Middle East: The Song Remains The Same

Storms out on the ocean…..the judge is being judged…….Rudy is filling his poison pen…….Kim is in a pickle…….the Master is Tweeting……all in all that was the week that was….with all that the wars in the Middle East must be nearing a conclusion, right?

Well let’s take a closer look at the events in the Middle East…..

After a months long stretch of merely sporadic violence and simmering tensions, the Middle East seems on the verge of another fiery eruption, and there are no outside powers with the interest or leverage to douse the flames.

The smoke is starting to billow from three well-worn hot spots.

First, there is Idlib province in northern Syria, on the Turkish border, home to 3 million civilians—half of them refugees displaced by war from other parts of the country—and roughly 70,000 anti-regime rebels, many of them jihadis. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to wipe out all anti-regime forces in air and ground campaigns that will unavoidably kill thousands of civilians, a fact that hasn’t bothered him in previous assaults. His allies, the Russians and Iranians, say they will help, and in fact the bombing has begun.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/09/syria-iran-iraq-the-middle-east-looks-set-to-explode-again.html

As the people of Idlib province and the displaced who moved there to escape mayhem elsewhere in Syria tremble in anticipation of the onslaught many expect to bring an end to the seven-year conflict, some among them must certainly wonder, what has the bloodshed accomplished? When it is over, not only will more than half a million people have died but more than six million will have been made refugees and more than twice that will have required some form of humanitarian assistance. And when it is over, an Assad will most likely rule over Syria, as has been true since 1971, leaving the family well-positioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their brutal reign over the country in just three years.

An article in the New York Times this week discussed the state of affairs in Afghanistan. It noted that while the US government claims the Taliban control or contest “only” 44 per cent of the districts in Afghanistan, military analysts suggest the figure is actually closer to 61 per cent of the districts.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/in-conflicts-from-syria-to-afghanistan-there-has-been-an-extraordinarily-high-price-but-precious-little-meaningful-change-1.768465

It is tempting to call most reporting on the wars in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan “blind and stupid.” This, however, is unfair to journalists – whose job is primarily to report current news and not to speculate about its ultimate meaning or the future. The phrase “blind and stupid” should be applied to most policymakers, strategists, and think tank analysts who try to address these wars – people whose mission is not only to think about the future, but to propose credible solutions to emerging and easily foreseeable problems.

Roads to Hell Without “Good,” or Even Enough “Intentions,” to Describe the Road

In all three cases, each war is generally being approached from one of two inherently ridiculous perspectives. The first perspective is simply to focus on the security side and tactical situation – an approach that ignores all the other causes of instability and unrest, defines “victory” in inherently unworkable terms, or sees minor tactical victories as somehow a reason for continuing the fight with no clear plan to end it.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/peace-pieces-tragedy-syria-iraq-and-afghanistan

There is a doc that illustrates the selling of a war……

For decades, Western governments, corporate media and Hollywood have engaged in a project of mass deception to manufacture consent for military interventions. Waged in the name of lofty ideals like freedom, human rights and democracy, US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya wound up bringing death, destruction and even the return of slavery to the African continent. As the wounds from those catastrophes festered, Washington embarked on its most ambitious project yet, marketing another war of regime change, this time in Syria.

https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/09/15/presenting-the-syria-deception-al-qaeda-goes-to-hollywood-video/

Present unrest in the Middle East has many causes and takes on many forms. A collective sense of disenfranchisement, inadequate governance, geopolitical discord, and religious extremism all contribute to the conflicts in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and Libya. Many Western observers and policymakers view unrest in the Middle East through the lens of binary religious sectarianism, focusing on the divisions between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. This split is most clearly articulated in the geopolitical competition between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and it plays out through violence in Iraq and Syria. But the complexities of human identity and of regional culture and history do not lend themselves to this arguably too-simplistic interpretation of the situation. The authors analyze sectarianism in the region, evaluate other factors that fan the flames of violent conflict, and suggest a different interpretation of both identity and the nature of regional unrest.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1681.html

Now for those that cannot read….there is a short vid that could explain a bunch in the shortest amount of time.

There is still more happening in the Middle East and the MSM prefers to ignore the events….it falls on people me me that feels we must report on the events that go unreported if not for us…

Turn The Page!

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If It Is Tuesday It Must Be Afghanistan

We have been throwing everything we have at the situation in Afghanistan…..if that is true then give us an update.

First we start with the documents that were used to start the war in Afghanistan.

These details are never discussed because they have for nearly two decades been hidden behind a shroud of secrecy. But now, after nearly two decades of lies, the remarkable truth about the secret documents that helped launch the Afghan war can finally be revealed.

Yet another surge of violence in Afghanistan, including suicide bombings by the Taliban and retaliatory airstrikes by US forces, is reminding the world once again of the fact that the Afghan war is far from over.

https://theantimedia.com/documents-expose-secret-lie-afghan-war/

And anytime Afghanistan is mentioned then someone has a winning strategy for the situation….

The United States intelligence agencies and military commands can’t agree on whether to be “cautiously optimistic” or “cautiously pessimistic” on prospects for Afghanistan.

What both do agree on, however, is that the United States and its Afghan partners have not defeated the Taliban either on the battlefield or by bringing them to negotiated terms of living in peace with other Afghans.

The reasons for our failure are simple to understand but unacceptable for a great power.

First was the eager rush to forget our Vietnam experience – even the successful CORDS counterinsurgency program in the villages of South Vietnam after 1968.

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/winning-strategy-afghanistan

Whenever those types of posts are published there will be others that foresee the situation as a losing effort….

The Trump administration is optimistic about Afghanistan. Since the president a year ago introduced his plan—putting more U.S. boots on the ground and committing to our fifth round of re-entrenchment in America’s longest war—the conflict has been punctuated by a key milestone: its first ceasefire since 2001.

That brief pause in hostilities “really unleashed the Afghan people’s desire for peace and an end to violence,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told reporters from Kabul last week. “I believe [Trump’s] strategy is working,” he continued. “So, the strategy was announced about a year ago. Within six months, we had two peace offers on the table.”

But the Pentagon’s own assessments of Afghanistan are bleaker.

http://reason.com/archives/2018/09/05/trump-isnt-winning-in-afghanistan

For those that would like more info on the war in Afghanistan then maybe the Special ops updates will be helpful….

http://www.sof.news/afghanistan/afghan-conflict-update-20180908/

IST tries to stay tuned in to the conflicts we are fighting around the world and will bring as much news as possible to keep my readers informed.

It’s Afghanistan As Usual

An Update before I begin my posting day…..I wrote about the death of an American soldier but no name was released….that has changed…..

…the soldier killed was Army Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy A. Bolyard, 42, of Thornton, West Virginia. It said he died of wounds sustained from small arms fire in Logar Province, but it provided no other details about the incident.

Bolyard was assigned to 3rd Squadron, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, based at Fort Benning, Georgia. His brigade was sent to Afghanistan early this year as part of a revamped American strategy to bolster the Afghan security forces by placing U.S. military advisers with Afghan troops closer to the front lines.  (thestate.com)

Yesterday I wrote a post on the situation in Afghanistan …….https://lobotero.com/2018/09/04/afghanistan-still/ and as usual events moved to make the post needy of more information…so let me extend the reports from Afghanistan.

A brand new general has taken command in Afghanistan…..

17 years into the US War in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin Scott Miller has arrived in the country to take over control of the US-led occupation, replacing outgoing Gen. John Nicholson. Miller is the 17th commander to lead the war.

Gen. Miller has been participating in the war in Afghanistan from the beginning. He was present during the 2001 US invasion, then at the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was among the forces sent during President Obama’s escalation of the Afghan War, as a brigadier general. Now, he’s a full general, commanding the longest war in American history.

Miller talked of adjustments to be made, but gave no suggestions that he’s going to make any serious changes. This likely means he’ll follow the historic trend of taking over, promising a review of policy, offering nominal changes and quickly falling out of favor, only to be replaced by the next commander.

(antiwar.com)

But what will be new with US policy……not a damn thing!

As the anniversary of the September 11 attacks draws near, the Afghanistan War—the nearly seventeen-year-old conflict those terrible events spawned—is seeing a change in leadership. Army Lt. Gen. Austin Scott Miller, America’s ninth commander, is preparing to take charge of the effort but has already admitted to his lack of innovative thinking. At his confirmation hearing in June, he told the Senate that he couldn’t guarantee a timeline for bringing U.S. troops home. This is unfortunate—and expected. Despite the change of command, Miller represents the same stale thinking that has permeated U.S. foreign policy for the last two decades.

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/skeptics/new-us-commander-afghanistan-brings-along-same-stale-ideas-30072

Sad news over the Labor Day weekend is that yet another American soldier has died in Afghanistan and another soldier wounded but in stable condition…….but the good news is that a former asset of the CIA that became a major terrorist has been killed……the leader of the terrorist cell known as the Haqqani Network has been eliminated…..

The Taliban say the Afghan Haqqani network founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, an ex-US ally turned fierce enemy, has died after years of ill health. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed told the AP that Haqqani died on Monday inside Afghanistan. The elderly founder of the outlawed group had been paralyzed for the past 10 years. The Haqqani network was declared a terrorist organization by the United States in 2012. Haqqani, whose son is believed to have taken over the network in 2001, had not been heard from in several years, and reports of his death had been widespread in 2015.

In announcing Haqqani’s death Tuesday, Mujahed called him a religious scholar and an “exemplary warrior” who was “among the great distinguished Jihadi personalities of this era.” Haqqani, whose group had close ties to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda, was a prized CIA asset when Afghan guerrillas were fighting Soviet forces in the 1980s, the BBC reports. He allied himself with the Taliban after they seized power in 1996, and his group is believed to have been behind many recent attacks on NATO and Afghan forces.

https://www.dw.com/en/taliban-haqqani-network-leader-dead/a-45341661

And that is not the only setback the terrorists have endured…..

The U.S. military confirmed that it killed Abu Saad Orakzai, the Islamic State’s emir for its Khorasan province, in an airstrike in Nangarhar, Afghanistan on Aug. 25. The Afghan government had previously announced his death, but the report was not confirmed.

“The strike resulted in his death,” according to a press release that was issued by Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan. The airstrike targeted Orakzai, who is also known as Abu Sayed Bajauri and Abu Sayad Erhabi, “in the eastern area of the Nangarhar province,” and was carried out by U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/09/04/us_confirms_death_of_emir_of_islamic_state_khorasan_113760.html

Sorry to be crude here but…..”another one bites the dust” came to mind……

That is the latest reports that I have access to….if anything changes I will attempt to let my readers know.

Afghanistan Still

Sad News:  Yet another American has been killed in Afghanistan……

Details are still unclear, but one American soldier was reported killed and another wounded Monday in what officials are describing as an “apparent insider attack” in eastern Afghanistan. The wounded soldier is in stable condition.

(antiwar.com)

17 years and what do we have to show for our occupation of Afghanistan?  The Taleban is still a functioning army……violence is a daily occurrence…..US troops are still dying……

With all that what of Afghanistan?

According to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford, neither he nor the Pentagon in general expect that the “current form” of the US military mission in Afghanistan, a practically permanent US deployment in a protracted fight with insurgents, is going to last forever.

(antiwar.com)

After that was said the intel people had to get their two cents in also…..

Hope springs eternal for Pentagon officials, with regards to any war the US is involved in. Everywhere and always they believe the war is going well and about to turn the corner, and over the past 17 years, that’s been the constant military stance on Afghanistan.

But the war is plainly going badly. With Trump Administration officials reporting they are heading toward a policy review, US intelligence officials are also increasingly frank with their own assessments on the war.

A number of intelligence officials are challenging the Pentagon’s insistence that things are fine, and the policy review is likely to include a new intelligence assessment for the administration. The military is scared to death of that assessment.

(antiwar.com)

Things are fine?

After 17 years of blood sweat and money and the best description is “things are fine”?

Seriously…is it not time to face the music and admit that we have done all we can for Afghanistan and bring our weary troops home?

Not One More Death!

Yes I am a staunch antiwar person….I may write about war but it is for understanding not policy……and for 17 years I have been saying that the war we started in 2001 in Afghanistan is costing too many American lives for the horrible results that it achieves……

It may be a surprise to some that I read the American Conservative……I find myself agreeing with most of what they publish……but not all…..and I find myself agreeing with them yet again…this time on our war in Afghanistan….

There is no prospect for any kind of American victory in the war against the Afghan Taliban that would correspond to what U.S. officials have been promising throughout the 17-year struggle. As if any rational observer needed further evidence of this fundamental reality, the Taliban a week ago attacked the strategic city of Ghazni, located barely 100 miles from the Afghan capital of Kabul, and laid waste to major parts of it. The insurgents killed dozens of Afghan soldiers and police officials, seized strategic points in the city, and cut the central artery between Kabul and important southern regions.

In reporting on this turn of events, reporter Mujib Mashal of The New York Times wrote, “The Ghazni assault has demonstrated a stunning display of Taliban tenacity that belies the official Afghan and U.S. narrative of progress in the war….” The Wall Street Journal dispatch, by three reporters filing from Kabul, put it similarly, saying the the drawn-out confrontation, “requiring at least 1,500 government forces backed with U.S. firepower to put down a far smaller and more lightly armed number of insurgents,” has “cast doubt over the progress of the U.S. military in building security forces in Afghanistan.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/not-one-more-american-life-should-be-expended-for-afghanistan/

Time for the US to claim victory and bring our tired, overworked troops home to their families….we should demand….”Not One More Death”!

 

The Game Of Afghanistan

17 years on and the war in Afghanistan is a game played by our Pentagon…….

Taleban and government have a ceasefire……

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the US supports a new Afghan ceasefire, saying it is “time for peace” and that the US is ready to facilitate peace talks between the two sides. Direct US involvement may not be publicly accepted by the Taliban, but again may be tacitly allowed if they believe it will lead to a US withdrawal.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced a ceasefire for the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Adha. He says the ceasefire is “conditional” and will last only as long as the Taliban chooses to respect and abide by it.

A similar ceasefire was declared and followed by both sides for Eid al-Fitr, though the Taliban declined to extend it after the feast was over. The Taliban issued a statement over the weekend warning that true peace was not possible so long as US occupation forces remain in Afghanistan.

That said, analysts say they believe the Taliban will ultimately accept this new ceasefire, even if they decline to publicly announce that they have. The public broadly has supported holiday ceasefires, and the Taliban would not want to undermine its public image by declining it.

(antiwar.com)

Analysts believe they will accept a ceasefire……(do they?)

The Taliban ambushed a convoy of buses Monday on a road in northern Afghanistan and took more than 100 people hostage, including women and children, in the latest brazen assault by insurgents, provincial officials say. The ambush came despite Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s announcement of a conditional ceasefire with the Taliban during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha this week. The fate of the abducted in Kunduz province—in an area that has recently fallen under Taliban control—was not immediately known and there was no statement from the insurgents, the AP reports.

The Taliban have resurged in recent years, seizing entire districts across Afghanistan and regularly carrying out large-scale bombings and other attacks. According to Mohammad Yusouf Ayubi, the head of the provincial council in Kunduz, the insurgents stopped three buses on the road near Khan Abad district and forced the passengers to come with them. Ayubi said he believes the Taliban were looking for government employees or members of security forces who usually go home for the holidays. In his call on Sunday for the truce, Ghani said “the ceasefire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban’s stand.”

This is why US troops need to come home…NO one knows what is truly happening….why not let our troops rest and these guys duke it our……..

On a side note…..it is said that Trump us considering a privatization of the war in Afghanistan……https://www.nbcnews.com/news/military/officials-worry-trump-may-back-erik-prince-plan-privatize-war-n901401

Let mercenaries fight our war at a great profit for the owners of the private army……NOT A GOOD IDEA!

Afghanistan In The News

Yes Irene there is still a war raging in the central Asian country of Afghanistan….you remember that right?

Of course you do not remember because you are scrambling around trying to see what Omarosa has to say or what BS can be made out of a trial….you prefer speculation and entertainment to reality and fact.

So I will help….whether you appreciate it or not…..

The Taleban is having successes and against the best equipped army in the world…..just miles from the capital of Kabul a battle is raging in Ghazni….

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani held an emergency meeting on Sunday night to discuss the Ghazni crisis, and ended with a decision to deploy a number of reinforcements to the city, which is being overrun by Taliban fighters.

The Taliban began attacking the city Friday, and has killed over 100 security forces since. Reports as of Sunday had them in control of the bulk of the city, and surrounding districts on the outskirts.

The reinforcements are leading to conflicting reports, with the Interior Minister claiming the Taliban are pushing back to just small pockets of resistance. The Taliban, by contrast, says they remain in control of most of the city.

(antiwar.com)

US military statements, unsurprisingly, continued to downplay what they called an “inconsequential fight” on Friday, saying they view the Taliban in the area as “isolated and desperate,” and insist that control of the city remains with the government.

More territory is being lost……

As the fight between the Afghan government and the Taliban for control of Ghazni City continues, three additional districts have been overrun by the Taliban. It has also come to light that Resolute Support – NATO’s command in Afghanistan – has intentionally misled the public about the status of seven of Ghazni’s districts.

Resolute Support claimed these seven districts were under government control. In reality, the Taliban physically controlled the terrain while the Afghan government operated them remotely from Ghazni City.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/08/14/resolute_support_obscures_status_of_7_ghazni_districts_as_3_more_fall_to_taliban_113721.html

More success for the Taleban…….

Provincial officials in the Faryab Province announced on Monday that after a 48 hour siege, the Afghan Army base in Ghormach District has been surrendered outright to the Taliban. Over 40 surviving forces were taken prisoner in the surrender.

The Faryab base is relatively remote, and security forces were warning Sunday that they were running out of ammunition and badly in need of reinforcements. The reinforcements never came, and they apparently had no choice but to give up.

Yet this is just the latest in a series of Afghan military bases overrun by the Taliban, and with that comes not only prisoners, but seized weapons as well. It’s not clear how many weapons were stored at this base, though since defenders were complaining about lack of ammunition, they may not be immediately useful for Taliban in the area.

(antiwar.com)

Yes Irene we Americans are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan.

Now demand to know why?

A little and short history of Afghanistan…..

Update:  After writing this draft more news has come out about the situation in Afghanistan…….

For the second time this week, Taliban insurgents attacked and overran an Afghan Army base in the country’s north, this time in Baghlan Province. The offensive lasted about five hours, and left the Taliban in control of the military base and a nearby police checkpoint.

Starting before dawn, Taliban fighters quickly overwhelmed the police checkpoint, killing nine police, then moved on to the army base. They got to the base in Baghlan-e Markazi District and took that as well, killing another 36 troops.

Baghlan Governor Abdul Hai Nemati says that reinforcements have been sent to try to recapture the area. Checkpoints in the area were reportedly set on fire by the Taliban, however, so not everything can be recovered.

(antiwar.com)