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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:27 pm 
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nationalinterest.org

America Could Be in Afghanistan for Another 16 Years
Dave Majumdar

The country may never become a fully-fledged democracy, but staying the course may be the only option.


American forces could still be in Afghanistan sixteen years from now—or even generations from now—under the White House’s current strategy of maintaining an open-ended commitment to that war-torn nation.

“I think we will be there in sixteen years,” retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told an audience at the Center for the National Interest during a lunch-time discussion on Sept. 13. “But I don’t think this is a sixteen-year loss on our part.”

Allen said that American forces in Afghanistan could be “holding the line” indefinitely into the future under President Donald Trump’s new strategy. The United States drew down its forces very quickly during the waning days of the Obama administration, which inevitably led to the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. “President Trump has removed the end date and has given us an end state,” Allen said. “With this president committed to an outcome that is whatever he calls winning...then I think we can hold the line at the security level.”

Holding the line at the security level would allow the Afghans to develop greater capacity in governance and greater capacity in economic development. “If we can get those two going—where we’re holding the line at the security level—and we’ve got a chance,” Allen said. “So we may well be there for another sixteen years, we’ve been in Kosovo for a very long time. We’ve had troops in the Sinai for a generation.”

Allen also noted that the United States has been in the Republic of Korea and Japan for decades to “win the peace.” It took decades for South Korea to emerge from military rule and an extreme level of corruption as a fully functional democracy, but it eventually did thanks to the presence of American forces. Afghanistan might never become a fully-fledged democracy, but Allen argues that the only option is to stay the course. The alternative is to see the collapse of the Afghan government and the reemergence of an Islamic fundamentalist state. “I think the alternatives are just obvious in this regard,” Allen said.

Amb. James Dobbins, a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation—who was also speaking during the panel—agreed with Allen’s assessment. Dobbins noted that that President Trump has approved for Afghanistan measures that were originally recommended to President Barack Obama in 2014. While Obama believed that the situation was hopeless and chose to withdraw, Trump has chosen to double down on winning a victory in Afghanistan, at least as he definines it.

Trump has put his own stamp on the Afghan mission, defining “victory” as “crushing Al Qaeda” and preventing the Taliban from gaining control of that country rather than by building a successful democracy, Dobbins said. Though Trump is averse to nation building, he is continuing the policy of strengthening Afghanistan’s institutions, economy and stamping out corruption. “So there is an element of continuity there,” Dobbins added.

Dobbins noted that while Trump himself has sounded skeptical about reaching some sort of peace deal in Afghanistan, reconciliation with the Taliban is essentially the centerpiece of American policy in that nation. That is partly out of necessity to retain the commitment of America’s European allies, but it is also the only exit strategy the United States has in Afghanistan. “That really only gives you one exit strategy, and the exit strategy is some kind of negotiated settlement,” Dobbins said.

Dobbins said that such a peace settlement is a long ways off—as Allen also noted. Meanwhile, Russia and Iran also have a stake in Afghanistan and will necessarily have to play a role when a settlement does start to emerge in the future. But Russia especially, has never been comfortable with the American presence in the region, Thomas Graham, managing director of Kissinger Associates, said during his part of the presentation.

Moscow was initially pleased with American actions to counter Islamist elements in Afghanistan and Central Asia, however, as time has gone on, the Kremlin no longer sees Washington’s presence as beneficial, Graham said. The Russians are particularly unhappy with Washington’s lack of focus on eliminating the production of narcotics in Afghanistan—which is a huge problem for both Moscow and the Tehran, Graham said.

More fundamentally, Moscow sees the Taliban as the lesser of two evils as the threat from the Islamic State group starts to grow inside Afghanistan. Indeed, the single-minded American focus on defeating the Taliban to the exclusion of all else is problematic for Moscow, which sees ISIS as a far greater problem. “Because of the struggle between the Taliban and ISIS over the tactics and leadership of various terrorist groups, the Russians have tilted toward the Taliban,” Graham said. “It’s kind of ironic to see the Russians who were complaining about our support of the Taliban in the 1990s now aiding the Taliban.”

Moreover, the Russians are hoping to bog down the United States in Afghanistan while they devise their own regional solution to the problem that excludes Washington, Graham said. “They don’t believe the United States has the staying power, that eventually we will tire of this,” Graham said. “It’s not in our neighborhood, it is in their neighborhood. They have nowhere else to go.”

That ultimately is the question. Does the United States have the will to stay the course to remain in a war that could last for generations? Only time will tell.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @Davemajumdar.

Image: Reuters

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:29 pm 
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Kurds would be a "second Israel", Iraqi VP warns
BY JPOST.COM STAFF SEPTEMBER 17, 2017

Israel's backing of an independent Kurdistan has brought it into the center of the debate raging across the Middle East.

Iraq's vice president Nuri al-Maliki warned on Sunday that his government won't tolerate the creation of "a second Israel," in the form of an independent Kurdish state.

According to AFP, Maliki urged Kurdish leaders to "call off the (September 25) referendum that is contrary to the constitution and does not serve the general interests of the Iraqi people, not even the particular interests of the Kurds."

"We will not allow the creation of a second Israel in the north of Iraq," Maliki, a Shiite former prime minister, said at a meeting with US ambassador Douglas Silliman, in a statement released by the vice president's office.

A country set up on a religious or ethnic base, like the Jewish state established in 1948, would not be acceptable, Maliki said, according to the AFP report.

He warned that an independence vote would have "dangerous consequences for the security, sovereignty and unity of Iraq", and called for dialogue between Baghdad and the Kurdish Regional Government.

Israel is the only country to openly back Kurdish aspirations. “Israel supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said on September 13. Speaking at the ICT’s World Counter-Terrorism summit on September 11, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said, “Israel and countries in the West have a major interest in the establishment of the state of Kurdistan.”

As a result of Israel's public statements, its stock has risen on the Kurdish street, with blue and white Israeli flags on displays in pro-independence rallies.

jpost.com

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:41 pm 
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jihadwatch.org Danish government on Muslim migrant crime: “Worst situation since 2nd World War”
Nicolai Sennels

September 17, 2017 12:32 pm By 5 Comments



The rule of law is imploding in Denmark as “low-tech jihad” and migrant gangs take over the streets. The Danish government should not be surprised. But it appears to be.

Thousands of incidents involving loosened wheel bolts on cars, large rocks or cinder blocks thrown from highway overpasses, and thin steel wires strung across bicycle paths meant to decapitate unsuspecting cyclists, is spreading a growing sense of horror among the Danes.

In almost all cases, the perpetrators have turned out to be from MENAP countries (Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan).

In the latest development of what has been characterized as “ massive low-tech jihad,” gangs of migrants and refugees of Arab or North African descent are now shooting innocent people at random in the capital city of Copenhagen, placing in danger the lives of both locals and visitors to this popular tourist city.

Also read: How Should NATO React to the Threat from Sweden?

Three people already have been shot in what appears to be a savage form of target practice. Since all of the injured were young men — in an attempt to minimize the number of future victims — the Danish police now warns all men between 17 and 25 years of age to avoid public spaces in Copenhagen.

Preben Bang Henriksen, spokesman for Denmark’s majority government party, the Liberal Venstre, is horrified by such a rapid decline in the safety of public spaces for the previously safe and calm kingdom:

“We have not had such warnings from the police since the 2nd World War. It is totally unacceptable,” said Preben Bang Henriksen.

A spokewoman for the opposition Social Democrats, Trine Bramsen, concurs with the Liberal government, calling the current security situation “a catastrophe.”

For decades, critics of Islam and Muslim immigration have warned about irresponsible liberal policies that encourage accepting migrants or refugees from Islamic countries. Therefore, Danish politicians should not be surprised about the emergence of this despicable violence. But apparently they are.

In an attempt to curtail this rapid deterioration in rule of law — and public safety in general — Denmark’s parliament has agreed to domestically deploy the army.

Such deployment will further deplete Denmark’s capability to fulfill its NATO obligations. This, in spite of how the government has promised US president Donald J. Trump that it would increase the country’s resources that are allocated to supporting the military alliance.

Also read: Bombing Manchester: It is war, not crime

Currently, Denmark is spending only 1.17 percent of its GDP on defence, thus being far from the agreed 2 percent that NATO membership requires per a 2006 agreement.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:11 pm 
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Kind of like Europe, Japan and Korea....

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:32 pm 
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I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

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