By Jalees Hazir
March 26, 2015
The empire is having second thoughts about winding up its military occupation of Afghanistan. The chief puppet of the empire, US president Obama, announced that the nearly 10,000 US troops stationed there would all stay till the end of this year. Half of them were supposed to have gone home by then according to earlier plans. Shouldn’t we be concerned about this ominous development?
In 2015, how believable is the US rhetoric on Afghanistan? Should we chase the carrot of a complete withdrawal by the end of 2016 being dangled by the deceptive empire? Or should there be a concerted effort in collaboration with Afghanistan’s immediate neighbors to make sure that it happens sooner rather than later? After all, the bane of Afghanistan’s occupation is carried by all of us.
There are those who would argue that we have too much on our plate as it is and, rather than being concerned about what’s happening next door, we must focus on putting our house in order. They talk about external and internal factors as two independent dimensions with no repercussions for each other.
They are the ones who slap the nation on the face when it is down, blaming the ‘rotten traits’ of our people for the problems that beset us, with no reference to the larger international picture. Look closely and you’ll notice that most of them are part and parcel of our metropolitan power elite, witting or unwitting collaborators of the empire in our midst.
Understandably, these elitist friends have no patience for any talk about the empire. They see it as an excuse to shirk off responsibility for the mess we are in, a scapegoat of sorts that distracts us from grappling with the real challenges at home. What makes them blind to the claws of the empire, clearly outstretched as they are to strangle us, is hard for me to decipher.
Could it be their tryst with the empire that blinds them to its bloody fingers in everyone’s pie? Or is it their self-serving naïvete that makes it possible for them to be blindfolded so completely with tattered yarns of the imperial narrative despite its gaping holes? Do they not see the violent empire spreading death and destruction around the globe? Do they not see Syria?
How can they be blind to the bloody mayhem reigning over once peaceful societies after the so-called humanitarian interventions by the empire? Do they not recognize the various brands of Islamic terrorism as proxies of the empire and its royal slaves in the Middle East; spawned and nurtured, trained and armed, funded and unleashed on hapless unarmed civilians in broad daylight?
How reasonable is it to expect the empire to be fighting terrorism in our region when it is propagating it literally all over the world, from the Middle East to Africa, Latin America to South East Asia? If anything, given how important it is for the challenged empire to check the growing power of China and Russia, Afghanistan is ideally placed to spawn, train and unleash ISIS or some other brand of Islamic terrorists on the pre-dominantly Muslim states of Central Asia and the bordering province of China. Is it just a coincidence that terrorist groups are pushing to get a foothold in the region?
The empire’s cowboy war on terror is not about countering terrorism but spreading it. The two-faced strategy is more than obvious now; fabricate pretexts to invade other countries and monopolize their resources, create a lawless landmass for breeding terrorism, export terrorism to neighbouring countries targeted for destabilization and control the military, political and economic developments in the region. The strategy was successful in Iraq. In Afghanistan, it has not reaped the same dividends for the empire, though not because of any lack of effort on its part.
So is this delay in the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan aimed at launching another terrorist push, this time branded as Daesh or ISIS? We know that the fairy-tale about countering terrorism is just a cover-up. The CIA collaborates with the same war-lords to control the production and trade of poppy to imperial pharmaceutical giants. Where do the terrorists crossing into Pakistan with high-powered vehicles, high-tech communications systems, dollars and sophisticated weapons get their supplies from?
The empire is not all about terrorists and territories though. Terrorists are just a tool of war, whether they come dressed as sectarian Islamists or ethnic-fascists. Control of territories is only the pre-requisite for a military presence and unhindered corporate plunder; the drilling for oil and gas, the mining for metals and minerals, the control of agriculture and health, the manipulation of economy and regulatory frameworks to suit filthy rich corporate entities rather than the millions of poor people of countries in its stranglehold and the monopolization of ideas of progress and development.
The apologists of the empire in our midst talk about the loans and grants from the empire as a reason to be grateful and not wince about following its diktat. They’d like us to believe that not only we need this financial assistance but also that it is beneficial for the development of our society. They don’t want to talk about infected blankets or the leverage such financial assistance provides the empire to manipulate the country’s economy for perpetuating dependence and propagating plunder by unethical and profit-hungry corporations.
In his article, Food, Empire and Colonialism: Rich Men in London Still Deciding Africa’s Future, Colin Todhunter lays it bare. “Some £600 million in UK aid money courtesy of the taxpayer is helping big business increase its profits in Africa via the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. In return for receiving aid money and corporate investment, African countries have to change their laws, making it easier for corporations to acquire farmland, control seed supplies and export produce.”
I tell my elitist friends that it is dangerous to ignore the empire and its evil, especially when the empire is extremely resourceful and organized, greedy for everyone’s riches, armed with the most lethal arsenal on the planet and, to put it mildly, trigger-happy.
Jalees Hazir is a freelance columnist. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org