US backs Ashdown for Afghanistan role

#1
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/12/04/washdown104.xml

I know it's been hinted on here before, but here we go again:

The United States is backing Lord Ashdown, the former Liberal Democrat leader who served as the international community's "high representative" in Bosnia, to be the United Nations new "super envoy" to Afghanistan.

The proposed role would see Lord Ashdown being charged with uniting the efforts of both Nato and the UN in Afghanistan. Nato officials are understood to support his candidacy for a job with exceptional power.

"Yes, we are aware that he (Lord Ashdown) has been approached and asked if he will do the job," said one senior Western diplomat in the Afghan capital, Kabul. "This is very much a US-led initiative."
Afghan officials are anxious about Lord Ashdown's previous experience in Bosnia, where he wielded sweeping powers, including the ability to overrule the country's government. He was occasionally termed the "viceroy".
I think I'd rather he had the Palestine gig, but there you go.
 
#2
Sod that, Palestine's a nightmare and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. If he can grip AFG the way he did Bos, that's something worth doing. Where would it leave Karzai, though?
 
#3
smartascarrots said:
If he can grip AFG the way he did Bos
That's the problem, Afghan politics, both tribal and national, is based on consensus, debate and deal-making. In Bos (the local Serbs would argue) he ruled by diktat, riding roughshod over the demands of one community- who nevertheless have resisted integration into the Bosnian state. I can imagine him getting a lot of Pashtun backs up very quickly.
 
#4
But his main success in Bos was in getting shot of any individuals who were dicking around. I doubt the Afghans would be all that worried about getting people who could actually do stuff into positions of power, rather than placemen and on-message types.

Besides, perhaps shaking the tree is what's needed - in the Afghan government certainly.
 
#5
smartascarrots said:
Besides, perhaps shaking the tree is what's needed - in the Afghan government certainly.
Agreed.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
Rumpelstiltskin said:
smartascarrots said:
If he can grip AFG the way he did Bos
That's the problem, Afghan politics, both tribal and national, is based on consensus, debate and deal-making. In Bos (the local Serbs would argue) he ruled by diktat, riding roughshod over the demands of one community- who nevertheless have resisted integration into the Bosnian state. I can imagine him getting a lot of Pashtun backs up very quickly.
Horses for courses. He's not daft, he's got loads of experience, and I'm absolutely certain he'll modify his methods to suit the local situation. If he has to be a deal-maker rather than an enforcer to get things done in Afghan, I'm sure he will, and I'm sure he'll do it well, with the respect of the localised warlords.

I can't think of anyone better suited to the job.
 
#7
smartascarrots said:
Where would it leave Karzai, though?
Just like he is now, a puppet whose strings are pulled by Washington. Difference is that maybe Washington is going to emply a puppeteer too!

smartascarrots said:
But his main success in Bos was in getting shot of any individuals who were dicking around.
So what do you think happened to this individuals once they were dismissed or ejected from political power? Did they just quietly disappear and crawl under a rock? No Sir! They are pretty much alive and kicking and causing all sorts of problems in BiH even today - just not as elected officials.

Try to analyse the substance and not the glossy rhetoric.

Now what will happen if he tries the same in Afghanistan, those ejected will up-sticks and return to being warlords like they did pre-2001. So, more men with guns and determination for Tom to face down!
 
#8
whitecity said:
So what do you think happened to this individuals once they were dismissed or ejected from political power? Did they just quietly disappear and crawl under a rock? No Sir! They are pretty much alive and kicking and causing all sorts of problems in BiH even today - just not as elected officials.

Try to analyse the substance and not the glossy rhetoric.

Now what will happen if he tries the same in Afghanistan, those ejected will up-sticks and return to being warlords like they did pre-2001. So, more men with guns and determination for Tom to face down!
Those awkward Balkan types may not have gone away, but they did cease being part of the government they were trying to disrupt. If you can't stop someone pissing on your dossbag, better to get him outside the tent. Ashdown has his faults, but he's in most ways I can think of a better candidate for the job than any I've heard of.

Don't forget that pre-2001, a lot of the warlords were fighting against the Taliban - they're also not all Pashtun. Those that are kicked out of Governement would have their grievances, but also realistically a greater threat to their power comes from domination by the Taliban.
 
#9
Paddy is quite adept at the Softlee Softlee approach. He has, after all, had much dealing with the Chinese and knows all about saving face.

I cannot think of a better person to carry out this task - but would He wish to take up the baton?
 
#11
Mr._Average said:
smartascarrots said:
Sod that, Palestine's a nightmare and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.
Isn't that the role Blair went off to do?

:twisted:
I take it all back, I would wish it... :D
 
#12
smartascarrots said:
Those awkward Balkan types may not have gone away, but they did cease being part of the government they were trying to disrupt. If you can't stop someone pissing on your dossbag, better to get him outside the tent. Ashdown has his faults, but he's in most ways I can think of a better candidate for the job than any I've heard of.


Don't talk to me about "awkward Balkan types"! Grrrrr!!!

Paddy's success was to remove democratically elected RS Govt officials when they refused to rubber stamp policies and reforms he demanded. In the short term, he got his policies through with the help of more compliant officials who then lost all credibility with their people. Those ejected then started causing problems from outside the system. What's better, someone on the inside pi$$ing out, or someone on the outside pi$$ing in?

In the medium term, those ejected, still with broad support from their public, have spent the best part of the last decade stymieing further reform and progress. Out of office, they operate with completele unaccountability.

Paddy proved that democracy was not what the intl comm wanted. Paddy proved to the Bosnian Serbs that Dayton was a set up.

Afghanistan was lost, is being lost, because of a failure of policy. Policymakers have already tried fiddling with day-to-day operations to make a success, and failed. Now they want to fiddle by making somebody responsible for an overall strategy, and it will again fail. Policy must change, not strategy, not operations, for any chance of success to occur.

If Paddy gets the opportunity to influence real changes in policy, then he could do some good. However, I suspect that he is merely being touted to a position of non-influence over policy and thus will be simple be a scapegoat for future failures.

smartascarrots said:
Don't forget that pre-2001, a lot of the warlords were fighting against the Taliban - they're also not all Pashtun. Those that are kicked out of Governement would have their grievances, but also realistically a greater threat to their power comes from domination by the Taliban.
Not sure where you're going with this. So I'll refrain from responding.
 
#13
whitecity said:
Paddy's success was to remove democratically elected RS Govt officials when they refused to rubber stamp policies and reforms he demanded.
For a given definition of democracy. They might have had mandates from the Serb bits of the electorate, but they were trying, quite deliberately, to chuck sand in the gears of the tri-partite state. So they got removed. Big boy’s games, big boy’s rules.

whitecity said:
In the short term, he got his policies through with the help of more compliant officials who then lost all credibility with their people.
Which was a damned sight better than anyone else had achieved. Perfect democracy it wasn’t, but that was at least as much the fault of the locals as it was Paddy’s.

whitecity said:
Those ejected then started causing problems from outside the system. What's better, someone on the inside pi$$ing out, or someone on the outside pi$$ing in?
That was always going to be the case, and the people concerned were never interested in pissing out of the tent. They’d have been pissing inwards regardless of where they stood.

whitecity said:
In the medium term, those ejected, still with broad support from their public, have spent the best part of the last decade stymieing further reform and progress. Out of office, they operate with completele unaccountability.
And their public reap the rewards of supporting them – no chance whatsoever of unity with the motherland and no chance of EU membership. They’ve well and truly cut their own noses off to spite their face. That’s their problem. Afghanistan is a different proposition because there is far more common ground between the factions.

whitecity said:
Paddy proved that democracy was not what the intl comm wanted. Paddy proved to the Bosnian Serbs that Dayton was a set up.
Very true. What the IC wanted was the war to stop. That the Serbs got a raw deal compared to the others is pretty much a matter of viewpoint, but that’s not really relevant. Paddy didn’t negotiate that one.

whitecity said:
Afghanistan was lost, is being lost, because of a failure of policy. Policymakers have already tried fiddling with day-to-day operations to make a success, and failed. Now they want to fiddle by making somebody responsible for an overall strategy, and it will again fail. Policy must change, not strategy, not operations, for any chance of success to occur.
No argument there. The political level has always been the west’s weak point in this one.

whitecity said:
If Paddy gets the opportunity to influence real changes in policy, then he could do some good. However, I suspect that he is merely being touted to a position of non-influence over policy and thus will be simple be a scapegoat for future failures.
Could be right. As the man said, the worst thing about being a cynic is how often the world surpasses your worst expectations.

whitecity said:
smartascarrots said:
Don't forget that pre-2001, a lot of the warlords were fighting against the Taliban - they're also not all Pashtun. Those that are kicked out of Governement would have their grievances, but also realistically a greater threat to their power comes from domination by the Taliban.
Not sure where you're going with this. So I'll refrain from responding.
Just that the factions won’t automatically line up against ISAF and if they do, we aren’t necessarily going to be their only, or even main, concern. Most of the former Northern Alliance warlords are likely to keep on fighting Terry even if they're thrown out of government, because at least there’s a chance of getting back into power while dealing with the government. Not so the Taliban.
 
#14
smartascarrots said:
Very true. What the IC wanted was the war to stop.
Indeed. And thus was created Dayton - an agreement that was doomed to longterm failure. In fact, hardly any time had gone by before the IC were reneging on what they had signed. It's no wonder the locals got their backs up.
[hr]
smartascarrots said:
Just that the factions won’t automatically line up against ISAF and if they do, we aren’t necessarily going to be their only, or even main, concern. Most of the former Northern Alliance warlords are likely to keep on fighting Terry even if they're thrown out of government, because at least there’s a chance of getting back into power while dealing with the government. Not so the Taliban.
Aha! If the NA (former) warlords are stripped of power, they're more likely to take up arms against those that have decided to step into their shoes rather than swan off to Pashtun lands and do battle.
 
#15
#16
whitecity said:
Aha! If the NA (former) warlords are stripped of power, they're more likely to take up arms against those that have decided to step into their shoes rather than swan off to Pashtun lands and do battle.
I think a large part of the problem is that it isn't within Kabul's power to strip them of thir power, only to kick them out of government. They'll still retain their authority in their tribal fastnesses until such point as the government can enforce its writ over the entire country. Pragmatism will win out, and while they might no take kindly to having a snoot cocked at them, they'll still see Terry as the greater threat.

Unless, of course, Terry can convince them otherwise by toning down the Islamist rhetoric? Deep joy.
 
#17
smartascarrots said:
whitecity said:
Aha! If the NA (former) warlords are stripped of power, they're more likely to take up arms against those that have decided to step into their shoes rather than swan off to Pashtun lands and do battle.
I think a large part of the problem is that it isn't within Kabul's power to strip them of thir power, only to kick them out of government. They'll still retain their authority in their tribal fastnesses until such point as the government can enforce its writ over the entire country. Pragmatism will win out, and while they might no take kindly to having a snoot cocked at them, they'll still see Terry as the greater threat.

Unless, of course, Terry can convince them otherwise by toning down the Islamist rhetoric? Deep joy.
This doesn't solve the problem of what to do with Pashtun warlords of dubious utility, who nevertheless command some power. When Karzai sacked Mullah Naqibullah in 2005 (according to Giustozzi's recent book) the Kandahar police (all from his Alkozai tribe) just stopped bothering to arrest/pursue Taliban, leading to their immediate and rapid spread through Kandahar province.

Similarly, Akhundzada's militia stopped pursuing the Taliban in Helmand after we chcuked him out of his role as Governor (for being a major drug baron) in 2005/6. Instantly, the Taliban made a major revival.

re toning down the rhetoric, apparently Terry are now 'less harsh' in Musa Qala these days, allowing Da Kidz to have long hair, to shave, and to watch Bollywood films:

'The Taleban this time do not punish people for their short beards or long
hair,' said Abdul Mane. 'They do not bother people for listening to music or
watching television. We are very happy about the present situation in our
district.'

Hamidullah agrees. 'We have a new kind of life now', he said. 'Nobody asks us
"why did you shave your beard?" or "why are you watching a movie?" This is the
Taleban, but it's a new kind of Taleban. We love our life. Come to Musa Qala.
If you are here for a few days, I am sure you will never want to leave.'
http://www.mail-archive.com/afghan_recovery_report_english@iwpr.gn.apc.org/msg00028.html
 
#18
Rumpelstiltskin said:
smartascarrots said:
whitecity said:
Aha! If the NA (former) warlords are stripped of power, they're more likely to take up arms against those that have decided to step into their shoes rather than swan off to Pashtun lands and do battle.
I think a large part of the problem is that it isn't within Kabul's power to strip them of thir power, only to kick them out of government. They'll still retain their authority in their tribal fastnesses until such point as the government can enforce its writ over the entire country. Pragmatism will win out, and while they might no take kindly to having a snoot cocked at them, they'll still see Terry as the greater threat.

Unless, of course, Terry can convince them otherwise by toning down the Islamist rhetoric? Deep joy.
This doesn't solve the problem of what to do with Pashtun warlords of dubious utility, who nevertheless command some power. When Karzai sacked Mullah Naqibullah in 2005 (according to Giustozzi's recent book) the Kandahar police (all from his Alkozai tribe) just stopped bothering to arrest/pursue Taliban, leading to their immediate and rapid spread through Kandahar province.

Similarly, Akhundzada's militia stopped pursuing the Taliban in Helmand after we chcuked him out of his role as Governor (for being a major drug baron) in 2005/6. Instantly, the Taliban made a major revival.

re toning down the rhetoric, apparently Terry are now 'less harsh' in Musa Qala these days, allowing Da Kidz to have long hair, to shave, and to watch Bollywood films:

'The Taleban this time do not punish people for their short beards or long
hair,' said Abdul Mane. 'They do not bother people for listening to music or
watching television. We are very happy about the present situation in our
district.'

Hamidullah agrees. 'We have a new kind of life now', he said. 'Nobody asks us
"why did you shave your beard?" or "why are you watching a movie?" This is the
Taleban, but it's a new kind of Taleban. We love our life. Come to Musa Qala.
If you are here for a few days, I am sure you will never want to leave.'
http://www.mail-archive.com/afghan_recovery_report_english@iwpr.gn.apc.org/msg00028.html
Ah, Taliban Lite? Well, nobody said they weren't crafty sods. Wonder how llong it'll last with all the foreign types crawling over the place looking for jihad.
 
#19
smartascarrots said:
I think a large part of the problem is that it isn't within Kabul's power to strip them of thir power, only to kick them out of government.
Which is a identical repeat of BiH/RS. And that's all that Paddy achieved. I knew our opinion on this was closer than it seemed. :D

Thus, what separates our opinions is whether Paddy's expulsions proved beneficial or counter-productive over the longer term.

smartascarrots said:
They'll still retain their authority in their tribal fastnesses until such point as the government can enforce its writ over the entire country.
And in 2007, can the BiH central gvt in Sarajevo claim this?

smartascarrots said:
Pragmatism will win out, and while they might no take kindly to having a snoot cocked at them, they'll still see Terry as the greater threat.
Given that Terry is fighting in Pashtunstan, is an Uzbek warlord going to traipse his troops across the country to find a few Terries upon whom to vent his anger for being removed from governorship in the North? Or, is he going to vent his anger at whoever the major of Kabul sends to keep his former seat warm?

smartascarrots said:
Unless, of course, Terry can convince them otherwise by toning down the Islamist rhetoric? Deep joy.
Are you from the westcountry? The last, and only time, I've heard the phrase 'deep joy' was its continual use by my former ops assistant who hailed from 'oniton!
 
#20
whitecity said:
Given that Terry is fighting in Pashtunstan, is an Uzbek warlord going to traipse his troops across the country to find a few Terries upon whom to vent his anger for being removed from governorship in the North? Or, is he going to vent his anger at whoever the major of Kabul sends to keep his former seat warm?
And remember, the Pashtuns aren't just in the deep South, and it isn't just the Taliban ISAF are fighting. There's these scamps up by Mazar: http://www.rawa.org/gulo-parliament.htm too, as well as other non-Taliban ex-Muj commanders who like taking a pop (just not in our AO)
 

Similar threads


Latest Threads

Top