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Tomorrow: Who Promotes Terror?

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    Posted: 24 September 2005 at 11:29am
March 2000 *

Further down I have posted an excerpt from an address Zalmay Khalilzad made before the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. The full text, which you can read if you like, is worthy of a thorough commentary on its own. In one part, not included in the excerpt below, Dr. Khalilzad glibly explains away the harsh reality: that starting in the late 1970s, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia worked for over a decade empowering Islamic fundamentalist terrorism in Afghanistan.

He speaks as if the unbelievable brutality and extremism of the Afghan Mujahideen resulted from a) the law of unintended consequences - i.e., the U.S. never expected to win and b) a sin of omission - i.e., the U.S. let Pakistan play too much of a role. These are the usual rationalizations. Not only are these arguments morally bankrupt, but this picture is contradicted by the public record, including an excellent Washington Post article, which is posted on Emperor's Clothes. [6D]

I have posted a part of Khalilzad's address in which he deals with the Taliban. Khalilzad makes some familiar comments about their extremism, but in the midst of these usual platitudes he cuts to the chase.

He argues that a) the Taliban have failed to win the war with the Northern Alliance and at the same time that b) they *openly* sponsor the export of Islamic fundamentalism and therefore c) they are pushing the Central Asian Republics into working more closely with Russia.

This is interesting. In the Washington Post in 1996, Khalilzad wrote:

"The Taliban does not practice the anti-U.S. style of fundamentalism practiced by Iran -- it is closer to the Saudi model. The group upholds a mix of traditional Pashtun values and an orthodox interpretation of Islam."
Washington Post, October 07, 1996, Monday, Final Edition; OP-ED; Pg. A21; Afghanistan: Time to Reengage
BYLINE: Zalmay Khalilzad

This is quaint. What constitutes the "Saudi model" of Islam? It is the Wahhabi sect. And it was precisely the Wahhabi sect which Khalilzad and his associates pushed on Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Wahhabi sect is arguably the mother of all Islamic extremism.

Why did Khalilzad ludicrously downplay the Taliban's ideology in 1996? Because at that time the US-led Empire hoped these monsters could consolidate control over Afghanistan. Indeed, Emperor's Clothes has posted evidence that around this time, the U.S. used treachery in an attempt to help the Taliban destroy the forces of the Northern Alliance. It would appear that for the U.S.-led Empire (and Dr. Khalilzad) the Taliban's greatest sin was not *excess* but *failure*. [7]

In the excerpt posted after my remarks, Khalilzad mentions the oil company, Unocal. Indeed, this is one of the few places I could find where he ever mentioned Unocal. He says that Unocal wanted to export energy through Afghanistan.

His comments here are revealing. Far from being motivated by a desire to help Unocal get a pipeline, Khalilzad never even uses the word, 'pipeline'. Rather, he refers briefly to the earlier effort to build a gas pipeline through Afghanistan, saying it was too bad it failed *because it could have given the Central Asian republics some hope, thereby luring them away from Russia!* In other words, the pipeline was interesting to top US strategists such as Khalilzad as a tool for weakening Russian influence in Central Asia. Note that in the following, Khalilzad does not speak at all as an envoy of Unocal; he refers to it in a distant and disinterested manner.

"Afghanistan was and is a possible corridor for the export of oil and gas from the Central Asian states down to Pakistan and to the world. A California company called Unocal was interested in exploring that option, but because of the war in Afghanistan, because of the instability that's there, those options, or that option at least, has not materialized. [Because of ] [t]he absence of alternative options for the Central Asian states, and the fear that the Central Asians have of the potential spread of Islamic extremism -- as exemplified by the Taliban and the fact that I mentioned before that Afghanistan has become a central place for the training and spread of such movements-- Central Asia has become an arena where Russia is reasserting increasingly its influence and role."
From text below.

Khalilzad remains focused on Russia. It is the great enemy that defined him. That old enemy was stunned in the early 1990s, but Khalilzad will not rest until it is entirely tamed, or dead.

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