The Voice of Russia, September 14, 2012

The war on terror and US policy in the Mideast

By Alexey Pilko

11 years have passed since the terrorist attack on the New York Twin Towers that resulted in massive casualties. The response of the United States was instantaneous – Washington declared a war against terror, invaded Afghanistan and overthrew the Taliban regime in Kabul.

However, the further US activities were apparently a far cry from the fight against terrorists. It seems the USA used it to cover its global expansion and the result is predictable.

The invasion of Iraq can hardly be regarded as a helpful tool for combating terrorism. In fact, it was an attempt to get control over one of the largest Arab countries that possesses huge energy resources, namely oil and gas. So the results of Operation Iraqi Freedom are terrible. Iraq is much divided now and consists of three separate quasi-states – the Shiite South, Sunni Center and the Kurdish North. Nowadays the area is a free-for-all for terrorists. And no one knows how to fix this problem and by what means it would be possible to eliminate the repercussions of the 2003 war and occupation.

In this respect it is also necessary to mention the US pressure on Iran. Claims regarding the Iranian nuclear developments are used to create grounds for a probable military operation against Tehran. This has nothing in common with an offensive on terrorism and will inevitably lead to the final destabilization of the Middle East. Also it could prove as fuel for radical militants and terrorists.

According to media reports and Free Syrian Army claims, Iran is using Iraqi air space to supply weapons to the Bashar Assad regime in Damascus to use against rebels, however Teheran rejects the allegations. Apparently, the US failed to persuade the Iraqi government to close the national air space for Iranian aircraft. After the first Gulf War the United States and their allies established a fairly successful no-fly zone over Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Now they either need to do it themselves or make the government in Baghdad create a no-fly zone with the help of the fighter jets the Americans want to deliver to the Iraqi Air Force.

And of course we shouldn’t forget about Afghanistan. Successful in the first instance, the campaign against the Taliban turned out to be the greatest fiasco of the US military and diplomatic machine. The Taliban’s popularity is growing rapidly and it is regaining its former influence. In fact NATO troops control Kabul and the neighborhoods only. But the situation is not that simple. A new characteristic in the Afghan internal developments is uprisings against the Taliban in rural areas. There is a large-scale guerilla war with very vague goals and alliances, and the withdrawal of coalition forces will inevitably revive the ghosts of the disastrous pull out from Vietnam.

It appeared that after the defeat of the Taliban in 2001 the United States and their allies, instead of a quick withdrawal of troops and effective support for the Hamid Karzai government, decided to stay in the region for decades. The presence of US military forces in Afghanistan no longer has anything to do with the war on terrorism. The number one mission became partial control over Central Asia. Now Washington is trying to keep its military base in Kyrgyzstan and, according to some, is trying to do so in Uzbekistan (though US officials deny it).

Also Libya is talking about the same. There were many terrorists who fought alongside the rebels during the anti-Gaddafi revolt, including those from Al-Qaeda. However, instead of initiating a civil dialogue and an end to the violence, the United States along with UK and France chose a different path – to eliminate the Gaddafi regime completely. In the meantime, the result of such activities was very clear. Now the real power in Libya is not in the hands of liberal democrats, but Islamic radicals. The sad consequence of this is the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and the death of Ambassador Stevens.

Unfortunately, no accurate conclusions have been made from the negative Afghan, Iraqi and Libyan outcomes. Anyway, the US foreign policy clearly demonstrated it in Syria. Washington put the ultimate pressure on Bashar Assad and refused to criticize the terrorist activities of the Syrian opposition. Though Assad’s opponents use terror as a tool in their fight against the government, the United States didn’t even condemn these tactics.The aforementioned serves as an illustration that the US response to the September 11 terrorist attacks was completely wrong. There is the impression that the real aim of the United States was not to eliminate terrorists, but to strengthen its geopolitical position. And this led to the rise of terrorism and an unstable world.

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