Did the Obama administration try a “clumsy putsch” against Karzai?

posted at 10:41 am on January 10, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

It’s no secret that Barack Obama and the White House have no particular love for Hamid Karzai, and that the feeling is mutual. Allegations of corruption and the issues of security in Afghanistan have pushed the two reluctant allies farther apart, to the point where Karzai now refuses to sign a status-of-forces agreement that would allow NATO to protect his government — despite the support of the loya jirga he called to discuss it.  According to a catch by Foreign Policy from the new Robert Gates memoir My Duty, Karzai has pretty good reason to distrust the Obama administration:

Lost in the political controversy surrounding former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ new memoir is a fascinating account of a failed administration attempt to ensure that Karzai was defeated in the 2009 Afghan elections. Gates is harshly critical of the move, which he derides as a “clumsy and failed putsch” that did significant damage to the U.S.-Afghan relationship.

The main players in this game were Obama’s special envoy Richard Holbrooke and US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Instead of working with Karzai, or even remaining neutral, the two men tried to boost the fortunes of his political opponents in an attempt to eliminate him from the election. The effort was hardly clandestine, Gates writes:

The two men, according to the former Defense chief, held highly publicized meetings with Karzai’s opponents, attended their rallies, made a point of being photographed with them, and even offered them unspecified advice. Gates writes that Karzai quickly became aware of the U.S. efforts to unseat him and ultimately cut deals with the country’s warlords to win their support in the vote.

That was, er, unhelpful. And unsuccessful, too, as Karzai went on to win in a “dirty” election.  The White House responded by claiming that Gates’ account are “categorically false,” but an Afghanistan expert on the Council of Foreign Relations thinks otherwise:

Stephen Biddle, an Afghanistan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that Gates’ account bolsters Karzai’s long-held belief that the U.S. government was trying to ensure he lost the election.

“This perception on his part was a major contributor to his growing disaffection with the U.S. ever since,” Biddle said. “The result was the worst of both worlds – Karzai was re-elected, and we now looked like we’d attempted to get rid of him and failed. Not good.”

In other words, we looked both corrupt and inept, plus extending the perception that the Obama administration has no hesitation to toss allies under the bus for its own purposes.

This lends some much-needed context to the latest act of defiance from Karzai:

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Thursday ordered the release of dozens of prisoners accused of having American blood on their hands, saying there was not enough evidence to hold them and intensifying his showdown with Obama administration officials after weeks of warnings that he risked losing American troop support.

The move threatened to plunge relations to a new state of crisis even as a broader, long-term security agreement between the two countries has been held up for weeks.

American officials have said that the prisoners to be released are dangerous Taliban militants and that freeing them without trial would violate an agreement on detainees reached last year. …

Still, just a week after some American officials insisted that such a prisoner release would prove that Mr. Karzai could not be trusted to honor a security deal, the initial American response on Thursday was cautious.

I wonder why they’re cautious in accusing Karzai of not being a trustworthy ally. Hmmmm.


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…of course they did!

KOOLAID2 on January 10, 2014 at 10:42 AM

It’s no secret that Barack Obama and the White House have no particular love for Hamid Karzai, and that the feeling is mutual. Allegations of corruption and the issues of security in Afghanistan have pushed the two reluctant allies farther apart

…HEH?…they should be joined at the hip!

KOOLAID2 on January 10, 2014 at 10:44 AM

In other words, we Obama looked both corrupt and inept,

FIFY

Patriot Vet on January 10, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Clinton – “Clumsy pass”

Obama – “Clumsy putsch”

thebrokenrattle on January 10, 2014 at 10:48 AM

SMART Power!!!!11111!!!!elebinty

Good to see that even in the early stages of Obama’s reign of incompetence he had the fecal touch.

jukin3 on January 10, 2014 at 10:49 AM

and then hotair will run out of material to bash the President on…that’s what you’re really afraid of, right?

nonpartisan on November 19, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Chris of Rights on January 10, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Chris of Rights on January 10, 2014 at 10:49 AM

President Choom: The gift to bloggers that keeps on giving. And giving. And giving.

And 90% of the idiots that voted for him have no clue how badly he’s hurting the country.

RoadRunner on January 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM

In other words, we looked both corrupt and inept, plus extending the perception that the Obama administration has no hesitation to toss allies under the bus for its own purposes.

It’s not really a surprise that we looked corrupt and inept – our government IS corrupt and inept.

Doomberg on January 10, 2014 at 10:54 AM

the scathing piece about the destruction of the usa in the soviet publication pravda goes nicely with this story.

Murphy9 on January 10, 2014 at 10:56 AM

I’m beginning to think that the rat-eared wonder doesn’t really want a SOFA with Afghanistan any more than he wanted one with Iraq. Just turn the real estate over to the terrorists and declare victory because the last of the troops departed or something.

Smart power if you’re diagnosed as mentally and emotionally retarded.

Happy Nomad on January 10, 2014 at 10:57 AM

It’s no secret that Barack Obama and the White House have no particular love for Hamid Karzai, and that the feeling is mutual. Allegations of corruption prove to be a bridge too far for Karzai.

antipc on January 10, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Lost in the political controversy surrounding former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ new memoir is a fascinating account of a failed administration attempt to ensure that Karzai was defeated in the 2009 Afghan elections.

So that’s why Obama opened an OFA (Organizing for Action) office in Kabul.

portlandon on January 10, 2014 at 11:10 AM

Lost in the political controversy surrounding former Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ new memoir is a fascinating account of a failed administration attempt to ensure that Karzai was defeated in the 2009 Afghan elections.

You talk about this like it was a bad thing.

Sure, the clumsy part was bad, but for once they seem to have had the right idea.

Karzai’s opponents must have contributed to Obama’s campaign fund.

fadetogray on January 10, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Two complete aholes bumping heads.

How dropping both of them off in Tora Bora, nude and armed only with a bendy-straw.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Just nuke the place and get it over with.

Ward Cleaver on January 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

And 90% of the idiots that voted for him have no clue how badly he’s hurting the country.

RoadRunner on January 10, 2014 at 10:53 AM

These people have no idea what is happening around themselves at any given moment so to expect them to pay attention to what the criminals in DC are doing is laughable.

Rio Linda Refugee on January 10, 2014 at 11:41 AM

How dropping both of them off in Tora Bora, nude and armed only with a bendy-straw.

Bishop on January 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Best idea I’ve heard.

besser tot als rot on January 10, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Teh SCOAMT thinks he’s the next JFK, and Kennedy sanctioned the ouster of Diem in South Vietnam.

Steve Eggleston on January 10, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Idiot Putz.

BigWyo on January 10, 2014 at 11:59 AM

In the accompanying photo of President(s) Hamid Karzai and Obama there is something more important missing than a “clumsy putsch” whatever that is.

Much more important is the question, what did President Obama do with President Karzai’s chapo? President Karzai was in danger of losing his head to frostbite, if left exposed more than two minutes because of “Global Warming” in D.C. being what it is.

MSGTAS on January 10, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The Boy King leaning forward for seasonal advice from the Fashion King.

“Gloria Vanderbilt said capes are really important this winter.”

(I never understood what she meant by ‘important’ – back in the day.)

Tsar of Earth on January 10, 2014 at 12:01 PM

we looked both corrupt and inept

Why not? That aptly describes the current administration.

GarandFan on January 10, 2014 at 12:31 PM

The world’s smartest man in the history of the universe bested by third world dictator. Heh.

BTW, I would way rather buy a used car from Karzai than Obama.

jukin3 on January 10, 2014 at 12:35 PM

We are all ashamed of our government.

ultracon on January 10, 2014 at 1:10 PM

The stupidity of this Dem administration is mind-boggling. They have NO idea of what they’re doing and just make mistake after mistake after mistake.

unfortunately, it’s our soldiers who DIE in the process. And the Dems don’t care – “What difference does it make?”

Just as government spending other people’s money (OPM) eventually runs into the problem of running OUT of OPM, so will the Dems cavalier attitude towards the military eventually will leave them with no protection.

Again, we pay for their short-sightedness (or maybe long sightedness – after all DEMS are the ones who have been pushing the progressive/socialist/central control agenda for 100 years.

MN J on January 10, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Every day it’s something else with the amateur in chief. Every. Stinking. Day. No one should ever refer to him as a “commander”, he hasn’t earned the title.

scalleywag on January 10, 2014 at 2:25 PM

Didn’t Clinton send some political advisers over there to help Karzai’s opponents?

Rancher on January 10, 2014 at 2:53 PM

I would remind the Young-ins that the overthrow of Diem in 1963 was orchestrated by that generation’s Best & Brightest, also.
Look how well that turned out for us.

Another Drew on January 10, 2014 at 3:07 PM

So Obama / the administration that tried to $crew Kharzi is upset that Kharzi is now $crewing them. LOL, karma is a bi’-@tch!

Onama helped Al ’9/11/01′ Qaeda take over in Libya. He turned his back on Iranizna when they tried to overthroww the Mullahs. He then helped get rid of Mubarak and aided the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood take over the government of one of our allies – Egypt. He tries, and fails, to get Kharzi out of office. No wonder Kharzi wouldn’t sign the SOFA agreement that would allow our troops stay in country until they were ready to stand up on their own. Obama not only did NOT make any attempt to contact Kharzi to get the SOFA signed, his meddling pretty much killed any hope that the deal would get signed.

What a total F#@k-up….which about sums up Obama’s Presidency!

easyt65 on January 10, 2014 at 3:35 PM