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  While you were distracted by the World Cup and whatever stupid thing leading Republican politicians have recently said, Afghanistan almost descended into another civil war.

 But as Western officials scrambled to respond, what was not being said aloud was that the Abdullah camp’s threats had already gone beyond talk to a plan of action. Some of Mr. Abdullah’s backers were preparing to take over the centers of government in at least three provinces, and on his word to march on and occupy the presidential palace, according to several of his supporters and former government officials.
 The Afghan security forces were sympathetic to Abdullah Abdullah and would not fight to defend President Hamid Karzai's government.
   Secretary Kerry managed to broker a deal that defused the situation for now, but this was interrupted by the most deadly car bomb in Afghanistan since 2001.
   No matter which country you look at, if America bombed it recently, its in chaos now.

 The Taleban recently launched a major offensive in Afghanistan, that climaxed with 200 gas trucks ablaze.

  However, Afghanistan is not the most chaotic situation that we've left behind.
Believe it or not, that award does NOT go to Iraq. Instead it goes to Libya. Yes, Libya is even more messed up than Iraq, but you would hardly know it by watching the American news media.

 (Reuters) - A militia shelled Tripoli airport, destroying 90 percent of planes parked there, a Libyan government spokesman said, as heavy fighting between armed groups prompted the United Nations to pull its staff out of the North African country.
   "The government has studied the possibility to bring international forces to enhance security," he told reporters On Tuesday.
Yes, three years after we bombed Libya and assisted in the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, the current government is considering asking for a foreign military invasion. Even the Iraqi government isn't so desperate to ask for that.
   To give you an idea of how bad things have gotten in Libya, those rivals militias that just destroyed the Tripoli airport and caused the UN to leave is NOT the biggest problem that the Libyan government has. It's biggest problem is a former CIA-asset.
 Hiftar claimed he has 70,000 soldiers behind him, including the remnants of the shattered Gaddafi-era air force, navy and army. Brigades in the cities of Misrata and Tripoli allegedly are on standby to move in when he marches west. He has at least eight MiG fighter jets and four attack helicopters to boot.
   “Sixty percent of our goals are completed, we destroyed the militias’ bases,” he told The Daily Beast. He claimed that in less than three months he will move on the capital to topple the current government. He plans to send all 200 members of Libya’s outgoing parliament, the Islamist-dominated General National Congress, to trial...
  Hiftar said he has styled himself on Khalid Ibn Walid, a 6th-century military commander and companion of the Prophet Mohamed, who conquered lands from Spain to Persia and oversaw the unification of a vast caliphate.
  Of course all discussions of our foreign policy legacy begins and ends with Iraq.
The war in Iraq has mostly stalemated in recent weeks, but ISIS is still making gains.
 Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State group have attacked a town north of Baghdad and seized local government buildings, police and witnesses said.
   The fighters, in 50-60 vehicles, stormed the town of Dhuluiya, about 70km north of Baghdad early on Sunday, to take control the mayor's office, municipal council building and the police station.
However, that isn't the really bad news. What is disturbing is a Pentagon report that came out just yesterday concerning the make-up of the Iraqi army.
 A Pentagon draft assessment of Iraq's security forces has concluded that only approximately half of the country's military units are capable of being advised by American commandos, and many units have been infiltrated by either Sunni insurgent informants or Shiite militia members backed by Iran, according to a published report...
   Among the other conclusions reached in the draft assessment, the paper reported, was that Iraqi forces may not be able to defend Baghdad if the militants attacked the capital in large numbers. The Times also said that the report concluded that Iraq forces were not capable on their own of reversing gains made by ISIS, a conclusion noted by Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in public comments earlier this month.
 Of course our chaotic legacy of places we bombed goes far beyond these three complete disasters.
Pakistan has launched an all-out offensive in its tribal regions that has forced an incredible 800,000 people from their homes. At least that is how many have registered. The actual number is probably much higher. Very quietly this has become one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.

   Yemen has also launched its own military offensive that has uprooted tens of thousands. Now some are wondering if Yemen is the next country to descend into chaos.

The fall of Amran City last week to Houthi extremists was a clear sign that the situation in Yemen is rapidly sliding toward chaos, unless fundamental steps are taken to shore up the transitional government to complete the task of restoring peace, security and economic prosperity in Yemen.
    On July 8, Houthi forces ran over the city after weeks of siege and took over government institutions as well as military camps, including the 310 Armored Brigade. The brigade commander, Hamid Al-Qushaibi, 73, was captured and reportedly executed soon afterwards.
Amran is just 50km from the capital of Sanaa.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Marcy Wheeler, from yesterday (7/14)... (18+ / 0-)

    Latest Catch-22 For US Military: Training Iraqi Troops Too Dangerous Due to Previous “Training”

    Published July 14, 2014 | By Jim White, @ emptywheel.net

    The abject failure of US efforts to train troops in Iraq and Afghanistan has been one of my most frequent topics. Even though the US mission in Iraq has officially ended and the mission in Afghanistan is mired in a surreal form of purgatory as the government re-invents it vote auditing procedure and even the structure of its government, the US military just can’t kick its addiction to training and is now contemplating yet another attempt at training Iraqi troops.

    The New York Times tries to come to the aid of the military this morning with a front page story dedicated to re-starting the training process. The problem though, is that as the Times dives into the idea, it becomes apparent that our previous failures in training may have made it too dangerous to start (and, of course, fail again, but the Times doesn’t go there) the process yet again. That danger even makes it into the headline: “US Sees Risks in Assisting a Compromised Iraqi Force“.

    The story opens:

    A classified military assessment of Iraq’s security forces concludes that many units are so deeply infiltrated by either Sunni extremist informants or Shiite personnel backed by Iran that any Americans assigned to advise Baghdad’s forces could face risks to their safety, according to United States officials.

    The report concludes that only about half of Iraq’s operational units are capable enough for American commandos to advise them if the White House decides to help roll back the advances made by Sunni militants in northern and western Iraq over the past month.

    Imagine that. Despite eight years of work and over $25 billion invested, two and a half years after we left Iraq only about half of Iraq’s units are even fit enough for the US to advise them in an effort to take on their latest existential threat...

    …So when we left, Maliki supplemented his military with the very Shiite militias that US forces had been fighting. At least one reason for Maliki’s move was that these militias knew how to fight and the troops the US trained were useless. Those militias have been trained by Iran…

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:05:01 PM PDT

  •  Whatever we touch turns to crap including US (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, gjohnsit, chuckvw

    I voted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 because it is my right, my responsibility and because my parents moved from Alabama to Ohio to vote. Unfortunately, the republicons want to turn Ohio into Alabama.

    by a2nite on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:07:08 PM PDT

  •  To be fair, lots of countries that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, enhydra lutris

    we haven't bombed also have troubles. But you have a point.

  •  It's impossible (5+ / 0-)

    to look at current events in Afghanistan, without going back to our original decision to empower the warlords, I think. It is the continuing source of so much trouble.

    About the recent weeks, at the brink of civil war, that old decision is at least as important as the fundamental problems in having fair elections in Afghanistan.

    Those old guys are powerful enough, they would have been a source of trouble whatever our actions had been. But we put millions in their hands. We gave the country to them. We very strongly empowered them, where the necessary task of wresting power from them is inherently very hard.

    •  I recently learned (8+ / 0-)

      that President Carter sent weapons to islamist fundamentalists before the Soviet Union invaded.

      "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

      by gjohnsit on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:24:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The West's involvement in backing, yea!, even (7+ / 0-)

        creating Islamist fundamentalism goes back to nascent western-informed national independence movements in the late 1800s; as a counter to such.

        The full biography of al-Afghani is most interesting: a known agent of alternately British and French intelligence, he played a role in what became the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist movements. He himself was an avowed atheist to his European employers and lodge-brothers.

        The idea was to steal the thunder from the outright nationalists in their rejection of Western Imperialism, but not go so far as to have actual democracies and such. Which, as history shows, tend to be difficult to suborn and control. It was thought the corrupt religionists would be men you could do business with.


        A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned. -- Firefly

        by Jim P on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:57:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That story, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim P, gjohnsit, chuckvw, Sandino

          of the Islamic modernist revivalist nationalists like al-Afghani and Mahmud Tarzai, and how they influence the Muslim Brotherhood, and how the Muslim Brotherhood then ends up as an influence on the anti-Soviet mujahidden, certainly is interesting. Hard to make a straightforward story of, too.

      •  They were socialist, don't you know (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gjohnsit, Sandino

        emancipation and education for women... sucky stuff like that. The Russians felt they had to go in due to the resultant chaos on their border.

        The latter vaguely rings a bell...

        If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers. - Thomas Pynchon

        by chuckvw on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 07:01:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  creeping the world strafe from/democracy (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, corvo, chuckvw, Simplify

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:20:46 PM PDT

  •  What about Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala? (11+ / 0-)

    What do you think was the primary reason for our "border crisis?"

    Honduras president: US drug policy to blame for migrant crisis

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:29:00 PM PDT

  •  Our basic foreign policy agenda was outlawed (11+ / 0-)

    after WWI and WWII.   Military imperialism was outlawed and yet it continues under the guise of a "Global Force for Good".  We need to end U.S. imperialism, all imperialism, again.  

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 02:45:37 PM PDT

  •  First we inaved Afghanistan and Iraq as part of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Johnny Q, corvo, chuckvw

    the Global War on Terror, then we bombed Libya (and almost bombed Syria) as part of our Wars of Humanitarian Intervention... different name, same shit.

    We're shocked by a naked nipple, but not by naked aggression.

    by Lepanto on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:05:27 PM PDT

    •  We should have intervened in Syria. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo

      Without intervention, 250,000 are dead.

      The U.S. is not the cause of the world's problems.

      •  Why? (7+ / 0-)
        We should have intervened in Syria
        Because we have such a wonderful track record we should continue to destroy countries?
        The U.S. is not the cause of the world's problems
        Not all of them. Only some of them.

        "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

        by gjohnsit on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:13:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  A few of them. (0+ / 0-)

          Could you imagine Syria being worse than it is now? I can't.

          Military intervention has led to change for the better in Kosovo, Bosnia, Grenada, Panama, Korea and elsewhere.

          Destroy countries? Syria is now destroyed with zero US action.

          •  Yes, destroy countries (9+ / 0-)

            Since you opened the door for historical examples, let's start with your list:

            Korea: the Korean War absolutely devastated Korea. Millions died.
              Afterward, South Korea was ruled by a military dictatorship and actually was poorer than North Korea from 1953 until the early 70's.
               South Korea then became more free and more wealthy in spite of American military intervention. Not because of it. South Koreans forced through a more open and democratic government then the one we left for them.

            Bosnia: almost zero military intervention, and only after both sides were exhausted from killing

            Panama: you mean the CIA-asset we installed, or the one who took his place?

              Then you should mention: Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Nicaragua, Philippines, Guatemala, Lebanon, Chile.
               And, of course, the three above: Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.

              And if you want to go back to pre-WWII, we can do that too.

            "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

            by gjohnsit on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:33:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ok, let's come back to it. (0+ / 0-)

              If there hadn't been intervention in Korea, the Kim dynasty would control all of Korea, running concentration camps with gas chambers. Yes, there was a military dictatorship, but that dictatorship ended. Could you imagine that North Korea's government would ever give up power by itself?

              Bosnia - for 3.5 years the world did nothing, and as a result the killing continued 24/7. After a few weeks of NATO airstrikes, the conflict ended.

              Libya - got rid of one of the world's craziest dictators, held free elections, still a mess, but better without Qaddafi.

              Afghanistan - run by crazy jihadists, responsible for 9/11 (btw had the US intervened a few months earlier, 9/11 wouldn't have happened). Don't forget about this: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

              Panama - the drug lord dictator who was removed, Panama quickly became a democracy.

              •  Re: (0+ / 0-)
                 the Kim dynasty would control all of Korea, running concentration camps with gas chambers
                Really? You couldn't try to make your point without making shit up?
                   The fact is that we don't know what Korea would have become without the war. We can only go by what actually did happen, and Korea was MUCH worse off because of the war. Any improvements were despite our intervention, not because of it.
                Bosnia  After a few weeks of NATO airstrikes, the conflict ended.
                The conflict ended, because the Croats blew through Serbian defenses and threatened to collapse the entire Bosnian serb position. A couple NATO bombs did almost nothing.
                Libya
                As I just pointed out, it's worse now than ever according to people that actually live there.
                Afghanistan
                You do realize that Afghanistan is run by the same damn warlords that have run Afghanistan for the last three decades, don't you? And that things for women haven't changed much.
                Panama
                We put that drug lord into power. He was on CIA payroll.

                "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

                by gjohnsit on Wed Jul 16, 2014 at 08:37:27 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Erm, as to Korea we know one thing (0+ / 0-)

                  Before the West intervened, only a tiny part of Korea remained under the control of the South. Without intervention, the North would have everything. I think that's pretty obvious. Yes, Korea was much worse off thanks to the war - but the war was started by the North invading the South. You can't not respond to someone else's aggression - otherwise the Communists would have free reign to invade any country they liked, including the US at some point.

                  As to Libya, the country was on Freedom House's "worst of the worst" list for decades. Currently, it is partially free, which is a huge improvement compared to what it was before. No, there can not be anything worse than Qaddafi. Maybe Mubarak was better than the Muslim brotherhood. Not Qaddafi.

  •  US foreign policy is good. (0+ / 0-)

    Sorry, but the intervention in Libya stopped democide and eliminated a monster like Qaddafi, who was one of the world's craziest dictators. Yes, Libya is still a mess, but it has held free elections since then, and it is hailed as a unique example of having jumped from "worst of the worst" totalitarian rule to partial democracy.

    And in Syria, 250,000 are dead without any US action. This shows us that pretending the rest of the world doesn't exist will not eliminate the world's problems.

    •  US foreign policy is a disaster (11+ / 0-)

      Let's start with Libya. Do a Google search for "Libya worse than ever". There are so many results that I won't bother to post them here.
        But I'll post one anyway.

       Above all, he is in despair over his country. ‘We got rid of Gaddafi — and it’s just exactly the same s***,’ he says. ‘What was it for? It was for nothing — things are worse now than they have ever been. I see it every day. It was all for nothing — absolutely nothing.’
       Take your blinders off. Libya is in civil war.

        Given our horrible record of fucking up everything when we start dropping bombs, what makes you think that bombing Syria would have produced positive results.
         Remember, the Obama Administration supported al-Qaeda in Syria. He gave them weapons. Those weapons are now threatening Iraq.

      "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

      by gjohnsit on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 03:42:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lybia is descending into anarchy as we type. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gjohnsit, corvo, Jim P, chuckvw, Lepanto

      And anarchy is no friend to democracy.  I'm not convinced that counts as a success.  As for Syria, I can imagine no scenario where our intervention could have made things better, given that there are currently three major factions vying for control of the country.  It really is like the Marvel Comics' evil organization Hydra - "Remove one head, two more shall take its place."

      "Democrat" is a noun. "Democratic" is an adjective. "Republican" is an idiot. Illigitimi non carborundum. Regardless of Party. The license plate I want? OMG GOP WTF

      by TheOrchid on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 04:09:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot Gaza. Arguably the biggest current (6+ / 0-)

    US foreign policy F-UP.

    Maybe ordinary Americans are too clueless to figure out American culpability in the 200 dead over the last several days, vast majority of them civilians. But Arabs do know.

    Obama is taking too far of a back seat in this travesty. He should step up and stop it.

  •  Let's not be naive. Destabilization is a feature, (9+ / 0-)

    not a bug, of our foreign policy. The neo-cons were arrogant enough to state it explicitly; the neo-libs just pretend they're puzzled by the results.


    A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned. -- Firefly

    by Jim P on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 05:39:54 PM PDT

  •  interesting problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gjohnsit, Garrett

    but lumping them together blurs some realities that really deserve diaries of their own.

    And we don't see who is being supported under the table, who is funding which groups in these fights, etc. at the depth of detail available here.

    Is the ex CIA asset really still a CIA asset in Libya?  Which warlords in Afghanistan have whose support, etc.

    We expect national action from tribal societies who were forced into nation states, they have never chosen them per se.  We expect democracy when populations don't have a history or current education or cultural prepartion for it.  And the imperialism that has been playing with these societies predate America's ascension to absolute military power, and we haven't been commited to abandoning imperialism as a policy because it suits the corporate overlords.

    The world isn't screwed up just because of US foreign policy.  It took centureies to get this messed up.  We just haven't helped at ll, and by pursuing our own imperialistic goals, we've made it worse.

    But these people have long standing rivalries, hatieds, goals that have nothing to do with us.  If we stopped interfering, there would probably still be civil wars, power grabs and violence until fiefdoms are carved out and the warlords re-assert themselves.  And there would still be no democracy.

    We need to stop providing mercenary armies to support corporate interest, stop trying to pick winners in local disputes to favor companies who wish to steal resources, etc.  I believe in self determination.  But I don't believe that it is violence free or fair or always results in democracy.  But we ought to take our thumbs off the scale and encourage an end to economic imperialism as much as actual colonization was once discouraged.

    •  Your expectations might be too high (0+ / 0-)

      The New York Times fairly describes the Afghan election as being of major importance, including at a psychological level.

      What followed was as tumultuous a six-day stretch for Afghanistan as any since the American invasion in 2001. Interviews with Western officials, the two presidential campaigns and other Afghan officials detailed a week that went beyond any previous political crisis in carrying the risk of a factional conflict that would tear open the wounds of the devastating civil war.
      But the major event got very little interest and discussion here.

      Wanting discussion at the individual warlord level, or such, is probably expecting too much.

      •  there may not be any interest (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Garrett

        but on the other hand, it is hard to create interest if you don't know who the players are, what the rules are and what is at stake.

        This diary is a little out of Gjohnsit's wheelhouse (at least judging by his past blogs).   I might have been more persuaded by his conclusions if I knew more and he provided more evidence.

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