Author Topic: An important step for democracy? What planet is Obama on?  (Read 2182 times)


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An important step for democracy? What planet is Obama on?
« on: October 22, 2009, 07:51:30 AM »
An important step for democracy? What planet is Obama on?
Is the Afghan election runoff an important step forward for democracy, as Obama says? Or is it a desperate attempt to portray Obama's imminent troop surge -- his second in nine months -- as support for a 'legitimate' Afghan government, however undemocratic and corrupt it may be? Sharon Smith exposes the reality behind Obama's rhetoric and deception, and explains why the US-led occupiers are never going to be the means for establishing democracy in Afghanistan.

By Sharon Smith
Counterpunch, 20 October 2009


Through blackmail, bribery and brute military force, the US has determined the political landscape of post-Taliban Afghanistan.

US conquerors installed Karzai as Afghanistan's transitional head of state in December 2001. But Karzai was never meant to build a genuine democracy in Afghanistan. Nor was he expected to champion the rights of women.

On the contrary, he was chosen not for his ethical credentials but rather for his close ties to the band of warlords with which the US partnered to quickly overthrow the Taliban in November 2001.

Renamed the “Northern Alliance" for the purpose of casting these warlords as freedom fighters, in reality they were veterans of the National Islamic United Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, an unstable coalition that ruled Afghanistan between 1992 and 1996, when the Taliban overthrew it.

Together, they constituted seven separate Mujahideen political parties, each representing the fiefdom of a corrupt warlord. Their president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, suspended the constitution and issued a series of religious edicts banishing women from broadcasting and government jobs, and requiring women to wear veils. More severe repression soon followed.

Karzai served as Deputy Foreign Minister in Rabbani's government, while the feuding Mujahideen parties unleashed a rein of terror against Afghanistan's already war-torn population. Women were routinely abducted, beaten and raped, or sold into prostitution.

According to human rights expert Patricia Gossman, “Between 1992 and 1995, fighting among the factions of the alliance reduced a third of Kabul to rubble and killed more than 50,000 civilians. The top commanders ordered massacres of rival ethnic groups, and their troops engaged in mass rape."

In June 2002, in what the US media depicted as a “flowering of democracy," a Loya Jirga, or tribal council, elected Karzai as Afghanistan's interim president. But most of the decisions were made behind the scenes, where then-US envoy Khalilzad -- a former Unocal oil executive -- worked hand in glove with Karzai and the Northern Alliance to manipulate the votes. During the Loya Jurga, Karzai announced his own election as president before the vote had actually taken place, to the dismay of many delegates.

In the run up to the 2002 Loya Jirga, eight delegates were murdered amid a general rise in political violence and intimidation by warlords guarding their own fiefdoms. Meanwhile, Karzai used a rumored plot to overthrow his government as an excuse to round up 700 of his political opponents in the weeks before the voting.

Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, has long been flagged as a drug trafficker in Southern Afghanistan, but the allegations have never been investigated. He continues to head the Kandahar Provincial Council, the governing body for the region. He also has played a role in passing information to international intelligence agencies.

According to Rajiv Chandrasekaran, writing in the Washington Post, while aware of information implicating Karzai in the drug trade, "US and Canadian diplomats have not pressed the matter, in part because Ahmed Wali Karzai has given valuable intelligence to the US military, and he also routinely provides assistance to Canadian forces, according to several officials familiar with the issue."

Under President Karzai's watch, Afghanistan has returned to providing roughly 95 percent of the world's heroin supplies while the US military looks the other way. As Jeff Stein recently reported from the Huffington Post, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, explained bluntly why Karzai's brother has never been charged: "We certainly need the president to be with us. That would be hard if we're hauling off his brother to a detention center."

Malalai Joya, the young MP who was suspended from the Afghan parliament for denouncing the participation of drug traffickers and warlords is scathing dismissive of any hope that democracy can be achieved under occupation: "You must understand that the government headed by Hamid Karzai is full of warlords and extremists who are brothers in creed of the Taliban. Many of these men committed terrible crimes against the Afghan people during the civil war of the 1990s. For expressing my views I have been expelled from my seat in parliament, and I have survived numerous assassination attempts. The fact that I was kicked out of office while brutal warlords enjoyed immunity from prosecution for their crimes should tell you all you need to know about the 'democracy' backed by NATO troops."
Likewise, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) has maintained its anti-occupation principles since the war began, risking their lives to organize an underground movement in US occupied Afghanistan:

"The US and allies occupied Afghanistan in the name of 'democracy', 'women's rights' and 'war on terror', but after eight long years, everyone knows that the situation is as critical in Afghanistan as it was under the brutal regime of the Taliban. While they talk about democracy and women’s rights, they are supporting and nourishing the diehard enemies of these values and impose them on our people."