Thursday, 20 June 2013

US Negotiations with the Taliban are In the Pipeline.

So the US is officially set to negotiate with the Taliban,
The US is to open direct talks with Taliban leaders within days, it was revealed on Tuesday, after Washington agreed to drop a series of preconditions that have previously held back negotiations over the future of Afghanistan.

In a major milestone in the 12-year-old war, political representatives of the Taliban will shortly meet Afghan and US officials in Doha, the capital of Qatar, to discuss an agenda for what US officials called "peace and reconciliation" before further talks take place with Afghan government representatives soon after.

The move came on the day that NATO forces handed official control of nationwide security to Afghan troops. Less than 12 hours later the US confirmed that four US personnel died at Bagram air base near Kabul, in what was thought to be a mortar attack. The Taliban claimed responsibility.
None of this should have proved surprising.

The US and UK were always less interested in defeating the Taliban for 'liberal interventionist' reasons than to secure the construction of the TAPI pipeline which is set to run through Helmland where the Taliban are still dominant and most British soldiers have been killed.

Having failed to secure the pipeline route militarily, the US now seeks to revert to the previous attempts to court the Taliban that went on before the terrorist attack of September 11| 2001. US officials have even gone as far as stating that getting the Taliban to formally reject Al Qaida is only a "negotiating aim".

The constant invocation of the 'terror threat' from Afghanistan was a big lie used as a pretext to continue military attempts at 'nation building' and in practice this meant infrastructure projects such as the railway lines and the TAPI pipeline, in Hillary Clinton's words a 'New Silk Route'.

The geopolitical ambition has long been in Afghanistan to get the supply of Turkmen gas to flow south, diversifying energy routes away from Russia and offering an alternative pipeline to Pakistan instead of Iran's IP 'peace pipeline'. These are the stated objectives of US foreign policy and its representatives.

Naturally, as the Syrian crisis dominates international attention, this was a good time for Washington to open up direct peace talks with the Taliban who are virulent enemies of Iran. The securing of the TAPI pipeline is intended to block off Iranian exports eastwards.

This geostrategy is interconnected to the decision to back Sunni fundamentalists in Syria, even at the risk of furthering the conflict and benefiting Al Qaida. As with Afghanistan, the rhetoric of countering terrorism is a pretext for advancing risky strategies concerned with control of oil and gas.

This is the price to be paid for Western over dependence upon oil and gas in the Middle East and Central Asia. The ultimate bulwark against controlling the oil and gas of both regions is Iran which occupies the land bridge between the two. This accounts for the obsession with destroying the regime in Tehran.

The fact that Afghanistan War has been a resource conflict seldom gets the level of attention it needs due to liberal wish thinking and an inability to accept the terrifying reality, that with the growth of the Indian and Chinese super economies, the West is now involved in a potentially lethal power game for resources.


It's curious how four years can make such a difference. President Obama intoned gravely in in 2009,
“We must never forget. This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.
The fact is that the Taliban were never at all that friendly to Al Qaida. In which case, it has to be explained why after the US invasion and occupation had caused Al Qaida to leave Afghanistan that Western forces remained there so long if the Taliban could have been negotiated with.

The Afghanistan War has gone through various stages of being sold through 'public diplomacy' .It was once part of a 'war on terror', 'nation building' and liberal interventionism under. Those terms were steadily dropped and the mission was portrayed as protecting Afghan women from the Taliban.

In Britain under Cameron the messianic justifications offered by New Labour functionaries went and have been replaced by rhetoric on securing Afghanistan from being a base for terrorism. If that was the case, then it is still unclear why from the war against the Taliban has gone on so long only to be reversed.

The only constant and coherent explanation for 'staying the course' for so long ( and thousands of US sponsored private contractors are remaining after 2017 ) is that the 'security' of the country was necessary to ensure the one big geopolitical war aim that makes sense-the construction of the TAPI pipeline.

Curiously, UK international aid will continue to pour into Afghanistan until 2017 when the latest reports in the Pakistani media predict that the TAPI pipeline will be finished. The Afghanistan war may have had many supposed 'justifications' that were in reality little more than rationalisations for realpolitik.

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