sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, June 23, 2013

End of the Afghan War

You can't always trust what you read in the newspapers. And you can't always trust what you read on the Internet and on blogs. However, this blog does attempt to cut through the fog to the extent possible and provide clarity.

The US has engaged the Taliban in a species of peace talks that are sponsored by the Emirate of Qatar. Pursuant to that, The Afghan Taliban have received quasi-diplomatic recognition again, for the first time in a dozen years. Today they opened a political office in Doha, Qatar.
(Taliban in Doha) "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan simultaneously follows military and political actions and aims which are limited to Afghanistan. The Islamic Emirate never wants to pose harms to other countries from its soil, nor will it allow anyone to cause a threat to the security of countries from the soil of Afghanistan."
News outlets reported that representatives of the Taliban will meet Afghan and US officials in Doha, Qatar, to discuss an agenda for what US officials called "peace and reconciliation" before further talks take place with Afghan government representatives soon after.

Afghanistan is returning to its roots.
The Taliban office in Qatar has the approval of Mullah Omar, as does the initiation of talks. They made a longer statement than I reported above and in that statement, betray no sense of compromise in the long term agenda. They appear to have dropped their longstanding condition that all foreign troops must withdraw from Afghanistan first before talks could begin. The talks are simply a delaying tactic as US forces leave Afghanistan.

News reports described the lengthy arrangements involving Pakistan, the US, Egypt and others that nurtured the prospective talks with the Taliban, not just Qatar. If talks actually start, the process might provide a window of reduced attacks for an orderly withdrawal of Western forces, instead of a withdrawal under fire. That is probably as substantive as the talks will get and even that is wishful thinking. Omar and the other anti-government leaders can't control their fighters sufficiently to keep any promises of restraint.

I was generally opposed to the US occupation of Afghanistan beyond the initial phase post 9/11 and the expansion of the war under Obama to become a war of national pacification. Anyone who reads history and understands the nature of the place could not help but come to the same conclusion as I have. Mr. Obama wanted to have a war, he picked Afghanistan and now he's withdrawing. For those of you who recall the scene in 2009, it was "Iraq bad, Afghanistan good." Both cost a lot of blood and treasure. And in 2013, what do we have to show for them? Iraq is now the home of a bloody civil war. Over 200 people were murdered in Baghdad last week. It reminds me of Chicago...because the mainstream media doesn't cover either one. Afghanistan will return to a repressive Islamist state that harbors like-minded people.
Hamid Karzai, Crook

The Karzai Government is a puppet government and exists only so long as he has US bayonets to back him up. The moment that the US is gone, he'll be aboard his Gulfstream, loaded with cash and gold, headed for retirement in Switzerland.

Such are the wars that we fight these days. It's not difficult to predict how things will turn out.

North Korea is Mystified

This week, a pro-North Korean news outlet in Japan published a lengthy signed article urging the US to accept the North's talks proposal. The article contained a tutorial on North Korean understanding of terms, implying the US might not have appreciated their significance. The article purported to tutor the US about how North Korea was at the center of all recent high level discussions. That is the North Korean world view.
North Korean Generals -- not nearly enough medals
The article concluded with this threat: "The crisis that occurred in March would repeat itself, should the Obama administration avoid dialogue and miss out on the opportunity for negotiations to remove the structure of confrontation from the Korean peninsula. The days are gone when the United States was giving lectures to tell the DPRK to do this or that, while unilaterally committing military coercion."

Although the article is not an official North Korean government statement, it almost certainly was published with approval by the North Korean central committee secretariat for propaganda. Kim Jong Un's advisers seem uneasy that the US has not jumped at their leader's offer of talks. Their statements indicate they consider North Korea the geo-strategic equal of China and the United States because all signed the Armistice Agreement.

Dear Leader - and friends - offended by the
lack of respect they're shown.
South Korean President Park makes her state visit to China next week and the North Koreans want to see themselves as a player internationally to a greater degree than they are. There is nothing new in their posture. They fail to appreciate that rest of the world knows that they threatened a nuclear war and then were forced to back down because they could not maintain a nation-wide combat alert. The populace has little capacity for more deprivation in another phony crisis. They offer nothing new in talks. And nobody really cares whether or not they starve, so long as they don't launch nuclear attacks against their neighbors.

In my opinion, Kim Jung Un would like to drift his country toward some sort of rapprochement with the West and with South Korea (which is being conciliatory) in an effort to pull his country out of the hole that his grandfather and father have put it in. However, for North Korea to join the rest of the planet, the people will need to be included in the fact that they've been screwed -- hard -- by their leadership for decade after decade. It would mean a loss of power for the North Korean elite - and if they remained in the country, they'd likely be murdered by a mob. That won't happen anytime soon. Neither will talks that result in bribes being paid to North Korea not to attack their neighbors.