World View: Large Car Bomb Explodes in Pro-Hezbollah Area of Lebanon

World View: Large Car Bomb Explodes in Pro-Hezbollah Area of Lebanon

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Afghan Taliban closes its Qatar office as negotiations fail
  • U.S. is considering the ‘zero option’ for Afghanistan pullout
  • Pakistan warns of protracted civil war in Afghanistan
  • Japan accuses China of using military force over Senkaku islands
  • Large car bomb explodes in pro-Hezbollah area of Lebanon
  • Bond market appears to be collapsing

Afghan Taliban closes its Qatar office as negotiations fail

Afghan Taliban office in Doha, Qatar (Al-Jazeera)
Afghan Taliban office in Doha, Qatar (Al-Jazeera)

On Tuesday, the Afghan Taliban finally closed its office in Doha,Qatar, which was supposed to be used as the site of “peacenegotiations” with the U.S. and the government of Afghanistan. Theoffice opened on June 18, and negotiations were to start with a coupleof days. But the negotiations collapsed the next day, because Afghanpresident Hamid Karzai was furious that the Taliban displayed a plaquecalling it the office of the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” anddisplayed the Taliban flag. Qatari officials demanded that the plaqueand flag be taken down, but then the Taliban were angry. So nowthe office is closed.

Recall that the U.S. Administration was so desperate to get the AfghanTaliban to have peace talks, they dropped the preconditions announcedlast year by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: They mustforego suicide attacks and violence, they must sever ties withal-Qaeda, and they must accept Afghanistan’s constitution, includingprotections for women and minority. The Taliban rejected all of thesedemands, and the Administration have acquiesced. So, while all thistalk about “peace negotiations” has been going on for the last fewweeks, the Taliban have been bombing innocent people in Kabul,Afghanistan’s capital.

As I’ve written dozens of times in the last few years, there is nochance of a “peace process” in Afghanistan. The easiest way to seethat is a comparison with Iraq, where President George Bush’s “surge”was a factor in the successful peace treaty that allowed the U.S. towithdraw. Iraq’s last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war,climaxing in 1988 — an EXTERNAL war, where the Iraqis, Sunnis andShias alike, united to fight the Iranians. But Afghanistan’s lastcrisis war was the genocidal civil war of 1992-96 — an INTERNAL war,pitting the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan against the the NorthernAlliance, an alliance of Tajiks and Hazaras in northern Afghanistan.Furthermore, the Taliban are Sunni Islamist Pashtuns, occupying alarge region starting in Afghanistan, through the tribal area, anddeep into northwestern Pakistan, which is in a generational Crisisera. These are major differences that make an Afghanistan peaceprocess impossible, and the whole attempt to negotiate peace with theTaliban a farce.

Nonetheless, the State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki made anotherridiculous statement on Tuesday:

“We believe that misunderstandings that arose in thecontext of the opening [of the office] should not stand in the wayof moving forward on reconciliation if the Taliban wishes to doso. We’ll continue to support and reiterate our call for thatprocess to move forward.”

Well, Jen, you just go ahead and keep on reiterating that, and let’ssee if the process moves forward. Al-Jazeera and VOA

U.S. is considering the ‘zero option’ for Afghanistan pullout

The White House says that President Barack Obama is considering theof 2014, rather than leave a small residual force behind to helpprevent a Taliban takeover. According to reports, Obama and Afghanpresident Hamid Karzai are in such vitriolic disagreement that Obamahas decided to threaten the zero option.

As I wrote in “Barack Obama in Berlin calls for greater European militarism” during his 2008,Obama made a victory in Afghanistan a big part of his plan:

“This is the moment when we must renew our resolve torout the terrorists who threaten our security in Afghanistan, andthe traffickers who sell drugs on your streets. No one welcomeswar. I recognize the enormous difficulties in Afghanistan. But mycountry and yours have a stake in seeing that NATO’s first missionbeyond Europe’s borders is a success. For the people ofAfghanistan, and for our shared security, the work must be done.America cannot do this alone. The Afghan people need our troopsand your troops; our support and your support to defeat theTaliban and al Qaeda, to develop their economy, and to help themrebuild their nation. We have too much at stake to turn backnow.”

Well, it looks like we’re going to turn back now. VOA

Pakistan warns of protracted civil war in Afghanistan

Unnamed Pakistan officials criticized Hamid Karzai’s handling of theso-called Taliban “peace negotiations,” and warned that Afghanistanwould plunge into a prolonged civil war if the negotiations failed.

This is completely wrong. Afghanistan is entering a generationalAwakening era, and so a new crisis civil war is impossible or, if onebegins, it will fizzle quickly. Afghanistan had a crisis civil warfrom 1991-96, and there are too many survivors who lived through themassacres and atrocities committed to and by their families andfriends, and will not allow anything like that will happen again.

What appears to be on the horizon is a disaster similar to America’swithdrawal from Vietnam in 1974, when Viet Cong forces overran SouthVietnam, causing America’s first defeat in war, and leading to themassive “killing fields” holocaust in Cambodia. The situation inAfghanistan is made worse by the fact that it’s apparently going to beimpossible for America to remove ten years of weapons and suppliedfrom Afghanistan, because the country is land-locked, so some of thoseweapons may well fall into the hands of the Taliban.

But there won’t be a civil war. The Taliban will take over inAfghanistan, and there’ll be no one there to stop them. After that,Afghanistan’s war will become a proxy war, pitting fighters fromPakistan and Central Asia. Pakistan Today

Japan accuses China of using military force over Senkaku islands

Japan’s Defense Ministry issued a white paper for 2013 accusing Chinaof air and sea activities the Senkaku / Diaoyu islands that arestatement reflects widespread concern that a miscalculation by eitherJapan or China could spark a nationalist response that could lead to awider war. The white paper also mentions the threats from North Koreain the form of nuclear missiles that could reach Japan or theU.S. mainland. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is facingelections in two weeks, and Abe is supporting revisions to Japan’spacifist constitution to allow for a more aggressive Japanesemilitary. Japan Times

Large car bomb explodes in pro-Hezbollah area of Lebanon

Over 50 people were injured on Tuesday when a massive car bombexplosion hit a pro-Hezbollah Shia suburb south of Beirut in Lebanon.Sectarian Sunni versus Shia violence has been increasing in Lebanon,ever since Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Iran-backedHezbollah terrorist group, announced that Hezbollah fighters wouldaggressively support the regime of Syria’s president Bashar al-Assadin the over two-year old civil war / proxy war. Nasrallah’sannouncement has triggered rising sectarian Sunni versus Shiathroughout the Mideast. Daily Star (Beirut) and Al-Manar (Beirut)

Bond market appears to be collapsing

Bond market collapse (Bloomberg)
Bond market collapse (Bloomberg)

The above chart shows that money has been flowing out of stocks intobonds for the last five years. But the red bar on the far right showsthat the bond market has been collapsing in the last month, but themoney is NOT going back into stocks. This reflects the fact that bondyields (interest rates) have surged in the U.S. and in eurozonenations since May 1.

Permanent web link to this article
Receive daily World View columns by e-mail