American Resistance To Empire

Obama’s Jihad In Syria Pushing Patriotic Military Minds Towards Thoughts of Mutiny

US investigative reporter Seymour Hersh dropped a seasonal bombshell in the London Review of Books when he wrote that the Pentagon had indirectly shared intelligence with the Syrian military via the German, Russian and Israeli agencies.

Hersh began by arguing that senior US officers took such action because they were fed up with the Obama administration’s insistence on the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the existence of “moderate” armed groups capable of doing the job. (I take issue with his including of Israel in the group of intermediaries as Israel has been backing Al Qaeda’s Jabhat Al Nusra against the Syrian army in the Kuneitra-Golan area).

President Barack Obama announced on August 18, 2011, that Assad had to go and took steps to support the “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), established under Turkey’s patronage, on July 29 by seven or eight defecting middle-ranking Syrian army officers without troops.

At that time, the Syrian regular army was engaged in intermittent clashes with armed groups formed by local gang leaders whose aim was to oust the government. Since many of these groups were largely armed (and later paid) by expatriate Syrian businessmen, they had a reputation of being “moderate”, that is, not identified as Sunni fundamentalist.

Other groups, supported by the Muslim Brotherhood and militant salafists, were not seen as a taqfiri threat, that is, also “moderate”.

Some claimed identification with the FSA to secure US and Turkish largesse. (It is significant that the expatriate opposition “Syrian National Council” (SNC), modelled on the Iraqi National Council that partnered the US during the Bush era, was set up in August 2011, again by Ankara).

However, the FSA did not topple Assad and intermittent battles became a war for the existence of Syria.

Hersh reminds us that during the summer of 2013, a “highly classified document” drafted by the US Defence Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed by General Martin Dempsey who had served in Iraq during 2003-04, predicted that if Assad were to fall, there would be chaos in Syria that could be exploited by taqfiri groups determined to seize territory.

The result would be a situation similar to that in Libya, where Western airpower helped rebels topple the Qadhafi regime without ensuring a line of succession.

By the summer of 2013, the US Central Intelligence Agency, Turkey and allied regional powers had, for some time, been transferring arms to alleged “moderates” who were selling them or defecting to Al Nusra, which had entered the conflict in early 2012, and Daesh, which joined in 2013.

The Obama administration was repeatedly warned by Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defence Intelligence Agency, about what Hersh called “the dire” consequences of toppling Assad.

“The jihadists were in control of the opposition,” Flynn told Hersh.

“If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic. We understood Isis’s [Daesh’s] long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State [Daesh] inside Syria.”

Flynn said the administration “did not want to hear the truth”.

Hersh’s article appeared after Dempsey’s retirement, in September; he, like former army chief, General Eric Shinseki, warned an administration against a wrong-headed policy.

At the time, Shinseki warned the George W. Bush administration against invading and occupying Iraq without deploying the hundreds of thousands of boots-on-the-ground needed to provide security for a country of Iraq’s size and population.

He also retired at a key moment in the Iraq debacle: June 11, 2003. In November 2006, when it was clear that Iraq adventure was a disaster.

Central Command head General John Abizaid testified before Congress that Shinseki had been correct.

Too little, too late.

Unfortunately, Dempsey was succeeded by General Joseph Dunford who claimed that the greatest threat to the US comes from Russia and dismissed Russia’s intervention in Syria as “not fighting [Daesh]”.

He commanded Marines in the invasion of Iraq, served 22 months there [as Al Qaeda took root in the country] and should know better than to cite Russia as the main “existential threat” to the US.

He is, clearly, the Obama administration’s choice for the top job as he plays ball with its side.

Ever since August 18, 2011, when he called on Assad to step aside, Obama has failed to spell out how control over Syria was to be exercised.

The FSA has always been “non-existent” as a force, consisting of thousands of troops with command-and-control, and the SNC (and its successor the Syrian National Coalition) have no support inside Syria.

Obama has no intention of sending troops and administrators to occupy and rule Syria, as Bush did Iraq, providing the breeding ground for Al Qaeda and Daesh.

The Obama administration has also ignored or soft pedalled connections between immoderate fundamentalist Ahrar Al Sham and Nusra, in Idlib province, as well as between groups claiming to be FSA and Daesh, notably in the southern Damascus suburbs of Yarmouk and Hajar Al Aswad.

It is interesting to note that Hersh’s article was not picked up by the New York Times or Washington Post, the two most read newspapers in the White House.

Democracy Now carried an interview with Hersh and Russia Today an in-depth article, while United Press International and other outlets had reports on the article.

Presumably Hersh’s accusations against the Obama administration did get through to Obama himself.

The problem with Hersh, for US policymakers, is that he normally turns out to be right and they wrong.

The First Cracks Appear In Pakistani Peace Ploy

[Kabul Hosting US/China Sponsored Afghan Peace Talk Meeting Which Excludes India]

Pakistan contradicts Afghanistan on venue of next talks on Taliban

daily star LEB

ISLAMABAD: A Pakistani official said on Wednesday that talks on how to restart a tentative peace dialogue with Afghanistan’s Taliban insurgents would be held in Islamabad next month, contradicting an Afghan statement that they would be in Kabul.

The confusion over the venue highlighted the fraught, multi-country process to coax the Taliban to the bargaining table and end more than 14 years of war since the U.S.-backed intervention to break the hard-line Islamist movement’s grip in Afghanistan.

“Between Jan. 10 and Jan. 15, the first meeting will take place in Islamabad, not in Kabul,” Sartaj Aziz, senior adviser on foreign affairs to Pakistan’s prime minister, told a press conference.

He said the meeting, involving officials from the United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan, had been decided on this month when Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Islamabad at the Heart of Asia conference.

On Tuesday, an official in Ghani’s office said the talks would be held next week in Kabul, following the weekend visit of powerful Pakistani military chief, General Raheel Sharif.

The reason for the contradictory statements was not immediately clear and Afghan officials could not be reached. Neither side has said Taliban representatives themselves would attend.

Diplomats have been working to revive the nascent peace process, which broke down in July following an initial round, after which news was leaked of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar more than two years earlier.

The United States and China, which is planning to invest billions in Pakistan, have both pushed for peace talks.

However, some Afghan officials have opposed Pakistan hosting the talks, accusing their nuclear-armed neighbor of harboring Taliban leaders and sponsoring the insurgency for its own regional strategy.

Pakistan rejects the accusation and says it has also suffered heavily from terrorism. On Tuesday, at least 23 people were killed and 75 wounded when a suicide bomber attacked a government office in northwestern Pakistan.

The Taliban, which has grown in strength this year following the withdrawal of most foreign troops, has so far ruled out taking part in any talks as long as foreign troops remain in Afghanistan.

But the movement has splintered into rival factions since the 2013 death of Mullah Omar was announced, with many rejecting the authority of the new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mansour.


Exposure To Guerilla Warfare Increases Risk of PTSD

Guerilla Tactics Tied to Greater PTSD Risk for Vets

psyche central

Guerilla Warfare Linked to Greater Risk for PTSD in VeteransVeterans who have faced guerilla warfare tactics, such as suicide attacks and roadside bombs, are at greater risk for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than those who fought in more conventional warfare, according to a new study conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The findings are published in the journal Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.

The study identified three distinct phases of the Iraq War, based on previous reports. The researchers analyzed whether veterans who fought during the insurgency phase — a time in which more guerilla-style tactics were used — were more likely to develop PTSD than those who deployed during the initial invasion phase of the war, or the more recent surge phase.

The study involved 738 men and women who served in Iraq. The researchers found that among the men (about half of the group), the insurgency-phase veterans were more than twice as likely to have a diagnosis of PTSD, compared with those who served in either of the other two phases.

The results remained strong even after the researchers adjusted for a range of other demographic and deployment-related risk factors.

The findings did not apply to the women in the study, although the reasons for this are unclear. Referring to other studies, the researchers say there may be a somewhat different mix of factors that contribute to PTSD in female service members and veterans.

The team, led by Dr. Jonathan Green, is with the Behavioral Science Division of the National Center for PTSD, based at the VA Boston Healthcare System, and with Boston University School of Medicine. In the study, they write that overall the findings suggest that specific enemy combat tactics may be undervalued in understanding what drives PTSD.

“Assessment of the nature of combat may be useful in research and in clinical settings,” the stated.

The researchers also asserted that the comparatively high rates of PTSD among Vietnam War veterans may be explained, at least in part, by taking into account the type of enemy tactics those troops experienced. The researchers compare that war, on the whole, to the insurgency phase of the Iraq conflict.

Prior research aimed at comparing PTSD rates between different wars didn’t allow researchers to control for shifting generational norms and differing social and political climates. Because of this, the researchers chose to focus their analysis only on the Iraq War.

Still, they acknowledge there are other factors not included in the study that could affect PTSD rates, such as the intensity of combat or social or political factors that changed even during the course of the Iraq War.

Source: Veterans Affairs Research Communications
Soldier in combat photo by shutterstock.

Russia accuses U.S. of protecting ISIS

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Dec. 25, 2015. (Maxim Shipenkov/Pool Photo via AP)

The Russian Defense Ministry is accusing the Pentagon of fighting the Islamic State in ‘word only’ after the U.S. military refused to share targeting and intelligence information with Vladimir Putin’s forces.

Pentagon spokeswoman Michelle Baldanza recently said the U.S. would not “cooperate with Russia on Syria until they change their strategy of supporting Assad and instead focus on ISIL.”

That posture drew the ire of the Russian military.

“The hackneyed thesis has once again confirmed that the Pentagon will fight against IS in word only, instead of taking real action,” said Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

“The statement by the US Defense Department spokesperson Michelle Baldanza about the [U.S.’s] refusal from any cooperation in the fight against Islamic State is a broken record, and it’s high time to change it.”

The Russian Defense Ministry went on to say the new routes run through the north-western regions of Iraq, which “are in the focus of constant attention of the United States…We publicly told our American colleagues that it is necessary not to discuss the IS activities in Iraq, but to take real action to block the terrorists’ sources of income in the region,” Konashenkov said.

On December 25, Sergey Rudskoy told journalists that Russian intelligence found almost 12,000 tank/delivery trucks on the Turkish-Iraqi border near Zakho, where the ‘eastern’ oil smuggling route used by the Islamic State terrorist group runs.

“As of the time the imagery was shot, there were 11,775 tank and delivery trucks on both sides of the Turkish-Iraqi border in the vicinity of Zakho, with 4,530 of them in Turkey and 7,250 in Iraq,” he added. “It is worth mentioning that oil extracted both in Iraq and in Syria is smuggled via the checkpoint there,” he added.

In short, Russia is accusing the United States and Turkey of allowing oil to continue to be smuggled into Turkey from ISIS controlled areas in Syria and Iraq. In not providing targeting information for these transport routes, Russia is accusing the US of protecting the ISIS revenue stream from Russian airstrikes.

Timeline of Afghanistan’s Peace Parade Extravaganza

Sep 22, 2015–Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Mansour ‘open to talks’ – BBC …

Jul 29, 2015–

July 24, 2015–China to Host Next Afghan-Taliban Talks…to…taliban…talks/2876960.html

Jul 12, 2015–Hamid Karzai seen as increasing threat to Afghanistan’s … › World › Afghanistan

Jul 7, 2015–Afghan delegation travels to Pakistan for first known talks … › World › Afghanistan

May 25, 2015–Taliban and Afghan Peace Officials Have Secret Talks in ……/taliban-and-afghan-peace-offici…The New York Times

May 2, 2015–Taliban and Afghan officials hold ‘reconciliation’ talks in Qatar › World › Afghanistan

May 1, 2015–Afghan delegation heads to Qatar for talks with the Taliban … › World › Afghanistan

01 May 2015–Pakistan Condemns Afghan Taliban; Ghani: Let Taliban Be Part of Peace Talks

Pakistan Condemns Afghan Taliban; Ghani: Let Taliban Be Part of Peace Talks; India Rejects U.S. Religious Freedom Report

Feb 23, 2015–Afghanistan reported close to direct peace talks with Taliban ……/la-fg-afghanistan-peace-talks-tali…

Feb 12, 2015–Quest For Afghan Stability: China and Pakistan Join Hands

Dec. 28, 2014–combat mission in Afghanistan is ending

June 15 2014–Operation Zarb-e-Azb was launched in North Waziristan along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border

June 1, 2014–US-Taliban prisoner exchange will help peace: Afghan official

May 31, 2014–GOP blasts Obama for Taliban negotiation | TheHill…/207835-republicans-blast-obama-for-negotiating-…

Apr 17, 2014–Taliban negotiator under house arrest in UAE, says … – Dawn    Agha Jan Mutassim

Mar 26, 2014–Pakistan holds peace talks with Taliban:
–The Pakistani government opened its first direct talks with the Pakistan Taliban today

Feb 28, 2014–Pakistan: Informal Afghan Peace Talks Are ‘A Good Start’…afghan-peace…/1861531.html

Nov 30, 2013–Karzai-Sharif Talks: In Pursuit of a Common Ground on …

November 28, 2013–Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, four-star rank army general, retires as Pak. Army Chief of Staff

General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani retires on November 28

Nov 23, 2013–Afghan high peace council receive special Taliban message by Baradar

Nov 2, 2013–US drone kills leader of Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah

30 October 2013–Afghan Peace Team to Visit Taliban Commander

Oct 30, 2013–Afghan officials to visit Pakistan for talks with former Taliban leader

Sept 21, 2013–Pakistan releases top Afghan Taliban prisoner in effort to boost peace process

July 23, 2013–Taliban Political Office in Qatar

July 9, 2013–Taliban close Qatar office to protest flag fracas

June 21, 2013–Afghan Negotiators Boycott Talks With Taliban
–The Afghan government says the Taliban is not interested in peace but in taking control of the country

June 19, 2013–Karzai withdrawal from Afghan peace talks leaves tough road ahead

Jun 19, 2013–US to hold landmark peace talks with the Taliban

Jun 18, 2013–Taliban Agrees to Join Peace Talks with U.S.

Jun 16, 2013–‘The Americans have been Dishonest Negotiators’

‘The Americans have been Dishonest Negotiators’ says Afghan Militants’ Representative

May 1, 2013–Afghanistan peace negotiator killed in bombing

March 18, 2013–Karzai Opponents In Talks With Taliban

Afghan negotiator welcomes release of Taliban
–Afghan peace negotiators have welcomed the release of eight Taliban prisoners who had been held in Pakista

Jan 1, 2013–Top Afghan negotiator optimistic over peace process
–Mohammad Masoon Stanekzai A senior Afghan high peace council official said he was cautiously optimistic

Nov 16, 2012–Pakistan may release senior Taliban leader Mullah Baradar

Oct 4, 2012–Peace Talks With the Taliban

01 September 2012–Talks with [Pakistan] govt suspended: TTP leader
–“Senior militant commander, Maulvi Faqir, has said that his group has called off talks with the government which was ‘playing tricks’…
–‘The government contacted me and some other TTP leaders through intermediaries.'”

May 13, 2012–Afghan peace negotiator Arsala Rahmani shot dead

Apr 06, 2012–Govt. peace negotiator killed in Kunar bombing
Maulvi Mohammad Hashim Munib

Dec 18, 2011–Afghanistan Taliban ready to open political headquarters ……/taliban-ready-to-open-political-he…
National Post

Nov 1, 2011–Turkey wants Afghan-Pakistan summit to reduce mistrust

Sep 21, 2011–Top Afghan Peace Negotiator Killed
Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani

Aug 12, 2011–Afghanistan peace talks go quiet
Peace negotiations between Taliban and US stall as Taliban negotiator goes missing.

10 Aug 2011–Secret peace talks between US and Taliban collapse over leaks
–” the identity of the Taliban’s chief negotiator were deliberately leaked by ‘paranoid’ Afghan government figures… held in Germany and Qatar earlier this year between Tayeb Agha, Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s former private secretary, and senior officials from the US State Department and Central Intelligence Agency.”

May 25, 2011–Lashing Out, Karzai Says U.S. Is Talking to the Taliban

Jan 16, 2011–New Leaders for the Taliban

Nov 22, 2010–Taliban Leader in Peace Talks Was an Impostor

Sep 5, 2010–Karzai established HPC

Apr 2, 2010–Col. Imam: An Alternative View of the Afghan Campaign

–“Earlier in 2010 Brig. Tarar broke silence giving rare interviews to local Pakistani, Western (New York Times) and Russian (Russian TV) media. The main cause of these interviews seem to be part of a Taliban attempt to deal with the new American strategy, that moves to convince the ‘people of Afghanistan’ to withdraw from the fight, lay down their arms and accept NATO’s terms.”

March 26, 2010–Col. Imam and former ISI official Khalid Khwaja were kidnapped on their way to North Waziristan by a previously unknown militant group calling themselves the Asian Tigers

Who killed the ex-ISI official?

Mar. 10, 2010–Mustafa Zahir Shah (SEE: Pakistan, US agree on new Afghan set-up).],-us-agree-on-new-afghan-set-up
–“Islamabad has agreed to untangle the complicated jihadist network fabricated by General Ziaul Haq in 1979…Pakistan has already started delivering and brick-by-brick demolition of Jehadi infrastructure has already set in motion…The arrests of top Taliban commanders from Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar two weeks ago to Abu Yehya Gadan over the weekend is a testament to Islamabad’s sincere commitment with this new approach.”

Feb. 12, 2010–Marja offensive launched

Feb. 6, 2010–Baradar arrested in Karachi by Pakistan and CIA

January 25, 2010–Pakistan’s former spymaster: U.S. must talk to Mullah Omar

June 21, 2009–Operation Rah-e-Nijat South Waziristan area of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas

How Does Putin Plan To Help Afghan Govt. Fight Taliban and Taliban Fight Daesh?

[It remains to be seen just how Putin will strike a balance between helping Afghan govt. to fight Taliban and helping Taliban to fight Daesh.  Afghanistan is slated to become center-ring of the “terror war” circus.  The fireworks will be going off in every direction in the new year.]

Moscow to Supply Arms, Ammunition to Kabul

afghan spirit

Russia will deliver to Afghanistan in January a batch of small arms for police officers, Russian president’s special envoy for Afghanistan, Director of the 2nd Asia Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Zamir Kabulov said.

According to him, arms supplies from Russia are a significant factor contributing to normalizing the situation in Afghanistan.

“At present, Russian agencies consider a number of corresponding requests from the Afghan side,” the presidential envoy told Russian media on Tuesday.

“In particular, the issue of the supply of 10,000 AK-47 (assault rifles) with rounds to them through the Russian Interior Ministry has been practically decided. The batch is expected to be supplied in January 2016,” the official said.

“Negotiations are currently underway on the commercial supplies of Russian helicopter equipment to Afghanistan,” he added.

“Russia has been consistently pursuing the policy of providing comprehensive assistance to Afghanistan in the establishment of a peaceful, independent, stable and self-sufficient state, free from terrorism and drugs,” Kabulov said.

“We support the national reconciliation line of the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We are ready to flexibly approach the issues related to the possible weakening of the sanctions regime according to the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1988 against the Taliban, if it is not contrary to the national interests of Afghanistan.”

Last week, Kabulov said that Moscow was dramatically changing its position on the Taliban in Afghanistan. From now on, they are not an enemy for Russia any more. Moreover, they even become Moscow’s partners in a sense. “The interests of the Taliban in the fight against Daesh in Afghanistan are in line with Russian objectives,” the Russian presidential special envoy said.

Kabul Hosting US/China Sponsored Afghan Peace Talk Meeting Which Excludes India

[It seems that the US and China have not only forced Afghan President Ghani to stoically embrace all of the Pakistani Taliban who have been flushed into Afghanistan by the Pak Army’s concept of an anti-Taliban “operation,” but also to accept overall Pakistani domination.  The exclusion of India from this attempt by superpowers to dictate terms for a regional peace on the subcontinent confirms that Pakistan has received its every wish, none more desired than the exclusion of India from Afghanistan.  Abandonmen of the TAPI “pipe dream” should be one of the early manifestations of this new superpower paradigm. 

The great unknown variable in this new power configuration will be Russian and Iranian reactions to this double-crossing of their Northern Alliance allies.  Will they confine their responses to border reinforcements, needed to counter the anticipated influx of persecuted Taliban, or should we expect a more sinister response from them?  That will probably be determined by the ongoing US/Russian proxy war in Syria.]

Kabul To Host Key Meeting On Peace Talks

The Afghan Foreign Ministry on Tuesday announced that Kabul will host a key meeting on peace talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan, United States and China next week.

Foreign Ministery Deputy Spokesperson Khairullah Azad said the decision to hold the meeting was taken during the recent visit of Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff Raheel Sharif to Kabul.

“It was decided that a meeting among Afghan, Pakistani, American and Chinese officials should be held in the first few days of January in order to map out the way forward for the peace talks [between the Afghan government and the Taliban],” he said.

About goals of the meeting, he said: “The talks will involve those militants that are interested in peace talks; while other [militant] groups will be fought jointly.”

A member of the High Peace Council (HPC), Haji Din Mohammad, who attended the first round of the peace talks, said the meeting will determine the mechanisms of the talks.

“The mechanisms of the peace talks will be fixed in the meeting and it will be decided what steps should be taken,” he said.

“The meeting will talk about ways of building trust between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban – also [trust] between Pakistan’s government and Pakistani Taliban.”

This comes after a close source to President Ashraf Ghani told TOLOnews that the president drew three redlines regarding peace talks with the Taliban during his meeting on Sunday with Sharif.

In this meeting, Ghani reportedly laid down the law and said discussions need to be clear on three points – the protection of democratic institutions; Pakistan needs to give its honest cooperation regarding peace and that the Taliban should join the talks from the position of a group and not as a parallel government or Islamic Emirate, the source said Monday.

Referring to this, Din Mohammad said: “Afghan government cannot wait for an agreement among Taliban’s different groups in order to come to Afghanistan and talk about peace. Reports reveal that rifts among Taliban have increased, therefore the president said that Kabul is ready to talk with those who are ready for peace.”

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials have said that Ghani and Sharif have agreed to both fight the war on terror, to resume peace talks and to exchange intelligence information.