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

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Assassins and analysts

So Peter has been writing all those thousands of characters every week here - what on Earth happened to him? Has he got bored of writing?
Well, no, my graphomania is doing fine, thanks for the interest. I've just finished writing a 120,000-character background paper. I'll soon link to its raw version at a site where I'll upload it. So that is the explanation for the characters missing from the blog.
Meanwhile I've just read something informative from Stratfor. I'm saying that in advance, but meanwhile I will also point out this HUGE LOL in the text, which stands out from its rather tragic context: "the fact that the attack was conducted in Kabul — where a non-Afghan would stand out — would make the Taliban the most likely suspects."
So guys, non-Afghans would stand out in Kabul? Like, for example, at this restaurant below?
Otherwise the piece was useful, and I agree with its main conclusion that the Indian military attaché and the Indian political advisor were specifically targeted in the vehicle bomb attack a couple of days ago (the rest of the dead were collateral damage of the useful kind from the attacker's point of view). And sure the attaché and the advisor might have had something to do with intelligence-gathering as well.
The ghost war goes on.
Here is a good piece from an unlikely source. Good open-source digging on Habibullah Jan, a major figure of Kandahari politics, at a difference with the Karzais. Some of its remarks I thought were too far-fetched, at the time when I read it. And I will never share the author's naively cynical attitude towards Afghanistan's, uh, tribal affairs (you know what I mean?). Nevertheless it was a good piece anyway and then Habibullah Jan was assassinated, which did seem to give its theory some extra appeal. Still I have no idea of course who actually murdered the commander turned lawmaker. If his militia did indeed have an informal ceasefire with the Taliban, that makes his involvement in the pre-jailbreak politics of the Sarpoza complex rather interesting.
But then it's surprising to read this about a person who has supposedly just started some intricate power game:
"He was usually surrounded by three or four bodyguards but had dismissed them for the evening, as he was travelling only a few hundreds metres between his house and the high-walled mud compound on the north side of Highway 1 that served as his guesthouse and office.
The heavyset old warrior had married for the fourth time two years ago, his cousin Haji Amanullah said, and he was headed toward his new wife's sleeping quarters when his vehicle was struck by gunfire from three directions."

Anyway, getting back to the Moon of Alabama piece by "b" - when someone writes down the sentence "So far the story as I could reconstruct it. I am sure we will hear more from Habibullah. That could be in an obituary or in some other context," and that is just what follows... No lol there.


b said...

Hi - thanks for linking and liking the piece - I didn't even recognize your link in my logs but because I read your site once a while.

You say: "I will never share the author's naively cynical attitude towards Afghanistan's, uh, tribal affairs (you know what I mean?)"

No, actually I don't. I admit I have little knowledge of tribal affairs in Afghanistan. If you could point to something to read that let's me learn about it, that might correct my "naively cynical attitude".



Péter MARTON said...

Well, it certainly was a good piece, b.
What I took issue with is the tendency in Western discourse to claim seeing behind the facade as soon as some basic faultline is discovered among the natives. You are rather precise when talking about the tribal issues - no problem there. More than that, I appreciate this very much.
But tribes are in fact not everything there is to southern Afghanistan.
And these tribal faultlines wouldn't matter so much if people there wouldn't be reduced to practicing basic survival skills on a daily basis.
I would say that losing in Afghanistan could be a consequence, for example, of convincing ourselves that the locals are so hopelessly tribal nothing will change them. When in fact we created the institutional foundations of the political system.