The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
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Afghanistan

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There was a time when New Delhi was proudly selling the notion of establishing its own New Silk Road – from the Gulf of Oman to the intersection of Central and South Asia - to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Now it looks like the Indians have stabbed themselves in the back.... Read More
No less than 78.03% of Russians have just voted in support of constitutional amendments. Among these, we find the paramount Atlanticist obsession: the possibility that Vladimir Putin will be able to run for two more presidential terms. Predictably, anguished cries of “Dictator! Dictator!” have been lobbied like deadly shells all across the Beltway. They might... Read More
Nearly two decades after the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan post-9/11, and after an interminable war costing over $ 2 trillion, there’s hardly anything “historic” about a possible peace deal that may be signed in Doha this coming Saturday between Washington and the Taliban. We should start by stressing three points. 1- The Taliban wanted... Read More
Chinese container cargo trucks after crossing the Kulma pass at the Tajik-China border. Photo: Pepe Escobar / Asia Times
This is arguably the ultimate road trip on earth. Marco Polo did it. All the legendary Silk Road explorers did it. Traveling the Pamir Highway back to back, as a harsh winter approaches, able to appreciate it in full, in silence and solitude, offers not only a historical plunge into the intricacies of the ancient... Read More
After years of reporting on the Great War on Terror, many questions behind the US attacks remain unresolved
Afghanistan was bombed and invaded because of 9/11. I was there from the start, even before 9/11. On August 20, 2001, I interviewed commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, the “Lion of the Panjshir,” who told me about an “unholy alliance” of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the ISI (Pakistani intel). Back in Peshawar, I learned that something... Read More
“We’re like policemen. We’re not fighting a war. If we wanted to fight a war in Afghanistan and win it, I could win that war in a week. But I don’t want to kill 10 million people. Afghanistan could be wiped off the face of the Earth. I don’t want to go that route.” Even... Read More
Moscow hosted talks last week to promote peace in Afghanistan as neighbors and regional heavyweights eye the rewards of...
In the “graveyard of empires,” Afghanistan never ceases to deliver geopolitical and historical twists. Last week in Moscow, another crucial chapter in this epic story was written when Russia pledged to use its diplomatic muscle to spur peace efforts in the war-torn country. Flanked by Afghan representatives and their Taliban rivals, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei... Read More
The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation. In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market... Read More
Photo by DaveBleasdale | CC BY 2.0
There are more parallels between an unfinished 1950s war in Northeast Asia and an ongoing 16-year-old war in the crossroads between Central and South Asia than meet the eye. Let’s start with North Korea. Once again the US/South Korea Hunger Games plow on. It didn’t have to be this way. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov... Read More
Here we go again. In yet another Pentagon precision strike, a residential building in Achin district of Nangarhar province was hit as a crowd welcomed home a tribal leader returning from the Hajj. At least 13 civilians were turned into «collateral damage». The Pentagon of course does not «discuss the details of counter-terror operations», but... Read More
So Taliban supremo Mullah Mansour’s white Toyota Corolla was rattling across the Baluchestan desert just after it had crossed the Iranian border when a Hellfire missile fired from a US drone incinerated it into a charred / twisted wreck. That’s the official narrative. The Pentagon said Mansour was on Obama’s kill list because he had... Read More
The big story of 2014 will be Iran. Of course, the big story of the early 21st century will never stop being US-China, but it's in 2014 that we will know whether a comprehensive accord transcending the Iranian nuclear program is attainable; and in this case the myriad ramifications will affect all that's in play... Read More
Bets are off on which is the great story of 2011. Is it the Arab Spring(s)? Is it the Arab counter-revolution, unleashed by the House of Saud? Is it the "birth pangs" of the Greater Middle East remixed as serial regime changes? Is it R2P ("responsibility to protect") legitimizing "humanitarian" bombing? Is it the freeze... Read More
Talk about a double whammy. It was not enough for Standard & Poor's to downgrade the United States' credit rating; with impeccable timing, and apparently a single shot, the Taliban in Afghanistan simultaneously downgraded the empire's colossal war machine. As much as the US power elite refuse to accept that the US financial crisis was... Read More
Spin masters from Washington to Brussels to Kabul are bound for many a sleepless night. World public opinion has been relentlessly shocked and awed by the chimera that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are "winning" the AfPak combo war. Now for the facts on the ground. Immediately after the US government... Read More
Surge, bribe and run? Or surge, bribe and stay? How US military bases and the energy war play out in Afghanistan. Among multiple layers of deception and newspeak, the official Washington spin on the strategic quagmire in Afghanistan simply does not hold. No more than “50-75 ‘al-Qaeda types’ in Afghanistan”, according to the CIA, have... Read More
Forget the iPad; the ultimate icon of fetishized commodity is the drone. Israelis do it - and sell them like hot cakes. Mexicans do it - to patrol their side of the border. Brazilians wanna do it - to patrol the Rio favelas. Saudis wanna do it. Uzbeks wanna do it. Everybody's singing: Let's do... Read More
Anyone aware enough to think that Washington's goal is not to "win" the unwinnable AfPak quagmire but to keep playing its bloody infinite war game forever is now eligible for a personal stimulus package (in gold). Let's review the recent evidence. All of a sudden, the White House, the Pentagon and the United States House... Read More
One may be tempted to evaluate American foreign policy as concocted by some deviant disciple of cinema exploitation genius Russ Meyer - of Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill! fame - minus the profusion of breasts, of course. And so as that self-appointed court stenographer Bob Woodward reveals in his latest court opus Obama's Wars - conveniently... Read More
Nine years ago - one day before Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, Lion of the Panjshir, was killed by two al-Qaeda jihadis disguised as journalists; and three days before 9/11 - who would have thought that Afghanistan would still be mired in a war of 150,000 United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)... Read More
Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan - Talibanistan - was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed Talibanistan. Those were the days. Bill Clinton was in the White House. Osama bin Laden was a discreet guest of Mullah Omar, and there was no... Read More
Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan - Talibanistan - was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio and myself slowly crossed Talibanistan overland from east to west, from the Pakistani border at Landi Kotal to the Iranian border at Islam qillah. Those were the days. Bill Clinton... Read More
Dear reader: let's sit back, relax, and take a trip down memory lane to prehistoric times - the pre-9/11, pre-YouTube, pre-Facebook world. Ten years ago, Taliban Afghanistan - Talibanistan - was under a social, cultural, political and economic nightmare. Arguably, not much has changed. Or has it? Ten years ago, New York-based photographer Jason Florio... Read More
Hollywood executives and Washington policymakers are suckers for Russophobia. Considering the appalling level of political discourse in both these capitals of mass entertainment, certainly one cannot expect their "opinion leaders" to have read Professor Paul Kennedy's recent expose of European history packaged as a crash course to Americans about the inevitable downsizing of the US... Read More
Confirmed and reconfirmed by United States President Barack Obama, the US Senate and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and duly hailed as the new armored Messiah by US mainstream media, "tightly disciplined" political fox and former US Central Command chief General David Petraeus is about to land in Kabul. He will either hit the... Read More
Mistah Kurtz - he dead. Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness When it comes to American wars, history has a kinky habit of repeating itself as farce over and over again. So now the Pentagon has been plunged into turmoil because General Stanley McChrystal, former United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization commander in Afghanistan, was... Read More
The United States is in the midst of the most serious unemployment crisis since the Great Depression, and US President Barack Obama is following George W Bush in lavishing trillions of dollars on a few big banks. American taxpayers got nothing. Now, they get the cherry in the cheesecake; Obama escalating his war in Afghanistan.... Read More
PART 1: Welcome to Pashtunistan PARIS - "The horror ... the horror." General Stanley McChrystal, the Pentagon supremo in Afghanistan, is being massively sold in the US as a Zen warrior - a 21st-century stalwart incarnation of the "best and the brightest". But he may be a warrior intellectual more like Colonel Kurz than Captain... Read More
There must be some way out of here Said the joker to the thief There's too much confusion I can't get no relief - Bob Dylan, All Along the Watchtower PARIS - Something's happening in AfPak, but you don't know what it is, do you Mr Beltway think-tanker? As Washington mashes up the "Taliban" -... Read More
Some things never change. It was "only" eight years ago that the George W Bush administration unleashed its mini-shock and awe over Afghanistan to, in theory, smash the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Stuck inside of Kabul with the Saigon blues again, the "overseas contingency operations" of the Barack Obama administration continue to perpetrate a myth; never... Read More
And it's one, two, three what are we fighting for? Don't ask me, I don't give a damn next stop is Vietnam - Country Joe and the Fish, 1969 After eight long years, now more than ever, the United States invasion and (partial) occupation of Afghanistan is on a roll, courtesy of US President Barack... Read More
PARIS - America's convoluted, Alice-in-Wonderland interpretation of this summer's top political show - the "free expression of the people" in the Afghanistan election - reads like an opium dream. In fact, it is actually a pipe dream - as in Pipelineistan. With the added twist that no one's saying a word about the pipe that's... Read More
ST TROPEZ - The news of Pashtun jihad master Baitullah Mehsud possibly hit by a United States Predator drone on the roof of his father-in-law's house while undertaking a massage provoked hardly a ripple among the happy few gathered around the table of the appropriately named Pan Dei ("All Gods"), a glitzy multimillion-euro yacht currently... Read More
Happy Days are here again. It’s as if the George W Bush years in Afghanistan had never left, with Washington still wallowing in an intelligence-free environment. A surge is coming to town – just like the one General David Petraeus engineered in Iraq. A Bush proconsul (Zalmay Khalilzad) wants to run the show – again.... Read More
Pipelineistan in Conflict
Back in March, Pepe Escobar, that itchy, edgy global reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, began laying out the great, ongoing energy struggle across Eurasia, or what he likes to call Pipelinestan for its web of oil and natural gas pipelines. In his first report, he dealt with the embattled energy... Read More
On one side, the most powerful man on Earth, who happens to carry a Muslim middle name. On the other, the largest tribal nation in the world, which happens to be Muslim. Welcome to the mother of all cockfights. As it was leaked by government sources to the Pakistani daily The News, the success rate... Read More
Is United States President Barack Obama telling it like it is as far as his new strategy for the Afghanistan and Pakistan war theater - AfPak, in Pentagonspeak - is concerned? There are reasons to believe otherwise. Obama's relentless media blitzkrieg stressed the new strategy is refocusing on al-Qaeda. Washington, we got a problem. Why... Read More
As the Barack Obama administration releases the details of its strategic review of Afghanistan's "good war", an acronym-plagued global public opinion is confronted with a semantic dilemma: what in the world is happening to George W Bush's "global war on terror" (GWOT), then slyly rebranded by the Pentagon as "The Long War" (TLW)? It all... Read More
For those wondering where United States Vice President Joe Biden bides his - vast - spare time, he has just spent quite an eventful Tuesday both at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Union (EU) headquarters in Brussels. Biden's message to Europeans in panic with the financial crisis (but reluctant to bail... Read More
Afghanistan is not only the graveyard of empires; it's a graveyard of misconceptions. Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden believed that the mujahideen single-handedly defeated the Soviet empire; so a more compact mujahid band, al-Qaeda, would be the vanguard in defeating the American empire. It was never that simple. In the United States, the myth rules... Read More
KEY WEST, Florida - The state of Florida was a case study of how the 2008 United States presidential election was won. Talk about will to power. Implanted in the Barack Obama campaign mindset, articulated by the "two Davids" - former Obama chief strategist Axelrod and campaign manager Plouffe - an uncontroversial Florida win would... Read More
WASHINGTON - Al-Qaeda is back - with a vengeance of sorts. Listen to Mustafa Abu al-Yazeed - a senior al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, in a very rare interview with Pakistan's Geo TV, shot in Khost, in eastern Afghanistan. "At this stage this is our understanding - that there is no difference between the American people... Read More
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is the man with the plan for Iraq and Afghanistan. Presidential in tone and delivery, quoting Harry S Truman and Dean Acheson, George Kennan and George Marshall - the greatest generation - Obama, in a major foreign policy speech in Washington on Tuesday, outlined what he calls... Read More
The United States invasion of Iraq then takes on an even broader meaning. Not only does it constitute an attempt to control the global oil spigot and hence the global economy though domination over the Middle East. It also constitutes a powerful US military bridgehead on the Eurasian land mass which ... yields it a... Read More
"And among the most important items contained in [President George W] Bush's speeches since the events of the 11th [September 11, 2001] is that the Americans have no option but to continue the war. This tone is in fact an echoing of the words of neo-conservatives like [Vice President Dick] Cheney, [former defense secretary Donald]... Read More
Saddam Hussein shouts "Down with Bush" in the heart of the Green Zone, British soldiers beat up barefoot Iraqi teenagers and US Vice President Dick Cheney is out shooting people (not Iraqis; a fellow American, and a campaign contributor to boot). Cutting right across this theater of the absurd, Iraqi politicians have manufactured their own,... Read More
The script was Brussels does Baghdad this Wednesday at an international conference of foreign ministers - co-sponsored by the US and the European Union - high on rhetoric and low on practical decisions, designed to support nation (re)building in Iraq as a "pluralist democracy". UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said Iraqis should "take heart from... Read More
In May 2003, Taliban guerrillas were ripping in south and southeast Afghanistan, al-Qaeda was alive and kicking along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and President Hamid Karzai could barely enforce his writ outside of Kabul. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld flew to Kabul and declared "victory". It was a bluff. Just like it was in Iraq.... Read More
It featured all the trappings of a glorified video game. Thousands of Pakistani army and paramilitary troops played the hammer. Hundreds of US troops and Special Forces, plus the elite commando 121, were ready to play the anvil across the border in Afghanistan. What was supposed to be smashed in between was "high-value target" Ayman... Read More
Asia Times Online has learned from tribal-connected sources in Peshawar in Pakistan that Osama bin Laden is believed to have left southeastern Afghanistan late last week for South Waziristan in Pakistan. According to the sources, and as has been reported in sections of the Pakistani Urdu Press, bin Laden is said to be under the... Read More
PastClassics
Becker update V1.3.2
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Are elite university admissions based on meritocracy and diversity as claimed?
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings
The sources of America’s immigration problems—and a possible solution