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 Post subject: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:04 pm 
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In a leading article, The Independent is actually saying: "It is not only helicopters we should be concerned about." Sheesh! It took them long enough! Our forces are still buying their equipment to fight in the Cold War era, it says – otherwise known as the Fulda Gap syndrome. A comprehensive rethink on is called for, the paper says. Our troops have been in Afghanistan for eight years. The problems ought to have been addressed long ago.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 10:38 pm 
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Off topic

This is one for you or Booker

UK Met Office Refuses to Disclose Station Data Once Again

FOI request denied. The excuse is over 1100 words and it appears to suggest our humble climatologists are in a bit of a shambles.

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:02 pm 
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therewaslight wrote:
Off topic

This is one for you or Booker

UK Met Office Refuses to Disclose Station Data Once Again

FOI request denied. The excuse is over 1100 words and it appears to suggest our humble climatologists are in a bit of a shambles.


Bizarre.

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:12 pm 

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Something else off-topic: MoD wind farms U-turn takes away barrier to new age of green energy

Quote:
THE Ministry of Defence – one of the key objectors to wind farms – has changed its stance, in a move that experts say will remove a major barrier to the development of green energy.

The MoD said it had made "significant advances" in resolving problems over the impact of wind farms and formed a "memorandum of understanding" with the energy industry.

...

A condition of withdrawing the objection to the 48-turbine Fallago Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills was that a radar mitigation scheme was put in place, which would include a payment by the developer to the MoD.


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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:15 pm 

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Quote:
which would include a payment by the developer to the MoD.

Fully subsidized by the tax-payer!!

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:05 am 
Coalition forces have been in Afghanistan for eight years!

That is three years more then WWII, and we are just getting our act together on the weapons issue. Wow!

It would still be nice to know what this war is about.


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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:03 am 
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DP111 wrote:
Coalition forces have been in Afghanistan for eight years!

That is three years more then WWII, and we are just getting our act together on the weapons issue. Wow!

It would still be nice to know what this war is about.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/commen ... 725468.ece

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:16 am 
Thanks Dr North for the link.

I do not see the relevance of Northern Ireland to Afghanistan. Northern Ireland was, and is, an integral part of the UK. What happens there is relevant to us here. That is not the case for Afghanistan.

What needs to be addressed - is Afghanistan a threat to the UK or the West, if the Taleban were in power? I don’t think they are. They do not have the power to project a threat to the UK or any Western country. What they do have is the threat to engage in terrorism via their proxies in the UK. That capability does not go way just because of our presence in Afghanistan. I would argue that that capability is actually being enhanced by our presence in Afghanistan. The more we are engaged in that country, the more people from that country will be able to come to the UK, claiming persecution or being persecuted for helping the Allies. Some of them will have hostile sentiments for the UK.

The argument that if we do not engage in Afghanistan, can be applied to various other Islamic countries - Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Eritrea, Sudan, to name a few, where alQaeda and other Jihadi groups hostile to the West, are well entrenched- which then leads to us to an ever expanding list of interventions.


David Aaronovitch’s article makes confused reading. He does not really make a case for intervention but berates those who are against it. That is not enough. The article makes a claim that our presence in Afghanistan prevents the persecution of women. Maybe, but have we not just granted asylum to a woman from Saudi Arabia for precisely that reason? We cannot invade every Muslim where women are persecuted. The few points he makes, like freedom for women, requires a fundamental reformation of Islam, which is not in our power.

I do not advocate unilateral withdrawal of British forces. Most certainly not, as our defence and security link with the USA and NATO, is far more important then any disagreement over Afghan policy. We are there, and unfortunately mission creep and nation building, will be the order of the day. What is important is that we do not then continue to invade all the Islamic countries I mentioned, for the same conditions apply there.


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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 11:01 am 
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That article is confirmation we are fighting the First Feminist War.

Not once did Aaronovich mention the word "Pashtun".

Quote:
So the difference between those who advocate staying and those who argue for leaving is this: the goers refuse to spell out the consequences of their advocacy, while the stayers must live with the constant price exacted by theirs.


I have. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taleban is a vehicle of Pashtun nationalism. Give Pashtuns a state, mission complete.

Al Qaeda were Arabs, not Pashtuns, and were guests of the Pashtuns only because the Arabs helped the Pashtun quest for power against their rival groups.

You don't even have to remove US forces on the ground. Call the Taleban's bluff and declare a Pashtun state and get the Pashtuns on side in the war against the Taleban.

Quote:
On the whole I don’t believe that we do retreat into the dopey bubble of magical thinking, of thinking that 20 more helicopters will mean no more dead teenagers. We know it’s hard and we may not succeed. But we have to do it. And we have to keep explaining why.


Yet he didn't. Except ignoring all the significant facts about the conflict and saying nothing new by way of analysis of the relationship between Afghan state, Pashtuns, Taleban and Al Qaeda. What a terrible article - he got paid for that?

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 12:52 pm 

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therewaslight wrote:
I have. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Taleban is a vehicle of Pashtun nationalism. Give Pashtuns a state, mission complete.

Al Qaeda were Arabs, not Pashtuns, and were guests of the Pashtuns only because the Arabs helped the Pashtun quest for power against their rival groups.

You don't even have to remove US forces on the ground. Call the Taleban's bluff and declare a Pashtun state and get the Pashtuns on side in the war against the Taleban.

Where would this state be and on whose authority would it be created? Are any representatives of Pashtuns petitioning the UN for such a thing? Would a fairly autonomous region similar to Northern Iraq suffice?

In places Afghanistan is very rural. The tribes of Afghanistan have long memories. They have stood on their own two feet for centuries and don't seem to have much interest in the Afghan Government so I can't imagine they would suddenly want to be a part of a Pashtun state either. They just want to be allowed to go about their lives in peace and they appear to be as much victims of the Taleban as anyone else.


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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 1:14 pm 
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gareth wrote:
Where would this state be and on whose authority would it be created?


Pashtun dominated regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Capital Kandahar. Kabul would not be in this state.

Image

We tell Afghan government in Kabul and the Pakistan government to allow the region to secede. Hold a big old fashioned summit to redraw maps, plan orderly and paid migration of populations, and solve regional differences.

Quote:
Are any representatives of Pashtuns petitioning the UN for such a thing?


The vehicle of Pashtun unification is the Taleban. They're petitioning with IEDS. If we grant the Pashtuns a state for Pashtuns nationalism, historic ethnic ties that could invoke past glories, such as the Durrani Empire, can provide the unifying force to elbow out the pathetic Taleban.

Quote:
Would a fairly autonomous region similar to Northern Iraq suffice?


It's a Pakistan problem too.

Quote:
In places Afghanistan is very rural. The tribes of Afghanistan have long memories. They have stood on their own two feet for centuries and don't seem to have much interest in the Afghan Government so I can't imagine they would suddenly want to be a part of a Pashtun state either.


We don't have to fix their problems, we need to fix ours. This only requires they be on side against the terrorists.

Quote:
They just want to be allowed to go about their lives in peace and they appear to be as much victims of the Taleban as anyone else.


They are the Taleban. The Taleban first gained ground when two Pashtuni warlords got into a dispute over a boy they both wanted to bugger. Taleban mediated the dispute and offered other solutions to Pashtun problems, like the drug trade. A Pashtun state should be doing all this, for Pashtuns.

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:53 pm 

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Is the nationalist cause that fervent? Afghanistan has a Pashtun president afterall.

Afghanistan: 'Britain is backing the Taleban'

Quote:
DESPITE the grim toll of British soldiers' bodies coming home in coffins, many Afghans believe British troops have been helping the Taleban.

"Of course we think they are supporting the Taleban," said shopkeeper Saad Alikhi in Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province. "When the international troops first came here, they cleaned up all the Taleban, all over Afghanistan, within a month. Now I find there's a mine exploding in front of my shop."

Security has plummeted across Helmand since UK troops arrived three years ago, and ordinary people have watched the Taleban grow stronger.

Many are struggling to understand why Britain, with all the might of Nato and the United States behind it, has failed to beat the ragtag Taleban militia.

...

[Shopkeeper Abdul Karim] had fond memories of Taleban rule. "The Taleban are the enemies of the international community, but they were good for the welfare of ordinary Afghans, for poor people like us," he said. "In Taleban times, there was punishment for criminals. They didn't mind executing people, or cutting off their hands, so from one lesson, a hundred others would learn."

We seem to have brought anarchy to Helmand.


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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:01 pm 
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gareth wrote:
Is the nationalist cause that fervent? Afghanistan has a Pashtun president afterall.


The Taleban's as nationalist as you get in the Islamic world. The Taleban is only successful to the extent it creates order; if the Pashtun state fulfills that function the Taleban will whither away. We need to co-opt this movement and neutralise it within a national state for Pashtuns.

Why not within an Afghanistan state?

The Afghan government's Pashtun leader is a figurehead with no ability to give preferential help to Pashtuns. This is because the non-Pashtun groups do not want a Pashtun dominated government.

The Pashtun, like the rivals of the Pashtun, will always be maneuvering for greater power. A democratic constitution doesn't change the fundamental reality that they're never going to get on in the same state.

What about Iraq, Kurds, etc? Notice that even autocratic regimes have struggled in Afghanistan's past to retain control - there's no money to enable the group in power to really get a stranglehold, which makes it hard to wean the Pashtun warlords off the drugs and assistance of the Arabs fanatics.

Self-responsibility is the key - Pashtuns want power, give it to them.

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:28 pm 

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I'm increasingly with you, TWL. Dress it all up as undoing those divisive colonial borders and try to carve up along borders of geography and ethnicity. The rump peoples of Afgho must feel safe against annexation by Tajiks, Uzbeks or even Pashtuns. While we're at it I suppose Beluchistan will need resurrecting too. One of the tribes specializes in underground canals, give them some graders and JCBs to play with.

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 Post subject: Re: Round and round in circles
PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:03 pm 

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I'm not so sure balkanisation is the answer but it as good as any. If we did that do we remain in the area to police the borders we have redrawn? Do we insist Islamist ways are abandoned or leave them to their own devices? Perhaps they could be protectorates of some description for a time.

The efforts (or lack of them) to get Helmand and other southern provinces better attached to the Afghan state that already exists, particularly by getting those locals involved in the Police and military arms of the Government, is the best compromise between leaving the south to the Taleban and forming a Pashtun state. This appears to be what the Americans were doing before we went into Helmand in a big way. If it was working under the Americans as the Scotsman article suggests why isn't it working under us?


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