BRI vs New Quad for Afghanistan’s coming boom

The race is already on to build and extend Afghanistan’s shattered infrastructure as rival powers advance competing initiatives

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted at Asia Times

Over a week ago the excruciatingly slow Doha peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban resumed, and then they dragged on for two days observed by envoys from the EU, US and UN.

Nothing happened. They could not even agree on a ceasefire during Eid al-Adha. Worse, there’s no road map for how negotiations might pick up in August. Taliban supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada duly released a statement: the Taliban “strenuously favors a political settlement.”

But how? Irreconcilable differences rule. Realpolitik dictates there’s no way the Taliban will embrace Western liberal democracy: They want the restoration of an Islamic emirate.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, for his part, is damaged goods even in Kabul diplomatic circles where he’s derided as too stubborn, not to mention incapable of rising to the occasion. The only possible solution in the short term is seen as an interim government.

Yet there is no leader around with national appeal – no Commander Massoud figure. There are only regional warlords – whose militias protect their own local interests, not distant Kabul.

While facts on the ground spell out balkanization, the Taliban, even on the offensive, know they cannot possibly pull off a military takeover of Afghanistan.

And when the Americans say they will continue to “support Afghan government forces,” that means still bombing, but from over the horizon and now under new Centcom management in Qatar.

Russia, China, Pakistan and the Central Asian “stans” – everyone is trying hard to circumvent the stalemate. Shadow play, as usual, has been in full effect. Take for instance the crucial meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (former Soviet states) – nearly simultaneous with the recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Dushanbe and the subsequent Central Asia-South Asia connectivity conference in Tashkent.

The CSTO summit was 100% leak-proof. And yet, previously, they had discussed “possibilities of using the potential of the CSTO member states” to keep the highly volatile Tajik-Afghan border under control.

That’s very serious business. A task force headed by Colonel-General Anatoly Sidorov, the chief of the CSTO Joint Staff, is in charge of “joint measures” to police the borders.

Now enter an even more intriguing shadowplay gambit – met with a non-denial denial by both Moscow and Washington.

The Kommersant newspaper revealed that Moscow offered some “hospitality” to the Pentagon at its military bases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (both SCO member states). The objective: keep a joint eye on the fast-evolving Afghan chessboard – and prevent drug mafia cartels, Islamists of the ISIS-Khorasan variety and refugees from crossing the borders of these Central Asian ‘stans.

What the Russians are aiming at – non-denial denial withstanding – is not to let the Americans off the hook for the “mess” (copyright Sergey Lavrov) in Afghanistan while preventing them from reestablishing any offshoot of the Empire of Bases in Central Asia.

They established bases in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan after 2001, although they had to be abandoned later in 2004 and 2014. What is clear is there’s absolutely no chance the US will re-establish military bases in SCO and CSTO member nations.

Birth of a new Quad

At the Central Asia-South Asia 2021 meeting in Tashkent, right after the SCO meeting in Dushanbe, something quite intriguing happened: the birth of a new Quad (forget that one in the Indo-Pacific).

This is how it was spun by the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs: a “historic opportunity to open flourishing international trade routes, [and] the parties intend to cooperate to expand trade, build transit links and strengthen business-to-business ties.”

If that sounds like something straight out of the Belt and Road Initiative, well, here’s the confirmation by the Pakistani Foreign Office:

“Representatives of the United States, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed in principle to establish a new quadrilateral diplomatic platform focused on enhancing regional connectivity. The parties consider long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan critical to regional connectivity and agree that peace and regional connectivity are mutually reinforcing.”

The US doing Belt and Road right into China’s alley? A State Department tweet confirmed it. Call it a geopolitical case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

Now this is probably the only issue that virtually all players on the Afghanistan chessboard agree: a stable Afghanistan turbo-charging the flow of cargo across a vital hub of Eurasia integration.

Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen has been very consistent: the Taliban regard China as a “friend” to Afghanistan and are eager to have Beijing investing in reconstruction work “as soon as possible.”

The question is what Washington aims to accomplish with this new Quad – for the moment just on paper. Simple: to throw a monkey wrench into the works of the SCO, led by Russia-China, and the main forum organizing a possible solution for the Afghan drama.

In this sense, the US versus Russia-China competition in the Afghan theater totally fits the Build Back Better World (B3W) gambit, which aims – at least in thesis – to offer an alternative infrastructure plan to Belt and Road and pitch it to nations from the Caribbean and Africa to the Asia-Pacific.

What is not in question is that a stable Afghanistan is essential in terms of establishing full rail-road connectivity from resource-rich Central Asia to the Pakistani ports of Karachi and Gwadar, and beyond to global markets.

For Pakistan, what happens next is a certified geoeconomic win-win – whether via the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is a flagship Belt and Road project, or via the new, incipient Quad.

China will be funding the highly strategic Peshawar-Kabul motorway. Peshawar is already linked to CPEC. The completion of the motorway will symbolically seal Afghanistan as part of CPEC. 

And then there’s the delightfully named Pakafuz, which refers to the trilateral deal signed in February between Pakistan, Afghanistan and Uzbekistan to build a railway – a fundamentally strategic connection between Central and South Asia.

Full connectivity between Central Asia and South Asia also happens to be a key plank of the Russian master strategy, the Greater Eurasia Partnership, which interacts with Belt and Road in multiple ways.

Lavrov spent quite some time in the Central Asia-South Asia summit in Tashkent explaining the integration of the Greater Eurasia Partnership and Belt and Road with the SCO and the Eurasia Economic Union.

Lavrov also referred to the Uzbek proposal “to align the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Europe-West China corridor with new regional projects.” Everything is interlinked, any way you look at it.

Watching the geoeconomic flow

The new Quad is in fact a latecomer in terms of the fast-evolving geopolitical transmutation of the Heartland. The whole process is being driven by China and Russia, which are jointly managing key Central Asian affairs.

Already in early June, a very important China-Pakistan-Afghanistan joint statement stressed how Kabul will be profiting from trade via the CPEC’s port of Gwadar.

And then, there’s Pipelineistan.

On July 16, Islamabad and Moscow signed a mega-deal for a US$3 billion, 1100-kilometer gas pipeline between Port Qasim in Karachi and Lahore, to be finished by the end of 2023.

The pipeline will transport imported LNG from Qatar arriving at Karachi’s LNG terminal. This is the Pakstream Gas Pipeline Project – locally known as the North-South Gas project.

The interminable Pipelineistan war between IPI (India-Pakistan-Iran) and TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) – which I followed in detail for years – seems to have ended with a third-way winner.

As much as the Kabul government, the Taliban seem to be paying very close attention to all the geoeconomics and how Afghanistan is at the heart of an inevitable economic boom.

Perhaps both sides should also be paying close attention to someone like Zoon Ahmed Khan, a very bright Pakistani woman who is a research fellow with the Belt and Road Initiative Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University.

Pakistani naval personnel stand guard near a ship carrying containers at the Gwadar port, 700kms west of Karachi, where a trade program between Pakistan and China operates. Photo: AFP/Aamir Qureshi

Zoon Ahmed Khan notes how “one significant contribution that China makes through the BRI is emphasizing on the fact that developing countries like Pakistan have to find their own development path, rather than follow a Western model of governance.”

She adds, “The best thing Pakistan can learn from the Chinese model is to come up with its own model. China does not wish to impose its journey and experience on other countries, which is quite important.”

She is adamant that Belt and Road “is benefiting a much greater region than Pakistan. Through the initiative, what China tries to do is to present the partner countries with its experience and the things it can offer.”

All of the above definitely applies to Afghanistan – and its convoluted but ultimately inevitable insertion into the ongoing process of Eurasia integration.

 

The Essential Saker IV: Messianic Narcissism's Agony by a Thousand Cuts
The Essential Saker III: Chronicling The Tragedy, Farce And Collapse of the Empire in the Era of Mr MAGA
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48 Comments

  1. More than a finger on the pulse of things in Afghanistan, Pepe offers a Cat Scan today. We get a report about the macro organism of the key nexus of Eurasia-BRI.

    As I have written for some time, the US is never going to “leave” Afghanistan. Trying to concoct an alliance of countries it has abused for 40 years is toothsome to consider. Afghan which has a central government that governs nothing, Uzbekistan, always on borrowed time, the most fragile of the Central Stans, Pakistan, which has zero to show from its “close relationship” with the US now form a diplomatic hubble box for “connectivity. Makes one laugh.

    Pakistan knows the US would churn it like an egg in a Mix Master if China and Russia weren’t its real friends. Uzbekistan has a red phone hotline to the Kremlin. It won’t get a dial tone from connection to the US. This quartet is all about Afghanistan feeling good about being one of the Quad four. And granting the US full access under the “democratic” alternative to BRI so the Taliban can be boxed out of power.

    Consider this: the US “invested” 2 Trillion dollars in the 20-year war in Afghanistan and the prior years of inducing the Soviets to enter Afghanistan and fight a war against the MB AQ sent by the Sunni nations to radicalize Afghanistan society.

    Do you think the US is going to leave?

    Meanwhile, this new approach to stay and keep Afghanistan out of the Russia-China sphere of development is thin soup.

    Unless Biden can find another few hundred billion dollars to waste on green development and gay rights social justice within the three muslim partners in the new Quad, nothing showed up in the Cat Scan.

    The US needs to keep dropping bombs on the Taliban, they say, which makes the Kabul government feel good. But those fighters have grabbed all the border crossings where imports and exports pass. They don’t have to fight very hard or mass in formations so the US bombs and missiles have targets. They will take the revenues at the border and starve the government to death economically.

    The key to Taliban success is what they don’t do. If they don’t threaten Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, China and Russia’s interests, they will prosper and eventually inherit the government.

    And the hubble box, the new QAD? It will be unplugged. No energy source to power it.

    • A good view of the situation I think, Larchmonter.

      As you say, the US will never “leave” – but the US is finished in Afghanistan, all washed up, except for covert incursion and sedition, and some bombing from afar.

      So the US may never “leave” but the US will also never “return” to Afghanistan. She is her own country now, surrounded by nations and economic imperatives that require sovereignty for the boom times ahead.

    • Indeed Larchmonter, the is no future for the government in Kabul. Kabul is ruling nothing, and they know it. Their main goal now is to prevent or to slow as much as is possible the political settlement for transition of power. They do it because because, as good sub-poodles of Washington, they know Taliban would quickly join China and Russia to jump in BRI wagon once the political situation is stabilized.

      The US would know that bombing Taliban will yield nothing. Even after 20 years didn’t they learn it ?

      Pepe just did an amazing job summarizing the complex multidimensional situation in Afghanistan.

      • People who think that it is a personal pronoun or that one person can have multiple genders simultaneously don’t think very well.

        As someone once said, If you don’t learn from history, you are doomed to beg for scraps in Chinese.

    • Ad hominem remove … mod For those of us who live on ground here in Afghanistan and Pakistan the picture is completely different and real.

      The role of US in this region, Iran Afghanistan and Pakistan is next to none, the US has been defeated and and thrown out…Period. The main architect of their defeat was Pakistan through its brilliant intelligence service ISI, The soviets were also defeated by the ISI, The Taliban will not be able to sustain themselves for a day without Pakistan, so contrary to your delusional view of Pakistan; it is a very tough state, it has survived in a very difficult neighbour hood for a long time and is armed to the teeth including sophisticated nuclear weapons. The US has has tried every desperate trick in the book but Failed with Pakistan.

      From here on Pakistan is fully in the Chinese camp, and has recently conducted several military exercises with the Russians as well. ISI is much to smart to let anyone destabilise their backyard after 40 years of struggle in solidifying their position as the main force in Afghanistan and creating their strategic depth against India……the only nation that will be allowed in Afghanistan will be China to exploit the rarest minerals under Afghan soil estimated at 3 to 5 Trillion dollars, Historically, Politically, economically Pakistan and Afghanistan are joined at the hip and will remain so. Besides Afghanistan is land locked and Pakistan is the only easy way out.

      The American story ends here, besides History has shown that any nation that once extricates itself from Afghanistan fog of war usually disintegrates in the shortest possible time.Its the western peoples lack of understanding of our history that always becomes the focus of their defeat in our lands eventually……..let me make a prediction here, The American will be defeated and ejected from Syria and Iraq shortly, The Saudi Isreali and American Alliance in Yemen will also be defeated.

      • Spot on. The negative view of Pakistan in the West is a result of the fact that we are not aligned strategically to Western objectives and we pursue our own objectives.Pakistan is playing the “keep your enemies close” card by offering the U.S an alternative to the BRI. We just don`t want any trouble and our relationship with China is secure. Pakistan and afghanistan are indeed joined at the hip. The amount of stupidity on the subject in the rest of the world`s media beggars belief. Of course Pakistan has influence in Afghanistan…and vice versa…theres no border between the two and the historic, religious ethnic not to mention geographic ties mean any effort to create daylight between the nations is doomed to fail. Are they even two separate nations? Pakistan has done a lot of work over the past few decades and now, the Taliban rise again… Does the outside world see where this is headed?
        While Afghanistan is landlocked with pakistan as the only way out, so Hindustan is “ocean locked” with Pakistan as the only way out….yes, there will be a solution in Kashmir

  2. The USA will never extricate itself from Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, because of the absurd pretext with which we invaded them in the first place. No American president can admit that the real perps of the 9/11 attacks were Israelis, with assistance from traitorous US neocons in the Bush administration. The chimera of victory over “terrorism” always needed just a few more months, or maybe another surge, for all these years.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world laughs at our collective naivety and shudders at our ruthlessness in destroying nation after nation, all for Israel. After all, Zionism is a European invention, based on the racist notion that certain Europeans were “chosen” by God to range around the planet, displacing the indigenous, stealing their land and resources, and eventually bringing human history to an end in an apocalyptic final battle between “good” (them) and “evil” (everyone else).

    Certainly, the rest of the world has had quite enough of this crazy nonsense. We need to find a way to shut it all down without the Zionists resorting to the Samson Option. That will be the task that is before Russia and China in the coming years.

    • https://www.aljazeera.com/amp/news/2021/7/26/biden-kadhimi-seal-agreement-to-end-us-combat-mission-in-iraq

      Everyone here throws shade on the US non-stop, belittling it and mocking it and calling its politicians names, even going so far as to say that the US, and by extension, the whole West, is finished. How many here are arguing for an imminent collapse of the US?

      When it comes to Russia and China, everyone agrees that the US is powerless and helpless and they are finished.

      When it comes to Muslim countries, which if I may point out, are the _only_ people in the world who are engaging the US in combat, suddenly the narrative changes: the US, far from being a failed state on the brink of collapse, is suddenly the Hegemon that will ‘never’ leave Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria — when in fact, they have already left Afghanistan.

      The US will leave Iraq as well.

      The people here who deny this, have zero first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground. In Iraq, the people want the US out, the Parliament wants the US out, the Constitution labels the US as an occupying force, and the Hashd al-Shaabi are blowing up every US logistical convoy on the roads, and striking at every US base with drones and rockets on a daily basis.

      The questions for those who have never been to the Middle East in their lives, and have no first-hand knowledge of the situation on the ground, yet claim that the US will ‘never’ leave:

      1. If the US is about to collapse, then what does the statement that “they will never leave so and so” actually mean? Is the US collapse an event only relative to China and Russia, and not to the actual people that are militarily beating the US?

      2. What can the US hope to accomplish in Iraq, when they are in fact so constrained by the Hashd al-Shaabi, that they are de facto sitting ducks?

      3. Is the Hashd al-Shaabi’s influence growing in Iraq, or is it on the decline? Have their attacks against the US increased or decreased? Are their attacks currently being conducted with the most low-end toys available to them, or are they using top of the line Iranian weapons?

      4. Is the US influence growing or waning in Iraq? What has the US done in response to the daily attacks against it by the Hashd? A few airstrikes that were immediately retaliated? The ball is in the US court, can they even make a significant move against the Hashd al-Shaabi?

      5. The US and the Israelis have been setting fires to hospitals in Iraq, killing civilians by the dozens, and bringing down electric lines, to make life miserable for the Iraqis, and generally resorting to these kinds of desperate attempts, why? Because they are otherwise capable of attaining results politically and militarily?

      6. Did the Iranians manage to kick the US out of Iran in 1979? Did they hold a bunch of Americans hostage for over a year? Was the US capable of doing anything about it? (Or do the ‘experts’ also claim that “the US will never leave Iran?”)

      7. Has Iran been fighting a successful war against the US on many fronts, for years? Why say that Russia and China are beating the US, even though they enjoy a de-facto friendly relationship whereby they do trillions of dollars of trade together, but Iran who is actually beating the US and does not do a cent of trade with the US and has kicked the US out of their country (whereas China and Russia have a massive American presence, not to mention US embassy/spy-dens) is relegated to oblivion as an insignificant actor who could not possibly kick the US out of Iraq and Syria and Afghanistan?

      8. Not a question, but it took the IRGC all of a few weeks to make conditions in Afghanistan so dire for the US, that they all left overnight; something the Taliban couldn’t do alone for 20 years.

      The US will leave Iraq, because they will be kicked out by superior Iranian strategy and force, but the advocates of a bi-polar world (not a multi-polar world) will continue to say: “the US will never leave Iraq.”

      • Anonymous

        I have learnt to come to this site to get views especially on pro China and Russia which if you ask me is not that bad, after all I also have my bias or pro something. I must state that I get other views here too.

        But iI like the way you point the bias out as it gives more perspective on areas they chose to ignore about those involve in the struggle especially on the part of the heavy lifting, which is South West Asia or the Muslim East. Though I don’t see them as biased I believe they are given their own support to the struggle based on their own world view, at least none has praised and pointed out how huge Iran sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for the struggle the way the Saker has done. Yet he is not from the Muslim East but I believe it is based on his world.

        Before, I used to raised this issue about Larch455 analysis but I’ve learn to accept it for what it is; another perspective from the multifaceted struggle. So I pick what I need and ignore what I don’t need. In fact I have a list of authors for different perspectives; the Saker a for an all round Christian moral analysis, MK Bhadrakumar, Israel Shamir and Andrew Korybko for realist analysis, Pepe for Eurasia bipolar analysis, Elijah Magnet’s for on the ground analysis of the Muslim East and the highly succinct moral writers of Iran Shiism world view Monsureh Tajik and Mohammad Marandi.

        Anonymous, I also read your comments to get an Iranian secularists view. So my humble suggestion to you is to continue to comment and even point out this bias as you see fit in the analysis of the pro bipolarity here so we can continue to get the rich insight which this site is known for.

      • The USA is trapped in these “forever” wars because of Israel. Netanyahu bragged back in 1990 that, “America is a golden calf, and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off piece by piece until there is nothing left but the world’s biggest welfare state that we will create and control.” How right he was.

        This has been going on at least since 1963 when US president John Kennedy was assassinated. The old Groucho Marx line comes to mind, “Who you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” Our illustrious Zionist MSM told us to believe the lone-gunman fantasy despite all evidence to the contrary. Same with 9/11. This time we were told to believe that Moslems attacked us on that day when in fact, it was our “trusted” ally, Israel.

        We’ve been bankrupted both financially and morally by these “forever” wars. This was all by design and we can thank Zionism for that.

      • Anonymous,

        An empire doesn’t get beat by just one hand, for that several pressure points are required, mainly within, as well as external.

        The Iraqi establishment still prefers a tentative US presence as a countermeasure. They do not wish for militia such as Hashd as-Shabi to become all powerful, which could eventually displace the ruling elite.

        The US along with it’s attack dogs are still capable of much destruction as shown in the recent bombing of a militia ammunition depot.

        The world in crisis, information controlled, propaganda extant, oligarchs ruling and common people seeking their basic necessities
        – whither revolution ?

        However, as you say, “the US can still leave Iraq through superior Iranian strategy and force”, but that is somewhere in the future.

        • You are right, I should have said “militarily beating”.

          The Iraqi establishment, as you call it, is a US puppet. It does not reflect the will of the Iraqi people, whereas the Hashd al-Shaabi are the Iraqi people, and they fought, and are still fighting ISIS, while the Iraqi establishment defends US presence in Iraq in order to prop up and support ISIS.

          If the people of Iraq didn’t want the US out, what’s-his-name, the US puppet wouldn’t be asking the US to leave. His career depends on it.

          In any case, the will of the people will prevail in Iraq, because Iran will make it prevail.

          And either way, the Hashd al-Shaabi are not going anywhere.

  3. The most interesting aspect of this development in Central Asian affairs, and which Pepe explicitly pointed up with his reference to Zoon Ahmed Khan, regards the increasingly familiar Chinese line affirming the (UN enshrined) right of each country to find it’s own way of governance and development. This might well indicate a tipping point in modern or post modern political philosophy. In the last century the absolute dominance of Western political thinking has been evident in the spectre of nearly all new states styling themselves as ‘republics’. And since the collapse of the East Bloc the ideological push for representative government presiding over a globalised ‘open society’ has been stridently asserted as the one and only path to international legitimacy. But now China is messaging it’s neighbours: ‘you can go your own way’. In this regard Pepe’s report of the Taliban insistence on an Emirate as distinct from the ANG ‘democracy’ is perhaps more than of local interest and maybe indicative of a new development in contemporary political theory. We’ll see. But if it does pan out this way it will signify the return of monarchic authority at the emergent centre of global affairs. It’s noteworthy that the idea of an emirate is by no means limited to Afghanistan and is indeed what most of the Islamist militants have been fighting for in various places. Risking a generalisation, it looks to me like all the new political regimes of 21st century Asia feature new forms of monarchic authority combined with articulations of ‘the few’ that differ considerably from the representation based oligarchic forms characteristic of Western ‘democracies’. In Iran the Ayatollah presides over a largely clerical parliament. In Russia an exceptionally capable political leader has occupied the helm at the head of a conventional representational Duma – for a longer time than any Western leader including FDR. In China the definitely monarchic President presides over what I would not hesitate to term an aristocratic government, with a marked degree of interaction with frequently polled popular opinion. And now we come to Afghanistan. If the Taliban defeat the Nato client government and sets up it’s Emirate presiding over the traditional shura – and if this is met with acceptance from it’s Asiatic neighbours – then I’d suggest that we’ve really turned a corner a mere 20 years after the confident predictions of Fukuyama & Co. (ie. Soros etc.)

    • What’s the Chinese view on Central Bank digital currencies, then?

      It’s quite impossible for any nation to ‘find its own governance and development’ if globalist central bankers are imposing absolute control on the entire globe without any accountability whatsoever.

      If China wants CBDCs, then it’s not in favour of independent development.

      • @Anonymous

        It’s because everyone choose to see things from their perspective. From the way Putin emerge, we can describe Russia system as led by a Security Cabal/Oligarch chosen KGB guy (Vladimir Putin), thereby, Russia as a Securitocracy. So long as it is acceptable to the Russians, who cares.

      • ok, fair enough, regarding the Parliament. Still, clerics are an important factor of Iranian governance. It is, after all, an Islamic government. But the general point of my commentary is that with the rise of the old empires of Asia we see a reemergence of monarchic governance that contrasts sharply with Western norms. Any thoughts?

        • “But the general point of my commentary is that with the rise of the old empires of Asia we see a reemergence of monarchic governance that contrasts sharply with Western norms. Any thoughts?”

          You are right. Ayatollah Khamenei is a Poet-King, on the model of the ancient Kavi/Kayani Kings of Bactrian Iran. (He writes a lot of poetry and philosophical treatises.)

          I am not a Shia, nor a Muslim, but I support Khamenei 100%, because he is a good and fair king. He wants to foster unity, first among Iranians, and then between the people of the region. He doesn’t discriminate against non-Shias and non-Muslims, and he does not try to push Shiism, Islamism, or even Iranian supremacism upon his subject peoples.

          The topic here is Afghanistan, but Afghanistan and Iran share something like 2000 years of history under the Persian Iranian banner, and the people of Afghanistan still speak a Persian dialect (Dari) and an Indo-Iranian language (Pashto).

          Khamenei’s supporters in Iran are not just limited to the fundamentalist Shia Muslims, because he is first a nationalist, and only second an Islamist, as anyone can tell by listening to his speeches.

          To put it simply, Khamenei wants peace and prosperity and security and freedom and independence and stability for everyone in the region, not just the Shia Muslims or Iranians.

          Personally, I am in full agreement with him. I want peace, prosperity, security, freedom, independence, and stability for everyone in the region as well.

          Khamenei says that we have a bully in the region, and we must stand up to him, whether we are Shia, Sunni, Christian, Atheist, Zoroastrian, Persian, Arab, or whatever, we must stand up to the bully if we want peace and prosperity and security and all that.

          You don’t have to be a Shia to agree.

          You mention a resurgence of ancient empires in Asia, which is quite on the spot, as far as Iran is concerned.

          Yk does not appreciate Persian Imperialism, but perhaps he is looking to the wrong Persian empires. (Yk, do not equate the countless post-Islamic Persian Imperial dynasties with the pre-Islamic ones, as the Islamic ones were all corrupt to the bone, and the most corrupt of all were the Qajar and Pahlavi monarchies of the last centuries.)

          I quote the Muslim historian, al-Masudi, circa 900 AD:

          Masudi praised the “excellent administration of the Sasanian kings, their well-ordered policy, their care for their subjects, and the prosperity of their domains”.

          The ancient world had two great empires; Rome and Persia. If Rome was the malevolent idol worshippers’ empire, Sasanian Persia was a generally benevolent monotheist empire. The reason no one has heard of them is because the Muslims burned every single book in Iran, down to the last page, because the Persians were far too advanced and superior to submit to Islamic nonsense from Arab desert dwellers who knew nothing about anything, so they had to be set back a few thousand years to fully appreciate Islam.

          To make a long story short, the Sasanian Persians fought successfully against the Romans for centuries, and they were the only civilization to realistically do so. History is very repetitive. Rome is back, trying to make inroads in the Middle East, and Persia is back, to stand against them.

          The Shias in Iran cry for Hosein ibn Ali, without knowing that the Persians used to cry and mourn in the _exact same manner_ for Siavash, who was also an innocent and righteous prince who was murdered unfairly. Siavash was the beloved of all Iranians, just like Hosein is today.

          One of the greatest heros of ancient Iran was Arash the Bowman, and today the IRGC has Ali Hajizadeh as the head of its missile program. No one could stand against Arash and his arrows, and so far no one is standing in front of Hajizadeh’s missiles.

          I could go on and on drawing parallels between ancient Iranian ‘mythical’ archetypes and their modern manifestations, but I think you get the idea.

          So, overall, I would say that Iran is definitely a monarchy, and Khamenei is a king, and he is one of the great kings of our age. I do not agree with the Western mindset which despises kings, and touts democracy as the answer to all of mankind’s problems.

          Any historian will tell you that a nation needs a king. But it also needs an elected assembly. That is how it has always been, and it is unquestionably the right way, as I’m sure Russians who support Putin as their King will agree.

          The West doesn’t like its opponents having strong and independent kings? It prefers corrupt politicians that are brought into office by Cambridge Analytica style conspiracies?

          F*** the West.

          Anyway, non-Iranians might not find all this very interesting, but this is the mentality of a new Persian elite which are just now emerging within the ranks of the IRGC and the government and all levels of society.

          The Shia fundamentalists have never enjoyed less favor from the public in Iran, because they are idiots and everything they say is stupid and wrong. They would rather have a weak Iran that is fully Islamic and Shia, rather than a strong Iran that is all-inclusive and tolerant.

          It is very lucky that Iran has Khamenei, who does not agree with the idiots, who want, for all practical purposes, an ISIS style Caliphate in Iran.

          Long live the King.

          • @Anonymous (the one who wrote): Long Live the King.

            “In my view the best form of government is an enlightened monarchy” — Immanuel Kant, called The Philosopher of the Revolution.

            An enlightened democracy isn’t bad either — only it is hard to find one among all those democracies of the EU$A with their “Western norms”.

            • The problem with enlightened elites is the duration of the “enlightened”.
              No one knows in advance who will replace the “enlightened” leader when he or she has to leave power.
              This myth of the enlightened elite does not date from today, nor even from Kant… Many have evoked it. Voltaire and the thinkers of the “enlightenment who allowed the French revolution” and we can even go back to Plato and his “Republic” led by “enlightened” philosophers…
              However the result is always the same! A good leader or king or president, or whatever you want, will not necessarily be followed by another good leader.
              Moreover, cartels, secret societies and other groupings of people who are not very enlightened about the people but perfectly enlightened about their own interests will form and finally influence human societies.
              So you know what I think about “enlightened elites” ….

              • “However the result is always the same! A good leader or king or president, or whatever you want, will not necessarily be followed by another good leader.”

                The Roman Emperors were quite successful in choosing successors for centuries after Ceasar. The only times things would go wrong was when they chose their sons, like poor Marcus Aurelius.

                Rome had many decent Emperors. Too many to attribute to chance.

          • Anony.

            It is noteworthy to mention from an Islamic point of view. The sassaniams had inflicted a serious defeat on Byzantium/Rum. Rum was pushed back to its fortress at constantnople having lost significantly in anatolia and the levant. It wasn’t expected to recover from that crushing defeat in 615AD.

            The sassanians had allied themselves with the Jews and chiefs of Makkah. Both proxies had established themselves with increased fervour in their respective regions. Crimes and oppression increased in their respective regions and against orthodox communities in the holy land as well as further torment of the Muslims.

            It was blow to the prophet Muhammad and his followers who were supportive of their fellow ‘people of the book’ Christians.

            It was at this heartbreaking juncture the Most High revealed the following verses of chapter 30 (Rum) :

            2. The Romans/Byzantines have been defeated.

            3. In the nearer land and they, after their defeat, will be victorious.

            4. Within three to nine years. The decision of the matter, before and after is only with Allah. And on that Day, the believers (i.e. Muslims) will rejoice (at the victory given by Allah to the Byzantines against the Persians),

            5. With the help of Allah, He helps whom He wills, and He is the All-Mighty, the Most Merciful.

            6. (It is) a Promise of Allah (i.e. Allah will give victory to the Byzantines against the Persians), and Allah fails not in His Promise, but most of men know not.

            The above verses caused the chiefs of Makkah and even the Jews to further torment the noble prophet (peace be upon him) and his followers over this unfathomable prediction. They mocked him even more in their obstinacy.

            Lo and behold, approx 623AD, a reverse crushing defeat of the sassanians took place under the astute leadership of Emporer Heraclius. Unlike Byzantine, they were not to recover and soon after were a remnant of the past. Byzantine survived for almost a 1000 years more.

            An intriguing anecdote indeed.

            The point is.

            Today which empire is allied with the Jews and the Chiefs of the Arabian peninsula and is characterised by haughtiness and arrogance. Readers can discern for themselves. From this context the statement in verse 4 (the decision of the matter BEFORE and AFTER is with Allah) may hold great significance. Particularly, with the heirs of Byzantine, in the crosshairs of empire.

            • In 628 AD, Kavad II granted complete religious freedom to all Christians under his rule. He also handed over the True Cross to Heraclius.

              Kavad II rose to power after he overthrew his father Khosrow Parviz in a coup, on behalf of Heraclius. He was the beginning of the end of the Sasanians.

              Kavad’s mother was Maria, daughter of Byzantine Emperor Maurice. His wife was Anzoy the Roman. Things looking clearer now, eh?

              “He also appointed Armenian nobleman Varaztirots II Bagratuni as marzban (general of a frontier province, “margrave”) of Sasanian Armenia, and appointed Ishoyahb II (628–645) as the new Catholicos (Eastern Patriarch) of the Nestorian Church of the East (at Seleucia-Ctesiphon). Kavad later died from plague after a few months’ reign on 6 September 628.”

              He did so much for the Christians, and then God took him via plague. Or did God punish him for treachery? Hmm..

              After Kavad died, the council of elders appointed his 7 year old son, Ardeshir III, as king.

              Ardeshir, under guidance from a wise vizier, Mah-Azar Gushnasp, ruled exceptionally well, until the General Shahrwaraz usurped him in 630 AD.

              Shahrwaraz was a Parthian, and the Persian nobles killed him after a few weeks in favor of Boran, daughter of Khosrow and Maria, in June 630 AD.

              The Queen Boran was deposed by the Parthian nobles in the same year, and Shapur son of Shahrwaraz became king. He was deposed in turn, and in the same year, Azarmidokht, sister of Boran, became queen.

              Azarmidokht was killed by Rostam Farrokhzad of the Ispahbudan House in the next year, and Boran was placed on the throne again. (Rostam himself died on 19 November 636 at al-Qadisiyyah, fighting the Muslims)

              “Boran desired a good relationship with the Byzantine Empire, therefore she dispatched an embassy to its emperor Heraclius, led by the catholicos Ishoyahb II and other dignitaries of the Iranian church. Her embassy was amicably received by Heraclius.”

              In the following year a revolt broke out at Cteisphon, no doubt because of Boran’s selling out to the Byzantines, and Boran was deposed in favor of her 8 year old nephew Yazdgerd III in 632 AD.

              And Yazdgerd III succumbed to the Arabs, and his son Peroz sought refuge at the Chinese court.

              So, to clarify, why did 7-8 year olds and women and usurpers become rulers of the empire? Because Kavad II the friend of Christians, murdered all of his brothers and all the male heirs of royal blood. There were many fine young men who could have become king, but Kavad (and Heraclius) made sure they weren’t around.

              Did the Sasanian Empire fall because they fought against the Byzantines and God did not like that? Both the Byzantines and the Persians worshipped the singular God, and they fought many wars over many generations. So what?

              Or did the Sasanian Empire fall because Kavad usurped his noble father Khosrow, and murdered every male with royal blood, because he was Heraclius’ puppet? And how come he died of plague immediately after his grieveous crimes, if he was doing God’s work, as you seem to imply?

              Do not talk to me about God, Muslim. We knew God and were with God while your ancestors worshipped rocks in the Arabian desert.

              Heraclius the Christian had our royal bloodline extinguished via a traitor, son of a Christian woman.

              And that is how the noble Sasanians fell.

              Do not be overly proud, ye Muslims, for all you did was finish Heraclius’ conspiracy by beating a 12 year old boy, and you call that a miracle.

              And do not boast that the Byzantines survived for another 1000 years. Where are the Byzantines now? Iran is still here.

          • Anonymous from Iran

            Wow!

            I do not agree with your final call but I respect your right to have such a view. Coming from a western democratic tradition I would hate to live under such a regime BUT I accept that for many places it is the most appropriate form of government.

            Firstly I fully accept that every nation/people have the right to choose their form of government. When I studied Political Science one key thing I grasped was the concept of legitimacy in governments. Essentially what this means is that the form of government that works in any nation/tribe is the one for which most people accept is the reasonable one.

            If you have always lived under a king then monarchy will seem like the only form of legitimate government and attempts to impose democracy will almost always fail. Quite quickly some military leader will arise who will over the next 20 years or so attempt to recreate the monarchy or his own dynasty. By and large the people will accept this because it is what they have always had. However any such dictator/king is essentially in a trade off with the people. He (it is always a he) must in exchange for “kingship” provide security, economic stability, enough food and shelter for everyone and some economic progress. Justice must also be seen to be done. if the “king” fails on any of these, legitimacy will be lost and a new “king” will emerge.

            For those of us from the “democratic” tradition this form of government seems absurd, but we often forget that the evolution of our democracy was a long and slow process and it some ways grew from traditions that were thousands of years old. The early Anglo Saxons had witans – councils of elders who probably provided the earliest seeds for legislative assemblies in the next 1500 years. Other contributions came from some tribal practices of selecting a king from amongst the most eligible young nobles. Other ancient (even prehistoric) traditions which make it easier for some western countries to accept women rulers is that in some tribal traditions kingship passed via the maternal line ie the man who married the kings daughter got to be the next king. Many (most) of our children’s fairy tales have this theme as in fact do many from Greece.

            Our democracies evolved over many years – first with powerful land holder assemblies, and/or with ruling councils of nobles. Battles between kings and church leaders were ongoing. Eventually it was the rise of the merchant class who through legislative assemblies weakened the power of the land owning class. This was coupled with the decline in the Roman catholic church. In England at least, the wealthy merchants married the poor landowners and the two classes merged avoiding the carnage of the revolution, although already huge transformations in the power of the King had arisen following the removal of King Charles I and the return of his son but with a much weakened power.

            Most people including journalists who gabble on about democracy etc fail to know that just 150 years ago democracy as we know it did not exist, with voting restricted to landowning males. That is not a long time at all in the history of forms of government.

            I have little doubt that every nation has particular traditions and histories which will influence their form of government.

            That being said, and recognising that a benevolent king may be a good stable form of government, sadly it is often the case that kings are not benevolent, especially as the role is passed down to sons and grandsons.

            I will say Anonymous from Iran, that your recent history has not been encouraging. I have SEEN your crown jewels and there can be no doubt for me at least that the concentration of so much wealth in one ruler/family is obscene. To say I was amazed is an understatement but I was also shocked. I guess too the opulence of your palaces was also almost shocking. Of course in modern day USA the super wealthy indulge in similar extravagant opulence, so I am by no means singling out Iran.

            • Have you seen the house Khamenei lives in? Google “Ayatollah Khamenei house” and look at the images.

              My house is more opulent than his, by far, which isn’t saying much.

              https://www.quora.com/Where-does-the-Supreme-Leader-and-President-of-Iran-live — Would you trade your house with him?

              Western dogs live in nicer houses.

              Look, your tone betrays quite a bit of European supremacist sentiment. I have only one question:

              If your democracy is so great, why the forced lockdowns and vaccination passports? You know I have lived in quite a few Western countries, and in my opinion, there is no freedom in the West. I feel like Iranians are much, much more free.

              Iranians don’t need a permit to do anything, and hardly anything is regulated, and almost nobody pays taxes (taxes make me want to vomit. Tyrant kings demanding protection money in the 21st century under the guise of democracy, and then spending taxpayer money on aggressive wars. I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry.) whereas in Western countries you need a permit for everything, and everything is so regulated, it makes me want to vomit too. Do you know how difficult it is to get a business up and running in the West nowadays? Everyone is bred to be a slave-worker doing their 9-5 in the West, while Iranians are just chilling, the majority being their own boss.

              The majority of Iranians work for themselves. They have a shop or a business or a factory or a little farm or a flock of sheep.

              We have not had a ‘real’ lockdown in Iran since the very beginning of the pandemic. The people didn’t like it, so the government conceded. All the other lockdowns have been in name only, everyone is coming and going as usual, and nobody wears masks anymore.

              F***ing masks, they make me want to vomit as well.

              In Iran, every town and village has an elected council. And in the Ayatollah’s imperial sphere, all countries have their own elected representatives; Iran has a president and a Parliament, Syria just had an election, Hezbollah is a democratically elected entity in Lebanon, etc.

              The Ayatollah does not support dictators under his banner, only elected officials, and he does not meddle in the affairs of my town, or the Lebanese, or Syrians, or in the affairs of the Iranian President, if he did, Iran wouldn’t have wasted 8 years trying to make friends with the West, simply because that was what the majority in Iran wanted.

              They don’t want that anymore, after your democratic West spat in our face. So, in essence, all of you spat in our face, not just Trump, right? Good to know.

              Iran is a true democracy, as in “rule of the people”. The West is not, it is an oligarchy with a fake democratic facade.

              Since the Iranian revolution, every person in Iran is a king in their own right, whereas before the revolution everyone was a peasant.

              But hey, I respect your right to live under the delusion that Western democracy is superior. Keep thinking that, while we bring your boys back home.

              You’re welcome, btw.

              • Anonymous from Iran

                You got me completely wrong. I was not comparing or even thinking about the Ayatollah, but rather the Shah. I thought the reference to the jewels would have made that clear. My point was simply that rule by kings tends towards excess and corruption if unchecked.

                I actually pretty much agree with you although for us boring westerners just a teensy bit more traffic regulation would be nice. When asked by incredulous people about the dangers i faced while in Iran, i reply that crossing the road or driving in unregulated taxis was a little dangerous. i saw no soldiers or even policemen. Everyone was incredibly friendly.

                I only spent a few weeks in Iran but I loved the place. I saw no signs of oppression or unhappy people. Yes i think some of the younger trendies would love to travel to the West (pretty stupid i thought) but the young are often like that.

                So do not put me in the category of patronising westerners. I might also add that Iran was the cleanest place I have ever visited. You could tell that people were proud of the place and worked to keep it nice. And the gardens. Wow! i suspect however this drought is taking its toll.

                Iran has a very proud history and I am convinced that much of the culture we assume arose in France actually is Iranian in origin not to mention the more civilized aspects of Christianity, which have roots in the Iranian Zorastrianism – a pretty fair minded sort of religion i feel, although i am no expert.

                • You are right, I misjudged you. Iran and Iranians have very few friends in the world these days, and I automatically treat everyone as an enemy. I apologize.

                  You are too kind in your assessment of Iran. Things in Iran could be a lot better. I agree that nobody is oppressed, but nobody unhappy? Everyone is unhappy, because everyone consciously, or subconsciously, expects things to be like they were taught in history class: Iran the top world power for 1000 years, the most prosperous and advanced country in the world, etc.

                  It is very hard to live up to such an image, but if I were a psychoanalyst, I would say that it is what the collective unconscious of the Iranians is seeking; to return to past glory.

                  If peace and stability and security return to the region, it will be by far the most rich and prosperous region on Earth, as I’m sure you realize. For my part, I am committed to making this happen.

        • @Kevin Frost: “monarchic governance that contrasts sharply with Western norms.”

          You’re joking. There never was a regime more absolutely and arbitrarily at the whim of the ruling regime, more contemptuous of public opinion and the rule of law, than the present Anglo Zionazi Plutocracy which holds every country of the EU$A in its grip. That’s a billion people ruled by a handful of hereditary Oligarchs such as the Rothschild dynasty.

          “I care not who makes the laws so long as I control the currency”. — Meyer Rothschild

    • @ Kevin Frost

      You can go your own way… unless you are deemed to be part of China.Then you would be a splittist. Ask Tibetans about going their own way, or Uighurs. Some elements in China not without standing have claimed Kazakhstan as Chinese. And also Arunachal in India. So a day might come when they can’t go their own way because that would be splittism, and then terrorism.

      • I can’t think of a single state presently in existence that would tolerate succession movements. Is there a movement in particular that you sympathise with or is there something specifically illegitimate about China? Also who are you talking about ‘some elements in China not without standing have claimed Kazakhstan as Chinese’. Have you got a source for this?

      • Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש on July 27, 2021  ·  at 8:28 am EST/EDT

        KEVIN FROST;
        Those “some elements in China” of Yours “who have claimed Kazakhstan as Chinese” reside in Táiwan Province and call their state the “Republic of China”. They also claim all of Mongolia and even Tuva, where the present defense minister of Russia (Shoigu) grew up as a Buddhist with the same beliefs as the Dalai Lama. And of course the Republic of China (now vacationing in Táiwan Province) never supported independence for Tibet.

      • Sarz. A bit of background on Tibet.

        Tibet
        Saker readers/commentators speak casually of “color revolutions”, and are alertly watching the oh-so predicable and familiar script being employed currently in Cuba, Venezuela.
        With the 2014 Ukrainian “most blatant coup in history”, showtime is still awaiting the finale.

        But what are now called color revolutions and widely recognised as the subversion of one government and the installation of one imposed by Washington/neocons…. these activities are far from a recent strategy.
        The script has been followed for most of last century.

        So Tibet. 1959. One of the earliest color revs.

        Here are some extracts from a 2008 article on Tibet.
        See if you can recognise the familiar cast and template:

        §§§… After the attack in Lhasa, (March, 2008) the response has been massive, with many street demonstrations denouncing China and supporting the separatists. 
        The French President, the British Prime Minister, and the UN Secretary General have announced they will boycott China.………

        §§§… The United States government has been covertly backing the Tibetan separatists for fifty years. 
         This is not conspiracy theory, but easily accessible information.
        In 1998, on October 2, the New York Times reported that “The Dalai Lama’s administration acknowledged today that it received $1.7 million a year in the 1960s from the Central Intelligence Agency”. 
        The $180,000 paid annually to the Dalai Lama personally was used to set up lobby offices in Geneva.
        In 2002, Kansas University Press published a history of “The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet”. 
        The authors are Kenneth Conboy, a former analyst with the right-wing Heritage Foundation and James Morrison, a career US Army veteran whose service included training Tibetan guerrilla forces for the CIA.
        In 2003, Asia Times published an obituary of the CIA agent who arranged the Dalai Lama’s escape from Tibet in 1959. 
        Anthony A. Poshepny, also called “Tony Poe”, first organized the Tibetan guerrilla forces, training them in Colorado and flying them into Tibet via Dhaka.

        People feeling a passionate need to protest China’s treatment of Tibetans should perhaps pause and wonder why.
        Author: Floyd Rudmin is Professor of Social & Community Psychology at the University of Tromsø in Norway

        https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/04/22/from-lhasa-to-bilbao/

        That’s right.
        The Dali Lama is a CIA asset.
        But then, so was Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein.
        The Lama should be cautious: both Osama and Saddam started out originally in the role of the “good guy”.
        Until the plot twist. When late in season 5 they were cast as the bad guy.
        Great theatre. (for the stupefied sheep). Bloody. But gloriously entertaining.

        • Ha xD dear me WW… this is adult stuff why show it to the children?

          DL is not a CIA asset. he just want to ‘set his ppl free’, exactly like in taiwan, hk ‘independance’ movement… cant you see that?! Ha xD

          if DL is strictly religous only, CCP, a political party, would not hv f w him. that much is clear.

          bwbs

        • Thank you, White Whale, for info about CIA funding the Dalai Lama in Tibet. I have a personal interest because I have a good Jewish Israeli friend who is now a sincere Tibetan Buddhist nun, just returned from a Buddhist seminary in Colorado, U$A. Her attitude to China is rather cold, and she visits friends in Taiwan rather than mainland China. Your info confirms my suspicion (based on this personal anecdote) that foreign converts to Tibetan Buddhism might be politically manipulated by Anglo-American agencies with a divide-and-conquer agenda; ie, to split up Secular Communist China into ideological sub-groups: Buddhist Tibet, Muslim Xinjiang, Anglo-Capitalist Hongkong, Kuomintang Taiwan, etc.

      • Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש on July 27, 2021  ·  at 8:52 am EST/EDT

        Dear mister Kevin Frost;
        Those “some elements in China” of Yours “who have claimed Kazakhstan as Chinese” reside in Táiwan Province and call their state the “Republic of China”. They also claim all of Mongolia and even Tuva, where the present defense minister of Russia (Shoigu) grew up as a Buddhist with the same beliefs as the Dalai Lama. And of course the Republic of China (now vacationing in Táiwan Province) never supported independence for Tibet.

        • to: Tollef As:
          before you tute into the same horn as the West’s politicians with their propaganda you should read how miserable people in Tibet lived. An only then you can really say something about Tibet of today. And please also check if the Buddhism of the Dalai Lama in Tibet was/is the same as Buddhism elsewhere.
          China built bridges, roads, schools, hospitals and so on. People under the monastery’ rules had been extremely poor and were treated extremely awful inclusive torture. But no murder … just that for example run-away ones had been laid somewhere in the countryside where extremely cold weather resides especially during winter time.
          It is always wise to try to find resources outside the mainstream media. Great Britain had a lot of information about Tibet especially concerning the reign of the Dalai Lama at this time during their occupation in India. Also some books had been written about Tibet during this time.

  4. No one is really going to build anything in AF. It’s like donors pledging billions or trillions of $ during a summit. Not a red cent materializes. Ever.
    This is mind over matter game being played out. With eager beavers like PK that will dance to anyone’s tune US has no trouble playing spoiler.
    What’s the spoiler? Stop BRI.

  5. This same article has been posted at ZeroHedge, a pretend-free-speech outfit. Here is a comment that I was just banned from posting there. I’ll take that as the Empire’s way of paying a compliment.

    /// China and Pakistan are clear that they want the US to stay on, but now as a responsible party doing its share to fix the mess it has created. The Afghans as a whole do not want the divisiveness and corruption of electoral politics. If the US continues to misbehave on this score, trying to keep some control through its hirelings, China, Russia and Iran should recognize the Taliban-led front as the legitimate government and see to it that they have the means to defend themselves from US bombing. If that means the US is entirely shut out of this part of the world, so be it. ///

    • I agree that Russia, Iran and China (RIC) had already ‘recognized’ the Taliban as the new rulers of Afghanistan and whatever form it would take. Maybe a second Islamic Republic based on Sunni viz a vie Shia fundamentals.The only unknown is the Taliban’s future ‘relationship’ with the radical Takfiri radical Nato (Anglo-Zionist) proxies.
      I think that RIC had offered full support if the radicals are driven out and that the Taliban is supported by the IRGC in accomplishing that.
      Strange bedfellows but I believe it can go suddenly quiet in Afghanistan and BRI will proceed post haste…
      See you in the ‘corridor’ soon…

      • @Akram

        Not really strange if we take into consideration the tyranny of geography, the RIC cannot simply ignore what goes on in Afghanistan but also cannot dictate what goes on in Afghanistan, both ways the cost to there respective nations is dire on the long term. Reasons for accepting the reality of the Taliban ascendancy.

        I don’t see the Taliban being successful in imposing their system on Afghanistan however, too much damage has been done during their first attempt which remains fresh in the memories of all actors involved and they are only simple plurality majority in Afghanistan. The US on her own part won’t simply walk away into the night and still retain the support of some local comprador it can still count on, take it or leave it and it will back them to the hilt as a vehicle to retain the control for the final narrative in Afghanistan endgame. What the US cannot win through war, it will attempt to win through diplomacy and if the Taliban failed to play it right the US find such legitimacy.

        But if the Taliban will avoid any attempt to impose their view if it is not accepted by the majority and respect the interest of the RIC which is majorly to eschew turning Afghanistan into pseudo Jihadist den, then Afghanistan may yet see peace in our lifetime. Concerning the US air bombardment, it could be curtailed in Afghanistan through cooperation with the RIC especially Iran through the IRGC which I believe its role in Afghanistan against the eventual US/NATO troops withdrawal is still majorly kept under wrap.

      • @Akram……why in the hell would Iran back a primitive wahabbi cabal of terrorists? The ones who hate Shia, call takfir on them? and murdered a dozen Iranian diplomats back in 1998 in Mazar Sherif? Or for that matter build any alliance with that other hostile jihadi wahabbi proxy of bankrupt Pakistan? Do you know what you are even saying? Last week the talibs killed a dozen Chinese engineers in Pakistan working on a BRI project. You think China is not aware of Pakistani society being jihadist? China is using Pakistan as a low cost anti-India jihadi proxy…Why would Russia be interested in supporting the hostile talibs? The same ones it fought for a decade?…you need to get real.

  6. I am perplexed by a few opening statements regarding Afghanistan given by Mr. Escobar. He says that “there’s no way the Taliban will embrace Western liberal democracy” Western liberal democracy? Is he disappointed in this? Having fought and defeated this evil empire, I can imagine why the Taliban will not embrace “Western liberal democracy”.
    Escobar continues, “the only possible solution in the short term is seen as an interim government.” Perhaps I am missing a large part of the picture here, but I believe the Taliban has taken over 70-80% of the country. That means they are the government. Of course the exiting imperial power will attempt to convince the Taliban that they don’t represent all the people and will have to accept other parties (like the American puppet government) as part of an interim government. The imperialist theory is that the indigenous population (the Taliban in this case) is incapable of self-rule.
    Mr. Escobar continues, “there is no leader around with national appeal….there are only regional warlords.” I suppose Lenin and Trotsky were not exactly household words in 1917, nor were Mao or Chu Deh in the 1930s, but they organized revolutions, took power, and successfully ran governments. The “only regional warlords” implies the country is ungovernable because power is widely dispersed (as opposed to the stability of centralized imperialist control).
    I suppose the sentence that really made me blink was, “the Taliban, even on offensive, know they cannot possibly pull off a military takeover of Afghanistan.” Really? Don’t they control 70-80% of the country? Aren’t there are only handfuls of puppet troops standing in the way to total victory? Mr. Escobar’s assertion that the Taliban “cannot possibly pull off a military takeover of Afghanistan” seems, to me, to defy all reality.
    This collection of assertions would be more appropriately made by the defeated imperialist power, and, in fact, sound most like the strings of rationalizations given out by the Council of Foreign Relations in their numerous “Why China Must Ultimately Fail” articles.

    • to Leif Johnson:
      I fully agree with your points of view.
      Plus – despite the fact that I don’t agree to Talibans disrespect for women – there should be a great great respect for them to definitely throw out NATO (USA plus its poodles) from its country. Also I think the Talibans of today are much more different that those the USA had at first supported against Russia.
      Times change and individuals have the right to change their outlook and behavior. I think too that Talibans have learned much during the last twenty years.
      Also it should be remarked that the FBI never accused Bin Laden of the 9/11. He had been accused for the disaster in Africa (I don’t remember where it was exactly). So the whole invasion of Afghanistan was practically a big big lie an accusation without any basics.
      I think the Talibans would be very thankful if China and Russia and other Asian countries would go to help to rebuild their country.

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