Fifteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American planes, used them as guided missiles, brought down the World Trade Towers, severely damaged the Pentagon, and four terrorists were overpowered by Americans over a field in Pennsylvania. The suicide terrorist attacks killed 2,996, caused more than $100 billion in damages and stole America’s innocence.
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According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the 9/11 attacks continue to be a powerful memory for Americans: 91 percent of adults remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks.
So how has the 15–year “war on terror” changed America? Looking back and forward, can Americans really believe they are safer?
First a bit of history, the “war on terror” rightly started in the tribal nation of Afghanistan. Brand-new President George W. Bush summoned his top advisors to the Oval Office and chose Cofer Black, former CIA whiz, to implement a devastating retaliation for the nearly three thousand deaths. Black offered no mercy and told the rookie president that this effort required a few hundred specially trained military forces, 110 CIA officers, direct firepower, a bunch of money and his plan would end with what Black called – using an old Angola War expression – “when this is all over, the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.”
After 10 weeks, Black and his stealth-fighting machine proclaimed victory. All the Taliban cities, as well as their government, had been toppled.
In a 2013 Men’s Journal interview Black was asked if he briefed the Russians about the impending attack and how the Ruskies responded to his plan. They said, “You’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.” Black replied, “We’re going to kill them – we’re going to put their heads on sticks… and you know what, the Russians loved it! After the meeting was over, two senior Russian officials, whom I will not name, said to me, ‘Mr. Black, finally America is acting like a superpower!’”
The follow through earned Black and the US the respect that had been sorely lacking.
The success should have ended there. But as we know, it didn’t. Bush ensnared the country into an ill-defined and ill-conceived “war on terror” that continues today.
Whether you agree with the “war on terror” or not, the consequences are very real and very alarming. With the advent of comprehensive counterinsurgency, COIN or nation-building, thanks General Petraeus, the taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars in a region made up of tribal nations.
Case in point, in a recent interview, Commander of Afghanistan US and NATO Forces, General John Nicholson told PBS the war’s progress is tedious. “We’re trying to build an airplane while in flight, OK? So they’re fighting a war while we’re trying to build an army. This is very hard,” he explained.
It must be said that the “war on terror” falls under the asymmetrical category. The sneaky “stateless” armies must be defeated with clear goals and end-state solutions. It’s here where the most powerful armed forces on the planet have stumbled.
In his book the Field of Fight, retired Army three-star General Mike Flynn describes the best way to defeat marauding radical Islamic terrorists. Flynn says to win the battle against radical Islam we must destroy the jihadi armies, kill or capture their leaders, discredit their ideology, create a 21st-century alliance and must hold countries, like Saudi Arabia, accountable for supporting terrorism.
“The best plan gives you the most options at the last possible minute. Right now we don’t have the best plan. A real strategic discussion about what it is that we are trying to achieve. Is it the defeat of radical Islam? It has to be beyond that and that’s where an alliance of nations has to get it together,” Flynn said.
It cost Osama bin-Laden roughly $500,000 to bring down the Twin Towers and Pentagon. In return, the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties and flushed away trillions of dollars into the Middle East black hole. Plus, hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners have died and more than 12 million of refugees are now stateless. Newt Gingrich said this week the US has failed so badly in the Middle East that we are giving the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, $1.7 billion in cash, just like a drug cartel.
“So 15 years after 9/11, we’re not winning. We’re not winning in Afghanistan. We’re not winning in Iraq. We’re not winning in Syria. We’re not winning in Libya. We’re not winning in Yemen,” Gingrich emphasized (mimicking Donald Trump). He’s right.
One reason for the protracted war may be the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. American arms and technology companies export, firearms, fighter jets, tanks, as well as Patriot Missile batteries.
The big winner in the Department of State’s 2017 budget includes $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. The main recipients of the proposed budget will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).
While the Middle East tops the list, funding for Africa in 2017 will double from last year. Due to ISIS’ expansion into Africa, countries like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria will see an influx of American weaponry. But why do American leaders want to militarize the African continent? Of course, the prominent argument is; “if the US doesn’t do something then other countries will do it.” However, no other country on the planet finances military sales like the US.
The US and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided to a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department (link to other FMS article).
For the last three years, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The US has also provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the US supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as SCUDs and the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.
Also for last few years, the US has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the US provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.
Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to US companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further US foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”
According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements
“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for US- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.
And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work toward US security interests and abide by President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high-tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by US defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.
As the impact of ISIS’ offensive continues to sink in, US intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before a Committee claiming, “The ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“This was a very clear case in which the US knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East. During its assault in the region, ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the US not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters, and artillery.
Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500-man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway.
Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with US inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. Just in case that bad intel was on the horizon, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.
Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and portends a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.
From the US perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)
Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.
The infusion of military-grade weapons in the region only portends much more war. The war between the Sunnis and Shiites has grown more contentious due to the dysfunction of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916. Essentially the Agreement drew a twentieth-century map that granted control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf, Baghdad to the British. That was followed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that outlined a “Kurdistan” as an entity by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti). That promise was never kept and it’s doubtful the Kurds, who are Caucasian or Indo-European and not Arab, will wait another 100 years to establish their own country, one that will control its destiny through its own oil and revenues from oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea.
The complexity of the middle east today reflects Winston Churchill’s description of Russia in October 1939: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Perhaps Russia is the key to the Middle East today.
Neither agreement ever took into account the tribal nature of the region that will continue to dog the Middle East until new maps emerge, or complete Armageddon is achieved. Until that day, America will continue to find itself under the threat of attack from a region that really doesn’t offer the US much. So are we safer after 15 years of war? Stay tuned!
© Copyright 2016 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved
Most Americans would be shocked to know that THEIR government created an Islamic Theocracy subject to Shariah law when it developed the Afghanistan Constitution. (Link to Afghan Constitution).
That constitution establishes Afghanistan as an Islamic Republic subject to Shariah law: “We the people of Afghanistan With firm faith in God Almighty and relying on His lawful mercy, and Believing in the Sacred religion of Islam; Realizing the injustice and shortcoming of the past, and the numerous troubles imposed on our country; While acknowledging the sacrifices and the historic struggles, rightful Jihad and just resistance of all people of Afghanistan, and respecting the high position of the martyrs for the freedom of Afghanistan.”
Afghanistan is committed to Islamic Law/ Shariah Law as evidenced by Article Three, Chapter 1, “In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam.” Any doubt about the commitment to Islam is resolved by the oath of Supreme Court Justices… “In the name Allah, the Merciful and the Compassionate I swear in the name of God Almighty to support justice and righteousness in accord with the provisions of the sacred religion of Islam and the provisions of this Constitution and other laws of Afghanistan, and to execute the duty of being a judge with utmost honesty, righteousness and nonpartisanship (Ch. 7. Art. 4).”
But what is this Shariah law the U.S. and its NATO allies are passionately supporting in lives and resources? “Islamic theology divides the world into two spheres locked in perpetual conflict: The House of Islam and the House of War. The House of Islam (dar al-Islam) embraces territory where Islamic law (Shariah) is the law of the land, while the House of War (dar al- Harb) comprises the rest of the world. The House of Islam is enjoined by Allah to make war upon the House of War until the latter is permanently assimilated into the former,” an excerpt from Shariah Law Definition – Religion of Peace, by Gregory Davis.
It continues; “The term jihad, which literally means ‘struggle,’ denotes the military effort to bring new lands into the House of Islam. While the state of war between the Islamic-non-Islamic worlds is sometimes hot or sometimes cold, it is permanent until Shariah law reigns over the entire planet.”
As with any nation building process, the U.S. government usually plays an active role is rewriting or constructing a country’s Constitution and the same is true in Afghanistan. In the past the State Department played a big role in establishing Russia’s Constitution after the Cold War. Yet, a call to the State Department produced coy words to deflect what input the U.S. made to Afghanistan’s new Constitution.
This vision for Shariah Law is shared by some Muslims in America. Check the website Shariah for America and read their plans to use U.S. laws to ensure the Muslim faith is followed worldwide.
It’s been a long war. Afghanistan is a tribal nation trying to transition to a “modern” nation through a small group of “globalists” and with the help of the all-knowing Western world. But what is it about the war-torn region that captivates the hearts and minds of the globalists that the people of Afghanistan are worth the cost?
History knows better. It doesn’t matter how long American/NATO troops occupy Afghanistan to enforce the Shariah Law based Constitution – the end result will be the same – more suffering and corruption. American troops are fighting the Taliban and other al-Qaeda sympathizers to establish an Afghan nation, but the Constitution Americans helped the Afghanis adopt mandates Shariah Law.
Meanwhile on the battlefield, U.S. troops display their heroic bravery and compassion in trying to make a difference in this tribal region. The 10-year conflict the American military has been waging is growing more and more unpopular. Currently only 39 percent of Americans think we are doing the right thing (an all-time low), according to a 3/18-21 CBS News Poll. Another survey from an ABC News/Washington Post Poll confirmed the American people are questioning the cost versus benefits of the war – only 31 percent want America to continue its Middle East wars. A big reason for the dwindling popularity of the Afghanistan War is the corruption within the government that U.S. officials have installed to bring democracy to the war-torn nation (see Part III of this series).
Insurrection in a fragile new country
As the old saying goes, ‘it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks’ and Afghanistan is no exception. The opponents to the “globalist’s vision” look for any event to protest the West.
“Clearly the Islamist agenda is to use any tidbit of information out of the West to try to paint America and the West as anti-Islam and anti-Muslim,” said M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy and a practicing Muslim.
Take Afghanistan for example, many say President Hamid Karzai was responsible for all the hype surrounding the burning of the Quran by a Florida preacher. Clearly the majorities of Afghanis do not own computers and aren’t glued to the smart phones loaded with social networking apps ready to start the next revolution.
However American leadership gladly complied with the corrupt rulers as they continually disparage westernized countries and incite violence.
The Quran burning episode should provide insight for Americans as the Afghan people embarked on a deadly three days of rioting; this unrest burdens the U.S.-led military against the Taliban.
Running the day-to-day operations of the coalition war is General David Petraeus, and he even scolded the insensitivities of burning the Quran. “Every security force leader’s worst nightmare is being confronted by essentially a mob, if you will, especially one that can be influenced by individuals that want to incite violence, who want to try to hijack passions, in this case, perhaps understandable passions,” Petraeus said. “Obviously it’s an additional serious security challenge in a country that faces considerable security challenges. This was a surprise.”
Petraeus also felt the Quran burning was “hateful, extremely disrespectful and enormously intolerant.”
In fact it’s been reported that the majority of Afghans learned about the Quran burning from President Karzai who condemned the act as “a crime against the religion and the entire Muslim nation.” He went on to demand the U.S. and the U.N. to bring the Florida pastor to justice. Karzai also insisted that Americans provide “a satisfactory response to the resentment and anger of over 1.5 billion Muslims around the world.”
President Barack Obama also weighed in and extended his condolences to the people who were killed by the protesters and said burning the Quran “is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry.” But cautioned that there was no justification for attacking and slaughtering innocent people, calling it “outrageous and an affront to human decency and dignity.”
It didn’t take long for the “peace loving” religious demonstrators in Afghanistan to recite the familiar mantra, “Death to America.” In the end the deadly protests claimed dozens of lives, including U.S. soldiers.
Moving forward, the threshold question that remains to be answered is whether Americans wish to continue fighting so Afghanis women can be stoned and caned or thieves can have limbs severed?
Part two of this series: U.S. Pays Afghan Warlords to kill American/NATO Troops
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.