Just International

What’s In A Name

By Hiren Gohain

There’s little doubt that the sole purpose behind BJP’s raucous campaign to rename India as ‘Bharat’ is to create some confusion and unease in the mind of the masses about the United opposition’s challenge to the oppressive,exploitative and intensely divisive regime under a common banner blazoned INDIA.

As far as I can see the ordinary voter is seething with anger and resentment at the sizzling prices of everything that supports life and the centre’s bland unconcern and fatuous lies.

The BJP dare not face the opposition in the contest on these grounds.And so it seems determined to shift the arena from real issues of life to the vast,hazy and crazy world of symbols and gain mileage from knee-jerk reactions they trigger.

The BJP seems to think that the more native sounding term that might have also an air of sanctity will be closer to the hearts of crowds inebriated with religion.A look at the context in the Constitution will soon disabuse addicts and fans.For when the founding fathers had authored the words ”India that is Bharat”,they were far from laying down the name of the country with authority.They were into the business of framing the Constitution of the country and certainly not busying themselves with finding a name for this ancient land.

The BJP is misinterpreting the phrase “India that is Bharat”.The framers were merely saying that the country which goes by the name ‘India’ turns into ‘Bharat’ in the various languages in use both among people and in official communication.It is not intended to leave it as a controversial issue to be raked up in future.

In the tumultuous and eventful freedom movement,in speeches and copious writings of its leaders in English,in the rich corpus of patriotic literature in English,the name occurs with unforced abundance.As Hindi was yet to assume that role across different regions English had been the natural and spontaneous choice as medium among various regions and communities.And ‘India’ had also been natural choice for name of the country containing those diversities.The framers of the Constitution spoke in English and it was written in English,and there was a natural tendency to use it as the name of the country.To try to rake up a controversy about it at this late age is to make a fetish of it.And that is BJP is used to,making fetishes out of such things and provoke ugly passions with them.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

7 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org

Another War Breaks Out in Northern Ethiopia, as the Threat of Disintegration Looms

By Tikur Netsanet

“The worst-case scenario is unfolding in Ethiopia,” Gabriel Bizuneh tells me, as he organizes in the Ethiopian community in Washington, D.C. Once again, the federal government is at war with another region in a federal system where regions are demarcated on ethnic lines. Moreover, each region in Ethiopia has its own police force, special units, and local militia. This time, the federal government is at war with the Fano and Amhara special forces, which fought against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and have been protecting civilians from the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA)/ ONEG Shene attacks. “We have been pleading for so long for this conflict not to escalate further,” Bizuneh adds, “but Henry Kissinger’s policy of dismantling Ethiopia based on ethnicity, which the TPLF was an anchor for, remains in place.”

The U.S. State Department supported TPLF, which recrafted the state on ethnic lines and is hostile toward the Amhara, who are a dominant ethnic group in Ethiopia. The Amhara dominance is deeply linked with the rule of Emperor Menelik, who was able to consolidate the modern state by expanding its borders in the south. Identity and culture are complex and evolving, but a colonial and Eurocentric interpretation of rigid identities that shaped the labor process, and controlled the natural resources and wealth, was effective in fermenting enmity and divisions. In Ethiopia, “the seeds of genocide” were sown by Italy, which after its decisive defeat in the 1896 Battle of Adwa (by a united front led by Menelik II and Empress Taytu), introduced the idea of Ethiopia as a case of African colonialism.

While TPLF has been an effective tool to deepen this ethnic division, Kissinger can be credited as the originator of the State Department policy to support this agenda. Kissinger had identified Amhara as a dominant group (informed by analysis gathered from scholars such as Levine). He drew on an ethnic lens to interpret (or more accurately misinterpret) “[I]ndigenous political change” that resulted in the Dergue, the ruling military junta, turning sharply toward the USSR. Within Cold War geopolitics, Ethiopia had been receiving military aid from the United States (even after Emperor Haile Selassie’s overthrow) until the Carter administration’s strategic deployment of human rights to advance U.S. interests converged with Ethiopia’s Red Terror, and led to the emergence of the Soviet-leaning faction as the dominant force in the Dergue.

But it was not that simple. TPLF had debated these questions and concluded on pursuing an autonomous Tigray that ultimately remained within Ethiopia, while the Eritrean Liberation Front rejected it.

The Amhara have been targeted in massacres over decades without any systematic response to defend civilians. The massacre in Mai Kadra, Tigray region in November 2020, where around 600 ethnic Amhara were killed overnight, was just one horrific instance. During the Tigray war, there was also an escalation in targeted killings and massacres of ethnic minorities in the region of Oromia. This persists, with two massacres having taken place in 2022 in the Wollega zone of the state alone. Tensions resulting from these incidents, and the federal government’s declared intent to demobilize militia and Regional Special Forces under the National Defense Forces, have escalated fears of exposure to further attacks. The situation has become worse as a result of popular protests, and the assassination of a senior Prosperity Party (PP) official and his entourage. But the disproportionate response by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s PP, which carried out drone attacks in August 2023 that led to a high death toll in civilian areas, has been atrocious. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has raised alarm over the resumption of conflict in the Amhara region, but this has not triggered as much global pressure as the war on Tigray.

The Pretoria Agreement excluded any broad-based representation across all affected interest groups including Afar and Amhara. It was effectively a truce between warring factions of the previous coalition government. Getachew Reda, spokesperson of the TPLF during the war, is now president of Tigray. There has been no accountability for violations by any side. The inclusion of the geopolitically significant areas of Welkait and Raya in the Tigray region in 1991, whose peoples identify as Amhara, remains a central flash point. Delegations of elders from Welkait have traveled to Addis Ababa and at times resorted to armed resistance, but to no avail.

An open alliance between the OLA and TPLF has escalated these threats, which was questioned by the Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa in his last public statement, before he was killed in June 2020. How could there be a common agenda with TPLF? Nationwide protests after his tragic assassination saw ethnic minorities, including the Amhara, strung up and lynched in Addis Ababa and Shashamane, the homestead of Rastafarians who had relocated to Ethiopia in the 1950s. Meanwhile, Ahmed’s PP has had closed-door negotiations with OLA/ONEG Shene, the outcome of which has not been disclosed. Ahmed has also refused to reverse the TPLF/ Kissinger ethnic federalism.

Instead, in August, the Addis Ababa City Peace and Security Administration Bureau cracked down on “institutions where homosexual acts are carried out,” a populist move, adding vulnerable queer folk to nationwide mass arrests under a state of emergency. A UN situation report also highlights a cholera outbreak, locust and army worm invasions, and dengue fever affecting different parts of the country alongside rising numbers of displaced people. The latter includes people escaping conflict in Sudan.

Former President of the Amhara region Gedu Andargachew, in a failed attempt to reject the state of emergency decree, advised that the government must stop the dehumanization and persecution of Amhara across the country. Andargachew added that the government must not mobilize other regional governments to attack the Amhara region. Failure to do so risks state collapse in Ethiopia.

But there is still hope; People can join the calls to end the government attacks on the Amhara region; end the state of emergency; and release all political prisoners and those targeted for their ethnicity. Dialogue and independent investigations into violations spanning decades, across the country, and the prosecution of perpetrators for all violations are urgent. Failure to support these efforts may mean the Balkanization of the second-most populous country in Africa.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

7 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org

People Try To Storm French Military Base In Chad

By Countercurrents Collective

A French military nurse shot and killed on Tuesday a Chadian soldier he was treating and who attacked him with a scalpel in a French forces base in Faya-Largeau, in northern Chad.

Media reports including reports by Alwihda Info, Liberation, Le Figaro and AFP said:

“A Chadian soldier, who was not in a normal state, went for dressing in the military base of the French army, took a scalpel and injured a French military nurse,” explained to the AFP by telephone General Ali Maïde Kebir, governor of the Borkou region of which Faya-Largeau is the capital. “The nurse used his firearm and kiled him,” he added.


“After learning of the death of the Chadian soldier, the population of Faya demonstrated all day in front of the entrance to the base, tried to enter but without success and the crowd dispersed at nightfall,”  added the governor, who speaks of the attack on the nurse as an “isolated act.”

“During a medical consultation for the population, a Chadian soldier who was consulting attacked a French nurse with a scalpel, who had to use his weapon,” confirmed, on condition of anonymity, a French Forces official in Sahel based in N’Djamena, but which has a base in Faya-Largeau housing 40 soldiers.

“We do not know the reasons for the attack. The nurse received three scalpel blows to the chest, head and neck, but his condition is stabilized,” continued this source, assuring that the nurse “had to defend himself.”

A joint investigation by the Chadian and French armies is underway to determine the circumstances of the “incident,” concluded General Maïde Kebir.

This French garrison has been present in Faya-Largeau for 40 years, said the French military source.

Another media report said:

Demonstrators tried to make their way into a French military base in the north-central African country of Chad, local media outlets reported on Wednesday. The Chadian troops guarding the facility have fired shots in order to dispense the crowd.

A French diplomatic source told that the doctor was in serious condition after being stabbed three times and had difficulty answering when questioned by the authorities. The Chadian soldier died instantly after being shot, he said.

The unnamed diplomat also claimed that locals tried to storm the French base at least twice after news of the incident spread, but had failed to breach the facility.

Chadian political analyst Evariste Ngarlem Tolde confirmed that there were heated protests in the city of Faya-Largeau, noting that Chadian troops guarding the French base used live rounds to disperse the angry crowd. He did not, however, have any information about possible deaths or injuries.

MPs Of Chad

The analyst also said that the members of Chad’s National Assembly, who arrived at the site, demanded some 1,000 French troops be withdrawn from the country. The MPs stated “they could not understand how the French military could kill a Chadian on Chadian territory,” according to Tolde.

Tensions in Faya-Largeau remain high and there are concerns that the protests against the French military presence could spread to other regions of the country, he warned.

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7 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org

Ukraine Needs Diplomacy, Not Depleted Uranium

By Robert Koehler

DU stays in the environment, and has been linked to huge rises in cancer and birth defects in the conflict zones.

Freedom’s just another word for… blowing up your children? Giving them cancer?

Militarism is obsolete, for God’s sake. Its technology is out of control. The latest shred of news that has left me stunned and terror-stricken is this, as reported by Reuters: “The Biden administration will for the first time send controversial armor-piercing munitions containing depleted uranium to Ukraine… It follows an earlier decision by the Biden administration to provide cluster munitions to Ukraine, despite concerns over the dangers such weapons pose to civilians.”

Russia’s war on Ukraine is a disaster at every level. Some 70,000 Ukrainians have died, according to The New York Times, and possibly another 120,000 have been wounded, with Russia’s casualty level actually far higher. The war (like all wars) has to stop, but NATO and the U.S., just like Russia itself, are looking not for peace and conflict resolution but victory. Killing the enemy is what matters, the more the better. War is humanity’s most horrific addiction. When it takes hold of a people’s soul, all environmental and human concerns vanish. And today—indeed, throughout the course of my lifetime—with the development of nuclear weapons, we’ve been at the brink of self-generated extinction. And we’re still playing with it, rather than trying to move beyond it.

Depleted uranium—DU—is one of the playthings of war: At 1.6 times the density of lead, DU shells are the last word in penetration power: locomotives compressed to the size of bullets. The shells ignite the instant they’re fired and explode on impact.

I first started writing about depleted uranium in 2003, when I heard Doug Rokke (who died two and a half years ago) speak in Chicago. Doug, a career soldier, was involved in the first Gulf War, leading a team of soldiers whose job was to clean up the war zones in the aftermath of our bombing raids.

As I wrote then: Depleted uranium

Isn’t really depleted of anything. It’s dirty: U-238, the low-level radioactive byproduct of the uranium enrichment process. And when the ammo explodes, poof, it vaporizes into particles so fine—a single micron in diameter, small enough to fit inside red blood cells—that, well, ‘conventional gas mask filters are like a barn door…’

What’s not to love, if you’re the Pentagon? We pounded Saddam’s army with DU ammo in Gulf War 1 and destroyed it on the ground. Maybe you’ve seen pictures of what we did to it; GIs cleaning up afterward coined the term ‘crispy critters’ to describe the fried corpses they found inside Iraqi tanks and trucks.

But the horror of DU is what happens after the battles are over. DU stays in the environment, and has been linked to huge rises in cancer and birth defects in the conflict zones. As Doug Rokke said: “You can’t clean it up.”

But so what? According to Sydney Young, writing for the Harvard International Review:

In the past, leaders did not pay the necessary amount of attention to the risks of depleted uranium. Documents suggest that the United States may have known about the potential consequences of depleted uranium during conflicts in which it was used. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published a 1991 report indicating that deploying depleted uranium in the Gulf War could have caused 500,000 cancer deaths.

However, the United States still used depleted uranium in the Middle East despite the risks, deeming that its military benefits outweighed the potential civilian impact. This calculus reflects a common trend in which Western countries justify human rights abuses under the guise of ‘national interest’ or military necessity.

Another tactic of the political militarists is to deny there’s any negative consequences to their actions. Young also notes:

Research also faces political barriers. Governments that use depleted uranium have a vested interest in preventing research that suggests it has negative effects on human health. For instance, the United States, United Kingdom, Israel, and France all opposed a 2001 United Nations resolution to document depleted uranium in war.

There’s a collective human addiction not simply to militarism and war, but to winning: to domination. A focus on winning in the moment obliterates any sense of the larger future. The creation of peace is not a simplistic game. It has no weapons to parade before the public, whose use will obliterate the enemy of the moment and make the world a better place once and for all.

Noting the horrific extent to which the Ukraine war has stalemated, Jeet Heer writes at The Nation: “The time is surely ripe for a diplomatic push. Unfortunately, the passions ignited by war always make negotiations difficult…” and, alas “a strong ‘taboo’ against public discussion of diplomacy pervades the NATO countries.”

This is understandable, he notes, considering the criminality of the Russian invasion and the horror it has inflicted on Ukraine: “But an interminable bloodbath on Ukrainian soil is also horrific.”

Humanity has to figure out how to talk to itself, not kill itself.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer.

7 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org

9/11 ANALYSIS: From Reagan’s Al Qaeda Sponsored War on Afghanistan to George W. Bush’s 9/11

By Prof Michel Chossudovsky


  • Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.
  • -The architects of the covert operation in support of “Islamic fundamentalism” launched during the Reagan presidency played a key role in launching the “Global War on Terrorism” in the wake of 9/11.
  • – President Ronald Reagan met the leaders of the Islamic Jihad at the White House in 1985
  • -Under the Reagan adminstration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. In today’s World, the “freedom fighters” are labelled “Islamic terrorists”.
  • -In the Pashtun language, the word “Taliban” means “Students”, or graduates of the madrasahs (places of learning or coranic schools) set up by the Wahhabi missions from Saudi Arabia, with the support of the CIA.
  • The Soviet-Afghan war was part of a CIA covert agenda initiated during the Carter administration, which consisted  in actively supporting and financing the Islamic brigades, later known as Al Qaeda.


The Pakistani military regime played from the outset in the late 1970s, a key role in the US sponsored military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan. In the post-Cold war era, this central role of Pakistan in US intelligence operations was extended to the broader Central Asia- Middle East region. From the outset of the Soviet Afghan war in 1979, Pakistan under military rule actively supported the Islamic brigades. In close liaison with the CIA, Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), became a powerful organization, a parallel government, wielding tremendous power and influence.

America’s covert war in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a launch pad, was initiated during the Carter administration prior to the Soviet “invasion”

Confirmed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s National Security Advisor:

“According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul.

And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” (Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998)

In the published memoirs of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who held the position of  deputy CIA Director at the height of the Soviet Afghan war, US intelligence was directly involved from the outset, prior to the Soviet invasion, in channeling aid to the Islamic brigades.

With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a “parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government”. (Dipankar Banerjee, “Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry”, India Abroad, 2 December 1994). The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. (Ibid)

Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:

“Relations between the CIA and the ISI had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zia’s ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime. … During most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in October 1984.” (Ibid)

The ISI operating virtually as an affiliate of the CIA, played a central role in channeling support to Islamic paramilitary groups in Afghanistan and subsequently in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.

Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was also involved in the recruitment and training of the Mujahideen.

In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 Muslims from 43 Islamic countries were recruited to fight in the Afghan jihad. The madrassas in Pakistan, financed by Saudi charities, were also set up with  US support with a view to “inculcating Islamic values”. “The camps became virtual universities for future Islamic radicalism,” (Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban). Guerilla training under CIA-ISI auspices included targeted assassinations and car bomb attacks.

“Weapons’ shipments “were sent by the Pakistani army and the ISI to rebel camps in the North West Frontier Province near the Afghanistan border. The governor of the province is Lieutenant General Fazle Haq, who [according to Alfred McCoy] . allowed “hundreds of heroin refineries to set up in his province.” Beginning around 1982, Pakistani army trucks carrying CIA weapons from Karachi often pick up heroin in Haq’s province and return loaded with heroin. They are protected from police search by ISI papers.”(1982-1989: US Turns Blind Eye to BCCI and Pakistani Government Involvement in Heroin Trade See also McCoy, 2003, p. 477) .

Osama Bin Laden

Osama bin Laden, America’s bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.

During the Reagan administration, Osama, who belonged to the wealthy Saudi Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades.

Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by  Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA.

The money derived from the various charities were used to finance the recruitment of Mujahideen volunteers. Al Qaeda, “The Base” in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad.

That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.

The Reagan Administration’s Support

to “Islamic Fundamentalism”. The NSDD 166

Pakistan’s ISI was used as a “go-between”. CIA covert support to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI, –i.e. the CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen.

In other words, for these covert operations to be “successful”, Washington was careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the “jihad”, which consisted in destroying the Soviet Union.

In December 1984, the Sharia Law (Islamic jurisprudence) was established in Pakistan following a rigged referendum launched by President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Barely a few months later, in March 1985, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 166 (NSDD 166), which  authorized  “stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen” as well a support to religious indoctrination.

The imposition of The Sharia in Pakistan and the promotion of “radical Islam” was a deliberate US policy serving American geopolitical interests in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.

Many present-day  “Islamic fundamentalist organizations” in the Middle East and Central Asia, were directly or indirectly the product of US covert support and financing, often channeled through foundations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Missions from the Wahhabi sect of conservative Islam in Saudi Arabia were put in charge of running the CIA sponsored madrassas in Northern Pakistan.

Under NSDD 166, a series of covert CIA-ISI operations  were launched.

The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades through the ISI. CIA and ISI officials would meet at ISI headquarters in Rawalpindi to coordinate US support to the Mujahideen.

Under NSDD 166, the procurement of US weapons to the Islamic insurgents increased from 10,000 tons of arms and ammunition in 1983 to 65,000 tons annually by 1987.

“In addition to arms, training, extensive military equipment including military satellite maps and state-of-the-art communications equipment” (University Wire, 7 May 2002).

With William Casey as director of the CIA, NSDD 166 was described as the largest covert operation in US history:

The U.S. supplied support package had three essential components: organization and logistics, military technology, and ideological support for sustaining and encouraging the Afghan resistance….

U.S. counterinsurgency experts worked closely with the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in organizing Mujahideen groups and in planning operations inside Afghanistan.

But the most important contribution of the U.S. was to … bring in men and material from around the Arab world and beyond. The most hardened and ideologically dedicated men were sought on the logic that they would be the best fighters.

Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad. (Pervez  Hoodbhoy, Afghanistan and the Genesis of the Global Jihad, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

Religious Indoctrination under NSDD 166

Under NSDD 166, US assistance to the Islamic brigades channeled through Pakistan was not limited to bona fide military aid. Washington also supported and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the process of religious indoctrination, largely to secure the demise of secular institutions:

… the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..

The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books “are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy.”

Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

… AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought.

The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.

“It’s not AID’s policy to support religious instruction,” Stratos said.

“But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose … is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity.”

Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies.

The agency spent $ 51 million on the university’s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994.” (Washington Post, 23 March 2002, emphasis added)

The Role of the NeoCons

There is continuity. The architects of the covert operation in support of “Islamic fundamentalism” launched during the Reagan presidency played a key role in launching the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) in the wake of 9/11.

Several of the NeoCons of the Bush Junior Administration  were high ranking officials during the Reagan presidency.

Richard Armitage, was Deputy Secretary of State during George W. Bush’s first term (2001-2004). He played a central key role in post 9/11 negotiations with Pakistan leading up to the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan.

During the Reagan era, he held the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. In this capacity, he played a key role in the implementation of NSDD 163 while also ensuring liaison with the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus.

Meanwhile, Paul Wolfowitz was at the State Department in charge of  a  foreign policy team composed, among others, of Lewis Libby, Francis Fukuyama and Zalmay Khalilzad.

Wolfowitz’s group was also involved in laying the conceptual groundwork of US covert support to Islamic parties and organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, who served in the Obama administration, was also involved in setting the groundwork for CIA covert operations. He was appointed Deputy Director for Intelligence by Ronald Reagan in 1982, and Deputy Director of the CIA in 1986, a position which he held until 1989.

Gates played a key role in the formulation of NSDD 163, which established a consistent framework for promoting Islamic fundamentalism and channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal.

The Iran Contra Operation

Richard Gates, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, among others, were also involved  in the Iran-Contra Operation.

Armitage was in close liaison with Colonel Oliver North. His deputy and chief anti-terrorist official Noel Koch was part of the team set up by Oliver North.

Of significance, the Iran-Contra operation was also tied into the process of channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan. The Iran Contra scheme served several related foreign policy objectives:

1) Procurement of weapons to Iran thereby feeding the Iraq-Iran war,

2) Support to the Nicaraguan Contras,

3) Support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan, channeled via Pakistan’s ISI.

Following the delivery of the TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran, the proceeds of these sales were deposited in numbered bank accounts and the money was used to finance the Nicaraguan Contras. and the Mujahideen:

“The Washington Post reported that profits from the Iran arms sales were deposited in one CIA-managed account into which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had placed $250 million apiece. That money was disbursed not only to the contras in Central America but to the rebels fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan.” (US News & World Report, 15 December 1986).

Although Lieutenant General Colin Powell, was not directly involved in the arms’ transfer negotiations, which had been entrusted to Oliver North, he was among “at least five men within the Pentagon who knew arms were being transferred to the CIA.” (The Record, 29 December 1986).

In this regard, Powell was directly instrumental in giving the “green light” to lower-level officials in blatant violation of Congressional procedures. According to the New York Times, Colin Powell took the decision (at the level of military procurement), to allow the delivery of weapons to Iran:

“Hurriedly, one of the men closest to Secretary of Defense Weinberger, Maj. Gen. Colin Powell, bypassed the written ”focal point system” procedures and ordered the Defense Logistics Agency [responsible for procurement] to turn over the first of 2,008 TOW missiles to the CIA., which acted as cutout for delivery to Iran” (New York Times, 16 February 1987)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also implicated in the Iran-Contra Affair.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).

Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, “the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer.” (Ibid) Various Islamic paramilitary groups and organizations were created. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade, which was protected by the CIA, were used to finance the various insurgencies:

“Under CIA and Pakistani protection, Pakistan military and Afghan resistance opened heroin labs on the Afghan and Pakistani border. According to The Washington Post of May 1990, among the leading heroin manufacturers were Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan leader who received about half of the covert arms that the U.S. shipped to Pakistan. Although there were complaints about Hekmatyar’s brutality and drug trafficking within the ranks of the Afghan resistance of the day, the CIA maintained an uncritical alliance and supported him without reservation or restraint.

Once the heroin left these labs in Pakistan’s northwest frontier, the Sicilian Mafia imported the drugs into the U.S., where they soon captured sixty percent of the U.S. heroin market. That is to say, sixty percent of the U.S. heroin supply came indirectly from a CIA operation. During the decade of this operation, the 1980s, the substantial DEA contingent in Islamabad made no arrests and participated in no seizures, allowing the syndicates a de facto free hand to export heroin. By contrast, a lone Norwegian detective, following a heroin deal from Oslo to Karachi, mounted an investigation that put a powerful Pakistani banker known as President Zia’s surrogate son behind bars. The DEA in Islamabad got nobody, did nothing, stayed away.

Former CIA operatives have admitted that this operation led to an expansion of the Pakistan-Afghanistan heroin trade. In 1995 the former CIA Director of this Afghan operation, Mr. Charles Cogan, admitted sacrificing the drug war to fight the Cold War. “Our main mission was to do as much damage to the Soviets. We didn’t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade,” he told Australian television. “I don’t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes, but the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan.” (Alfred McCoy, Testimony before the Special Seminar focusing on allegations linking CIA secret operations and drug trafficking-convened February 13, 1997, by Rep. John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus)

Lucrative Narcotics Trade in the Post Cold War Era

The drug trade has continued unabated during the post Cold war years. Afghanistan became the major supplier of heroin to Western markets, in fact almost the sole supplier: more than 90 percent of the heroin sold Worldwide originates in Afghanistan. This lucrative contraband is tied into Pakistani politics and the militarization of the Pakistani State. It also has a direct bearing on the structure of the Pakistani economy and its banking and financial institutions, which from the outset of the Golden Crescent drug trade have been involved in extensive money laundering operations, which are protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus:

According to the US State Department  International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (2006) (quoted in Daily Times, 2 March 2006),

“Pakistani criminal networks play a central role in the transshipment of narcotics and smuggled goods from Afghanistan to international markets. Pakistan is a major drug-transit country. The proceeds of narcotics trafficking and funding for terrorist activities are often laundered by means of the alternative system called hawala. … .

“Repeatedly, a network of private unregulated charities has also emerged as a significant source of illicit funds for international terrorist networks,” the report pointed out. … “

The hawala system and the charities are but the tip of the iceberg. According to the State Department report,

“the State Bank of Pakistan has frozen [for more twenty years] a meager $10.5 million “belonging to 12 entities and individuals linked to Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taliban”.

What the report fails to mention is that the bulk of the proceeds of the Afghan drug trade were laundered in bona fide Western banking institutions.

The Taliban Repress the Drug Trade

A major and unexpected turnaround in the CIA sponsored drug trade occurred in 2000.

The Taliban government which came to power in 1996 with Washington’s support, implemented in 2000-2001 a far-reaching opium eradication program with the support of the United Nations which served to undermine a multibillion dollar trade. (For further details see, Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, 2005).

In 2001 prior to the US-led invasion, opium production under the Taliban eradication program declined by more than 90 percent.

In the immediate wake of the US led invasion, the Bush administration ordered that the opium harvest not be destroyed on the fabricated pretext that this would undermine the military government of Pervez Musharraf.

“Several sources inside Capitol Hill noted that the CIA opposes the destruction of the Afghan opium supply because to do so might destabilize the Pakistani government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. According to these sources, Pakistani intelligence had threatened to overthrow President Musharraf if the crops were destroyed. …

‘If they [the CIA] are in fact opposing the destruction of the Afghan opium trade, it’ll only serve to perpetuate the belief that the CIA is an agency devoid of morals; off on their own program rather than that of our constitutionally elected government’” .(NewsMax.com, 28 March 2002)

Since the US led invasion, opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 under the Taliban to 6100 tons in 2006. Cultivated areas have increased 21 fold since the 2001 US-led invasion. (Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 6 January 2006)

In 2007, Afghanistan supplied approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin. The proceeds (in terms of retail value) of the Afghanistan drug trade are estimated (2006) to be in excess of 190 billion dollars a year, representing a significant fraction of the global trade in narcotics.(Ibid)

The proceeds of this lucrative multibillion dollar contraband are deposited in Western banks. Almost the totality of the revenues accrue to corporate interests and criminal syndicates outside Afghanistan.

The laundering of drug money constitutes a multibillion dollar activity, which continues to be protected by the CIA and the ISI. In the wake of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.

In retrospect, one of the major objectives of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the drug trade.

The militarization of Pakistan serves powerful political, financial and criminal interests underlying the drug trade. US foreign policy tends to support these powerful interests. The CIA continues to protect the Golden Crescent narcotics trade. Despite his commitment to eradicating the drug trade, opium production under the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has skyrocketed.

The Assassination of General Zia Ul-Haq

In August 1988, President Zia was killed in an air crash together with US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and several of Pakistan’s top generals. The circumstances of the air crash remain shrouded in mystery.

Following Zia’s death, parliamentary elections were held and Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister in December 1988. She was subsequently  removed from office by Zia’s successor, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993, she was re-elected and was again removed from office in 1996 on the orders of President Farooq Leghari.

Continuity has been maintained throughout. Under the short-lived post-Zia  elected governments of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, the central role of the military-intelligence establishment and its links to Washington were never challenged.

Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif served US foreign policy interests. While in power, both democratically elected leaders, nonetheless supported the continuity of military rule.  As prime minister from 1993 to 1996, Benazir Bhutto “advocated a conciliatory policy toward Islamists, especially the Taliban in Afghanistan” which were being supported by Pakistan’s ISI (See F. William Engdahl, Global Research, January 2008)

Benazir Bhutto’s successor as Prime Minister,  Mia Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) was deposed in 1999 in a US supported coup d’Etat led by General Pervez Musharraf.

The 1999 coup was instigated by General Pervez Musharaf, with the support of the Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad, who was subsequently appointed to the key position of head of military intelligence (ISI).

From the outset of the Bush administration in 2001, General Ahmad developed close ties not only with his US counterpart CIA director George Tenet, but also with key members of the US government including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, not to mention Porter Goss, who at the time was Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence.

Ironically, Mahmoud Ahmad is also known, according to a September 2001 FBI report, for his suspected role in supporting and financing the alleged 9/11 terrorists as well as his links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “war on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005) 


These various “terrorist” organizations were created as a result of CIA support. They are not the product of religion. The project to establish “a pan-Islamic Caliphate” is part of a carefully devised intelligence operation.

CIA support to Al Qaeda was not in any way curtailed at the end of the Cold War. In fact quite the opposite. The earlier pattern of covert support took on a global thrust and became increasingly sophisticated.

The “Global War on Terrorism” is a complex and intricate intelligence construct.

The covert support provided to “Islamic extremist groups” is part of an imperial agenda. It purports to weaken and eventually destroy secular and civilian governmental institutions, while also contributing to vilifying Islam. It is an instrument of colonization which seeks to undermine sovereign nation-states and transform countries into territories.

For the intelligence operation to be successful, however, the various Islamic organizations created and trained by the CIA must remain unaware of the role they are performing on the geopolitical chessboard, on behalf of Washington.

Over the years, these organizations have indeed acquired a certain degree of autonomy and independence, in relation to their US-Pakistani sponsors. That appearance of “independence”, however, is crucial; it is an integral part of the covert intelligence operation. According to former CIA agent Milton Beardman the Mujahideen were invariably unaware of the role they were performing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): “neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help”. (Weekend Sunday (NPR); Eric Weiner, Ted Clark; 16 August 1998).

“Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA.” (Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Chapter 2).

The fabrication of “terrorism” –including covert support to terrorists– is required to provide legitimacy to the “war on terrorism”.

The various fundamentalist and paramilitary groups involved in US sponsored “terrorist” activities are “intelligence assets”. In the wake of 9/11, their  designated function as “intelligence assets” is  to perform their role as credible “enemies of America”.

Under the Bush administration, the CIA continued to support (via Pakistan’s ISI) several Pakistani based Islamic groups. The ISI is known to support Jamaat a-Islami, which is also present in South East Asia, Lashkar-e-Tayya­ba, Jehad a-Kashmiri, Hizbul-Mujahidin and  Jaish-e-Mohammed.

The Islamic groups created by the CIA are also intended to rally public support in Muslim countries. The underlying objective is to create divisions within national societies throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, while also triggering sectarian strife within Islam, ultimately with a view to curbing the development of a broad based secular mass resistance, which would challenge US imperial ambitions.

This function of an outside enemy is also an essential part of war propaganda required to galvanize Western public opinion. Without an enemy, a war cannot be fought.  US foreign policy needs to fabricate an enemy, to justify its various military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. An enemy is required to justify a military agenda, which consists in ” going after Al Qaeda”. The fabrication and vilification of the enemy are required to justify military action.

The existence of an outside enemy sustains the illusion that the “war on terrorism” is real. It justifies and presents military intervention as a humanitarian operation based on the right to self-defense. It upholds the illusion of a “conflict of civilizations”. The underlying purpose ultimately is to conceal the real economic and strategic objectives behind the broader Middle East Central Asian war.

Historically, Pakistan has played a central role in “war on terrorism”. Pakistan constitutes from Washington’s standpoint a geopolitical hub. It borders onto Afghanistan and Iran. It has played a crucial role in the conduct of US and allied military operations in Afghanistan as well as in the context of the Pentagon’s war plans in relation to Iran.

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

9 September 2023

Source: globalresearch.ca


Arundhati Roy: ‘Biden, Macron know what’s going on in India but won’t talk’


India is preparing to host world leaders at a Group of 20 (G20) summit this weekend in what is being described as a crucial moment for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cement his place as a global leader.

New Delhi has gone under a massive – and controversial – “beautification drive” for the event, with many slums bulldozed and their occupants displaced.

Newly-painted lotus flower murals – the election symbol of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – have appeared and billboards with Modi’s face line the reworked roads.

“You’d be forgiven for thinking it was the BJP that was hosting this event, not the government of India,” acclaimed author and activist Arundhati Roy told Al Jazeera.

Roy, 61, is a vocal critic of the Indian government’s treatment of minorities – mainly its 200 million Muslims – and other rights violations since Modi came to power in 2014.

From her home in New Delhi, she spoke to Al Jazeera about the G20 event and the state of India’s minorities.

Al Jazeera: What is your opinion of India, in the context of its treatment of minorities, hosting the G20 summit?

Arundhati Roy: Look, I don’t think anybody really cares about that because… the G20 is here, everybody is looking for an opportunity, a trade deal or a military equipment deal or a geopolitical strategic understanding. So it’s not as if any single one of the people who are coming here, the heads of state or anyone else doesn’t know exactly what’s going on in India. In countries like the US and the UK and France, the mainstream media has been so critical of what’s happening in India, but the governments have a different agenda altogether. So I don’t think one needs to be naive enough to believe that that is an issue at all for the people coming here.

Al Jazeera: Do you see the G20 being held in India as an opportunity for leaders to call the Indian government out for its treatment of minorities?

Roy: It won’t. None of them will. I have no such expectation. But I think what’s interesting is that if you were in Delhi, as I am now, if you look at the publicity, if you look at the banners, if you look at all the preparations that are being made for the G20, you would be forgiven for imagining that it wasn’t the government of India that is hosting the G20, but the BJP. Every single banner has a huge lotus on it, which is the symbol of a political party. Modi’s BJP.

What has happened in India and it’s so dangerous, so blatant, is that the country, the nation, the government and its institutions have all been conflated with the ruling party – a political party. And that ruling party has been conflated with Modi, the individual. In fact, there is hardly any ruling party now, there’s just a ruler. So it’s as if Modi is hosting the G20. All of us are locked in. We can’t go out. The poor have been purged from the city. The slums have been screened off. The roads are barricaded, the traffic is shut down. It’s as quiet as death. It is as if he’s so ashamed of all of us, of what the city is really like. It’s been purged and locked down for this event.

Al Jazeera: It sounds like you’re saying it’s a vanity event for Modi.

Roy: Of course it’s a vanity event. He’ll pirouette and it’s just before the elections. So it will feed into his campaign. All these Western leaders who speak about democracy – I mean, you can forgive someone like Trump because he doesn’t believe in democracy – but Biden, Macron, all these people who talk about democracy, they know exactly what’s going on here. They know that Muslims have been massacred, that Muslims who protest have their homes bulldozed, which means all the public institutions – courts, magistrates, the press – collude in that. They know that Muslims in certain towns have X marks on their doors and are being asked to leave. They know that Muslims have been ghettoised. And that now people who are accused of actually lynching, murdering Muslims are leading so-called religious processions through these ghettos. They know that vigilantes are out there with swords, calling for annihilation, calling for the mass rape of Muslim women. They know all this, but that doesn’t matter because as always with certain Western countries, it’s like “democracy for us” and, you know, “dictatorship or whatever else it is for our non-white friends”. It doesn’t matter.

Al Jazeera: On that, and this is a completely hypothetical situation, but let’s say you are invited to give a speech at the G20. You’re opening up the G20 summit. What would you say?

Roy: I would say that it would be foolhardy for you to think that a process in which a country of 1.4 billion people that used to be a flawed democracy – and is now falling into a kind of, well, I can only use the word fascism – is not going to affect the rest of the world, you’re extremely wrong. What I say wouldn’t be a cry for help. It would be to say, “Look around at what you are, what you are actually helping to create.” There was a moment in time in 2002 after the anti-Muslim Gujarat massacre – in which intelligence reports by countries like the UK actually held Modi responsible for what they called ethnic cleansing. Modi was banned from travelling to the US, but all of that is forgotten now. But he’s the same man. And every time somebody allows him this kind of oxygen and this kind of space to pirouette and claim that only he could have brought these powerful people to India, that message magnified a thousand-fold by our servile new channels, it feeds into a kind of collective national insecurity, sense of inferiority and false vanity. It’s blown up into something else that’s extremely dangerous and that people should understand is not going to just be a problem for India.

“We have a situation where we are talking about one nation, one language, one election. But actually we are in a situation where you have one dictator, one corporation.

by Arundhati Roy

Al Jazeera: During a recent speech in the southern Kerala state, you said India is entering a new chapter. What did you mean by that?

Roy: What I meant was that, you know, in the last few years, we have actually spoken about the rise of the BJP, of Modi, of the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological mentor] – the mothership of the cult of Hindu Supremacy – of which Modi has been a lifetime member. We have, some of us, critiqued it politically, structurally. But now we are in a different situation altogether. Although we do have elections, I wouldn’t call us a democracy anymore. But because we have elections, this message of Hindu supremacy has to be beamed out to 1.4 billion people in order to create a reliable constituency. So election season becomes extremely dangerous for minorities.

What I meant by “We’ve reached a different phase now” is that it’s no longer just the leadership that we must fear, but a section of this indoctrinated population that has made the streets dangerous for minorities. The violence is no longer limited to government-orchestrated pogroms. We are witnessing incident after incident of banal evil, as Hannah Arendt might have put it. The world saw the video of an ordinary little classroom in north India where the teacher, the principal of the school, gets a seven-year-old Muslim boy to stand up and has all the other Hindu children come up and slap him.

We have a civil war unfolding in Manipur where the state government is partisan, the centre is complicit, the security forces do not have a chain of command. It’s beginning to resemble what happened in the Balkans. We saw the horrifying sight of women being paraded naked and gang-raped. We learned that it was the Manipur police who handed the women over to the mob.

We have, as I said before, people accused of murder, of lynching, of burning alive young Muslim men, now leading religious processions. We have a situation where the prime minister speaks on Independence Day about women’s rights, but at that very moment, his government signs a pardon for the 14 men who gang-raped Bilkis Bano and killed 14 members of a family. And they are now respected members of society. These are men who had been convicted to life imprisonment by the highest court in the land.

So we have a situation now where the constitution has been more or less set aside. If they win the election next year, in 2026, there’s going to be what we call “delimitation”, which is a kind of gerrymandering where the number of seats and geography of constituencies will be changed and the Hindi speaking belt where the BJP is the strongest, will get more seats, which will basically change the balance of power. The south will definitely be very, very uneasy with this and that too has the power of or the potential of Balkanisation.

We have a situation where, you know, we are talking about one nation, one language, one election. But actually, we are in a situation where you have one dictator, one corporation. We have a corporate head who has been an old friend of Modi’s from the time of the Gujarat pogrom, who now is accused by not just not just a short selling company called the Hindenburg Research, but now by a whole coalition of journalists who report organised crime, talking about him pulling off the biggest corporate sort of scandal in history. But nothing will be done. So we’re in a situation where the world also has to assess what happens when the rules don’t apply to some people and apply differently to other people. All the rules. You know, we have a rule of law. We have a very sophisticated jurisprudence. But how it’s applied depends on what your religion is, what your caste is, what your gender is, what your class is. We are in a very, very dangerous place.

“I don’t think anybody expects anybody outside of India to stand up and take notice because all their eyes have dollar signs in them, and they are looking at this huge market of a billion people. But, you know, there won’t be a market when this country slides into chaos and war.

by Arundhati Roy

Al Jazeera: If you were to summarise in just a few sentences, what is the state of India today?

Roy: The state of India is very precarious, very contested. We have a situation in which the constitution has been effectively set aside. We have a situation in which the BJP is now one of the richest political parties in the world. And all the election machinery is more or less compromised. And yet – not just because of the violence against minorities, which of course causes a kind of majoritarianism and may not cause them to lose elections – but because of unemployment and because we live in one of the most unequal societies in the world, we have an opposition that is building up. This government is seeking to crush it because it does not believe that there should be an opposition. We are in a situation of great flux and we don’t expect, I don’t think anybody expects, anybody outside of India to stand up and take notice because all their eyes have dollar signs in them, and they are looking at this huge market of a billion people. But, you know, there won’t be a market when this country slides into chaos and war, as it already has in places like Manipur. What they don’t realise is that this market won’t exist when this grand country falls into chaos as it is. The beauty and the grandeur of India are being reduced to something small and snarling and petty and violent. And when that explodes, I think there’ll be nothing like it.

8 September 2023

Source: aljazeera.com

“The War Is Worth Waging”: Afghanistan’s Vast Reserves of Minerals and Natural Gas

By Michel Chossudovsky

Author’s Note and Update

US-NATO forces invaded Afghanistan more than 20 years ago on October 7, 2001. It’s has been a continuous war marked by US military occupation.

In the wake of the withdrawal of US troops, Afghanistan’s assets were confiscated:

“Exactly a year after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan’s government, the Biden administration said it would not return any of the $7 billion in Afghan central bank assets that it commandeered earlier this year, despite pleas from both human rights groups and economists to help pull the impoverished country out of its economic crisis.”

A once prosperous country has been precipitated into extreme poverty and despair. It’s a crime against humanity.

According to the UN, Afghanistan is currently experiencing extensive food shortages and famine.

It should be understood that this war started more than 40 years ago in 1979 with the CIA recruitment of jihadist mercenaries (Al Qaeda) funded by the trade in narcotics.

The endgame was to destroy Afghanistan as a progressive and independent nation state committed to education, culture and women’s rights.

Unknown to Americans, in the 1970s and early 1980s, Kabul was “a cosmopolitan city. Artists and hippies flocked to the capital. Women studied agriculture, engineering and business at the city’s university. Afghan women held government jobs.”

All of this was destroyed by continuous US-NATO and CIA interventions going back to 1979. It is a criminal undertaking, it’s the destruction of an entire country. 

And today at the time of writing [September 2023], the October 2001 war on Afghanistan continues to be heralded as a humanitarian endeavour, a “Just War” in retribution for the 9/11 attacks against the American people. What utter nonsense!

The legal argument used by Washington and NATO to invade and occupy Afghanistan under “the doctrine of collective security” (Article 5 of the Washington Treaty) was that the September 11 2001 attacks constituted an undeclared “armed attack” “from abroad” by an unnamed foreign power, namely Afghanistan.

Yet there were no Afghan fighter planes in the skies of New York on the morning of September 11, 2001. Ironically, Osama bin Laden who had been recruited by the CIA is the early 1980s was held responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

The article below, first published in June 2010, points to the “real economic reasons” underlying the US-NATO invasion of Afghanistan four weeks after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

There are geopolitical and strategic dimensions as well as an economic agenda. In addition to its vast mineral and gas reserves including lithium as well as iron, copper, cobalt and gold, Afghanistan produces more than 80 percent of the World’s supply of opium which is used to produce grade 4 heroin, morphine as well as pharmaceutical opioids.

Despite the “formal withdrawal” of US troops in late August 2021, Washington is intent upon retaining its control over the multibillion narcotics trade.  See below:

Washington is also intent upon blocking Afghanistan’s relationship with China and its Belt and Road Initiative.

The balance of power has shifted.

The geopolitics has changed dramatically since the official withdrawal of US troops in August 2021.

Will the U.S. be able to exert and maintain its control over the Taliban government? Will it be able to maintain its control over the multibillion dollar trade in opioids?

China for several years has been playing a key strategic role in the development of Afghanistan’s vast mineral resources as well as its transport infrastructure.

A highway linking Afghanistan’s North-East Badakhshan province via the historic “Wakhan Corridor” to China’s Xinjiang Province (Uyghur Autonomous Region) is contemplated.

-Michel Chossudovsky, September 3, 2023


“The War Is Worth Waging”: Afghanistan’s Vast Reserves of Minerals and Natural Gas

The War on Afghanistan Is a Profit-driven “Resource War”.

October 2010

The 2001 bombing and invasion of Afghanistan has been presented to World public opinion as a “Just War”, a war directed against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, a war to eliminate “Islamic terrorism” and instate Western style democracy.

The economic dimensions of  the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) are rarely mentioned. The post 9/11 “counter-terrorism campaign” has served to obfuscate the real objectives of the US-NATO war.

The war on Afghanistan is part of a profit driven agenda: a war of economic conquest and plunder,  “a resource war”.

While Afghanistan is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, bordering on the former Soviet Union, China and Iran, at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves, its huge mineral wealth as well as its untapped natural gas reserves have remained, until June 2010, totally unknown to the American public.

According to a joint report by the Pentagon, the US Geological Survey (USGS) and USAID, Afghanistan is now said to possess “previously unknown” and untapped mineral reserves, estimated authoritatively to be of the order of one trillion dollars (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010).

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times,op. cit.)

Afghanistan could become, according to The New York Times “the Saudi Arabia of lithium”.

“Lithium is an increasingly vital resource, used in batteries for everything from mobile phones to laptops and key to the future of the electric car.”

At present Chile, Australia, China and Argentina are the main suppliers of lithium to the world market.

Bolivia and Chile are the countries with the largest known reserves of lithium. The Pentagon has been conducting ground surveys in western Afghanistan.

“Pentagon officials said that their initial analysis at one location in Ghazni province showed the potential for lithium deposits as large as those of Bolivia” (U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, see also Lithium – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

“Previously Unknown Deposits” of Minerals in Afghanistan

The Pentagon’s near one trillion dollar “estimate” of previously “unknown deposits” is a useful smokescreen. The Pentagon one trillion dollar figure is more a trumped up number rather than an estimate:  “We took a look at what we knew to be there, and asked what would it be worth now in terms of today’s dollars. The trillion dollar figure seemed to be newsworthy.” (The Sunday Times, London, June 15 2010, emphasis added)

Moreover, the results of a US Geological Survey study (quoted in the Pentagon memo) on Afghanistan’s mineral wealth were revealed three years back, at a 2007 Conference organized by the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce. The matter of Afghanistan’s mineral riches, however, was not considered newsworthy at the time.

The US Administration’s acknowledgment that it first took cognizance of Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth  following the release of the USGS 2007 report is an obvious red herring. Afghanistan’s mineral wealth and energy resources (including natural gas) were known to both America’s business elites and the US government prior to the US sponsored “Soviet-Afghan war” (1979-1988).

Geological surveys conducted by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and early 1980s confirm the existence of  vast reserves of copper (among the largest in Eurasia), iron, high grade chrome ore, uranium, beryl, barite, lead, zinc, fluorspar, bauxite, lithium, tantalum, emeralds, gold and silver.(Afghanistan, Mining Annual Review, The Mining Journal,  June, 1984).

These surveys suggest that the actual value of these reserves could indeed be substantially larger than the one trillion dollars “estimate” intimated by the Pentagon-USCG-USAID study.

More recently, in a 2002 report, the Kremlin confirmed what was already known: “It’s no secret that Afghanistan possesses rich reserves, in particular of copper at the Aynak deposit, iron ore in Khojagek, uranium, polymetalic ore, oil and gas,” (RIA Novosti, January 6, 2002):

“Afghanistan has never been anyone’s colony – no foreigner had ever “dug” here before the 1950s. The Hindu Kush mountains, stretching, together with their foothills, over a vast area in Afghanistan, are where the minerals lie. Over the past 40 years, several dozen deposits have been discovered in Afghanistan, and most of these discoveries were sensational. They were kept secret, however, but even so certain facts have recently become known.

It turns out that Afghanistan possesses reserves of nonferrous and ferrous metals and precious stones, and, if exploited, they would possibly be able to cover even the earnings from the drug industry. The copper deposit in Aynak in the southern Afghan Helmand Province is said to be the largest in the Eurasian continent, and its location (40 km from Kabul) makes it cheap to develop. The iron ore deposit at Hajigak in the central Bamian Province yields ore of an extraordinarily high quality, the reserves of which are estimated to be 500m tonnes. A coal deposit has also been discovered not far from there.

Afghanistan is spoken of as a transit country for oil and gas. However, only a very few people know that Soviet specialists discovered huge gas reserves there in the 1960s and built the first gas pipeline in the country to supply gas to Uzbekistan. At that time, the Soviet Union used to receive 2.5 bn cubic metres of Afghan gas annually. During the same period, large deposits of gold, fluorite, barytes and marble onyxes that have a very rare pattern were found.

However, the pegmatite fields discovered to the east of Kabul are a real sensation. Rubies, beryllium, emeralds and kunzites and hiddenites that cannot be found anywhere else – the deposits of these precious stones stretch for hundreds of kilometres. Also, the rocks containing the rare metals beryllium, thorium, lithium and tantalum are of strategic importance (they are used in air and spacecraft construction).

The war is worth waging. … (Olga Borisova, “Afghanistan – the Emerald Country”, Karavan, Almaty, original Russian, translated by BBC News Services, Apr 26, 2002. p. 10, emphasis added.)

While public opinion was fed images of a war torn resourceless developing country, the realities are otherwise: Afghanstan is a rich country as confirmed by Soviet era geological surveys.

The issue of “previously unknown deposits” sustains a falsehood. It excludes Afghanstan’s vast mineral wealth as a justifiable casus belli. It says that the Pentagon only recently became aware that Afghanistan was among the World’s most wealthy mineral economies, comparable to The Democratic Republic of the Congo or former Zaire of the Mobutu era. The Soviet geopolitical reports were known. During the Cold War, all this information was known in minute detail:

… Extensive Soviet exploration produced superb geological maps and reports that listed more than 1,400 mineral outcroppings, along with about 70 commercially viable deposits … The Soviet Union subsequently committed more than $650 million for resource exploration and development in Afghanistan, with proposed projects including an oil refinery capable of producing a half-million tons per annum, as well as a smelting complex for the Ainak deposit that was to have produced 1.5 million tons of copper per year. In the wake of the Soviet withdrawal a subsequent World Bank analysis projected that the Ainak copper production alone could eventually capture as much as 2 percent of the annual world market. The country is also blessed with massive coal deposits, one of which, the Hajigak iron deposit, in the Hindu Kush mountain range west of Kabul, is assessed as one of the largest high-grade deposits in the world. (John C. K. Daly,  Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, UPI Energy, October 24, 2008, emphasis added)

Afghanistan’s Natural Gas

Afghanistan is a land bridge. The 2001 U.S. led invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been analysed by critics of US foreign policy as a means to securing control  over the strategic trans-Afghan transport corridor which links the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea.

Several trans-Afghan oil and gas pipeline projects have been contemplated including the planned $8.0 billion TAPI pipeline project (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) of 1900 km., which would transport Turkmen natural gas across Afghanistan in what is described as a “crucial transit corridor”. (See Gary Olson, Afghanistan has never been the ‘good and necessary’ war; it’s about control of oil, The Morning Call, October 1, 2009).

Military escalation under the extended Af-Pak war bears a relationship to TAPI. Turkmenistan possesses third largest natural gas reserves after Russia and Iran. Strategic control over the transport routes out of Turkmenistan have been part of Washington’s agenda since the collapse of the Soviet union in 1991.

What was rarely contemplated in pipeline geopolitics, however, is that Afghanistan is not only adjacent to countries which are rich in oil and natural gas (e.g Turkmenistan), it also possesses within its territory sizeable untapped reserves of natural gas, coal  and oil. Soviet estimates of the 1970s placed “Afghanistan’s ‘explored’ (proved plus probable) gas reserves at about 5  trillion cubic feet. The Hodja-Gugerdag’s initial reserves were placed at slightly more than 2 tcf.” (See, The Soviet Union to retain influence in Afghanistan, Oil & Gas Journal, May 2, 1988).

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) acknowledged in 2008 that Afghanistan’s natural gas reserves are “substantial”:

“As northern Afghanistan is a ‘southward extension of Central Asia’s highly prolific, natural gas-prone Amu Darya Basin,’ Afghanistan ‘has proven, probable and possible natural gas reserves of about 5 trillion cubic feet.’ (UPI, John C.K. Daly, Analysis: Afghanistan’s untapped energy, October 24, 2008)

From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979, Washington’s objective has been to sustain a geopolitical foothold in Central Asia.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

America’s covert war, namely its support to the Mujahideen “Freedom fighters” (aka Al Qaeda) was also geared towards the development of the Golden Crescent trade in opiates, which was used by US intelligence to fund the insurgency directed against the Soviets.1

Instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war and protected by the CIA, the drug trade developed over the years into a highly lucrative multibillion undertaking. It was the cornerstone of America’s covert war in the 1980s. Today, under US-NATO military occupation, the drug trade generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005, see also Michel Chossudovsky, Heroin is “Good for Your Health”: Occupation Forces support Afghan Narcotics Trade, Global Research, April 29, 2007)

Towards an Economy of Plunder

The US media, in chorus, has upheld the “recent discovery” of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth as “a solution” to the development of the country’s war torn economy as well as a means to eliminating poverty. The 2001 US-NATO invasion and occupation has set the stage for their appropriation by Western mining and energy conglomerates.

The war on Afghanistan is  a profit driven “resource war”.

Under US and allied occupation, this mineral wealth is slated to be plundered, once the country has been pacified, by a handful of multinational mining conglomerates. According to Olga Borisova, writing in the months following the October 2001 invasion, the US-led “war on terrorism [will be transformed] into a colonial policy of influencing a fabulously wealthy country.” (Borisova, op cit).

Part of the US-NATO agenda is also to eventually take possession of Afghanistan’s reserves of natural gas, as well as prevent the development of competing Russian, Iranian and Chinese energy interests in Afghanistan.



1. The Golden Crescent trade in opiates constitutes, at present, the centerpiece of Afghanistan’s export economy. The heroin trade, instated at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979 and protected by the CIA, generates cash earnings in Western markets in excess of $200 billion dollars a year.

Since the 2001 invasion, narcotics production in Afghanistan  has increased more than 35 times. In 2009, opium production stood at 6900 tons, compared to less than 200 tons in 2001. In this regard, the multibillion dollar earnings resulting from the Afghan opium production largely occur outside Afghanistan. According to United Nations data, the revenues of the drug trade accruing to the local economy are of the order of 2-3 billion annually. In contrast with the Worldwide sales of heroin resulting from the trade in Afghan opiates, in excess of $200 billion. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005)

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6 September 2023

Source: michelchossudovsky.substack.com

Chinese Grey Zone Acts and Mapping in the Light of Upcoming G-20 Summit in India

By Dr Mohit K Gupta

China and India both are the capable nuclear weapons’ States and since their respective unification and emergence have been at loggerheads due to border disagreements and disputes. Keeping trade and commerce aside, it is now, as it palpably seems because of so called media hyped ‘Chinese superiority Complex’ which is not letting the peoples of both the nations create goodwill and mutual trust and confidence. However, not achieving status quo ante bellum to 1962 battle is the root cause of this antipathy against each other. Its continuous existence is what may be called ‘plainly lethal’ to the existence of human civilization which farsighted strategist may clearly underscore.

Chinese Defiance

In the last three years after the Galwan incident the relations between both the States have not returned to steward humanity to absoluteness which third world States aspire for. The relationship between both had untrammeled low tides since Dok-lam crisis of 2017 between Bhutan and China. This is the high time of G-20 Summit wherein, India wants to usher in its success through its recently risen global activism by uniting two emerging rivals the United States (US) and China, but China seems to defy its (G-20) success and risen global diplomatic status and standards for India and is apparently seen opposed to any formal yield resulting from the first G-20 Summit in India.

Border that zooms Chinese Grey Zone Acts

China has not been able to settle its borders with most of the neighboring States with whom it shares its borders including marine mainland and hinterland borders. It is to note here that recent Chinese map also shows resolved and erstwhile disputed Russian island in Chinese map. China realizes and is conscious of the fact that now is the high time for herself to erect a mandarin wall in the form of persistent objector rule of international law. A State when persistently rejects another State’s map and to justify its own, does not however, create a rule of law in its favour unless such rule of law exists as such.

Without delving into complexities of international law on the border issues one can say that it is propitiously wrong in the twenty first century, of so deeply interconnected world to remain unpredictable for long. The recent conduct of China in so lately confirming the absence of Xi in G-20 Summit is hackneyed Chinese policy deployed repeatedly. It is furthered and believed by the Chinese strategic community that China is simultaneously capable to settle all her disputes with anachronistic carrot and stick policy. The so-called policy has never been successful against the States like India. Even the most high-powered State of the times (US) could not cow India down, but this neighboring State’s acumen is far backsliding and harmful to its nascent rise. Chinese territorial claims on its periphery aren’t new, yet under Xi China has employed its growing hard power to consolidate its unrealistic ambitions particularly with respect to Taiwan and South China Sea. China is continuously engaged in ripening that all through its grey zone activities without indulging in rule book battles like 1962 that it engaged with India or with Soviet Union (1969). However, barely a month back both China and India had agreed to intensify efforts towards ‘expeditious disengagement and de-escalation’ along the Line of Actual Control.

Continuous Deployment of Grey Zone Activities

Chinese have particularly, in the President Xi Jinping’s times aimed to dissuade and deter (vacating Houston Consulate) capitulate (Dok-lam border with Bhutan), and mitigate its rival’s competitive advantages (Australia) and concerns and have sought to build pressure not only against India or Taiwan or any other neighboring State but even the US in the latest status of it, and also many other east and southeast Asian States based on its current areas of diplomatic interests. Prof. Swarn Singh, one of the international relations experts from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi is of the opinion that southeast Asian States are not crumbling to Chinese pressure in recent times and in fact their proclivity towards India is increasingly rising to oppose Chinese stance. Number of these States along with India are extant in their opposition to Chinese non-adherence to the South China Sea judgment delivered by Tribunal of the existing oldest international Court in the world.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has issued statement in response to a question that “We have …..lodged a strong protest through diplomatic channels with the Chinese side on the so-called 2023 ‘standard map’ of China that lays claim to India’s territory.” The MEA rejected these Chinese mapping claims as they “have no basis”. The steps like these by the Chinese government “only complicate the resolution of the boundary question,” between India and China the MEA further added.

In the response to India of its sovereign mapping rights question China further tried to play grey zone act with respect to G-20 summit and responded to MEA’s reaction and to India’s diplomatic protest through Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin who told a media briefing that “on August 23, the Ministry of National Resources of China released the 2023 edition of the standard map”. And further added that “It is a routine practice in China’s exercise of sovereignty in accordance with the law. We hope relevant sides can stay objective and calm, and refrain from over-interpreting the issue.” Mr. Wang is reportedly quoted in numerous dailies across the globe for the grey zone activism displayed on part of China. And, instead of declaring about Chinese willingness or unwillingness to participate in the Summit through its Head of the State (HoS) preferred to keep its Prime Minister Li Qiang for the Summit.

Rising India, a nail in Chinese Tooth

India’s rising stature in the space, particularly after low-cost lunar mission and maiden success in Martian-Solar missions and indigenous development of kinetic kill space technology (2019) and more so after India United States Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement, the abundant availability of Uranium pellets: have all been a source of consternation in Chinese strategic community. India’s stature as an strategic power has continuously risen in the twenty first century and more so in the last decade. India has also seen growth in its universal support frame and recently India has had membership in the Security Council of the United Nations (As non-permanent Member) where through its own initiatives it made her presence felt as a rising power.

Mapping Cauldron

It is to be noted that China has not for the first time issued new map in which it has included number of areas that fall in the Indian territory or the territories of other States, it has done this mundane exercise at numerous other times since 1974, however this time its pre-set synchronization raises a question of international law. The much more anticipated last (fourth) and final Sherpa meeting of the G20 Summit commenced yesterday (Sept.3) in Haryana’s Mewat and is likely to continue until 7th September. This is said to be a pivotal gathering and is expected to commit the final agenda and the consensus document for the upcoming G20 Summit wherein China has reportedly objected to Indian language in number of provisions particularly, in use of the terms like vasudhev kutumbkam. By doing so preceding a global summit in which China itself is an important Party along with other leading world economies, it wants to accentuate its grey zone activities which no other nation employs to the extent as it does.  The so-called grey zone activities enunciated at this crucial hour is a poor diplomacy on Chinese part and raises a question to nascent Chinese rise in the international order.

Mohit K. Gupta, Asst. Prof. of Law, UPES, Dehradun, India

5 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org

The Collective West vs. Russia: Towards the End of a Pax Americana?

By Dr VladislavB Sotirovic


A peaceful dissolution of the USSR according to the agreement between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in 1988 in Reykjavik brought a new dimension of global geopolitics in which up to 2008 Russia, as a legal successor state of the USSR, was playing an inferior role in global politics when an American Neocon concept of Pax Americana became the fundamental framework in international relations. Therefore, for instance, Boris Yeltsin’s Russia capitulated in 1995 to the American design regarding a final outcome of the USA/EU policy of the destruction of ex-Yugoslavia in November 1995 (the Dayton Agreement) followed by even worse political capitulation in the case of Washington’s Kosovo policy that became ultimately implemented in June 1999 (the Kumanovo Agreement). Russia was in the 1990s geopolitically humiliated by the USA and its West European clients (Collective West) to such an extent that we can call the period of Boris Yeltsin’s servile policy toward the West a Dark Time of the history of Russian international relations when the main losers became the Serbs who were and still are extremely demonized by the Western corporative mass-media and academic institutions.[1]

Russia between the West and herself

An ideological-political background of Boris Yeltsin’s foreign policy of Russia was Atlanticism – an orientation in foreign policy that stresses the fundamental need to cooperate (at any price) with the West, especially in the area of the politics and economy. In other words, the integration with the West and its economic-political standards became for Boris Yeltsin’s Russia, governed by the Russian liberals, an order of the day. This trend in Russia’s foreign policy in the 1990s had roots in the 19th-century geopolitical and cultural orientation of the Russian society by the so-called Russian „Westerners“ who became the opponents to the Russian „Slavenophiles“ for whom the ultimate aim of the Russian foreign policy was to create a Pan-Slavonic Commonwealth with the leadership of Russia.

The actual outcome of the Russian liberals:

„in the years following Yeltsin’s election were catastrophic as, for instance, Russia’s industrial production dropped by nearly 40%, over 80% of Russians experienced a reduction in their living standards, health care disintegrated, life expectancy fell along with the birth rate, and morale overall collapsed“.[2]

However, the political influence of the Russian liberals became drastically weakened by Vladimir Putin’s taking power in Russia from 2000 onward and especially from 2004. A new global course of Russia’s foreign policy after 2004 became directed toward the creation of a multipolar world but not unipolar Pax Americana one as the American Neocons wanted and fought for using all means. Therefore, the Caucasus, Ukraine, and Syria became directly exposed to the Russian-American geopolitical struggle while Kosovo is up to now still left to the exclusive US sphere of geostrategic interest and economic exploitation. Nevertheless, it was expected in the nearest future that post-Yeltsin’s Russia would take decisive geopolitical steps with regard to Kosovo as from the year 2000 the Russian exterior policy is constantly becoming more and more imbued with the neo-Slavophile geopolitical orientation advocated by Aleksandar Solzhenitsyn (1918−2008) as a part of a more global Eurasian geopolitical course of the post-Yeltsin’s Russian Federation supported by many Russian Slavophile intellectuals like a philosopher Aleksandar Dugin.

Ivan L. Solonevich, probably, gave one of the best explanations of Russia’s geopolitical situation and peculiarity in comparison to those of the USA and the UK focusing his research on the comparative analysis of geography, climate, and levels of individual freedoms between these countries:

„The American liberties, as well as American wealth are determined by American geography. Our [Russia’s] freedom and our wealth are determined by Russian geography. Thus, we’ll never have the same freedoms as the British and Americans have, because their security is guaranteed by the seas and oceans, but ours could only be guaranteed by military conscription“.[3]

Samuel P. Huntington was quite clear and correct in his opinion that the foundation of every civilization is based on religion.[4] Huntington’s warnings about the future development of global politics that can take the form of a direct clash of different cultures (in fact, separate and antagonistic civilizations) are unfortunately already on the agenda of international relations. Here, we came to the crux of the matter in regard to Western relations with Russia from both historical and contemporary perspectives: Western civilization, as based on the Western type of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and all Protestant denominations) has traditional animosity and hostility toward all nations and states of the East Christian (Orthodox) confession. As Russia was and is the biggest and most powerful Christian Orthodox country, the Eurasian geopolitical conflicts between the West and Russia started from the time when the Roman Catholic common state of the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania launched its confessional-civilizational imperialistic wars against the Grand Duchy of Moscow at the very end of the 14th century; i.e., when (in 1385) Poland and Lithuania became united as a personal union of two sovereign states. The present-day territories of Ukraine (which at that time did not exist under this name) and Belarus (White Russia) became the first victims of Vatican policy to proselytize the Eastern Slavs. Therefore, the biggest part of present-day Ukraine was occupied and annexed by Lithuania till 1569[5] and after the Lublin Union in 1569 by Poland. In the period from 1522 to 1569, there were 63% of the East Slavs on the territory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania out of her total population.[6] However, from the Russian perspective, an aggressive Vatican policy of re-conversion of the Christian Orthodox population and their denationalization could be prevented only by military counter-attacks to liberate the occupied territories. Nonetheless, when it happened from the mid-17th century till the end of the 18th century a huge number of the former Christian Orthodox population already become Roman Catholics, and the Uniates with lost their original national identity (today, they are the most fervent Russophobes).

A conversion to Roman Catholicism and making the Union with the Vatican on the territories occupied by the Polish-Lithuanian common state (Commonwealth of Two Nations) till the end of the 18th century divided the Russian national body into two parts: the Christian Orthodox, who remained to be the Russians and the pro-Western oriented converts who, basically, lost their initial ethnonational identity. This is especially true in Ukraine – a country with the biggest number of Uniates in the world due to the forcible Brest Union in 1596 with the Vatican under the umbrella of the Polish-Lithuanian common state (union). The Uniate Church in (the West) Ukraine openly collaborated with the Nazi regime during WWII and for that reason, it was banned from 1945 till 1989. Nevertheless, it was exactly the Uniate Church in Ukraine that propagated an ideology that the „Ukrainians“ were not (Little) Russians but were a separate nation that had no ethnolinguistic and confessional connection with the Russians. Therefore, it opened the way to the successful Ukrainization of the Little Russians, Ruthenians, and Carpatho-Russians during the Soviet (anti-Russian) rule. After the dissolution (in fact, peaceful dismemberment) of the USSR, the Ukrainians became an instrument of the realization of the Western anti-Russian geopolitical interests in East Europe.[7]

The unscrupulous Jesuits became the fundamental West European anti-Russian and anti-Christian Orthodox hawks to propagate the idea that a Christian Orthodox Russia is not belonging to a real (Western) Europe. Due to such Vatican propaganda activity, the West gradually became antagonistic to Russia, and her culture was seen as inferior, i.e. barbaric as a continuation of the Byzantine Christian Orthodox (anti)civilization. Unfortunately, such a negative attitude toward Russia and East Christianity is accepted by a contemporary US-led Collective West for whom Russophobia became an ideological foundation for its geopolitical projects and ambitions[8] (today, especially within the borders of the Soviet Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic States, or Moldova). Therefore, all real or potential Russian supporters became geopolitical enemies of a Pax Americana like the Serbs, Armenians, Greeks, Byelorussians, etc.

A new moment in the West-Russia geopolitical struggles started when Protestant Sweden became directly involved in the Western confessional-imperialistic wars against Russia in 1700 (the Great Northern War of 1700−1721) which Sweden lost after the Battle of Poltava in 1709 when Russia finally became a member of the concert of the Great European Powers.[9] A century later, that was Napoleonic France took a role in the historical process of „Eurocivilizing“ of „schismatic“ Russia in 1812 also finished by the West European fiasco[10], similar to Pan-Germanic warmongers during both world wars. However, after 1945 up to the present, the „civilizational“ role of the Westernization of Russia is assumed by NATO and the EU. Collective West immediately after the dismemberment of the USSR, by imposing its client satellite Boris Yeltsin as a President of Russia, achieved an enormous geopolitical achievement around Russia, especially on the territories of the ex-Soviet Union and the Balkans.

Nevertheless, the West started to experience a Russian geopolitical blowback from 2001 onward when B. Yeltsin’s time of pro-Western political clients were gradually removed from the decision-making positions in Russia’s governmental structures. What a new Russian political establishment correctly understood is that a Westernization policy of Russia is nothing else but an ideological mask for the economic-political transformation of the country into a colony of the Western imperialistic planners led by the US Neocon administration[11] alongside with the task of the US/EU to externalize their own values and norms permanently. This „externalization policy“ is grounded on the thesis of The End of History by Francis Fukuyama:[12]

„that the philosophy of economic and political liberalism has triumphed throughout the world, ending the contest between market democracies and centrally planned governance“.[13]

The theories of IR

Therefore, after the formal ending of the Cold War (1.0) in 1989, the fundamental Western global geopolitical project is The West and The Rest, according to which the rest of the world is obliged to accept all fundamental Western values and norms according to the Hegemonic Stability Theory of a unipolar system of the world security.[14] Nevertheless, behind such doctrinal unilateralism as a project of the US hegemony in global governance in the new century clearly stands the unipolar hegemonic concept of a Pax Americana, but with Russia and China as the crucial opponents to it in the practice including the BRICS and future the BRICS+ countries as well. In fact, BRICS+ will become the focal counter-pole to the US hegemonic project of a Pax Americana (the first enlargement of the BRICS with the six countries is already scheduled for January 1st, 2024). Therefore, from 2024, the BRICS+ countries (or the BRICS 11) will control around 1/3 of the global GDP and subsequently one-third of the world economy. Just for the beginning as there are more applicant countries to the BRICS membership waiting on the list.

According to the Hegemonic Stability Theory, global peace can occur only when one hegemonic center of power (state) acquires enough power to deter all other expansionist and imperialistic ambitions and intentions. The theory is based on the presumption that the concentration of (hyper) power will reduce the chances of a classical world war (but not local confrontations) as it allows a single hyperpower to maintain peace and manage the system of international relations between the states.[15]  Examples of ex-Pax Romana and ex-Pax-Britanica clearly offered support by the American hegemons for the imperialistic idea that (the US-led) unipolarity would bring global peace and, henceforth, inspired the viewpoint that the world in a post-Cold War era under a Pax Americana will be stable and prosperous as long as the US global dominance prevails. Therefore, a hegemony, according to this viewpoint, is a necessary precondition for economic order and free trade in the global dimension suggesting that the existence of a predominant hyperpower state willing and able to use its economic and military power to promote global stability is both divine and rational orders of the day. As a tool to achieve this goal the hegemon has to use coercive diplomacy based on the ultimatum demand that puts a time limit for the target to comply and a threat of punishment for resistance, for example, it was a case in January 1999 during the „negotiations“ on Kosovo status between the US diplomacy and Yugoslavia’s Government in Rambouillet (France).

However, in contrast to both the Hegemonic Stability Theory and the Bipolar Stability Theory, a post-Yeltsin Russian political establishment advocates that a multipolar system of international relations is the least war-prone in comparison with all other proposed systems (it was clearly stressed by Moscow during the BRICS meeting in South Africa in August 2023). This Multipolar Stability Theory is based on the concept that polarized global politics does not concentrate power, as it is supported by the unipolar system, and does not divide the globe into two antagonistic superpower blocs, as in a bipolar system, which promotes a constant struggle for global dominance (for example, during the Cold War). The multipolarity theory perceives polarized international relations as a stable system because it encompasses a larger number of autonomous and sovereign actors in global politics that is as well as giving rise to more political alliances. This theory is in essence presenting a peace-through model of pacifying international relations as it is fundamentally based on counter-balancing relations between the states in the global arena. In such a system, an aggressive policy is quite harder to happen in reality as it is prevented by multiple power centers.[16]

A new policy of Russia and US public debt

A new policy of international relations (IR) adopted by Moscow after 2000 is based on the principle of a globe without hegemonic leadership – a policy that started to be implemented at the time when the global power of the US as a post-Cold War hegemon declined because it makes costly global commitments in excess of ability to fulfill them followed by the immense US trade deficit. The US share of global gross production has been in the process of constantly falling ever since the end of WWII. Another serious symptom of the US erosion in international politics is that the US share of global financial reserves drastically declined especially in comparison to the Russian and Chinese share. The US is today the largest world debtor and even the biggest debtor ever existed in history (32 $ trillion or around 123 percent of the GDP) mainly, but not exclusively, due to huge military spending, alongside tax cuts that reduced the US federal revenue. The deficit in current account balance with the rest of the world (in 2004, for instance, it was $650 billion) the US administration is covering by borrowing from private investors (most from abroad) and foreign central banks (most important are of China and Japan). Therefore, such US financial dependence on foreigners to provide the funds needed to pay the interest on the American public debt leaves the USA extremely vulnerable, especially if China and/or Japan decide to stop buying US bonds or sell them. Subsequently, the world’s strongest military power at the same time and the greatest global debtor with China and Japan being direct financial collaborators of the US hegemonic leadership’s policy of a Pax Americana after 1989 (up to 2014).

It is without any doubt that the US foreign policy after 1989 is still unrealistically following the French concept of raison d’état that indicates the realist justification for policies pursued by state authority, but in the American eyes, the first and foremost of these justifications or criteria is the US global hegemony as the best guarantee for the national security, followed by all other interests and associated goals. Therefore, the US foreign policy is based on a realpolitik concept which is a German term referring to the state foreign policy ordered or motivated by power politics: the strong do what they will and the weak do what they must. However, the US is becoming weaker and weaker and Russia and China are more and more becoming stronger and stronger.

Dr. Vladislav B. Sotirovic, Ex-University Professor, Research Fellow at Centre for Geostrategic Studies, Belgrade, Serbia

5 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org

When the Torturer is the ‘Savior’: Can BRICS, Global South Help Us Escape the West’s Hegemony, Contradictions?

By Ramzy Baroud and Romana Rubeo

At the zenith of the mass protests in Egypt on January 25, 2011, Twitter, Facebook and other Western-based social media platforms appeared to be the most essential tools for the Egyptian Revolution.

Though some observers later contested the use of the terms ‘Twitter Revolution’ or ‘Social Media Revolution’, one cannot deny the centrality of these platforms in the discussion around the events which attempted to redefine the power structures of Egypt.

It was hardly a surprise that, on January 26, the Egyptian regime decided to block access to social media in a desperate attempt to prevent the spread of the protests.

Twitter, Google and other platforms quickly responded by “establish(ing) a system that allows users to continue posting 140-character tweets despite the Internet shutdown in Egypt”, France24 reported.

It seemed that US-based technology companies were keen on the removal of Hosni Mubarak and his regime. Indeed, their action was quite elaborate and well-coordinated:

“The solution proposed by the two Internet giants is called ‘speak-to-tweet’ and allows people to publish updates on the famous microblogging site by leaving a message on a voice mailbox. The service is free of charge, with Google offering users three international telephone numbers,” France24 wrote, providing the actual numbers in the US, Italy and Bahrain.

Obvious Dichotomy

The irony is inescapable. How could these supposedly ‘revolutionary social media platforms’ be part of the same Western structure that is dedicated to attacking and censoring Washington’s enemies, while elevating the US’ often-corrupt allies?

While some choose to overlook the obvious dichotomy, one cannot be so gullible.

This subject becomes yet more intriguing when we consider the war on Palestinian and pro-Palestine views on these very social media platforms.

While Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists are frequently banned, blocked and censored for rejecting Israel’s military occupation and apartheid in Palestine, Israeli propaganda is allowed to flourish on social media, with little hindrance.

This is not just a social media phenomenon.

The fact is, social media companies’ attitude towards the upheaval in the Arab world was consistent with the general zeitgeist of the US; in fact, Western societies – governments, mainstream media, and even public opinion polls.

While some – in fact, many – people may have genuinely wanted to support a popular push for democracy in the Middle East, governments and their media allies knew that appearing as if on the ‘right side of history’ would grant them the geopolitical spaces to influence the agendas and, ultimately, outcomes of these revolts. Libya paid the heaviest price of that self-serving Western crusade.

But when the revolts largely failed to create the major paradigm shift that Arab masses had coveted, Western governments were the first to reincorporate the post-revolts Arab regimes back into the embrace of the so-called international community.

West’s Real Goals

For Washington and its Western allies, the entire exercise had little to do with democracy, human rights and representation, and everything to do with new opportunities, geopolitics and regional relevance.

By supporting the revolts, the West wanted to ensure the resulting political discourse in the Middle East was simply not anti-Western. And, sadly, they partly succeeded, at least in creating a separation between corrupt regimes and the colonial powers that had sustained their corruption.

Though some labored to articulate a discourse that connected those who carried out the oppression – for example, Mubarak – and those who made the oppression possible in the first place – his Western allies – these attempts received little traction when compared to the mainstream Western-driven discourse.

Indeed, the anti-colonial discourse was not allowed to taint what the West wanted to paint as a purely ‘pro-democracy’ rhetoric, one that has no political or historical context that goes beyond the simplified version of the ‘Arab Spring’.

This is precisely why the New York Times, Twitter and the White House – and numerous other Western parties – ultimately parroted the same political line and accentuated the same language – while suppressing all other possible interpretations.

Since then, the political discourse in the Middle East has been rife with contradictions. For example, some of those who rejected the US war and genocide in Iraq in 2003 later joined the chorus of interventionists in Syria in the post-2011 uprising-turned into civil war.

Not a day passes without the US and other Western governments being called on by an Arab human rights group or civil rights organization to put pressure on this or that regime, to release political prisoners, to withhold funds and so on.

Bizarrely, Washington had become the guarantor of war and peace, chaos and stability in the Middle East. The unrepentant violator of our human rights has become, at least for some of us, our human rights champion.

But this is more than a simple case of unfortunate contradictions. It was done by design.

Sadly, Arab revolts were largely suppressed; the old regimes reinvented themselves and are back in business, again, with the direct support of, and funding by Western governments.

Our Own Contradictions

But is a different path possible, or are we simply trapped forever in this conundrum?

We reflected on all of this during the BRICS conference in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 22-24.

Without downplaying the internal contradictions among the main countries that established the BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China and, later, South Africa – or the newcomers –  Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina, the UAE and Ethiopia – one cannot help but ponder a world without US-Western domination.

For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact, there seems to be a real global political momentum of actual worth that does not emanate from the West and its regional lackeys and representatives.

Without a viable alternative for change, for decades, we have been trapped in these seemingly inescapable contradictions: criticizing Western colonialism, neocolonialism and imperialism, while appealing to the moral values of the West; we continue to call for the respect of international law, though we are fully aware of how ‘international laws’ were designed, are interpreted and implemented.

In short, we want the West to leave us alone, while beseeching the West to come to our rescue; we suffer the consequences of Western wars and flee to the West as desperate refugees.

We have experienced this dichotomy numerous times in the past – in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and every part of the Middle East – in fact, the Global South.

In truth, the contradiction is hardly Western; it is entirely ours. The ‘West’ rarely attempted to present itself as anything but a political mass that is motivated by sheer economic, geopolitical and strategic interests.

The West’s use of human rights, democracy and so on, is but a continuation of an old colonial legacy that extends hundreds of years. The target audience for such double-speak has never truly been the colonized, but the colonial entities themselves.

To claim that the West has changed, is changing or is capable of change has no historical basis and no evidence.

The Case of Palestine

The case of Palestine remains the most powerful example of Western hypocrisy and our own gullibility. Without the West, Israel would have never been established; and without Western support and protection, Israel would have never continued to exist as a military power and an apartheid regime.

Over a hundred years after the British handed over Palestine to the Zionists, 75 years of Israeli conquest and violence and over fifty years of Israeli military occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, the West remains Israel’s greatest supporter and benefactor.

These very recent headlines should illustrate our point:

·   A Dutch court grants immunity to Israeli leaders from war crimes charges

·   UK slammed for opposing ICJ (International Court of Justice) ruling on Israel Occupation of Palestine

·   Biden dispatches top adviser for talks with Saudi crown prince on normalizing relations with Israel

This is all taking place when Israel has become a full-blown apartheid regime, and when Israeli war crimes in the West Bank are at their worst, at least since 2005.

And there are no signs of things improving for the Palestinians in any way, as Israel is now ruled by government coalitions whose ministers outright deny the very existence of Palestinians, and are repeatedly calling for genocide and religious war.

Yes, the West is still financing, protecting, and defending that very racist, apartheid entity against the mere possibility of legal accountability.

And mainstream Western media and most social media platforms continue to censor Palestinian voices, as if the Palestinian quest for justice is unworthy and, in fact, offensive to Western sensibilities.

Way Forward

In the final analysis, neither BRICS alone, nor any other economic or political body will save us from our own contradictions.

The new political formations in the Global South, however, should serve as a starting point for confronting our dichotomy, at least through the realization that a whole world, rife with potential, possible allies and new ideas, extends beyond the confines of Washington and Brussels.

In the Global South, we must explore these new margins and possibilities, and move forward toward real, substantive and sustainable change. Imploring the West to help us cannot be our strategy, because history has taught us, time and again, that our torturers cannot also be our saviors.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of six books.

Romana Rubeo is an Italian writer and the managing editor of The Palestine Chronicle. Her articles appeared in many online newspapers and academic journals.

5 September 2023

Source: countercurrents.org