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

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Two pictures

I'm not about to steal the concept of Afghanistanica's new photo + commentary feature, but I felt like I had to come up with kind of a similar post today.
First picture:
This here is Mullah Naqib. Call him a warlord or a militia leader, whatever you will, he is nowadays working with Canadian Forces, playing a key role in securing Kandahar's northern approaches, with his men manning Canadian-constructed checkpoints in the area. For that he is targeted by the Taliban, with whom back before 2001 he used to cooperate. In one assassination attempt in the past he had been injured by an IED so that now he has to use a cane for walking. He lost one of his sons in that attack, and another was crippled in the blast. He says if Canadians Forces leave Kandahar before any major objective of theirs will have been accomplished, that's like they only would have come/gone there just for "joking".
Second picture:
A small town in Québec, Roberval-Lac-Saint-Jean is the scene of one of three by-elections that have taken place in Québec yesterday. This was the only place where Canada's conservatives had a chance to win, and they eventually did, taking nearly 60% of the vote. Canada's Liberals haven't fared well at all on the other hand, which leads some to speculate that this might reaffirm current Canadian PM Harper's policies to a degree, and that this might positively affect the chances of extending the Kandahar mission in 2009. We will see, and of course Mullah Naqib will try to make it to see it. One possible option for him to do that I guess is by thinking about where his loyalties lay, or rather about to what extent they lay where they lay. Some favours to some guys, less IEDs in the way, he might reason. That might be the sort of thinking all the hesitation might inspire. To give you an example, Mullah Naqib has mediated before for the release of a suspected insurgent, Pir Muhammed. He kind of wishes to survive, I guess.
Ok, the point I'm making is that it might be difficult to get people to decisively ally with you if your support to them hinges on by-elections in a small town they'll only have a chance to see in person if they persuade you to evacuate them and the surviving part of their family once you decide to leave their homeland behind.

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