Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BRIBED LOYALTY: THE WAY THEY DO IT IN KABUL



Tribal leaders of Jirga have apparently been bribed in quite a haste. Instead of paychecks and “the only true currency” Karzai had to lavish them with promises that, firstly, their clans would be free from the “night clean-ups” and inspections, and, secondly, that American military wouldn’t interfere with the tribal opium trade in Pakistan, having confined themselves with the fight against major producers. I’m really desperate to know, whether American taxpayers are aware of objectives, their money are spent for?
“As far back as during his election campaign Barack Obama named Afghanistan the cornerstone of his foreign-policy concept. He has repeatedly claimed that achieving success in Afghanistan would allow solving the major part of the international terrorism dilemma”. This is a quote from my article “Afghanistan: Back to the Great Game?” that was written exactly two years ago. Today, preparing to run again, the U.S. President “is cleaning up his background”, burdened with the lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Voters demand results, of which there are none. Reuters has recently published an article by Missy Ryan (chief of the Mexico and Central America Bureau) named “Key Senator warns against Taliban talks, transfer”.

Ms Ryan described the stance of a senior Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. Being a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he persistently warns the White House against making deals with Taliban, as long as they may threaten the U.S. national interests: “Barack Obama, who deliberately makes this move in the year of elections, is to be fully responsible for the White House aspiration to negotiate with an oppressive Islamic movement, which has been killing American soldiers for the last ten years”.
Rather sharp article triggered an adequate reaction of American readers (and not just them). A number of comments, stating various points of view, prove the topicality of the subject for Americans. My attention was drawn to a peculiar comment, posted by a user “Unknown”: “Afghani government and Taliban leaders receive funding from high-ranking U.S. State Department officials for outlining a strategic partnership agreement between the USA and Afghanistan”.
Then, the “unknown” author reported that on Oct 19, during Hillary Clinton’s visit to Kabul, Afghani Foreign Minister Zalmai Rassoul received $200k in cash as a fee for his efforts, directed towards signing the Strategic Partnership treaty between the USA and Afghanistan. During a brief conversation with Zalmai Rassoul Hillary Clinton thanked him for close cooperation with Washington in the matter of preparing the said treaty and warned that the in-hand opportunities may vanish soon enough. If the treaty isn’t signed in the nearest future, Afghani government may face numerous troubles, although Americans wouldn’t be able to secure the safety of common Afghani in this case.
Thus, the fact of official State Department envoys “kick-backing” the Afghani administration becomes quite obvious. Yet, the carrot of a paycheck is reinforced by a stick: “Americans wouldn’t be able to secure the safety of common Afghani in this case”. Now the statements of official Washington, claiming the need to integrate the “moderate” wing of Taliban into “pan-Afghani dialogue” becomes all the clearer. The choice is narrow — either an unequivocal loyalty or some other partners will be found. As the author f comment denoted, the said tranche was the third payment that Zalmai Rassoul received from the U.S. administration for his service. He got the first two paychecks during his visits to Washington and New-York. He secretly received the money in the hotels, where he stayed. Taking the latest payment into account, Rassoul has seemingly got nearly $800k all in all.
This money in its entirety was hardly allotted for Rassoul alone. Moreover, major part of it was intended for organizing “Loya jirga”, which approved the strategic partnership treaty. Yet, the reports describing this event in the Western media mentioned that a part of deputies, loyal to Karzai, have suddenly “showed their temper”. At that, no one was able to understand the reasons. As it turned out, the answer was plain enough: they obviously never got their part of the money. Tribal leaders of Jirga have apparently been bribed in quite a haste. Instead of paychecks and “the only true currency” Karzai had to lavish them with promises that, firstly, their clans would get rid of the “night clean-ups” and inspections, and, secondly, that American military wouldn’t interfere with the tribal opium trade in Pakistan, having confined themselves with the fight against major producers.
On Sept 11 midnight, anonymous envoy of American foreign-policy body secretly met, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, aide of the Afghani President, at the American hotel and passed him $300k in cash. At that, this American official asked Rangin to hasten the preparations of the treaty. This money undoubtedly intends to “oil the wheels” of Karzai’s administration, preparing the drafts of the documents and apparently suffering some troubles with office accessories.
Somehow, this news makes us remember Hamid Karzai’s conversation with BBC anchor person John Simpson, when Karzai claimed: “As a matter of fact, Afghani corruption is to a considerable degree formed by the global community”. He must have had a second sight. What’s really the point of working out restructuring agenda and trying to establish an internal Afghani dialogue? It is way easier to simply “kickback” Karzai’s administration, clan and tribe leaders with the right amounts of money, achieving a beneficial approval of further deployment of U.S. military. In this regard, a couple of question arises. Are American taxpayers actually aware of the objectives that their money is spent for?
And the second point. UNCODE report, which was published in the beginning of this year, contains an accurate notion: “large-scale increase of financial aid along with the rapidly ramming drug profits have created a new caste of wealthy and influential people, acting outside of conventional governmental/tribal structures and pushing the price of their services and loyalty to the heights, which are incomparable to the low level of national development”. For some reason naïve official Washington still believes into loyalty of this caste. Don’t they know that paid loyalty can always be outbidden by someone else?
P.S. When this article was almost ready, the comments exposing the affairs of American government have suddenly disappeared from the Reuters web-site. In this regard, my suspicions concerning Washington naivety have grown all the stronger. Haven’t the examples of Julian Assange and his informer Bradley Manning taught American authorities anything? I’d rather not fall for more platitudes, but I guess everyone still remembers a proverb about things done by night. When Republicans will finally get done with their own dirty linen and switch their attention to the Democratic one, even more sinister mysteries may be revealed.

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