La catastrophe afghane réactivée

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La catastrophe afghane réactivée

Le secrétaire US à la défense James Mattis a fait le 25 avril une visite-surprise en Afghanistan, où la situation s’est brusquement et à nouveau aggravée. Le Pentagone était satisfait de son “coup de maître” du largage de “la mère de toutes les bombes”, la monstrueuse MOAB, sur une montagne afghane il y a une dizaine de jours ; cela lui semblait être une victoire considérable, qui ferait trembler de terreur Assad-en-Syrie et Kim-en-Corée en même temps que les talibans. Pendant ce temps, ou à cause de cela, les susdits talibans préparaient une attaque qui a eu lieu le 21 avril et a constitué un véritable désastre militaire, avec plus de 200 morts, pour le régime-marionnette afghan, entré du coup dans une crise politique profonde. (Démission diverses, dont celle du ministre de la défense.)

Mattis, l’excellent pompier-pyromane à la tête du Pentagone, est venu voir ce qu’il pouvait faire, c’est-à-dire activer les habituels réflexes US quand se produit une catastrophe comme en sont pavées leurs diverses politiques interventionnistes. On sait évidemment que ces réflexes, ne font qu’aggraver encore la situation avec une efficacité et une exactitude au-dessus de tout éloge, – qu’il s’agisse de l’envoi de quelques camions de quelques $millions sinon $milliards de plus, et de quelques milliers d’hommes en plus.

L’article ci-dessous, de WSWS.org du 25 avril 2017 détaille la situation actuelle du point de vue du régime-marionnette, avec un historique des divers efforts faits par les USA depuis 2001 pour s’assurer effectivement de la durabilité d’un tel régime-marionnette : $70 milliards pour l’équipement des forces du régime (dans une guerre qui a déjà coûté $800 milliards aux USA) ; des forces en constante dégradation avec un pourcentage d’attrition de plus de 30% par an (pertes, non réengagements, surtout désertions essentiellement au bénéfice des talibans). L’échec est complet, durable, structurel et systémique, et fait pour continuer de catastrophe en catastrophe. Nul doute que les demandes du Pentagone pour de nouvelles troupes séduiront le président Donald Trump qui y verra un indice de plus de la gloire militaire des USA.

L’article signale que, lorsque la guerre fut lancée en 2001, « le but stratégique des USA était d’établir, après la chute de l’URSS, leur hégémonie sur les régions du Centre-Asie, qui contiennent la seconde zone de réserves et gisements pétrolifères prouvées du monde ». Après 16 ans de guerre et $800 milliards plus tard, les USA ont démontré de façon convaincante leur impuissance et leur incapacité totales à d’établir et à “sécuriser” un régime qui leur soit favorable à Kaboul, et à tenir le pays d’une façon rentable pour leurs buts stratégiques ; ce qui fait écrire d’évidence à WSWS.org que les USA, seize ans plus tard,  « ne sont parvenus en rien à consolider les buts stratégiques de l’impérialisme US » tels que perçus en 2001. La Russie domine toujours et mêrme plus que jamais la zone, avec ses richesses en sous-sol, tandis que la Chine affirme son propre rôle, en coordination avec la Russie, notamment en établissant un réseau d’oléoducs orientés vers l’Est, et non vers l’Ouest comme le prévoyait le Très-Grand-Jeu des USA.

A tout hasard, et parce que c’est aujourd’hui l’automatisme de service, les chefs militaires US sur place ont repris à leur compte les accusations du système de la communication US à Washington, selon lesquelles ce qui se passe est “le fait de la Russie”, qui livre armes, matériels, inspirations et incantations magiques aux talibans. Le général Nicholson, qui commande les troupes US en Afghanistan n’a nullement repoussé cette hypothèse, service oblige, tandis que Mattis la développait pour son compte.

dedefensa.org

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US defense secretary makes crisis trip to Afghanistan

US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis arrived in Kabul Monday in what amounted to a crisis intervention under conditions of mounting disintegration within Afghanistan’s puppet government and military.

Mattis’s arrival came just two days after an attack by the Taliban on one of the Afghan National Army’s largest bases, in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, that inflicted what Afghan officials are admitting is a death toll that could climb to 200 soldiers.

Even as the US defense secretary was arriving, his Afghan counterpart, Abdullah Habibi, as well as Army Chief of Staff Qadam Sha Shahim, were resigning their posts over the disastrous attack, which was carried out by gunmen wearing Afghan army uniforms, some of them apparently Taliban supporters who had joined the military.

Habibi was trained in the Soviet Union and fought on behalf of the Moscow-backed government against the CIA-funded mujahideen Islamist forces, while Shahim’s background was as a commander in Jamiat-e-Islami, one of the more powerful mujahideen groups.

Three other top commanders along with at least a dozen other officers were also reportedly sacked by the government of President Ashaf Ghani over what was the most punishing attack suffered by the US puppet forces since the US invasion of October 2001 and the toppling of the Taliban government.

At a press conference in Kabul, Mattis denounced the attack and described the Taliban as a “barbaric enemy” that had to be defeated. This, from the head of a military that has carried out countless massacres in Afghanistan, its occupation having left hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded, while turning millions into refugees.

The “barbaric” character of the US military operation was spelled out barely a week and a half before Mattis’s arrival in Kabul with the dropping on Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar Province of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), the most destructive weapon used anywhere since the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

Mattis’s unannounced trip to Afghanistan comes less than a week and a half after President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, made his own visit to Kabul. The stepped-up attention to Washington’s longest-ever war appears to be bound up with plans for another escalation of the US troop deployment there.

Currently close to 9,000 US soldiers are deployed in Afghanistan, including both those described as trainers and advisers of the Afghan National Army and Special Operations units that are involved in search and destroy missions both unilaterally and alongside Afghan puppet forces.

US commanders have reportedly asked for an additional 3,000 to 5,000 US troops to be sent into the fighting to reverse what they have described as a “stalemate”—in reality a steady loss of territory by the US-backed regime to insurgent forces.

Last Friday’s attack came amid a deepening crisis of the Afghan security forces, which are reportedly suffering a 33 percent annual attrition rate due to casualties, desertions and declining re-enlistments.

A report released at the beginning of this year by the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction made clear that, despite the Pentagon pouring some $70 billion into arming and training the Afghan National Army, the force is steadily losing ground to insurgent groups, while suffering record casualties. The report found that casualty rates soared by 35 percent last year, with the Afghan army suffering 6,700 deaths, three times the number inflicted on US forces during nearly 16 years of the American occupation.

“The numbers of the Afghan security forces are decreasing, while both casualties and the number of districts under insurgent control or influence are increasing,” the report stated.

It also pointed to wholesale corruption in which “ghost soldiers” are kept on the rosters so that senior officers can pocket their pay, leaving many units grossly undermanned. It added that “soldiers at outposts don’t always get ammunition, food, and water they need” because higher-ups divert and sell supplies.

Among the most significant elements in Mattis’s press conference in Kabul Monday was the intervention by the top US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, who was asked about allegations made by US military officials, speaking not for attribution, that Russia was supplying the Taliban with support, including arms. Nicholson responded that he was “not refuting” such reports, an oblique statement that was headlined by the US corporate media as a direct charge of Russian intervention.

Mattis sounded a similar note, declaring: “We’re going to have to confront Russia where what they’re doing is contrary to international law or denying the sovereignty of other countries. For example, any weapons being funneled here from a foreign country would be a violation of international law unless they’re coming through the government of Afghanistan for the Afghan forces, and so that would have to be dealt with as a violation of international law.”

Again, for the Pentagon chief to indict Russia for “denying the sovereignty of other countries” or having “funneled” weapons to non-government forces is indeed rich, given the US history in Afghanistan itself during the CIA-orchestrated war of the 1980s, as well as the subsequent invasion of Iraq and the US regime change operations in Libya and Syria.

Russia has denied providing any military aid to the Taliban, and the real source of Washington’s ire appears to be Moscow’s attempt to mediate a peace settlement between the insurgent forces and the Kabul government. On April 14, the day after the US military dropped the massive bomb on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Russia hosted a conference to that end in Moscow that was attended by all the countries of the region, including Pakistan, India and China, but boycotted by the US. There is every reason to believe that the use of the MOAB was directed at Russia as much as it was at ISIS.

Launched nearly 16 years ago in the name of fighting terrorism and avenging the attacks of September 11, 2001, the war in Afghanistan had as its strategic aim to further US hegemony over the region of Central Asia, which boasts the second largest proven reserves of oil and gas in the world, in the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Just as the war, waged at an estimated cost of $800 billion, has failed to secure the US-backed puppet regime in Kabul, it has also done nothing to further US imperialism’s broader aims. Russia continues to dominate energy exploitation in the region, while China is steadily increasing its own role, with the building of pipelines directing these vital resources to the east, rather than the west.

Under these conditions, an escalation of the US intervention in Afghanistan will be carried out as part of a broader buildup toward military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia and China, from eastern Europe, to Syria, the South China Sea, the Korean peninsula and beyond.

Bill Van Auken, WSWS.org

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