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“Former” Northern Alliance dusts off its realpolitik competences

February 6, 2013

By Tim Foxley

Summary: Thoughtful AAN piece on pre-electoral realpolitik from the alliance most usually known as the “former northern”…

a northern alliance?

a northern alliance?

The Afghanistan Analysts Network have a very well accessed and intelligent piece here on the political machinations in the run up to the Presidential elections in April 2014.  Credit to them for focusing on these key developments while everyone else (myself included) is fixated with Taliban (non) dialogue, transition and ANSF capabilities.  It is well worth reading in full.  Major (former) Northern Alliance players – Mohaqqeq, Dostum, Atta , Zia Massoud and Saleh (former head of the Afghan intelligence organisation) “combining” in some form of statement of intent for the election.

Analysis and Outlook

Much cold realpolitik on offer here – collaborating between allies, former allies and former enemies.   This is posturing for electoral gain – note that players like Dostum do not have a hope of presidential success, but they command powerful block votes and will be looking to sell off this block to the highest bidder.

As AAN rightly note, these groups will most likely wax and wane, with the potential for many different constellations to come and go.  No one can be expected to remain loyal ultimately to anyone but themselves.

This, for me, is the most disturbing thing – no hint of an electoral manifesto, of political debate, of reaching out to the population whose trust they should be wanting to win.   This language will appear in due course, but I suspect it will be simplistic and detail-free and therefore not really open to political debate or scrutiny.  Regrettably I expect the election process will be much more about this “old school” trading of power than “new school” political reach-out.

Yes, I know there has probably been excessive use of the word “former” in here.  But “former” seems to hold the possibility of being “future” – in a not particularly encouraging way…

(For your information. see also my piece on prospects for 2013, here)

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