Blunt-talking from Afghan diplomat Sir Sherard Cowper Coles

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Oct 2, 2008.

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  1. From The Times
    October 2, 2008
    Straight-talking from Afghanistan diplomat Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles

    Richard Beeston, Foreign Editor
    Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, the British ambassador to Kabul and the man at the centre of embarrassing revelations exposed in the French press, is best known at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for two things.

    First, he has a habit of volunteering with enthusiasm for the toughest and most dangerous posts - Tel Aviv during the Palestinian intifada, Riyadh at the height of al-Qaeda's terrorist campaign and now Kabul in the grip of a bloody insurgency.

    Second, he is known for holding outspoken views, which he is not embarrassed to share with his superiors and on some memorable occasions with the press and the public (in an effort to bolster morale in Saudi Arabia he once told local residents that Nottingham was more dangerous than Riyadh).

    We will probably never know the real version of the conversation that took place early last month between him and Francois Fitou, the French charge d'affaires in Kabul, who wrote the diplomatic cable published by the Canard Enchaine.

    UK envoy: Afghan mission doomed
    Some quotes attributed to Sir Sherard may have been "exaggerated", as the FCO insists, and others, like the call for a dictator to take over in Kabul or that more Nato troops may be counter-productive, may have been completely untrue.

    But what is indisputable is the conclusion, certainly shared by Sir Sherard, that the Nato-led campaign in Afghanistan is not working and that the policy urgently needs to be reviewed.
    More on the link
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4862254.ece
     
  2. Skynet- Here he goes again with a fascinating article in The Spectator last week.


    Breaking rank | The Spectator

    Extracts:

    1) The same officers who were complaining to the press about lack of helicopters were riding around Afghanistan on them. In the summer of 2007, an RAF movements officer showed me a pie chart of British helicopter usage in southern Afghanistan: 27 per cent of the hours were for VIP flights, mostly for senior British military visitors from London.



    2) Both sides would do well to recall the words of a great political leader who was also an accomplished soldier, faced with a far more serious military challenge to democratic political authority than we are ever likely to encounter. In 1959, at the end of his tour of French army units across Algeria, President de Gaulle told the senior officers there:

    "As for yourselves, mark my words! You are not an army for its own sake. You are the army of France. You exist only through her, for her, and in her service. This is your raison d’être… It is I who, in view of my position, must be obeyed by the army in order that France should survive. I am confident of your obedience, and I thank you, gentlemen. Vive la France!"

    As the Delphic Oracle would have said, in life there are only two rules: ‘Know thyself’, and ‘Nothing in excess’.
     
  3. The Insurgency is based in Pakistan not Afghanistan, so hench, Pakistan should be punished,sanctioned or whatever you want to call it.

    Afghanistan should not be blamed for every problem the Nato forces encounter.

    Afghans build a bridge, Pakistan comes and destroys it.
     
  4. The utter bastards!
     
  5. Diplomats, particularly British ones always seem to have an intense dislike of any military solution. The use of the military is seen as a clear (and somewhat embarrassing) demonstration that their superior intelect and diplomatic skills have failed to accomplish a negotiated solution.
     
  6. Spooks, spooks and more spooks. A man in his position would not be able to fire off such quotes without someone feeding him the ammunition. As news is breaking that we are currently holding talks with the taliban "his" words seem like a softener.
     
  7. Not a fan, myself. Especially as he refered to the "Defence Intelligence Service" in his book - a demonstration of how much attention he paid to the MoD and the INT community as a whole.