties.

The problem is Washington has no leverage, no credibility and no inside intelligence to conduct a wide-ranging purge of the ISI and the Pakistani army.


Post a Comment

<< Home