Search

 

Cablegate: Parliament's Leadership Elections Empower Karzai

VZCZCXRO7558
OO RUEHIK RUEHPW RUEHYG
DE RUEHBUL #0682/01 0780510
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 180510Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3282
INFO RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCNAFG/AFGHANISTAN COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/OSD WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KABUL 000682

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/FO, SCA/A, S/CRS
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR AID/ANE, AID/DCHA/DG
NSC FOR JWOOD
OSD FOR SHIVERS
CG CJTF-82, POLAD, JICCENT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV AF
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT'S LEADERSHIP ELECTIONS EMPOWER KARZAI
OPPONENTS

1. (SBU) Summary: The National Assembly's 2008 leadership
elections, in which two deputy speakers and two secretaries
were elected from among upper and lower house members, may
have further diminished President Karzai's influence in the
legislature. While new and independent lower house First
Deputy Speaker Mir Wais Yasini opposes ambitious Speaker
Qanooni's attempts to control the institution's agenda, only
First Secretary Abdul Satar Khawasi openly supports Karzai.
Qanooni now holds a three-two majority in the leadership.
The upper house could also edge towards becoming an
anti-Karzai mouth piece. New upper house First Deputy
Speaker Hamed Gailani intends to run for president and has
brokered mutual support deals with the rest of the upper
house leadership through his new Harmony group.

Lower House Leadership Majority Favors Qanooni
--------------------------------------------- -

2. (SBU) Lower house Speaker Mohammad Yonus Qanooni and the
United Front political group gained a measure of additional
power and influence in the 2008 lower house leadership
elections. Qanooni now holds a three-two majority in the
lower house leadership. In achieving this, Qanooni upset the
previously accepted ethnic distribution of the four lower
house leadership seats. Members say they prefer a
distribution that divides power between Pashtuns and Tajiks
while reserving one position for another minority group:
first deputy speaker - Pashtun; second deputy speaker -
Hazara, Uzbek, or Turkman; first secretary - Pashtun; second
secretary - Tajik. With the election of a strong Tajik as

SIPDIS
second deputy speaker, this year's contest equally divided
the four positions between Tajiks and Pashtuns, possibly
exacerbating the already pronounced Pashtun-Tajik division in
Kabul politics.

The Lower House Victors:
------------------------

3. (SBU) First Deputy Speaker: Mir Wais Yaseni is a Pashtun
from Nangarhar province, and an independent reformer. During
the 2007 First Deputy race other members considered Yaseni
Karzai's candidate. He led the field until the President
announced his support for the eventual winner, Mohammad Arif
Noorzai, who is tied to the Karzai family by marriage.
Following Karzai's apparent change of heart, Yaseni openly
opposed the President throughout 2007. Many members of the
assembly now believe Karzai supported Yaseni's 2008 campaign,
suggesting their possible rapprochement. Though cautious,
Yaseni is more respected and stronger willed than his
predecessor Mohammad Arif Noorzai. He may side with Karzai
more than Qanooni in 2008, but already is proving to be a
strong and independent leader.

4. (SBU) Second Deputy Speaker: Amanullah Payman is a
moderate Tajik from Badakhshan province with broad appeal in
the National Assembly. He is a member of the Jamiat
political party and United Front umbrella group. He is also
personally close to Qanooni and Rabbani, both of whom
supported his candidacy. Though Payman will advocate United
Front positions, he may also seek to act as an intermediary
with the President. He has previously demonstrated himself a
moderate interested in reaching out to Qanooni and Karzai.

5. (SBU) First Secretary: Abdul Satar Khawasi is a Pashtun
from Parwan province. He is a member of Hezb-e-Islami and
closely linked to Farouk Wardak and President Karzai.
Khawasi was a staunch Karzai supporter as First Secretary in
2007. He will likely continue to support the President's
agenda and resist Qanooni's efforts to run the lower house as
an opposition operation.

6. (SBU) Second Secretary: Dr. Mohammad Saleh Saljoqi is a
Tajik from Herat province. Saljoqi is not particularly close
to the United Front, but was a member of the Jamiat party - a
United Front constituent - and close to Rabbani. Saljoqi
will likely support the United Front's agenda in most

KABUL 00000682 002 OF 002


matters; he is not close to President Karzai or the Pashtun
parties.

Hamed Gailani Builds Upper House Coalition
------------------------------------------

7. (SBU) While no seats changed hands in the upper house
leadership elections, re-elected first deputy Hamed Gailani
appears to be working behind the scenes to build his power in
preparation for a 2009 presidential run. Upper house members
say Gailani has promised speaker Mojadeddi a role in his
administration in exchange for the speaker's acquiescence to
his deputy's agenda. (Note: Mojadeddi,s family is tied to
the Karzais by marriage and he is a staunch champion of the
President.) Gailani is also backing the other upper house
incumbents in an attempt to construct a leadership coalition.
Gailani calls his new coalition the Harmony group.

Upper House Victors
-------------------

8. (SBU) First Deputy Speaker: Gailani is a Pashtun from
Paktia province. His father, Pir Gailani, garnered one
percent of the vote for president in 2004. Hamed Gailani now
seems to intend a presidential run. He appears to have
attempted to use the leadership elections to build himself a
coalition in the upper house. Gailani's coalition does not
fall along traditional ethnic or regional lines, however, and
upper house members' ethnic and tribal affiliations may
ultimately trump a passing allegiance to him.

9. (SBU) Second Deputy Speaker: Dr. Burhanullah Shinwari is
a Pashtun from Nangahar province. Shinwari has been a strong
Karzai supporter in the past. It is not clear if Shinwari
has broken with Karzai, or if Gailani's efforts to woo him
have caused Shinwari to shift his long-term allegiance.

10. (SBU) First Secretary: Mawlawi Aminudin Mozafari is a
Tajik from Kapisa province. While Mozafari's political
engagement usually involves religion, he is connected to
Tajik warlords and has supported the United Front in the
past.

11. (SBU) Second Secretary: Abdul Khaliq Hussaini is a
member of the Pashai, a small tribe from the Konar/Nuristan
area. Hussaini supports Gailani and will seek to forward
Gailani's legislative and presidential agendas. Hussaini has
also been a strong central government supporter, and it is
unclear with whom he would side if forced to choose between
Gailani and Karzai.

Upper and Lower Houses May both Challenge Karzai
--------------------------------------------- ---

12. (SBU) The National Assembly's upper and lower houses may
increasingly resist President Karzai in 2008 as Qanooni and
Gailani separately seek to establish their electoral
credentials. Both once supported or at least suffered
Karzai's government, but now accuse the President of
squandering their patronage. Karzai's administration, they
say, has failed to address continued insecurity, corruption,
and a weak Afghan economy. The two are already using their
positions to publicize perceived negative aspects of Karzai's
presidency.
WOOD

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC