Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The underlying reason for the emergence of chaos and Islamist violence in Afghanistan in the 1990s was that the West had, after forcing the Russians to leave in 1989, abandoned interest in or activities related to that country.

Nothing could be further from the truth: far from 'forgetting' or 'abandoning' Afghanistan, the West, in violation of the April 1988 UN agreement on a Soviet withdrawal, continued to arm and finance the rebels and in the end brought down the reforming communist regime. In April 1988 the 'West', i.e. the US, Britain and its allies, Egypt and Pakistan, signed an agreement to stop supplying the Islamist guerrillas in Afghanistan in return for a withdrawal of Soviet forces.
The Soviets left by February 1989, but aid to the guerrillas continued with the intention of forcing a collapse of the communist regime in Kabul. The US at the same time pressed hard for a cutoff in Soviet support for the Afghan regime after their troop withdrawal, but this was not successful until the change of government in Moscow following the failed coup of August 1991; then, in a deal brokered by US Secretary of State James Baker, Moscow cut off all aid to its former ally in Kabul.
The regime of President Najibullah, who had held power since 1987, fell the following April.

-number 54 from Fred Halliday's 100 Myths about the Middle East (SAQI, 2005)

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Thursday, 14 March 2013

writing five years ago, more David Harvey, on the 'right to the city', an idea with a surely global purchase (just off the top of my head, examples from Brazil, India and Pakistan spring to mind).

but also

Is the urbanization of China, then, the primary stabilizer of global capitalism today? The answer has to be a qualified yes. For China is only the epicentre of an urbanization process that has now become genuinely global, partly through the astonishing integration of financial markets that have used their flexibility to debt-finance urban development around the world. The Chinese central bank, for example, has been active in the secondary mortgage market in the US while Goldman Sachs was heavily involved in the surging property market in Mumbai, and Hong Kong capital has invested in Baltimore. In the midst of a flood of impoverished migrants, construction boomed in Johannesburg, Taipei, Moscow, as well as the cities in the core capitalist countries, such as London and Los Angeles. Astonishing if not criminally absurd mega-urbanization projects have emerged in the Middle East in places such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, mopping up the surplus arising from oil wealth in the most conspicuous, socially unjust and environmentally wasteful ways possible.

Friday, 8 March 2013

a structural problem; the world economy must find $1.5tn in new investment opportunities each year, just to sustain growth at normal rates

- central David Harvey figure in this Lenny piece ('David Cameron's very own magic money tree')

still with UK left blogs, good stuff on 'power-blindness' from Chris Dillow here (not entirely sure about point number 1 with just world, mind points 2-4 hit the spot - k-punk's Capitalist Realism, anyone?), riffing on something the estimable paulinlancs over at Though Cowards Flinch came up with: appropriate bouquets for Duncan Weldon and Simon Caulkin, and brickbats for Owen Jones, in that piece.
Dillow's final par., sadly, superb.

and since we're link dumping, Roger Scruton on postmodern Tories here, this via my mates Alice and Jimmy. there's some flannel, and misdirections (on equality defining border control, on regulation, for two), naturally, though at least partly bang on re: the Tories historically defining parameters.