The US in a precarious situation
07 March, 2013
By Asif Haroon Raja
While George W Bush led regime of neo-cons had initiated the insane war on the pretext of 9/11 attacks, Obama administration took no steps to wind down the war after taking over in January 2009 by which time the futility of war and hidden motives had been exposed. Rather, the Democrats accelerated the war and introduced drone war to further fuel terrorism. Under the cover of war on terror, the hidden motives of the US and its western allies were to undermine Islam, kill as many extremist Muslims averse to American policies and western way of life, steal the resources of Muslim world, remove radical Muslim governments and replace them with secular pro-America regimes and redraw the boundaries of Middle East.
Apart from physical wars to replace the regimes of Afghanistan, Iraq and later of Libya and installing puppet regimes, the US gave a free hand to CIA, FBI and US-NATO forces to terrorize and eliminate the so-called irreconcilables. They were given license to kill without any fear of accountability. Black water, security contractors and kill teams were part of the team. Scores of secret torture cells were established all over the globe including most infamous Guantanamo Bay, Bagram and Abu Gharib Jails where suspects were locked up for years without any recourse to legal counsel. Indefinite detention without charge or trial, as well as the illegal military commissions were justified and declared as legal.
CIA operated secret detention centres including Guantanamo Bay are still in operation despite Obama's election campaign promises. Besides third degree torture, most horrible water boarding method is also used to even make the innocent ones agree to the crime they had not committed. While Bush regime had made use of drones prudently, Obama administration wanting to win the war with drones went berserk. Now even US citizens are not safe from drones and secret dungeons. They are subjected to warrantless eavesdropping, the Patriot Act, and new restrictions have been imposed on the release of indefinitely held detainees. In October 2012, 'disposition matrix' was administered to determine how terrorism suspects would be disposed of. The US is killing its own people and locking them up outside the traditional judicial system in an unforgivable manner. Such oppressive policies are likely to persist for at least another decade.
Having backed Northern Alliance with massive airpower to oust Taliban regime in November 2001, the US then began to expand, train and equip ANSF and invested billions of dollars to enable them to conduct counterterrorism independently and also take over security of Afghanistan at an appropriate time. Karzai regime mostly comprising members of non-Pashtun Northern Alliance Tajik and Uzbek warlords was patronized and rewarded while the majority Pashtun community was sidelined and persecuted. This unfair and biased policy was adopted much against the advice rendered by Pakistan. Resultantly the entire lot of Pashtun community developed acute detestation against USA and started joining the Taliban. Support to Karzai continued despite his total failure to control incompetence, mis-governance and corruption and his writ getting shrunk to Kabul.
Till recent, the ISAF commanders cribbed about the lack of efficiency and indiscipline of ANSF, but now the US-NATO is faced with another dilemma of insiders attacks and that too at a time when handing over of security duties to ANSF is half-way through and occupying forces have started thinning out. Taliban have managed to infiltrate rank and file of ANSF. Cases of green-on-blue attacks are on the increase and so are cases of suicides within US Army (349 in 2012). Reasons behind inside attacks are cultural differences, haughty and cynical attitude of foreign soldiers, civilian casualties in air/drone attacks, and possibly US secret parleys with Taliban.
Flabbergasted by this new development for which the Pentagon has no remedy except to caution its troops to take added precautionary measures, the frustrated US officials are now heard saying that the "War on Terror" will continue ad infinitum. Nonplussed by this strange phenomenon of Afghan soldiers attacking US troops with growing regularity, they cannot reconcile as to why the Afghan soldiers subsisting on US aid and receiving advanced training from US-NATO trainers have turned against their benefactors. People like Matthew Rosenberg and many in the US government have begun to realize the reality that the 'people end up disliking those who occupy and bomb their country'. Chickens have come home to roost. This kind of stabbing in the back by the beneficiaries was bound to happen in the wake of policy of oppression adopted by occupying troops, completely disregarding civilian casualties. That day is not far when the drone operators in Langley might be striking US targets. USA is the only country in the world where 99% are poor and only 1% dirty rich. The elite class in USA is still not prepared to wind up the bloody war which has destabilized world order since the war is fetching the drug, arms and trade merchants' huge profits.
The surge in inside attacks as well as Taliban attacks in 2012 is a clear indication that Afghan bitterness of foreigners has greatly heightened. It is becoming exceedingly difficult for the US trainers to continue imparting training lessons to ANA and training process has been disrupted. But the US is also mindful of the fact that the training mission is the central part of the American withdrawal plan for 2014. Lots of senior coalition and Afghan officials are now opining that after nearly 12 years of war, majority of Afghans irrespective of their sect and ethnicity view the foreigners as infidels illegally occupying their country and abhor them. Irrespective of the sharpened divide between the Pashtun and non-Pashtun Afghans, a great percentage of Afghans want to drive out the occupiers.
It is an established fact that the US and its western allies governed by mercantile and strategic motives started the war on terror to eliminate terrorism but its unjust vendetta which took lives of millions of Muslims fueled terrorism. Invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq were not unintended slip-ups but intentional. The war mongers didn't expect in their wildest imaginations that equipped with best weaponry and technology, the war would become the longest in modern history and the poorly equipped opponents would fight them so doggedly. Rather than the resistance forces getting pooped of resources and stamina, the resource-heavy invaders have become whacked and are faced with financial crunch. Drenched in the pool of greed of power and wealth the US justified its unjust policies of aggression and militarism by creating the subterfuge of terrorism, which it projected as a threat to world peace. Drunk with power, it didn't realize that it was not only digging its own grave but also making the world more unsafe because of its atrocious acts.
Today the back of mighty USA is against the wall and is left with no cards to bargain with Taliban. It is forced to seek the help of Pakistan which it has all along been mistrusting, humiliating and harassing. However, despite its precarious situation, the US expressed its displeasure over Pakistan's decision to hand over operation of Gawadar seaport to China and has also cautioned Pakistan not to go ahead with Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project otherwise sanctions will be imposed. It is unhappy over All Parties Conference of Pakistan's decision to negotiate with TTP. It has not taken any steps to expedite repatriation of absconders Fazlullah and Faqir Muhammad residing in Afghanistan or to restrain India from meddling in Balochistan and FATA. It ignores Hindu terrorism even after Indian government making a confession. In an attempt to create bad blood between the Army and people of FATA and to disrupt materialization of peace deal, New York Times has come out with a bizarre story that Pakistan Army fired drones in North Waziristan in February 2013. This disjointed approach speaks of a warped mind.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst.