Democracy Arsenal

« Foreign and Domestic | Main | What NYC Terror Trial Uproar Changes: Nothing »

January 29, 2010

One More on Tribal Militias
Posted by Michael Wahid Hanna

At the risk of engaging in a practice that I have come to abhor, I am going to draw a few parallels between Iraq and Afghanistan, knowing that the situations are not generally comparable. On the issue of tribal engagement, many knowledgeable regional experts have emphasized the fact that Afghan tribal structures are deteriorated in comparison with Iraq's tribal structures and that tribal authority is far from sacrosanct following decades of war.

Be that as it may, I wanted to respond to Patrick Barry’s post below discussing the implications of providing direct support for the Shinwari tribe based on their declared intention to take on the Taliban. Patrick, in response to a post by Josh Foust, is sympathetic to the notion that this type of U.S. sponsorship will undermine the Afghan government since it is premised on a form of factionalism that is inimical to the state structure.

I find this concern puzzling for the simple fact that the U.S. has gotten to this point due to the fact that it has been unable to achieve its security goals in conjunction with the central government and its subsidiary organs. At present, the Afghan security forces lack capacity and they are simply incapable of reversing the deterioration in security. And while Foust is right in pointing out that Shinwari best practices of burning down the houses of enemy sympathizers is probably not something we should be associated with, the mere fact of operating outside of the formal structures of the state is not in and of itself sufficient to doom the current efforts (which are really small-bore in relative terms in any event).

When the Sunni Awakening arose in Anbar province and, particularly, when it was replicated in concerted fashion in other mixed areas of the country, there was a great deal of concern that the United States was undermining the authority of the state by eschewing the concerns of Baghdad and supporting or orchestrating the rise of these Sunni militias. Such efforts largely contradicted some of the central goals of any counterinsurgency, namely, reinforcing the power of the state and garnering civilian support for it. Some criticisms also pointed out that the United States was now engaged with unsavory criminal characters. But these critiques definitely put the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Certainly, American support for the Awakenings was unsustainable over the long-term and their establishment created a whole series of concerns about their relationship to Baghdad and the prospects for future sectarian warfare. But they arose and spread at a time when many people within the military thought that Anbar province had been lost and sectarian civil war had begun to engulf wide swaths of the country. As such, the concerns generated by U.S. sponsorship of the various Awakening groups were, in my mind, a second-order priority to the immediate task of reversing the disastrous momentum that had brought the United States to the brink of defeat in Iraq.

Of course such arrangements are less than ideal––they represent a stark reminder of the limited capabilities of the central state and are fraught with possibilities for blowback. But bearing that in mind, the first order of business has to be the improvement of security. If this can and has to be done through more localized means then so be it. And if the U.S. military pursues such means in the midst of an insurgency then they are very likely to be dealing with and sponsoring those with suspect affiliations and former insurgents with blood on their hands. If the Afghan security forces and local authorities were more capable then a simple solution would have presented itself long ago.

Now the Shinwari might be lousy allies, as Foust indicates in his post, and this whole initiative might come to naught, but it is not as if we have a vast menu of excellent choices to choose from. And we will never even get to the point of contemplating serious negotiations with senior Taliban leaders on a political settlement or issues of improved governance capacity and human security if current trends continue on the same trajectory. As was the case in Iraq, if we have any hope of addressing those political, systemic and institutional concerns, then security will have to come first. 

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c04d69e20120a8261750970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference One More on Tribal Militias:

Comments

I would say the current police force has too many bad people that are in the drug mafia, sodomize boys and rob Afghans. That is why you have normal Afghans supporting the Taliban so they can have the police stop these awful acts.

Now the Shinwari might be lousy allies, as Foust indicates in his post, and this whole initiative might come to naught, but it is not as if we have a vast menu of excellent choices to choose from. And we will never even get to the point of contemplating serious

Never frown ,when you are sad ,because you never know who is falling in love with your smile

We all know these years china pallet racking in china develop very fast, now the design capacity of racking is very strong in china.
You can see every kind of china racking in china, includingDrive in racking,
cantilever racking, shelving,Longspan shelving, dexion racking,. We also have very experienced engineer to do the design and instlaation job.

as a whole contractor for refrigeration equipment, design, manufacturing, installation of cold store

Yellow lens of Ray ban wayfarer can 100% filter UV, allowing infrared and 83% visible light through the lens.

Its greatest feature is that you can filter the sun's most dazzling blue.

Sunlight through the atmosphere, the most performance is the blue light, which is why you see the sky is blue. Yellow lens filters blue light, the natural scenery can be seen more clearly. So driving with a yellow lens Ray ban 2010 sunglasses, you can more clearly see from the vehicle.

Ray ban sunglasses sale


ray ban 2010 sunglasses sale


ray ban sunglasses sale


ray ban wayfarer message from http://www.eyewear-rayban.com

We don't take the luxury route, just playing crazy exaggeration and assertive personality. In addition we break the traditional and innovative stainless steel bracelet, stainless steel rings and so on. Our stainless steel jewelry has great stage effects. The color, texture and design are very fashion. The breakthrough in molding achieves the strong sense of art stainless steel jewelry. It experiences a foreign land and customs, tracking the trend of the international fashion accessories. Our company welcomes the large stainless steel jewelry wholesalers to e-mail consultation.
E-mail: sus360@hotmail.com
website: http://www.sus360.com

Generally speaking, if the clothing is very simple, there is no decoration, you can wear a brooch or pin. Brooch can be pinned to the collar on a jacket or suit, and the shoulders. However, if wearing a links london, it can only be worn on the inside of jacket, visible only from the neck, but not worn on the outside.Every twenty years the majority oflinks of london jewellerywill be out of date, only a single grain of precious stones, pearls and exceptions.

In 1979, Lew Frankfort, Coach's CEO, joined the company. Frankfort transformed Coach Bags from a little-known leather goods manufacturer to a world-renowned brand. He is often credited with the emergence of Coach Handbags in the 1990s as the affordable luxury brand. This concept was a big deal in the industry. That is to say, it sells Cheap Coach Bags for every lady a choice to get this brand. Up until this point, a woman's only handbag choices were high end designer bags but the new Coach bags filled a void in the market. Shortly after Frankfort joined the company, he started Coach Outlet and launched first flagship store in New York. In 2010, this shrew CEO, Frankfort designs many Coach Handbags 2010 for gaining more profit.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Emeritus Contributors
Subscribe
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Email: 
Powered by TypePad

Disclaimer

The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use