Much American public attention is focused on the US military escalation in Iraq and, to some extent, the rivalry for leadership in that nation where Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has worn out his US government welcome. Among other offenses, Maliki failed to ensure Iraq agreed in 2011 to a status of forces agreement that would have enabled the continued presence of thousands of US troops by protecting them from liability for violations of Iraqi laws.
Americans seem to be paying much less attention to the continuing, drawn-out Afghanistan national election. International reporter and columnist Eric Margolis suggests the election is being orchestrated by the US government to establish a new status of forces agreement with Afghanistan.
Margolis, an RPI Academic Board member, described on the Scott Horton Show this week the covert intrigue behind the Afghan presidential election:
[Afghanistan President Hamid] Karzai has proven to be a naughty puppet. He came from central casting — CIA central casting. He was put in power. But, as he stayed in power, he started adopting policies that were more nationalistic than obedient to the US.
The main thing was that the US wanted what is called a status of forces agreement — it’s a fancy word for colonial agreement — that would have allowed US troops to stay on in Afghanistan indefinitely and exempt them from any kind of legal restraints. Karzai wouldn’t agree with this because he wanted to carve himself out a future as a genuine Afghan nationalist leader rather than a cat’s paw of Washington.
But, his term is expiring, so Washington has come up with two other candidates who are both also from central casting. And they fought ostensibly an election, which turned out rigged and unfair. . . Washington is trying to bang their heads together to create some kind of ostensive legitimate Afghan government that will then sign this document allowing the US to stay on for a number of years or forever.
Margolis also notes in the interview that the election in Afghanistan excludes the Taliban even though Margolis explains the Taliban is “the most popular political party in Afghanistan.” “It’s like running an election in the US and not allowing the Republicans to run,” says Margolis to emphasize the significance of the exclusion.
Listen here to the complete twenty-two minutes interview that includes more compelling discussion of other Afghanistan issues as well as Pakistan politics and the competing Kashmir claims of India, Pakistan, and China.
Back in April, also on the Scott Horton Show, Margolis discussed the Afghanistan presidential election, which Margolis then described as both the “latest Afghanistan election carnival” and less democratic than the Afghanistan elections held under Soviet occupation.
Read here about the efforts of US Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC), an RPI Advisory Board member, to remove the US troops from Afghanistan this year instead of keeping them there a decade or longer under any new US-Afghanistan agreement.