Night Watch

Afghanistan: On Tuesday presidential candidate Ashraf Ghani said that if the voter fraud audit proved that he won the election, he would not share power.

On 13 August, the Balkh Province governor, Attah Mohammed Noor, said that if the audit finds there was bias in the voting, and presidential candidate Abdullah is not named the president, there will be a civil uprising.

"If the vote recount is one-sided or fraudulent, we will not bow down and accept the results," he said in an interview. "We do not want a crisis, but we will defend the rights of our people. We will have a big civil uprising. . . . We will occupy government buildings and institutions. ..We will boycott the process, and we will not recognize the next government because it will have no legitimacy."

Comment: The power sharing arrangement died almost as quickly as it was formed. Without an agreement about the fundamentals of power sharing, it never had a chance of lasting long. The Afghan candidates understand that elections have winners. It is Asian politesse to smile and agree in public with a visiting foreign dignitary so as not to cause the dignitary to lose face.

Abdullah's followers are convinced that if the Pashtun, Ashraf Ghani, is declared president, the government will treat Uzbeks and Tajiks as second class citizens and the Taliban return will be inevitable.

Iraq: Prime Minister al-Maliki resigned and said he would support Haider al-Abadi as prime minister.

Comment: The US, allied with Iran and Saudi Arabia, engineered the ouster of al-Maliki in the conviction that a government under al-Abadi, who is from al-Maliki's party, would be more inclusive and that a more inclusive government would somehow lead to the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Both hypotheses are about to be put to the test.

As for al-Abadi, at least one knowledgeable source has reported that he is cut of the same cloth as al-Maliki. Al-Maliki's statement of support should raise suspicion about al-Abadi and the policies he might pursue should he become prime minister. For example, he opposed any agreement with the US on the Status of Forces that compromised Iraqi sovereignty. He represents a change of leadership, but not necessarily a change in policies. The optics will look better for a time.

Night Watch

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