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It is now widely accepted that the surge is only a means to an end: the end to establish a stable society in Afghanistan. This is a mammoth task requiring honest, fair leadership. The hopes of America and the West are pinned on President Hamid Karzai, the questionable election victor.

Karzai has to find a way to persuade warring factions to live together. What then is he doing with China and Iran? He spent two days in Beijing talks recently and warmly welcomed President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Kabul. and met him again in Tehran., as well as meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Why was Karzai in China? He was accompanied by the Afghan foreign and defence. China’s Xinhua news agency reported from Beijing that Karzai’s upcoming visit “has drawn wide attention at a time when major powers are speculating whether China would engage deeper in efforts to rebuild – and possibly offer military assistance to – the war-torn country.”

Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie promised military cooperation. “Chinese military will continue assistance to the Afghan National Army to improve their capacity for safeguarding national sovereignty, territorial integrity and domestic stability,” Liang said. China is focusing on military supply and personnel training.

China continues to make it clear that China will not be drawn “a war on terror”. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said recently that military means would not offer a fundamental solution to the Afghan issue cannot be fundamentally solved militarily. China has rejected NATO secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s efforts to involve Asian countries.

It seems that Beijing is encouraging Afghanistan to reduce its dependence on the US and that Karzai is looking for a “diplomatic balance” by obtaining more support from other influential countries.

Why was Karzai in Iran? His celebrating the Nowruz festival in Tehran, among Persian-speaking regional countries, seems to have been to emphasize Afghanistan’s multiple identity as a plural society of pre-Islamic antiquity. Politically, of course, it also sought to show his freedom from US control.

Needless to say, Washington is furious, as was made clear by President Obama in his unexpected trip last week to Afghanistan. In fact, the Americans are fed up with Karzai, but there’s no alternative. He’s certainly biting the hand that feeds him, but with his Chinese and Iranian friends, feels that he can. The West appears to be losing the Afghan president.

American presence in the region is widely resented. China and Iran would of course like to see it ended. Karzai appears to be playing Afghan-style games with Washington, using Beijing and Tehran to his advantage. The US wants to maintain its presence and to reap some reward after spending such vast resources on Afghanistan. China is using its money to invest in natural resources there.

China’s security is threatened by the war in Afghanistan and wants a strong government there. A weak government in Kabul means a porous border, uncontrolled drug trafficking and arms smuggling and a shelter in Afghanistan for Xinjiang separatists; but China fundamentally disagrees with America’s approach.

Iran encourages anyone and anything to cause problems for the US, but clearly has a close interest in the future of Afghanistan.

Karzai completed two weeks of ‘mischief making’ with a speech to his parliament on 1 April, accusing the West and the UN of orchestrating widespread fraud that marred his presidential election, and of seeking to undermine his government – unbeatable for breathtaking chutzpah.

The message to the US and the West is clear: Karzai is behaving in traditional Afghan style and will not deliver the country Washington wants. Nor will anyone else.

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  1. Afghanistan, color revolutions and the critical role of the Voice Of America.

    April 6, 2010 by

    Afghanistan, color revolutions and the critical role of the Voice Of America.

    It is obvious that a huge political crack is appearing between Washington and Kabul. After the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, the world knows that Hamid Karzai was installed as the President of Afghanistan by the U.S. So, when I heard President Karzai accusing the U.N. and the international community of “interfering with the outcome of last year’s presidential elections and attempting to weaken his authority”, and just so we would have clarity, when he stated to the BBC that the “U.S. and others played a role in perpetrating the fraud”, I thought this is the time to think in terms of a “color revolution”. But, Why?

    It seems that the U.S. was not too happy with Karzai’s re-election, since then, it has become U.S. policy to blame Karzai’s government of corruption and incompetence. In pursuing the agenda of sidelining Karzai, the U.S. has started dealing directly with Afghan provinces (e.g.Kandahar,Helmand) bypassing the central government. Regardless of the wishes of the U.S. it has no choice but to stick with Karzai for the time being.

    President Karzai also knows that the U.S. is not going to be involved in the affairs of Afghanistan for the long haul. At least, in terms of military involvement. Therefore, he does not want to be seen as an agent of a foreign power by Afghanis who have always been suspicious of foreigners through out their history. Moreover, he must think that the time is ripe for him to make amends with certain war lords and threaten the U.S. According to The Wall Street Journal, Karzai said: “that the U.S. was interfering with Afghan affairs and that the Taliban would become a legitimate resistance movement if it did not stop.” Interesting.

    As stated already, despite a serious U.S. aversion towards its original friend, Hamid Karzai, America has no choice but to call him a partner and plan a meeting with him in May,2010. This state of affairs between Washington and Kabul, leads one to think in terms of The Rose Revolution in Georgia, The Orange in Ukraine, The Tulip in Kyrgyzstan, The Cedar in Lebanon, The Grape in Moldova, The Green in Iran, and some unnamed ones, like in Ethiopia, (2005)etc. give credence to some when they raise the issue of U.S. government and certain NGO’s support and even planning in order to serve the interests of the west.

    Sreeram Chaulia wrote, “ transitional actors, comprising of international Ngo’s at the hub of advocacy networks capitalize on opportunity structures offered by internationalism, acting as vectors of influence and maintaining constant criticism of vulnerable target states.” Chaulia continues, “Transitional actors penetrate target states by harping on issue areas like human rights that enable coalitions with powerful state actors who favor such norms.” He concludes,” rarely has the US promoted human rights and democracy in a region when it did not suit its grander foreign-policy objectives”.

    According to The Guardian, USAID, National Endowment For Democracy, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Freedom House are directly involved with supporting the color revolutions. One can add to this list, The Soros Foundation, Open Society Institute in which a number of Central Asian nations were forced to shut down OSI regional offices after the Orange revolution in Ukraine and, the U.S. based Albert Einstein Institution that activists from Serbia and Ukraine have claimed to be trained by in the formation of their strategies.

    Paul Craig Roberts, former assistant secretary of the U.S. treasury writing on Iran, said “according to Kenneth Timmerman head of the Foundation for Democracy, it was the U.S. money that funded Mousavi’s claims that Ahmadinejad stole the last Iranian election.” Moreover,”during President George W. Bush’s regime, it became public knowledge that American money is used to purchase Iranians to work against their own country. In 2007 The Washington Post reported that Bush authorized spending more than $ 400 million U.S. dollars for activities that included supporting rebel groups opposed to the country’s ruling clerics.”

    A number of people who have closely followed the successes of color revolutions concur, that the key to victory rests with the able work of The Voice Of America, (VOA). Without its positive coverage of the works of International NGO’s and its local agents, and its continuous denunciations of the policies of target countries, nothing would have been accomplished.

    The VOA which got its start in 1942 when it broadcast via shortwave to Nazi Germany is primarily a propaganda outlet for the U.S. government, which uses it to further its global political, military and economic interests. As a U.S. government propaganda outlet, the VOA is barred from broadcasting in the U.S. by the U.S. Information and Educational Exchange Act of 1948. “Information produced by VOA for audiences outside the United States shall not be disseminated within the United States”.

    The U.S. understands how potent the VOA is as a propaganda tool. No wonder, it lashes out rudely on countries that try to limit or control VOA’s dissemination of what they consider to be irresponsible propaganda that leads to incitements. Now, consider H.R. 2278 which was introduced by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL). The bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, by an overwhelming vote of 395 to 3 with 36 abstentions.

    The Bill entitled “Anti-American Incitement To Violence In The Middle East” States in its findings section:

    “(1) Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are the foundations of free and prosperous societies worldwide, and with the freedom of the press and freedom of expression comes the responsibility to repudiate purveyors of incitement to violence.”

    In the definitions section of the bill it defines Anti-American Incitement To Violence.

    “(1) ANTI-AMERICAN INCITEMENT TO VIOLENCE.–The term “anti-American incitement to violence” means the act of persuading, encouraging, instigating, advocating, pressuring, or threatening so as to cause another to commit a violent act against any person, agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the United States.”

    In the Bill’s section of Statement of policy, it states,

    It shall be the policy of the United States to—

    “designate as Specially Designated Global Terrorists satellite providers that knowingly and willingly contract with entities designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224, to broadcast their channels, or to consider implementing other punitive measures against satellite providers.”

    Finally, the report section of the Bill directs the President of the United States to do the following:

    (1)” REQUIREMENT FOR REPORTS.–Beginning 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act and annually thereafter, the President shall transmit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on anti-American incitement to violence in the Middle East.”

    (2) “CONTENT.–The reports required under paragraph (1) shall include—“

    (A)” a country-by-country list and description of media outlets that engage in anti-American incitement to violence; and”

    (B)” a list of satellite companies that carry mediums described in subparagraph (A) or designated under Executive Order 13224.”

    I am a firm believer in national sovereignty for all independent countries of the world (irrespective of where they are located, or their GNP). In this case, America’s supreme and independent authority to rule, and make laws that it deems is in the interest of its people is unquestionable. It only becomes the mother of all hypocrisies when the U.S. denies other sovereign nations not to do, what it believes is the right thing to do for itself.

    Professor Mekonen Haddis

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