Mini-Me: Ghani Named Winner in Afghanistan — US Overrides Afghan Constitution and Forces Him to Accept Panjshiri Mob As “Partners”

Who?  Mini-Me?

Who? Mini-Me?

Ghani named winner of Afghan election, will share power with rival in new government

Former finance minister Ashraf Ghani was declared the winner of Afghanistan’s contested presidential election Sunday, setting the stage for President Hamid Karzai’s departure from office and a security agreement allowing American troops to remain in the country after this year.

Ghani, 65, will become Afghanistan’s second president since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 and will face the continued threat of Islamist militancy, a severe budget shortfall that threatens to bankrupt the government, and rampant public corruption.

But before he was declared the winner in Afghanistan’s grueling year-long election process, Ghani agreed Sunday to share power with the second-place finisher, Abdullah Abdullah.

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Sep 21

Berto Jongman: Clint Watts on Seven Flaws in US Strategy to Counter ISIS

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

Seven Flaws In the U.S. Strategy to Counter ISIS

(Editor’s Note: This blog post is derived from Clint Watts’ Ginsburg Lecture delivered at the National Liberty Museum on September 16, 2014.)

The past week’s debate on how to counter ISIS has proven just how effective terrorism is as a tactic for extremist groups.  Two videos showing the beheading of American hostages have provoked the largest U.S. response since the attacks of 9/11, compelling President Obama to hastily gather up a strategy to counter ISIS. Aside from the general confusion over what to call the group, there is even greater disagreement over what to do.  Overall, I don’t disagree with most of the actions the U.S. is taking to counter ISIS, but I am baffled why ISIS, America’s third or fourth most pressing national security concern right now, requires such a reaction.  The lesson for other extremist groups scattered from Morocco to Malaysia is clear – fly a black flag, film an atrocity and post it on the Internet and you too can capture the American media cycle and provoke a U.S. response.

LIST ONLY

1. Syrian Civil War
2. Turkish Border
3. Double-Edged Sword of Saudi Arabia
4. Arab Partner Nations
5. Iran is a bigger adversary to the US than ISIS
6. Sunni partners in Iraq
7. Shi’a dominated Iraqi Government

Read full article.

See Also:

ISIS @ Phi Beta Iota

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Sep 20

Chuck Spinney: Gary Leupp on Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide — PLUS Sunni-Shia Graphic and ISIS RECAP

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

ISIS and Washington’s Ignorance About the Sunni-Shia Divide

“Most Americans Don’t Have a Clue”

by GARY LEUPP

Counterpunch, SEPTEMBER 15, 2014

EXTRACTS

Patrick Cockburn reports that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to Washington (1983-2005), once told  M16 head Sir Richard Dearlove: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will literally be ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunni have simply had enough of them.”

There are thus deep animosities within Islam, as there have been, historically, within Christianity.

There was a time when Protestants viewed Roman Catholics as idolatrous heretics and bloody wars of religion ravaged Europe. ISIL is now fighting such a war against Shiites, Christians, Yezidis, secularists, and others it sees as unbelievers and as stooges of the west. But its primary target is the Shiites.

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Sep 17

Patrick Cockburn: Letter from Arabia — ISIS is the Lesser of All Evils — And Most Certainly Less Evil Than an Invading Occupying USA…

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn

The Impossible War

Isis cannot be beaten as long as there is civil war in Syria

BY PATRICK COCKBURN

CounterPunch • SEPTEMBER 11, 2014

A letter printed at the bottom of this article was emailed by a friend soon after her neighbourhood in Mosul was hit by Iraqi airforce bombers. This was some hours before President Barack Obama explained his plan to weaken and ultimately destroy Isis, which calls itself Islamic State, by a series of measures including air attacks. The letter illustrates graphically one of the most important reasons why American air power may be less effective than many imagine.

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Sep 15

SchwartzReport: Why Obama Will Lose to ISIS — Indeed, How He Will Empower and Enlarge ISIS…

Stephan A. Schwartz

Stephan A. Schwartz

I started out today writing a short essay on my views about this new war, then came across this, with which I agree. It makes my main point: You would think after 11 years of war in the Islamic world, we would learn something about the culture and how to work with it. Apparently not. I think one really has to ask now: Cui bono? Who benefits?

Why Obama Will Lose His Endless War in Syria and Iraq
STEVE WEISSMAN – Reader Supported News

Never bet on another man’s game,” my father loved to say. It’s a lesson Barack Obama never learned, especially in his military strikes against Islamic State.

Islamic State, or ISIL, has only one way to keep the support of Iraq’s Sunni tribesmen and former Baathist supporters of Saddam Hussein. The blood-thirsty ‘fools of God” need to be seen defending their people against a Western invasion, which is precisely what Obama gives them.

He plays the role they purposely provoked with their brutal beheadings, summary executions, and sickening use of mass rape to keep their fighters happy. He becomes the foreign, Christian crusader defiling a Muslim land, and he does it in company with Iranian as well as Iraqi Shiites, whom Islamic State despises as heretics, and with the blessing of Sunni Arab leaders it correctly sees as outrageously corrupt.

In other words, the more jihadis Obama kills, the more Sunnis that Obama recruits to their ranks. Not a winning strategy.

Read full article.

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Sep 15

Edward Luce: From England with Sanity — STOP on ISIS!

Edward Luce

Edward Luce

America’s perpetual war on terror by any other name

If you embark on something with your eyes half-open, you are likely to lose sight of reality

Financial Times, 14 September 2014

EXTRACT

The reality is the US war on terror has succeeded where it was supposed to. Mr Bush’s biggest innovation was to set up the Department of Homeland Security. If you chart domestic terror attempts in the US since September 11 2001, they have become increasingly low-tech and ineffectual. From the foiled Detroit airliner attack in Mr Obama’s first year to the Boston marathon bombings in his fifth, each attempt has been more amateur than the last. The same is true of America’s allies. There has been no significant attack in Europe since London’s July 7 bombings nine years ago. Western publics have acclimatised to an era of tighter security.

If this is the balance sheet of the US war on terror, why lose sleep? Chiefly because it understates the costs. The biggest of these is the damage an undeclared war is doing to the west’s grasp on reality. Myopic thinking leads to bad decisions. Mr Obama pointedly avoided using the word “war” last week. Although there are more than 1,000 US military personnel in Iraq, and more than 160 US air strikes in the past month, he insisted on calling his plan to destroy Isis a “campaign”. Likewise, the US uniforms are those of “advisers” and “trainers”. These kinds of euphemism lead to mission creep. If you embark on something with your eyes half-open, you are likelier to lose your way.

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Sep 14

Nafeez Ahmed: How the West Created the Islamic State (ISIS) — Jordan Hosts the Command Center — Chalabi and NeoCons Ride Again…

Nafeez Ahmed

Nafeez Ahmed

How the West Created the Islamic State

Follow the Money, Follow the Oil

Nafeez Ahmed

Counter-Punch, 12-14 September 2014

EXTRACTS

Missing from the chorus of outrage, however, has been any acknowledgement of the integral role of covert US and British regional military intelligence strategy in empowering and even directly sponsoring the very same virulent Islamist militants in Iraq, Syria and beyond, that went on to break away from al-Qaeda and form ‘ISIS’, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or now simply, the Islamic State (IS).

. . . . . . .

In other words, US forces will pursue public legitimacy through conventional social welfare while simultaneously delegitimising local enemies by escalating intra-insurgent violence, knowing full-well that doing so will in turn escalate the number of innocent civilians “caught in the crossfire.” The idea is that violence covertly calibrated by US special operations will not only weaken enemies through in-fighting but turn the population against them.

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Sep 14

Berto Jongman: Another ISIS Beheading Likely Fraud — US Should WITHDRAW from the Middle East

Berto Jongman

Berto Jongman

-This 3rd video is following the same script and format as the previous two

-Again it was first reported by SITE Intelligence

-Again the actual beheading is not shown

-The result of the beheading is shown in a still

-This video is specifically directed at the allies of the US, the UK in particular

-Again this video ends with the warning that another ISIS hostage will be beheaded in the next video

ISIS David Haines Video (Actual Beheading NOT Shown)

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Sep 13

Jan Oberg: Obama Hits a Moral and Intellectual Low — War on Terror a Predictable Fiasco Lacking in Intelligence or Integrity

September 11:
The War on Terror is a – predictable – fiasco

By Jan Oberg, TFF co-founder

Lund, Sweden September 11, 2014.

President Obama’s speech last night

This speech is a record low in terms of moral and intellectual analysis: What it boils down to is war – i.e. killing every single ISIS person anywhere, people who he compares to cancer cells. The war on terror has always been about killing terrorists but you can not kill an ism – terrorism. To do something about the causes that compel people to become terrorists would be much more efficient. The President has said repeatedly that a lasting solution is political, not military. The speech, however, is exclusively military – not a word of political, psychological or other insights: No, we kill people because we think it is wrong to kill people…

The speech can be seen as a proof of how utterly misguided the U.S. response to 9/11 was – had it been more intelligence and less revenge-oriented, there would neither have been a devastating Iraq war nor an ISIS.

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Sep 11

Steven Aftergood: US Intelligence Budget Data — PBI: Understated but on the Record

Steven Aftergood

Steven Aftergood

Intelligence Budget Data

On March 4, 2014, the Administration submitted its Fiscal Year 2015 budget request, including a base funding request of $45.6 billion for the National Intelligence Program (NIP), and a base funding request of $13.3 billion for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP). On June 30, the DNI submitted an updated FY2015 budget request of $49.4 billion for the NIP including funding for overseas contingency operations. An updated budget request figure for the MIP has not yet been disclosed.

Phi Beta Iota: We consider these figures to be severely deceptive and roughly 70% of the actual combined total budget for green and black intelligence capabilities that are secret, toxic, and a mix of benignly worthless (standing armies of ignorant analysts, collection that is not processed) and pathologically dangerous (drones, renditions, covert operations, subsidies to foreign intelligence services). Our best guess of the actual total US secret intelligence budget remains US$100 billion per year, inclusive of thousands of private sector “intelligence” capabilities (many of them “open source” and extremely mediocre) that are embedded within acquisition and other contracts, all out of control and of dubious value.

IC Budget Table Cropped

Click on Table to Enlarge

Click to access Office of the Director of National Intelligence Budget Justifications

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Sep 11