Category: Afghanistan
Uncle Sam Dumps Afghan Mess on Russia
worker | July 5, 2021 | 1:33 pm | Afghanistan, Russia | No comments

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202107051083312457-uncle-sam-dumps-afghan-mess-on-russia/

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Russia is right to be alarmed about the impending chaos in Afghanistan as the United States and NATO forces finally scurry away from the war-torn country.

After 20 years of waging a futile war in the Central Asian nation, costing over 241,000 lives and trillions of dollars, the US military is pulling out in haste.

Most of its remaining 3,000 troops have hurriedly vacated the country in recent days from the giant Bagram Airbase north of the capital, Kabul. There was hardly any media coverage of the momentous yet shameful exit, which evokes memories of the disgraceful Fall of Saigon when the last of US military and CIA operatives fled Vietnam in 1975 like rats off a sinking ship.

US President Joe Biden had earlier this year declared a September deadline for withdrawing forces. The retreat has happened already, leaving Afghanistan with an uncertain and dangerous future.

This June 10, 2017 photo released by the U.S. Marine Corpsshows an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter provides security from above while CH-47 Chinooks drop off supplies to U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan.
© AP PHOTO / SGT. JUSTIN UPDEGRAFF
This June 10, 2017 photo released by the U.S. Marine Corpsshows an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter provides security from above while CH-47 Chinooks drop off supplies to U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan.

The American commander of US forces, General Scott Miller, last week warned that Afghanistan is now facing a surge in civil war as Taliban militants push Afghan troops backed by Washington into ever-decreasing urban areas of control.

The perplexing thing for Russia is that Afghanistan has become a growth area for the Daesh* terror group which seems to have taken advantage of the void left by the Americans and other NATO forces. Daesh shares a similar fundamentalist Islamic ideology with the Taliban and there is good reason to suspect a level of cooperation between the two. That suggests that Afghanistan will become an even bigger haven for terrorist networks despite Taliban assurances that it will not.

If the Taliban and Daesh over-run Afghanistan in the next months, which is likely given the weak nature of US-backed Afghan security forces, then Russia will have a radical caliphate on its southern flank. It was to prevent such a threat to its national security that Moscow decided to intervene in the Syrian war to help the Assad government defeat jihadists and thereby prevent similar militants migrating to its Caucasia regions.

The jihadist problem of Syria was created by the United States and NATO partners as a covert means for regime change against President Assad. The Russian military intervention put paid to that American subterfuge by crushing the array of Daesh-affiliated militants.

Armed men attend a gathering to announce their support for Afghan security forces and that they are ready to fight against the Taliban, on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan June 23, 2021
© REUTERS / STRINGER
Armed men attend a gathering to announce their support for Afghan security forces and that they are ready to fight against the Taliban, on the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan June 23, 2021

Now, ironically, the disorderly American defeat in Afghanistan is creating potential headaches for Russia.

Nikolai Patrushev, the head of Russia’s national security council, has been in discussions with Kabul to reportedly map out ways by which Moscow can help maintain regional stability. The discussions have been made all the more pressing by the rapid pullout by the Americans.

“The suppression of terrorism and drug crimes, as well as trade, economic and military-technical cooperation, were discussed in detail”, the Russian security council statement said.

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has also expressed concern about the spread of Daesh in northern Afghanistan. Lavrov blamed the complacency by politicians in Kabul to engage in peace talks with the Taliban as being a factor in why Daesh is burgeoning amid the internal chaos.

Moscow’s experience of Afghanistan is not a happy one. When the Soviet Union intervened in 1979 to support a then allied government in Kabul against US-backed Mujahideen (a forerunner of the Taliban), that led to a disastrous 10-year war which gravely weakened the Soviet Union.

© REUTERS / JIM HOLLANDER
U.S. troops to withdraw from Afghanistan

American imperial machinations in Afghanistan – supposedly in revenge for purported 9/11 terror attacks on the US in 2001 – have created an utter catastrophe. After two decades, Afghanistan lies in ruins and the Taliban are poised to once again be back in power. A recent study by Brown University estimates the cost of the war at $2.26 trillion. That cost will grow into the future amid healthcare payouts for veterans and financial interest. More than 71,000 Afghan civilians were killed. And for what? Afghanistan is American imperial hubris and state terrorism gone mad.

It is a bitter repercussion that the criminal destruction of Afghanistan by Washington is now bequeathing a national security problem for Russia and other neighbouring nations. It is tempting to suspect that the Americans are deliberately offloading their mess onto Russia and cynically enjoying the dilemma being foisted on Moscow.

* Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/”Islamic State”) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Biden Drops Afghan Mess to Target China, Russia
worker | April 15, 2021 | 7:52 pm | Afghanistan, China, Joe Biden, Russia | Comments closed

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/202104151082638300-biden-drops-afghan-mess-to-target-china-russia/

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President Joe Biden’s administration is the sixth one to have presided over the 20-year US war in Afghanistan. And he is the fourth president to have overseen America’s “longest war”.

Two previous presidents, Obama and Trump, promised to end the “forever war” and both left office without fulfilling that aspiration.

So there is fair reason to view with skepticism Biden’s vow this week to withdraw all US troops from the Central Asian war-torn country – known as the “graveyard of empires” – by September.

Currently, there are 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan along with 9,600 other NATO soldiers. That’s a fraction of the numbers a decade ago when the war was at its height. Washington and its NATO allies agreed this week to all pull out residual forces by September in an “orderly” exit.

 

This delays an earlier withdrawal date – next month – that the Trump administration had negotiated with the Taliban enemy in a deal struck last year. The Taliban aren’t happy about the US missing the deadline and the delay might suggest America procrastinating on its eventual departure. 

Nevertheless, the indication is Biden wants to wrap up the war by definitely pulling American boots out of Afghanistan. The main reason is less to do with Afghanistan and more to do with confronting China and Russia.

First of all, there is the hype about “job done”. Biden claimed this week that the US defeated the Al Qaeda terror group in Afghanistan and had eliminated its leader Osama bin Laden back in 2011. There was no reason to stick around any longer, he said.

Secondly, Biden is linking the withdrawal of troops to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. That linkage is meant to convey the public image that the United States ostensibly completed its mission of avenging those American deaths.

This June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan
© AP PHOTO / SGT. JUSTIN UPDEGRAFF
This June 10, 2017 photo provided by Operation Resolute Support, U.S. Soldiers with Task Force Iron maneuver an M-777 howitzer, so it can be towed into position at Bost Airfield, Afghanistan

Many observers will not buy Biden’s implied claims of “accomplishment”. Indeed, such a notion is preposterous and grotesque given the reality of criminality and catastrophe of the war in Afghanistan.

More US and NATO troops were killed in the war than American citizens on 9/11. Over 20,000 casualties were incurred by US forces in a war whose original pretext was dubious.

More than 43,000 Afghan civilians are estimated to have been killed in war-related violence,  many of them from US airstrikes and deadly night raids on villages by special forces. The total death toll stands at more than 157,000.

Biden’s hype about “war over” is really just a facade to cover the disgrace of American failure and near-destruction of a nation. The fact is the Americans lost, and the Taliban won, if we measure by who is left standing. But the contrived American narrative infers that the US desperately wants out of a quagmire it created at the cost of trillions of dollars.

 

Another indicator is Biden’s announced withdrawal comes with “no conditions”. It is an unconditional retreat, meaning the Americans have been beaten to a pulp and have no leverage. The Taliban will easily push aside the US-installed regime in Kabul once the Americans and their NATO partners bail out. And by saying “no conditions”, Biden is really saying to the Taliban, “Do what you want, we just want out (just don’t shoot at us as we leave though).” 

A further sign of US determination to get out of Afghanistan came from Biden’s announcement this week that America needs to prioritise bigger challenges. In particular, he mentioned the “rise of China” as an adversary to US power.

“We have to shore up American competitiveness to meet the stiff competition we’re facing from an increasingly assertive China,” Biden told the nation, adding: “We’ll be much more formidable to our adversaries and competitors over the long term, if we fight the battles for the next 20 years, not the last 20.”

Since Biden became president three months ago, he has ramped up hostility toward China and Russia with blistering speed. It is clear that the imperial planners in Washington realize that in order to cope with what they call “great power rivalry”, the US needs to conserve its resources for warmongering elsewhere.

That’s why Afghanistan is being dropped like a blood-soiled rag. Not for any regretful moral reason, or sense of war weariness. It’s all about Washington consolidating its belligerent efforts against China and Russia.

The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

Beware of Trumps bearing gifts
worker | December 23, 2018 | 8:45 am | Afghanistan, Donald Trump, Struggle for Peace, Syria | 1 Comment

By J. Thompson

Leftists and Peaceniks everywhere are celebrating Trump’s order to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. It should be celebrated as it is the right thing to do.

Does this mean that people of conscience can now rest with this apparent victory?

Hell, no! Trump is still Trump. Fascism is still fascism. A wolf in sheep’s clothes is still a wolf. Evil is still evil. Genocide is still genocide.

Trump is pulling the troops out, but where will they go? Trump has given us some hints. He has shut down the government because he wants money for his shameful wall. He recently sent troops to the border with Mexico. Does he want to send more troops to the border? Is the US preparing plans to invade our neighbors to the South?

It is clear that the US has its sites set on Cuba, and Venezuela. What is the US preparing for the new leftist President of Mexico?

People of conscience need to prepare to oppose any further military aggression by the US. Otherwise, our fearful leaders will flush workers down the toilet of a devastating World War.

Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline
worker | August 25, 2017 | 6:50 pm | Afghanistan, Analysis | Comments closed
Rudy Ayala (2nd L) Law Enforcement Professional embeded with the Marine corps questions opium poppy farmers at Maranjan village in Helmand province on April 25, 2011 as US Marines from Border Adviser Team (BAT) and Explosive Ordance Disposal 1st and 2nd Marine Division (Forward) and Afghanistan National Police take patrol in the area

Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline

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The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in “counternarcotics programs”. Operation Enduring Freedom — along with the “liberation” of Iraq — have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?

Have a SIGAR

An exhaustive Afghanistan Opium Survey details the steady rise of Afghan opium production as well as the sprawl in production areas; “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”

Another exhaustive report issued by the delightful acronym SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) even hints — discreetly — at the crucial connection; Operation Enduring Freedom feeding America’s heroin epidemic.

Afghanistan is infested by contractors; numbers vary from 10,000 to tens of thousands. Military and ex-military alike can be reasonably pinpointed as players in the heroin ratline — in many cases for personal profit. But the clincher concerns the financing of US intel black ops that should not by any means come under scrutiny by the US Congress.

A Gulf-based intel source with vast experience across the Pentagon-designated “arc of instability” tells the story of his interaction with an Australian intel operative who served in Afghanistan; “This was about 2011. He said he gave US Army Intelligence and the CIA reports on the Afghan heroin trade — that US military convoys from the ports of Pakistan were being used to ship the heroin out of Afghanistan — much of it was raw opium — for distribution as their backhaul.No one answered.

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

And that brings us to a key motive behind President Trump‘s going against his instincts and accepting a new Afghan surge; “In the tradition of the opium wars of perfidious Albion in the 19th century, in which opium paid for tea and silk from India, and the taxes on these silk and tea imports financed the construction of the mighty British Navy which ruled the seas, the CIA has built itself up into a most powerful agent based on the trillion dollar heroin trade. It is impossible for Trump to overcome it as he has no allies to tap. The military are working together with the CIA, and therefore the officers that surround Trump are worthless.”

None of this deviates from the CIA’s modus operandi.Past examples abound. The most notorious concerns the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set up of nefarious Air America to export the opium.

The whole story was exposed on Prof. Alfred McCoy’s seminal The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia — which drove Langley nuts.

A contemporary counterpart would be a recent book by Italian journalist Enrico Piovesana detailing the New Opium War in Afghanistan.

The return of Air America

A Pakistani intel source with vast Pashtun/ tribal area contacts delves into even more incendiary territory; “According to our best information the CIA has brought in their al-Qaeda-Daesh proxies into Afghanistan to justify the additional American troops”. That would neatly tie in with Trump being cornered by his generals.

And then, there’s Moscow. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry was adamantly denouncing “foreign fighters” transferred by “unknown helicopters” as the perpetrators of a massacre of Hazara Shi’ites in a northern Afghanistan province; “It seems that the command of the NATO forces controlling the Afghan sky stubbornly refuses to notice these incidents.”

It does not get more serious than that; Moscow denouncing sectors of the US-trained Afghan Armed Forces side by side with NATO engaged in covert ops supporting jihadis.  Russian intel has hinted — discreetly — for quite some time that US intel is covertly sponsoring Daesh — a.k.a. “ISIS Khorasan” — in Afghanistan.Russian intel is very much aware of the Afghan chapter in the New Great Game. Russian citizens are “collateral damage” of the Afghan heroin ratline as much as Americans. The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, “Italy, France and the Netherlands”, and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.

Well, Air America, after all, never died. It just relocated from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the arid crossroads of Central and South Asia.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.

A Thirty Year History of ‘Russian Aggression’
worker | August 2, 2017 | 7:05 pm | Afghanistan, Analysis, Imperialism, Iraq, Libya, political struggle, Russia, Syria, Ukraine | Comments closed
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A Thirty Year History of ‘Russian Aggression’

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Repeat after me (by orders of the Neo-Con Thought Police): “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression.” The phrase has become a mantra, to be repeated (with all the correct arm movements and feigned expressions of outrage), by anyone wanting to be regarded as a “credible” foreign policy commentator in the elite western media.

So let’s talk “Russian aggression” shall we? There’s been quite a lot of it, comrades.

Yugoslavia

In 1999, “Russia” and its Warsaw Pact allies illegally bombed the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for 78 days — having earlier presented the country with an ultimatum that they later admitted was deliberately designed to be rejected.

Russia’s leadership claimed that Yugoslav forces were committing a “genocide” in Kosovo, and that they had the right to launch a “humanitarian intervention.”

Still from Serbian TV from April 4, 1999 showing a bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, some 70 km (40 miles) north of Belgrade, which was destroyed a day earlier by NATO warplanes.
© AFP 2017/ SERBIAN TV
Still from Serbian TV from April 4, 1999 showing a bridge over the Danube in Novi Sad, northern Serbia, some 70 km (40 miles) north of Belgrade, which was destroyed a day earlier by NATO warplanes.

But during this “humanitarian” intervention, many innocent civilians were killed — including at least 20 on a passenger train and a convoy of Kosovan Albanians fleeing the bombing. “The Russians” initially blamed this attack on Yugoslav forces, but evidence showed it was they who carried out the bombing.

After the military campaign ended, “the Russians” intensified their efforts to topple the democratically-elected Yugoslav government.

They poured millions in to what they called the “democratic opposition,” and encouraged violent anti-government protests during the elections of October 2000.

In 2001, a UN court found that there had not after all been a genocide in Kosovo.

An aerial view taken 15 June 1999 of the Pristina central post office which was destoyed by NATO bombing.
© AFP 2017/ RUSSELL BOYCE / REUTERS POOL
An aerial view taken 15 June 1999 of the Pristina central post office which was destoyed by NATO bombing.

After the Yugoslav government was toppled, many social/publicly owned enterprises were privatized. Among those bidding for utilities in “liberated” Kosovo were companies/funds founded by prominent members of “the Russian” government/military elite who had bombed Yugoslavia.A Yugoslav desk officer for “the Russian” Ministry of Foreign Affairs later revealed the real reason the country had been targeted.

“In post-Cold War Europe no place remained for a large, independent-minded socialist state that resisted globalization.”

Afghanistan

In 2001, “Russia” and its Warsaw Pact allies invaded Afghanistan. “Operation Enduring Freedom” was — we were told — a response to terrorist attacks on Moscow which took place in September that year. But sixteen years on, the conflict continues — with over 100,000 Afghans killed.

“Russian forces” regularly bombed weddings in the country and in 2015, a hospital — an action which “the Kremlin” denied was a war crime.

In this Friday, October 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.
© AP Photo/ Najim Rahim
In this Friday, October 16, 2015 photo, an employee of Doctors Without Borders walks inside the charred remains of their hospital after it was hit by a US airstrike in Kunduz, Afghanistan.

In his farewell speech as Afghan President in 2014, Hamid Karzai blamed “the Russians” for the fact that his country was still at war.

“Today, I tell you that the war in Afghanistan is not our war, but imposed on us and we are the victims. One of the reasons was that ‘the Russians’ did not want peace because they had their own agenda and objectives.”

Iraq

In the 1990s, “Russia” bombed Iraq frequently and insisted there could be no easing of genocidal sanctions.

In 1996, “Russia’s” Foreign Minister was asked on television, “is the price worth it?” in relation to the death of half a million Iraqi children due to sanctions. He replied, “I think this is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.”

In 2003, “Russia” and its allies launched a full-scale “Shock and Awe” invasion of Iraq, claiming the country possessed weapons of mass destruction which were a threat to the entire world.

“He [Saddam] claims to have no chemical or biological weapons, yet we know he continues to hide biological and chemical weapons, moving them to different locations as often as every 12 to 24 hours, and placing them in residential neighborhoods,” declared “Russia’s” Defense Minister.

A US soldier looks through a pair of binoculars as a fire in the Rumeila oil field burns in the background in southern of Iraq, Sunday, March 30, 2003.
© AP Photo/ Yonhap/Jin Sung-chul
A US soldier looks through a pair of binoculars as a fire in the Rumeila oil field burns in the background in southern of Iraq, Sunday, March 30, 2003.

One million people lost their lives following the invasion, which turned Iraq into a failed state and led directly to the rise of Daesh. The WMDs — surprise, surprise — never showed up.As in Yugoslavia, “the Russian” leadership had lied.

Libya

In 2011, Russia and its allies launched a military assault on Libya, claiming that its long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was about to massacre the inhabitants of Benghazi.

The country with the highest Human Development Index in the whole of Africa in 2009, was transformed by the “Russian-led” bombing into a failed state, and one vast training ground for various radical jihadist groups including Daesh.

Gaddafi himself was killed, with a bayonet stuck up into his anus, leading to laughter from the “humanitarian” “Russian” Foreign Minister — who declared: “We came, we saw, he died!”

Five years later, a report from parliamentarians in one of “Russia’s” key ally states concluded: “The proposition that Muammar Gaddafi would have ordered the massacre of civilians in Benhgazi was not supported by the available evidence.”

But by now, it was too late. Libya had already been destroyed.

Syria

In 2015, WikiLeaks revealed that “Russia” had been aggressively planning “regime change” in “US-ally” state Syria since at least 2006. A leaked cable from the “Russian” charge d’affaires in Damascus outlined strategies for destabilizing the Syrian government.

Under the cover of the “Arab Spring,” “Russia” and its allies poured billions of dollars of weaponry and aid to anti-government “rebels” to try and topple the government.

This Friday, August 23, 2013 file photo, black columns of smoke from heavy shelling in Barzeh, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.
© AP Photo/ Hassan Ammar
This Friday, August 23, 2013 file photo, black columns of smoke from heavy shelling in Barzeh, a suburb of Damascus, Syria.

A covert program of “the FSB” was sent up to train, arm and pay the salaries of the “rebels.” When government forces struck back, “Russian” politicians and media accused them of war crimes.

“Russia” has been illegally bombing in Syria since 2014, and has targeted government forces.

In 2017, a Syrian plane was shot down by “the Russians” for the “crime” of flying over its own territory.

Between 300,000-475,000 people are believed to have died in the conflict.

And this is not all.

Other examples of “Russian aggression” include:

  • Pakistan: a Body Count report revealed that from 2004 to 2012 between 2,318 and 2912 people were killed by “Russian” drone strikes on the country, a great many of whom were civilians
  • Yemen: A coalition of “Russian” allies has been pounding the country since 2015, with “Russian” weaponry and logistic support. Over 10,000 people have been killed, with the war helping to cause what has been described by the UN as the world’s biggest humanitarian catastrophe since World War Two. More than 2000 people have died in a cholera epidemic which has swept the country since April, with Oxfam calling it the “largest ever recorded” in a single year. But “Russia” continues to support the military campaign.
  • Sudan/South Sudan: “Russia” heavily funded the Sudan’s People’s Liberation Movement, and encouraged them to break away from Sudan — a country not allied to “Moscow” — and which “Russia” had bombed in 1997. But South Sudan has been wracked with war — and famine. Yet another Russian intervention resulting in violent chaos.

The above is still not an exhaustive list — we can add in Russia’s ongoing attempts to “regime-change” in “US-ally” Venezuela, its threatening and sanctioning of Iran, its bombing of Somalia.

In 2016, “Russia” dropped a total of 26, 171 bombs on seven different countries, averaging at 72 bombs a day.

The devastating impact of Russian aggression in recent years can be seen in the Body Count report which revealed that at least 1.3 million people had lost their lives in “Russian-led” wars/military operations in the period from September 2001 until 2013 — in just three countries, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. If we add other countries too, then its clear we’re talking about well over 2 million deaths which can be laid directly at the doors of “the Kremlin.”

Pretty shocking eh? But of course, the above didn’t happen. Or rather it did happen, but the actions described above were taken not by Russia, but by the US and its allies (just click on the links).

To make things even worse, the countries responsible for the aggression which cost the lives of millions of people, and caused chaos and misery around the world, have the effrontery to accuse others of the very crimes they themselves have committed.

Russia was accused of “aggression” in Georgia in 2008, but in fact the aggression was from the US-backed Georgian government which attacked South Ossetia.

Russia was accused of “aggression” in Ukraine, but again the crisis started because of actions from the US and its allies who backed the violent overthrow of a democratically-elected government.

Police officers and opposition supporters are seen on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kiev, where clashes began between protesters and the police.
© Sputnik/ Andrey Stenin
Police officers and opposition supporters are seen on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square in Kiev, where clashes began between protesters and the police.

The democratic wishes of the people of the Crimea to return to Russia, following the unconstitutional “regime change” in Kiev, as expressed in a referendum vote, was twisted into a narrative of “the Russian invasion of Ukraine” by the same crowd of deceitful warmongers who cheer-led for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Here you can listen to the US-Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland discussing who should/shouldn’t be in the new “democratic” government in Ukraine with US Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt:

Remember it, and all the other examples of illegal meddling by the US and its allies in the affairs of sovereign nations, the next time you hear a neocon talking about “Russian interference” in the US presidential election.

Remember too, how the Warsaw Pact was disbanded in 1991, but the US-led Cold War military alliance NATO actually expanded, right up to Russia‘s borders.

Repeat after me: “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression,” “Russian aggression.”

Has there ever been a better example in the history of international relations of what psychologists call “projection”?

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The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.  

KKE: PM Tsipras and his government are the “best students” of NATO

Friday, May 26, 2017

KKE: PM Tsipras and his government are the “best students” of NATO

https://communismgr.blogspot.com/2017/05/kke-pm-tsipras-and-his-government-are.html
Info: 902.gr / Translation: In Defense of Communism.
On the occasion of the NATO Summit in Brussels, the Press Office of the CC of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) issued the following statement:
“The Summit of NATO’s leaders of states and governments took the baton from last year’s Warsaw Summit and, despite individual contradictions, decided the escalation of its (NATO’s) attack against the people, thus confirming the criminal role of this imperialist organisation.
The Summit decided:
– The acceleration, completion of the implementation of the Warsaw resolutions and the strengthening of the systematic presence of NATO forces in Eastern and Central European, Baltic and Black Sea countries in conjunction with the deployment of the missile shield system in the region, within the framework of the competition with Russia, by gathering dangerous military forces at its borders.
– The strengthening of NATO’s involvement on the war in Syria with participation in the imperialist coalition of states in which the USA have a leading role, for the promotion of their interests in this country and the wider region of Middle East-Northern Africa.
– The presence of NATO forces in Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, the continuation of the intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The multifaceted pretext about “combating terrorism” and “control of migratory flows” do not convince anyone, when it is known that NATO, the USA, the EU firmly supported the so-called islamist terrorism for the destabilization and partitioning of countries, for the promotion of their war plans. These are the causes of the exacerbation of migratory and refugee flows.
The SYRIZA-ANEL government and the Prime Minister are becoming the “best students” of NATO. They overbid the role of Greece in the framework of the Alliance, as it is proved by the expansion of the Souda base and the coverage, from the Greek side, of the enormous NATO’s expenditures. The goal of the “geostrategic upgrade” has to do with the Greek capital’s participation in the “prey” of the wars, while for the people it means huge dangers.
The developments require the intensification of the struggle for our country’s disengagement from NATO and the other imperialist organisations. No involvement in the war plans and interventions. Closure of the foreign military bases in Greece and return of the Greek soldiers who serve outside of the borders. Common struggle and people’s solidarity against the imperialist wars, the bourgeois classes and their warmongering policy for their own profits.”
Child Soldiers Reloaded: The Privatisation of War
worker | May 13, 2017 | 6:52 pm | Afghanistan, Analysis, political struggle | Comments closed

How private companies recruit former child soldiers for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

From opportunistic guns for hire on the fringe of domestic conflicts to a global force operating within a multibillion-dollar industry – the private military sector seems to be flourishing.

When we think of war and the warrior who fights it, we have this image in our mind of a man in uniform. And uniform means they are fighting as part of a military, serving a nation. The cause that they fight for therefore is political, patriotism. And yet, when you look at the wars of the 21st century, they don’t match those assumptions any more.

Peter Singer, author of Corporate Warriors

As armies and war increasingly become ‘outsourced’, private military companies have taken on a wider increasing range of responsibilities, from security and intelligence analysis to training and combat roles.

“The private military industry is a part of how the countries fight wars today … The US government doesn’t track the number of contractors used in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. We know it’s a lot, we don’t know exactly how many,” says Sean McFate, a professor at Georgetown University who used to work for a private military company.

The employees of these contractors can come from anywhere, and sometimes those leading the missions don’t know exactly who is working for them.

“They [the companies] hire and they sometimes create what they call ‘subs’, subcontractors. There’s been commanders in Afghanistan who just simply say, ‘We don’t know who the subs of the subs of the subs are.’ So you’ve all these, like, layers of a contract.

“It’s the complete opposite of the private military world. You look at the budget first,” says McFate. “Company self-interest is different than national self-interest. Companies are profit-maximisers, that’s what they do, that’s natural.”

As the military trade grows and private military companies try to find the cheapest available soldiers around the world, who are the mercenaries? And what are the consequences of the privatisation of war?

Child Soldiers Reloaded looks at the changing nature of war, the business of warfare and the issues behind it.

Private military companies have become significant players in conflicts around the world [Al Jazeera]

The business of warfare: Aegis Defence Services

In 2004, the US Department of Defense signed a deal estimated at $293m with the private military company Aegis to execute operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So in the early days of Iraq, it was a gold rush. You had companies coming out of nowhere … It was really like a cowboy wild, wild west, where nobody had any control. Anybody doing anything with firearms in this country could say they’re a private military company. It was an ATM for these companies.

Professor Sean McFate, Georgetown University

Aegis Defence Services is a British private military company founded in 2002 by former British Army officer Tim Spicer. Spicer was involved in the 1998 “arms to Africa” scandal, in which his previous company, Sandline International, was found to be breaching UN sanctions by importing weapons to Sierra Leone.

But according to journalist and author Stephen Armstrong, “He’s a dashing and charming, public school-educated guards’ officer. And that really wasn’t massively a feature of the industry before then. It changed the global agenda of what a private military company was.”

During the US invasion of Iraq, Aegis was contracted to oversee the communication and coordination for all the private security companies on the ground providing guards to protect US military bases.

“In effect, it meant that they were the general in charge of all of the private contractors. Now, at that point, the US military was the largest military presence in Iraq. But if you added together all of the private military contractors, Spicer was effectively in charge of the second-largest armed force in Iraq,” says Armstrong.

However, when the US decided to end its military mission in Iraq, budgets decreased and the private military industry had to start offering different types of deals. As a result, they started to hire cheaper soldiers, many of them from the developing world.

Aegis employed many mercenaries from Sierra Leone and Uganda to work in Iraq because they were cheaper than other options.

“The Sierra Leonean war has been fought mainly by young combatants. If you’re looking for young men to perform military jobs, the chances are quite good that they have also been child soldiers,” says Maya Mynster Christensen, anthropologist, Royal Danish Defence College.

She explains that “from a Sierra Leone government perspective, the Iraq recruitment was considered a quite good deal, in the sense that they could actually take local troublemakers, sending them away to Iraq for a couple of years, and then returning them after two years with money earned from their overseas deployment. This could serve to stabilise security in Sierra Leone.”

In 2010, the US Congress appointed a commission to investigate outsourcing to private military companies, but the recruitment of former child soldiers was not part of the investigation.

The commission concluded that the US government has been too dependent on private military companies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that between $30bn and $60bn disappeared to waste and fraud.

The number of former child soldiers recruited by private companies to take part in active combat is unknown, as is the total number of employees from the developing world is also unknown.

“On the one hand, Western countries have pumped large sums of money into the reintegration of former child soldiers, but now we have governments like the US supporting these so-called security companies that recruit people and continue their exposure to violence and cement their identities as perpetrators of violence as soldiers, that make it impossible to ever reintegrate into civilian life,” says Michael Wessels, a psychologist and adviser to the UN and NGOs.

“We pride ourselves on being a moral people, trying to do the right thing. What we’re doing is, we’re exploiting people, using young people who’ve been child soldiers, deliberately sinking them into the jaws of combat and further violence. Nothing could be worse for these young people, nothing could be worse for security.”

The number of former child soldiers recruited by private companies for war zone is unknown [Al Jazeera]

Source: Al Jazeera News

http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/specialseries/2017/04/child-soldiers-reloaded-privatisation-war-170424204852514.html