Category Archives: Antiwar

Blackwater Founder Seeks Privatization of Afghan War

August 23, 2017 New Eastern Outlook

Recent murmurs across the US media have indicated increased interest in “outsourcing” the war in Afghanistan to private military contractors. National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed Erik Prince, founder of controversial military contracting firm, Blackwater, who appears to be leading lobbying efforts toward this end.

In an interview titled, “Blackwater Founder Backs Outsourcing Afghan War-Fighting to Contractors,” Prince would defend his proposal for the creation of an “American viceroy” in Afghanistan, consolidating and overseeing all US operations in the country.

He would also suggest replacing US troops with private mercenaries who he claimed would operate inside Afghan units, noting that some 25,000 contractors are already present in Afghanistan. When asked if his current private military contracting company, Frontier Service Group (FSG), would be interested in bidding on contracts that might materialize out of his proposal, he responded by saying, “absolutely.”

Steve Inskeep, who conducted the interview, noted that Prince’s proposal for an “American viceroy” overseeing what is essentially a private army inside of Afghanistan resembled very closely Imperial Britain’s colonial administration of India, an administration that carved out personal fiefdoms for influential British businessmen and lords, and emptied out India’s wealth into British coffers.

Inskeep also noted that such a proposal, even before being implemented, most likely would create further resentment among Afghans.

Prince, for his part, attempted to defend the proposal, claiming that current efforts in Afghanistan have cost American taxpayers several trillions and the cost would only continue to rise. He noted that such efforts have resulted in little progress. The “progress” Prince was referring to was defeating “terrorism” and preventing the country from becoming a safe haven for organizations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

Prince would claim:

There’s really three ways we can go in Afghanistan. We can pull out completely, in which case, the Afghan government would likely collapse in a matter of weeks and the terrorists would run the country. And for as hard as, you know, we may be pushing in Iraq or Syria and elsewhere to destroy the Islamic State, this would give them a victory. 

Back in Reality…

Unfortunately for Prince and others attempting to propose the privatization of the Afghan war, Afghanistan already is a safe haven for terrorists. Al Qaeda had only a nascent presence there before the US invasion in 2001. The Islamic State, in its current form, did not even exist.

Both organizations flourish not because of a lack of US troops in Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq, but precisely because US foreign policy has turned its attention toward each nation and has intentionally used both terrorist organizations as proxies.

In Afghanistan, while Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are used as a pretext for both the continued presence of US troops there and now the proposed deployment of a private army headed by an “American viceroy,” the real battle has always been against the Taliban and in favor of an obedient client state headquartered in Kabul.

In pursuit of defeating the Taliban and the creation of a sustainable client state, the extensive use of private contractors in Afghanistan has not been part of any sort of coherent solution. Instead, private contractors are one of the most central reasons attempts at rebuilding Afghanistan have failed.

Private contractors seek to maximize profits and return home, and ultimately do not care what happens in Afghanistan. In many ways, shoddy work and continued chaos ensures continued contracts and immense profits. The estimated 2.4 trillion dollars spent on Afghanistan so far have not simply “disappeared.” This immense amount of wealth has been transferred from US taxpayers to, in part, private contractors and the defense industry.

The notion of creating an “American viceroy” leading a private army in Afghanistan would give people like Erik Prince and other ambitious heads of contracting firms an entire nation to preside over and a government-subsidized budget to do it with. With the nation’s immense narcotics industry and that industry’s apparent ability to export worldwide under the nose of the US military with impunity, contractors notorious for systemic impropriety would have additional sources of revenue to tap and develop.

Toward Narco-Terror Fiefdoms 

Rather than stabilizing and rebuilding Afghanistan, contractors would ensure its perpetual slide into darkness. Instead of dealing with the Taliban, Afghans would face foreign contractors competing to carve out their own personal narco-terrorist fiefdoms. The US client regime in Kabul would have even less control over its military, with entire Afghan battalions dependent not on Kabul for support and leadership, but private contractors.

Prince and Blackwater have become synonymous with murder and mayhem for money and present yet another case study as to why dependence on mercenaries is always a dangerous liability. His proposal offers neither the American nor the Afghan people any benefits and is entertained only for the benefits it potentially offers military contractors and the immense armament industry that would provide them a steady stream of weaponry.

A look at the Late Roman Empire, and the manner in which mercenaries transformed into independent entities of their own, complete with their own territory and armies that answered only to themselves, serves as a cautionary reminder as to where Prince’s proposal ultimately leads. What this latest debate illustrates is the evolution of modern organized crime, a culmination of blood, money, guns and turf on a global scale, carried out not by states, but by corporations and private armies.

But if one is to dismiss Prince’s criminal conspiracy and take his proposal at face value, it should be remembered that if the US military with 2.4 trillion dollars and 16 years could not transform Afghanistan into an obedient client state, mercenaries certainly can’t and won’t.

Fighting Terror Starts in Ankara, Riyadh and Doha, Not Afghan Mountains 

Prince’s claims that contractors, or even the US military itself have any role to play in combating “terrorism” by remaining in Afghanistan deserves further scrutiny.

Terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State depend heavily on state sponsorship, particularly from nations like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In turn, each of these regimes depends heavily on US support to remain in power and to exercise that power beyond their respective borders.

The United States itself, ironically, played a central role in Afghanistan, creating, honing and expanding Al Qaeda’s fighting capacity there, before it spread worldwide.

Defeating organizations like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State must then, by necessity, revolve around exposing and dismantling centers of power in nations like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar who are sponsoring both organizations as well as exposing and dismantling interests in the US propping up each of these sponsors in turn.

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State’s presence in Afghanistan is a symptom of this global web of terror sponsorship, not its source. The war in Afghanistan has dragged on for what seems an eternity, because attempting to defeat a problem by fighting its symptoms can only take an eternity.

For Prince, the US media who entertained him and the US government who will attempt to facilitate his and the defense industry’s ambitions, were they interested in truly combating terrorism, they would be raising armies outside of Riyadh, Ankara, Doha and perhaps even DC. That they seek to raise them in Afghanistan indicates that they seek not to fight terror, but to perpetually profit from it.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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British Empire uses War & Money to control nations

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Has Narenda Modi Switched Sides?

11.08.2017 Author: F. William Engdahl

6745335It’s very discomforting to see the nation of India, one of the great potential leading countries of the world systematically self-destruct. Provoking a new war with China over remote chunks of land in the high Himalayas where the borders of China’s Tibet Autonomous Region converge with India and the Kingdom of Bhutan, is only the latest example. The question posed is who or what grand design is behind India’s foreign and domestic policies under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Has Modi switched sides? If so to whom?

Eurasian Harmony?

Only a year ago all seemed if not serene, well, then on its way to peaceful development with Modi’s Asian neighbors including China and even, cautiously, Pakistan.

Just last year India, alongside Pakistan, were accepted as formal members of the increasingly important Shanghai Cooperation Organization where China is a founding member along with Russia, raising hopes that the common SCO format would permit peaceful resolution of simmering border tensions created by the 1947 British partition of India into a dominant Muslim Pakistan and a majority Hindu India with several unresolved friction areas including Kashmir and slyly left by Mountbatten as future explosion points.

India is also a member along with China in the BRICS organization which just created a BRICS New Development Bank in Shanghai whose President is an Indian. India is also a member of the China-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. And until Modi announced India’s refusal to join the May 14 Beijing conference of the China One Belt, One Road, India was also a participant in the vast Eurasian infrastructure project.

OBOR Boycott, Japan ‘Freedom Corridor’

How quickly things have changed. Modi announced his refusal to participate in the May 14 China OBOR conference citing the Chinese investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, a $62 billion highway, rail and port infrastructure development between China and Pakistan as part of China’s OBOR, which passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Then, with surprising haste, India unveiled a vision document for Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) at the ongoing African Development Bank meeting in Gujarat, in a joint project with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The Indo-Japan AAGC document is an explicit part of a so-called Indo-Pacific Freedom Corridor being put in place by India and Japan to counter China’s OBOR, using Japanese money and Indian established presence in Africa.

Under Abe, Japan has signed on to an increasingly aggressive anti-China agenda including over the disputed Diaoyu Islands called Senkaku Islands by Japan in the East China Sea.As well Japan has opted to install US missile defense systems and under Abe is regarded as the strongest US military ally in Asia. When Abe met Trump this February, the US President reaffirmed terms of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty and made clear that the treaty extended to disputed islands in the East China Sea–the Senkaku or the Diaoyu as the barren islands are called in China.

Modi in Washington, Tel Aviv

Weeks later, on June 27 India’s Prime Minister Modi met with the US President in Washington. The day prior, conveniently, the US State Department announced designation of Pakistan-based Kashmiri leader of the militant Kashmir Valley Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Mohammad Yusuf Shah, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). That designation permits US sanctions on Pakistan among other things.

As a result of the Modi-Trump talks, the US agreed to sell India 22 of its Guardian drones, a so-called game-changer, for up to $3 billion. Other items included expanded military cooperation and Indian agreement to buy US shale gas LNG. Modi seemed so pleased with his Washington talks that he invited the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, to lead the US delegation to Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) later this year in India.

Still glowing from his clear Washington political success, India’s Modi flew to Israel July 7 for an unprecedented meeting of an Indian head of government in Israel with an Israeli Prime Minister. The talks between Modi and Benjamin Netanyahu were hailed in Indian media as a major shift in Indian foreign policy.

Here is where it gets seriously interesting. There has been a secret collaboration including offices in India between Israel’s Mossad intelligence and India’s CIA, called RAW going back to the 1950’s. In 2008 Israel’s Ambassador to India, Mark Sofer revealed that Israeli intelligence had provided the Indian Army with vital satellite imagery during India’s 1999 “Kargil War” with Pakistan that allowed India to precisely bomb Pakistani troop positions who had occupied posts in India’s Kargil district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Dubious Role of Ajit Doval

The July Modi visit to Tel Aviv had been months in preparation. Already end of February Modi sent his National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to Tel Aviv to discuss details of the trip. There Doval met with Yosef Cohen the head of the Mossad and discussed among other things the alleged support by China and Pakistan along with other states for the Taliban in Afghanistan near the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Doval is no softie. He is attributed with something called the Doval Doctrine in India, the recent shift in Indian security policy in relation to Pakistan from what he calls ‘Defensive’ to ‘Defensive Offensive’. He is reported behind India’s surgical strikes in Pakistan in September 2016, and is behind the rise of pro-Indian militants in Kashmir. As an Indian blog describes it the Doval Doctrine, formulated in his speeches in 2014 and 2015 after being named MIDO National Security Adviser, essentially is aimed at China and Pakistan, has three components: “Irrelevance of morality, Of extremism freed from calculation or calibration, and Reliance on military.” Clearly Doval has little use for diplomatic solutions.

Whatever was privately agreed between Modi and Washington in June as well as with Tel Aviv in early July, it was in this time frame that the Doklam dispute erupted in the Indian decision to send troops to forcibly intervene against Chinese construction teams on the sensitive border zone between China, Bhutan and India in the Tibetan plateau.

For its side, China is citing a letter by former Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru to Chinese Premier Chou En-Lai in 1959: “This Convention of 1890 also defined the boundary between Sikkim and Tibet; and the boundary was later, in 1895, demarcated. There is thus no dispute regarding the boundary of Sikkim with the Tibet region,” the letter read. China has also cites a reference of May 10, 2006, besides the 1890 convention and the 1959-60 letters which says, “Both sides agree on the boundary alignment in the Sikkim Sector.” China publicly claims also that it “notified” India about the road building as a “goodwill” gesture.

At this point the real issue is not the validity or non-validity under international law of the Chinese arguments. All surrounding the recent Doklam dispute between China and India suggests the dark hand of Washington and Tel Aviv in cahoots with the Modi government to use the confrontation to sabotage the progress of China’s huge and developing One Belt, One Road infrastructure project by attempting to foster another US-instigated proxy war.

The escalating dispute over Doklam need never have escalated on a military front. That was a decision of the Modi government and clearly bears the fingerprints of the fingerprints of Ajit Doval, Modi’s security adviser and former head of Indian intelligence.

Has Narenda Modi actually switched sides from a genuine supporter of peaceful resolution of Indo-Pakistani and Indo-Chinese border disputes in a spirit of good-willed collaboration within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, or was he Janus-faced in terms of his allegiances from the 2014 onset of his tenure as prime Minister, a kind of Anglo-American-Israeli Trojan Horse sent to sabotage China’s promotion of the Eurasian new Economic Silk Road? The answer is not yet known at least not by this author. However, a well-placed Indian source with close ties to the Indian military forces noted to me in a recent private correspondence that shortly following Trump’s election in November last year, a senior US intelligence adviser to the Trump circles stated bluntly that there would not be a war between USA and China, but rather there would be a war between India and China across the Himalayas. That was in November at a time Doklam was completely quiet.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”
https://journal-neo.org/2017/08/11/has-narenda-modi-switched-sides/

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