Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The surge begins in Afghanistan

By yesterday evening at at least 127 had died and 448 had been injured after five suicide car bombings in Bagdhad. Surely, even the most short sighted must now be aware that the so-called surge was nothing more than a gimmick to allow the US a face saving way to create enough temporary security for most of its troops to leave. Of course, the Americans have not quite left and as the so-called "coalition of the willing" has metamorphosed into a "coaliton of one", the fifty thousand Americans who have stayed on supposedly to train the Iraqi government forces. They will increasingly feel out of harms way in their bases, which follow the pipleines much in the same way as the Crusader forts used to be dotted along the pilgramage routes of yore. This is the American "victory" and it would seem to offer them their best possible scenario about 1,500 miles to the east. If it's good enough for Bagdhad it is good enough for Kabul.

Of course, as the post surge operations in Afghanistan begin there is a difference, and that is, while the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, wants the Americans out of his country, over in Kabul the man with the nice shawls is hoping that "Uncle Sam" will stay until 2024, despite Obama wanting to start withdrawing his troops in 2011. Of course, the difference is irrelevant for with Mr Karzai talking about the "force required to secure the entire country", he really doesn't get it, does he. No, this is not about what you or Mr al-Maliki want. This is all about a new "splendid isolation", one that will minimize American casualties, while allowing Washington geopolitical control of both countries without having to control the people.

As more and more resources and more and more money pour into both Iraq and Afghanistan, resistance to both wars will increase in a United States, which already needs Chinese credit to pay the bills. Moreover, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan can be controlled geopolitically like this. It might be worth pointing out that the Crusaders invariably integrated with the local population for the Iraqis and Afghanistanis the cancer in their countries is all too evident. Whatever, the reasoning behind an American strategy that might offer not only a "face saving" limited retreat but also "extended" control of resources in Iraq and Afghanistan, a superficial "winning" of both wars, the reality is that, sooner or later, "Uncle Sam" will be leaving without having achieved anything in either country.

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