Permissible Arms

Rex regnant sed non gubernat

Posted in afghanistan, us senate by Karaka on 16 September 2009

Renard Sexton over at FiveThirtyEight offers some numbers analysis of the prospect for a re-count in the Afghanistan election:

More invalidations and ordered recounts are likely on the way, particularly in Baghlan province, where ethnic electoral violence was at its worst on election day. Whether this recount can resurrect the Abdullah campaign is yet to be seen, as between 10 and 15 percent of the total votes are expected to be recounted. Just a few hundred thousand votes changing hands could drop Hamid Karzai’s total beneath the 50 percent plus one requirement for victory.

I doubt anyone in the West has a great confidence in this election process anyway, but should Karzai drop beneath the number for clear victory, it would beg the run-off, which it seems Karzai would win. Either way, things are left up in the air still, and it seems as thought the relative insecurity of this process would give some credence to calls for our continued involvement in Afghanistan. The Guardian reports that procedures are already being put in place for that run-off vote, which would take place in late October. One has to wonder whether Afghanistan will have a recognized new-term President by the end of the year, at this rate.

And of course the stage is still reeling from news of Galbraith and Eide’s differing opinions on how, exactly, the criticism of this process should be handled, I assume publicly. If the UN can’t agree, do we really expect democratic Afghanistan to?

Following Lindsey Graham (+Liberman, +McCain)’s public call for staying the course in Afghanistan yesterday, the WSJ also reports on Admiral Mullen’s address to the Senate Armed Forces Committee this week, which ties interestingly in with a picture of Mullen and Graham talking, presumably before that meeting.

Their support makes it easier for President Barack Obama to approve the plans of Gen. Stanley McChrystal — whom the Obama administration installed as the top American commander in Kabul — when he submits a formal request later this month for as many as 40,000 new troops, in addition to 62,000 now there. “A properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces,” Adm. Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “It’s very clear to me that we will need more resources.” Afghanistan has been wracked by unrelenting Taliban violence and growing political instability in the aftermath of last month’s disputed presidential election.

It’s rather like all the ducks are getting in a row to push Obama’s hand towards granting McChrystal’s probable request for troop increase. And yes, it does occur to me that the previous sentence is almost entirely weighed in hypothetical.

And whatever your view is, these photos from Slate depicting Ramadan around the world are not to be missing. There are truly some gorgeous images in there. When I was in college, we held a celebration for Eid al-Fitr every fall, and it’s important to me now that I understood better this part of a religious/cultural life I spend so much time educating myself about.


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