2020 And Foreign Policy

This is not a prediction but rather a question to the Dems that will be running for the nomination.

Will the candidates run on any foreign policy chops?

After two years in office, President Trump finally made his first trip to visit U.S. forces in the field in Iraq. Having announced the withdrawal of American troops from Syria and a drawdown in Afghanistan, going to Iraq—where he is likely to maintain a U.S. military presence—probably made political sense. But, by visiting troops, what he plans to bring home is also a politically astute move, a fact that likely will not be lost on Trump’s challengers in 2020.

Indeed, the future of the United States’ role in Afghanistan—now America’s longest war at 17 years and still counting—will likely be a major issue in the 2020 Presidential campaign. By now dragging on 10 years longer than our second longest war in Vietnam, it appears to have come to a similarly inconclusive stalemate: Our adversaries (the Taliban) cannot win while American troops are on the ground, but our efforts to Afghanize the war and rebuild the Afghan government and nation have also come to naught.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2019/01/10/in_2020_will_candidates_campaign_on_foreign_policy_114094.html

So far the only candidate that has shown any interest in foreign policy is Tulsi Gabbard…..

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Closing Thought–08Mar19

There have been stories of insurgents around the world that use child soldiers……from Africa to the sand of the deserts of the Middle East….child soldiers are still a problem….I have written about this situation before……

https://lobotero.com/2015/08/04/isis-child-soldiers/

https://lobotero.com/2017/05/08/child-soldiers-reloaded/

I bring this up again because the study made of child soldiers involved in war worldwide……

The number of child soldiers involved in conflicts globally has increased 159 percent within five years, with almost 30,000 verified recruitment cases since 2012, Child Soldiers International, a London-based human rights organization, said in a press release on Monday, February 11.

“Ongoing conflicts in the Middle East and persistent unrest in Somalia, South Sudan, DR Congo, Central African Republic and elsewhere are all leaving children increasingly exposed to recruitment,” the release said. “Boys and girls are routinely being used as fighters and at checkpoints, as informants, to loot villages and as domestic and sexual slaves.”

Child Soldiers International analyzed United Nations annual reports on Children and Armed Conflict issued in 2013-2018, recording 29,128 verified cases of child recruitment in 17 countries. Even though a significant number of cases usually take place in Africa, about half of them happen outside the continent, in countries like Syria, Iraq, Myanmar, and Colombia.

https://thedefensepost.com/2019/02/11/child-soldiers-global-increase/

Child recruitment in 17 countries……that should be unacceptable to the world….but instead they look the other way and allow this assault on childhood go unpunished.

Time to go and do what my Honey needs me to do….the garden needs work before the veggies go in…..

Later my friends.

Is Al-Qaeda A Friend?

Remember 9/11?

Most Americans do. The bastards that committed the atrocities on that day were members of the extremist group called al-Qaeda whose leader Osama bin Laden ordered the attacks.

We invaded Afghanistan on the pretext of hunting down the culprit and destroying the organization so they could never again be so brazen.

We took our eye off the target by the BS of Iraq and we invaded yet another country in 2003…..we finally found and executed Osama over a decade after he ordered the attacks of 9/11….but that aside he is dead and AQ is on their back foot right now and have been replaced by yet another extremist group named ISIS.

After about 5 years of constant war ISIS is on their back foot….not defeated just a bloody nose and a period of decline (for now)……

The US conned its allies into supporting the war on ISIS…..we groomed many “freedom loving” factions to do the fighting in the region (mostly Syria)……one of the groups that we “armed” either directly or through proxies was…….wait for it…….Al-Qaeda.

I have tried to focus my reader’s attention on the war against ISIS and the use of AQ as an ally…….https://lobotero.com/2017/07/26/where-oh-where-has-al-qaeda-gone/

More confusion comes out our “war” on ISIS……this time from old friends and new……https://lobotero.com/2015/03/02/israel-working-with-al-qaeda-lobelog/

I understand the Saudis supporting AQ for they share an extremist view of Islam….but not to the point of total support against ISIS (another extremist view)……

Less than two decades after the attacks of September 11, the U.S. government has now effectively allied with the Al Qaeda terrorist group it has long blamed for planning and executing those attacks, which still remain the worst terror attacks to have ever taken place on U.S. soil.  

Despite the U.S. having launched the war in Afghanistan, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and the years-long “War on Terror” as a means of allegedly countering Al Qaeda and its affiliates, the past year has revealed several instances in which Washington has been making “deals” with, protecting, and even (indirectly but knowingly) arming Al Qaeda operatives in countries like Yemen and Syria. The about-face has come as the U.S.’ interest in “counter-terrorism” throughout the Middle East has been superseded by regime-change policies targeting countries like Yemen, Syria and Iran.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has issued a letter demanding that President Donald Trump’s administration explain a recent report suggesting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates transferred U.S. weapons to Al-Qaeda.

Warren’s letter came in response to an investigation by CNN, which uncovered reports earlier this month that Saudi Arabia and its ally, the UAE, have taken weapons provided by the U.S. and given them to fighters linked to the Sunni Muslim militant group Al-Qaeda and other organizations as part of a secret, shared initiative to defeat Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebels known as Ansar Allah or the Houthis in Yemen. The document was addressed to Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“If this report is true, it raises serious concerns that Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other governments have violated their end user agreements with the United States by diverting American weapons to terrorists and other extremists without prior authorization from the United States,” Warren said, as reported Friday by CNN.

https://www.newsweek.com/elizabeth-warren-saudi-arabia-giving-us-weapons-al-qaeda-trump-administration-1341323

I am sorry but I cannot see why we would supply implements of destruction to a regime of wankers that will use them against us…….

I still do not trust the Saudis as far as I could toss their fat butts……plus I am not convinced that they did not know or support the terrorists on 9/11 after all most of them were Saudis…….but this is a good piece that ask an important question……

The BBC’s article merely reports what is accepted as common knowledge and documented fact regarding the inception of this now enduring, notorious and shape-shifting terrorist organization… that it was the initial creation of joint US-Saudi interests.

This fact would carry with it an ironic sting in 2001 when Al Qaeda, allegedly led by Bin Laden, struck the Pentagon in Washington and the World Trade Center in New York City on September 11, killing nearly 3,000 people and precipitating now over 15 years of global war.

Without doubt, the US and Saudi Arabia created Al Qaeda, and many believe still control the terrorist organization citing that the immense material support it and its subsidiaries require along with the virtual impunity they enjoy as they operate worldwide could only be due to substantial and influential state sponsorship.

Many have postulated that because the 15 years of war following September 11, 2001 have benefited only a handful of special interests both in the US and Europe, as well as in the Persian Gulf, that it cannot be ruled out that these interests were also somehow involved in the attacks that justified this enduring war to begin with.

At least one center of power involved in Al Qaeda’s creation, has been called out by members of the United States government as having continued to support the terrorist organization, including on September 11, 2001. Riyadh.
https://journal-neo.org/2016/05/06/saudi-arabia-supported-al-qaeda-before-and-after-but-not-on-9-11/

This situation with AQ is disturbing…..as is the Saudis support for AQ with weapons and stuff……(keep in mind that the majority of the attackers on 9/11 were Saudis)…….

The US needs to keep an eye on AQ, ISIS, Syria and Saudis and their allies….I do not trust them and neither should the US regardless of what deals Supreme Leader Trump has made with MbS…..PERIOD!

Afghanistan: Is Peace Near?

After 18 years of constant war and multiple deployments the US is looking at the peace process taking shape…..

The US gets bad press worldwide…..the American propaganda machine we call the MSM does not pile on….but the news is not good for America…..like the number of civilian deaths……

According to UN officials, the 2018 civilian death toll in Afghanistan was a record high, with 3,804 killed and another 7,189 wounded. This was an approximately 11% increase over the previous year, and the highest annual figure since the UN began keeping track in 2009.

The report concluded that both an increase in suicide attacks, mainly from ISIS, and a sharp increase in US airstrikes were driving the record deaths, with over 1,000 casualties just from US air operations.

The Taliban were blamed for the largest number of civilian casualties, at 37%, which is in keeping with UN reports of the past. The Afghan government, US, and NATO were blamed for 24%, and ISIS was blamed for a further 20%. This is a huge number of ISIS killings given how comparatively small the group is.

The UN said a particularly concerning fact was that the civilian casualties from US airstrikes were overwhelmingly women and children. This, however, should be unsurprising, as the US tends to define adult men in Afghanistan as “suspects” or “militants” simply by virtue of being in a strike.

(antiwar.com)

With those numbers rising the parties involved are meeting and discussing an end to the hostilities……

A new round of negotiations on Afghanistan has begun on Monday in the Qatari capital city. A delegation of US diplomats and top Taliban figures, including deputy Taliban leader Mullah Baradar, are present for what is sure to be the highest level of talks yet.

18+ years into the US war in Afghanistan, they’ve gone from the Taliban denying negotiations were even taking place, to confirming they are. Progress is now being confirmed by both sides, with a basic framework of a war-ending deal in place.

That deal, specifics not-withstanding, are that the US would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan, and the Taliban would ensure that neither al-Qaeda nor ISIS could operate inside of the country in the future.

Having Mullah Baradar and US negotiator head Zalmay Khalilzad sitting across the table from one another only underscores how serious the talks are getting, and this latest round of talks is expected to continue hammering out specific details.

(antiwar.com)

I read dissertation papers that grad students submit and this one covers the “Long War” in Afghanistan and the possibility of a peaceful settlement…..

During the last week of January, the news was awash with stories covering the current administration’s ostensibly unprecedented progress with Special Envoy Khalilzad’s recent talks with the Taliban and their Pakistani sponsors in Qatar. In a statement that the U.S. Embassy Kabul released on the last Monday in January, Khalilzad stated that the peace talks had made progress on important issues and that the negotiators had agreed on a framework for further talks in February. In the eighteenth year of a long and stalemated war, there are reasons to be sanguine about these developments, to some degree, simply because this seems to have been the most talk about peace among the belligerents yet in this long hard war. And Mr. Khalilzad is indeed one of the best people to be the U.S. envoy leading the talks given his Afghan origins and years of experience as ambassador in Afghanistan and Iraq

However, there are also reasons for much caution and some alarm about the current progress and the potential for peace in Afghanistan since the deliberations and decisions about many previously intractable issues still require prudence and patience.  These details may potentially augur the gravest consequences for Afghanistan, its neighbors, and the U.S. Several things of great importance have yet to be worked out. There is still much uncertainty in what outcomes these talks will result in, and looming yet elusive peace also brings up questions and concerns about the Taliban’s and their sponsor’s true intentions.

This could be good news….or it could be just a lull in a continuing situation….

light at the end of an excruciatingly long tunnel, the prospect of American withdrawal from Afghanistan now seems to glimmer ahead. Several rounds of negotiation in Russia, Qatar, and elsewhere have produced the outlines of an agreement. Details are unknown, but by all accounts, the accord will be based around a simple deal: the United States pulls its troops out and the Taliban pledges to never again host terror groups.

This would be a most un-American peace deal. Rather than a declaration of victory, it would be a reluctant acceptance of stubborn facts on the ground. Afghans repelled British invaders in the 19th century and Soviet invaders in the 20th. For nearly two decades they have held the United States at bay. By leaving Afghanistan to its fate, we would be admitting failure. This horrifies many in Washington. Americans fervently embrace the illusion that their country can succeed at anything — including crushing mountain fighters thousands of miles away who believe they are patriots resisting a foreigner invader.

https://outline.com/RwCTAB

I wish I could see this as a good thing for the people of Afghanistan….but I cannot….the Taleban when returned to power will revert to their extreme shelf…..a restrictive form of Islam will once again rule the land….

Afghanistan has another worry….the hostilities between India and Pakistan…..there is a possibility that hostilities could spill over into Afghanistan….

Fearing a dangerous spillover impacts from increased tensions between India and Pakistan, war-ravaged Afghanistan has advised its nuclear-armed neighbors to exercise the utmost restraint.

On Wednesday, February 27, the Pakistan Air Force claimed to have shot down two Indian aircraft inside Pakistani airspace, a day after India said it struck hideouts of the Jaish-e-Mohammad militant group – responsible for a deadly suicide attack in Kashmir– inside Pakistan.

India blames Pakistan-based JeM for killing more than 40 Indian security forces in the troubled Kashmir valley on February 14.

https://thedefensepost.com/2019/02/28/afghanistan-india-pakistan-spillover/

The only good thing is that American troops will come home and get the rest they richly deserve.

Let’s say that a peace plan is negotiated……what does that mean to US troops?

Ongoing US-Taliban peace negotiations, designed to end the 18-year Afghan War, has a new proposal, with the Pentagon having finally offered a formal plan for withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan.

As with the usual Pentagon plans, there seems to be reticence toward actually doing this in a timely fashion. The plan reportedly would have half of the 14,000 US troops leaves Afghanistan within a matter of months, but then the rest would stay for as long as five years.

The end of the five years would see not only all US troops out of Afghanistan, but also NATO troops. It is said to enjoy support within NATO and among administration officials. It’s not clear what the Taliban’s position is, however.

And that might be a tough sell for the Taliban. After resisting a US occupation for 18 years, the Taliban’s demand is to get the US out of the country, and while the logistics of that might take awhile, five years is a very long time.

If anything, such a long time is likely to raise fears that the Pentagon is dragging its feet specifically to give officials time to change their minds and dishonor the deal, and keeping thousands of troops inside Afghanistan means Trump, or his successor, could end up resuming the war.

(antiwar.com)

US troops are the key to any peace deal with the Taleban…..

Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for Taliban’s political office in Qatar, told reporters in Qatar that the war will come to an end in the country and the Taliban fighters will join the ranks of the Afghan army if the two sides sealed an agreement on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.

He said talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government is an internal issue and that Taliban is currently carrying out talks with the US about troop withdrawal.

“When the occupation is ended, there is a full withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan and there is an Afghan-inclusive Islamic government in the country, I think there is no need for any military operation and war. So, there will be a sustainable peace in the country and all the military people and our people, they will be included in a national army,” said Shaheen.

https://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/taliban-sees-troop-withdrawal-key-peace

Appears as troops are the main condition for peace in Afghanistan….

I say bring ’em home!

Can You Say, “Idlib”?

A small city and province in Northwest Syria where the last forces of the murderous group ISIS are held up for their “last stand”…..but don’t tell anybody…the tale is that they are in Eastern Syria….

Fighting has been fierce and as ISIS is defeated its members will slink away and wait for the rise to begin again……

ISIS has been a barbarous group with mass killings, drownings, beheadings, stonings, etc……and when they are defeated (at least disbanded as a force) then the world will be right and peace will prevail.

NOT!

Does anyone remember Al-Qaeda?

That group that gave us the attacks on 9/11…..remember now?

It appears that as ISIS departs the region AQ is stepping in as the controller of the region…..

 Late last year, Turkey-backed rebels were decisively overwhelmed by al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front in the Idlib Province, in northern Syria. While Turkey’s allies made mention of resolving this, as an attempt to prevent Syria attacking the area during a ceasefire with Turkey, al-Qaeda never left, and their control has only grown.

So while Turkey controls some of northern Aleppo Province, the Idlib Province is now almost entirely under the control of al-Qaeda, and they are ruling under an increasingly strict Islamist rule.

Al-Qaeda’s activities are forcing a lot of aid groups to cease activity in the area, and a lot of locals say that they object being ruled over by the faction. They say exactly who supports al-Qaeda is never clear, and so far there is no sign of any resistance.

 
ISIS was an extreme form of Islam….as is the beliefs of al-Qaeda…..and the US was supplying AQ in the fight against ISIS…..
 
What will the control of the region by AQ mean in the bigger War on Terror?
 
The news is, as reported on CNN, the final push against ISIS has begun and there is a chance that in 5 days or so the ISIS threat will be no more….the people may be dead but the idea remains….so dead is not a proper term to describe the event.
 
But could ISIS resurrect itself in Syria?
 

The Islamic State is decimated but not eradicated in Syria, the Pentagon inspector general reports, and “ISIS remains a potent force of battle-hardened and well-disciplined fighters that ‘could likely resurge in Syria’ absent continued counterterrorism pressure.”

In light of the last two decades of American foreign policy and the realistic near-future of the nations we’ve occupied, this report should serve as one more piece of evidence that it is time to end U.S. intervention in Syria. Using the chance of a relatively small-scale ISIS resurgence as a reason to delay U.S. withdrawal from Syria is both pointless and reckless, a needless and counterproductive means of exposing America to further risk of great-power conflict while accomplishing little in a war Congress never duly authorized two successive administrations to fight.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/02/isis-might-come-back-s-just-one-more-reason-get-out-syria/154973/

The events in Syria has no bearing on the security of the US…..so bring the troops home and focus on making the country great again….(I seem to have heard that slogan before)…….

 
 
 

Sub-Continent Slow Boil

Things got a bit warm between India and Pakistan…..first a suicide attack within India and then India hits a camp within Pakistan and two Indian jets are shot down and a pilot captured…..then the back and forth about Kashmir and the rhetoric around the captured pilot…..https://lobotero.com/2019/02/20/the-sub-continent-smolders/

To ease the rising tensions the PM of Pakistan Khan has decided to return the Indian pilot……

Imran Khan has kept his promise. On Thursday, Pakistan’s prime minister vowed to release Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who’d been captured after his MiG-21 jet was shot down Wednesday by a Pakistani fighter over the disputed Kashmir territory. And on Friday, Khan made good, with video showing the 38-year-old fighter pilot walking over the border near the Pakistani town of Wagah, per Reuters. The Washington Post notes Varthaman was dressed in a “sharp suit” as he crossed back into India with lots of security nearby and hundreds of cheering Indians waiting to greet him.

“It is good to be back in my country,” were his reported first words, an official told the media, per NDTV. Even though Pakistan and India have long been fighting over Kashmir, Varthaman’s plane was the first to be shot down in such an “aerial dogfight” between the two countries in nearly a half-century, the Post notes. The pilot was said to have chewed and swallowed some of the maps and other sensitive papers in his possession after his plane crashed to keep them out of the wrong hands. Many hope that the pilot’s release will tamp down the India-Pakistan tensions that’ve been escalating over the past couple of weeks. Varthaman will be debriefed and checked out by doctors, Indian officials say.

Pilot is home but the tension remain high with cross border shelling…..

A Pakistani government official says Indian troops with heavy weapons have “indiscriminately targeted border villagers” along the two nations’ Line of Control in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, killing a boy and wounding three others. The official, Umar Azam, said Saturday that Pakistani troops are “befittingly” responding to the Indian fire, per the AP. He says several homes were destroyed in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir, which is split between them and claimed by both in its entirety. Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir since their independence from British rule in 1947.

Saturday’s exchange of fire came a day after Pakistan handed over captured Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman to India as a “gesture of peace” to defuse tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors over the disputed Kashmir region. Meanwhile, officials say two siblings and their mother have been killed in cross-border shelling between Indian and Pakistani soldiers in disputed Kashmir. Indian police say the three died overnight after a shell fired by Pakistani soldiers hit their home in the Poonch region near the so-called Line of Control that divides the Himalayan territory of Kashmir between the two nuclear-armed rivals.

The world can only hold its breath and hope a peaceful solution can be found for this region does not need another war.

 

The Growing Hate

By the title one might surmise that this post is about the tensions between races or religions or whatever else us humans attempt to hate……well if so….you would be mistaken.

I have been writing and attempt to teach people about war and its complexities and in that time I have also been an antiwar activist and because I have been such I have hated those we call “Neocons”….or if you prefer “warmongers”….or if you would like a more political correct title….”hawks”……

Since 9/11 it has been out of fashion to hate these people because they are keeping us “safe” from another attack by taking the fight to the terrorists. Since those days slowly but slowly the US has expanded its reach with war all in the name of fighting terrorists…..this overreach was sold to the people by the MSM with their constant drumming of propaganda….

But I can glad announce that the “old days” seem to be returning (at least for others…… for I never stopped hating)…..the public is starting to wake up to the reach of the M-IC and the propaganda of the MSM……

American Conservative has published an article titled “Why Are These Professional War Peddlers Still Around?”, an excerpt from a book by Fox’s Tucker Carlson, which documents neoconservative thought leaders Max Boot and Bill Kristol’s consistent track record of supporting spectacularly awful US war policies. Carlson goes over the many, many acts of military interventionism which have been pushed for by these two legendary failmeisters, documents what they predicted would happen as the result of that interventionism (freedom, democracy and prosperity) and what actually ended up happening instead (needless death, terrorism and chaos), and marvels at how they both somehow remain in positions of high esteem with high-profile, high-paying jobs.

The article was shared today on Twitter by Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, who commented that Carlson “offers a devastating critique [of] interventionism and shows how much of the foreign policy establishment has failed the American people. There is an emerging, left right coalition of common sense for a foreign policy of restraint.”

 
I am an old fart but it is good to see a trend developing to maybe check the expansion of our many many wars.
 
We can only hope.