America, Afghanistan and the politics of perpetual war

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SHAFAQNA – Once upon a US presidential election one hopeful Donald Trump told a hopeful nation he would disengage America’s military complex overseas so that the Land of the Free could be restored to its glory, and in peace forged a new path …

Forget peace and forget those promises politicians make on the campaign trail… Trump’ supporters beware America’s neocon Establishment solely exists through its ever-inflating, forever belligerent self-righteous defense budget. Who were we kidding? Just like a leopard cannot change its spots, America is unlikely to abandon its imperialism when imperialism lined up its elite’s pocket.

Army General Joseph Votel told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Thursday that “additional resources” will be required to carry out a new US strategy in Afghanistan. So really disengagement was a euphemism for more, and one may argue until the fat lady sings the last fall of the curtain.

According to Gen.Votel the United States has no other choice but to commit more men to its Afghan adventure if indeed it is to achieve its goals – if only the DoD would be so kind as to outline them.

“I do believe it will involve additional forces to ensure that we can make the advise and assist mission more effective.” While the general was careful not to speak any real number – one must remember that on paper the US did withdraw from Afghanistan war theater, another military brass last month, General John Nicholson, top US commander in Afghanistan, said thousands more were required.

Let me recap that for you. Rather than pull out and essentially allow for Afghanistan to be restored and returned to its people, its sovereignty and its future, Washington now wants to dig its heels further, further anchoring its politics of perpetual war in the Greater Middle East.

Maybe soon we will be told by well-to-do advisers that Afghanistan need to be broken up into safe zones and its state institutions put under foreign tutelage so that freedom could be at last cemented … Stranger things have happened!

In all seriousness though, America’s grand push forward in Afghanistan screams of hegemonic desperation. Yes, desperation! And quite possibly manipulation. Whatever do I mean?

I will ask you to look at Afghanistan within its regional context. The first country to have fallen to America’s counter-terrorism military campaign, this one nation of Central Asia has seen conflicting agendas, geopolitical interests and I would personally argue, systems of governance crashed against its mountains. For Washington wanted itself an empire against those nations that stubbornly wore – and continue to wear independance as their birthright, an entire region was marked for a violent military cover under the cover of counter-terrorism.

And no, Mr Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, Iran is not the grand architect of Terror the world needs to annihilate. I believe Wahhabism rose that monster from within the sands of your homeland: Nejd.

If you missed it, the prince laid blame on Tehran’s footstep this March so that one pliable President Trump could pretend that the kingdom sits not the fountainhead of radicalism in the world.

Iran is trying to gain its legitimacy in the Islamic world by supporting terrorist organizations with the aim of reaching Mecca, the Qibla of all Muslims, which gives them the legitimacy they lack in the Islamic world,” he posited.

How does any of the above link back to Afghanistan? Bear with me.

For all intents and purposes Afghanistan has been a blueprint for America’s imperial pursuit … but boy oh boy have dynamics changed since. More to the point, new powers have entered the fray.

The United States as it were might not be as in control as it would like the world to believe. What if America’s politics of perpetual war in Afghanistan in fact betrays its dependence on another’s agenda? What if the US was now but a mercenary army sold to the gold of Saudi Arabia? You must admit it would explain Washington’s propensity to barter its own national interests so that of others could tower higher.

Just as the Black Flag Army is losing to a grand trans-national resistance movement in Iraq and Syria, America is looking to reinforce its Afghan military presence. My question would be: whose positions is Washington looking to defend – that of Wahhabi-inspired radicals, or Afghanistan’s?

Earlier in March General Nicholson, acknowledged in a briefing to the US Senate Armed Services Committee that Daesh Khorasan Province, had “shown an ability to conduct attacks in Kabul and elsewhere in the country” despite its battlefield losses, pointing to a shift in terror strategy. Just as Terror is going underground the US military is calling for more of the same: more troops, more weapons, more attacks against “enemy-targets” … more, more, more!

While no one will argue that MORE should be done against Daesh and Co. I’m still not clear on America’s role in this fight against Terror.

If we consider that it was Washington’s propensity for military interventionism that paved the way for a grand Wahhabist revival in the Islamic world over a decade ago, we may want to reserve the right to question America’s intentions.

Add to that US officials’ insistence to befriend, defend and court the one power sitting at the very heart of Terror’s ideology: Saudi Arabia, and we may want to theorise that the United States has long been bought to another’s agenda.

I leave you with a few burning questions: whose armies have systematically opposed Terror’s advances? Whose resources have been systematically spent in the defense of nations’ sovereign rights?

I will give you a hint – America does not feature on that list!

By Catherine Shakdam – Director Shafaqna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies

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