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The BSA, a Cannon Fodder for the Afghan Presidential Election

The much brouhaha about Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) by Hamid Karzai with the White House and the fully acceptance by a 2,500—Loya Jirga, Grand Assembly of elders after four days of deliberation in Kabul (November 21-24) has been stalled by Karzai’s conditions. He says that he’ll ignore signing the already consented agreement until after the April presidential election in which, as per Afghanistan’s constitutional provisions, he is not even a candidate. On the contrary, the Obama administration’s frustration with Karzai has taken them to a different level to sign the BSA with the new President of Afghanistan when he is elected. Although all the contenders in the Afghan election has agreed to sign the BSA, but it remains to be seen as what supposedly last Karzai’s scam effort may bring. Views of some top Afghan politicians are that Karzai’s pressure exertion on the U.S. administration to accept his choice of Afghan president in Kabul’s Arg Palace is a planned coercion that Karzai has been hiding under his sleeve for some time. That said, but a complicated two-round voting system in the Afghan presidential election means there is little expectation a new leader will be in office before the end of the summer. Thus, if not Karzai then whoever signs, it will raise the question as what’ll be the future prospect and the U.S. position in the fragile country. So far, amongst the eleven presidential contender only one candidate, Hamid Karzai’s brother, Qayoum Karzai is out of the race, and in due time he’ll grant his endorsement for Karzai’s Foreign Minister, Dr. Zalmai Rassoul, a medical physician, who has been jockeyed by the Presidential Palace to steal the upcoming election in Afghanistan. In Afghan politics, however, this is a very convoluted scenario for many to grasp, specifically for those who are non-Afghans. The exact scam plan is to replace one of their own with Hamid Karzai. It is a familiar election conspiracy, in fact in-line with Russian election of Putin-Medvedev “job-swap” style that has been effective for the past 14 years in Kremlin. Mahmud Karzai, another brother of Hamid Karzai in his interview with WSJ said, “The constituency of both candidates is practically the same.” He further adds, “Both teams are paying close attention to the Afghan traditions, to tribal traditions. So we wanted to make sure that our constituents are in line with our thinking.” Then, the senior aide to Qayoum Karzai said, “There will be no change in the ticket. What we are trying to do is to convince everybody who is our supporter on voting day to not vote for Qayoum, but vote for Rassoul.” In fact, this is the first conspiracy step to use Qayoum Karzai as bait collecting votes under the name of “President’s Brother” and then divert them for Rassoul. The question is why Rassoul is chosen to run for President? One reason is that he was born into a prominent Pashtun—Mohamadzai—family of those from former royal elites that ruled Afghanistan for centuries. In fact, this is a high mark to quell many people who are embedded with the past mentality of monarchial sentiment, particularly in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan where the insurgency hotbeds reside. Secondly, the corrupt individuals who’re part of the Karzai administration will hide behind Rassoul so they can carry on their “business-as-usual” of corruption schemes. Thirdly, this power swap, but no change to the current government structure, in which, Karzai will be acting as a nonofficial, but with tremendous weight, also guarantees the flow of donor aid money for Afghanistan to be in their sphere of control, which also guarantees future elections to be illicitly controlled and manipulated by the new government when Rassoul takes over. In this case the White House should consider to order its military commanders to include the so called “zero option” in its planning scenarios. A formal order to plan for a full withdrawal of U.S. and NATO military personnel should be of use. The U.S. public opinion is supportive of the withdrawal process and would be sympathetic to arguments that a continued presence is not wanted by the majority of Afghans, of course if another corrupt Karzai style government takes over. But, Karzai is clearly making sure that his man, Rassoul, must takeover; else a collapsed BSA will leave the country to the wolves. In fact, Karzai is underestimating the extent of American disengagement from the war, as his spokesman said, “We don’t believe there is a zero option.” Afghans are giving their hope for a better outcome in the next election, but if the conspiracy of Putin-Medvedev style carries on with no end in sight of Karzai government corruption, embezzlement, drug trafficking, nepotism and the list goes on ………… then no matter if the BSA is signed, or not, peace will be a distant dream in Afghanistan. Khalil Nouri is a member of NWSC (New World Strategies Coalition) a think tank founded by native Afghans that creates nonmilitary solutions for Afghanistan. The NWSC has outlined a comprehensive reconciliation process in a white paper entitled Restoring the Tribal Balance. Afghanistan National Reconciliation: Facebook Khalil is also the author of two books, The Shattered Dreams of a King, and Seeds of Unity.