27 November 2009

Once More Unto The Breech

So it is a done deal. The Empire is escalating once more in Afghanistan. Sending additional 34,000 imperials to hook up with some 180,000 imperials, auxiliaries and hirelings making up the occupation now. 34,000 reinforcements to help bring out the inner American out of the 13 million Pashtuns of Afghanistan.

I will make the claim this is making some cave dwelling inhabitants of Afghanistan very happy right now. First there are the strategic considerations. The denser the occupation, the more legitimacy the Kabul bunch loses, the more legitimacy the Mujahedeen (that is how they call themselves, not "the Taleban") gain.

On the ground the additional 34,000 have no chance to dislodge the resistance in tactical terms. The number is much to small to put them under a serious strain. The fighting is bound to escalate but the Mujahedeen can find the necessary recruits to match far easier than Washington can. Pentagon had just turned over every rock looking for available manpower and the most they could come up with was 34,000 more. This means this will almost certainly be the last escalation. The Empire can raise no higher.

Despite this raising of the stakes there is already subdued talk of possibility of negotiation with "the Taleban" and their eventual accommodation. Such whispers reveal with just how low expectations Washington is going forth with its escalation policy. Why carry on with it at all then? Who even knows at this point. But it certainly has nothing to do with the actual situation on the ground, the actual conditions in Afghanistan.

But there is a another reason the Mujahedeen may be very happy about the soon to be announced escalation. It turns out fighting this particular occupation is actually very profitable. The Mujahedeen have been shaking down convoys hauling in supplies for the occupiers, extorting money from the "hearts and minds" construction projects and even getting some auxiliaries to pay protection money directly.

The occupation is raising the level of violence making life more dangerous for the populace at large. It has to know how to present itself, which colours to show to whom lest they suffer reprisals by the resistance, or be dragged off to Bagram prison complex by the occupation or the collaborators. And then there is always the danger of getting zapped by some moron playing with a joystick in Nevada.

But if you are any good with an assault rifle then this is apparently bonanza time. By Afghan standards the country is awash in cash. There has simply never been as much green in the country and it is all there for the taking. Provided you happen to be a large enough band packing guns of course. But this is Afghanistan, guns are plentiful and everybody has a band if they want it - the tribe.

It is not as unlikely as it sounds. Afghanistan is not like Iraq. Iraq is a modern country. Even after the hardships of the 1980s wartime and the 1990s blockade it was still a country with modern infrastructure. There was still plenty that could be destroyed. The 2003 invasion and the occupation heavily propped up from the air wrecked enormous havoc on the country setting it back years and years in economic terms.

In Afghanistan however already after a few days of bombing in October 2001 the Imperial military had gone onto CNN to announce they had ran out of things to destroy. Afghanistan had simply never had much in the way of modern infrastructure in the first place. It is one of the poorest countries on earth. The proportion of people with a stationary telephone, running water, access to a doctor etc in every such indicator Afghanistan is trailing behind just about everyone else, but for some African countries. This nation of 30 million consumes about as much electricity annually as a small Caribbean island.

But now all of a sudden there are all these income sources. And it is about to get even better with the arrival of 34,000 new money magnets. The more occupiers on the ground the more supplies that need to be hauled in, the more convoys for the resistance to shake down.

Mayhap the Empire could yet succeed in negotiating with the Taleban to let them stay. Perhaps they too are not crazy about a unilateral withdrawal. After all if the Americans leave, where are they going to get their money from? Freedom from the Empire is good and all, but even the Taleban have families to think of, brats to put through college...

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