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TAMPA, December 11, 2013 — For twelve years, the Bush and Obama Administrations have promoted a narrative about the War on Terror. It has changed slightly in superficial ways, as when President Obama gave it a new name, but the crux of the narrative has not changed. The United States is fighting a war against a worldwide terrorist organization called al-Qaeda, formerly headed by über-terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Americans are led to believe that this organization has a single mission against the United States and is directed by a hierarchy of terrorist leaders, all reporting up to a senior command located somewhere in Afghanistan. Many of the lawmakers and cabinet personnel who promote this narrative likely believe it themselves, at least to some degree.
Washington sees al-Qaeda the way it sees itself, a centralized, top-down hierarchy with a chain of command reporting up from every corner of the earth. It makes for a good story, but it’s not even remotely true. Virtually every incident involving this fictional organization refutes the narrative.
Veteran reporter Eric Margolis never believed it. He’s been reporting on the true nature of the Islamic militant groups from the very beginning. He should know what he’s talking about. He was embedded in Afghanistan in the 1980’s when bin Laden and what is now al-Qaeda and the Taliban were U.S. allies, fighting the Soviet Union.
For what it’s worth, bin Laden and other Islamic militants apparently regarded Margolis’ reporting as accurate. He was named as one of a small group of reporters who “fairly and accurately reported on the region” in alleged al-Qaeda letters released last year.
Commenting on that release in “Osama’s Almost Letter to Me,” Margolis wrote, “Al-Qaida was not founded by Osama bin Laden, as many wrongly believe, but in the mid-1980’s in Peshawar, Pakistan, by a revolutionary scholar, Sheik Abdullah Azzam. I know this because I interviewed Azzam numerous times at al-Qaida HQ in Peshawar while covering the anti-Soviet jihad in Afghanistan. Azzam set up al-Qaida, which means ‘the base’ in Arabic, to help CIA and Saudi-financed Arab volunteers going to fight in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. In those days, the west hailed them as ‘freedom fighters.’”
Margolis goes on to report that neither Al Qaeda in Afghanistan nor the Taliban had anything to do with 9/11. Their raison d’etre is fighting foreign troops within their borders. When the invaders were Soviet, they fought the Soviets, using similar but updated tactics to those previously used against the British. When the invaders were American, they fought the Americans. Thus Afghanistan’s ominous nickname, “Graveyard of Empires.”
According to this alternate narrative, the “extremists” in Afghanistan had nothing to do with 9/11 nor any tangible connection to the group that perpetrated the attacks. Those were mostly Saudi Arabian nationals who planned the attack in Hamburg, Germany and Madrid. The only thing the attackers had in common with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan was hatred of the United States. But they hated the United States for different reasons.
The 9/11 attackers, being Saudi, most likely hated America for precisely the reason Osama bin Laden stated: U.S. bases in the Muslim holy land and (secondarily) its support for Israel. Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan hated America because the United States invaded, ignoring the Taliban’s quite reasonable request for the U.S. to produce evidence of bin Laden’s guilt before demanding his extradition.
What Washington is calling “al-Qaeda in Syria” is also a completely different group. They exist to overthrow the Assad regime. Since that regime is a longtime ally of Russia’s, the U.S. has actually supported these rebels, amidst heavy criticism from within Washington’s ranks that the Obama administration is supporting al-Qaeda. This was apparently confirmed when Syrian Jabhat al Nusra Front chief Abou Mohamad al-Joulani pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Sheik Ayman al-Zawahri.
However, the pledge of allegiance actually supports the alternative narrative, not Washington’s. It is apparent from the reports on the pledge that the Syrian group had no previous connection to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. It came immediately following an announcement by the Islamic State of Iraq that al Nusra was part of its network.
The ISI is one of many militant groups that filled the vacuum left after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and which had no active presence before Saddam Hussein’s regime was toppled. ISI similarly pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda in 2004 while fighting U.S. forces in Iraq.
According to The Telegraph’s April 10, 2013 report, Syria’s al-Nusra pledges allegiance to al-Qaeda,” al-Joulani (al Jawlani) was quick to clarify the relationship with ISI:
“’We inform you that neither the al-Nusra command nor its consultative council, nor its general manager were aware of this announcement [the announcement by ISI]. It reached them via the media and if the speech is authentic, we were not consulted,’” Jawlani said. ‘We reassure our brothers in Syria that al-Nusra Front’s behaviour will remain faithful to the image you have come to know, and that our allegiance (to al-Qaeda) will not affect our politics in any way,’ he added.”
In other words, the Syrian rebel group al Nusra was a group organized around toppling the Assad regime in Syria. It pledged allegiance to what Washington calls “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” but which is really the ISI. The ISI in turn was a group organized to fight U.S. forces in Iraq, with the long term goal of establishing an Islamic state there after U.S. forces withdrew.
The United States is fighting a war against a worldwide terrorist organization called al-Qaeda, formerly headed by über-terrorist Osama bin Laden.
Washington sees al-Qaeda the way it sees itself, a centralized, top-down hierarchy with a chain of command reporting up from every corner of the earth. It makes for a good story, but it’s not even remotely true.
He was embedded in Afghanistan in the 1980’s when bin Laden and what is now al-Qaeda and the Taliban were U.S. allies, fighting the Soviet Union.
For reference..and how this all makes sense...is the context almost ALWAYS left out. The CIA was allied with and helping the Afghans (Who later formed the Northern Alliance to try and obliterate the Taliban). Bin Laden led and was bankrolling the Arabs. Two very distinct factions within the larger Afghan occupation during the 80's. Afghans tolerated, but didn't much care for the Arabs..in part because of their superior 'tude. Likewise, Arabs looked down on the Afghans like second class or lower.
That, explained for perspective about how anyone could be working and supporting one side of the Mujahadeen, but not another when they were all fighting together.
Mujahideen forces caused serious casualties to the Soviet forces, and made the war very costly for the Soviet Union. In 1989, the Soviet Union withdrew its forces from Afghanistan. Many districts and cities then fell to the mujahideen; in 1992 the DRA's last president, Mohammad Najibullah, was overthrown. However, the mujahideen did not establish a united government, and many of the larger mujahideen groups began to fight each other over power in Kabul.
After several years of devastating fighting, a village mullah named Mohammed Omar organized a new armed movement with the backing of Pakistan.This movement became known as the Taliban ("students" in Pashto), referring to the Saudi-backed religious schools known for producing extremism. Veteran mujahideen were confronted by this radical splinter group in 1996.
The Taliban (Pashto: طالبان ṭālibān "students"), alternative spelling Taleban, is an Islamic fundamentalist political movement in Afghanistan. It spread from Pakistan into Afghanistan and formed a government, ruling as the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan from September 1996 until December 2001, with Kandahar as the capital. However, it gained diplomatic recognition from only three states: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Mohammed Omar has been serving as the spiritual leader of the Taliban since 1994.
Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the Taliban emerged as a resistance movement aiming to eject the Soviet troops from Afghanistan. With the United States and Pakistan providing considerable financial and military support, the Afghan Mujahideen were able to inflict heavy losses on the Soviet troops.
The Taliban movement traces its origin to the Pakistani-trained mujahideen in northern Pakistan, during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.
The Taliban was formed by Afghan mujahideen who fought against the Soviet invasion in the 1980s and Pashtun tribesmen who studied in Pakistani religious schools (madrassas) and received assistance from Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).
Taliban, Pashto Ṭālebān (“Students”), also spelled Taleban, ultraconservative political and religious faction that emerged in Afghanistan in the mid 1990s following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, the collapse of Afghanistan’s communist regime, and the subsequent breakdown in civil order. The faction took its name from its membership, which consisted largely of students trained in madrasahs (Islamic religious schools) that were established for Afghan refugees in the 1980s in northern Pakistan.
Formed in 1994, the Taliban began with only a few followers, mostly religious students who fought with the Mujahideen in the war against the Soviets and who were schooled in Islamic seminaries (madrasahs) in Pakistan. These students, or seekers, as they are referred to in the documents, wanted to rid Afghanistan of the instability, violence, and warlordism that had been plaguing the country since the defeat and withdrawal of the Soviets in 1989.
The Creation of Taliban goes back to 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. In 1973, The Soviet Union brought their soldiers into Afghanistan claiming to rebuild the crushing economy. However, the Soviet was resented by the Mujahidin (from whom the Taliban evolved from).
Bin Laden DID NOT like America, even then, and had a special thing about CIA ..even then. He just couldn't kill 'em at the time but I recall reading a quote somewhere in a book that he'd said he'd take a CIA Agent as happily as a KGB Agent if he could get away with it.