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The Forever War Isn’t Over

The Afghan debacle just marks a new, more murderous phase

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

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“I’m now the fourth American president to preside over war in Afghanistan—two Democrats and two Republicans,” President Biden said during his speech on August 16. “I will not pass this responsibly on— responsibility on to a fifth president.” He needn’t have corrected himself. He did indeed irresponsibly bequeath to his successor a terrible situation in central Asia.

The best-case scenario, according to Biden, would look like this: Afghanistan’s reversion to Islamofascism fades from the international headlines. The Taliban understands that its continued rule depends on its ability to prevent terrorists from launching attacks from its territory. America goes back to fighting over masks and vaccinations and “building back better,” or whatever.

But the best-case scenario is an illusion. Why? Because the war isn’t over. Afghanistan is just one front in a global conflict that the United States did not initiate and cannot wish away. The Cold War did not end when the South Vietnamese government collapsed. Nor will the war on terror or the “Long War” or the “Forever War” cease with Taliban control of Afghanistan. When participants in the worldwide Salafist-jihadist movement look at the developments of the last week, they don’t see reasons to quit their mayhem. They see the chaos, panic, violence, disorder, and American retreat as a vindication of their ideology and a spur to further action.

It’s happened before. North Vietnam’s victory over the South did not make communism less expansionist or revolutionary. On the contrary: Laos fell to the Communists, Cambodia was subjected to the barbarism of the Khmer Rouge, Cuba sent advisers to the pro-Communist People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, the Sandinistas overthrew the anti-Communist Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and a pro-Communist insurgency took root in El Salvador. The relentless humiliations that followed America’s defeat in Vietnam ended Jimmy Carter’s presidency. They did not stop until Ronald Reagan shifted the nation’s course.

Or try a more recent example. When America removed its troops from Iraq at the end of 2011 and failed to enforce its red line against the use of chemical weapons in Syria in 2013, the Middle East did not become less violent or pathological or dangerous. It was only a matter of time before ISIS overran the Iraqi cities of Falluja, Ramadi, and Mosul. On June 29, 2014, the terrorist army’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announced the formation of a caliphate. Then ISIS moved toward Baghdad and enslaved and massacred Iraq’s Yazidi population along the way.

So terrible was ISIS that in August 2014 President Obama intervened against it with airstrikes—an intervention that continued, with greater success, under Obama’s successor. As I write, the caliphate is no more, Baghdadi is dead, and Iraq has another shot at a better future. There are 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq and some 900 in Syria. This is not a coincidence.

How long, then, before U.S. forces return to Afghanistan? I recognize that it might feel a little silly to ask such a question at this moment. Biden already has deployed more troops to Afghanistan to evacuate civilians than were there when he gave the order to leave. Let’s say, though, that the withdrawal is completed without incident—a questionable assumption—and that there are no Americans in Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. What happens next?

The first thing to note is that the Taliban faces rebellion. Demonstrations against the return of the Islamic militia have been met with violence. They may increase in number. Meanwhile, the son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, the legendary anti-Taliban mujahid who was murdered two days before 9/11, has announced the renewal of his family’s resistance campaign. Just as the Taliban never surrendered after the U.S. intervention, neither will the former partisans of the Northern Alliance acquiesce to the collapse of Kabul. Afghanistan is too geographically and ethnically diverse to submit easily to the domination of one party.

Even a low-grade civil conflict will draw in other powers. The list of interested parties begins with nuclear-armed Pakistan and includes Iran, Russia, China, and India. America will be forced to pay attention and likely will become involved. After all, the fate of Afghanistan is part of the “great power competition” that President Biden said he cares about.

Biden also said he’s “adamant that we focus on the threats we face today in 2021—not yesterday’s threats.” And the “terrorist threat,” he went on, “has metastasized well beyond Afghanistan.” He didn’t acknowledge that one of the reasons the threat spread out of Afghanistan was that for 20 years America denied it a base there. Now that the Taliban is in, and the Americans are out, the elements of al Qaeda and ISIS in Afghanistan today will be joined by more holy warriors.https://ddc8dde6090d8332df22f7d8a904db36.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

Not to worry, though, said Biden. “We conduct effective counterterrorism missions against terrorist groups in multiple countries where we don’t have a permanent military presence.” And we can do the same thing in Afghanistan, he continued, because “we’ve developed counterterrorism over-the-horizon capability that will allow us to keep our eyes firmly fixed on any direct threats to the United States in the region and to act quickly and decisively if needed.”

Let’s hope he’s right. The problem with his argument is that America does have a “military presence” in north and east Africa, Syria, and Iraq, as well as in Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and elsewhere. And America does have a naval presence in the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf, and Indian Ocean. Our eyes are “firmly fixed” on bad spots in the Middle East and North Africa because we are nearby. The horizon over which our counterterrorism forces must travel is short. That won’t be the case in Afghanistan.

Biden created a situation in which America has neither boots nor eyes on the ground in a landlocked, mountainous country thousands of miles from port and surrounded by unfriendly states. Unlike 20 years ago, China and Russia are strong and adversarial and looking for opportunities to embarrass the United States. Every threat or attack that emanates from Afghanistan will testify to U.S. stupidity and weakness. Furthermore, the Taliban, even as it is dogged by internal opposition, will command more territory and field stronger forces than any of the Salafist-jihadist outfits scraping by in the ungoverned and contested spaces of the Maghreb, the Sahel, the Levant, and the Arabian Peninsula. Our intelligence capabilities will be hobbled and our response time lengthened.

This dispiriting assessment doesn’t include the propaganda boon to the Salafist-jihadist cause. Kabul will be transformed from an island of modernity to the global capital of anti-Western jihad. International terrorism flourished alongside the Islamic State. It manifested in spectacular, mass-casualty attacks in Paris, Marseilles, San Bernardino, Orlando, and Manchester. “For a long time now Islamist movements have defined the creation of an ‘Islamic state’ as their goal and standard for achievement,” writes former State Department official Charles H. Fairbanks. “A state provides a better terrorist sanctuary, and has far more versatile capabilities, than a movement.” A state gives a movement safe harbor, institutional support, and physical inspiration for “lone wolves” in the West to murder unbelievers. Such a state is what the Taliban will build in America’s place.

“I made a commitment to the American people when I ran for president that I would bring America’s military involvement in Afghanistan to an end,” Biden said. “And while it’s been hard and messy—and yes, far from perfect—I’ve honored that commitment.” Yes, he has. The Taliban’s military involvement in Afghanistan, however, continues in our absence. And so the Afghan people are left to suffer, the world watches agog, and America is vulnerable to resurgent Islamic extremism. The Forever War isn’t over—it’s entered a new phase. Where the enemy has the upper hand.


Afghanistan – The Graveyard Of American Political Culture?

By Dr. Miklos K. RadvanyiFrontiers of Freedom

From the beginning of the United States of America’s war in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001,  triggered by the September 11 attacks, American, and later NATO involvement went through four phases.  The first phase was brief and only lasted for two months.  As a result, the Taliban was defeated and al-Qaeda was decimated.  The second phase, from early 2002 until 2008, was marked by the Bush Administration’s attempt to build a unified nation of the many ethnic groups, religious sects, tribes and clans of forty million Afghans.  The third phase, under President Obama and his alleged foreign policy guru Vice President Joe Biden was basically designed to ignore the Taliban as a political/military force and to lead the transformation of Afghanistan from behind.  The fourth phase, under President Trump, was about ending the war more or less honorably.  The second, third and fourth phases were political and military failures.  

The reasons for these tragic miscalculations were manifold.  Most glaringly, Afghanistan has never been a state and a nation according to the West’s understanding.  More brutality put it, Afghanistan as a state and as a nation has never existed.  Moreover, with the exception of the first phase, the United States of America and NATO have never displayed the resolve to win decisively by completely eradicating the Taliban and to do the hard lifting of establishing the foundation for a central government.  Finally, neither Washington, D.C. nor Brussels has laid down unequivocally the rules by which the successive Afghan governments should have ruled through competence, honesty and transparency.   

Clearly, neither the Karzai nor the Ghani  government has ever succeeded to extend their authority to the entire country and their armed forces were equally unsuccessful to effectively fight the Taliban by themselves.  In the United States of America, the over politicization of the Afghan war, coupled with political, military and intelligence incompetence, made it impossible to forge a coherent and lasting strategy for Afghanistan.  As nearly six decades ago in Vietnam, the United States of America has again faced national humiliation both at home and abroad.  And as then,  when the United States of America’s real crisis was not in Vietnam, today’s Afghanistan is the most recent and emotionally the most painful symptom of this great country’s catastrophic malaise at home.     

Prior to analyzing the current situation from the American perspective, allow me a quick journey back to my past experiences.  In my country of birth in Hungary, the Communist overlords finally realized in the early 1970s, that instead of loyal but incompetent political party hacks they needed educated individuals to run the bureaucracy, and made clear to me that I am “an eminently qualified, highly competent and indispensably useful screw in the machinery of the Socialist state.”  In Germany, as a “Manager of a Civil Service Position,” in German Verwalter einer Beamtenstelle, I was told that regardless of me being a foreigner, Auslaender in German, the only thing that matters is my competent professionalism.  When the United States Congress hired me from a German Institute at the end of August 1977, I was tossed into a pit of native as well as foreign-born incompetent liars claiming expertise in individual foreign countries.  Their modus operandi to protect their jobs from the much better qualified newcomer culminated in first spreading the rumor that I am actually a “sleeping Soviet spy,” and then that I am not the person that I pretend to be.  Following these totally groundless accusations, they tried to sabotage me by claiming that my analyses were biased by my anti-Communist leanings, and therefore, dead-wrong.  In their pernicious efforts, they were enthusiastically supported by an equally incompetent and unprofessional department head, whose understanding of the world was near to zero.  The only thing that prevented me from returning to Germany in disgust was a dual invitation from a Senator as well as the Supreme Court to advise them on international law and foreign policy.

Throughout my almost thirteen years of service in the American federal government, I have not encountered a more incompetent, yet arrogant bunch of bureaucrats, than most of the employees of the State Department.  Young people in their twenties, fresh out of college or graduate school, were appointed desk officers for countries that they knew close to nothing, including the languages of those nations.  My personal experience was that they were a community of desperate people in search of power and stable paychecks.  The situation was barely more satisfactory on the higher levels.  Ambassadors were appointed based on the size of their campaign contributions and Assistant Secretaries used their personal connections to land political appointments.  Clearly, the State Department was a largely useless institution for the decision makers in the White House and in Congress.

To illustrate the utter idiocy of domestic ideology-driven personnel policies, again a personal experience.  In the late 1970s, under the Carter Administration, I was called by a friend and senior adviser of the President regarding a high-level position with one of the top intelligence agencies.  After I was interviewed for the position, the same person called me and said that he is sorry but the position is reserved by affirmative action for a Black person.  To wit, the position required fluency in at least three languages spoken in the Soviet Union, Central and Eastern Europe and mindestens a Master’s degree from one of the major European universities.  Needless to say that the position remained vacant throughout President Carter’s tenure and beyond.  Unsurprisingly, American foreign policy and intelligence services have been a collection of discombobulated failures with few exceptions.  

Afghanistan is the latest case in point in the humiliating disasters of the American foreign policy as well as military establishments, including the manifold intelligence agencies.  Imbued with the destructive idiocy of Wokeism, including the Critical Race Theory, and guided by an overwhelming hatred for the United States of America, these hypocritical Knights of minority rights and intellectual madness have long been committed to kill individual freedoms, professional competence, as well as constitutional democracy in their fallacious quest to secure the country for their dictatorial minority rule.  

The famous proverb of unknown origin says that a fish rots from the head down.  This proverbial fish in the United States of America is President Joseph (Joe) Robinette Biden Jr.  A man of gregarious disposition, but with well-known brainless intellect, he resembles an imbecile Doofus in Chief rather than a competent Commander in Chief.  Moreover, with countless telltale signs of advanced dementia, hapless Joe has been ripe even before his presidency to the care of a closed mental institution and, following his election, to the invocation of the 25th Amendment.  His laughably hollow and lying campaign slogans of “America is back,” “all out healing,” “national unity” and “inclusiveness through diversity” have been thrown out of the large French windows and doors of the White House as well as the numerous buildings of the federal government minutes after his return to the Oval Office.  Instead of governing as a statesman, demented Joe has gone about fighting, like one possessed by evil spirits, the ghost of his predecessor.  Gross falsifications of history under the guise of Black Awakening, slander of entire ethnic groups for their skin color, promoting the Marxist-Leninist “equity”  deceptions, manipulating the lie about alleged White Racism combined with baselessly wild White supremacist/extremism/terrorism charges, using the English language to mislead an entire nation regarding illegal immigration, lawlessness as well as the shameful justification of outrightly criminal behavior, and the corrupt manipulation of law enforcement agencies by Marxist political agitators have been de rigueur du jour since January 20, 2021.

Demented Joe’s appointments, under the catchphrase of “diversity,” have populated the federal bureaucracy with woefully incompetent political hacks, such as his Vice President Kamala Harris, who is a huge embarrassment for her gross amateurishness and uncultured hysterical public as well as private behavior, his Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was called an incompetent bureaucrat by the late Senator John McCain already in 2014, his Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, whose most important contribution to the cabinet is his Blackness and his eagerness to introduce neoracist political correctness in the military, his Attorney General Merrick Garland, who has proven that Senator Mitch McConnell was right by opposing him to the Supreme Court, his Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, whose value is that she has contributed to the diversity of the Biden cabinet, his Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, who has gazed to commerce through the lens of her Marxist ideology, his Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, who knows nothing about health care, his Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge, who has been a political and professional nonentity, his Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, who as a mayor of South Bend was incapable of managing the traffic in his small town, his Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona, who has used his perch to fight alleged White Supremacy and has promoted the most unscientific idiocy of Critical Race Theory, his Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who has created a royal mess of illegal immigration, and his National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who has not have a single right foreign policy recommendation during his disastrous professional career, among others.

The combined results of Biden’s idiocy and his coterie’s Wokeism have been the egregious

domestic and foreign policy failures of his administration since January 20, 2021.  Demented Joe’s domestic agenda can be reduced to a single sentence – to make the federal government the owner of the entire American economy, finance and spiritual realm by aligning them with the most radical Marxist-Leninist Woke policies.  Internationally, this demented president, in tow with his incompetent collection of advisers, is determined to destroy his country’s reputation to the fullest by cutting ties with America’s allies and  appeasing its enemies by capitulating to their demands.  In order to hide their incompetence, continuity, predictability and reliability of policies were thrown out of the window with zero concerns for present as well as future consequences or dangers for the United States of America.  Demented Joe’s Administration  turned foreign policy into a race-based partisan issue, with absolute disregard for the United States of America’s national security interests.

Personal virtues, the glorious attributes for the American success stories, such as patriotism, education, industriousness, respectability, truthfulness, compliance with the laws, religious faith, have been labelled as inherently White Racism.  Demonstrating proficiency in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geography and History have been declared the arrogant manifestations of White Supremacy, which are not needed for minority students to succeed in life.  While exercising dictatorial harshness toward Americans concerning COVID-19 restrictions, foreigners infected with the coronavirus can storm into the United States of America with impunity in the millions.  While still pursuing unsubstantiated allegations regarding former President Trump, the FBI is in relentless pursuit after the so-called January 6th perpetrators with reckless abandon.  Meanwhile, demented Joe’s worthless son Hunter is selling his laughably primitive and amateurish paintings for half-a-million dollars to undisclosed buyer.  The United States of America is drowning in the hurricane of moral, political, financial and establishment sponsored corruption. 

In light of America’s domestic tragedies, it is painful to state that the Afghan crisis is exactly what  demented Joe, the Democrat Party and their extremist partners in Black Lives Matter, Antifa as well as in other like-minded organizations wanted.  Having declared former President Trump the enemy of America and a hostage of Russia, the Biden Administration named the majority of Americans as the “common foes we face,” and not China, where the Biden family enriched themselves, or Pakistan, which supported the Taliban politically, militarily and financially.  To wit, the real domestic terrorists of Black Lives Matter, Antifa and other Marxist organizations that spewed anger, resentment, hatred, extremism, lawlessness and violence have been shielded by thuggish politicians as well as corrupt law enforcement and intelligence agencies.  

As demented Joe said:  “Politics need not be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.”  In reality, he has meant that those who capitulate to Wokeism will be spared, but those who resist will mercilessly be eliminated.  Clearly, the war that is going on in the United States of America has always been about culture, and Woke culture has always viewed Afghanistan as the graveyard of America as it has been for almost two hundred forty years.  

Yet, the present societal schism goes much deeper than party or group affiliation.  It has already penetrated education from kindergarten to graduate schools, from domestic politics to international affairs.  If the activists of the Democrat Party, members of the Squad, Black Lives Matter and Antifa would have their ways and say – there would not be the United States of America for long in normal existence.  Adding insult to injury, demented Joe and his incompetent administration well on its way to transform the United States of America into a Stalinist despotism, complete with minority totalitarianism, political subordination to the Democrat Party, collectivization of the economy, racial cleansing and religious persecution.   

The majority of Americans have finally started to realize this truth in its cruel and ruthless fullness.  And they are fighting back.  Because, if demented Joe and his administration will manage to finish “vaccinating” all the voters with their anti-American and anti-Democratic nonsense, it might be given the opportunity to establish a hell on earth for the most decent freedom loving people in history.

Yet, when the sun is covered by impenetrably dark clouds, nature can still show the shining stars in the night sky.  The timeline of the United States of America’s withdrawal and the subsequent Taliban advances have proved that the Critical Race Theory about the intrinsic origin of White Racism and the false narrative that America is fundamentally racist, lack any real foundation in facts, and as such scientifically ahistorical and in reality a Big Lie.  Ibram X. Kendy, the author of “How To Be An Antiracist,” essentially claims that to fight racism one must turn himself into a super racist.  Then, the super racists, the good guys according to Kendi, can save the world from the United States of America by changing the “very underpinnings and structures and systems of this country.”  Clearly, this moron, who masquerades as a scholar, could not explain why only upon the withdrawal of American troops have summary executions, mass rapes and other extremely evil acts have been committed in the name of Islam by the Taliban.  Indeed, evil has existed in many places of the world before White people set foot there.  Albeit in an amateurish way, the United States of America intended to better the lives of the Afghan people.  The waves of desperate Afghans who want to leave mainly to the United States of America are the best proof against the idiotic notion of “Institutionalized and Systematic Racism” and the allegedly ruthless “White Supremacy” advocated by mostly hypoctritical Black semi-intellectuals.

In closing, as demented Joe has claimed repeatedly, “The buck stops with me.”  Paraphrasing his statement, the buck stops with the American people.  Demented Joe, his incompetent administration and all those responsible for the utterly botched withdrawal, must go!  After that, the American people must wise up and finally begin to create a competent and accountable civil service in place of a power hungry federal bureaucracy. 


The Afghanistan Debacle Is Exposing President Biden’s Descent Into Unreality

As the situation in Kabul deteriorates, the Biden administration seems increasingly untethered to reality, boasting about an evacuation gone haywire and lying about stranded Americans.

By John Daniel DavidsonThe Federalist

The Afghanistan Debacle Is Exposing President Biden’s Descent Into Unreality
Photo C-SPAN

Americans are stranded in Afghanistan. That’s a fact. You don’t have to have special military clearance to know it, or access to classified information, or be in contact with Americans in Kabul or elsewhere in Afghanistan. All you have to do is follow the news.

For days now, reports coming out of Afghanistan have chronicled the dire situation of Americans unable to get to the airport in Kabul, unable to get past Taliban checkpoints outside the airport, and unable to get through the airport gates because of the desperate and sometimes deadly mobs gathered there.

Members of Congress are even sharing information on social media about Americans trapped in Kabul, some of them terrified of being discovered by the Taliban, begging to be rescued before it’s too late.

So when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki “called out” Fox News’s Peter Doocy on Monday for asking about these stranded Americans, and said there are no Americans stranded in Afghanistan, she was lying. And everyone knows it.

This kind of blatant dissimulation has become a disturbing pattern. By any measure, President Biden’s Afghanistan withdrawal has devolved into an unprecedented and embarrassing disaster that seems to get worse by the day. But instead of acknowledging what news reports and social media clearly show — Americans stranded, deadly chaos at the airport, Afghans rushing the gates — the Biden administration is displaying an inability or unwillingness to answer questions or even talk about the evacuation in a way that’s tethered to reality.

Psaki and other White House officials are of course trying to claim that because planes are still taking off from Kabul, no one is in fact “stranded” — at least not yet. They will likely keep repeating this incredible line until the very last plane leaves, at which point they will claim there are no Americans still trapped in Afghanistan even if every news outlet is showing the opposite.

There’s something otherworldly about all of this, an echo of the Iraqi information minister, “Baghad Bob,” who during the 2003 invasion of Iraq infamously boasted there were no U.S. tanks in Baghdad even as U.S. tanks rolled through the city just blocks away from the news conference where he was speaking.

Beyond the administration’s bald-faced lies there is the strange and inappropriate braggadocio about the evacuation. According to the warped logic of the White House, the evacuation itself has become a source of pride, even success.

In a bizarre and disjointed press conference on Sunday, President Biden boasted about the evacuation effort: “We are proving we can move thousands of people a day out of Kabul,” he said, noting that some 11,000 people had been airlifted out of the Afghanistan capital in the past 36 hours, and 37,000 since Aug. 14.

He went on to brag about how the U.S. government has hastily established processing centers in a number of countries around the world to receive the thousands of people fleeing Afghanistan — as if the need to cobble together a network of processing centers was a great accomplishment, instead of an admission that the administration had failed to plan for this inevitability months ago.

All these talking points were repeated Monday by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. The chaotic scenes at the Kabul airport — the mobs at the gates, the warning shots and flashbang grenades to hold back the crowds, the babies being lifted over razor wire to U.S. soldiers — are all evidence not of the U.S. government’s gross incompetence, but of its strength.

But the American people can smell a rat. We all know the administration is lying, and as American lives are placed in ever greater danger with each passing day, at some point the lies will become unconscionable, even obscene.

So far, there have been no reports of American deaths, thank God. But that could change quickly. According to Biden’s timeline, U.S. forces have one week to complete their evacuation, a task that seems well-nigh impossible, given the number of people who are trying to leave and the reported conditions on the ground. On Monday, a Taliban spokesman warned on “consequences” if U.S. forces stay beyond the Aug. 31 deadline.

It remains unclear, too, whether the Taliban can retain adequate control over Kabul over the next seven days to prevent attacks on U.S. troops or civilians from other armed groups, including ISIS, which is reportedly in the area.

If they can’t, and Americans are attacked and killed in Kabul or elsewhere, will Psaki stand before the cameras and claim otherwise? Maybe, but it’s more likely she and every other White House official will emphasize how well the evacuation went off, how many people they flew out in however many hours, and what a smashing success, really, this whole thing has been.


Emboldened Iran To Hold War Drills With Russia and China

Iran touts US failure in Afghanistan as it increases enrichment of weapons-grade uranium

By Adam KredoThe Washington Free Beacon

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi / Getty Images

Iran is set to hold a series of war drills with Russia and China, as the hardline regime celebrates the United States’ bungled evacuation in Afghanistan and boosts its enrichment of nuclear weapons-grade uranium to historically high levels.

Iranian and Russian leaders announced on Monday that their countries, along with China, will hold joint maritime war exercises in the Persian Gulf later this year or early in 2022, according to Iran’s state-controlled media. The countries said they will focus on “shipping security and combating piracy” as the United States reduces its military footprint in the region following its marred withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The announcement comes as the rogue countries step up their involvement in war-torn Afghanistan amid a hurried effort by the Biden administration to evacuate U.S. personnel from the country. Iran, Russia, and China have all expressed an interest in replacing the United States as a powerbroker in the nation and working with the newly installed Taliban government. Iran’s foreign ministry announced that “Iran is in contact with all parties in Afghanistan to pave the ground for dialogue and reconciliation” and that the Russian and Chinese embassies remain functioning.

Iran’s new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, celebrated what he called America’s “military failure” in Afghanistan last week, saying the Biden administration’s “military defeat and its withdrawal must become an opportunity to restore life, security, and durable peace in Afghanistan.” Iranian officials also have sought to increase ties with the Taliban, historically a regional enemy, as it expands its footprint in the region.

As the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates for the United States, Iran has increased its enrichment of uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported late last week that Iran produced uranium metals that were enriched up to 20 percent purity for the first time in its history. It also amped up its uranium enrichment program to 60 percent purity, a threshold level that allows the regime to produce the fuel needed for a nuclear weapon.

The move was met with consternation by the United States and its European allies, but they did not take any steps to sanction Iran or issue penalties for its breach of the 2015 nuclear accord. The United States said Iran must cease its enrichment, but would not go further than a public reproach. France, Germany, and the United Kingdom also acknowledged their concerns on the IAEA report in a joint statement on Thursday.

Behnam Ben Taleblu, an Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Free Beacon that “the botched Afghanistan drawdown is a propaganda coup for Tehran.”

The Islamic Republic “has long advanced the idea that America can be forced from the region through a sustained death-by-a-thousand-cuts military strategy,” Taleblu said. “Moreover, it is trying to get local actors who are pro-American to accommodate rising Iranian power by saying those who work with Washington will one day be abandoned.”

Iran’s latest enrichment levels are a signal to the U.S. administration that the country “is increasingly comfortable with escalation and has survived peak pressure,” Taleblu said. “Would you be afraid of a state which has denigrated instruments of national power like economic sanctions and military force in a bid to change your national security policy?”

As Iran increases its regional footprint and funds terrorist groups operating in and around Afghanistan, the Biden administration is pursuing negotiations aimed at securing a revamped nuclear agreement.

The State Department has made clear that it remains open to talks even as Iran refuses to come back to the bargaining table. Tehran wants full-scale sanctions relief and access to hard currency, but claims the Biden administration is not going far enough in its concessions, which are rumored to include the removal of sanctions on Iran’s financial system and other sources of revenue for the regime.

U.S. Iran envoy Robert Malley said last week the Biden administration is prepared to present Iran with a new nuclear deal should talks on reentering the 2015 accord fall apart, according to Politico.

Iran recently enlisted U.S. ally Japan in its pursuit of sanctions relief. Japanese foreign minister Toshimitsu Motegi landed in Tehran over the weekend to discuss ways both countries can pressure the Biden administration into granting Iran sanctions relief.

“To revive the [nuclear deal], the United States must abandon its excessive demands,” Motegi was quoted as saying following meetings with high-ranking Iranian government officials.


The Question Biden Won’t Answer

Will the government of Afghanistan survive America's retreat?

By Matthew ContinettiThe Washington Free Beacon

President Biden delivers speech on Afghanistan on Apr. 14 / Getty Images

It’s not just generals who are always prepared to fight the last war. President Biden’s April 14 announcement that U.S. forces will leave Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 has a long and complicated backstory. Biden said his decision will allow America to put this violent and ambiguous past behind it, to retire the frameworks that conditioned its foreign policy for a generation, and to focus its energies on the competition with China.

Perhaps so. The risk, however, is that Biden’s fixation on settling old scores has blinded him to contemporary realities, has prevented him from answering the question that will determine the future of both Afghan and U.S. security: Will the democratically elected government of Afghanistan survive American withdrawal?

Behind the official statements of Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken is the assumption that our exit (and that of our NATO allies) won’t jeopardize the existence of the regime based in Kabul. “While we will not stay involved in Afghanistan militarily,” Biden said, “our diplomatic and humanitarian work will continue.” Blinken echoed this sentiment at a press availability during his surprise visit to Kabul, when he said that “Even when our troops come home, our partnership with Afghanistan will continue.”

The robust promotion of civil society, counterterrorism, education for women and girls—none of this, we are told, will be interrupted when our soldiers leave. Nor will the enemy of civilization, the Taliban militia whose safe harbor for al-Qaeda was the reason for our intervention in 2001, abandon peace negotiations and impose its theocratic will through military force. “We have an expectation that the Taliban is going to abide by their commitments that they are not going to allow Afghanistan to become a pariah state,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the other day. “That’s our view.”

And a remarkably foolish view it is. You know the Taliban—always looking out for its international reputation. Of course there is no evidence that the Taliban has changed its methods, moderated its ideology, or abandoned its ambition to impose the strictest possible interpretation of shariah law on as many Afghans as it can reach. There is no evidence that the Taliban has ceased its attacks against Afghan security forces or that it has repudiated al Qaeda. Indeed, the very “intelligence community” on which Biden places so much importance says the Taliban will escalate its war on Kabul as soon as the last American is out and that “the Afghan government will struggle to hold the Taliban at bay if the coalition withdraws support.”

A big “if.” I do not doubt that—for a time—the aid will continue to flow to Afghan democrats, that weapons will continue to be supplied, and that some degree of overwatch from satellites and drones will continue to be provided. But I am equally certain that our attention will be redirected elsewhere, that neglect will lead to negligence, and that within a few years the Afghans may find themselves on their own. There is no substitute for the forward presence of U.S. forces, who are able to assess conditions on the ground, liaise with friends and neutrals, and deter bad actors of all sorts. On this point the Biden administration agrees with me—which is why, even as it announced the Afghanistan withdrawal, it deployed additional troops to Germany and conducted Freedom of Navigation Operations in the South China Sea.

Biden’s argument is that a U.S. military footprint is no longer required in Afghanistan, that we accomplished our main objectives years ago, that the costs of force protection for our remaining 2,500 soldiers outweigh the strategic and tactical benefits they provide, that “the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a caliphate in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.”

But Biden is unable to draw the causal connection between America’s involvement in Afghanistan and the “metastasizing” terrorist threat that emanates from places where religious fanatics operate more freely than they do in Afghanistan. Nor does he recognize that the terrorist groups he named in his address are based in exactly those locations where America has opted, for different reasons and to varying degrees, to pursue his policy of “offshore balance” rather than onshore residence. The existence of an allied host government is crucial to our ability to intercept, interrupt, interdict, and preempt terrorists before they strike. Biden’s decision to walk away from Afghanistan puts such a government at risk.

This danger is a fact Biden will not or cannot face. He is more interested in rectifying old errors than in preventing new ones. Both the location and the text of his address referenced the history of U.S. involvement in the Afghan theater. He delivered his remarks from the White House Treaty Room, where George W. Bush announced the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001, less than a month after al-Qaeda struck New York, Washington, and United Flight 93. He mentioned that he had called President Bush in advance of his directive. He recounted his visit to Afghanistan before becoming Barack Obama’s vice president and how it convinced him that the war was needless. “It has been well publicized and published that he opposed the surge back 10 years ago,” Psaki said. “And he was vocal about that in the appropriate manner at the time.”

That’s putting it mildly. Biden was furious. He was convinced that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and commanding generals had set the terms of the debate to guarantee that Obama would maintain and expand the war. His current determination to remove American troops over the objections of military commanders, including the Joint Chiefs chairman, General Mark Milley, is evidence of his desire to prove retroactively the wisdom of his position in 2009. His rejection of a conditions-based withdrawal underscores his disagreement with the generals. He dismisses the potential adverse consequences of our departure while implicitly conceding that conditions in Afghanistan are about to become worse.

Potentially much worse. It all depends on whether the Afghan government can fight the Taliban without the guidance of American troops. If it can’t, then over time Afghanistan will revert to the pre-October 2001 status quo of civil war, tribalism, and Taliban dominion. The forces of global jihad will feel empowered. That is what happened after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, from the American withdrawal from Somalia in 1993, from the American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. Terrorism followed each retreat.

“I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan: two Republicans, two Democrats,” Biden said. “I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”

No, he won’t. What Biden will pass on instead is the responsibility for cleaning up his mess.


Afghan Government Lost 15% of Its Territory Last Year

by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon

The government of Afghanistan lost almost 15 percent of its territory last year, as Taliban insurgents continued to launch attacks amid declines in U.S. and allied military personnel.

The figure is included in a government watchdog’s latest assessment of the security situation and reconstruction effort in Afghanistan. The assessment comes as the Donald Trump administration grapples with how to move forward in what has become America’s longest war.

“Analysis of the most recent data provided by U.S. Forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A) suggests that the security situation in Afghanistan has not improved this quarter,” states the latest quarterly report from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR. “The numbers of the Afghan security forces are decreasing, while both casualties and the number of districts under insurgent control or influence are increasing.” Continue reading


Putin dares, Obama dithers

The danger of Russia’s intervention in Syria, and America’s timidity in Afghanistan

Economist

ObamaPutin copyTo hear Vladimir Putin, Russia has become the leader of a new global war on terrorism. By contrast Barack Obama seems wearier by the day with the wars in the Muslim world that America has been fighting for more than a decade. On September 30th Russian jets went into action to support Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered troops. It is setting up an intelligence-sharing network with Iraq and Iran. The Russian Orthodox church talks of holy war. Mr Putin’s claim to be fighting Islamic State (IS) is questionable at best. The evidence of Russia’s first day of bombing is that it attacked other Sunni rebels, including some supported by America. Even if this is little more than political theatre, Russia is making its biggest move in the Middle East, hitherto America’s domain, since the Soviet Union was evicted in the 1970s.

In Afghanistan, meanwhile, America’s campaign against the Taliban has suffered a blow. On September 28th Taliban rebels captured the northern town of Kunduz—the first provincial capital to fall to them since they were evicted from power in 2001. Afghan troops retook the centre three days later. But even if they establish full control, the attack was a humiliation. Continue reading


Mission Creep: Is the ICC Circling American Troops?

ICC2

By Shawn Macomber

In a troubling report over at the Heritage Foundation entitled “U.S. Refusal to Ratify Rome Statute Vindicated by ICC Afghanistan Report,” Brett D. Schaefer and Steven Groves take a deep dive into the Office of the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court’s annual Report on Preliminary Examination Activities, which, the scholars note, “indicates more clearly than ever before that the ICC is contemplating opening a criminal investigation that could include charges against U.S. persons.”

Continue reading


Prospects for Military Intervention in the Syrian Crisis

syria obamaby Kenneth Bloomquist

Executive summary

Given the current political climate in the United States and Europe, if a military intervention in Syria were to materialize it would probably be a limited “no-fly plus” aerial bombing campaign similar to NATO’s Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. The overall record for such suppressive bombing campaigns has been positive, with examples that include the Balkans, pre-invasion Afghanistan, and Iraqi Kurdistan. A determinant factor in the success or failure of these campaigns has been the existence of an approximate parity between the military power of the targeted regime and the insurgent forces engaging it. “Boots on the ground” need not always be of the same nationality as the aircraft conducting strikes, but absent a capable ground opposition prospects for eroding a hostile regime and forcing its capitulation are slim. The Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) survival against Assad’s military offensives thus far seems to indicate its capability to rout regime forces if aided by international airstrikes, suggesting that the impact of hypothetical aerial intervention would be significant. Continue reading


Afghanistan agrees to pact with Iran, while resisting agreement with US

Afghanistan Iran Karzai RouhaniAfghan President Hamid Karzai agreed on a cooperation pact with Iran, despite continuing to resist signing a security agreement with the U.S., Reuters reported.

Karzai made the deal with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran Sunday.

“Afghanistan agreed on a long-term friendship and cooperation pact with Iran,” Karzai’s spokesman Aimal Faizi said, according to Reuters. “The pact will be for long-term political, security, economic and cultural cooperation, regional peace and security.” Continue reading


European Perspective: Obama’s not to be trusted on foreign policy

Obama gestures shhhhHaving declared an end to the War on Terror, the US president no longer has any clear idea of his country’s global role

by Janet Daley

The West can no longer rely on American leadership in the world. For the remaining duration of the Obama administration, Washington’s judgment and effectiveness in foreign policy cannot be trusted. It is quite an achievement for the one remaining superpower to appear as ineffectual and wrong-footed as the United States has managed to do in the past week. But there it is. The president’s global strategy in his second term was based on two resounding premises. First, al‑Qaeda was “on the run” having been smashed by the killing of Osama bin Laden and the successful US drone operations in Pakistan: in May, Mr. Obama gave a triumphal speech in which he declared the War on Terror officially over. Continue reading


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