Thirty years ago, representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) met in Madrid to start bilateral negotiations. Purportedly meant to bring about a just and peaceful future in the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River, the so-called Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), conceived at the meeting, has instead consolidated a dire reality for Palestinians of permanent occupation by a nuclear military power with an ever-expanding settler-colonial enterprise. Over the course of the last 30 years, the main Western sponsors of the MEPP, namely the U.S. and EU, have repeatedly introduced political initiatives under the guise of “peace building” rather than pushing for a solution to end decades of exile, subjugation, and occupation.
The Bolivarian government of Venezuela and representatives of the US-backed opposition have officially begun a new dialogue process in Mexico, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The negotiation and dialogue process was inaugurated on Friday evening at Mexico City’s National Museum of Anthropology, as the two Venezuelan negotiating parties signed the Memorandum. Heading the delegation representing the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, is Jorge Rodriguez, President of the National Assembly of Venezuela, who also led the government delegation in the 2018 Dominican Republic dialogue on behalf of President Nicolas Maduro. Attorney Gerardo Blyde is heading the Venezuelan oppositions’ Plataforma Unitaria de Venezuela and Dag Nylander, head of the Facilitation Team of the Kingdom of Norway, signed the agreement on behalf of Norway.
Members of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) criticized U.S. President Joe Biden's announcement Wednesday that he would pull troops from Afghanistan on September 11, 2021, thereby violating a key component of a peace agreement negotiated by the previous administration. A September 11 withdrawal—landing on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack—reinforces the false impression that the Taliban government had something to do with the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. BAP is concerned the attempt to move the date of U.S. withdrawal past the agreed-upon May 1 deadline will give hardliners in the Biden-Harris administration the opportunity to create the conditions for continued U.S. occupation of Afghanistan by baiting the Taliban into renewed attacks.
The recent upsurge in state and right-wing violence has left all of Colombia reeling, but Indigenous communities have been particularly affected by it. This is evident from recent data published in a report by the Human Rights Observatory of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC). The report revealed that between January 1st and March 9th of this year, a span of little more than two months, over 3674 Indigenous people in Colombia registered human rights violations. An ONIC press release summarized the harsh realities of the conditions Indigenous people face in the country; “The displacement caused by the armed conflict in Colombia has claimed the lives of thousands of our Indigenous brothers and sisters that have been killed or have fallen in the crossfire.
The Biden administration is planning to keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan past an agreed-upon May 1 deadline to withdraw, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said Wednesday to a panel hosted by Foreign Policy. “It’s a general feeling that May 1 is too soon, just logistically,” Rep. Adam Smith (D–Wash.) claimed, citing conversations with administration officials. “You cannot pull out ten thousand plus troops in any sort of reasonable way in just six weeks.” Under the terms of the Doha Agreement signed with the Taliban in February 2020, the United States is obligated to pull its forces out of Afghanistan by May 1 this year.
Let the record show that the almighty American military machine was soundly defeated by an enemy that didn’t like fighting either in the dark or cold. Talk about bad medicine that’s good for a society (somehow still) desperately in need of a decisive case study in the limits of its own power and martial prowess. Enter the tested teachers of the Taliban and Afghanistan (though, ironically, Talib vaguely translates as "student.". Seriously though, when I commanded a sandbagged shit-hole (in 2011-12) just miles from Talib-ground zero in Kandahar province at the very crest of the Obama-surge and U.S. troop counts – we prayed for winters and sunsets.
Will the U.S. military ever leave Afghanistan? The answer appears to be no. When the U.S. military comes it stays. It’s been in Germany since the 1940s, and now has expanded, with its attack dog, NATO, from there throughout Eastern Europe to menace Russia. The Afghan adventure has so far lasted 20 years and cost two trillion dollars. Afghanistan provides a convenient, imperial base from which to threaten China. The U.S. military, realistically, will never want to give that up. Trump left office with plans in place for the remaining 2500 U.S. troops to depart Afghanistan by May 1. Not a word about the 18,000 contractors, aka mercenaries, who have long outnumbered U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. Like those soldiers, these mercenaries’ lives are at risk. They are also a geopolitical liability.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) Solidarity Network, made up of allied organizations and individuals, demands the North Atlantic Treaty Organization end its imperialist endeavor in Afghanistan and calls on the United States to abide by the 2020 U.S.-Taliban agreement by exiting Afghanistan by May 1. The BAP Solidarity Network encourages anti-imperialist, anti-war people and organizations to sign a petition to demand the Biden administration exit Afghanistan. It also has developed a template to help the U.S. public write letters to the editors of news organizations to demand an end to the U.S. intervention. The BAP Solidarity Network has uncovered through its research that although 2,500 U.S. troops occupy Afghanistan, 11,000 NATO troops representing 36 countries are in the war-riddled country. At a December 16, 2020 meeting, NATO allies agreed to a $1.94 billion 2021 military budget and a $312.5 million 2021 civil budget—all for its Afghanistan operations.
In recent months talk of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan has increased once again. It’s not the first time during the course of the nearly two-decades-long war that we’ve heard this, and at several points since the war began in 2001, some troops have actually been withdrawn. But somehow, almost 20 years in, there still isn’t very much talk about what it will actually take to end US actions that kill civilians. We hear talk about the “forever wars,” of which Afghanistan is of course the longest, but not much about what their first perpetrator, President George W. Bush, named the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT)—and the effect that that’s had. The shift in name and definition of war in Afghanistan (and related post-9/11 wars in so many countries) away from GWOT to “forever wars” reflects how the wars have been and continue to be fought.
Despite its devastating destructive toll, the Korean War has been dubbed the “Forgotten War,” for the lack of public awareness or understanding in the US. Many Americans might be surprised to hear calls for peace on the Korean Peninsula, because we’re rarely made aware that the conflict there is ongoing, much less the US role in it. And, then again, we don’t very often hear the phrase “Korean Peninsula.” We’re more accustomed to seeing North and South Korea presented as natural antagonists, and North Korea as a virtual cartoon of an official enemy, about whom no claim is too grandiose. Into this context of myth and missing information comes a new call for a peace agreement to officially end the war. The report, called Path to Peace, was compiled by the Korea Peace Now! coalition, and we’re joined now by Hyun Lee, US national organizer for Women Cross DMZ, part of Korea Peace Now!.
Real talk: Joe Biden hasn’t had too many finest hours in his 47 years plus years on the national scene. To be fair, he’s had his moments – like a powerful, earthy, and impassioned 1986 speech he delivered to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, opposing the Reagan administration’s apologism for the "repulsive, repugnant" Afrikaner apartheid "regime" in South Africa. Sure, he later – during the 2020 campaign – repeatedly peddled a bizarre lie that he once got arrested attempting to visit Nelson Mandela in prison. Nor does Biden sport such clean record on race relations in his own country – busing, crime bill, mass incarceration, anyone? Nevertheless, it was a damn good pitch Joe made in excoriating the (recently deceased) then Secretary of State George Schultz that July day in 1986.
In response to the Biden administration suggesting it will not complete the withdrawal of U.S. forces, per the Doha Agreement of February 2020, the Black Alliance for Peace Solidarity Network demands the United States end the war in Afghanistan. The BAP Solidarity Network, comprised of non-African/Black people and organizations who support BAP’s anti-imperialist mission, released a petition today, calling on everyone committed to peace, human rights and common sense, to demand Biden re-start peace talks; immediately withdraw all U.S. forces, private contractors, and other mercenaries; close all U.S. bases; and respect the sovereignty of Afghanistan.