Saturday, August 22, 2009

The EU say "yes"

As the witness accounts continue to pour in from diverse sources all attesting to the sham of the Afghan election, in leaps the European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) to declare the holding of elections "a victory for the Afghan people".

"These were the first Afghan-led elections, and the process seems at this stage to have been largely positive," the EUEOM statement said. Philippe Morillon, a former French general heading the EU mission, then insisted that they were "fair". "Generally what we have observed was considered by our observers with our methodology good and fair," he added.

This, of course, is part of an organisation which believes that a "no" response to a referendum on the constitutional Lisbon treaty is simply a signal to have another referendum, making sure the people get it "right" the next time round, as it is seeking to do in Ireland in just over a month's time.

But, in lending its voice of approval to the charade – where the "people" are crying out for the world to take notice of their fake election - the EU is simply joining the chorus of voices from the international "community", governments and institutions such as Nato which have invested far too much in the process to allow it to fail.

Thus, when by any normal measure the election should be declared void, in the fullness of time, Karzai or some other malleable puppet will be found to have garnered enough votes him to be installed in the dung heap of the presidential palace in Kabul, guarded by phalanxes of stern-faced CIA agents.

The "community" will roll over and declare the result "valid" – allowing some mild reservations to be expressed about "irregularities", which will be judged not sufficiently grave as to have affected the result - and the charade will continue on to its pre-ordained conclusion.

Some clues as to the real agenda are given in an interesting article in the Asia Times, which discusses the "seven steps to peace" in Afghanistan, the first step being to "engage the Taleban and bring them into the mainstream political process."

Actually, this article sees this as the first step of the process but, while there may be a seven-stage process, we have already seen two of them rolled out. The first was the sham "surge", orchestrated by Obama with the maximum of publicity – of which Operation Panther's Claw was part - in a showy but wholly ineffective and ultimately futile attempt to "pacify" the country ahead of the presidential elections which were held on Thursday.

The second step was the high profile decision to build up the Afghani security forces – army and police – except that this is as much a sham as was the surge. Numbers may be increased – although only nominally, never matching the desertion rate – but the forces will never be properly equipped, trained or organised.

For one, the last thing the Western powers – and indeed the puppet government in Kabul – want is a powerful, effective army that can, on the lines of Pakistan, form a separate power base for ambitious generals, and challenge the status quo.

Then, there is always a fear that the Kabul government might break away and use the army to further its territorial squabbles, fighting neighbouring Pakistan – as it has done even in the recent past – rather than the Taleban. Crucially, also, no one wants an army that is actually capable of taking on and defeating the next government of Afghanistan – the Taleban.

The third step was, of course, to allow the elections to proceed, then to declare a "success" come what may, with the installation of a puppet president, preparatory to the next step, which is already in its opening stages – mounting high-level negotiations with the Taleban.

In this fourth step, attempts will be made to prevail upon the Taleban to adopt a more "moderate" face, ridding itself of its obvious "hard liners", who must be either sidelined, retired or murdered. The services of the CIA and its armed UAVs, or the special forces, may be offered to help remove any obstacles to "peace".

Thus re-branded, the Taleban will be invited to join – in fact, take over – the government in Kabul, fortified by generous bribes masquerading as international aid. Part of the deal will be an agreement that the Taleban should scale back its attacks on coalition forces and the more obvious outrages such as suicide bombing, sufficient to give the appearance of normality.

Step five will then involve coalition forces ceasing aggressive operations, handing over security responsibilities to the Afghan forces who, with an unofficial cease-fire in place, will appear to be coping.

Foreign troops will progressively retreat to their bases and assume the passive and largely ineffective role of training the Afghan security forces – those that have not already deserted to the Taleban. Large numbers of coalition forces, including British and US troops, can then be withdrawn, leaving token forces and a strong air force presence, as a deterrent to a premature Taleban take-over.

The sixth step probably brings us to the next presidential elections, in five years time, when the rebranded Taleban will be allowed to win the elections and take overt power.

The Western powers will pay them another shed-load of money and implement the seventh and final step - declaring a victory for "democracy" and an all but complete withdrawal. That will leave the Taleban free to take its country back into the Stone Age of Islamic fundamentalism, unmolested as long as it is not too blatant in running its terrorist training camps.

The success of these seven steps will, of course, rely on us being able to bribe the Pashtuns and their staying bribed – something which is difficult to achieve. But with the glittering prize of a nation on offer, with a multi-billion dowry and a promise of more to come, the "moderates" may be prevailed upon to slaughter their own hard-liners and play ball.

Failing that, we are in for a torrid time. We have neither the will nor the capability effectively to prosecute the war and install a stable, democratic state. Neither has the United States, nor any of our coalition partners.

Initially, there was probably a belief that we could prevail, but as the stalemate took hold, the realisation dawned that the war was unwinnable – at least, at the piece the Western powers were prepared to pay.

Thus, the name of the game is to devise an exit strategy, dressed up as a victory, which will hold long enough for no one to notice – or care – that it was a defeat. Here, having already practiced in Iraq, the British are ahead of the game and, no doubt, we are acquainting the Americans with our skills at "repositioning".

In the meantime, the military must hold the line, dying in sufficient numbers to make the whole process look credible, without losing so many that it will force a precipitate departure - keeping the population distracted with its tales of derring do, its parades and its funerals.

When the whole shebang is over, the Army can go back to playing with its toys without getting them bent, the RAF will not have to let grubby little brown jobs into its wokkas without them wiping their feet first, and the admirals can take turns driving their new (and only) boat, while listening to their iPods. The service chiefs can then resume planning their pretend army (which they never really stopped doing) to fight their future wars, freed from the inconvenience of an enemy which does not play by the rules.

Our masters may then dream of their bright, shiny European Rapid Reaction Force, garlanded with rings of stars and, this time, they may succeed. The EU may well get the last laugh, when it say "yes".

Pic: Elmar Brok MEP, then Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the EU Parliament, and Abdullah Abdullah, then Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, signing the EU-Afghanistan Partnership Treaty in Strasbourg, 16 November 2005.