World View: Afghan Peace Talks Collapse Day After They're Announced

World View: Afghan Peace Talks Collapse Day After They're Announced

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Afghan peace talks collapse day after they’re announced
  • Prisoner exchange driving the Afghan ‘peace talks’
  • IKEA tests a new refugee shelter to replace the tent

Afghan peace talks collapse day after they’re announced

Hamid Karzai on Tuesday(AP)
Hamid Karzai on Tuesday(AP)

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Wednesday threatened toboycott the peace talks with the Taliban that the United Statesannounced just one day earlier. (See “19-Jun-13 World View — Taliban prepare for return of ‘Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan'”)

Karzai is complaining that the United States betrayed him, byallowing the Taliban to open an office in Doha, Qatar, and talkabout the “Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan,” which was the nameof the country when the Taliban ruled it prior to 9/11/01. TheTaliban press conference portrayed the Taliban as the officialgovernment of Afghanistan, leaving Karzai’s government out inthe cold. So Karzai said that the peace talks had tobe “Afghan-led,” presumably referring to his own government:

“The latest developments show that foreign hands arebehind the Taliban’s Qatar office and, unless they are purelyAfghan-led, the High Peace Council will not participate in talks.The opening of Taliban office in Qatar, the way it was opened andmessages it contained, contradicts the guarantees given by the USto Afghanistan.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rushed to talk to Karzai,to try to convince him to change his mind. At the end ofthe day, Wednesday, nothing had been resolved.

As I’ve written dozens of times in the last few years, there is nochance of a “peace process” in Afghanistan. The easiest way to seethat is a comparison with Iraq, where President George Bush’s “surge”was a factor in the successful peace treaty that allowed the U.S. towithdraw. Iraq’s last generational crisis war was the Iran/Iraq war,climaxing in 1988 — an EXTERNAL war, where the Iraqis, Sunnis andShias alike, united to fight the Iranians. But Afghanistan’s lastcrisis war was the genocidal civil war of 1992-96 — an INTERNAL war,pitting the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan against the the NorthernAlliance, an alliance of Tajiks and Hazaras in northern Afghanistan.Furthermore, the Taliban are Sunni Islamist Pashtuns, occupy a largeregion in Afghanistan, through the tribal area, and deep intonorthwestern Pakistan, which is in a generational Crisis era. Theseare major differences that make an Afghanistan peace processimpossible, and the whole attempt to negotiate peace with the Talibana farce. AFP

Prisoner exchange driving the Afghan ‘peace talks’

Since the peace process negotiation with the Taliban is a farce, andmost people involved know it, one may wonder what’s motivating thepeople on both sides. According to several analysts I’ve heard, theanswer is that both the U.S. and the Taliban want a prisoner exchange.The U.S. would like to get back Bowe Bergdahl, the last remainingprisoner of war. The Taliban would like to get a number of Talibanfighters currently imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay. Time

IKEA tests a new refugee shelter to replace the tent

IKEA's Refugee Housing Unit
IKEA’s Refugee Housing Unit

With about 3.5 million refugees worldwide living in tents, IKEA isabout to test a new Refugee Housing Unit that will give refugeesprivacy, electricity, and protection from the weather that they’venever had with tents. Each of the IKEA shelters is designed to houseone family. The shelters employ technologies to keep the interior coolby day and warm at night; a solar panel on each provides electricity.In a joint project with the United Nations, the shelters will betested in the next few months in Ethiopia, Iraq and Lebanon. CS Monitor

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