It Just Does Not Stop In Afghanistan : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

"It Just Does Not Stop In Afghanistan"

Iran News (Tehran) By Abdulhalim Posted Saturday September 22, 2001 - 03:19:19 PM EDT

Tehran - As the military build-up in the Persian Gulf increases, so the threat of an imminent war looms on the horizon. Reports from the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea and also from Washington indicate that the American military might is in full gear to launch its campaign, code-named "Infinite Justice" against "terrorism." The tragic incident of September 11 in America and, two days before that, the brutal assassination of Ahmad Shah Masood the main commander of the anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan, have dramatically changed the equations in the region.

The shift as regards to the Afghan imbroglio reflects the new role of America and other countries in general who are interested in the region.

Also the secrecy surrounding Washington's response to the "attack on America", and the drive by the U.S. officials and their European allies to create a coalition against terrorism as well as the sheer magnitude of the U.S. force which had been mobilized for the "Infinite Justice" campaign are such that a lot of possibilities could be discussed.

Perhaps the first and foremost question is whether Afghanistan is the only target.

There are several indications which indicate this is not the case.

The U.S. officials and their allies are resorting to rhetoric such as: "International terrorism and the global terrorist network and warning that this is not a short war." But perhaps their most important remarks were voiced by the U.S.

Attorney General and the FBI officials. In the past few days, they have declared that the September 11 "attack on America" was the handiwork of terrorist networks which were assisted and abetted by several "foreign powers." Then came the bold remark by Deputy U.S. Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, who said in a briefing in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters on Thursday that, "It (the campaign) just does not stop in Afghanistan." Also the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told the BBC on his way to the U.S.A. on Thursday that while Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect, "the war is not just against one man." WHAT OTHER TARGETS But which other countries could the U.S. target in its drive against "terrorism"? The targets are basically of two kinds. First, countries which assist terrorist groups or harbor terrorists and second, smaller groups which resort to terrorist acts of various nature over lesser issues and less important causes.

TWO KINDS OF RESPONSE, MILITARY AND FINANCIALLY The focus of this article is on the military build-up since many observers believe that there has been too much of a military build up in the Persian Gulf to disregard the reality on the ground.

The target of the U.S. and its allies is not only Mr. Bin Laden and his hosts the Taliban in Afghanistan but also other countries such as the Sudan, Libya and Iraq. Iraq is the most likely country to be targeted by Washington in the imminent attacks along with Afghanistan.

In the past few days some U.S. officials and American senators have been referring to phrases like "the unfinished business of the Persian Gulf".

There is no doubt in the minds of regional watchers that the reference is to the U.S.

led campaign against Saddam Hussein of Iraq in the early 1990s.

There is this tendency, which is growing among the American officials, that what was not done completely in Iraq, -- namely the toppling Saddam Hussein, -- for reasons associated to the lack of a viable alternative government in Iraq as well as the case of Iran, will be finished now.

Also FBI officials are saying that at least one of the hijackers, Mohammad Atta, met earlier in the year with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Europe.

Thus, there are observers who believe that while the focus is heavily on Afghanistan, an attack on Iraq is also a strong possibility.

DANGERS FACING U.S. AND ALLIES Both Iraq and Afghanistan can endanger the lives of the forces of the U.S.-led attacks. However, Afghanistan poses a much greater threat, according to many observers.

Thanks to the experience gained in the U.S.-led attacks in the 1990s in the Persian Gulf War against Iraq, these forces are more familiar to the terrain in the case of a possible ground operation in Iraq. Due to the current "no-fly zone" over Iraq, the U.S.

and its allies are marinating air supremacy over Iraq too.

Yet unlike Afghanistan, Iraq has a central government but a badly damaged infrastructure. An aerial attack on Iraq as the first phase of a series of attacks may sufficiently destabilize the Iraqi government and make the land engagement easier.

The Iraqi dissidents above all and the Iraqi people in particular, will be helpful and rise against the Iraqi regime once there are U.S. troops on the ground, especially in northern and southern Iraq.

However this cannot be the scenario in Afghanistan.

The terrain in Afghanistan is unknown to the American forces and the topography of Afghanistan is different from that of Iraq. Also the country has no infrastructure and central government to be crippled by an attack and thus forcing the government to abide by the U.S. demands. One could add that the boldness of the Afghan fighters and their steadfastness in battle to this list.

Thus as many political and military observers suggest, the American forces in Afghanistan have recruited the Taliban's closest ally i.e. Pakistan and the Taliban's arch enemy i.e. the Anti-Taliban forces (the Northern Alliance which is recognized by the UN, U.S. and Europe). This combined force is exerting pressure on the Taliban who have repeatedly violated human rights in Afghanistan.

They were responsible for the demolition of the priceless archeological heritage of the land (the Buddhas of Bamiyan) and have harbored Mr. Bin Laden.

He remains the prime suspect in terrorist activities around the world, including New York, Washington and the recent assassination of Commander Masood..

The Americans must realize that this will not be the end of the game, at least not in Afghanistan, Iraq and the region in general.

Mistaken U.S. policies in the region are responsible for What happened in America, the tragic assassination of Commander Masood in Afghanistan, the menace of Saddam Hussein and the instability in the Occupied Lands.

Saddam Hussein was supported by the Americans and the West as Mr. Bin Laden and other so-called Arab-Afghans were sent to Afghanistan by America to help the Mujahedin in their fight against the Red Army. Taliban were created and helped by Pakistan, an ally of Washington and a country which is responsible for attacks on minority Shias and where terrorist groups like Lashkar-e Jangvhi reign.

In the past few years, Washington has had a hand-off policy in Iraq and Afghanistan and its policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians have been one sided.

It is high time that the U.S. officials wake up and see the reality if they are determined to eliminate terrorism which for the first time in American history has unleashed its campaign on U.S. soil.

-- Martin Thompson (, September 23, 2001


If the U.S. is "determined to eliminate terrorism," wouldn't it be better to begin by ceasing to export terrorism ourselves? Are we not master terrorists here in America, who have helped to write the "how to" book on the subject?

And if we do send ground forces into Iraq, I am not convinced that Iraqi civilians will, at this late date, rally around American troops. With the U.S. possibly attacking multiple Muslim nations, as you have suggested, we are creating an even stronger polarization between the "Christian" world and the Muslim world. It just may prove more natural for Iraqis to side against U.S. troops, and no doubt, they are receiving a large dose of propaganda to that effect even as we speak.

If the bull in the china closet could be restrained for a bit, we might realize that dozens of American organizations have risked life and fortune in the face of sanctions to try something different: exporting peace and goodwill into Iraq over the past decade. When we look directly into the "enemy's" face in that way, and break bread with them, and clean their hospitals, and hold their sick children, then individuals on both sides find that they lose their need to regard the other as an enemy. Instead it becomes clear to both sides in such grassroots movements that we are all just ordinary people who have no reason to hate one another, and that only the powers-that-be ever truly benefit from war, not the civilians.

-- Gale Abirac (, September 24, 2001.

With the possible exception of the war against Germany's Third Reich. Otherwise, I would advocate the firm return to the Doctrine of Isolationism, leaving intervention into the problems of other nations to be taken up at the grassroots organization level, and not by the military.

-- Gale Abirac (, September 24, 2001.

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