After ten years of raging warfare in Afghanistan, watching the fight slowly ooze across the invisible Durand Line into Pakistan, we have the right to wonder whether the war is any closer to ending today? It is perfectly reasonable to suspect that if we were allowed to know the truth we would understand that the American government has no plans to end the war in the near future. Trying to make sense of relentless Western news reports on the disaster of the impending American “withdrawal from Afghanistan,” even though other reports reveal that super-bases have been constructed, leaving most observers completely bewildered about whether the Afghan war is ending or expanding. The only thing that is obvious is that there is to be no “withdrawal” from Afghanistan, at least not from the northern half of the country (SEE: Plan B In Afghanistan).
If it was true that US forces were planning to eventually leave Afghanistan, then CENTCOM would not be allocating $100 million to build a Special Forces base in Mazar i-Sharif. This is to be a massive, permanent structure, intended to serve as a Special Forces operations center for many years to come. The majority of analysts who have focused upon this SOCOM facility, have drawn the conclusion that this and the other super-bases are intended to provide protection to the pipelines which are planned, in addition to providing Green Berets and Navy Seals to send on night raids into Pakistan. My own research into the subject reveals something far more sinister than just the intentional prolonging of the occupation of Afghanistan.
From the bid solicitations which are cited below, the US Army has big plans for Central Asia, most of them are scheduled to take place after the official Afghan withdrawal date of 2014. Ongoing military construction contracts are proof of military intent. CENTCOM has just awarded KBR a contract for $3.8 billion for constructing unspecified new facilities in an “area of responsibility” which encompasses the following countries:
Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.
This contract (which is supplemented by the other contracts given below) is something known as a MATOC contract (Multiple Award Task Order Contract). To initiate this major omnibus contract, ninety-nine security-cleared companies were solicited to participate in the contract program, which is scheduled to continue until the year 2016. The majority of these ninety-nine companies specialized in wartime construction, but many of them had exotic specialties, ranging from electronic prototype construction, to aerial drone manufacturing and operations, to private security contractors specializing in “irregular warfare.” There were even a couple of them dealing with “directed energy weaponry,” in addition to one image consultant.
From this list of approved, experienced contractors fourteen construction contractors were selected to form a pool of ready bidders to bid on each project as it reached approval stage. Somehow, since the solicitation was announced, KBR has apparently eliminated the competition, winning the whole construction contract. It was also announced that five electronic contractors would form a bidding pool for the component manufacturing, maintenance and operations of the experimental prototype network. It may turn out, that the electronics are handled like the building, SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) may have landed the entire package. (It does seem strange that both contract winners have been charged with wrongdoing on previous contracts.) SAIC has also been awarded another separate contract which is a companion to this big operation:
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) (NYSE:SAI) and Tetra Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ:TTEK) announced that their joint venture, Integrated Justice Systems International, LLC (IJSI), has been awarded a contract to render worldwide civilian police and criminal justice assistance to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL). The total contract limit for this multiple-award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract is worth $10 billion, consisting one base year and four option years.
To compete for task orders to supply INL with program management, criminal justice, and life and mission support to countries emerging from conflict or otherwise facing instability challenges the above mentioned joint venture was chosen.
IJSI shall render technical assistance, training, logistics and infrastructure services to support the Department of State’s efforts to strengthen criminal justice systems in select partner countries under this new contract. IJSI is one of six teams that can compete for task orders under the contract.
Chuck Zang, SAIC senior vice president and business unit general manager explained that our joint venture renders the experience required for successful international criminal justice training and worldwide logistics. He added that SAIC has critical experience supporting the U.S. government’s overseas law enforcement initiatives; including anti-terrorism training and technical assistance and that they expect to support this important effort, and using their expertise to help ensure stability and safety through professional criminal justice entities, and training personnel to ensure modernization of their programs.
“Counter-narcotics officials in Washington have unveiled a plan to help combat the flow of drugs from Afghanistan, through Central Asia, and into Russia…The plan, still in draft form, is known as “The Central Asian Counter-narcotics Initiative” (CACI). It envisions the establishment of counter-narcotics task forces in the five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan — which would communicate with similar existing units in Afghanistan and Russia…The seven groups would share sensitive information, improve coordination on joint and cross-border operations, and help build cases against wanted or arrested traffickers…for the Russian Federation ‘it is a means by which they can link into the efforts both in the source country, Afghanistan, and transit countries, the Central Asian five, in a way that they currently cannot do.’”
According to other advertised contracts, whatever work is in the pipeline for KBR, the operation will involve major investments in a prototype experimental electronic network. The official government website for the General Services Administration is soliciting contract bids for work for the Quick Reaction and Battle Command Support Division (QR&BCSD), which does everything from surveillance, to Special Forces missions, to conducting “irregular warfare,” to running aerial drones.
ENGINEERING, INSTALLATION/INTEGRATION, TECHNOLOGY INSERTION AND LOGISTICAL SUPPORT TO THE QUICK REACTION & BATTLE COMMAND SUPPORT DIVISION (QR&BCSD)
Solicitation Number: 4QDS21110084
Agency: General Services Administration
Office: Federal Acquisition Service (FAS)
Location: Assisted Acquisition Services Division (4QFA)
This contract is also for unspecified work in the following countries, covering the same projected timeframe (contracts to be completed by 2016):
Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Dubai, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Pakistan.
In narrowing the list down, we can rule-out the construction of these new facilities in Afghanistan or Pakistan, since such assets are already deployed there. Under a new plan unveiled Thursday, the Defense Dept. said that it is preparing to treat cyberspace as another “operational domain.” In this domain, China has been identified as America’s primary “cyber-enemy.” That should shrink the list, ruling-out the Middle Eastern, African and European countries, as the battlefield for any new net-centric operations, leaving only “the Stans” as the planned construction sites. Whatever the US military has planned for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, or Uzbekistan will definitely be net-centric, in a big way. It is unlikely that the host governments will be apprised of any special operations which are outside the parameters of fighting narco-terrorism.
It is important at this point that we examine the “Quick Reaction Forces,” so that we may understand how they will be used. We have already summarized what they do (everything from surveillance, to Special Forces missions, to running aerial drones), but we now need to take a closer look at what those jobs entail, comparing that to the specific technicians being sought for the jobs.
The government is soliciting private contractors with experience in combat zones, to build a private electronics network to be used by US Special Forces in the same Central Asian countries. Again, the work conditions and terms given for these job listings matches the MATOC contract solicitation.
Getting back to the Quick Reaction contract notice, there is a more detailed pdf included, which really fleshes-out exactly what is being sought. The following national organizations will be connected with the planned tasks:
“The Afghanistan training efforts include the Border Mentoring Task Force, DEA SCIF, Counter Narcotics Academy and the Border Services Communications training. Other programs requiring C4ISR training include the Kyrgyzstan Information Sharing Communications System, Turkmenistan State Border Service Communications, and Tajikistan Intra-Agency Communications System Training.”
The purpose of these secret and semi-secret operations will be to establish American military dominance over the energy-laden CIS states. Contrary to popular opinion, these dangerous covert measures are not necessarily just to enable American oil companies to “steal the oil,” but are more likely intended to simply give American blackmailers the opportunity to assert similar control of the Asian oil and gas pipelines which Russia has over European gas lines. American military penetration of Central Asia will give US leaders the power to shut-down China, as well as India and Pakistan, whenever the new pipelines become operational. This military penetration is being hotly pursued on all fronts.
As a first step to obtaining veto power over energy to China, the US Army is creating for SOCOM the first “big network” of sensors and communication media (net-centric combat system), tied directly into the Global Information Grid (GIG).
This is what “full-spectrum dominance” (the battlefield of the future) looks like. This is not speculation; it is a fact, taken directly from the General Services website.
The following job descriptions are copied from the Quick Reaction pdf:
Performance Work Statement (PWS) summarizes the jobs that this private network will perform for SOCOM:
engineering, integration, technology insertion, installation, testing, logistical,
material acquisition and other support activities as required in support of a variety of
C4ISR technology insertion and support projects.
Research and Development
• Technology Insertion, Systems Integration
• Engineering and Technical Documentation Support
• Software/Hardware Engineering
• Systems Engineering Support
• Engineering Contingencies
• Test and Evaluation
• Logistics Support
• Business Operations Support
Provide In-Country C4ISR experts to station/deploy into USCENTCOM and
other countries to perform C4ISR and Counter Narcotics communication
systems quality assurance tasks, witness testing, and assist in training
events., NIU firing and training range management, and provide
liaison/coordination between customer nations, embassies and C2D. The
C2D Counter Narcotics Program Coordinators shall report back to CENTCOM
C4ISR stands for Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. MASINT is “measurement and signals intelligence” obtained from air-dropped or ground-placed sensors, which measure and report movement on the ground or in the sky to the Special Forces network.
Early air-dropped prototypes
Or, perhaps something more exotic, like this Israeli rock version.
Under cover of joint operations with host governments, pursuing narco-terrorists, or interdicting drugs or arms traffickers, American air support will be secretly mapping terrain and acquiring GPS coordinates, as they air-drop MASINT sensors across the countryside.
US-contracted construction companies will erect permanent border control and other security facilities. These facilities will be in addition to Special Forces training centers, like the one in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan, and the new one being built in Qaratogh, Tajikistan. Both of these facilities will belong to the host governments, but they will also be providing space for US technicians to occupy, as they monitor and coordinate efforts within the country, bringing those governments in line with the the other six national groups participating in the CACI initiative.
Into these fledgling counter-terror/counter-narcotics networks, American and British Special Forces trainers will be inserted, serving as instructors in the new state-of-the-art centers. From these operational centers, “training missions” will be dispatched into the surrounding hills, facilitating the emplacement of ground-installed sensors, some of which have a battery life of six months or more.
In Central Asia, we will be hunting the IMU terrorists (Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is the new “al-Qaeda”), as the means to permanently entrench American power in the region. The claim that “targets have been identified” from the alleged bin Laden raid is a complete fabrication, since the new enemies (those who are willing to take-up arms against American occupiers) have not as yet been identified. Whenever the time for killing begins, the victims will all be identified as “militants” by the complicit Western media, after they demonstrate their willingness to take-up arms and resist the encroaching Empire. For now, they remain simple folks facing a low-level invasion, who have not yet made the conscious personal decisions to resist. This is the real nature of a war against terrorism, it is based on an erroneous definition of “terrorism.” Civilians who resist invasion are classified as “terrorists.” Identifying them for later elimination is a primary objective of the opening (“tickling”) phase of the war.
The wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan have both been co-opted to this greater mission, allowing both wars to fester and stalemate until the new, greater war in Central Asia could be brought online. By “online,” I mean that preliminary groundwork could be laid, even as the destabilization programs were being guided to fruition. From the Tajik civil war, to the early colored revolutions and riots which have been engineered on the former Soviet real estate, to the more recent upheavals in Kyrgyzstan and in China’s western regions. Social tensions in the region have been slowly percolated to the current boiling point, closely approximating the conditions arranged for the “Arab spring” movements. Destabilization is the primary weapon in “limited warfare” doctrine.
Afghan drugs have also served as another primary weapon in the CIA/Pentagon psywar destabilization program, their movement across borders and their corrupting influence have laid the foundations for joint counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics efforts from Afghanistan to Russia and beyond, anywhere that American-enabled opioids flow. In order to fight all the problems associated with these drugs and other fallout of America’s failed Afghan war plan, partnerships have been formed with US and NATO forces, making these governments all partners in plans for their own destruction and servitude. As a direct result of these partnerships, the doors have flung wide-open for a full-scale US military penetration of all of the “Stans,” and that planned penetration is getting underway.
In a strange twist of dictatorships striving to save their fledgling democracies from an Imperial penetration and net-centric psywar operations, governments which have found themselves under attack, have been turning to censorship of the Internet, as a last line of defense. In the past twenty-four hours three major Central Asian news websites have been taken-down by unknown entities in major cyber-attacks (Chronicles of Turkmenistan, NewsCentralAsia and Avesta.Tj).
In a mystifying arrogance that leaves decent folks grasping for the proper words to describe what we are witnessing, the American administration has revealed to the world that it has some unwritten right to take actions meant to undermine any government that tries to protect itself against the intensive, organized assault.
“The United States is funding the development of new technologies to circumvent unwanted controls, sponsoring training programs for Internet activists, and launching diplomatic initiatives to build “a global coalition of governments committed to advancing Internet freedom.”
The New York Times reports that the US State Department will have spent upwards of $70 million on “shadow networks” which would allow protesters to communicate even if powers that be pull the traditional plug — so far, it’s spent at least $50 million on a independent cell phone network for Afghanistan, and given a $2 million grant to members of the New America Foundation creating the “internet in a suitcase” pictured above. It’s a batch of mesh networking equipment designed to be spirited into a country to set up a private network.”
It is the nature of psywar (psychological warfare) that each small operation builds upon the previous operations, in a kind of inverted pyramidal edifice, where all building blocks rest upon one original faulty foundation stone. In the case of the global war on terror (GWOT), everything rests upon the American definition of the word “terrorism.”
In the grand psyop, war is perpetuated and sometimes escalated, but it is never ended. In order to accomplish the perpetuation of persistent warfare, American forces are never allowed to obtain anything approximating ultimate victory. In the scheme labeled “asymmetric warfare,” the impossible becomes an everyday occurrence. The flea is portrayed as the equal to the wolf pack. Small, poorly armed militant groups like the Taliban, somehow manage to hold-off and sometimes defeat the world’s most powerful military, even with its overwhelming air superiority. Even in mountainous terrain, where there are vast distances between targets, the over-accommodating Western media paints a misleading picture of militants who are armed with RPGs and AK-47s, surviving against military forces which operate under the principle of “full-spectrum dominance.”
Maintaining the illusion is the key to maintaining perpetual war. The psywar is far more important than the real war. The war against minds has more far-reaching effects than the war against the flesh. With one bullet, or one-hundred bullets, you can kill one man (or several), but with the right combination of words you can destroy or disable the minds of hundreds, even thousands of men. This is the reason why the US Army maintains 40 psychological warfare reserve units. Even the most deadly arm of the American military, the Special Forces divisions rely upon psyop battalions to prepare their battles for them. Full-spectrum cyber-warfare brings every resource to bear upon making the enemy think whatever you want them to think. In the case of the global terror war, America’s real intentions are hidden behind a façade of ineptitude and near-incompetence, while the most sophisticated warfighting system ever dreamed-up by the minds of martial man have concentrated on overcoming the minds of the world.
They do this by creating the contradictory impression that our military is more concerned with perpetuating our enemies than in defeating them. We fight against “militant Islamists,” even while our every action is cued towards increasing the number of militants. American policies of staging overwhelming punitive attacks upon our adversaries, knowing that countless numbers of Muslim males will rush forward in reaction, seeking vengeance for murdered family members, increases the resistance, instead of decreasing it. A policy which focuses upon provocation aims to drive the insurgencies. It is little wonder that so many researchers draw the conclusion that the CIA and military intelligence are behind the militant/terrorist groups, if not in actual deeds, then in intentions. This “intelligence-driven war” is a perpetual motion machine.
By driving the “Islamic” militant groups, wherever policy-makers wish to go, the doors are opened wide to US and NATO forces. The staged mock “killing of bin Laden” has set the next stage in the grand Pentagon psywar, a massive “manhunt” deep into Central Asia. World opinion is now pre-primed to expect US Special Forces kill teams to pursue Osama’s alleged associates wherever they can be spotted in CENTCOM’s area of operations.
The “killing of bin Laden” scam is being augmented by further US government machinations, which are centered around circumstances arising from the “failing” Afghan war–drugs and gun-running, narco-terrorism, regional instability. Under the pretense of assisting local governments deal with this Afghan-related chaos (through American and NATO support in improving national technological capabilities, especially in tightening border security), inroads are made into each of the targeted states military and police forces, justifying intensive penetration of the countryside under peaceful “aid” programs.
The American construction of massive bases in foreign countries (often against the will of the host governments) is one of those “national security” issues that our “free press” normally chooses to avoid. Despite claims that media in Western democracies are free to report on whatever they want, the corporate-owned press chooses to avoid stories of outright government duplicity, such as the contradictions inherent in the base construction issue. America is not so generous that it builds multi- million military bases with the intention to simply give them away as soon as they are completed. The tracks which have been left, confirm to us all, that the Afghan war is not slated to end in 2014, it is instead, going to be shifted into interior Central Asia. There is not yet any reason for world opinion to accept that major shifting of forces, but reasons (or at least excuses) are being created to shift those opinions, by means of the problems being cooked-up in the boiling pot of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
While the world’s attention will remain riveted to potential military actions in Pakistan and the Persian Gulf, the real war will erupt elsewhere, seemingly out of nowhere....
Using Militarized Dialogue To Claim Asian Gas and Oil Finds....
The Philippines will acquire eight brand-new utility helicopters worth P3.2 billion that may be used to transport troops anywhere, including the areas being claimed by the Philippines on the Spratlys, Brig. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, head of the Armed Forces Modernization Program office, said Wednesday.
Military officials also said they removed a foreign barge earlier this month from the Sabina Shoal off Palawan.
“There were no markings, so there was no indication which country it belonged to,” Western Command chief Juancho Sabban said.
Deveraturda made the statement even as a group of Filipino lawmakers flew Wednesday to a Philippine-occupied island in the disputed South China Sea to assert their country’s claim to the potentially oil-rich region in defiance of China’s protest that the visit threatened regional stability.
“We saw the situation on the ground, particularly the disputed islands,” Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said.
“We really have to support the government’s efforts to manifest our claim by providing infrastructure and social, economic and defense logistics.”
Chinese Ambassador to Manila Liu Jianchao protested the visit, acting Foreign Affairs chief Esteban Conejos said.
But presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda insisted there was nothing wrong with the visit because the law-markers had visited Philippine territory.
In Alameda, California, 95 Filipino sailors boarded the Philippines’ newest and biggest warship, Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas: Gregorio del Pilar, at the US Coast Guard on Tuesday.
Malacañang said the the 3,000-ton ship will patrol the West Philippine Sea close to the disputed Spratly Islands.
Deveraturda said the helicopters were transport aircraft manned by two pilots with 12 passenger seats.
“The units can be deployed anywhere where they’re needed most. “If they are needed to patrol our claimed islands in the Spratlys, so be it.”
Deveraturda said the first four of the eight helicopters will arrive in November and the other four next year.
The W-3A Sokol choppers, manufactured by the Polish firm PZL-Swidnik, can carry up to 14 people including the two pilots, and has a maximum speed of 235 kilometers per hour. They cost P400 million each.
“The presence of the military [in the West Philippine Sea] is for sovereign patrol. We have 200 miles of exclusive economic zone that we should patrol,” Deveraturda said.
As she heads out to Bali and Indonesia after her India visit, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wades into the gathering conflict between Beijing and its Southeast Asian neighbors. Every word that Clinton might say, and those that she won’t, on the territorial disputes in the South China Sea will be scrutinized in the region for their implications for East Asian security and the future of China-US relations.
It was exactly a year ago, at the annual regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Hanoi, that Clinton declared America’s interest in the peaceful resolution of the disputes in the South China Sea and affirmed the right to freedom of navigation.
The emphasis on the word “peaceful” underlined the US commitment to protect its friends and allies in ASEAN, although Washington does not take sides in the maritime disputes between China and its Southeast Asian neighbors.
Since then, an angry and even more assertive China has warned the United States and other major powers to stay out of the South China Sea disputes. It cautioned Washington to consider the larger consequences of inserting itself into the South China Sea in opposition to Beijing.
China has warned its smaller neighbors against relying on the United States to solve their problems with Beijing. China has also flaunted its renewed military exchanges and security dialogue with the United States to remind its neighbors that China has more leverage with Washington than the ASEAN can ever hope to have.
The question now is whether Clinton will underline American determination to stand up against rising China or begin to walk back from the tough position she outlined last year. All others will begin to readjust their positions upon reading the signals that Clinton might put out.
The first hints of the US position could come when Clinton makes her only public speech during her current trip in Chennai on Wednesday.
Since President Barack Obama’s visit to India last November, senior administration officials have repeatedly called on India to take a larger role in East Asia and the Pacific.
Many of the ASEAN countries, like Vietnam, have been seeking Indian support in their stand-off with China. Until now, India has been somewhat ambiguous. Delhi’s position on the South China Sea disputes might become a little clearer at the ARF gathering in Bali.
While India wakes up to the geopolitics of the South China Sea, there is concern about Delhi losing ground again to Beijing in the Himalayas.
There is some heartburn within Delhi’s strategic community at the thought of China turning Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha in Nepal, into a pilgrimage center with world-class facilities like the Vatican and Mecca.
Making Lumbini more accessible, turning its environs attractive, and leveraging it for Nepal’s rapid economic development are big ideas that have been around for a long while. Their time may now have come, given the rise of China and Beijing’s capacity to think big and execute mega projects on short order.
But it certainly rankles that Delhi could not think expansively about the possibilities in Lumbini, which is not very far from India’s border with Nepal. But grand ideas have long ceased to win political traction in Delhi. It is not the Indian political class that came up with the idea of building a modern university on the ruins of the world’s oldest university in Nalanda. That idea came from Singapore in 2005.
There is no point blaming Beijing for taking up projects that India has not shown interest in. India’s lack of strategic imagination and Delhi’s neglect of its frontiers are reflected in the pathetic state of the nation’s infrastructure on the border with Nepal.
The Indian state stands exposed at one of main international gateways to Lumbini — in the Utter Pradesh towns of Nautanwah and Sunauli. If Nepal’s Bhairawah town near Lumbini has a third-world feel, the Indian side of the border is a hellhole from the fourth world.
Instead of objecting to Chinese plans to develop Lumbini, India should focus on the development of its own territories facing Lumbini and more broadly, Nepal.
Could someone persuade Delhi to mobilize, say, $3 billion, the amount a Chinese foundation wants to get for the Lumbini project, on the transformation of the Indian border districts — so rich with history and heritage?
May be someone can tell Rahul Gandhi, so determined to win the impending elections in Uttar Pradesh, that mega projects that touch India’s spiritual sensibility and create jobs might be political winners.
Could someone convince the Congress leadership that a bold agenda for borderland development could get votes as well improve national security?
United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon Commander Major General Alberto Asarta revealed that he suggested that the international force act as a mediator between Lebanon and Israel in demarcating the maritime border.
He told Al-Akhbar newspaper in remarks published on Thursday that he hopes that this issue will be resolved during his tenure and that efforts would be made to completely designate the Blue Line as well.
Asarta presented his proposal during the recent tripartite meeting between Lebanon, Israel, and UNIFIL at Ras al-Naqoura to discuss pending issues between them.
He added that by December, 80 percent of the markers would have been set on the Blue Line, with the remainder being disputed territory with Israel, which would be settled through an agreement with Lebanon and the Jewish state.
UNIFIL has the means, funding, and determination to carry out the demarcation, but it only needs an agreement between Lebanon and Israel in order to see it through, he stated.
Furthermore, Asarta slammed accusations that the international troops and U.N. are biased towards Israel.
In addition, he denied claims that the international troops is seeking to decrease the number of its units.
This is just an amazing insult to the U.S. middle class and tax payer. While our social security is being decimated under the Congressional and Administration made debt ceiling crisis, a new report shows the United States is losing billions in Afghanistan. Literally the money disappears.
The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction released an audit that shows, literally, our U.S. tax dollars are disappearing and probably into the hands of those who are trying to kill us.
efforts to safeguard U.S. cash entering the Afghan economy and to develop the Afghan financial sector have been hampered by limited inter-agency coordination, inconsistent Afghan cooperation and insufficient cash controls.
SIGAR found that U.S. agencies have limited visibility over U.S. cash that enters the Afghan economy — leaving it vulnerable to fraud and diversion to the insurgency. SIGAR also found that poor cooperation by the Afghan government has impeded U.S. efforts to help develop the Afghan financial sector.
“The United States has poured billions of aid dollars into a country plagued by corruption, insurgency and the narcotics trade. It is essential that we use all available tools to ensure that U.S. dollars are protected from fraud and diversion to the insurgency. We must also ensure that the Afghan government is a full partner in efforts to set a fledgling financial sector on sound footing,”said Herbert Richardson, acting Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.
How much money is at risk? The press release quotes over $70 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds have been funneled to Afghanistan for security and other purposes since 2002. So, the amount is some percentage of these funds.
How did this happen? For one, U.S. contracting regulations do not prohibit prime contractors from using unlicensed hawalas to pay subcontractors. This is the same black market money system that funded the 9/11 hijackers. Even worse, Afghanistan is blocking audits and financial reforms.
If one recalls billions disappeared in Iraq as well. Literally $12 billion in shrink wrapped $100 bills disappeared. To this day they cannot account for at least $6.6 billion and admit it’s probably stolen. $6.6 billion.
Nice work if you can get it huh?
The next time you hear we must force America’s retired, aged, poor, sick and vulnerable into abject poverty in order to reduce the deficit, think of this.$100 billion of a debt ceiling increase would fund the government until September. Yet the cost of war since 2001 is hitting $4 trillion dollars.
If only the United States poured those funds into rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Seems policy generally is anybody but American workers and citizens.
A diplomatic row which broke out between Tajik and Uzbek diplomats in Moscow last week has unmasked sharp contradictions in the two countries’ positions on the use of water resources in Central Asia....
Diplomatic row breaks out between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan....
On 14 June, the Tajik embassy in Russia published an article headlined “Tajikistan’s water resources will serve as a uniting factor in the Central Asian region” which contained accusations against Uzbekistan.
Tajik diplomats accused Uzbekistan of drying out the Aral Sea, preventing Tajikistan from solving its energy crisis, and assisting a civil war in Tajikistan in the early 1990s.
Uzbekistan was also accused of laying mine fields along the border, “lacking the political will” to establish an air link between Dushanbe and Tashkent for 20 years, adopting an arrogant attitude towards leaders of other Central Asian countries and delaying freight trains carrying materials for the construction of the Rogun hydro electric plant.
“The neighboring country’s government is trying to tell Tajikistan whether or not it should build certain facilities, in particular the Rogun hydro electric plant, on its own territory,” the article said. “This, we believe, is like Tajikistan opposing drilling or exploration of oil and gas fields in Uzbekistan.”
On 18 June, the Uzbek embassy in Russia published a press release in response headlined “On facts and emotions” in which it said its Tajik colleagues had made “open tendentious assessments and attacks” and “groundless accusations against Uzbekistan”.
It rejected all the claims advanced by the Tajik embassy, citing international agreements and UN conventions to back its arguments. The Uzbek embassy said in the press release:
“The Tajik embassy’s statement that plans to build the Rogun hydro electric plant is purely an internal affair of that country is a contradiction of international law.”
It also blamed Tajikistan for obstructing the resolution of regional water and energy problems.
Uzbek diplomats said that, “precisely because of Dushanbe’s position in recent years, the countries in our region are unable to reach agreement on annual volumes of water taken from the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya for each country in the region as part of an interstate water commission”.
The reports were signed by the press services of the respective embassies, however observers claim that in such press releases every word is agreed at the highest governmental level.
It is very symbolic that the exchange of animosities between the embassies took place at the same time as a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Astana on 15 June. Observers believe this was a conscious move to draw attention to the acute water and energy issues dividing the two countries.
The conflict derives from the shared environmental resources in the Central Asian region, in particular the water of two major rivers – the Amu Darya and the Syr Darya.
Uzbekistan believes that upstream Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are attempting to use the river for their own ends and at the expense of downstream Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
The problem is complicated by the natural low-flow periods, which cause difficulties for Uzbek farmers who depend on irrigation.
Experts believe that because of the shared environmental system hydro-technical facilities in upstream countries should be built and exploited jointly by all the region’s countries.
They think that the actions of foreign companies keen to invest in hydro-technical projects in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and the ambitions of regional leaders are delaying the resolution of this problem....
China told the United States on Friday to respect Chinese “territorial integrity,” amid simmering tensions focused on the South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the comments to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a bilateral meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, according to a spokesman from China’s delegation.
“The Chinese side raised its own concerns, which is that it is important to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China,” spokesman Liu Weiming said.
“And to respect China’s major concerns in the issues of Tibet and some other sensitive issues. I sense that the U.S. side understands the sensitivity of these issues and they agreed to further promote dialogue and mutual understanding.”
Liu said Yang and Clinton specifically discussed the South China Sea, which China claims as its own.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims to parts of the South China Sea, believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits and home to shipping lanes vital to global trade.
Tensions in the decades-long dispute flared in recent months amid accusations by the Philippines and Vietnam that China was being increasingly aggressive in staking its claim to the sea.
China and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced on Wednesday in Bali a “breakthrough” in the dispute, endorsing a set of guidelines designed to reduce tensions in the waters.
In brief comments ahead of her meeting with Yang on Friday, Clinton praised China and ASEAN for working to defuse the tensions.
But, in a move likely to irk China, Clinton was set to make a speech on Saturday to her Asian counterparts in which she would emphasize that the United States had a “strategic stake” in the South China Sea.
A U.S. official traveling with Clinton said she would make a “very detailed statement” at the ASEAN Regional Forum about the importance of the South China Sea to American and global commerce.
“We have a strategic stake in how issues there are managed,” the official said, citing comments Clinton was preparing to make in her speech to the forum.
China has long insisted the United States has no role to play in solving the South China Sea dispute with its neighbors....