Tuesday, April 21, 2009

US will occupy Afghanistan 'indefinitely'

The mother of all cockfights
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: Obama's war in AfPak is a war against Pashtuns. Obama's special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Holbrooke admitted as much to CNN's State of the Union less than three weeks ago:

'The people we are fighting in Afghanistan and the people they are sheltering in western Pakistan post a direct threat -- those are the men of 9/11, the people that killed [former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto -- and you can be sure that as we sit here today they are planning further attacks on the United States and our allies.'

Holbrooke manages to muddle it all -- merging Arab al-Qaeda with Pashtun Taliban, implying that the Pashtun Taliban were involved in 9/11 and also in the killing of Benazir (which some even claim was an inside Pakistan army/intelligence services job), not to mention the insinuation that Pashtuns are plotting to attack the US in a 9/11 replay. This newspeak is how the Washington establishment under Obama now sells an unwinnable war to US public opinion...

No amount of Washington spin disguises the fact that Afghanistan is currently -- and will continue to be -- occupied by the US and NATO virtually indefinitely as a strategic peon in the New Great Game in Eurasia... The US Army is building no less than $1.1 billion worth of military bases... As for NATO, its mission will be to protect the projected, $7.6 billion (and counting) perennially troubled TAPI pipeline from Turkmenistan to India via Afghanistan and Pakistan, if investors are foolish enough to give it the go-ahead...

Obama should know by now that Islamabad won't fight the neo-Taliban. The Inter-Services Intelligence supports them -- as do different Pashtun layers of the army. So Obama can pull a Donald Rumsfeld 'stay the course.'... He can keep the anti-Pashtun surge going while getting rid of Karzai in Afghanistan and President Asif Ali Zardari in Pakistan (shades of Vietnam).

What he won't so -- and the Pentagon won't allow -- is to do a full Vietnam and let the last helicopter leave Bagram, because he does not want to go down as the president who lost the American empire of bases and the dream of prevailing in the New Great Game in Eurasia.
Image: Map showing US bases; source here.