Former IRA volunteer and ex-prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh, 4 years on the blanket and no-wash/no work protests which led to the hunger strikes of the 80s. Completed PhD at Queens upon release from prison. Left the Republican Movement at the endorsement of the Good Friday Agreement, and went on to become a journalist. Co-founder of The Blanket, an online magazine that critically analyzed the Irish peace process. Lead researcher for the Belfast Project, an oral history of the Troubles.
If there is a One World Government, I'd vote Maryam Namazie as the Minister of Common Sense.ReplyDelete
That was a great interview....
A rare point of agreement between us, Frankie.Delete
Particularly poignant interview in the light of the tragic and distressing events in Kabul. Joe Biden is not my flavour of the month at the moment.
Barry - Biden merely followed through on Trump's promises. The speed at which the regime collapsed showed it had no internal standing that was never going to sustain itself. A Kleptocracy. The death of US military intervention in the country was rooted in its birth. The US should never have gone in. There is a concept of humanitarian intervention but there is no concept of US humanitarian intervention. The one place for it to be tested was Rwanda - and they refused. A Few strategic bombings of the communications system, in particular the radio stations, might have halved the genocide. They didn't do it - no oil, no profit.Delete
The US was attacked on 9/11 and Article 5 of NATO was invoked quite rightfully to destroy Al-Queda infrastructure in Afghanistan. it was a NATO operation not a unilateral US intervention.ReplyDelete
As I wrote at the time had it have attacked Israel at the same time to prevent its atrocities against Palestinians while arresting Sharon for war crimes, its actions would have been much more easily sympathised with. Few bought into destroying the Al Qaeda infrastructure. Had it been serious it would have moved against the Saudis.Delete
The US was attacked so it had a legitimate right to self-defence under the UN Charter and MATO Article 5. Humanitarian intervention was not the causus belli although the Tal1ban's femicide, ethnic cleansing of the Hazara minority and the destruction of the Bamyan Buddhas provides retrospective justification under the UN Responsibility to Protect.ReplyDelete
It was right and [proper to obliterate the Al Qaeda infrastructure just as it was the ISIS infrastructure in Iraq and Syria. Do not also forget the millions of girls who got education in Afghanistan over the last 20 years; the quarter of women legislators elected to parliament and the amount of women members of the judiciary; those metrics alone justify the removal of the Taliban from power even if that is all that achieved (apart from no further attacks launched on the West from Afghanistan).
Stringent sanctions against the Saudis for spreading the Wahhabist ideology and indirect funding which powered the Jihadists.
The Taliban are a shower of theocratic gangsters. But the US helped bring them to power through its geo politics in the region when the Russians invaded. And the US is fine with theocratic gangsters - hence its attitude to the Saudis. Nor does it give a toss about human rights given its endorsement and arming of Israel. As for it being right and proper to eradicate the Al Qaeda infrastructure, they allowed Al Qaeda to flourish in Syrian because the Islamists were supported by Turkey and the Saudis. None of this is about doing the right thing - just the US looking after itself. And the ever increasing power of China has probably more than anything else caused the US to recalibrate.Delete
The Taliban were set up by the Pakistani ISI in the 1990s after the Soviet departure in order to serve its geopolitical interests.ReplyDelete
No matter the inconsistencies and mistakes in US foreign policy; the original intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 was the right and legal thing to do (unlike the Iraq intervention in 2003). It was Bin laden who declared a global fatwa against Americans and Jews (not Zionists or Israelis note) in 1998. It was Al-Queda who declared war; not the other way round. They had bombed the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Saleem the same year killing hundreds of uninvolved Africans.
The Taliban/Al-Queda axis are, in the words of Christopher Hitchens, the scum of the earth who are as much the enemy of Europe and moderate Muslims. It was right to take them on then, as it was the Nazis in 1939, and it is right to confront them now.
As regards Syria, it was Assad who released hundreds of jihadi prisoners at the start of the conflict so that he could portray it as a war against Islamist terrorists rather than a brutal repression of a democratic uprising.
All the Taliban's early leaders had fought against the Soviets. The US armed and financed them through the Pakistani Intelligence Service. The US helped create them and did nothing to discourage the thug who hanged Bhutto from being their primary patron. In fact Kissinger threatened Bhutto that he would meet a terrible end if he continued with the nuclear programme. Zia was the US man and his regime trained the Mujahidin which effectively morphed into the Taliban. So the US cannot evade responsibility for the emergence of The Taliban and Al Qaeda. The original intervention was never right - the Taliban did not bomb the towers but would not hand over Bin Laden until they were given evidence. If the US were really serious about moving against Al Qaeda, it would have attacked Pakistan. It didn't and we know why. The US influence in the Muslim world, its support for Israeli colonialism and its war crimes against Palestinians were in the Islamist view a declaration of war. Before Al Qaeda had bombed Nairobi the US had shot down a civilian Iranian airliner killing about 300 passengers. Small wonder that Iran is a significant sponsor of the Taliban. Hitchens unfortunately betrayed himself by backing the war both on Iraq and Afghanistan. Not that he was wrong about the Taliban, but here he was backing a major sponsor of global terrorism (it was him who actually wrote the Trial Of Henry Kissinger so) as it sought to bomb one of the poorest countries in the world even further back into the dark ages. Assad was another scummy politician but the US is alright with his type - Hence its appreciation of Netanyahu. And it still sponsored Al Qaeda in the country of at least its front for Al Qaeda. The world would be a much safer place if the US stopped invading other countries. If it wishes to convince us of genuine intent let it invade Israel and Saudi Arabia.Delete
It still baffles me that people think the US Empire is somehow morally superior to past empires. It also highlights the partisan theatre that is politics, the people defending Biden would have been howling if Trump was in charge, they are all scumbags. Invading Afghanistan was never going to end any other way, what good was twenty years of rights for women? How they going to utilise them under Islamic law? It was a humanitarian disaster and they won't learn a thing, give them a month they will be advocating overthrowing Assad.ReplyDelete
Actually, David, Biden was rightfully excoriated in the House of Commons yesterday for prematurely withdrawing US air cover for NATO forces in Afghanistan and taking no responsibility for the consequences. He really did go down in my estimation.Delete
Yes, it was Trump's treacherous deal with the Taliban that Biden was saddled with but there was a window to ensure a more orderly drawing down. His remarks about the fighting qualities of the Afghan army were beneath contempt.
Have no fears, David. As the US retreats into isolationism and has post-Brexit Britain retreats into a nasty Little Englander state that prefers war on "woke" rather than engagement with the rest of the world overthrowing Assad or any other squalid dictator is not on anybody's agenda.
After enjoying twenty years of freedom, Afghan women may hopefully have developed the confidence and capacity building to resist their new but old medieval overlords. Once the genie of freedom is released from the bottle it can be almost impossible to put it back as these filthy sex slavers may discover.
So sit back and enjoy China capturing Taiwan and implementing its Final Solution of its Uighur problem. Have a ringside seat as Russia takes back the Baltic states and as the contagion of far right nationalism spreads like the Covid virus from Hungary and Poland across Eastern Europe. Acclaim the election of President Le Pen in France and of more far right coalitions in Italy and Austria.
But please do not shed any false tears about the bloodshed and refugee crises (I know Scotland will step up to the plate) that result from democracy's mortality. David, you are of the opinion that what goes on in other countries (sincere apologies if I am wrong) is nobody's business. Just own the logic of that belief.
Barry - there was never going to be a right tome to withdraw because there was never a right time to invade. There is no such thing as US humanitarian intervention. If there was it would have been applied in Rwanda. Biden can't be faulted for withdrawing even if the way it was handled was a fiasco.Delete
Women were treated terribly In Afghanistan prior to the Taliban return: The report I Thought Our Life Might Get Better’: Implementing Afghanistan’s Elimination of Violence against Women Law shows an improvement but their situation was still appalling. Best not to paint a rosy picture of it all. "Twenty years of freedom" is a Western myth.
This is a clip from retired US Marine general Wes Clark, Anthony I know you seldom open clips but it is interesting regarding US military actions in the Middle East.ReplyDelete
it was short and I did look at it - sort of tells us what we need to know about US decision makingDelete
As Christopher Hitchens said, the policy adopted by the United States in relation to Afghanistan in the 1980s made striking against Al-Queda all the more of an imperative.ReplyDelete
far right (cos that is what it is )Islamist extremism like far white extremism and Incel type misogyny are forms of fascism and, as Hilary Benn argued in the Commons during the ISIS debate in 2015, the lesson of history is that fascism has to be defeated.
Btw another Western crime in the eyes of Islamists was the asssitance given to the the setting up of Timor Leste (East Timor) after the end of the genocidal Indonesian occupation of that territory in 1999. For Bin laden regarded it as part of the Caliphate hence the Bali bombing in 2002 which was aimed at Austrialian tourists because of their country's involvement in freeing East Timor.
The Madrid rail system was bombed in 2004 with the loss of 191 lives because Spain which belonged to the Caliphate in the 7th century is deemed to be occupied by infidels.
Islamist extremism is indulged too much by elements of the regressive left because anything ant-American is automatically good in their developmentally stunted worldview.
Hitchens got so much wrong about Afghanistan and Iraq. He supported the war of terror rather than the war on terror.Delete
Benn is right about the need to defeat fascism - such a pity he supported the invasion of Iraq and Libya. And we are still waiting on Starmer demanding Blair's prosecution for war crimes.
America has been a serious sponsor of fascism in the world. This is why people are instantly suspicious of its interventions in other countries. We know what the Islamicists are and the atrocities they have carried out. But if they were murdering at America's behest the US would be fine with it. Just as it backed the Saudi murder machine in Yemen.
The regressive left is pretty much useless but no one is making an argument from their perspective.
There's also a lot to be said regarding the sheer indoctrination of US schoolkids into patriotism. I have some good US friends but Holy Hades do they buy the party line. That's fascism by stealth.
But I'd still rather a Yank beside me than a Jihadi in front.
Watching Michael Malice on a podcast and he reckons half the global population is under authoritarian rule. Don't know if that's an accurate number, if so, that would be roughly 3.9 billion people. Not find it suspicious that the only people the west 'help' are of a strategic or economic benefit to them.Delete
Afghanistan was never about the emancipation of women, to say otherwise is disingenuous.
I zone out when people start using 'own' and all these Hollywood phrases, if you mean that I don't support military invasion on 'humanitarian' grounds, then I don't, no. It causes more deaths than it prevents with the exception of the Nazis, I struggle of another worthwhile intervention, Rwanda, think someone mentioned that earlier. Then again you don't support them either, if you did, you'd be advocating an invasion of Israel, Saudi, China, etc. It's always the same old countries that face regime change while others, equally horrible, get cheered from the rafters.
There are times when intervention is not justified e.g. Iraq 2003. There are times when it is justified and can be done successfully e.g. Northern Iraq 1991; Kosovo 1999; Sierra Leone if there are clear objectives, no mission creep and an exit strategy. There are times when it is justified but fails in the long run because of the absence of long-term objectives e.g. Afghanistan 2001 and Libya 2011. And there are times when the case for intervention is cast iron and when failure to do so is criminal e.g. Rwandan genocide 1994, Darfur genocide 2003 and Assad's chemical weapons atrocity in 2013.ReplyDelete
there is nothing in principle wrong with humanitarian intervention - it has just that intervention by the US has never been done on humanitarian grounds. Tanzania did it as did Vietnam - but not the US. If it ever puts up a protective shield to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli atrocity, I would be willing to reconsider my view of it.Delete
To my eye you contradict yourself there. I take it you think Iraq was unjustified because of the sexed up dossiers? Yet a whistleblower from the opcw said similar tactics were used in Syria, what's the difference?Delete
Are you smoking or sniffing hopium?