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LOOKING AHEAD
12.12.2008

Maxim Kalashnikov

THE HOTBED OF WORLD FIRE

Russia and Central Asian countries must be ready for the explosion of Afghan-Pakistani "boiler pot"

THE NEW 1985

Newly-elected President of the USA Barack Obama, who promised to de-escalate the war in Iraq, is going to increase U.S. contingent in Afghanistan with extra 10000 troops. Because right there and also in the north of Pakistan, evil al-Qaeda gains revenge. And right there democrat Obama is going to wage war till final victory.

But all the horror for the USA hides in the fact, that there is no "final victory" for them in Afghanistan.

American occupation of Afghanistan celebrated its fifth anniversary in October. If to measure off the same period for the USSR (the forces entered Asian country in December 1979), then U.S. calendar shows some kind of 1984-1985 years analog. Right that time Moscow intensified efforts to complete the campaign successfully. By 1983 our troops learned to fight with almost no generals, by creating some kind of non-departmental horizontal systems. Junior officers of different specializations began to deal with each other omitting official headquarters, and forming groups for the particular aims at the moment. Large-scale operations were roaring: in Panjshir Valley (April of 1984), Hostin Valley (July of 1985). Reinforced Special Forces units and assault brigades entered DRA (the beginning of "raid war"). Massive merciless air strikes were inflicted over Mujahideen nests. Hunts for provision caravans, which delivered weapons and stores to Islamic militants, were deployed.

Thanks to the new tactics the balance was established in 1985. Militants suffered horrible losses and couldn't crush Soviet forces. But neither could the USSR crash them, as new troops from Pakistan took place of destroyed groups and went on fighting. Russians didn't dare ruin and burn down "hornet's nests" and only chased "wasps" separately.

The USSR had the only chance to win the campaign: to transfer attacks to Pakistan and begin the crushing defeat of Afghan militants' camps and the country itself at one. Luckily, Pakistan hadn't yet had nuclear weapon. We should have done almost the same thing which the USA did in 1986, when they stroke Libya with bombs and rockets. But Moscow didn't dare do that.

Our troops in Afghanistan could succeed because of total supremacy of Soviet helicopters, ground-attack aircraft and strike fighters in the air. To change the situation to better for militants, the USA needed to give them some powerful anti-aircraft weapon. This happened in 1986, when Americans delivered shoulder-launched surface-to-air system "Stinger" for them.

Today's Obama's intensions (to get more helicopters with night vision systems there, to strengthen the forces with two more brigades) willy-nilly conjures up former Soviet experience.

But with one addition: the USA has already begun air strikes over the territory of the North Pakistan. For example, in Khyber Pass, which is inhibited by rebellious Afridi and Shinvaris clansmen.

Clear perspective appears: active operations of the USA on that direction might cause inner split of Pakistan and civil war in the country. As a result Americans will have to destroy Pakistan's nuclear weapons complex, to wage a bloody campaign for the capturing of Pakistani nuclear weaponry and its removal.

This is close to emergency with possible attempts of using nuclear bombs against Americans – either in Pakistan, or against U.S. troops in Afghanistan. By the way, it's really comfortable: the effect is huge and the amount of victims is great, though territory of the countries of the West is safe from nuclear infection. And at the same time dreadful world crisis is provided.

But even if this does not happen, Afghan-Pakistani direction will cause huge problems for the USA.

"THE BLACK HOLE"

If Obama's offers are realized, the U.S. contingent in the wild country of mountains and deserts Ц 43000 of men Ц will almost reach the number of the Soviet 40th army in 1979. Though, if also to take into account British and other NATO contingents, the numbers of the USSR will be exceeded.

According to Obama, the USA needs more troops, bigger helicopter park, more effective intelligence and stronger non-defense support in Afghanistan. He said that ending the war in Iraq was «essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan where the Taliban is resurgent and al-Qaeda has a safe haven». So, the real center of terrorist activity is Afghan-Pakistani territory, and the war against terror should now be waged very aggressively.

At the same time war expenses are terribly high. During a month of operations in Afghanistan the USA spends more money than the USSR did during a year of its campaign. Reducing the level of troops in Iraq will save some $10-12 billion per month, but to all appearances this savings will be "eaten"" by Afghanistan. Taliban militants use cheap weaponry. They can strike brand-new air bases with primitive missiles made in China, placing them onto wooden tripods. The situation with Americans and their Kabul marionettes bears a strong resemblance to the situation of Soviet troops and pro-Moscow powers: they mostly control cities, whereas Mujahideen rule in rural area. What is more, official administration has powers over cities in the daytime, and at nightfall Mujahideen field commanders do.

This can have only one meaning: in the atmosphere of terrible economic crisis, when Americans need funds to save their mortgage, bank and industrial systems, when the USA lacks money to renew national infrastructure (power grids, bridges, locks, water-supply, canals and etc.) Ц huge funds will be wasted for the sake of absolutely hopeless war.

Thus Americans get into the same trap as they had once driven the USSR in. The Soviet Union also used to spend funds in Afghanistan during 1980s, in spite of aiming them at the development of its own economy. And what is more, those years U.S. strategy of destroying the USSR stipulated deeper involving of Moscow into the war and increasing its costs against the backdrop of slump in profits from oil export.

Now almost the same thing happens with the very USA. The only exception is that the USSR experienced that all due to external enemy, and the present USA runs its head into the noose itself and even tries to tighten it.

And shoulder-launched surface-to-air systems? They can occur in Islamic militants' hands again. For example from China.

STRATEGICAL DEAD END

USA got into a blind alley. No victory over terrorism can be reached by military ways.

The contingent of Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan is destined to reproduce all the time, and two living Mujahideen will substitute for one dead. Continuous war has been going on in this land already for 30 years, three generations grew here that can do nothing but waging guerilla war, growing and selling drugs and sabotaging. Making them go back to cultivating small fields, as it was till 1978, is impossible.

To win the war, the West has to propose Afghanistan a model of happy and rich peaceful life, which will be based on some economic model. At the same time such a model of economic success should be offered to Pakistan, which nowadays is turning into a classic cracked "doomed country".

In both cases the United Sates isn't able to offer any alternative to the local inhabitants. From the point of view of the world market and global division of labour both Afghanistan and Pakistan are outsider-territories. They can't provide anything but drugs and fanatic militants for the world.

Years before the USSR stood a better chance to win in Afghanistan, as it offered Afghans to build a socialist system, adjust the industry and organize highly productive irrigated agriculture. The USSR offered dozens of thousands young Afghans to learn in its universities, institutes and colleges every year, but the USA can't offer anything like that to Afghanistan. Afghan territories stably stay among "unneeded countries" in globalist-liberal economy, where the USA plays the part of headquarters: they are too poor, noncompetitive, and too unprofitable to run an "outsourcing" business there. And market disintegration of Afghan society (if this mixture of clans and tribes can be called like this) with its rising inequality will only strengthen the will to take weapon and go to war among youth.

The West, which is trapped in heavy economic crisis, has no resources to give Afghanistan total maintenance and turn it into a country of donations, using Russian experience with the republics of Central Asia. And local ruling clique is so corrupted, that the remains of grants given to common people would be so miserable, that it couldn't pacify the region. No "Marshall plan" is possible for these territories by definition.

Basically the same applies to Pakistan. Since the beginning of 1980s the country turned into a volcano, ejecting "lava" in the form of thousands extremist-militants. Pakistan is going through acute crisis: the population upsurges, poverty growth, the amount of land and water is not enough, local industry loses the competition with China. Pakistan is doomed to outburst, to radical Islamic anti-West revolution, so the availability of nuclear weapons only worsens the situation. Actually it all could have happened already in the end of 1970s, when Pakistan has survived the break-up of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto socialist reforms and decided to build military-Islamic Zia-ul-Haq dictatorship. That time Pakistan was saved by the flow of western help: as the country was necessary for the fight against the USSR and as the base for operations in Afghanistan. And at the same time the country found a channel for the "utilization" of the energy of its suffering, wretched youth Ц it shook them off by sending to a war with Russians.

And now the USSR doesn't exist. There is no economic inflow to Pakistan from the West anymore. Liberal market reforms carried out by Bhutto-daughter had ended up with a corruption collapse already in 1990s. Extremist youth goes to fight in Afghanistan again Ц but with Americans and Englishmen, not with Russians. And simultaneously the young men want to wage a war in the very Pakistan Ц for the establishment of truly Islamic state, for the annihilation of old ruling clique and for the repartition of riches. The explosion of the Pakistani "boiler pot" is only the matter of time. Pakistani elites can neither attempt to rescue the situation with the help of war against India: Indians have nuclear weapons either, their army is greater, and in addition the West will not support Pakistan in this conflict.

And no strengthening of the western contingent in Afghanistan, no additional helicopter units will help Americans in this case. They will find themselves in the pocket of Islamic jihad, which boils with hatred to the USA and to the whole West. In the cauldron, which can be formed of Afghanistan and remainder of Pakistan. In that case the West will immediately have to destroy Pakistani nuclear industry, get nuclear ammunition and fissionable materials out of the country, getting a great number of victims.

And they anyway will have to leave home, leaving triumphant Moslem masses behind. And the story of the summer of 2006 with Sheikh Nasrullah and Israel will repeat again, but the scale will be much bigger.

Two positive results of the war for the USA may only be the nuclear disarmament of Pakistan and the destruction Ц due to chaotization of the country Ц of the Chinese sea base in Gwadar, which means the deprivation of the outlet to the Indian Ocean for Beijing.

THE STUGGLE FOR CENTRAL ASIA

On the other hand, Islamic expansion will spread to other regions from Afghan-Pakistani cauldron. Where will boiling Islamic "lava" turn after U.S. forces leave? At first Taliban will destroy their local enemies Ц the Northern Alliance. They will neutralize local Uzbeks and Tajiks. And then they'll begin the expansion to the North Ц to the former Soviet republics of the Central Asia, which have been degrading since 1991, being eaten through by corruption and poverty, being disintegrated from within (majority especially hates local elites), feeling a wild lack of fertile land and fresh water.

For sure an Islamic movement will be born, which will stand up for the creation of federative Caliphate: huge empire, which will absorb remains of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Turkestan. So the new state will be able to rely on Uzbekistan's and Turkmenistan's oil and gas resources, on Uzbekistani, Tajikistani, Kirghiz uranium and gold, Pamir water resources and Chui, Talas, Ferghana and Osh fertile valleys. Subsequent Caliphate aims are also clear. As fighting against China for the freedom of Xinjiang is dangerous (China is the same USSR during the period of its greatest cruelty and might), it's better to go to fight on rivers and plains of Kazakhstan, closer to Siberian water and land resources.

Moscow ought to begin preparing to that turning-point already. When the threat appears, Ashkhabad, Tashkent, Bishkek and Dushanbe will all look for a protector, and they'll choose between China and Russia (the West doesn't count). China is strong militarily, it can annihilate militants mercilessly. But it can also occupy Central Asia; it also needs carbohydrates, uranium and gold. And China can't provide Central Asian with the main thing needed Ц fresh water.

And then the creation of Russian and Central Asiatic Alliance will become possible. We have already described its formula, so we'll remind it now.

Russians can give weapons, help in the preparation of local armies, air support, nuclear shield, space intelligence. And also give 5% of Siberian rivers drainage to feed the deserts of Turkestan and turn them into new granary, where dozens billions of people could get employed.

Central Asia can provide human resources to build canals, loyalty to Moscow in geopolitical questions, privileged access to the mineral deposits, to agrarian projects and the control over oil and gas pipelines, which will reach India and China.

We must begin studying this construction now, and not wait till Central Asia gets overwhelmed by boiling lava from Afghan-Pakistani boiler pot.


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