US Wants BSA Signature No Matter What It Takes

On the very same day that a member Congress stated that Middle Eastern cultures routinely lie during negotiations, several US senior officials suggested dishonest ways of working around Hamid Karzai’s conditions for signing the Bilateral Security Agreement by getting someone other than Karzai to sign it.

Granted, Duncan Hunter, Jr. is batshit crazy and also was arguing for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in a war with Iran, but his statements on honesty yesterday provide a supremely ironic context for John Kerry and Chuck Hagel suggesting someone other than Karzai could sign the agreement. TPM has Hunter’s comments:

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) said Wednesday that it is in the Middle Eastern culture to lie during negotiations.

“In the Middle Eastern culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible no matter what it takes — and that includes lying,” Hunter said in an interview with C-SPAN. “That’s one reason that these Gulf states like to work with the United States — because we’re honest and transparent and we have laws that we have to live by.”

Hunter and his ilk, of course, would point to Karzai’s new conditions imposed after the loya jirga approved the BSA and urged Karzai to sign it. But is the US acting any differently than the actions Hunter criticizes in its attempt, at any cost, to get a work-around?

From the Washington Post:

The Obama administration is looking for ways to work around Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s new demands concerning a key security agreement with the United States, a senior U.S. official close to the negotiations said Wednesday.

“One of the things we’re trying to do quietly is design, engineer, imagine ways that we could get ourselves out of this fix,” the official said in an interview, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to describe the emerging strategy on the record. “One of those ways might be to find a mechanism, a technique where Karzai could abide by his loya jirga pledge not to sign it but still give us the document we need.”

Secretary of State John F. Kerry suggested this week that someone other than Karzai might sign the security deal. Possibilities include the top Afghan and U.S. defense officials, although U.S. officials played down that option after Kerry spoke.

But in Washington on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also suggested to reporters at the Pentagon that the signature of an Afghan leader other than Karzai might suffice.

And Martin Dempsey has also joined the Coalition of the Working-Around:

Dempsey said it was important that any agreement be binding. “As long as the document is considered legally binding by both parties and credible internationally, then I think it will be a matter of who they decide signs it,” he said.

The attempts to bypass Karzai are not being received well in Kabul. From Khaama Press:

Aimal Faizi, spokesman for president Hamid Karzai has said that the Afghan ministers will not be authorized to sign the security pact unless the demands are met.

Mr. Faizi further added that president Hamid Karzai remains committed to his two main demands to sign the agreement. “President Karzai wants an absolute end to the military operations on Afghan homes and a meaningful start to the peace process, and we are certain that the Americans can practically do that within days or weeks,” Faizi quoted by Reuters said.

He also added, “As long as these demands are not accepted, President Karzai will not authorize any minister to sign it.”

There is one more very important tidbit buried near the end of this article. It turns out that the US didn’t merely mention getting someone other than Karzai to sign the agreement, it has already approached the Afghan defense minister to try to persuade him to sign it:

According to reports, US officials have also approached Afghan defense minister Gen. Bismillah Mohammadi during the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Brussels to discuss such a possibility.

Hunter couldn’t have said it any better. The US wants this document signed, no matter what it takes.

9 replies
  1. Don Bacon says:

    It’s obvious that it’s only lip service when the US states that Afghanistan is a sovereign state.
    President Obama, Jan 11, 2013:

    “Starting this spring, our troops will have a different mission — training, advising, assisting Afghan forces. . . .And finally, we reaffirmed the Strategic Partnership that we signed last year in Kabul — an enduring partnership between two sovereign nations.”

    Now The Obama administration is looking for ways to work around Afghan sovereignty to perform military activities that not only offend Afghans including the president, but are also beyond train, advise and assist.

  2. john francis lee says:

    Even the USSA’s puppets are rebelling. Karzai will no doubt meet with an accident.

    Duncan Hunter wants to nuke Iran. How can anyone doubt that ‘our’ US Congress is anything other than a Zionist/Wahabi 5th column ?

  3. Don Bacon says:

    Not only does Obama want to bypass the Afghan president, he is also (unlike Karzai) bypassing the American people with this BSA executive agreement that is really a treaty, an agreement between nations, which requires Senate confirmation according to the Constitution.

    [The president] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur;..

    General Dempsey points out that some US allies — gasp — actually work democratically!

    But he added that the U.S. military’s logistical constraints weren’t the main obstacle, warning of other factors, such as the need by many allies – some of whom need parliamentary approval for any future troop presence – to make plans soon.

  4. Don Bacon says:

    Sorry Jim, I don’t see General Dempsey advocating a work-around.

    Dempsey said it was important that any agreement be binding. “As long as the document is considered legally binding by both parties and credible internationally, then I think it will be a matter of who they decide signs it,” he said.

    General Dempsey has disagreed with Kerry before, on Syria bombing, and I think he’s doing it again, artfully.

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Why is a decision needed by the end of this month?
    It’s the FY2015 budget cycle. The funds for “Overseas Contingency Operations” (newspeak for war) must be submitted this month.
    (h/t Tarheel Dem)

    Fiscal Year 2015 DoD Legislative Program –
    Disposition of Late Proposals; Carryover Proposals; Legislative Review Panel (pdf)

    December 31, 2013
    Target date for submission of all DoD proposals to OMB for the FY 2015 NDAA legislative cycle.

    As noted in the Call Memo from the Deputy Secretary of Defense, late submissions make the legislative proposal process less effective and efficient and require a significant expenditure of resources to obtain the necessary internal and interagency coordination on an expedited basis. Therefore, the deadline for submission of proposals to OLC for this cycle (August 5, 2013) will be strictly enforced. Any proposal submitted after this deadline will be considered late and subject to the process set forth below.
    The Legislative Review Panel (LRP) will enforce firm deadlines (both for submission of proposals and for budget information) for the FY 2015 legislative program. Therefore, the only proposals that will be accepted late will be those submitted in response to actual exigencies or unforeseeable needs. Failure by a component to identify an issue or to identify a needed extension of an expiring authority does not qualify as either an actual exigency or an unforeseeable need. Submitting a proposal late may result in that proposal being deferred until the FY 2016 legislative cycle; therefore, components should take a comprehensive approach to the legislative process to ensure that all needed proposals are submitted in a timely manner.

    FY2015 is Oct 2014 – Sep 2015.

  6. TarheelDem says:

    Well, that will make Hamid Karzai compliant and make the US job easier, won’t it?

    Dempsey is stating a condition that is not likely to be met as long as the US insists on immunity.

    The US national security establishment (whoever is still driving for this US presence) can certainly politically maneuver and force a continued US presence. But it will be a Pyrrhic victory for them. I don’t understand the politics that is going on but I do understand that the public figures are all being pushed around by that politics.

    I’m still betting that in spite of all the attempts at a workaround, the administration will still miss the legislative deadline. And poor failed Kerry and Obama will be forced to withdraw US troops without a BSA in place but having made every attempt possible to force one through. Unless Congress is willing to relent on immunity for US forces and contractors, that IMO is the likely outcome.

    And then there’s the matter of closed routes from Pakistan into Afghanistan. Just which way does Pakistan want the supplies and troops to flow? Into Afghanistan or out of the region?

    Where else is there diplomatic pressure and in what direction?

  7. Don Bacon says:

    The US is not the only egg in the basket.

    news report

    Karzai to visit India to seek support for his regional bloc plan Thursday, December 05, 2013 – Islamabad—Afghan President Hamid Karzai will be in New Delhi on December 13 to seek support for his plan to establish a regional bloc com-prising Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran to deal with terrorism and other security and economic issues, diplomatic sources said.

    After refusal by Karzai to sign a new bilateral security agreement with US until Afghan presidential election in April, the Afghan relations with Washington have come under considerable strain prompting Karzai to go for his plan to set up regional bloc. Iran has already asked Karzai to refrain from signing such security agreement which ensure stay of US forces after 2014. Karzai has already accused Washington for halting fuel supplies to Afghan forces to put pressure on him sign the new arrangement.

    Karzai was in Iran for Rohani’s inauguration in August, Pakistan’s Sharif visited Kabul recently and as noted Karzai is visiting India next week. Also Karzai was in China in September and met separately with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang at Beijing.

  8. Don Bacon says:

    Needless to say, it’s a stupid act of desperation for the US to approach a Karzai administration member and ask him to defy Karzai. It’s another indicator of a dying empire. Any minister that defied Karzai would soon be an ex-minister, after all, so anything he signed would be worthless.

    All Obama had to do is tell his generals that they couldn’t invade Afghan houses. But does Obama care? heh

  9. Teddy says:

    You know who else thought our opposites at the negotiating table lied all the time and therefore couldn’t be trusted or even negotiated with? John Foster Dulles. This is a long, dishonorable strain in the history of American exceptionalism: that our enemies lie constantly, and (while we do as well) when we do, it’s in furtherance of our Exceptionally Honorable Cause (of the moment).

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