Operation Cyclone - The Birth of Jihadism

Feb 2015
2,038
UK
Operation Cyclone - The birth of Jihadism. The blowback we reap today?

I want folk at have a look at Operation Cyclone. The name of CIA programme to arm and finance the Afghan Mojahideen to fight against the Red Army in Afghanistan between 1979 to 1989.

It involved three external players USA, Saudia Arabia. US provided the impetus and superpower resources. That is project management.

Saudia Arabia matched every US dollar and injection of virulent Salafism to fire up the 'soldier's of Allah' and thereby laying the prototype of the modern Jihadi.

Pakistan acted as the site foreman and provided it's own border zone called FATA* for the training, staging and logistics bases.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federally_Administered_Tribal_Areas]Federally Administered Tribal Areas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

Operation Cyclone is often called the largest covert operation in history and by all a spectacular success in that it left Soviet Union in a weakened state and ser the scene for collapse of the Soviet block within 3 years of the Soviet Tanks crossing the Amu Darya river back to USSR in 1989.

Bye Bye Afghanistan Welcome. Welcome welcome global Jihad.



Mujahideen is the plural form of Mujahid which itself mean's somebody engaged in jihad. Therefore you can see the Mujahideen as the prototype of today's feared and despised Jihadi. During the 1980s and this is within my memory when Mujahideen were favoured guests at White House.



To cut it short Operation Cyclone laid the seeds of the present problems of radicalism in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. The intent of this thread is NOT to point fingers at any single party but to look at what all three Pakistan, Saudia Arabia and USA did in equal measure.

My contention is as much as Operation Cyclone was a spectacular success it however did come with a price tag the 'blockback' that we are harvesting today. That price has been paid and continues to be paid by USA, Afghanistan and Pakistan 26 years after Soviets crossed Amu Darya river.

Next time a bomb goes off in Pakistan it might be well before people judge to bear in mind this and not try and just push the entire blame on Pakistan or Afghanistan by saying 'those savages and their inheritantly violent religion'.

Zbigniew Brzezińsk 1980, talking to men of Khyber Rifles, Pakistan Army on the border of Afghanistan​
.



Bush senior on the near Afghan border, Pakistan with ISI general Hamid Gul, and CIA station chief Mitt Rearden 1980s.




Terror 'blowback' burns CIA - News - The Independent
2


with the new FIM-92 Stinger. This relatively cheap and portable anti-aircraft missile systemwas highly effective on the battle field. These launchers, which cost only a few thousanddollars, were able to take down multi-million dollar Soviet helicopters with devastatingeffect. Not only was this a tactical win on the battlefield, it was immensely expensive for the Soviets to maintain.Operation Cyclone lasted for a solid decade from December of 1979 to February of 1989. The plan was to support the Afghan resistance and Mujahedeen as long as the Sovietsintended to remain in the conflict. In order to complete such a rigorous task, the UnitedStates employed the help of the Pakistan government. Now at the disposal of the CIA was Pakistan's ISI - Inter Services Intelligence


and their infrastructure they had developed.
Pakistan’s intelligence assets were able to provide channels and a means by which the U.S.could arm the Afghan resistance. Furthermore, the United States was able to find a valuableally in General Zia-ul-Haq. His military dictatorship assumed power over the democraticallyelected government in Pakistan.

Alt
hough this approach was not in line with America’s
views on democracy, General Zia-ul-Haq proved to highly resourceful. Further aiding the
need for Pakistan’s involvement was the ethnic ties Pashtun Pakistanis had with Pashtun
Afghanis. This blood bond helped the Afghan resistance, the Mujahedeen, of which a great portion was Pashtun, see more eye to eye with American interest vis-à-vis Pakistan

Operation Cyclone (1979-1989): A Brief Analysis of the U.S. Involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War | Nolan Kraszkiewicz - Academia.edu

Soviet Afghan War, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Rebel Formula | WideShut.co.uk



https://www.google.co.uk/shopping/product/1513566571721306534?q=operation+cyclone+the+largest+covert+war+in+history+crile&biw=1107&bih=521&site=webhp&bav=on.2,or.r_cp.&tch=1&ech=1&psi=ebciVezEJ8LT7Aal2IGwCA.1428338554942.7&ei=lr0iVaXoAZOv7AamooGoAQ&ved=0CIoBEKYrMAM
 
Feb 2015
2,038
UK
Zbigniew Brzezinski

Presiden Carters National Security Advisor.


"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."

  • Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998

  • "Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire."
    • Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998 (When asked if he regretted drawing the Soviets into a trap in Afghanistan)

  • "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?

  • Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

  • Interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998 (When asked if he regretted contributing to the rise in Islamic fundamentalism)
"This will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid, and, alas, a decision that our security policy toward Pakistan cannot be dictated by our non-proliferation policy." Memo to President Carter following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (1979

Zbigniew Brzezinski - Wikiquote

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4lf0RT72iw"]www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4lf0RT72iw[/ame]
 
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Mar 2013
3,909
Texas, USA
Was this the responsibility of the Americans as well, and did it have anything at all to do with Afghanistan?



Aren't you forgetting to include organizations like Muslim Brotherhood, the PLO, and others into your blaming jihadism on the United States? Are you going to white wash extremist spiritual leaders like Rashid Rida or Sayyid Qutb?
 
Feb 2015
2,038
UK
One of the tings that amazes me about people is the short memory. What happened last month is old news, what happened last year is forgotten news and what happened 20 years ago never happened.

However you would expect that to be differant with historians. Is history not about taking step back and loking at the how any even fits in the broader scheme of things. However even here I see people making observations informed only by the hysteria generated within the present horizon. are historian's not supposed to move out at look at the macro picture and then make conclusions?

2015 "stirred up Moslem" Brzezinski was right in 1998. He was also right about free Eastern Europe when I see Polish shops on every street corner. Not long ago they used to laugh about Pakistan corner shops.

Now going back to the subject of 'stirred up Moslems" I want to look at FATA in 2015. At the start of this thread I said FATA was used by CIA, Pakistani ISI as the 'training, staging, logistics base' of the Afghan Johad. Today unsurprisingly FATA is Pakistan's "ground Zero" for terrorism.

Almost all terrorism today is centred in FATA and from there fans out. How safe a area in Pakistan is can be ascertained by inverse formula. further you are from FATA in Pakistan the safer it gets. Of course there might be variables like some area in Pakistan might have large concentration of FATA migrants but this formula applies.

FATA is a zone inside Pakistan that runs adjacent to the Afghan border. FATA itself is divided into differant 'districts' like Waziristan. Anybody who knows anything about terrorism in Af-Pak area will lnow today Waziristan is hotbed of terrorism. The Pakistan Army has been at war with Taliban in FATA area.

Most of those horror stories you hear about Pakistan and then crucify this country are either coming from FATA or those who at the centre of these stories will inevitably connected to FATA. Like I said it is "Terror Central in Pakistan. During the Afghan-Soviet War it was "Mujahideen Central". It just dropped the "Muja" and become "Jihad Central" in 30 years.

Map of FATA and areas where most of Taliban activity is taking place. You will see clear corellation betwen the main logistic/traing area/camps of Mujihadeen of the Afghan-Soviet war of 1979-89 and today's Taliban insurgency. In 95% of Pakistan life goes on contrary to media sensationalism it is the FATA and areas adjacent which is burning.

The map covers Pakistan and Afghanistan. you can see in Pakistan, North, South Waziristan in FATA are the hotbeds. Further away you go from Afghan border it calm prevails.



The insurgency is mostly linked with the Pashtun ethnic group who were heavily infuenced by Wahabism and Salafism. The map below shows the Pashtun ethnic group in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's clear that again there is causal link between Pashtun ethnic group. Taliban, Salafism. This potent mix was mixed and perfected in the 1980s anti Soviet Jihad.




This map with stripes shows clearly the focus of Taliban activity in Pakistan falls in the shadow of the Afghan border in the region known in Pakistan as FATA.



This map shows FATA within Pakistan. It barely covers 5% of Pakistan and alwats has been semi-autonamous region of Pakistan since the days of British Raj. The British arived at a compromise with the wild tribes on the Afghan border. Accept British overlordship and you can continue living the way you always have. The only government representation is a official called Political Agent. The PA effectively acts as a medium between FATA tribes and the government.

This balance arrived by the British was turned upside down during the Afghan-Soviet Jihad as it became the operation base of "Operation Cyclone" and injection of Muslim Jihadi's from all over the world. This created a narrative above the tribe, above the nation state and put if firmly in the "Islamic Ummah" that is Islamic brotherhood with Jihadism as the preferred tool of political change. This formale was spectacularly successfull in defeating Soviet Union.

CIA might have been the copyright owners of the idea but since than others thought "hey we can use this model" and here we are ladies and gents 2015 political Islam and fistfull of Jihadi's smiling and beheading throw the Muslim world. If you look at all the Al Qaeda head honchos they all recieved their baptism of fire in Afganistan Jihad against Soviet. Bin Laden, Al Zawarhi etc

But so what as long as "

  • Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold War
 
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Feb 2015
2,038
UK
Was this the responsibility of the Americans as well, and did it have anything at all to do with Afghanistan?

Aren't you forgetting to include organizations like Muslim Brotherhood, the PLO, and others into your blaming jihadism on the United States? Are you going to white wash extremist spiritual leaders like Rashid Rida or Sayyid Qutb?
First if you take the time to read the OP it states clearly this is not about BLAME GAME.

Two if blame is apportioned than it is at the feet of Saudia Arabia, Pakistan and USA in no particular ORDER. I can't see why you isolte USA alone. This is NOT bash USA.

Three this thread deals WITH Af-Pak region not Middle East. There is some linkage but that is exclusive to the Palestine Isreal issue which is about TERRITORY and religion has NOTHING to do about this. If the Palestinians had been Christians do you think they would have welcome European Jews en masse and vacated their land for state of Isreal? That is a secular struggle

Please do read about George Habash. The foremost Fata commander who was Christian Palestinian. At any rate there is no causal reltionship between Palestine a secular struggle for statehood and the Af-Pak trouble with Taliban.

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Habash]George Habash - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

George Habash ([ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language"]Arabic[/ame]: جورج حبش‎) also known by his [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laqab"]laqab[/ame] "al-Hakim" ([ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_language"]Arabic[/ame]: الحكيم‎ — the wise one or the doctor) (2 August 1926 – 26 January 2008) was a [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marxist"]Marxist[/ame] and [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_Christian"]Palestinian Christian[/ame] who founded the [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popular_Front_for_the_Liberation_of_Palestine"]Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine[/ame]. Habash served as Secretary-General of the Palestine Front until 2000, when ill health forced him to resign.
 
Mar 2013
3,909
Texas, USA
You named the thread "Operation Cyclone - The Birth of Jihadism" and then want on a rank to show that the US assistance to the Muj fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan is responsible for jihadism and extremism. That's bull. It might be true in some ways for Pakistan, but the Middle East and other Muslim countries were having issues with various types of extremism and jihadism before Afghanistan was invaded, or immaterial to it.
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,389
India
At one level, Jihadism was always there. But yes, the proxy war fought by the American state against the Russians in Afghanistan goes a long way in establishing the roots of many modern extremist violent Islamic groups in World Politics. Other factors have also contributed, and the Wahabi movement based out of and funded by Saudi Arabia is an equally important contributor.

The basic problem with the Jihadis and Extremists was that you had a whole bunch of people who were looking to try and use the extremists for their own policy goals. Thus, they would "punish" the groups which worked against them, by withholding funding or arming, or arming their rivals. What this ended up doing was creating a morass of inter community schisms as well as exacerbating old rivalries under the new warlords. Eventually ofcourse this extremism, like the Hydra that it was, started to turn on its masters as it grew too large for them to control. The Pakistani Army, American state department, had all put in too many resources into these movements for them to be able to control it. Essentially, extremism was like a nuclear explosion. Once it reached critical mass, there was no stopping it. Groups you thought you could trust turned on you, groups who hated you managed to get the resources and weapons to hurt you. It didn't help that certain state agencies continued to try and use these extremists to push their own agendas even after it became clear how suicidal the policy was (well, it had always been clear, but this was happening even as people could feel the negative consequences). The whole "Good Taliban/Bad Taliban" rhetoric was essentially used by such people to justify their own extremists while excusing their violence against those extremists they didn't like.

Naturally, this hasn't helped matters, and now you've got a geo-political of Jihadist/Extremist Islam which looks like the world's most screwed up spider web having mated with the world's largest tangled ball of yarn! We've got all sorts of inter and intra group alliances and agreements, understandings and agreements with "charitable" organizations, with mosques who spread their message. There are some common ideological factors, but trying to figure out who's who in the Extremist setup is an amazingly complex task. Especially since now it has become rooted in large sections of the Population, and so its not longer a clear cut "Good Guy/Bad Guy" situation for the states infected by the cancer.
 
Feb 2015
2,038
UK
@ Atilla006

The example you drew has the following logic

Oklahoma Boming 1995.




has what connect with Provisional Irish army bombing of Canary Wharf, London 1996.





[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1996_Docklands_bombing]1996 Docklands bombing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

[ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oklahoma_City_bombing]Oklahoma City bombing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]

What has X got to do with Y? What both were Christians? Both were 'white' or indeed did both speek English? If you want to find a common denominator you cal always do that. I mam NOT saying there is any link between the Timothy Mcveigh and IRA bombing. Both were driven by entirely differant dynamics in the same WAY as PLO and the trouble in AF-Pak is driven.

This thread specifically covers the AF-Pak region and it's linkage to the Afghan Jihad of 1980s

x
 

Pillbox city

Ad Honorem
Jul 2012
3,000
Abilene, Texas
I will agree that arming the Jihadists to fight the Soviets was a bad idea.

But Islamic extremism has been around since the end of World War 2, long before the 80s
 

tornada

Ad Honoris
Mar 2013
15,389
India
You named the thread "Operation Cyclone - The Birth of Jihadism" and then want on a rank to show that the US assistance to the Muj fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan is responsible for jihadism and extremism. That's bull. It might be true in some ways for Pakistan, but the Middle East and other Muslim countries were having issues with various types of extremism and jihadism before Afghanistan was invaded, or immaterial to it.
True, the ME's history of Jihad and Extremist Islam comes from a variety of factors. The historical role played by European (primarily British and Russian) and Ottoman, American Interference, the role of regional parties like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, the inter-tribal schisms - all of these have played a fundamental role in establishing Extremism in the ME. South Asia's events, while having an impact, have not been as central to the rise of Jihad here, as with other places, except maybe in the last couple of decades, where the America has provided enough of a common enemy for the various regional Jihadi/Extremist movements to reach some degree of ideological and practical common grounds.

By the way, much of the Extremist Islam in Africa, like say Boko Haram is also usually considered a Jihad (not as sexy for the news as IS though, most of the time) and it has its own roots just as independent from South Asia and the ME.