Le texte original en français figure après cette version anglaise.
What Joe Biden and the U.S. Administration have just decided is a real ignominy on the ethical and political levels. It is the discretionary extortion of 7 billion dollars belonging to the Afghan Central Bank. It is as if the United States can pre-empt the bank assets of another state so that it can unilaterally seize them and use them as it sees fit. This is beyond the pale for a power that prides itself on the « exceptionalism » of its founding values.
Biden gives reasons, his own, for this approach. They are more akin to the practice of international gangsterism. Certainly, predation is part of the parameters belonging to any form of imperialism and to the modes of management of power politics. It is not, far from it, a novelty. But here we reach the height of cynicism and moral unacceptability.
Afghanistan is on the brink of an economic, social and political precipice. Humanitarian aid, thanks to the United Nations and the NGOs, will be able to help face the most absolute human emergencies. But this will not be enough, as I have previously explained in articles on my blog JFi, and on the website of the « Cahiers de santé publique et de protection sociale ». In spite of the Taliban regime, this country needs means to get out of a major crisis. The International Red Cross and other organizations consider that this crisis has reached a critical threshold. More than half of the population (about 25 million people) needs help. Now. And in the long run. The situation is so economically and socially perilous that Afghanistan will not recover unless the structural causes of the problems are addressed. For example, aid for agriculture, for the survival and functioning of the health system, for education, for justice… The needs are colossal.
But Biden has just shamelessly taken a totally opposite decision: to seize $7 billion from the Afghan Central Bank to pay for humanitarian aid ($3.5 billion), and to finance compensation for the victims of September 11 ($3.5 billion). What is the real meaning of such a choice? First of all, it is to make the Afghans themselves pay for the humanitarian aid they urgently need… while dispossessing them of important financial means for a country like Afghanistan, one of the poorest in the world. And this while the current threat of total economic and social collapse, in the context of a failed state, comes largely from the consequences of 20 years of American war, systemic corruption, massive poverty and underdevelopment.
And then, to make the victims of September 11 pay compensation in this way… this is also unacceptable. It was not Afghanistan, and it was not Afghans who killed 3000 people on September 11, 2001 in New York. It was 15 Saudis out of 19 terrorists. The others came from Yemen, Lebanon, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. We know how many individuals, rich personalities and Saudi « clerics » or sheikhs have participated in financing jihadism, having found a financial and ideological engine for their political aims. The regime of the Saudi princes has a solid reputation in criminal dirty tricks (see for example the Khashoggi affair in October 2018). However, it has never been proven that this kingdom, a privileged ally of Western powers, is the actor responsible for the plot and the attack of September 11… But when it comes to compensation, it is rather Riyadh that should and could finance. And certainly not Kabul.
Afghanistan, indeed, has paid enough and illegitimately with 20 years of murderous and destructive war. Having sheltered Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, cannot justify either 20 years of war, or the arrogant strategy of « regime change » and American domination, whose vain pretension is now measured in a complete political, strategic and military failure. Biden is obviously trying to regain his credibility in the face of this total failure, crowned by the unbelievable chaos of the retreat of Washington’s and NATO’s troops. In reality, these 3.5 billion dollars in compensation to the victims of September 11 do not represent much compared to what the United States spent (more than 2.3 trillion dollars) on this unwinnable war… which it actually lost. But Biden chooses to preserve the richest and crush the weakest.
Certainly, the Taliban regime is not a reliable partner, democratic, respectful of universal human values. That is the least that can be said. But there are limits that must not be crossed. There is an Afghan people. Yes, a people, and not just a de facto authoritarian regime, brutal, hostile to women, to freedoms, to education, to culture…a regime that precisely holds its power from the American failure. These Afghan people must be helped and respected. In truth, Biden, in political difficulty, is using 9/11 as an instrument. He is using vulgar populist demagoguery to try to regain his electorate. This sordid maneuver is as morally repulsive as it is politically illegitimate.
We thought we had reached a plateau of unacceptability with Guantánamo, with Abu Ghraib and many other criminal exactions that Washington must assume. But Biden has just made the United States take a further step in ignominy… We will see who will dare to say it clearly. (12 02 22)
(Translated into english with deepl)