Is Afghanistan no longer the priority?

Discussion in 'Syria, Mali, Libya, Middle East & North Africa' started by FORMER_FYRDMAN, Mar 5, 2011.

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    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    This has appeared in today's Telegraph.

    Saudi Arabia drafts in up to 10,000 troops ahead of protests - Telegraph

    In my view this is the most serious development in the whole Middle East awakening saga, not least because Saudi appears to have threatened to intervene directly in Bahrain.

    Given that our Armed Forces have been cut to ribbons and are in no shape to respond to a new threat, is it more important to prolong the agonies of Afghanistan or pull everything back to the UK/Germany in the next two to three months so that we can reorganise and be ready to protect vital interests nearer to home? I'm for the second course of action. I'd like to see Western Forces regenerating and being reorganised rather than give the likes of Iran free reign because we're bogged down in the back of beyond and overstretched beyond belief. I don't believe we can now afford the luxury of leaving Afghanistan on a relaxed timetable.
  2. It would enable us to pull out of the 'Stan and save face?

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    That was my thought. Plus I think we're going to have more pressing needs than chasing a gang of goat herders round the back of beyond. I can't see the West being able to safely assume that it can leave the security of its energy supplies to the vagaries of a semi-revolutionary process with some potentially very extreme participants.
  4. I think the west will turn a blind eye various oil rich countries kicking the shit out of their own people so long as they keep producing. What Western country is going to say lets go to protect the oil after the cluster**** that was Iraq?
  5. You mean you want to stop doing important things in Afghanistan? You know, butchering children collecting firewood, stuff like that? Remember, the millions of dollars and pounds that get spent bombing that country go to a good cause -- the people who make the bombs, for starters.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    I don't think we have any choice about protecting the oil, or at least the oil price, the question is how we would go about it. I agree that Iraq is probably not the DS solution.
  7. I think the West will be very wary about setting foot in another Muslim country, especially if its all about the oil. Lets just let dictators crack a few heads and pretend its not happening like we always do.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    I don't think it's that easy, we're running out of dictators! Also, we're damned if we don't and were damned if we do. We charged into Iraq as the shining champions of democracy and we've been lecturing the world on the subject for the last seventy odd years. I can see our political leaders landing us with the lose lose of not being reliable as the dictator's friend and not being robust in supporting democratic reform. Knowing our track record, we'll intervene on the losing side of the most strategically important dispute and bleed even more credibility.
  9. Or we can keep out of it and buy the oil off the winners.

    We might have been lecturing the world but in reality we'll deal with whoever has what we want.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    We've done that historically but now we have folk like the Chinese involved. They'd be very happy to see a reduced Western influence in the area.
  11. You should be posting this drivel on the Russian armies version of Arrse, keep yourself occupied, go and help out all the whinging 'strailians who have been flooded, bushfired and run out of tinnies! ********
  12. I'd point out the situation in Pakistan is rather serious and the conniptions in the core of the Umma have yet to reach there. I doubt what we are up to above the Durand at the moment is actually helping, it's certainly been destabilizing in the past. I think our objectives are conflicted and not aligned with our very real regional interests. Afganistan was once an irrelevant back water with a nasty case of Takfiri infestation but now it is not a theatre DC can afford to ignore. Despite all the talk of getting out in 2015 very nasty things can happen to our interests in the Indian sub-continent and the Stans, WWIII type things.

    In the UK's case it no longer has a real independent war fighting capability. It's almost entirely reliant on DC to protect its global interests. It's invested rather a lot of blood and treasure in an alliance commitment and unless Barry decides to cut and run it would do well to suck it up and endure whatever duration DC sees fit. Tarting about on BP's behalf in Libya really does not present a strategic pretext for flight.

    I don't actually see any great need to redeploy forces Unless DC is going to finally seize the wells. That's really not on the agenda, 9-11 present a perfect excuse take the Ghawar etc and even Team Bush demurred choosing simply to come ashore in the neighborhood.

    New wars are likely but up around FATA may well be were things really kick off. Looking at strategies in Afghanistan which can be sustained with no more than a few of DC's combat brigades for a long time would perhaps be prudent. This may actually be a moment to review the loonier parts of the GWOT with fresh eyes. It makes no sense wasting resources in Yemen and Somalia for instance playing global whack a mole with the AQ irritant.

    DC's post Cold War set up for sys admin in the Persian Gulf is falling apart as rapidly as the dodgy Brit model it is based on did after WWII. We destroyed the balance of power in the region when we went to Baghdad. Qom has made merry ever since steadily building momentum and influence. The frightened Saudis will never tolerate an enfranchised Shia population in Bahrain and the empty quarter. Like al-Malikii's Iraq, for them this is the rise of the Shia Crescent. An existential threat they will impose implacably.

    The wildcard here is if the contagion spreads to their large and normally torpid Saudi bulging youth demographic. Having diligently exported the most Bolshie ones to various jihads I think its unlikely the sternly oppressive House of Saud itself will fall. Judging by the Libya light in Bahrain the West will look the other way while dissent is crushed. But I thought the same about Gaddafi. The mad old bugger is now barely hanging largely out of spite.

    The only positive things I see in this situation is Ankara is emerging as a level headed regional player that is if anything more adept at the great game than slippery Qom. We also aren't running out of hydro-carbons, most of the price hike is crazed speculation. Oil prices are actually likely to drop in the long term even if representative former-Kingship states attempt to hike prices to cover the sort of largesse their populations will demand.

    The problem is our feeble economies have yet to recover from the recent implosion of the globalized banking system and in many cases (the UK being a case in point) are structurally dependent on a few bloated financial institutions prone to catastrophic mistakes. A little turbulence can bring down these high flyers. Fevered market speculation is also what is sending world food prices to record highs a major factor feeding the unrest in the increasingly downtrodden Arab street. People who realize they soon won't be able to put bread on the table get brave. A vicious circle unfortunately.
  13. They're able to be involved because they're paying top-dollar for the goods and not interfering in the internal affairs of their trading partners. It's not written on stone tablets that they'll continue to be the best customer for Generalissimo-for-Life Umbongo unless we refuse to offer a better deal.

    FORMER_FYRDMAN LE Book Reviewer

    Top dollar and no interference is probably the deal Umbongo's after, it would certainly appeal to me.
  15. So we drop the 'reform your economy our way or else' and 'stop doing that, we don't like it' crap, offer top dollar plus a few cents and Bob's your Norfolk grandad.