STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Afghanistan: An Even Longer War?
By Staff News & Analysis - October 27, 2010

The Pakistan Paradox … Unless we're prepared to deal with it as an enemy, we must make do with it as a friend. Any serious observer of the war in Afghanistan will tell you that we can't win without striking hard at the safe havens the Taliban and its allies enjoy in Pakistan. That means going beyond drone strikes and deploying ground forces in places like North Waziristan. Any serious observer of Pakistan will also tell you that such strikes would complicate, and perhaps fatally compromise, our relations with the country whose cooperation we require to win in Afghanistan. – Wall Street Journal

Dominant Social Theme: We will do what we must to claim victory, which is necessary to defeat terror.

Free-Market Analysis: We have written so much about the Afghanistan war because this struggle is a kind of hinge of history in our view. It successful outcome will empower the Western familial elites (see other article in today's issue – Is the Elite Destabilizing the World on Purpose?) to move forward more aggressively with an agenda of world governance. This is the reason, in our view, that the US attacked both Iraq and Afghanistan. The attacks had little to do with terrorism on American soil and everything to do with controlling the Middle East – not for commodity or oil purposes but to ensure that Islam would be pacified and eventually Westernized.

This is not necessarily the perspective of many within the alternative Internet news community. The mainstream American media, of course, continues to maintain that US serial wars are somehow related to terrorism. The alternative 'Net media often likes to suggest that the reason for the wars had to do with oil, commodities and the "great game" – positioning the US closer to Iran and China for of military purposes.

The idea that the West has attacked first Afghanistan and then Iraq for oil and commodities, especially, provides us with a kind of Marxist or Leftist perspective. This perspective has also created the Long War scenario in which the West and particularly the Anglo-American axis simply seeks to perpetuate violence without end so as to enrich the coffers of the war machine for as long as possible.

We have argued in the past that this view is basically a false one. But certainly from the perspective of Long War proponents, an invasion of Pakistan is a predictable outcome of socialist analysis. The military industrialist complex (corporatist in nature) will inevitably exploit the masses for ever-increasing profit. The mechanism has nothing to do with gaining a strategic advantage and everything to do with grinding up young men and women to feed a bloody struggle that enriches the few at the expense of the many.

If the West (US and NATO) do decide to invade Pakistan to strike at the Taliban havens there, then we will have some evidence to back up the Leftist perspective, that wars like these are meant to perpetuate themselves. On the other hand, the attack could be justified within the paradigm that we have established here at the Bell. Certainly, we could make a case that the Anglo-American elite, arrogant and desperate as it is, will choose to take a chance in order to grasp victory from defeat.

But let us examine for a moment what an expansion of the war would entail. It certainly would alienate Pakistan, which has been an on-again/off-again ally of the US in the endless Afghan war. Pakistan would doubtless freeze all NATO shipments once again and NATO would have to find another supply route. As a matter of fact, it is now being reported that NATO has approached Russia about providing additional access (and aid) to Afghanistan, via its territory and helicopters.

What this means, actually, is that NATO, the US, the USSR and China are all actively involved in Afghanistan right now. China was invited in several years ago by the US for prospecting and development purposes. The US has actively encouraged India to provide funds and services in Southern Afghanistan near the Afghan boarder and India has been cooperative in this regard.

Given the amount of interference and "boots on the ground" in Afghanistan, a major incursion into Pakistan might have the potential to affect the strategies of many powerful regional players in the area. The biggest danger from a Western standpoint is probably that attacking havens in Pakistan would radicalize the Punjabi tribes themselves, even if the Pakistani government was willing to stand aside and tolerate the invasion.

There are already so-called Punjabi Taliban and the more that the US and NATO presses, the more radicalized the entire Afghan-Pakistan region is becoming. What is certain is that the US and its allies are now engaged in a fight against militant Pashtuns (the tribe from which the Taliban draws its recruits) and could soon be battling Punjabi Taliban as well.

We can see from this scenario that invading Pakistan has the potential of turning a contained war into a frank confrontation between Islam and the West. Whether the civilian populations of Western countries (or Russia for that matter) would stand for it is another question. But certainly an expansion of the war might turn a sectarian struggle into a religious one. Additionally, since nothing is certain in a wider war, the struggle might draw in Iran itself and begin to threaten Middle Eastern oil supplies.

For all these reasons, we believe that cooler heads may prevail in Washington when it comes to invading Pakistan. What may continue for the near term, anyway, is pressure on Pakistan itself to invade Taliban havens. We have explained before why Pakistan is loath to do so (mostly because it looks on the Taliban as any ally against India).

In any event, we are not sure that pressuring Pakistan will lead to impressive results. Here is an article excerpt from Middle East research group Memri about what may be taking place even now: "Pakistani Army Allows Taliban to Move to New Sanctuary in Kurram Agency While Finally Agreeing To Carry Out Operation Against Militant Commanders in North Waziristan … While the Pakistani Army has agreed in principle to conduct an operation against the Taliban safe haven of North Waziristan, it appears that a move is already underway to shift the militants to a new sanctuary."

This explains why in fact, the Pakistan military has announced that it will attack Waziristan on its own timetable – they are busy moving the Taliban out of harm's way. If this is the case, we wonder if it will not occur to the Pentagon at some point that it is basically hopeless to keep hammering at Pakistan to take on the Taliban. The army, the ISI, even the political elements simply won't do it. To do so, would likely spark a civil war in Pakistan, radicalize more Punjabi tribal elements and create an overwhelming impetus for the Pashtuns to declare their own state – perhaps in Afghanistan as well.

If the US does decide to expand the war, we will certainly have to reappraise our perspective about what the US (and the Anglo-American axis, generally) hopes to gain from the struggle. Turning Pakistan into a battlefield will do little if nothing to attack Al Qaeda (whatever it is or has turned into). The expanded war would basically be fought against Pakistan and Punjabi Taliban, drawn from a tribal base numbering some 150 million.

Is it possible the West would expand the war? If so, what would have started as a war of control and Islamic domination will likely turn into a Long War designed simply to maximize chaos and give the Western powers-that-be a way to distract attention from what is going on at home. This is certainly what happened in World War II – a global conflict that salvaged Roosevelt's presidency and ultimately allowed the West to escape the Depression (after leveling most of the world).

But we are not convinced, however, that in this nuclear age, such an expanded war could be either contained or prosecute on Western terms. It would soon, no doubt, involve Israel as well and the chances for some sort of nuclear conflict then would probably increase. From our perspective the outcome is hazy indeed and Western powers might not be able to dictate the results, which might include catastrophic oil shortages in addition to nuclear calamities.

After Thoughts

US commanders have a very big problem on their hands, and any aggressive actions are likely to make it bigger. What is going on in Afghanistan now is interesting and important, but also quite dangerous. The war on terror has always been a fear-based elite promotion in our view. But the war for control in the Middle East is deadly serious – and the Anglo-American elite is not historically a gracious loser. What happens next could have investment, security and even global-military ramifications. Eyes on Afghanistan. And Pakistan, too. And Iran. And the Pentagon.

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