Afghan Elections

Gareth Porter for IPS reports-

Afghanistan’s presidential election has long been viewed by U.S. officials as a key to conferring legitimacy on the Afghan government, but Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his powerful warlord allies have planned to commit large-scale electoral fraud that could have the opposite effect.

Malalai Joya writes-(review of her book Parts 1, 2 & 3 and more soon)

Like millions of Afghans, I have no hope in the results of this week’s election. In a country ruled by warlords, occupation forces, Taliban insurgency, drug money and guns, no one can expect a legitimate or fair vote.

Among the people on the street, a common sentiment is, ‘Everything has already been decided by the U.S. and NATO, and the real winner has already been picked by the White House and Pentagon.’ Although there are a total of 41 candidates running for president, the vast majority of them are well known faces responsible for the current disastrous situation in Afghanistan.

Hamid Karzai has cemented alliances with brutal warlords and fundamentalists in order to maintain his position. Although our Constitution forbids war criminals from running for office, he has named two notorious militia commanders as his vice-presidential running mates – Qasim Fahim, who was, at the time of the 2001 invasion, the warlord who headed up the Northern Alliance, and Karim Khalili. The election commission did not reject them or a number of others accused of many crimes, and so the list of candidates also includes former Russian puppets and a former Taliban commander.

Karzai has also continued to absolutely betray the women of Afghanistan. Even after massive international outcry and brave protesters taking to the streets of Kabul, Karzai has implemented the infamous law targeting Shia women. He had initially promised to review the most egregious clauses, but in the end it was passed with few amendments, leaving the barbaric anti-women statements untouched. As Human Rights Watch recently said, “Karzai has made an unthinkable deal to sell Afghan women out in return for the support of fundamentalists in the August 20 election.”

Deals have been made with countless fundamentalists in Karzai’s maneuvering to stay in power. For example, pro-Iranian extremist Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, who has been accused of war crimes, has been promised five cabinet positions for his party, and so he has told the media he’s backing Karzai. A deal has even been done with the dreaded warlord Rashid Dostum – who has returned from exile in Turkey to campaign for Karzai – and many other such terrorists. Rather than democracy, what we have in Afghanistan today are back room deals amongst discredited warlords.

The two main contenders to Karzai’s continued rule, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai and Abdullah Abdullah, do not offer any change; both are former cabinet ministers in this discredited regime and neither has a real, broad footing amongst the people. Abdullah has run a high profile campaign, in part due to the backing and financial support he receives from Iran’s fundamentalist regime. Abdullah and some of the Northern Alliance commanders supporting him have threatened unrest if he loses the vote, raising fears of a return to the rampant violence and killing that marked the civil war years of 1992 to 1996. All of the major candidates’ speeches and policies are very similar. They make the same sweet-sounding promises, but we are not fooled. Afghans remember how Karzai abandoned his campaign pledges after winning the 2004 vote.

We Afghans know that this election will change nothing and it is only part of a show of democracy put on by and for the West, to legitimize its future puppet in Afghanistan. It seems we are doomed to see the continuation of this failed, mafia-like corrupt government for another term.

The people of Afghanistan are fed up with the rampant corruption of Karzai’s “narco-state” government – his own brother, Wali Karzai, has been linked to drug trafficking in Kandahar Province – and the escalating war waged by NATO. In May of this year, U.S. air strikes killed approximately 150 civilians in my native province, Farah. More than ever, Afghans are faced with powerful internal enemies – fundamentalist warlords and their Taliban brothers-in-creed – and the external enemies occupying the country.

Democracy will never come to Afghanistan through the barrel of a gun, or from the cluster bombs dropped by foreign forces. The struggle will be long and difficult, but the values of real democracy, human rights and women’s rights will only be won by the Afghan people themselves.

So do not be fooled by this façade of democracy. Your governments in the West that claim to be bringing democracy to Afghanistan ignore public opinion in their own countries, where growing numbers are against the war. President Obama in particular needs to understand that the change Afghans believe in does not include more troops and a ramped up war.

If the populations of Afghanistan and the NATO countries were able to vote on this military occupation it could not continue indefinitely, and peace would finally be within reach.

Posted in Afghanistan. Tags: , . Comments Off on Afghan Elections

Iran- Winners & Losers

Update: You can follow developments at a National Iranian American Council liveblog (Trita Parsi’s outfit) and keep checking in with Naj@ Neo Resistance. Also – Revolutionary Road. Looks like the establishment have decided on legitimising the result and clamping down on protests, but protesters are not quite so easily shut down.

Iran elect 09

Payvand– According to election officials, over 39 million out of the 46 million or 85% of Iranians eligible to vote participated in this elections.

It might be class issues were underestimated,

…There are two fault lines that run deep in the Iranian society–the rural vs. urban and the poor vs. the middle class–both of which seem to be reflected in the political divisions that have come to the fore in this election. Crude personal observations (backed by TV images!) suggest that the supporters of the two leading candidates are socially diverse: the poor (and the rural?) are more likely to vote for Mr. Ahmadinejad and the middles class in either location is for Mr. Moussavi.

 If not more accurate, this way of looking at voters is at least more interesting and informative than the reformers-conservatives dichotomy.

Naj @ Neo Resistance is incensed and certainly some dark dealing is at work-

Iranians are now suffering the same pain that Ameircans suffered, when Bush was pulled out of boxes for the second time!

People in Iran are also saying that the result of vote is what America was wishing for! This is another 1953 … another nationalist effort of Iranians curtailed …

That the Neocons of America & Israel are happy with this result is true

MJ Rosenberg:-in today’s New York Times, Abrams is the latest of the neocons to publicly weep over the possible defeat of Ahmadinejad. Abrams says that election of a moderate President might deter war. He is worried. The twists and turns of the neocons are almost beyond belief. Maybe it’s not Israel they “care” about at all. Maybe even a theoretical Iranian bomb is just a pretext. Maybe all these schoolboys want is another real cool war against Muslims.

In any case, the pro-Ahmadinejad tilt of Bolton, Pipes, Abrams and the rest of the crowd that gave us the Iraq war is a demonstration of perversity unlike any I’ve ever seen in American politics. (ht2 Forever Under Construction)

Israel wants Iran neutered, as a rival for America’s affections and as a power centre free of imperial/colonial influence, Obama’s man Dennis Ross is a shifty conman who wants to stage the necessary events to make an attack on Iran possible-

“Tougher policies – either militarily or meaningful containment – will be easier to sell internationally and domestically if we have diplomatically tried to resolve our differences with Iran in a serious and credible fashion,” writes Ross.

Note that there is no way to read this sentence but to see that the goal is to attack Iran. America trying to diplomatically resolve its differences with Iran is not a goal in itself; it is merely a means to more easily sell war and sanctions.

As ever where vested imperial interests are concerned a domestic election is never allowed to happen free of interference or interpretation. Imagine not only having all the problems of your own country- crappy politicians, right wing idiots, dodgy elections etc then add- a constant and growing threat of being bombed by the most powerful and belligerent nation on Earth (which is already running terrorist operations in your country even as it repeatedly claims the moral high ground). There was no great candidate but Ahmadinejad’s shameless demagoguery is going to be less tedious for us than it will be for Iranians to live with. And we should live with it, not kill and die over it, letting our ruling elites play their divide and rule Great Game. A bunch of war pimps are rubbing their hands with glee right now, let’s be sure to disappoint them.

peace_solh_persian

Posted in Politics. Tags: , . 2 Comments »

Racist Records

Via Complex System of Pipes this is a brilliant clip by Love Music Hate Racism, makes the point. Spread it around, make sure you vote on June 4th, make sure you help stop the fascist BNP.

Love Music Hate Racism                        Hope Not Hate

Update: Socialist Unity have the full rundown on the creation of the clip.