THE accession of President Obama has not in the slightest held up, or held back, the massive air attacks that are being made by US drones inside Pakistan, killing large numbers of people from the air, on the orders of his predecessor, George Bush.
Obama is quite clearly taking over Bush’s policy and developing it, with a much greater emphasis on building up a massive military force, and having not a ‘democratic government’, but a ‘government that works’, ie is able to do what the US wants done, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
On Sunday there was another drone strike in North West Pakistan, near to the border with Afghanistan, in which 18 people were killed.
Pakistani leaders had expressed hope that the new US administration would halt the air strikes, saying they fuelled public anger and complicated Pakistan’s own counter-insurgency efforts.
But the drone attacks have continued under Barack Obama, and now Richard Holbrooke, the organiser of Clinton’s war to destroy Yugoslavia, has been sent into the region to expand the war.
The United Nations said yesterday that the number of civilians killed in the conflict in Afghanistan rose 39% last year.
The UN report into civilian deaths said the death toll in 2008 of civilians was ‘the highest of any year’ since the Taleban were ousted in 2001.
Relations between President Karzai and Washington have worsened in the four weeks since US President Barack Obama took office.
Now the word is that the US is looking for a new front man to run Afghanistan for them, and that Karzai will be moved out of office and into exile.
A senior Afghan government official has accused America of already ‘running a shadow-government’.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s written statement to Congress during her confirmation hearing called Afghanistan a ‘narco-state’ that was ‘plagued by limited capacity and widespread corruption’.
In fact the Karzai government’s writ is limited to parts of Kabul.
Now the date has been set for Afghanistan’s presidential election and the West’s disappointment with Hamid Karzai can no longer be disguised.
He is to be removed in a good old fashioned coup, and a new puppet put in his place, by Obama, who will be supported by a much reinforced garrison of US, British and NATO troops.
However, the hot pursuit policy into Pakistan has already had a very important consequence.
This is that the Taleban has now openly taken control of the border areas inside Pakistan and the Pakistani army has not been able to dislodge them.
The outcome of this is that the Pakistani government and army have signed a peace deal with the main Taleban group that will leave the Taleban in charge of the Swat valley.
Pakistani officials urged the Taleban, who agreed a 10-day truce on Sunday, to lay down their arms permanently. However, they will demand a political price for any such action.
This is not the news that the US’s Richard Holbrooke and the UK imperialists wanted to hear.
It means that the drone attacks into Pakistan will have to be supplemented by hot pursuit operations by British and US troops attempting to do what the Pakistani army has been unable to do.
This tactic will bring relations between the Pakistani government and the US and the UK to a head, and lead to the US attempting to organise a ‘workable’ regime in Pakistan, that of course means a coup, and a return of the military to power, and war throughout the region.
This is the road that Obama is taking and the UK is due to follow. The UK trade unions must campaign for the withdrawal of all UK troops from Afghanistan, and take action to bring down the Brown government if it will not withdraw from the region.