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The Forum > Article Comments > Two sides of the COIN > Comments

Two sides of the COIN : Comments

By Anna Solar-Bassett, published 15/9/2009

There are quite a few difficulties associated with the continued US counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan.

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The author makes a good stab at it and accurately describes some of the concepts and connections such as opium and Taliban. However the author relies too much on ideal (small scale) counter-insurgency doctrine and too little on abject failures of similar (South and North Vietnam, China) multi-country counterinsurgencies to Af-Pak.

They say, or at least, I say, every US President needs His own war to prove His "tough on..hard edged" foreign policy prowess. Furthermore the massive US political-military-industrial constituency have wisely decided not to downsize the huge US military budget. Rather US forces have moved from the previous Cold War Euro-centric deployments to a mostly Middle Eastern deployments.

For Obama a surge in the first part of his term then talk of a de-surge in the last year of his term will be a popular and probably successful political strategy for his re-election.

The main problem seems to be Western, infidel, boots on the ground “Occupation” in a very independent minded Muslim country. This affronts a wide spectrum of the Afghani population as well as many in interconnected Pakistan (jihadi, ISI, tribal, even mainstream anti-US ties). If one assumes that both Af and Pak are usually a mess but normally muddle through then the most dangerous match in the tinder box is Occupation.

Its notable that in 8 years of Bill Clinton’s administration the US avoided occupying Af, Pak, Iran and Iraq but now Occupation appears to be an assumed essential. Many of Republican orientation say a lack of Occupation under Clinton caused 9/11. Then again 9/11 occurred under Bush's watch - perhaps because puerile terrorists realised that their cause would receive sympathy as a counter to the similarly inhumane US-Israeli neocon agenda for the Middle East.

Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 12:37:45 PM
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Instead of Occupation Clinton relied on the occasional cruise missile strike to keep AQ hopping as well as a then relatively effective CIA counterterrorism/AQ unit. It was under Bush that lack of CIA, FBI and (it now transpires) NSA communication, lead to AQ’s (protected status in the US) Saudi and UAE terrorists slipping through the security nets.

So where does this leave Obama’s Occupation strategy which has to take notice not only of Af and Pak but also neighbouring Iran and the ”stans” above Af? Occupation is open ended, will only be a temporary fix, has much to do with military-industrial complex and the Presidential electoral cycle. While military-industrial and Presidential reasons are seen as leftwing in our Anglo Alliance they are widely seen as legitimate concepts in France and Germany.

If anyone is interested in alternative solutions I’ll write more on this thread.

Posted by plantagenet, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 12:38:59 PM
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What started out as an act of war against the rulers in Afghanistan, The Taliban for harbouring El Qaeda who had launched an attack on America resulted in a military blunder of unparallel proportions.
The USA and NATO conquered Afghanistan in a relatively short period of time with light causalities and at the most important stage of the campaign, consolidation and control, America with an obliging Britain, Spain and Australia turned their attention to Saddam Hussein of Iraq allied as they believed to El Qaeda and supplying it with weapons of mass destruction.
Against all UN resolutions and international law they invaded Iraq. The the allies of the willing had no plan of what to do after conquering the country. The result was a huge power vacuum, The Baath party having been defeated and discredited; anarchy, civil war and a counter attack on the occupying power ensued.
This gave The Taliban the space they needed to regroup and rearm and reoccupy Afghanistan and regained the initiative.
Today the situation is something like this Iraq, America has decided it has had enough and is planning on leaving (Iraq will probably have that civil war that the presence of the USA has made them postpone). Iran may see it in its interest to intervene in Iraq on the Shiite side.
Pakistan has a few options: it can become embroiled in a low level war with Afghanistan, engage in a civil war or have another coup d’état for which it is well known. Syria, does what Syria does best, sits on the fence and tries desperately not to go too far and give Israel a pretext of attacking it. Lebanon may return to a simmering civil war depending on what happens in Iran. Israel may forego America's permission and bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. As for the Palestinians, it isn’t in Israel’s interest for further peace negotiations so it will go through the motions.
Thank you Bush I wish I had more than a pair of shoes I would give them to President Obama for you.
Posted by drooge, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 12:20:08 AM
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Anna Solar-Basset, Plantagenent and drooge,

Where is your evidence that the 9/11 attacks were launched from Afghanistan?

How is it that after 8 years of occupation that not one single person with a proven link to September 11 has been captured?
Posted by daggett, Wednesday, 16 September 2009 10:35:35 AM
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