UNITED States President Barack Obama made his first trip to Afghanistan on Sunday since he took office 14 months ago. The visit was aimed at boosting the flagging morale of American troops and making a public display of support for discredited puppet President Hamid Karzai.
Obama told 2,500 US troops at Bagram Air Base: ‘My main job here today is to say thank you on behalf of the entire American people.’ He declared that they were ‘backed up by a clear mission’ and right strategy and that they would have ‘the support to get the job done’.
The fact that the US president has avoided going to Afghanistan and was finally forced to do so underlines the desperation of Obama’s visit. He told the soldiers: ‘There are going to be some difficult days ahead. There are going to be setbacks. We face a determined enemy.’
Meeting Karzai, who was installed by America after the 2001 invasion, also expressed the crisis imperialism faces in its failure to conquer Afghanistan after eight years of military action.
Karzai’s discredited regime claimed victory in the presidential elections last year amid widespread vote-rigging and it practises corruption on a monumental scale. At a joint press conference Obama said: ‘The American people are encouraged by the progress that’s been made’, – without a hint of irony!
It was not merely NATO’s failed military occupation of Afghanistan which surrounded Obama during his visit to Kabul, but the debris of the whole of US imperialism’s military and diplomatic operations in the Middle East.
Despite 30,000 more US troops this year, taking the total to 150,000, the Taleban resistance movement is growing in strength. The death toll of NATO troops is rising, with 136 killed so far this year, almost double the number in the same period in 2009.
Alongside this, to strengthen his own position, Karzai has made his own overtures to sections of the Taleban movement to join his government. He is also actively engaged in forging closer diplomatic relations with Iran, which is not on Obama’s agenda.
The expansion of the so-called ‘war on terror’ into Pakistan is also running into trouble. The Pakistan army’s war on the Taleban in the tribal areas in the north-west of the country has come to a standstill.
Despite at least a million Iraqis dead, millions more turned into refugees in other Arab countries, hundreds of American troops returned home in body bags and billions of dollars of military expenditure, US imperialism’s ambitions in Iraq lie in tatters.
Privatisation plans for the oil industry are not delivering cheap oil for the US and European multinationals because there is no ‘security’.
The recent parliamentary elections did not deliver a useful result for Obama’s White House. The horse-trading, primarily between Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya list, which was supported by many Sunnis who used to support the Ba’athists, and Nuri Al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition, which is supported by Shia who are sympathetic to Iran, is unlikely to deliver a stable government, let alone one which can easily do Obama’s bidding in confronting Iran.
At the same time, the US president’s much-vaunted ‘Middle East peace initiative’, between Israel and the Palestinians, is also going nowhere.
Above all, what is emerging in the Middle East is not a ‘coalition of the willing’, which will support a US-Israeli attack on Iran, but a movement that will defend Iran against imperialism.
Today the world capitalist crisis and the blows struck by the resistance of the masses in the Middle East have fatally weakened US imperialism and its NATO allies. This is the time for the resistance to press forward to victory!
This is the time for the organised workers’ movement in the US and Europe, including Britain, to take action to achieve the withdrawal of all NATO military forces from the region immediately.
Workers in Britain must demand their unions organise mass demonstrations, rallies and strike action to force all British troops out of Afghanistan, Iraq and all the countries of the Middle East now, and make this a central issue in the general election campaign.