What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Uruzgan in the news

MStFB Update
I'll definitely have to include David Axe's page on my blogroll now, given that he's written quite a lot now on Uruzgan, and the fighting around Chora. He has just posted a new piece titled "Where were the Aussies?". They were there, of course, he says, adding that:
"Canberra has released very little information about Australian participation in the battle. The Hague pulled this stunt too, early in the battle, but yours truly and other reporters embedded at Kamp Holland pushed to get the news out. Both the Dutch and Aussie governments seem to want to downplay the violence in Afghanistan in order to preserve shaky public support for missions that they sold strictly as peaceful reconstruction exercises."
Well, I have just one thing to clarify there. I have noted on this site earlier how anonymous military sources in Australia tended to paint a more complex picture of the Uruzgan mission for some Aussie papers this spring, saying that for the special troops going there after a winter R-and-R it will be more like hunting for insurgents typically, and that in the process they'll be doing the job that the Dutch didn't handle. But still that wasn't the most daring pulic communication strategy, either, for sure.
Connected to the public opinion issue I may cite the latest Dutch public opinion survey (read about it here). "Almost 50 percent" oppose extending the Dutch mission in Uruzgan beyond mid-2008. Well, almost 50 percent is of course not yet 50 percent, and one shouldn't confuse the results of any poll with a referendum, but still it might be important to note this in my coverage of developments in Uruzgan.
However, as I have said before, I think the Netherlands are likely to leave Uruzgan for other reasons, not because of public opinion, next year. I found some more info related to that recently, and I'll try to collect some material still, before posting on the issue tomorrow. I have other duties to attend to meanwhile, so I'll only get back to this in the evening, or tomorrow in the mourning.

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