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Hypocrisy, subversion and dirty propaganda tricks are the hallmarks of Western handling of conflicts in the wider Middle East, British Foreign Office (FCO) papers reveal. A batch of FCO files on the Afghan insurgency of the 1980s has just been released by the National Archives in London.
When in December 1979, the Soviet Union had to intervene in Afghanistan to stop the country turning into a haven for fundamentalist terror groups, the collective West accused Moscow of aggression and a land grab. Sanctions were imposed, the 1980 Moscow Olympics were boycotted by the US and some of its client states, and what the West called “moderate” opposition to the government of Babrak Karmal, were given money and weapons to “bleed the Soviets to the last Afghan,” as Selig Harrison, a Washington Post correspondent and a long-time Afghanistan watcher with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank put it. His objective media reports from Afghanistan were dismissed by Washington as pro-Moscow propaganda.
Rings a bell? It should, because the Western handling of Syria looks very much like a repetition of its tactics in Afghanistan, the terrible consequences of which are now for all to see. So what do the FCO Afghan papers tell us about the way the West is going about its world “leadership”?