Thursday, December 17, 2009

Obama Refuses Peace Offer From Taliban, Instead Commits 30k More Troops

In an article published today by the Asia Times, it has been revealed that the Taliban in Afghanistan offered a peace deal to the United States at the beginning of December and President Obama turned it done.

The Taliban offer, included in a statement dated December 4 and e-mailed to news organizations the following day, said the organization had "no agenda of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries and is ready to give legal guarantees if foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan".

It suggested that the Taliban were interested in negotiating an agreement with the United States involving a public Taliban renunciation of ties with al-Qaeda, along with some undefined arrangements to enforce a ban on al-Qaeda's presence in Afghanistan in return for a commitment to a timetable for withdrawal of foreign troops from the country.[1]

President Obama, recent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, instead of taking the Taliban up on their offer of peace, instead has chosen to escalate the war and commit an additional 30,000 troops to the conflict that has become the longest military engagement in U.S. history.

The troop buildup will begin almost immediately, with 9,000 US marines expected to be in place by Christmas in Helmand for an offensive alongside British forces against Taliban strongholds, according to officials on both sides of the Atlantic.[2]

The official reasoning behind Operation Enduring Freedom (i.e. the Afghanistan war) was "to target Osama bin Laden, suspected of planning and funding the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack, and his terrorist network al-Qaida."[3]

In the run up to the invasion, President Bush issued the following demands to the Taliban in order to avoid invasion:

•deliver Al-Qaida leaders located in Afghanistan to the United States
•release all imprisoned foreign nationals, including American citizens
•protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in Afghanistan
•close terrorist training camps in Afghanistan and "hand over every terrorist and every person and their support structure to appropriate authorities".
•give the US full access to terrorist training camps to verify their closure[3]

Why would President Obama choice to ignore a peace agreement that would accomplish these goals? That's a question those in the mainstream media, who were clearly aware of the peace offer before President Obama's speech announcing the troop escalation, seem to want to ask. But that's not stop current Afghanistan President Karzai from doing just that.

The day after the Taliban proposal to Washington, Afghan President Hamid Karzai made a public plea to the United States to engage in direct negotiations with the Taliban leadership.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Karzai said there is an "urgent need" for negotiations with the Taliban, and made it clear that the Obama administration had opposed such talks. Karzai did not say explicitly that he wanted the United States to be at the table for such talks, but said, "Alone, we can't do it."

The move by the Obama administration to ignore a peace offer in Afghanistan comes just a few months after they modified a deal the Bush administration worked out with the Iraqi government which would have had all U.S. troops out of Iraqi cities more than 6 months ago.

So, again, why is the Obama administration escalating the wars they were elected to end?

Jeremy Hammond of the Foreign Policy Journal believes there are ulterior motives. "The consideration [to escalate troop levels] had mostly to do with U.S. interests in seeing oil and gas pipelines constructed in transit through [Afghanistan]."[4]

In a 2001 report issued by the Central Asia-Caucus Institute, a think tank that bills itself as a transatlantic research and policy center, Christopher Boucek writes, "some sources have claimed that there exist Israeli financial interests in reviving the failed 'Unocal plan' for a pipeline crossing Afghanistan, which if true could potentially result in significant benefit to all parties."[5]

A prolonged war also appears to provide a significant intelligence benefit to Israel.

Tel Aviv is content to keep all factions fighting, with none achieving supremacy. Afghanistan will not pose a major external threat to Israel or any of its strategic partners as long as the factions continue fighting. The continuation of the war will also allow Tel Aviv to monitor developments in Iran, a much larger concern for Israel's national security establishment.[5]

Acceptance of the proposed peace deal from the Taliban would accomplish the stated goals of the U.S. and save countless lives. Failing to do so for the perceived benefits to a so-called allied country is not a valid enough reason to justify the continued costs of our nation's blood and treasure. Worse than those costs are the ones that will result from the deep seeded hatred towards the U.S. that is growing among the world's Muslims as a result of prolonging these wars.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post.

I wonder what is more telling, the fact Obama is ignoring this Taliban offer, or that I had to find out about it on this podunk blog?