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geopolitics

SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • Reports say that the border towns of Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan which border Tajikistan are turning into new concentration points of foreign terrorists from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, and Eastern Turkistan, concerning the Russian leaders.  Some political experts suggest that the ISIS is restoring its strength in Afghanistan as part of an American and Western roadmap. They say its wins justification to the Western military presence in Afghanistan. For the US and NATO, the presence in Afghanistan will lead to the control of three important countries of Iran, Russia and China.

SOURCE: ABNA 24


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • European soldiers of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan will not be withdrawn from this war-torn country in May under a conditional peace agreement signed by the Trump administration and the insurgent Taliban in February of last year. There are still some 7,500 NATO troops deployed to Afghanistan.

SOURCE: BUSINESS TIMES


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • Taliban delegation is visiting Tehran for talks with Iranian officials on the Afghan peace process. Iran accuses US of stalling Afghan peace talks. Iran has in recent years backed Taliban’s inclusion in Afghanistan’s future political structure, and repeatedly called for the ouster of US forces from the country.

SOURCE: YENISAFAK


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Expert Analysis

Russian-American Relations Under Biden: More Of The Same Except For One Thing

Russian-American Relations Under Biden: More Of The Same Except For One Thing

26 JANUARY 2021

Russian-American Relations Under Biden: More Of The Same Except For One Thing

Russian-American relations will remain just as bad under Biden as they were under Trump except for the 46th President’s desire to extend the New START for another five years as part of an implied nuclear detente with Moscow after his administration also announced that it’ll investigate the Eurasian Great Power for alleged cyberspying, interfering in last year’s elections, poisoning anti-corruption blogged and accused US intelligence asset Navalny, and putting out bounties on American servicemen in Afghanistan.

A Nuclear Detente

The Biden Administration inherited plenty of messes at home and abroad that it plans to clean up during the next four years, but it nevertheless still aspires to continue Trump’s policy of unprecedentedly hostile relations with Russia. The only exception to the latter vision is its desire to extent the New START for another five years, which was done not as an olive branch to the Eurasian Great Power, but out of simple pragmatism because the US has its hands full dealing with all sorts of other challenges that it might not be able to pull everything off that it wants to if it’s mired in an increasingly intense New Arms Race with Russia too. This nuclear detente of sorts comes with strings attached, however, since the Biden Administration also announced that it’ll investigate the Kremlin for alleged cyberspying, interfering in last year’s elections, poisoning anti-corruption blogger and accused US intelligence asset Navalny, and putting out bounties on American servicemen in Afghanistan.

Cyberspying

Regarding the first of these allegations, it was the general consensus in the former Trump Administration that Russia was responsible for the SolarWinds cyber breach, though the Commander-in-Chief at the time publicly speculated that China might have actually been the culprit. As of now, no conclusive evidence one way or another has been publicly presented so it might have even been North Korea for all that anyone knows. Either way, those accusations conformed to the pattern of blaming Russia for everything that goes wrong in the US, which is politically convenient for its de facto one-party governing elite. As is now seen, that won’t stop with the advent of a new administration but will likely continue for the indefinite future since the political Russophobes who staff the Biden team have even more of a reason to keep this debunked myth alive. Going forward, it cane be expected that they’ll blame Russia for any future cyber attacks as well.

Meddling

On the second topic of supposed Russian interference in last year’s elections, nothing of concrete substance has ever been determined. It certainly seems to have been the case that a Russiagate 2.0 narrative was being preemptively manufactured in order to explain the possible scenario of Trump’s electoral victory, but the contentious outcome of the vote which decisively pushed Biden ahead in the dead of the night at the very last minute ensured that such a fallback plan didn’t have to be relied upon. It might very well be that the Biden Administration amplifies the fake news accusations from last summer about sites such as OneWorld meddling in the vote through purported COVID-19 “disinformation” — which never happened in reality — in order to artificially produce yet another false pretext for censoring social media, among other dark scenarios. In any case, this is the least original of the strings that Biden is attaching to his implied nuclear detente with Russia.

Navalny

Moving along, the next topic being investigated are the Western Mainstream Media allegations that Russia poisoned anti-corruption blogger and accused US intelligence asset Navalny. This individual recently returned to Russia from Berlin where he was receiving treatment for his mysterious illness, after which he was promptly arrested for violating his probation. The Biden Administration is trying to assemble a so-called “Alliance of Democracies” to strengthen the US’ global network of partnerships in Eurasia, to which end it’ll probably seek to portray Navalny as the poster child for generating intense interest among its potential members to work closer together in pursuit of this ideological end. The real purpose, however, is to establish closer socio-political and intelligence ties between NATO, the GCC+ (the “+” refers to Egypt, “Israel”, and Jordan), and the Quad, ideally on an anti-Russian basis. Some of the US’ relevant partners like India and “Israel” already enjoy excellent and almost allied-liked ties with Russia, however, so this scheme will only go so far with them.

Afghanistan

Finally, the last of the four strings attached to Biden’s implied nuclear detente is to investigate last summer’s Russian bounty scandal in Afghanistan. Moscow does indeed have political contacts with the Taliban for pragmatic reasons related to the peace process and countering ISIS’ spread in Afghanistan even though the Kremlin officially regards the organization as a banned terrorist group, but it certainly never conspired with it to endanger the lives of American servicemen. The revival of this long-discredited narrative speaks to the Biden Administration’s willingness to play the Russian card in the Afghan file for the purpose of delaying, if not reversing to an undetermined but presumably low extent, the former Trump Administration’s military drawdown from that country. It shouldn’t be taken seriously in any sense other than looked at as a “publicly plausible” pretext for his team to present to the American people for justifying those possible decisions. Even so, it’s extremely unlikely that he’ll resort to an Obama-like “surge” in that scenario.

Concluding Thoughts

Altogether, it’s clear that Biden’s implied nuclear detente with Russia comes with four very important strings attached, but the Kremlin is likely to tacitly accept them no matter how much it might publicly grumble about the unnecessary and irrelevant politicization of this important global strategic security decision. The fact of the matter is that when all things are considered, the outcome of extending the New START for another five years far outweighs the other four issues that the US wants to exploit in terms of the overall global good that the former will lead to. It would of course be ideal if the Biden Administration didn’t attach any strings to its implied nuclear detente with Russia, but there was never any realistic chance that it could be any other way, especially since his team is comprised of political Russophobes who just spent the past four years obsessively pushing the discredited fake news infowar narrative that Trump was Putin’s puppet. Thus, there was no way that they’d be able to pursue a nuclear detente with Russia without pressuring it elsewhere on false pretexts.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Biden, New START, Cyberspying, Navalny, Afghanistan, Infowars.


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • A wave of Taliban attacks and violence has killed dozens across Afghanistan, even as talks are underway between the government and the insurgents in Qatar.

SOURCE: SF CHRONICLE


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • Recent visits by top Taliban leaders to Pakistan ahead of the second rounds of talks that began this month have caused concerns in India about the close ties between the insurgent group and Islamabad. Pakistan has already advised against India’s involvement in Afghanistan, accusing New Delhi of launching terror attacks from the war-torn country.

SOURCE: SPUTNIK


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • The US has decreased its number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to 2,500, accomplishing a key goal of President Donald Trump as he prepares to leave office next week. Under a plan instituted by Trump the Pentagon is seeking to completely withdraw US troops from Afghanistan by May, but it is unclear if incoming President Joe Biden will continue to implement the policy when he takes office Jan. 20.

SOURCE: ANADOLU AGENCY


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Expert Analysis

What’s The Future Of Afghanistan After Trump?

What’s The Future Of Afghanistan After Trump?

13 JANUARY 2021

What

Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is fairly certain that President-Elect Biden won’t do much to turn the tide on outgoing President Trump’s drawdown from Afghanistan despite newly promulgated legislation hindering the prospect of further cuts, but he’s also concerned that US troops might be replaced by private military contractors in a scenario that he warned would be a mistake.

Russia’s Prediction For Afghanistan

Many questions are swirling about President-Elect Biden’s foreign policy upon his impending inauguration next week, but one of the most relevant for all of Eurasia is what his stance will be towards the US’ seemingly never-ending War on Afghanistan. Russian Special Presidential Representative for Russian Special Presidential Representative for Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov is fairly certain that President-Elect Biden won’t do much to turn the tide on outgoing President Trump’s drawdown from Afghanistan despite newly promulgated legislation hindering the prospect of further cuts, but he’s also concerned that US troops might be replaced by private military contractors in a scenario that he warned would be a mistake. This is a pretty sound prediction which deserves to be elaborated upon more at length in order to better understand the logic behind it.

The US’ New Central Asian Strategy

The author explained last year how “The US’ Central Asian Strategy Isn’t Sinister, But That Doesn’t Mean That It’ll Succeed”. It was pointed out that Trump’s official vision for the region as articulated by his administration’s “Strategy For Central Asia 2019-2025” sharply contrasts the unstated one pursued by his predecessors. Instead of focusing on terrorist-driven divide-and-rule Hybrid Warfare, it concentrates mostly on peaceful regional connectivity in order to calmly expand American influence into the geostrategic Eurasian Heartland. The non-violent means that are to be relied upon to this soft power end should be commended, though one shouldn’t also preclude the possibility of some elements of the former informal strategies remaining in place, especially following Biden’s inauguration.

The Argument Against Another “Surge”

The former Vice President is bringing a bunch of Obama-era and -influenced officials (back) to the White House, hence why many feared that he might even seriously countenance repeating that administration’s infamous but ultimately failed “surge”. The geopolitical times have greatly changed since then, however, and there doesn’t seem to be any real interest in doing so under the current conditions. Not only is the planet reeling from what the author described as World War C — which refers to the full-spectrum paradigm-changing processes unleashed by the international community’s uncoordinated efforts to contain COVID-19 — but America is on the brink of launching a domestic version of its “War on Terror” in response to Capitol Hill’s storming last week and the US must also adapt to China’s growing leadership role in the world. These take precedence over the Taliban.

Improved US-Pakistani Ties Augur Well For Afghanistan

The author touched upon those last developments as well as the Biden Administration’s lack of trust in the Modi one in his analysis earlier this week for Pakistan’s Tribune Express about “The Three Factors That Will Shape The Future Of US-Pakistani Relations”. It was concluded that bilateral relations will improve as a result of these pressures, which in turn will further reduce the possibility of the US doubling down on its failed War on Afghanistan. The Taliban peace process, for as imperfect as it is, has veritably led to some noticeable results over the past year. Not only would it be a waste for Biden to scrap all of that just for the sake of spiting his predecessor, but it wouldn’t serve much of a grand strategic purpose anyhow considering the progress that’s being made on implementing the Trump Administration’s Central Asian strategy.

Trump & Biden: Different Visions, Shared Interests

In fact, it’s in Central Asia where Trump and Biden have a unique confluence of interests. The former’s economic-driven policy of engagement dovetails well with the latter’s plans to assemble a so-called “Alliance of Democracies”. Both are non-military means for expanding influence and perfectly complement one another. While Biden will probably retain the US’ troop presence in Afghanistan or even slightly increase it for domestic political reasons should he find it convenient to do so, he’s unlikely to devote as much military time and effort to the conflict as Obama did for the earlier mentioned reasons. While the Central Asian Republics don’t practice Western forms of democracy, the US nevertheless subjectively regards them as being different in substance from Russia and China’s governing models, and thus comparatively more “legitimate” to partner with.

The Military-Industrial Complex’s Pernicious Influence

Even so, the US’ powerful military-industrial complex won’t take too kindly to its most direct interests being threatened in the region through the civilian government’s decision to keep troop levels at an all-time low. Bearing this in mind, it makes sense for Biden for execute the Trump Administration’s reported proposal to privatize the conflict through private military contractors (PMCs) as the latter are an important cutting-edge part of the military-industrial complex, albeit one which enables Washington to retain a degree of “plausible deniability”. Many former servicemen transition from the Armed Forces to PMCs upon their honorable discharge because it pays much better, thus making these entities practically one and the same except in the legal sense, with both fulfilling the important task of guarding Afghanistan’s $1 trillion in rare earth minerals.

Concluding Thoughts

Looking forward, Biden (or rather, the power structure behind him) might not make much political progress on resolving America’s War on Afghanistan, but he probably won’t make things much worse either. Rather, this “endless war” might continue to persist, but simply become more and more “forgettable” so to speak. Should he feel that it would be politically convenient to do so in the domestic sense, then he might either slightly raise the troop levels or publicly announce that some of the existing ones will be switch out for PMCs. His intelligence agencies will probably continue to foment low-intensity destabilization scenarios across the region, but likely won’t concentrate too much effort on this as the US’ grand strategic focus shifts elsewhere in light of the new domestic and international conditions in which the fading unipolar hegemon is forced to adapt.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: US, Afghanistan, Russia, Pakistan, Trump, Biden, Central Asia.


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • China has cautioned that an unorganized US departure could open the way for militants to re-establish Afghanistan as a regional hotbed of Islamic terror. China is concerned that Afghanistan, which shares a land border with China’s restive Xinjiang province, could in particular become a breeding ground for Uighur Muslim militants. China is seeking to become more involved in intra-Afghan talks, believing that regional stability will improve its access to trade markets, weaken western regional influence, and counterbalance India’s role and strategic expansion in the region.

SOURCE: ASIA TIMES


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SOUTH ASIA:

AFGHANISTAN:

  • Afghanistan calls for Iran pivotal role in Afghan peace talks. Foreign ministers of these countries emphasized strengthening and expanding political, economic, and trade relations between the two countries.

SOURCE: IRNA


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