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September 15, 2021

Open Thread 2021-71

News & views ...

Posted by b at 17:56 UTC | Comments (197)

September 14, 2021

What Was Biden's Diktat The Saudis Are So Furious About?

Two seasoned commentators, Abdel Bari Atwan and M.K. Bhadrakumar, note the recent snag in U.S. - Saudi relations. Writes Atwan:

The past two weeks have seen an unprecedented rise in tensions between the two sides, which could lead to political and economic standoffs in the days and months to come. Several recent developments attest to this. Last week the Associated Press, well known for its connections to Washington decision-makers, confirmed that the Biden administration has withdrawn all its Patriot and (more sophisticated) THAAD air defence systems from the kingdom.
...
Then it was announced that a visit to the kingdom by US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin – as part of a Gulf tour that included Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain — had been postponed or cancelled, ostensibly due to ‘scheduling issues’. That was an unprecedented snub reflecting official Saudi anger at the US.

A minor Saudi prince, Sattam Bin-Khaled Al Saud, was assigned to explain that it was Saudi Arabia that called off the visit. The ‘great kingdom’, he tweeted, would not be dictated to, and would only conduct relations on the basis of ‘shared interests and mutual respect’. No ruling family member has spoken about the US this way previously.

The young royal, who is close to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin-Salman, went on to contrast the cancellation of Austin’s visit with the very warm reception the kingdom accorded to Leonid Slutsky, head of the Russian Duma’s international affairs committee. This was intended as a warning to Washington that Riyadh potentially has an alternative ally in Moscow — a ‘brave’ but potentially risky and very costly challenge.

There was also the recent publishing of FBI findings about Saudi involvement in 9/11. And on Afghanistan the U.S. worked with Qatar instead of using Saudi channels. But both issues are neither new nor do they justify such a response.

Bhadrakumar opines:

Cont. reading: What Was Biden's Diktat The Saudis Are So Furious About?

Posted by b at 18:08 UTC | Comments (123)

September 12, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-070

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

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Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-070

Posted by b at 14:36 UTC | Comments (262)

September 11, 2021

Some Thoughts On 9/11

Twenty years ago I was chief technology officer for a major news website. It was after lunch and I was testing new productivity tools for the news room. Someone came into my office and said that a plane had hit the WTC in New York City. I walked into the news room where several TV screens were filled with pictures of a smoking tower. 

The news folks were busy writing their first takes. Some of it was speculation. I mentioned that this was not the first plane to hit a skyscraper in NYC and called it an accident. That made it into one of the first take stories.

Still - even as an accident it was spectacular news and the page views per minute on the website went towards our capacity limits. Then the second plane hit and it was immediately clear to everyone that these were no accidents. The web traffic went through the roof.

We had had ample capacity to cover news peaks but this was way too much traffic for our normal site to handle. I told the server administrator to take down all side processes on the web-server machines we were using. We then started to minimize the content of the site. Everything that was generated dynamically was switched off. We minimized the numbers of pictures. We stopped all advertisement delivery. Other major news sites I tested were already dead - overwhelmed from the enormous amount of traffic. We were still up - but even loading the much cleaned up front page took more than 30 seconds.

I phoned up a number of IT guys I knew who administered public web sites for other purposes. I asked them to mirror our site through a side channel we had opened for that purpose. We then fiddled with the domain name servers to reroute a part of our traffic to those mirror sites. With those finally up and running we barely made it through the evening traffic peak without crashing everything. 

The traffic stayed above our nominal capacity for over a week. I stopped my news room productivity project and set down to design a new content delivery system which allowed for a dynamic addition of capacity. The design was quite expensive but three month later we implemented it.

9/11 touched a bit on my job but I was lucky to avoid its other deadly consequences.

Before working for that news site I had long worked with Americans on a daily basis. I had been to the U.S. over a dozen times during the previous years. It was immediately clear to me that its people would want revenge. They would not care much against whom it would be waged. That private prediction turned out to be right.

Little has changed since. The catharsis that 9/11 should have brought never happened. Most people still don't care about the wars of terror and who gets killed in them. I blame the media for that.

Today the New York Times and the Washington Post both report on the recent 'righteous' drone strike in Kabul:

Cont. reading: Some Thoughts On 9/11

Posted by b at 17:52 UTC | Comments (377)

September 10, 2021

Meta - This Blog(ger) Needed A New Laptop

Just spent the last two days on buying and configuring a new laptop. I have used the now 'old' one daily for four years and it started to have display problems. Since a month ago the lower part of the screen at times turned into a random mess of colors. Rebooting solved the issue but it is a sure sign that the machines life is coming to an end.

As I no longer had a reserve machine a sudden death of my major tool would have been bad for blogging. So out I went and looked for a new one. I found that laptop prices have gone up by some 100% when compared to four years ago. All those chips Bill Gates is putting into the vaccines have really had an effect on prices and availability.

My old laptop, which was relative high end at its time, had set me back €700. The new, in the same relative quality range, was double that pricey.

Like my old laptop the new one is a 'gaming' machine even though I hardly ever play computer games. The reason to buy 'gaming' laptops are their better displays and the MF II keyboards with a numeric pad. I am used to navigate the editor with it when I write. Many of these machine types were out of stock with new ones deliverable only at the end of the year. After some research I ended up with a Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Gen 6 (16" AMD) and I am, for now, quite happy with it.

The display is excellent! (16:10, 16.0" WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS, anti-glare, 165Hz). For someone who reads and writes online 12+ hours per day that display alone is a killer argument. The CPU though is total overkill for what I do. (AMD® Ryzen™ 5 5600H Processor + NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX™ 3050 4GB). But the CPU being overkill helps to keep its ventilator quiet when I only run my usual applications. The laptop makes less noise than the heating radiator next to my desk even when I watch high resolution videos. (I may try to additionally disable the NVIDIA GPU to see if I can get the machine to make no noise at all.)

What took me the better part of two days and led to extensive cursing of Bill Gates were the ridiculous difficulties with transferring my (application) configuration settings and data from one machine to the other. Windows 10 is hopelessly overloaded with completely useless stuff. But a simple 'export my data and settings', 'transfer' and 'import my data and settings' functionality is - some 35 years after Windows was born - still not available.

Well - anyway - just thought I'd let you know why there is no real blog post today. And to let those who thankfully donated for this blog know what their money got spent on.

Posted by b at 18:39 UTC | Comments (87)

September 09, 2021

Open Thread 2021-69

News & views ...

Posted by b at 18:04 UTC | Comments (214)

Afghanistan - State Department Sanctimoniously Laments About 'Lack Of Female Leaders'

The Hill is channeling  State Department 'concerns':

State Department voices concerns over all-male Taliban government

The State Department on Tuesday expressed concerns over the makeup of the new interim Afghan government announced by the Taliban, including the lack of female leaders and the past actions of some of those appointed to top posts.

A State Department spokesperson said in a statement shared with The Hill that although the Taliban “has presented this as a caretaker cabinet,” the U.S. “will judge the Taliban by its actions, not words.”

“We have made clear our expectation that the Afghan people deserve an inclusive government,” the spokesperson added.

The statement went on to note that the list of names announced by the Taliban earlier Tuesday “consists exclusively of individuals who are members of the Taliban or their close associates and no women.”

Well, the 'caretaker' government surely reflects the wishlist of the Pakistani spy service ISI. Its boss had flown to Kabul to get it implemented as soon as possible.

Sure, the U.S. does not like that. But a look at the governments of certain U.S. 'allies' lets me wonder how genuine the 'concern' about a 'lack of female members' really is.

Cont. reading: Afghanistan - State Department Sanctimoniously Laments About 'Lack Of Female Leaders'

Posted by b at 11:13 UTC | Comments (113)

September 08, 2021

CNN 'Exclusive' Repeats MoA's Year Old Reporting - Ukraine/CIA Tried To Snatch Russian Veterans

Trust in U.S. media is at a record low:

The United States ranks last in media trust — at 29% — among 92,000 news consumers surveyed in 46 countries, a report released Wednesday found. That’s worse than Poland, worse than the Philippines, worse than Peru. (Finland leads at 65%.)

One reason is that U.S. media are either not reporting important events, are misreporting them, or are very late in covering twisted plots that even a lowly blogger can get right just as they happen.

On August 7 2020 Moon of Alabama reported on a Ukrainian operation designed to lead to the arrest, in Ukraine, of soldiers who had fought on the side of Donbas during the Ukrainian war on its east:

People who had claimed to work for the Russian oil conglomerate Rosneft, but used a fake Rosneft domain for their emails, had hired Ukrainian/Russian veterans who had fought on the pro-Russian side in the civil war in the Ukraine.

The men were told that they would guard oil fields in Syria and in Venezuela. They received some money and were given tickets prepared for them for a flight from Minsk to Turkey. Those tickets were booked by an Ukrainian travel agency in Kiev which seems to have been founded solely for that purpose. But when the mercenaries arrived in Belarus they were told that the flight had been canceled. They were put into a local hotel and told to wait a few days for another flight.

The Ukrainian secret service then informed Lukashenko that a group of Russian mercenaries were in his country to launch a coup during the upcoming election. Lukashenko has publicly acknowledged that the information about the group had come from the Ukraine. Belarus arrested the men and the Ukraine immediately demand their extradition.

the original idea had been to make the plane with the former soldiers land in the Ukraine during its flight from Minsk to Turkey. The former soldiers would then have been arrested.

But some entity on the Ukrainian side - some says its president's office, others blame the CIA - sabotaged the original plan to create a ruckus in Belarus. After Russian media uncovered the whole plot Belarus released the veterans and let them go back to Russia.

On September 21 2020 Moon of Alabama flogged the New York Times over misreporting the story:

Cont. reading: CNN 'Exclusive' Repeats MoA's Year Old Reporting - Ukraine/CIA Tried To Snatch Russian Veterans

Posted by b at 16:45 UTC | Comments (52)

September 07, 2021

How U.S. Levant Policies Defeated Themselves

The hostility of the U.S. against the resistance axis in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon has led to conflicting aims. While the U.S. wants to isolate the 'resistance' it also wants to keep its own dominating role in Lebanon. Those aims are now in conflict. The U.S. is thus in a situation where it will have to lift sanctions against Syria to be able to politically compete with Hizbullah in Lebanon.

The U.S. had put Lebanon under an economic siege to pressure it into doing its bidding:

Following Israel’s failure to disrupt or defeat Hezbollah in the 2006 war, the victory of the Resistance Axis in the Syrian conflict, and the growing military and strategic reach of Hezbollah, the US set into motion a policy to starve out Lebanon and destabilize the country’s economy. Washington’s bag of tricks is empty, save this one last sanctions-and-siege weapon.
...
Israel wants the US to do the impossible: pressure Lebanon into disarming Hezbollah and resume talks over the disputed Mediterranean Sea border for gas extraction.
...
In the meantime, the Lebanese have lost trust in a banking system that confiscated their life’s savings almost two years ago, and a US-backed Central Bank that has contributed to the collapse of the local currency. The bankrupt Lebanese government has, in turn, eradicated most of the subsidies on gasoline needed for the functioning of hospitals, electricity, transport, and bakeries.

The country has no monetary reserves left to import oil or gasoline and to generate electricity. Power cuts are now lasting 22 hours per day. There is no functional government that could solve those problems.

Cont. reading: How U.S. Levant Policies Defeated Themselves

Posted by b at 16:57 UTC | Comments (119)

September 06, 2021

Why You Should Get Vaccinated But Don't Need A Third Shot

There were again a number of misleading comments about Covid-19 in yesterday's open thread. I have deleted a dozen or so of those.

It doesn't help that the media are currently back at bad reporting about the various vaccine issues.

Here are some clarifications about the current situation:

Q: Why do people who were vaccinated still get Covid-19?

A: The vaccines are not giving a 'sterilizing immunity'. They were not designed for that and never promised to do so. What the vaccines do in fairy reasonable quality is to prepare the body to fight Covid-19 early and effectively. Nearly all people who got vaccinated will be protected from a severe progression of the disease.

Q: If the vaccine does not protect me from getting Covid-19 why should I still take one?

A: SARS-CoV-2, which causes Convid-19, is a new virus and our bodies are not prepared to fight it. The vaccines, by looking like a part of the virus, are teaching the body to fight the real virus. Once that is done special cells in our bodies will remember that fight. As soon as they detect a real infection they will be ready to attack it.

Q: But would that not also happen if just get infected by SARS-CoV-2 without being vaccinated?

A: Yes it would. But the speed at which the body can fight the virus is much slower in unvaccinated people. Speed is of great importance here. Remember that the Covid-19 disease happens in two phases. The virus first attacks in the upper respiratory tract - the nose and throat. Some seven days or so later it goes down into the lungs. It then can cause a so called cytokine storm during which the body overreacts and attacks itself in multiple organs. To avoid a progression into the second phase of Covid-19 the body must fight the virus as fast as possible.

Q: But the vaccine efficiency is waning over time and they are telling us that we need a third or even a fourth shot.

A: Yes, Pfizer and Co want to sell more vaccines. But for most people a third or fourth shot will not be necessary at all. Let me explain:

Cont. reading: Why You Should Get Vaccinated But Don't Need A Third Shot

Posted by b at 18:47 UTC | Comments (451)

September 05, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-068

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

The Taliban are now near Rokheh.


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---
Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-068

Posted by b at 13:20 UTC | Comments (262)

September 04, 2021

Why U.S. Plans For Revenge In Afghanistan May Not Succeed

The U.S. does not want piece in Afghanistan. There are two reasons for that.

The first is vengefulness.

That an alleged superpower gets kicked out of a country by some local guerilla is too hard to accept. That the rush to the exit has happened in a rather humiliating way, even when caused by U.S. incompetence and not by the Taliban, only reinforces that.

The vengefulness could already be seen in last days of the U.S. occupation. The U.S. forces leaving Kabul not only destroyed military equipment but also the civilian part of the airport.

Murad Gazdiev @MuradGazdiev - 16:06 UTC · Sep 1, 2021

US troops wrecked both civilian terminals as they evacuated from Kabul airport.
All the security cameras were broken, computers destroyed, many glass panes shattered. Electrical cabling was cut, the x-ray machines were broken and even arrival/departure screens overturned Images

None of this was necessary or made any sense. Just days later the U.S. Secretary of State demanded that the Taliban reopen the airport to allow for more brain drain from the country.

Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai - 12:11 UTC · Sep 3, 2021

#Kabul airport: the #US totally destroyed the radars and tower control and begged #Qatar to fix it as soon as possible to allow foreigners, Afghan collaborators, and those with adequate visas to leave. Qatar sent a team of technicians and spare parts for the airport to function.

The U.S. continues to withhold Afghanistan's Central Bank reserves and has blocked the IMF and World Bank for releasing funds to Afghanistan. These are a revenge act against all Afghans.

The New York Times tries to (falsely) justify it with an alleged terrorist designation of the Taliban:

Cont. reading: Why U.S. Plans For Revenge In Afghanistan May Not Succeed

Posted by b at 17:29 UTC | Comments (104)

September 03, 2021

The U.S. Foreign Policy 'Establishment' Is Incredibly Dumb

The U.S. foreign policy 'establishment' is incredibly dumb:

With Afghan Retreat, Biden Bucks Foreign Policy Elite, New York Times, Sep. 1 2021

“The foreign policy establishment did get it wrong in Iraq, where the U.S. overreached,” said Richard N. Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations. “We got it wrong in Libya, we got it wrong in Vietnam. But over the last 75 years, the foreign policy establishment has gotten most things right.”

What did the foreign policy 'establishment' get right?  Funny that he does not name even one issue in that category.  That's likely because there isn't one.

“My biggest concern is that the United States may now be entering an era of under-reach,” said Mr. Haass, who served in the George W. Bush administration. “History suggests there’s just as much risk in under-reaching as overreaching.”

Under-reaching = Not waging and losing illegal wars of aggression? What please is the risk with that?

Here is the real problem:

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko - 0:38 UTC · Sep 3, 2021

Foreign policy establishment generally doesn't do self-reflection. Leadership and funders don't require it, the focus is inherently future-oriented, and the predictive analysis so unfalsifiable that evaluation is impossible.

This goes beyond the establishment:

Why States Believe Foolish Ideas: Non-Self-Evaluation By States And Societies - MIT, Jan 10 2002

Organization theorists note that organizations are poor self-evaluators; I argue here that states suffer the same syndrome.

This failure to self-evaluate impedes national learning and allows misperceptions to flourish. Myths, false propaganda, and anachronistic beliefs persist in the absence of strong evaluative institutions to test ideas against logic and evidence, weeding out those that fail. As a result national learning is slow and forgetting is quick. The external environment is perceived only dimly, through a fog of myths and misperceptions.

States that misperceive their environment in this way are bound to fail to adapt to it, even when the penalties of such failure are high. Blind to the incentives they face they will respond inappropriately, even if they accept in principle the need to adapt.

This also why the U.S. is, again and again, listens to the same ever stupid people.

Micah Zenko @MicahZenko - 15:44 UTC · Aug 21, 2021

Sad how many habitually wrong and unapologetic pundits, scholars, and former officials are solicited for their foreign policy wisdom.

Not only is their zero accountability, but stubborn wrong-ness is consistently rewarded by media gatekeepers, think tanks, private sector, etc.

Every implausible US intervention or disastrous war has featured powerful cheerleading from public intellectuals and experts....often the same 3-4 dozen people.

Last point, since US has such an outsized influence on global outcomes, debates around specific FP choices cannot continue to be driven by the same habitually wrong voices. World needs better.

Posted by b at 13:21 UTC | Comments (194)

September 02, 2021

On The Breeding Of Money - by Gordog

Gordog

Some continue to delude themselves about the so-called US economy, which is nothing but a house of cards---and this meaningless, completely fabricated 'metric' of GDP. In real terms, China's economy is already bigger by half then the US. And that is being charitable.

Let us review some basic facts about how NUMBERS actually work. This is known as MATHEMATICS.

Take for instance the Ponzi Scheme. This is an ingenious bilking scam where a group of investors is promised a guaranteed rate of return. Since there is no PRODUCTIVE business of any kind that can generate any return, the only way to pay those initial investors is to draw in more investors over the next term, usually a year. The incoming investors are likewise paid their return by the next crop of investors, etc. Now it is obvious just from this description that the amount of new investors has to INCREASE each year, in order for this to stay afloat.

The mathematical underpinning of this scheme is exponential growth. This is a mathematical function where the growth of something is a function of the EXPONENT of TIME.

In simple terms: if you start with a single cell that splits in two...then those two each split in two and so on, it is obvious that the number of cells doubles at a given rate of time. In a Petri dish, such organisms will rapidly multiply in number until they have exhausted all the nutrients available...and everybody DIES!

Now let's consider a bank that is lending money at interest. Here we have a group of BORROWERS rather than investors.

If in the first year, the bank has a given number of borrowers, it will receive back not just the amount of money it has lent, but an additional amount of money in interest. This accumulation of interest will continue building in perpetuity, according to the exponential math exactly like the Ponzi Scheme or Petri dish.

This is the fundamental mathematics of both. Only they are mirror images of each other. One is drawing in lenders [investors], while the other is drawing in borrowers. From the wiki entry on exponential growth:

Cont. reading: On The Breeding Of Money - by Gordog

Posted by b at 15:48 UTC | Comments (223)

Open Thread 2021-67

News & views ...

Posted by b at 15:48 UTC | Comments (134)

September 01, 2021

To Counter U.S. Hostility China Moves Towards People Centered Policies

In December 2001 China became a member of the World Trade Organization. That opened new markets for China's industry and attracted a lot of foreign investment.

The growth in GDP that China has achieved since is breathtaking.


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This development allowed China to make enormous investments in infrastructure. It also generated the resources necessary to eliminate poverty.

It is no coincidence that this development happened while the U.S. was wasting money on wars in the Middle East. As the U.S. is now step by step retreating from those wars to confront China the country needs to prepare itself for the new environment.

The introduction of more and more capitalistic features into China's economy over the last 20 years has created imbalances. Business tried to ignore or to gain influence over government structures and regulations. Companies abused their workers. Speculation by rich people created bubbles in the housing markets. Cultural excesses that emphasized individualism threatened national unity.

These imbalances let the description of China's economy as 'socialism with Chinese characteristics' look empty. Over the long run they would lead to dissatisfaction of a wide range of the public with the ruling political establishment. It was high time to eliminated the excesses the ultra fast development had created.

Cont. reading: To Counter U.S. Hostility China Moves Towards People Centered Policies

Posted by b at 17:49 UTC | Comments (167)

August 31, 2021

The U.S. Has A Plan For What's Next in Afghanistan - It Does Not Include Peace

Secretary Antony Blinken @SecBlinken - 1:34 UTC · Aug 31, 2021

I want to drive home today that America’s work in Afghanistan continues. We have a plan for what’s next, and we’re putting it into action.

The codename for the plan which Secretary Blinken is putting into action has not been officially released. It will likely be called "Eternal Revenge" or something similar.

The U.S. is not a good loser. Nor are President Biden and Blinken. They will take revenge for the public outcry their chaotic evacuation of troops and civilians from Afghanistan has caused. The Taliban will be blamed for it even as they, following U.S. requests, had escorted groups of U.S. citizens to the gates of Kabul's airport.

One can anticipate what their plan entails by looking at the process that led to yesterdays UN Security Council resolution about Afghanistan. The full resolution has not been published yet but the UN reporting on it gives the gist:

Security Council urges Taliban to provide safe passage out of Afghanistan

Thirteen of the 15 ambassadors voted in favour of the resolution, which further demands that Afghanistan not be used as a shelter for terrorism.

Permanent members China and Russia abstained.

As the resolution only 'urges' it is obviously minimal and not binding. It is not what the U.S. had set out to achieve. It wanted a much stronger one with possible penalties (see 'holding ... accountable' below) should the Taliban not follow it.

Prior to the UNSC meeting France and Great Britain had proposed to create a 'safe zone' in Kabul. That request has been silently dropped - likely over Chinese and Russian concerns about Afghanistan's sovereignty.

On August 29 Blinken had talked with China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi about a binding resolution. The State Department readout of the call was minimal:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke today with PRC State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi about the importance of the international community holding the Taliban accountable for the public commitments they have made regarding the safe passage and freedom to travel for Afghans and foreign nationals.

The readout by China reveals that much more than that was discussed:

Cont. reading: The U.S. Has A Plan For What's Next in Afghanistan - It Does Not Include Peace

Posted by b at 17:35 UTC | Comments (191)

August 30, 2021

Ukraine Shuts Down Opposition Media - U.S. Ambassador Applauds 'Daring Act', Calls For Support

On Wednesday the comedian and president of the Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in the White House. The invitation to Zelensky was a booby prize handed out after Biden announced that he would not act against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that will soon bring gas from Russia to Germany. The Ukraine is likely to lose money it currently gets for gas transfers through its pipelines from Russia to west Europe.

Zelensky is under pressure at home and his country will soon run out of money. He will have an endless list of requests but is likely to get nothing of value.

To prepare the scene for Zelensky the former ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who is by the way wrong on everything Russia, wrote an oped for the Washington Post. It was published on August 23.

Opinion: The U.S. and Ukraine need to reboot their relationship. Here’s how they can do it.

Setting out a cold war 2.0 scenario McFaul argues to emphasize 'democracy':

Especially after the return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan, there will be little hope for Biden’s proclaimed democracy agenda and his democracy summits planned for this year and next if Ukraine’s democratic experiment falters. Its success will empower small-D democrats across the region and the world. Its failure will be a boon to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his autocratic allies from Minsk to Beijing.
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On democracy, Zelensky and Biden also need a fresh approach. U.S. officials must stop lecturing the Ukrainians so publicly on corruption. Of course, fighting corruption must remain central; aid conditionality should be strengthened. But talking more broadly about our shared commitment to deepening Ukrainian democracy makes for a better public message — especially because anytime Biden mentions “corruption” and “Ukraine” in the same sentence, his opponents will add “Hunter Biden.”

That last part is actually good advice. Biden surely knows all about corruption in the Ukraine as his son signed the receipts for the hundreds of thousands the Biden family got from there.

So lets talk about democracy and here is where McFaul goes off the cliff:

Cont. reading: Ukraine Shuts Down Opposition Media - U.S. Ambassador Applauds 'Daring Act', Calls For Support

Posted by b at 18:35 UTC | Comments (112)

August 29, 2021

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-066

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama:

Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2021-066

Posted by b at 20:00 UTC | Comments (239)

How The CIA Used ISIS-K To Keep Its Afghanistan Business

There is a larger story behind the recent terror events in Afghanistan. Here is an attempt to track it down.

Over the years several reports by the Afghan Analyst Network (AAN) about the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP or ISIS-K) show that it had grown out of militant groups from Pakistan. A report from 2016 describes extensively how they were fostered by the Afghan state:

The IS fighters who pioneered the Khorasan franchise of the IS were Pakistani militants who had long been settled in the southeastern districts of Nangarhar, in the Spin Ghar mountains or its foothills, bordering the tribal agencies on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line.

Before choosing to join ISKP, these militants operated under different brands, mainly under the umbrella of the ever-loosening Tehrik-e Taleban Pakistan (TTP). The bulk of these militants had been arriving in Nangarhar since 2010 mainly from the Orakzai, North Waziristan and Khyber tribal agencies.

Pakistan alleges that the TTP is supported by RAW, India's secret services. It may have also helped to finance the ISKP outlet.

Hoping to use them against Pakistan, the Afghan government started to woo some of these fighters, according to influential tribal elders involved in helping relation-building from the districts that sheltered the guest militants.
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However, efforts by the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), to woo Pakistani militants in Nangarhar have not been confined to Lashkar-e Islam or to militants from Khyber. Tribal elders and ordinary residents of Achin, Nazian and Kot testify that fighters from Orakzai and Mohmand agencies belonging to different factions of the TTP have been allowed free movement across the province, as well as treatment in government hospitals. When moving outside their hub in Nangarhar’s southern districts, they would go unarmed. In off-the-record conversations with AAN, government officials have verified this type of relationship between segments of the Pakistani militants and the NDS, as have pro-government tribal elders and politicians in Jalalabad. They described this state of affairs as a small-scale tit-for-tat reaction to Pakistan’s broader and longer-ranging, institutionalised support to the Afghan Taleban in their fight against the Afghan government.

The Afghan state's NDS was a CIA proxy agency. During the mid 1990s the intelligence chief of the Northern Alliance, Amrullah Saleh, had been trained by the CIA in the United States. After the U.S. overthrew the Taliban government Saleh became the head of the NDS. The NDS also had extensive relations with India's secret service.

While the U.S. pretended to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) consistent reports from various sides alleged that core ISIS personnel were extracted by unmarked U.S. helicopters from Iraq and Syria and transferred to Nangarhar where they reinforced the ISKP militants.

Hadi Nasrallah @HadiNasrallah - 1:18 UTC · Aug 28, 2021

In 2017 and 2020, Syria’s SANA reported that that US helicopters transported between 40 and 75 ISIS militants from Hasakah, North Syria to an “unknown area”. The same thing was reported for years in Iraq by the PMU along with reports that US helicopters dropped aid for ISIS.

As Alex Rubinstein summarizes:

Cont. reading: How The CIA Used ISIS-K To Keep Its Afghanistan Business

Posted by b at 15:59 UTC | Comments (118)