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The Russian Life Line Into Afghanistan:

Will Russian Lifeboats Rescue The Drowning NATO?

By Ali Al-Hail, March 16, 2009

   Perceivably, since October 2001 almost entirely, every single attempt by US-Led- NATO - to crush Taliban - has ended with a failure, or at least, with 'no win situation', according to President Obama's confession, last week. Retrospectively, on October 17th 2001, as the Bush administration, invaded Afghanistan , Taliban tactically, withdrew from office at Kabul to their office in the caves.         
   Neither, the US 's special forces nor, the US-Led-EISAF nor the US-Led-NATO nor, the US-trained-Afghani government's forces, weakened Taliban. On the contrary, Taliban's forces have ever since, been increasing both in quantity, as well as in quality.
   Such a phenomenon seems incomprehensible from a military point of view, considering the might of the forces on the other side. Thus, it seems that, the US finds itself in a catch-22. After the Taliban-Caused-high toll took on NATO's forces over the years, some of NATO's states began to loose interest and fall apart, despite US-Led-NATO's public rhetoric.
   This state of intolerance by some NATO's member states, with US's persistence of prolonging NATO's in a loosing battle, against a Taliban-Led-guerilla war, determined to win, Obama, was reported to have decided to pump the death line, with 17,000 more US's troops. This initiative was largely, perceived as a cover up for the observation (to say the least) that, the US is in a real quandary. Hence, came the recent visit of Secretary of State, Clinton to Russia .         
   It appears that, the US-Led-NATO - including NATO's EU member states - needs Russia in Afghanistan , should NATO continues to go on with its 'dilemmatic' occupation of Afghanistan . And NATO despite its high toll, seems determined to do so.
   Notably, since Pakistan became potentially, risky for NATO to carryout its supply through its lands, for their military, stuck in Afghanistan . It's not a stretch, to assert that, (the 'life line' for NATO's operations in Afghanistan via Pakistan has severely, been cutoff by groups of Pakistani sympathizers with their 'brothers and sisters' in Afghanistan ) profoundly, hurt the US-Led-NATO. As such, Russia was apparently, the only 'geopolitical' alternative left in the shivering hand of NATO in Afghanistan .     
   Many argue that, Russia has eagerly, been awaiting such an opportunity, to get away amongst other things, with muddling in the Caucasus affairs. Especially, bullying Georgia , Russia 's control over sponsoring the breakaway states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia from Georgia , and over the Russian Gas to Europe via Ukraine .
   Undoubtedly, the Caucasus energy-rich states are potentially, playing cards in the hand of Russia vis--vis the language of interests with the US-Led-NATO, and the EU. The US is aware of the fact that, Russia influenced a number of Caucasus states to closedown US 's military bases.
   One presumes, as do many that, the latter was an answer to the why the US decided to get closer to Russia . These bases were extremely, vital to the US-Led-NATO in Afghanistan , from which US's bombers fly to bomb Afghanistan albeit, bombing innocent civilians presumably, mistaken to Taliban's fighters. These bases, were always, a part of the geopolitical strategy of the US-Led-NATO in Afghanistan .      
   It's obviously, a political game between both sides. Who's losing out, are smaller states of the Caucasus. Georgia , for example had too much expectations from the US-Led-NATO, when Mikheil Sakashvili, the Georgian president took the decision in 2008, to cease back Abkhazia and South Ossetia .
   Being a good reader into the NATO's map in Afghanistan Russia, beat Georgia in (what has become to be known) the Five Day War of August 2008. Through the detrimental failure of Georgia , to annex the two breakaway states, NATO was widely, seen as a failure in confronting Russia . The war led to strengthening Russia in the Caucasus region, as a whole particularly, with both Abkhazia and South Ossetia declaring total independence that, was immediately, recognized by Russia.             
   In the view of all of that, the US-Led-NATO needs Russia for so many things, and the vice versa. Keeping its military basis in the Caucasus region, is a top priority to the US. Only, Russia that can guarantee that, providing US-Led-NATO payoff the right price, Russia would ask for.
   Also, NATO needs Russia to rein in Iran 's 'ambitious' nuclear program, had Russia wished to do so, within the global power of struggle. Additionally, NATO needs Russia in North Korea , China , Iraq , and in the QUARTET, as regard to the Palestinian Israeli conflict. Most importantly of all, the US-Led-NATO needs its supplies into Afghanistan to travel from through Russia . 
   In return, would Russia need the US-Led-NATO, and the EU, to unveto Russia , in the Caucasus region, a compromise over the missile shield in Eastern Europe , a membership in the NATO, and a larger role for the Russian diplomacy in the World.      
   Having said that, Russia is well aware of the fact that, Taliban has also, sympathizers in the Caucasus region therefore, what happened in Pakistan , could happen in Russia . In addition to the latter, Russia is well aware of the fact that, the US-Led-NATO, needs Russia not just as a route for its life line into Afghanistan, but it needs Russia to participate with the NATO in Afghanistan, since Russia within the former Soviet Union, had an experience albeit, not pleasant, fighting the Afghans.
   Russia , has already been there, and it realized how almost impossible, to defeat the Mujahideens. As a result, many argue that, Russia might agree to certain US 's demands. But it doesn't seem inconceivable that, it would agree to go into Afghanistan . Russia knows for sure that, US-Led-four highly, sophisticated armed forces, failed in weakening, much less defeating Taliban, leaving these forces stuck in the mud of Afghanistan .
Professor, Dr. Ali Al-Hail, Professor of Mass Communication, Twice Fulbright

Award Winner, Fulbright Visiting Scholar, Vice-President Of Qatar Fulbright Group, CSR Award Judge and Board Member of AUSACE, ASC, IABD, NEBAA, BEA, IMDA and EAJMC American Associations.
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