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Thread: US Puppet Cuts His Strings

  1. Default US Puppet Cuts His Strings

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/04/11-2
    Published on Sunday, April 11, 2010 by The Toronto Sun US Puppet Cuts His Strings

    Thwarted by the American government on compromise with Taliban, Karzai has begun openly defying his patrons

    by Eric Margolis

    Henry Kissinger once observed that it was more dangerous being America's ally than its enemy.

    The latest example: the U.S.-installed Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, who is in serious hot water with his really angry patrons in Washington.
    The Obama administration is blaming the largely powerless Karzai, a former CIA "asset," for America's failure to defeat the Taliban. Washington accused Karzai of rigging last year's elections. True enough, but the U.S. pre-rigged the Afghan elections by excluding all parties opposed to western occupation.

    Washington, which supports dictators and phoney elections across the Muslim world, had the chutzpah to blast Karzai for corruption and rigging votes. This while the Pentagon was engineering a full military takeover of Pakistan.

    The Obama administration made no secret it wanted to replace Karzai. You could almost hear Washington crying, "Bad puppet! Bad puppet!"
    Karzai fired back, accusing the U.S. of vote-rigging. He has repeatedly demanded the U.S. military stop killing so many Afghan civilians.
    Next, Karzai dropped a bombshell, asserting the U.S. was occupying Afghanistan to dominate the energy-rich Caspian Basin region, not because of the non-existent al-Qaida or Taliban. Karzai said Taliban was "resisting western occupation." The U.S. will soon have 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, plus 40,000 dragooned NATO troops.

    Karzai even half-jested he might join Taliban.

    Washington had apoplexy. A vicious propaganda campaign was unleashed against Karzai. The New York Times, a mouthpiece for the Obama administration and ardent backer of the Afghan war, all but called for the overthrow of Karzai and his replacement by a compliant general.

    An American self-promoter, Peter Galbraith, who had been fired from his job with the UN in Kabul, was trotted out to tell media that Karzai might be both a drug addict and crazy.

    Behind this ugly, if also comical, spat lay a growing divergence between Afghans and Washington. After 31 years of conflict, nearly three million dead, millions more refugees and frightful poverty, Afghans yearn for peace.

    For the past two years, Karzai and his warlord allies have been holding peace talks with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia.

    Karzai knows the only way to end the Afghan conflict is to enfranchise the nation's Pashtun majority and its fighting arm, the Taliban. Political compromise with the Taliban is the only - and inevitable - solution.
    But the Obama administration, misadvised by Washington neocons and other hardliners, is determined to "win" a military victory in Afghanistan (whatever that means) to save face as a great power and impose a settlement that leaves it in control of strategic Afghanistan.

    Accordingly, the U.S. thwarted Karzai's peace talks by getting Pakistan, currently the recipient of $7 billion in U.S. cash, to arrest senior Taliban leaders sheltering there who had been part of the ongoing peace negotiations with Kabul.

    It was Karzai's turn to be enraged. So he began openly defying his American patrons and adopting an independent position. The puppet was cutting his strings.

    Karzai's newfound boldness was due to the fact that both India and China are eager to replace U.S./British/NATO domination of Afghanistan. India is pouring money, arms and agents into Afghanistan and training government forces. China, more discreetly, is moving in to exploit Afghanistan's recently discovered mineral wealth that, says Karzai, is worth $1 trillion, according to a U.S. government geological survey.

    Russia, still smarting from its 1980s defeat in Afghanistan, is watching America's travails there with rich enjoyment and not a little yearning for revenge. Moscow has its own ambitions in Afghanistan.
    This column has long suggested Karzai's best option is to distance himself from American tutelage and demand the withdrawal of all foreign occupation forces.

    Risky business, of course. Remember Kissinger's warning. Karzai could end up dead. But he could also become a national hero and best candidate to lead an independent Afghanistan that all ethnic groups could accept.
    Alas, the U.S. keeps making the same mistake of seeking obedient clients rather than democratic allies who are genuinely popular and legitimate.

    © 2010 The Toronto Sun
    Last edited by Keith Millea; 04-11-2010 at 05:13 PM.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

  2. Default

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/04/11-0

    Published on Sunday, April 11, 2010 by TimesOnline/UK Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, Threatens to Block Nato Offensive

    by Stephen Grey

    The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has cast doubt over Nato's planned summer offensive against the Taliban in the southern province of Kandahar, as more than 10,000 American troops pour in for the fight.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrives at 10 Downing Street

    Karzai threatened to delay or even cancel the operation - one of the biggest of the nine-year war - after being confronted in Kandahar by elders who said it would bring strife, not security, to his home province.
    Visiting last week to rally support for the offensive, the president was instead overwhelmed by a barrage of complaints about corruption and misrule. As he was heckled at a shura of 1,500 tribal leaders and elders, he appeared to offer them a veto over military action. "Are you happy or unhappy for the operation to be carried out?" he asked.

    The elders shouted back: "We are not happy."
    "Then until the time you say you are happy, the operation will not happen," Karzai replied.

    General Stanley McChrystal, the Nato commander, who was sitting behind him, looked distinctly apprehensive. The remarks have compounded US anger and bewilderment with Karzai, who has already accused the United States of rigging last year's presidential elections and even threatened to switch sides to join the Taliban.

    For President Barack Obama, the battle to drive the Taliban from their heartland is seen as the main test of his "surge" strategy to send 30,000 extra US troops to Afghanistan. The United States calls Kandahar the "centre of gravity" of the war in Afghanistan.

    Senior commanders and diplomats emphasise, however, that success would depend on action by Karzai to eliminate corruption and set up a form of local government.

    Nato's plans envisage political manoeuvres, from a purge of provincial leadership to the creation of precinct councils, to tackle the roots of the Taliban rebellion. The aim is to wrest power from so-called warlords - including the president's own brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai.

    With the Afghan president increasingly regarded as "gone rogue", hopes of such action were fading. One US official said after the shura that Karzai had proved neither a reliable ally nor popular with his own people: "He can rail against the West all he likes - no one wants him to look like a foreign puppet. The trouble is, his erratic speeches are matched by erratic actions. That's why this tension is undermining the offensive."

    The latest row began when Karzai decried "huge fraud" in the elections, saying it was "done by the foreigners". After telephoning Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, the next day to clarify his remarks, Karzai escalated the attack. Witnesses said he told MPs at a private meeting: "If I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban." His spokesman hastily denied it.

    In Kandahar he persisted, deflecting complaints against himself with further criticism of outsiders and saying he had now "rescued myself from foreigners' orders".

    Few elders at the shura seemed impressed. They pressed for a purge of his officials. "If we speak out and if we tell you the truth of what's happening here, we will not last the night," said one elder. "We will be assassinated. Everyone is scared."

    A white-bearded frail man stood up, leaning on a walking stick, and said: "The other day people came with guns and told me to shut my shop and go to my house. I phoned the police. They said, ‘It's none of our business and we don't care'."

    Sitting just off the stage at the meeting was the president's brother. Ahmed Wali Karzai is the head of Kandahar provincial council and is alleged by US officials to profit from drug trafficking and organised crime. The president is reported to have refused US requests to remove him from his post.

    On the streets of the city this weekend there appeared to be little or no support for a Nato push in the province. "Look what happened in Marjah," said one local government official in Kandahar, referring to the last US offensive launched in February in central Helmand province.

    "The US controls the place by day but the Taliban control it by night. What is the point? If you help the government, you will be murdered."
    At a popular coffee shop in the city centre, Khaled, a medical student from Kabul, said the influence of the Taliban was creeping back into the area.

    "A Nato offensive here will not help," he added.
    "We know what they do. They arrive in great numbers and provide security for two weeks and then they go and the insecurity returns."
    General Karl Eikenberry, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, had warned Clinton about Karzai's character last year. He said that McChrystal's proposals for a a troop surge should not be supported unless the president changed.

    "President Karzai is not an adequate strategic partner," he wrote in a telegram that was later leaked.

    © 2010 Times Newspapers Ltd.
    Last edited by Keith Millea; 04-11-2010 at 05:19 PM.
    "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller

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