Friday, December 26, 2003

LOYA JIRGA UPDATE: Time for an update. And the people of the Washington Times were right. He's not the the "excellent power-broker" that he was labeled, but he seemed to get everyone behind him. This Christian Science Monitor piece summarizes everything nicely.

The Pashtuns:

Another factor in Karzai's success was his ability to unite the Pashtuns, who make up 47 percent of the delegates, into a single block, even as the Tajiks fragmented. Some delegates have complained "that the Pashtuns are throwing their weight around,'' one observer said.

"To my Tajik brothers I say, 'you will get the rights you are due and not more,'" said Abdul Hakeem Muneeb, a delegate whose views were typical of many Pashtuns.
The Pashtuns were bothered by the fact that Karzai is America's puppet, but they were satisfied nonetheless. He's still their man and a Pashtun is a Pashtun after all, right?

The Tajiks/Northern Alliance:
Many who opposed Karzai's draft constitution, particularly Northern Alliance leaders in the government, were won over by debate, lobbying, and political horse-trading in the early days of the loya jirga, which began Dec. 15.

For example, Defense Minister Mohammed Qasim Fahim, the leader of the ethnic Tajik mujahideen who dominate the government, was considering whether to challenge Karzai. Now, "he agrees with Karzai and he supports a presidential system,'' says Brigadier Mar Jan, a spokesman for Mr. Fahim.

"In Afghanistan it is mostly a matter of what people sense you are promising or sense you are threatening," explained a Western diplomat who asked not to be named. "Fahim sensed he would be given the post of vice president" after elections next year.
The Tajiks aren't satisfied with losing their power to the Pashtuns but the post of Vice-Presidency for Fahim as an appeasement may have helped. And the fact, that Fahim's tanks still control Kabul.

The Mujahedin: I'm not sure how, but I suppose they've thrown their weight behind Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a conservative and piratical warlord.
Early last week, when a group of delegates, most from the Jamiat Islami party, protested the appointments, Mr. Sayyaf defended Karzai, in starkly Islamic terms, as the country's "emir." Convention chairman Sibghatullah Mujaddedi seconded the theme, telling the rebelling delegates that as "ululamr,'' or emir, Karzai had a right to appoint his own delegates.
More worrisome though, is the reality of Sayyaf as head the new judiciary.

A final analysis later on.


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