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Afghan snap election unlikely, officials say

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Voting to occur on schedule, insiders tell The Globe, as critics slam Karzai's move to fast-track polling ...Read the full article

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  1. Richard Roskell from Canada writes:

    'A snap election would hamstring other contenders...'

    You mean, the 'snap election' that's been known about for five years? The 'snap election' that is set by the Constitution of Afghanistan for April?

    The only 'snap decision' that was taken on the presidential election was made by the Afghan Election Commission on January 29, 2009 when it cancelled the mandated election in April and rescheduled it for August.

    You need to do a little more homework on this one, Graeme.

    All contenders for the presidency of Afghanistan- and all their backers- have had FIVE YEARS to prepare for the election. According to the applicable Afghan law- which has likewise been in existence for five years, the election is to be held in April.

    Anyone currently crying the blues about a 'snap election' could only be trying to manipulate the election unfairly, for their own gain.
  2. Not the Alliance from In my opinion, The Harper Gov't is totally Incompetent., Canada writes: 'Critics denounced the decree as blatant opportunism by the unpopular leader.'

    Has Karzai been taking notes from Harper...?
  3. bill chan from Vancouver, Canada writes: What is the point having an election when you can only choose Yankee puppet A and B? Can the Taliban run for the election too?
  4. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Sure the Taliban can run for election in Afghanistan, Bill. Of course, they have to immediately run for cover after doing so, but hey! 'Democracy is messy.'
  5. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: 'Pressure has been mounting on Mr. Karzai to step aside on May 22 and allow an interim leader to take control during the election period - and possibly until the winner is sworn into office at the end of the year.

    'We need an interim president to run the elections,'said Waliullah Rahmani, executive director of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies.'

    The knowledgeable Afghanistan hands see it this way. There is no way the US/NATO alliance wants another five years of Hamid Karzai. Mr. Karzai isn't compliant enough, and he's too critical of US/NATO tactics. But unfortunately, none of the other contenders are palatable either, with many being even worse. No one who can get elected in Afghanistan is satisfactory to the US and NATO. Oh, what to do, what to do?

    Ah! What if the West got the election postponed? That way Karzai is out of there when his term ends in May. But an 'interim president' is needed, and the West can just appoint one until the election is held. But- and here is the brilliant part- they don't actually plan to hold an election in the foreseeable future.

    The election is postponed- ostensibly for 'security reasons'- until August. But as everyone knows, August is the height of the fighting season. That's the whole point. In August, NATO announces that the security situation is still too poor, and the election is postponed again, this time indefinitely. And who continues to run the country? The 'interim president'... chosen, of course, from among the Usual Suspects. The U and the S are highlighted intentionally.

    The whole drama around the Afghan presidential election is, in all likelihood, being manufactured in Langley and Whitehall. The intent is to get rid of Karzai, do an end run around the other candidates, and install an 'interim president' satisfactory to the West until some unspecified future date.
  6. Gordon Stephens from Victoria, Canada writes: I really don't know where these unstable democracies get the notion that they can just arbitrarily call elections, in contravention of democratically passed laws which lay out specific election dates.

    There really seems to be a lack of commitment to the rule of law, here.
  7. Wayne Crockett from Toronto, Canada writes: If anyone thinks there is an overarching conspiracy at work in Afganistan they are deluded. The whole thing has been by seat of the pants since 2001. Everyone is running around now trying to salvage something from the fiasco as Karzai has turned out to be such a failure. If the Taliban has any brains or subtlety, which they don't demonstrate much, they should be able to take advantage of the unhappiness with the current administration whenever the elections take place.
  8. Roop Misir from Toronto, Canada writes: What a massive failure--the mission that is!

    We can take a horse to the water, but can we make Karzai drink?
  9. Larry Romanoff from Shanghai, Canada writes: Is this article a joke? A G&M Canadian headline about elections in Afghanistan? When did Afghanistan become more important than Moose Jaw? Or is Harper pushing our press to keep the country in our attention so we will be sucked in to believe that it's worth our while (and lives) to be there? I very much doubt that many people in Canada give a s*** about Afghanistan or its elections. There is far more worthy international news than this. For what it's worth, not a single major European or Middle Eastern newspaper had even a comment on this, but we're still fighting Bush's war so we must do what he wants.
  10. Bobs Yer Uncle from Canada writes: For tracking and analysis of the conflict situation in Afghanistan over the last three years see www.carleton.ca/cifp
  11. Bobs Yer Uncle from Canada writes: For tracking and analysis of the conflict situation in Afghanistan over the last three years see www.carleton.ca/cifp
  12. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Security is a concern, and no, the fighting season will not be over by August. By spring there will be more troops on the ground and Canada is planning on altering its normal rotation pattern to ensure more troops in August. Hopefully the situation will have improved somewhat since then. However, that is not the only concern - it is about the universality of the election which cannot be assured in the spring. The country does not have the resources - the aid has been a fraction of what is needed and often slow in coming. Elections cost money that they don't have. They have not had time to focus on election costs when there are so many other costs they have had to deal with in terms of trying to rebuild. Whatever Karzai's motives, the IEC had good reasons for delaying the election. Of course any excuse will do for many people who just want to criticize and/or pull out our troops. Political games are fine when it is not your life and future hanging in the balance.
  13. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: Catherine Medernach's mindless support for Canada making war in Afghanistan is like pornography: crude and relentless. To her it matters not how many people are killed in this war, or where, or why. Catherine has it all covered by claiming that some Canadian soldiers fight for personal reasons that are honourable.

    Here's the reality: No matter how unacceptable the overall motives are for making war, one can always cite evidence of honourable behavior amongst the individuals who wage it. German soldiers in WWII didn't all have horns and and a devil's tail. Just like Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, many German soldiers believed they were fighting for a worthy cause. And many of those German soldiers were courageous in the face of danger, hopeful that the future would contain a better world, and even acted compassionately at times.

    THIS IS THE TRAGEDY OF CANADA'S WARMAKING IN AFGHANISTAN. The invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was illegitimate from the start. No amount of personal courage and selfless behavior on the part of individual soldiers can overcome that failing. Canadian soldiers who participate in the war in Afghanistan face the same fate as German soldiers who participated in WWII. No matter how honourable their personal motives might be, it's the overall nature of the war which determines how those who participate it in will be viewed in the end.

    Just ask the American soldiers who fought in Vietnam.
  14. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: yes Roskell and we all know how you view it - you may see my support as mindless but I see your support for the Taliban as - well I won't go there. What I do know is that the Afghans were fighting the Taliban long before we got there - and might have had a chance if others had not intervened - like Pakistan and Al-Qaeda for example.

    You may think it is just fine to walk away and let not only the Taliban rule but for Al-Qaeda to have a base for operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan but I do not agree. My view is based on extensive reading - yours is based on ? a personal bias? I am not pro US but I am hoping that President Obama will be able to turn things around and that NATO will fully support efforts to give the country back to the people and help them develop their own military and establish the rule of law. In the process hopefully Al-Aqaeda will have its power diminished by having lost their safe haven in the region. They do pose a real threat that needs to be dealt with.
  15. Jan Burton from Toronto, Canada writes: "Canadian soldiers who participate in the war in Afghanistan face the same fate as German soldiers who participated in WWII."

    ---------

    Wow, didn't see that one coming. LOL!

    At least he said "German soldiers" and not "Waffen-SS."
  16. Richard Roskell from Canada writes:

    And you can imagine my suprise at seeing your usual vapid response, Jan. And you didn't even falsely attribute your own words to me this time! The calendar is marked. LOL
  17. Richard Roskell from Canada writes:

    Catherine Medernach, do you never tire of blathering your facile jingo?
  18. The Phantom from Canada writes:

    GET OUR TROOPS OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW.
  19. Richard Roskell from Canada writes:

    The photo accompanying this story at 4PM March 2 must be an old file photo from the Taliban days. That's because the three Afghan women depicted in the photo are covered from head to toe. And yet, as everyone knows, we "liberated" Afghanistan from the horrific Taliban so that women could dress as they pleased, among other things.

    Seven and a half years of Western "liberation" and strangely, women in Afghanistan are still dressed in all-encompassing burqas. Or do you suppose it was just one of the many lies we were told about the mission?
  20. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: RR - still spouting your same old propaganda I see. Some women still were the Burka - and some don't - it has more to do with local customs than Islam. Some are still coerced by other family members - and some are afraid because of the return of the terrorists. Of course, it only takes one picture to 'prove' your views right?

    Your contention that the Taliban represent what Muslims/Afghans believe and want has been demonstrated in many places not to be accurate. The Taliban consider elections 'un-Islamic' - but they will do what their leaders tell them to do - even participate in an election. In other Muslim/Arab countries people vote - and like the majority of Afghans (including Pashtuns) they would not willingly live under Taliban rule or give up the right to vote.
  21. Steve is reporting LIVE from the US / Canuckistani border from Canada writes:

    They need an Dion/Iggy/Layton/Bloc Coalition to get the ball rolling. lol
  22. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: People interested in a slightly different take on democracy and the ME Arab/Muslim countries might find the book, The Al Jazeera Effect by Philip Seib an interesting read. It looks at how the new global media, including the Internet and cell phones, has and potential may impact on world politics - with particular attention paid to that part of the world.

    Many contend that we are trying to force 'democracy' on Muslims - but only those who have not educated themselves are likely to believe this contention. Having read books by writers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran etc. has led me to believe that although many governing regimes may not favour democracy, many of their citizens do. At the same time 'western democracy' is often seen as that represented by the US and recent events have made that problematic. This is one reason Canadian troops are so valuable in that part of the world - because of their long history of promoting democratic governance.
  23. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: Still spouting your same old propaganda I see, Medernach. Do you never tire of trotting out the same facile excuses and justifications for making war on other people's soil?

    How's your battle against the Global Islamic Jihad going? Still fighting the good fight against the forces of evil?
  24. Richard Roskell from Canada writes: "Since, the elections determine the future of the country, and electing and being elected is the right of every Afghan based on Sharia law and the Constitution of Afghanistan, I urge all opponents of the government to participate in the forthcoming elections through casting their votes or nominating themselves, especially in the insecure areas of the country..." - Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, announced on March 1, 2009.

    That's the President of Afghanistan inviting the Taliban insurgents, especially those in the parts of Afghanistan that they hold, to get themselves nominated and run for office.

    You can see why NATO and the US are trying to torpedo the election.
  25. Jan Burton from Toronto, Canada writes: Richard Roskell from Canada writes:

    And you didn't even falsely attribute your own words to me this time!

    -----------

    I never do, Richard.

    You simply have a knack for posting stupid things and then making a fool of yourself trying to explain it away.
  26. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Roskell, 'all opponents' does not necessarily mean Taliban. There are always 'opponents' to governments participating in elections - that is why we call them opposition parties here. You are again making assumptions based on your interpretation of Karzai's words - and it is just possible that your interpretation and assumptions are incorrect. For one thing, they do not operate on a 'political party' basis in Afghanistan - they run for election as individuals. Also, there are people who were involved with the Taliban who have renounced violence and have been welcomed back into Afghan society and therefore have the same rights as any other Afghan to run for election.
  27. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Riiight, Medernach. When Hamid Karzai calls on "opponents of the government... in insecure parts of the country," he's definitely not talking about the insurgents.

    LOL
  28. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    When discussing matters pertaining to the conduct of the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan you never attribute your own words to me, Jan?

    LOL
  29. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes: While I normally admire Graeme Smith's reporting from Afghanistan, this is not one of his better articles.

    The call by President Hamid Karzai to hold the election in April, as mandated by the Constitution of Afghanistan, is not a call for a "snap election." It is a call to hold the election according to the law of the land. What the reporter apparently overlooks is that on Jan. 29, 2009, the Election Commission in Afghanistan announced that they weren't ready to hold the election in April, and were postponing it until August. Mr. Karzai imply insists that the elections go ahead as ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED.

    Mr. Karzai's presidential mandate ends in May, 2009. In all likelihood the switch in election dates was an attempt by Karzai's enemies (which at this time include the US and NATO) to force him out of office at all costs. An "interim president" will be installed, one that's compliant with US/NATO demands. The mooted election in August may or may not go ahead- in all likelihood not- leaving the interim puppet president indefinitely in control.

    No doubt Karzai sees all this. Were he permitted to remain as president for an extra three months until the August elections, he would probably drop his challenge to the switch. But no one but himself is willing to see that happen. Karzai rightly sees that his enemies are trying to do an end run around both him and the nation's constitution, and he's standing up for both.
  30. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Why would US/NATO forces want Hamid Karzai gone? There's a number of reasons. The fact that he's widely viewed as being corrupt is a non-issue. There's no Afghan with a chance of replacing him who isn't just as corrupt, and in any case the President is just one man. The corruption in the Afghan government extends from the top to the bottom.

    The main reason why US/NATO forces want Mr. Karzai out of there is because he is not compliant enough with their wishes. Although he was originally installed by the West into the position of president, Mr. Karzai is indisputably an Afghan patriot. For all his faults, Mr. Karzai is an Afghan first. He does not put US/NATO interests first and foremost. He criticizes US/NATO and their home countries when they do not act in the best interests of Afghanistan, which is often.

    How bad have things gotten between Mr. Karzai and US/NATO forces? See for yourself. Beneath is the text of Mr. Karzai's announcement calling for the elections to be held as scheduled by the Constitution, and calling on the Taliban insurgents to participate in those elections!

    "Since, the elections determine the future of the country, and electing and being elected is the right of every Afghan based on Sharia law and the Constitution of Afghanistan, I urge all opponents of the government to participate in the forthcoming elections through casting their votes or nominating themselves, especially in the insecure areas of the country..." - Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, announced on March 1, 2009.

    That's the President of Afghanistan inviting the Taliban insurgents, especially those in the parts of Afghanistan that they hold, to get themselves nominated and run for office.

    You can see why NATO and the US are trying to torpedo the election.
  31. Richard Roskell from Naramata, Canada writes:

    Medernach, do you understand the meaning of the English word, 'all'?

    "I urge allopponents of the government to participate in the forthcoming elections through casting their votes or nominating themselves, especially in the insecure areas of the country..." - Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan.

    Hamid Karzai invited "ALL" opponents of the government, particularly those in areas controlled by the Taliban, to participate in the elections. Yet you assert that Mr. Karzai's invitation doesn't apply to the Taliban?

    LOL

    What I'd like to see is for Afghanistan to turn into the Asian-Islamic equivalent of the Land of Milk and Honey. But that would be like believing in the tooth fairy, Easter bunny and democracy in Kabul all at the same time. Your kind of blue-sky fantasizing, in fact.

    Rational people must therefore settle for something else concerning Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a traumatized nation and the order of the day should be, "First, do no harm." Instead, the citizens of Afghanistan must endure people such as yourself, who wish to fight their wars of paranoia and imperialism on Afghan soil.

    US/NATO forces lost the war in Afghanistan the moment they started it. The only thing remaining to be seen is on what particular day they will withdraw from that war. At that time, one would hope that the real rebuilding of Afghanistan can begin.

  32. Catherine Medernach from Winnipeg, Canada writes: One point that you consistently overlook Roskell is that the Taliban consider elections as 'un-Islamic'. Their approach to gaining control is not through politics but violence. They also have no use for shuras or loya jirgas which are the traditional ways decisions are made - and that has continued as part of their decision making process. Although the people of Afghanistan may not be happy with the current state of affairs, the majority (even of Pashtuns) do not want a return to Taliban rule. Do you really think many would succeed in getting elected? There are probably many others who oppose the current government that are not Taliban. You insist on your interpretation of Karzai's words because that is what you want him to mean. Is that because YOU want to see the Taliban back in control? And why would you want that? Is it so important to you to see NATO/US fail? Is it just the Taliban you support or Al-Qaeda as well?

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