Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Election Does Not Matter So Much?

See this link for an op-ed (written by that says that the Afghan elections are not nearly as important as others have asserted (hat tip to Marc Lynch for pointing this piece--his twitters are chock full of good links).

They assert that the Afghan government probably still has more legitimacy than the Iraqi one had when the surge began there. The Taliban is much less popular in Afghanistan than various alternatives were in Iraq as well. But a missing ingredient is the Awakening. If one wants to run with the analogies of the two surges (past and proposed), then a key difference is that a key part of the insurgency in Iraq decided to change sides quite dramatically. The Sunnis came over and brought heaps of intelligence (info) and manpower that made it far easier to pursue the Al Qaeda in Iraq extremists. And the other side of the civil war--the Shiites basically stepped down their level of violence--a political decision.

Are their equivalents in Afghanistan? Well, there are groups essentially allied with the Taliban that could switch (Hekmaytar and HIG group), but their likelihood of switching sides seems as remote as their desirability as alliance partners. The Taliban and other opponents could fragment, but that might be wishful thinking. Mike Lombardi of the National Football Post always reminds us that hope is not a plan or a strategy.


1 comment:

gta mls said...

That clearly is the right way of thinking. I guess, there is no possibility to improve the whole complex, if you don't start with an improvement of its parts. I think the problem particularly at the election was, that the ghost polling stations were left without control, even though it was quite obvious, they present the best way, how to corrupt and sabotage the whole election process. Now they are just facing the results. Other thing is that affair concerning the head of UN mission being suspected of covering up the fraud. Under these circumstances it doesn't seem possible, that any help could be effective, unless there is an honest will. Julie