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THE MUSINGS OF A TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT

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Sid in his law office where he sits when meeting with clients. Observant eyes will notice the statuette of one of Sid's favorite Democrats.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Wow!: As U.S. war ends, Russia returns to Afghanistan with series of investment projects

The article from The Washington Post is definitely worth reading.  Just a sample:

Russia’s recent incursion into its neighbor, Ukraine, and its annexation of Crimea reflect its intent to maintain influence in some former Soviet republics. It also reaching out to old allies further afield.

Last month, President Vladimir Putin received Egyptian army chief Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, whose relations with Washington have been strained since a coup last summer, and expressed support for the military man’s expected presidential bid.

Moscow is also negotiating a major arms deal with Sissi and agreed in 2012 to sell Iraq $4.3 billion in weapons. In Syria, Putin is strongly backing the government of President Bashar al-Assad as he seeks to crush a rebellion that has received support from the West.
 
In Afghanistan, Russian officials point to their development activities as a counterexample to U.S. aid projects, which many Afghans criticize as wasteful and misguided.
 
“The mistake of the last 12 years is that people were eager to give money, but without the proper strategy,” said Russian Ambassador Andrey Avetisyan, who was also based in Kabul as a young diplomat in the 1980s.
 
Many Afghans, including President Hamid Karzai, praise the Soviet model even though they fought a bloody 10-year war against the country’s army, which invaded in 1979 to support an unpopular communist government.
 
“The Soviet money went to the right place. They were efficient in spending their money and doing it through the Afghan government,” Karzai said in an interview with The Washington Post this month.
 
The new warmth between the Kremlin and Afghanistan was visible this week when the Afghan government released a message from Putin marking the Persian new year. It was the only such message made public, and was released at a time when the United States and European governments are imposing sanctions on Russia for its expansion into Ukraine.
 
“I am certain that friendly ties and cooperation between Russia and Afghanistan in the future will add to the goodness and welfare of our people,” Putin said in the message to Karzai, which was translated into Dari, the local language.
 
The Russian government has compiled a list of 140 Soviet-era projects that it would like to rehabilitate, according to the embassy. The Kabul Housebuilding Factory, the country’s largest manufacturing facility, was the first to receive assistance last fall: $25 million in new equipment.

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