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"The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan says he is not bound by the July 2011 date set for a troop pull-out. General David Petraeus said he could well advise President Obama not to go ahead if he believes it's the wrong time. American public support for the war is at an all-time low, with July being the deadliest month for U.S. and NATO troops since 2001. With frustration growing about the occupation of Afghanistan, politicians in Germany have even suggested talking to the Taliban and terrorist organizations to avoid a further escalation of violence."

RT talks with political economist and author F William Engdahl, author of "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" and "Full Spectrum Dominance", about his thoughts on the Afghanistan occupation and the 30 year war scenario to prevent the independent economic development of Russia, China, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) states. Engdhahl has written on issues of energy, politics and economics for more than 30 years, beginning with the first oil shock in the early 1970s. Based in Germany, Engdahl contributes regularly to a number of publications including Asia Times Online, Asia, Inc, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine; Freitag and ZeitFragen newspapers in Germany and Switzerland respectively.


RussiaToday  |   August 16, 2010  


Originally posted to Edger on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:39 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Overall strategy: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, Sydserious, Edger, Kickemout

    "Let's get out of Iraq and maybe they'll shut the fuck up about Afghanistan for a while."

    No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

    by dov12348 on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:49:23 PM PDT

      •  There will be 7,000 contractors after the 50,000 (4+ / 0-)

        troops leave. I thought this was the end of the occupation of Iraq. Instead the plan is to morph the military occupation into a well-armed civilian occupation
        at the cost of $2 Billion.

        To move around Iraq without United States troops, the State Department plans to acquire 60 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles, called MRAPs, from the Pentagon; expand its inventory of armored cars to 1,320; and create a mini-air fleet by buying three planes to add to its lone aircraft. Its helicopter fleet, which will be piloted by contractors, will grow to 29 choppers from 17.

        The department’s plans to rely on 6,000 to 7,000 security contractors, who are also expected to form “quick reaction forces” to rescue civilians in trouble, is a sensitive issue, given Iraqi fury about shootings of civilians by American private guards in recent years. Administration officials said that security contractors would have no special immunity and would be required to register with the Iraqi government. In addition, one of the State Department’s regional security officers, agents who oversee security at diplomatic outposts, will be required to approve and accompany every civilian convoy, providing additional oversight.

        The startup cost of building and sustaining two embassy branch offices — one in Kirkuk and the other in Mosul — and of hiring security contractors, buying new equipment and setting up two consulates in Basra and Erbil is about $1 billion. It will cost another $500 million or so to make the two consulates permanent. And getting the police training program under way will cost about $800 million.

        http://www.nytimes.com/...

        This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

        by Agathena on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:24:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  lol (0+ / 0-)

          you really think that 7000 security contractors with 4 planes for the State Department are going to constitute an occupation - when 140,000 troops with hundreds of tanks and hundreds of jets and hundreds of helicopters barely did the job.

          •  1,320 armored vehicles, 29 choppers, (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo, truong son traveler

            60 anti-ambush vehicles won't go unnoticed.

            That's 7,000 security for a staff of 2,400.

            3 embassies!

            It still constitutes an occupation in such a small country.

            "barely did the job" not sure what you mean by that. The job of occupying the country, nation building, bringing democracy and security?  Right, "they barely did the job." The government has met for exactly 18 minutes since the election.

            The job of the new smaller occupation has not been well explained:

            one of the State Department’s regional security officers, agents who oversee security at diplomatic outposts, will be required to approve and accompany every civilian convoy, providing additional oversight.

            I guess they are there to maintain a US foothold in the middle east.

            This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

            by Agathena on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:19:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Iraq is not a small country (0+ / 0-)

              Barely did the job is pretty self-evident. No one in their right mind says that it was a successful occupation yet you're implying that it was so successful we can maintain it with only 7000 civilian contractors, a large percentage of which won't even be armed.

              And yes it has been explained - it's intended to provide security for the civilian police trainers we have, the engineers who are assisting with rebuilding the infrastructure and all the other USAID projects as well as do their laundry, cook their food and maintain their living quarters.

              •  Iraq is a small country (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                corvo, truong son traveler

                slightly more than twice the size of Idaho.

                The article was about the military occupation being replaced with a smaller well armed civilian occupation:

                Civilians to Take U.S. Lead After Military Leaves Iraq
                Published: August 18, 2010

                I was describing the smaller occupation.

                I did not imply that the occupation was successful far from it.

                The only building mentioned are the two $100 million embassies not rebuilding of Iraq's infrastructure.

                Good Bye.

                This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

                by Agathena on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 11:05:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  not a small profit for the MIC folks (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo, Edger

              $1000 million in sales and a major new market foothold for future sales. Fits the definition of our "vital national interests" very well.

              There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Sun Tzu - The Art of War

              by truong son traveler on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 06:12:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Here's something else you might find interesting (0+ / 0-)

          http://www.fas.org/... Makes it very clear that security contractors in Iraq won't have diplomatic or DoD protections. They are under the legal jurisdiction of the Iraqi government. It is no longer the case that Xe or any other private security force can fire upon civilians and claim immunity.

        •  Mnay, many more than 7000 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, truong son traveler

          7000 is only what Clinton has asked for to "secure" five "enduring presence posts" across Iraq...

          The US isn't leaving Iraq, it's rebranding the occupation, August 04, 2010

          ...as Major General Stephen Lanza, the US military spokesman in Iraq, told the New York Times: "In practical terms, nothing will change". After this month's withdrawal, there will still be 50,000 US troops in 94 military bases, "advising" and training the Iraqi army, "providing security" and carrying out "counter-terrorism" missions. In US military speak, that covers pretty well everything they might want to do.

          Granted, 50,000 is a major reduction on the numbers in Iraq a year ago. But what Obama once called "the dumb war" goes remorselessly on. In fact, violence has been increasing as the Iraqi political factions remain deadlocked for the fifth month in a row in the Green Zone. More civilians are being killed in Iraq than Afghanistan: 535 last month alone, according to the Iraqi government – the worst figure for two years.

          And even though US troops are rarely seen on the streets, they are still dying at a rate of six a month, their bases regularly shelled by resistance groups, while Iraqi troops and US-backed militias are being killed in far greater numbers and al-Qaida – Bush's gift to Iraq – is back in business across swaths of the country. Although hardly noticed in Britain, there are still 150 British troops in Iraq supporting US forces.

          Meanwhile, the US government isn't just rebranding the occupation, it's also privatising it. There are around 100,000 private contractors working for the occupying forces, of whom more than 11,000 are armed mercenaries, mostly "third country nationals", typically from the developing world. One Peruvian and two Ugandan security contractors were killed in a rocket attack on the Green Zone only a fortnight ago.

          The US now wants to expand their numbers sharply in what Jeremy Scahill, who helped expose the role of the notorious US security firm Blackwater, calls the "coming surge" of contractors in Iraq. Hillary Clinton wants to increase the number of military contractors working for the state department alone from 2,700 to 7,000, to be based in five "enduring presence posts" across Iraq.

          The advantage of an outsourced occupation is clearly that someone other than US soldiers can do the dying to maintain control of Iraq. It also helps get round the commitment, made just before Bush left office, to pull all American troops out by the end of 2011. The other getout, widely expected on all sides, is a new Iraqi request for US troops to stay on – just as soon as a suitable government can be stitched together to make it.

          What is abundantly clear is that the US, whose embassy in Baghdad is now the size of Vatican City, has no intention of letting go of Iraq any time soon. One reason for that can be found in the dozen 20-year contracts to run Iraq's biggest oil fields that were handed out last year to foreign companies, including three of the Anglo-American oil majors that exploited Iraqi oil under British control before 1958.

          Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

          by Edger on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 05:22:33 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I know. I was just focusing on... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Edger

        ...the perception that we were heh, heh, getting, heh, heh -- "out."

        No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

        by dov12348 on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:58:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I thought that at the 2008 convention (0+ / 0-)
      Obama said that we would get out of Iraq and focus on Afghanistan.

      "Don't knock football...it's just like chess but without the dice" - john07801

      by voracious on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:08:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes he did. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Edger

        Back then we were very desperate to just have the Democrats take over.  Plus we trusted him on Afghanistan.

        That was then. This is now.

        No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, `less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.

        by dov12348 on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 10:56:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Well.....Obama will be out of office if it (4+ / 0-)

    doesn't happen by 2013.  But then we'll be stuck there for at least 4 more years after that.  Lose-lose proposition.

    "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth". Albert Einstein

    by Sydserious on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:55:59 PM PDT

    •  Been saying for a long time that 2012 is going (4+ / 0-)

      to be a test year because at the end of 2011 we're supposed to be completely out of Iraq, and by mid 2011, drawing down from Afghanistan, which of course, Petraeus is planting seeds now of that might not being the case.  If the primaries start in early to mid 2012 and we're still not out of Iraq and extending in Afghanistan, how are the party candidates going to play that off each other.  That might become the most severe case of kabuki theatre in huuman history.  

      "To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great" Indian proverb

      by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:02:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A problem. The horrendous floods in Pakistan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Sydserious, BigAlinWashSt

        may become a basis for a continued border presence for humanitarian help because they have twenty million people who need absolutely everything. If we're there, I'd much rather spend it on Pakistan relief than on Karzai's chums on what they want as a five year meal ticket. I do think that whatever Petraeus thought was nation building in his counter insurgency thinking got washed away by the flood. Different problems now.

  •  Certainly something that we've been warned about, (9+ / 0-)

    or informed of, by many high ranking military officials here and abroad.   People still can't come to grips with the fact that we are a military empire, seeking to control the globe thru the use of our military might.  The Pentagon is now ramping up rhetoric about China being a threat, which it is not, and clearly are positioning Full Spectrum Dominance around China and Russia in particular.  That's the first time I heard that term, from Engdahl, and of course it is official Pentagon doctrine.  The news from Iraq today has to come with a dose of reality about what we're doing globally.  

    "To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great" Indian proverb

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 07:57:23 PM PDT

  •  Eh, this is the same stuff we heard about the (4+ / 0-)

    August deadline not being met for the Iraq combat troop withdrawal. It's the same stuff we heard about the June 2009 withdrawal from the Iraqi cities as well. I expect that Obama will start withdrawing the troops on time or ahead of schedule in Iraq and Afghanistan and I expect that the same critics will just shift the goal posts again.

    •  Good (6+ / 0-)

      point

      "They will be called advisory and assistance brigades," said Gates. "They won’t be called combat brigades."

      Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:16:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Some people just like beating the war drums. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      askew

      Even folks who pretend they want out....

      - It's beyond ironic that ophthalmologist Rand Paul is so myopic

      by second gen on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:38:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Withdrawal from Iraq cities... (0+ / 0-)

      On a map of Baghdad

      ...the US Army's Forward Operating Base Falcon is clearly within city limits.

      Except that Iraqi and American military officials have decided it's not. As the June 30 deadline for US soldiers to be out of Iraqi cities approaches, there are no plans to relocate the roughly 3,000 American troops who help maintain security in south Baghdad along what were the fault lines in the sectarian war.

      "We and the Iraqis decided it wasn't in the city," says a US military official. The base on the southern outskirts of Baghdad's Rasheed district is an example of the fluidity of the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreed to late last year, which orders all US combat forces out of Iraqi cities, towns, and villages by June 30.

      "We consider the security agreement a living document," says a senior US commander. With six weeks to go, US and Iraqi commanders are sitting down in joint security committees to determine how they can comply with the decree that all US combat forces withdraw from populated areas by the end of June and still maintain the requirement to assist Iraq in fighting the insurgency and maintaining security and stability.

      To meet June deadline, US and Iraqis redraw city borders, May 19, 2009

      Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 07:13:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Piecing together the foreign policy puzzle (9+ / 0-)

    begins to make sense if one would read Engdahl's A Century of War and Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard (published in 1997).

    "Chessboard" makes it much easier to understand why we are in Afghanistan, and why we have a "War on Terror".

    "Moreover, as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."

    It was Brzezinski who encouraged President Carter to get the US involved in Afghanistan as early as 1979. The Carter Doctrine was proclaimed in January of 1980 with direct input from Brzezinski who was his National Security Advisor from 1977 to 1981.

    Another quote from his 1997 book.

    "How America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources."

    There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Sun Tzu - The Art of War

    by truong son traveler on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:26:11 PM PDT

    •  Security Trumps Everything, or (8+ / 0-)

      'Surging' in Afghanistan

      Zbigniew Brzezinski,
      The Grand Chessboard:

      For America the chief gepolitical prize is Eurasia... America's global primacy is directly dependant on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained."

      "About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in it's enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources."

      "America's withdrawal from the world or because of the sudden emergence of a successful rival - would produce massive international instability. It would prompt global anarchy."

      "The most immediate task is to make certain that no state or combination of states gains the capacity to expel the United States from Eurasia or even to diminish significantly its decisive arbitration role."

      The Afghan war and the 'Grand Chessboard' Pt.1 and Pt.2 - Video interview
      Zbigniew Brzezinski on Afghanistan and the American strategy for Eurasia and the world

      Antemedius: Liberally Critical Thinking

      by Edger on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:38:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that "no state ..." (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        corvo, Edger

        that "emergence of a potential rival" might well be read "Iran" in today's world. Iran aspires to be a recognized regional power has yet to bow to US hegemony in the Persian Gulf Region and therefore is being dealt with through fitting propaganda and sanctions not so much different than those employed leading up to the 1953 coup.

        There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Sun Tzu - The Art of War

        by truong son traveler on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 09:54:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  nope. not iran. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          corvo, truong son traveler, Edger

          china, russia and the EU (india a distant 4th) are the geopolitical rivals zbig is talking about. iran's a potential middle east hegemon at best, and that's tenuous.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 12:14:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Iran is not a threat (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Edger

            in the sense of being powerful but of being what Zbig calls in his book, a geopolitical pivot, a relatively large country located along the Persian Gulf and with an abundance of energy resources which we have no direct access to.

            It is a threat to "our vital national interests" in the region only. However, in alliance with Russia and or China it might be considered as a major threat to US primacy in Eurasia and the world, at least according to Brzezinski.

            There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare. Sun Tzu - The Art of War

            by truong son traveler on Thu Aug 19, 2010 at 06:59:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  That's where we're at man. We will, we won't. (7+ / 0-)

    We are leaving Iraq, we aren't.  How is an antiwar movement supposed to get by on that shit? I said many times, these timelines are a big obstacle to putting pressure on ending these occupations and imperialism in general.  Here we come to the August 2010 withdrawal timeline for Iraq and most are celebrating like it's the end of something.  It isn't the end of anything.  This is going to go on for as long as they want.  

    "To the mediocre, mediocrity appears great" Indian proverb

    by BigAlinWashSt on Wed Aug 18, 2010 at 08:27:31 PM PDT

  •  Last US soldier leaving Baghdad, comments to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    corvo, truong son traveler

    a lone Iraqi policeman watching the parade of dwindling humvees and regular army, "meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

    Xe, mercenaries, KBR, Halliburton, entrepreneurial privateers & contractors, it would appear that the city is now yours.

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