10 Questions Posed by Afghanistan to the World, Our Region, and Our Country
Mohannad Dlykan Mohannad Dlykan

10 Questions Posed by Afghanistan to the World, Our Region, and Our Country

Reactions to the Afghan events are still ongoing in and around Afghanistan and throughout the world, and perhaps the reactions outside Afghanistan are many times greater than inside it. That is understandable because what happened there, and what will happen, is closely connected to the nature of American policy in the context of its competition and conflict with the rising powers. It is also closely connected to the mechanisms by which those competing forces deal with the Afghan events, and this is subsequently connected to the overall international balance and its transformations, the effects of which reach all parts of the world.
Hereinbelow, we will try to present a set of questions that we believe the Afghan events have urgently put on the global discussion table, including those related to our region and our country, Syria. However, we should first provide a quick description of what happened, not from the news side of course, but somewhat the analytical side.

Hereinbelow, we will try to present a set of questions that we believe the Afghan events have urgently put on the global discussion table, including those related to our region and our country, Syria. However, we should first provide a quick description of what happened, not from the news side of course, but somewhat the analytical side.

A quick description

It is not difficult to deduce that the way the US withdrew from Afghanistan included a “receipt and handover” operation with the Taliban, including leaving American weapons in the hands of the Taliban in different parts of the country.

The operation also included an American “betrayal”, which is neither the first nor the last of its kind, to its loyalists in Afghanistan, and to the government and army, on which it claimed that it had spent huge amounts of money.

It is not difficult to also conclude that leaving the scene to the Taliban has the clear purpose of filling the American void with chaos. That is, turning Afghanistan into an epicenter of threat and sabotage for its neighbors, near and far. This includes Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Turkey, all the way to China and Russia, and our Arab East as well.

It is clear that this periphery of threat is precisely the heart of the main geographical space of both the Chinese “Belt and Road” and the Russian “Eurasian project”.

We think it would be taking things lightly to absolutely accept the American narrative about the enmity with the Taliban. This is because history bears witness to the historically close relationship between the various “jihadist” groups and the US, starting from its establishment in the context of the war with the Soviet Union at the time. We say absolute acceptance because the enmity between the Afghan people and the Americans is an existing and real one, became rooted by the last twenty years with the crimes committed by the US on the one hand, and the corruption and domination of the US’s agents on the other hand. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the Taliban itself.

However, at the same time, we do not think it is correct to take lightly characterizing the Taliban as merely an American tool. Over the past thirty years, and through very complex conflicts and tools, the various countries surrounding Afghanistan, all the way to Russia and China, have entered into various forms of dialogue with the Taliban itself, and some of them have established reasonable relations with the movement. In addition, the movement itself does not internally follow one direction, but rather that it includes multiple currents.

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The above description is nothing more than a prelude to diving into the questions arising from the events. These questions, without a systematic order, are the following:

(1)

The American withdrawal trend has become a reality, and Afghanistan itself has become the biggest evidence thereof. However, the big question that the next few months and years will answer is the following: Will the rising countries, especially Russia and China, and then the countries directly surrounding Afghanistan, and the people of Afghanistan itself, be able to contain the Afghan situation and close the door on turning Afghanistan into a hotbed of chaos and explosion as the Americans want it to be?

Our initial assessment is that it will succeed in this, albeit through difficulties, which will not be few. In practice, this will be the first serious and broad test of the ability of the rising powers to end the American creative chaos, which will have major effects on all the areas from which the Americans intend to withdraw, and consequently on the entire international balance.

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(2)

Perhaps the issue of “betrayal by the Americans” to their allies has become the most prevalent theme in media outlets associated with those allies, starting with “Israel” and passing through the Gulf states, to even some of the US-backed Latin American leaders.

These “allies” ask themselves a set of questions derived from the Afghan events, including three main questions: “Will our turn come?”, “When will it be our turn and how?”, and “What should we do in anticipation?”

Implicitly, these allies ask: What is the nature of alliances, relationships, and enmities that we should quickly begin to reconsider in anticipation of the “American betrayal”, the possibility of which can be accurately described using the farcical description used by the Americans themselves when they want to tell a lie without taking full responsibility for it; by that I mean “highly likely”.

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(3)

We said above that among the allies who ask themselves the previous big questions is “Israel”, and this is what their media is revealing these days, which is now talking about the American withdrawal from Afghanistan as the end of the American era, and the beginning of a new era.

However, the question that we are asking based on this: What will be the fate of the Palestinian cause, with its Palestinian dimension and its Arab dimension, in particular its Syrian dimension, in light of the American withdrawal?

The general saying that is pondered is: the American retreat is necessarily a retreat of the Zionist project, but more difficult is looking into how this will happen, and by what means? These are questions that should be answered in theory and in practice.

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(4)

In the context of the “collapse” of the US-trained Afghan army, (and in our opinion, the issue is, as we have said, a question of receipt and handover, but that does not cancel out that this army was not a national army and was not prepared to fight), a general question is posed about the totality of the “armies” and forces that the US trains or arms.

In connection with the previous question, the “Israeli” media itself has, in the past few days, been asking about the fate of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces, which are trained and funded by the US. This question focuses on the following issue: Shouldn’t we, as “Israelis”, fundamentally reconsider the ability of these apparatuses to oppress and control the Palestinians during the next phase? Does it not follow that immediate and swift actions should be taken? (In other words, the security coordination that some revere, ironically, has become an “Israeli” question!)

The same question is repeated in one way or another with regard to the Iraqi army and the Lebanese army, albeit the situations in these two countries have different coordinates.

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(5)

If the purpose of the method of withdrawing from Afghanistan is to turn it into an epicenter of explosion that threatens all its neighbors, China and Russia in particular, and these same countries will try to contain the Afghan events – and this is something that naturally requires effort, resources, and time – then perhaps it is useful (from the American perspective) to throw several fireballs simultaneously in the hands of these countries that will try to play the role of the firefighter, thus weakening their ability to perform that mission.

Therefore, it is possible and logical to ask the following question: Will the US make quick and imminent withdrawals from several already volatile places in this region in its broad extension, primarily from Iraq and Syria?

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(6)

The countries in which there is still US presence, especially in our region, ask themselves the following: Will the Americans withdraw in the same way that they withdrew from Afghanistan?

Concretely, will they withdraw: 1) Suddenly? and 2) Surrender their positions to the enemies of their allies, especially those of a “jihadist” nature?

For example, in Syria and Iraq, the question is posed as follows: 1) Will there be an immediate withdrawal soon?, 2) Will we witness a sudden revival of ISIS accompanied by an American withdrawal (receipt and handover with ISIS)?, or 3) Will the Syrian-Iraqi specificity, and the Russian presence on the ground, push the Americans to attempt a withdrawal that includes deluding everyone of receipt (somewhat similar to how the partial withdrawal at the end of 2019 happened), so that a ground is guaranteed for a war by everyone against everyone?

These same questions push America’s allies and enemies, regional and local, in Syria and Iraq, to think seriously about the following question: Can we reach some form of consensus so that everyone achieves their interests within reasonable limits instead of shedding each other’s blood and resources?

This last question seems to be answerable with: Yes, in light of the efforts of the leaders of the rising pole, that is, Russia and China on the one hand, and also in light of the understanding of the various powers – to some degree – of the fact that chaos will not be in the interest of any of the sides. This does not, of course, eliminate the possibility of skirmishes here and there in search of defining the boundaries of the conflicting interests.

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(7)

If the Germans have described what happened in Afghanistan as the biggest failure in the history of NATO, and all European countries expressed similar positions (except for the British, of course, who have become the only consistent ally of the US), the question that arises here is: What is the impact of what happened on the future of NATO? Will the Europeans continue to pay the US NATO royalties indefinitely? Will they reconsider the nature of their international alignment? What is the future of NATO itself?

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(8)

The Afghan events reinforce the European questions from the following point of view: The tasks that were invoked, whether related to combating terrorism, or human rights, and so on, were trampled by the wheels of the American planes leaving the Kabul airport, and their blood spilled on Afghanistan’s soil. Then what? If the ideological carrier of the East-West conflict, which is a misleading one of course, is the struggle between “democracy” and “tyranny”, between “enlightenment” and “civilization”, between “fanaticism” and “backwardness”, and so on, then this carrier has collapsed.

Although the ideological carrier of the conflict may seem just a matter to be invoked, it is an inherent part of the foundations of the conflict that cannot continue without it, and it is not at all easy to invent and devote new ideological conflicts. These are conflicts that require decades of effort and work. The abovementioned ideological carriers have begun to be built effectively since the beginning of the Cold War and did not take root until many decades later.

Thus, what kinds of ideological struggle at the international level are we going to see in the coming years? And what will they reflect at their core?

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(9)

The British elite is counting on – as it has explicitly expressed – on a civil war in Afghanistan that is founded on two things: primarily nationalism between Tajiks in particular and Pashtuns, and secondarily religious sectarianism between Sunnis and Shiites.

Therefore, the question whose answer carries great dimensions for our entire region is the following: Will the rising pole countries, Russia and China in particular, in addition to the countries surrounding Afghanistan, and the Afghans themselves, succeed in preventing a new conflict and civil war?

If they manage to do so, we will be facing a huge historical turning point that will open the door to resolving the issue of national and sectarian conflicts in the entirety of the East. These conflicts have been, for the past 500 years, an essential control and plunder tool at the disposal of the “kingdoms of the high seas”, especially Britain, of the entirety of the continents of Asia and Africa.

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(10)

What is certain is that those who made the American decision to withdraw from Afghanistan in this manner, that is, by handing over the Taliban and betraying their loyalists, know the impact of this decision on the rest of their allies and agents around the world. They subsequently know that this manner of withdrawal will cost them serious losses in their relationships with those allies who will try to protect themselves through understanding and reconciling to one extent or another with their former enemies, at the expense of the US in particular.

Additionally, if the Americans are aware more than anyone else of the potential losses that could result from their actions in Afghanistan, this means that they are gambling that their profits from withdrawing in this way will be greater than their losses, and the profits intensify in what we mentioned above regarding transforming Afghanistan into an epicenter of threat and disruption to the “Belt and Road” and Eurasian projects, which Washington considers an existential threat.

However, the question here is: What is the depth of actual crisis experienced by whoever is taking such a dangerous and huge gamble, primarily in the economic sense and also in the political sense?

To further clarify our intent from the question: The debate about whether or not there is a US retreat no longer exists in any serious research center. Everyone has acknowledged and agreed that there is US retreat (perhaps we find within the media propaganda and within discussions among people, those who are still delusional about US greatness and its absolute power and so on, and this is the normal).

However, what this huge American gamble asks (to gamble as a country your relationships with all your allies around the world, is like going all in in a poker game) is the question of the extent of this retreat and the stage it has reached. We dare to assume here that the loss of this gamble, that is, preventing Afghanistan from turning into a detonator for the entire region, will mean the US entering, not only a phase of rapid retreat, but also a phase of decline as a superpower. So, will Washington lose in its Afghan gamble?

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(Arabic version)

Last modified on Sunday, 22 August 2021 19:03
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