The first of two of 2009′s most destiny-altering national elections has seen the Israeli right-wing coalition of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pick Avigdor Lieberman of the ultra-Zionist Yisrael Beiteinu Party as his foreign minister. An ominous sign that an Israeli plan for war with Iran is back online even as American diplomats for the first time since 1979 openly negotiate with Iran.
The next destiny altering election held in Iran on 12 June may see toppled populist Iranian fundamentalist, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, as I stated in Part 2 of this series, Israel’s election if it produced a coalition that lurched to an extreme right wing stance on foreign policy might be the salvation of Ahmadinejad’s hopes to survive a bid of reformists and stay in office.
No less significant is the Afghanistani national election scheduled for August when the Afghani people should be engaged in the peak season of insurrection and counter-insurrection. By then the Taliban will be down from snow free passes waging war with thousands more US and NATO coalition forces for future control of large sectors of the country. American forces would like to check the spread of the Taliban back into Afghanistan by the time their favorite Afghan leader, President Hamid Karzai, makes a successful run for a new term as president.
The progress of renewed US and European involvement in Afghani nation building efforts is the hinge on which Karzai’s fortunes swing. Right now the neglected door is about to be unhinged by a perception of his people that Karzai is no more than the “President of Kabul” and that his political influence beyond the capital succeeds only by the grace of NATO and US guns. Though he is seen as a brave and courageous man, he is also thought of as weak and ineffectual in controlling and over lording the real political network that runs Afghan life of tribal leaders and warlords. Karzai’s Kabul government is indeed plagued by corruption while the insurrection grows more violent and pervasive.
Newsweek reported in late February that polls across the country indicate that 85 percent may vote for another candidate rather than for Karzai, who is viewed as too cozy with America.
I do not foresee a good outcome here. Hamid Karzai could very well lose and in his place will be a weaker leader for sure, even one that is sympathetic to Islamic fundamentalism. More chaos will come to Afghanistan, and the little bouncing pebble of a plebian that might replace Karzai will form a coalition that will soon collapse and turn into a political avalanche that will roll towards Pakistan, undermining the foothold of Obama’s grand strategy to defeat the Taliban, restore security of Afghans, whilst rooting out the last cells of al-Qaeda. (UPDATE, ONE YEAR LATER, 09 April 2010. I got it wrong about Karzai being replaced; however, all the other points match Harmid Karzai “after” his re-election. He is diminished, and openly threatening to join the Taliban if his American allies keep pushing for reforming is corrupt government. Obama’s Afghanistan strategy is put in doubt.)
A further radicalization of the Afghanis may come as a consequence of who runs Indian Parliament after elections held three months before those in Afghanistan. We conclude this election series considering the fourth key election of 2009, held in India, in May.
(09 April 2009)
PS — Afghanistan can become Obama’s Vietnam quagmire in 2009. See why Predictions for 2009.
UPDATE: 01/23/10–And see how it could become his Vietnamistan in Predictions for 2010