It is a stage we all entertain, OK, entertaining not the greatest word here, yet the stage is smitten with ‘What if’, ‘How could’ and ‘Who is’, it is an approach to critical thinking, postulating and no matter how academic we tend to make it, it remains speculation. So as CNBC gives us (at https://www.cnbc.com/2021/08/30/weapons-proliferation-risk-in-afghanistan-very-worrying-saudi-prince-turki.html) the article ‘Saudi Arabia’s former intel chief calls weapons proliferation risk in Afghanistan very worrying as terror threat grows’ the engine starts rolling. The first thing I did was take another look at the map. No matter how that corridor runs, it takes Iran to make it work. Yes, there is a one party of Pakistan, yet Pakistan fear to be taken out of nearly every international equation and siding with the Taliban sets them up to that stage. They’ll possibly still help in other ways, but Pakistan needs Saudi Arabia a lot more than the Taliban and the Taliban does not have any financial means to make it work. So we are speculatively set to the stage of Iran. So even as we accept “sparking fear in Saudi Arabia about the enduring threat of ISIS and Al Qaeda and where and with whom the equipment might end up”, ISIS and Al Qaeda still need a stage to operate on and the fear is not wrong, but it does require a path to Saudi Arabian borders and I see this as as a setting that requires Iran.
We might take ‘solace’ from “The President also vowed to issue another retaliatory strike against the terrorists responsible for Thursday’s suicide bombing that killed 13 U.S. service members and more than 110 Afghans.” Yet in this the larger element is missed. You see the Taliban took over Afghanistan in less than 10 days, they got billions in hardware against an army that was well over 500% larger. In all this Al Qaeda could not operate unseen and there is a larger stage where someone is feeding Al Qaeda information and my speculative view is that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are in bed together, to what degree remains to be seen, but there is no way that Al Qaeda can avoid all parties by themselves.
The larger problem is “NATO has been clear that it expected the Taliban to keep its “commitment” that it will not allow Afghanistan to become a haven for terrorists, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNBC in a recent interview, but it’s still unclear if the Taliban is capable of managing the possible contagion, or if the most recent attack in Kabul could embolden individuals or terror groups around the wider region” This implies that NATO is either dumb or clueless, optionally both. The Taliban will only keep commitments that serves them and that gives both ISIS and Al Qaeda a lot of manoeuvring space. And the leeway we see with ‘it’s still unclear if the Taliban is capable of managing the possible contagion’ I do not believe that is the right approach. The Taliban had a little over 10 years to set up their own network and I personally believe that it is in place and they now have an arms division that makes it more powerful than several middle easters nations, they could overrun Bahrain in a day and Oman within 4 days and that is a larger problem. Yes, I suddenly made an ‘error’ and mentioned the Taliban and not Al Qaeda, but I wonder how far they are in bed together, more importantly India Today told us yesterday ‘A pledge binds al-Qaeda to Taliban. Why is it a worry for Pakistan?’ I believe it to be more than a pledge. It is a personal view, but I think that the Taliban made long term arrangements and that is a problem, it is time for NATO and the media to wake up.
It speculatively puts the pressure in Saudi Arabia in too large a stage and that suits Iran just fine. So as I see it Iran is happy to help whomever goes for Saudi Arabia and that is the danger we all face, because if this escalates oil goes back to $120 a barrel, oil deliveries from the middle east will trickle down to a mere 7% and that is merely the starter in all this and all NATO players know this to be true.
There is one part I disagree with. We see “Nevertheless, while global confidence in American leadership may have been shaken, Al-Faisal said the episode didn’t necessarily mean the end of American supremacy globally: “I think it’s still too early to judge whether America is in a watershed moment””, we all know that American supremacy is past the end, Afghanistan and how the US army tucked tail and ran is merely a symptom. Their failure in diversity, polarisation of its population, greed driven players that take chunks out of the US economy and the list goes on, one element could be fought, they face at least half a dozen of them and a few of them at the same time. Their weapon sales, even those to legitimate governments are stopped and pretty much handed to China (some to Russia as well), a stage that diminishes their revenue and they are not replacing it, they are merely handing it over. So for the most I share the fears that Prince Turki Al-Faisal is voicing here and the fact that other players are not anywhere near this is funny on a few levels. As I personally (and speculatively) see it, whomever (read: stakeholders) is mulling the view that Saudi Arabia is under attack, they are doing an excellent job, but the fallout will hit us all and then we need to ask the media, each of them, who stopped a story of a direct attack on Saudi Arabia (Houthi attacks) that included civilian targets. For TV the excuse of ‘no time’ can hold water, on the internet where the space is, where there is an abundance of space. Time and people, there it does not hold water. I think that there is one side that Prince Turki Al-Faisal was not contemplating (or he is and he isn’t talking about it). Saudi Arabia has a lot more enemies than they are aware of and they are all enabling Iran which is a concern, especially if any evidence is found that Iran is enabling a larger scenario that includes Al Qaeda. So even if you do not care about Saudi Arabia, which is understandable when you do not live there. Where do you think Al Qaeda goes next? You are all so against fossil fuels, which is fine, but when it falls away and the cost of living goes up by 75%, how will you feel then? Did you think that far ahead?
I accept and understand that my thinking is speculative, things could evolve differently but in chess we see moves ahead, we might not be able to set the string of moves made, but in the end one of the pieces will move exactly as predicted and the more moves are correctly seen the better the strategy. In all this it is time to stop beating about the bush and as the expression goes, call a spade a spade. Oh and if that is not possible (which might be true) it shows that the US is failing in yet another stage and in that one they are dragging NATO down with them.
Enjoy the weekend and consider that some time soon when fuel goes from $3.181 to $5.566 how will you afford any kind of lifestyle? And that is before the heating bill arrives and mst to the US (Canada and the UK too) will move into Winter, so consider that part too.
Have a great weekend.