Dated: 20 September 2012
By Abdel Bari Atwan
The US administration received two serious blows in the last 10 days. The first was the storming of its consulate in Libya’s Benghazi in which US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other diplomats were killed. The second was NATO’s decision to suspend all the joint operations with Afghan security forces after a series of so-called Green on Blue insider attacks.
What these two events have in common is that the US, under George W Bush, invaded Afghanistan to ‘liberate’ it from the Taliban who had provided a safe-haven for al-Qa’ida while the US, under Barack Obama, intervened militarily to ‘liberate’ Libya from its corrupt dictator, Muammar al-Gadaffi.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed her deep sense of shock at the murder of the diplomats in Benghazi. She could not understand how this could happen in a country ‘we helped to liberate’ and ‘in a city we saved from destruction’.
Maybe Mrs Clinton did not understand that what provoked the furious protests all over the Muslim countries was a disgusting movie, made in the US, which abused and insulted more than one and a half billion Muslims from all over the world.
Christopher Stevens was in the US consulate in Benghazi because he considered that he would be safer there than in Tripoli, where the Embassy was guarded by armed militias of uncertain loyalty.
In Afghanistan the protestors attacked military bases, leaving six soldiers dead, four American and two British.
Mrs Clinton will never understand this outrage or the reasons behind it, simply because all her information about the region is provided by research institutes controlled by experts who are loyal to Israel and therefore do not present an objective overview of the facts. This is the main reason behind the many failures of consecutive US administrations in the Middle East, arguably the most important region for it in terms of strategic interests.
Eleven years after first invading Afghanistan, NATO decided to change its strategy in the country, having lost confidence in the more than 250,000 Afghan soldiers and security agents it had trained at a cost of $ 6 billion. NATO planners realised that about 25 percent of all attacks targeting its troops in the country, were actually carried out by those same soldiers and security agents.
This is a massive setback for NATO, as it intended those trained Afghan forces to perform all security functions in Afghanistan after NATO’s withdrawal, planned for 2014. Now there are no reliable forces for NATO to entrust with this mission. Nor will the West find a sympathetic replacement for Karzai, who announced that he will not run again for election.
The Taliban can now claim victory over NATO, a victory achieved through solid struggle, and extraordinary ability in planning attacks and recruiting fighters even from within the government’s troops.
Western troops in Afghanistan are notorious for their drug-taking so it perhaps unsurprising that they failed to achieve their paymasters’ mission. The US Army itself revealed that eight American soldiers died of heroin overdoses in 2011, 56 had been arrested for dealing heroin and 113 had tested positive in random tests for heroin or morphine use. Officials acknowledge that drug use is escalating among all NATO troops.
It is baffling that the US administration would expect the newly established Afghan army to be loyal to them. President Barack Obama announced that all NATO troops will withdraw in 2014, so why would Afghan soldiers start a fight with the Taliban whose fellow tribespeople, the Pashtun, constitute almost half the entire population, and who are fully expected to resume the reins of power once NATO departs?
And only consider the conduct of those NATO troops – why would Afghan soldiers respect or honour soldiers whose peers have urinated over the dead bodies of slain Taliban fighters or torn copies of the holy Quran into pieces? Are those Afghan soldiers likely to forget the psychotic US soldier who left his base at night to massacre 18 people in a little village, most of them women and children, pouring gasoline on their dead bodies, and setting them on fire, watching their bodies while he smoked his cigarette?
NATO went into Afghanistan with massive ground and air power to get rid of al-Qaeda and their allies, the Taliban. The final result of this war is that al-Qaeda groups have actually expanded and the Taliban is set to return as the ruling regime in Afghanistan.
One wonders what geniuses convinced NATO members to walk into this Afghan hell, which no foreign power has ever entered and returned victorious for hundreds of years? Needless to say they are to be found in the neoconservative research centres which care only about their loyalty to Israel.
There are some indications that the United States will deploy military aircraft and land troops in Libya in order to take revenge for the deaths of their diplomats. If these reports are true, it will be good news for the Jihadists who know that US efforts to avenge themselves on al-Qaeda after 9/11 has cost more than $ 500 billion in Afghanistan and double that sum in Iraq.
The US has deservedly gained the hate of Arabs and Muslims because of its support for dictatorial regimes in the region and their extreme bias to Israel. It is gaining more hate in the region after the Arab Spring as it keeps the same old strategy.
Mrs Clinton, along with the neo-conservatives who provide her with the research that only serves Israel’s benefits, needs to take lessons in Middle Eastern history and geography in order to avoid new shocks like the shock of Benghazi. If she really wants to learn the truth, we are more than willing to provide honest instructors.
Abdel Bari Atwan is a Palestinian journalist and editor of the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi.
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views of Index News