President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzay took recently two measures destined in his eyes to introduce some order to the country: First, he ordered the organisation of volunteers into local militia to protect the villages against the Taliban. They will be paid 60% of the salary the Afghan regular soldiers receive. Second, he gave a delay until the end of this year for the private security companies to pack up and leave the country, as he intends to replace them by Afghan police force. But if the first measure is a reasonable attempt to gain much of the terrain occupied by the Taliban, a few weeks before the elections scheduled for September, the second one may put Karzay at odds with his protectors: mainly the US military who hire “private security contractors” (PSCs) to carry out a lot of business from protecting individuals and transport convoys, to forwarding operating bases, buildings, and other economic infrastructure, as well as training security forces. Yet, this is not the first time Karzay threatened of ousting the PSCs. In November 2009, he stated a goal of closing down all PSCs in two years. Read more
Archive for August 2010
The closer the date of the US military withdrawal from Iraq (August 31), the greater people’s nervousness. They keep an eye on the death toll and say: it is going to be worse when the Americans leave. Who can blame them? But it is too late anyway. The invasion was an American decision, but the pullout was an Iraqi requirement.
Even former Saddam deputy, Tarik Aziz, is now wishing America to stay in Iraq. Unbelievable! Just like Lieut. General Babaker Zebari: the Iraqi army would not be able to ensure the country’s security until 2020, he said. Both are high-ranking officials of two antithetic regimes in the same country, and both seem worried. Read more
Writing recently in the Wall Street Journal, Jack Devine, former CIA deputy director of operations and chief of the CIA Afghan Task Force (1986-87), stated: «The US military will not achieve anything resembling victory in Afghanistan (…) It’s time to face this reality » So what? Are all the efforts to build a new Afghanistan doomed? Devine thinks that what did not work for the Soviets will not work for the US either.
Broadly speaking, the Democrats are attacked for their “weakness” or reluctance to lead a “tough” policy against radical Islamism. This might be true only if we recall that those who are in charge of briefing accurately the policy-makers do not always do their job. The presidents may even be victims of misinformation. Read more
|By Hichem Karoui
The Gulf Today, July 31, 2010
Since the release by WikiLeaks of a batch of 91,000 classified reports on the Afghan war, comment about it made headlines throughout the world, although likely nobody had had enough time to read them. Like many people, I browsed through the material, sorted out by: type, category, region, affiliation, date, and severity. The first impression I had is that even for the US Congress, it would take some time before investigators could understand the scope and the gravity of some released items. Indeed, not all of them are interesting and some seem even trivial, albeit the events they describe went unreported by the media. But as it is the case in any war, the military documents would normally not be unveiled before 40 or 50 years: that is a period of security. Read more