Thursday, November 13, 2008

Talking Omar Blues

China Matters has a couple of interesting posts on the possibility of negotiating with Mullah Omar. One, two.

An Iranian news agency reported that M. Omar has been removed from the State Dept. terrorist list. Since that has not been confirmed anywhere else, it's not too believable, yet. Certainly the door to negotiating with the Taliban seems to be opening, even the DoD under the watchful gaze of Petraeus seems to be willing to talk to the 'right' Taliban, if one can be found.

The US strategy in Iraq has been to divide and conquer, the dividing part worked out pretty well, while the conquering remains an ongoing and not especially successful project.

Trying to turn the Taliban against each other might thus be the new strategy for Afghanistan. But lacking the very deeply rooted Sunni/Shiite divide in Iraq, the project would have to rely on personal differences between the leaders. With the current level of religious fervor, augmented by the resentment from the constant air strikes, it looks difficult to make fighting other Afghans more palatable than fighting the US and NATO.

The war in Afghanistan serves no one's purpose, apart from arms manufacturers and a few crazed neo-cons. The war, if the US has the money and stomach for it, could last indefinitely, and dreams of pipelines and prosperity will remain carrots dangling forever out of reach. If the war is expanded by Obama, the creation of a failed state in Pakistan could become reality at any time.

If that occurs, current expenditures of men and material would go through the roof, once again with no serious strategic advantage to be gained. It's time to start talking.


Anonymous Rabia said...

the problem for Pakistan is that a negotiated settlement with Mullah Omar and co. would be seen a huge victory for the religious right-wing and right-wingers in the military establishment. otoh, the continued conflict in FATA is extremely unpopular and is turning the country into a failed state as you say. In both cases it looks like the civilian government is unlikely to survive.

11/14/2008 7:48 PM  

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