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Articles 
Historic Briefs,/ By: Bruce G. Richardson
Tuesday, 01.01.2013, 06:00pm (GMT+1)

 

Unlikely Allies:

Who could have imagined that the U.S. and Russia would be of like-mind regarding their respective Afghanistan strategy and policies?

Colonel-General Vladimir Chirkin, Commander of the Russia Central Military District was quoted recently during a summit in Dushanbe as being in support of U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan and their prosecution of war. Moscow is afraid, foremost because what the U.S. and the coalition were doing is very much in the interest of Russia, “keeping the Taliban as far away as possible” from the restive neo-Stalinist Central Asian appendages.

“We do not want NATO to go and leave us to face the jackals of war after stirring up the anthill. Immediately after the NATO withdrawal, they (Taliban) will expand towards Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and it will become our problem then” said Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, Dmitri Rogozin in an interview with LeFigaro.

Moscow has a long and storied, bloody-history in Central Asia. In a long, fiercely resisted colonial campaign, the Tsar’s armies relentlessly occupied what is today Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. These artificial states, as with the Russia of today in tandem with its war partner in Afghanistan, the U.S., were all creations of Moscow’s divide-and-rule strategy. Russia’s nineteenth century advance was only halted when it encountered another competing imperialist, Britain’s Indian Raj. Afghanistan was agreed upon as a buffer-state between the realms of the Queen Empress and the Tsar of All Russia. Thereafter, the British and Russian empires would wage the “Great Game,” a long and storied struggle for influence and economic opportunity in the most exotic reaches of Central Asia, inarguably, a contest that continues to this day.

Yet behind the scenes, Moscow has been cautiously yet publicly critical of U.S. involvement in Central Asia, calling it an encroachment on their sphere of influence, but that rhetoric hid an inconvenient secret; behind the Kremlin’s inner-sanctuary, observers believe, Russians were glad that the U.S. was doing their “dirty-work”.  Following their withdrawal in 1989, Moscow continued to deploy Russian Border Guards in Tajikistan and Turkmenistan while continuing supporting Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance. Concerned with a low-level insurgency in Tajikistan, in 1994, Moscow enlisted long-time ally, Ahmad Shah Massoud and his forces to eliminate any vestiges of Asadullah Nouri’s opposition to the neo-Stalinist regime of President Rahmanov in Tajikistan who may have sought sanctuary in the northern environs of Afghanistan under control of Massoud.  A published Associated Press (AP) report in 1994 reported that Massoud’s Shura-i-Nezar fought alongside the Russian 201st Motorized Rifle Regiment, resulting in the death of 30 of Assadullah Nouri’s anti-Communist resistance fighters. At that time, according to Jalal Wardak, a former Taliban pilot, it was also revealed that Russian generals were flown to Panjsher on a weekly basis to confer with Massoud. (See: Afghanistan, a Search for Truth, Bruce G. Richardson, 2009, pp.28-29)

 Details of this agreement are thoroughly documented and can be found in the memoirs of former Russian Prime Minister (who met secretly with Massoud in 1994) Evgeny Primakov, and Hassan Sharq, Prime Minister under Communist President Najibullah. (See: The Years of Life in the politics, Evgeny Primakov, 1995, and The Barefooted Coarse Cotton Weavers; or Memoirs of Dr. Muhammad Hassan Sharq: 1983-1991, 1991, p.256) 

Currently, Moscow is leveraging their anti-Taliban strategy through granting U.S. re-supply missions… which entails permission to over-fly Russian territory. Moscow, with their new-found, though unlikely ally, the U.S., have long-harbored a visceral dislike, and distrust of the fiercely independent majority, Afghanistan’s Pashtuns.  It has since time-immemorial been the policy and strategy of foreign interlopers from Alexander, to Genghis, Britain, the USSR, Russia and the United States to use ethnic cleavages to disrupt Afghan unity and to weaken resolve and resistance to foreign occupation and thereby secure their pyrrhic victories. As history accords, it has been the Pashtun martial-assemblages that have continually frustrated foreign occupation.

For the U.S., their position (military bases) on the flanks of Central Asia result in a premeditated military presence, which in effect, girdles their unspoken enemies, Russia and China, while assuring the encirclement of Iran.  Of equal import for U.S. administrations is access to vaunted strategic oil reserves, an underlying imperative for U.S. strategists. The extraordinary energy wealth of the Caspian Basin and Central Asian deposits has, since the onset of the Cold-War, fixated subsequent U.S. administrations and resultant policy for decades.

Odious Profiteering:

While Americans reel under double-digit unemployment and recession, US forces in Afghanistan have lost track of 2.6 million dollars in fuel reserves, and defense corporations are racking up record profits while their respective CEO’s receive heretofore unparalleled remunerations in the form of salary plus bonuses. A miniscule sample follows:

Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush received 22.84-million in compensation for the year 2010. Lockheed Martin’s CEO, Robert Stevens, 21.89-million for the same period. Boeing’s CEO, James McNerney, 19.4-million in total compensation. Adding insult to injury, the defense industry spent 46-million dollars lobbying Congress.  This intensive lobbying effort may help to explain why Congress has not seen fit to either debate nor prevent America’s appetite for endless, gratuitous wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Uganda. The foregoing reveals in stark clarity where the U.S. Government’s imperialist policy and resulting wars on “terrorism” have brought us as a nation and as a people. We now live in a country in which the president and his military and paramilitary forces now yield the omnipotent authority, under the sacred-catechism of “the war on Terror”, to assassinate, and or bomb anyone they want, anywhere in the world with impunity and without having to provide any explanation to anyone beyond the façade of fighting “terrorism”.

Bruce G. Richardson

January/2013  


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