7.01.2017

Will Afghanistan manage to find peace? | Middle East

In this week’s UpFront, we speak to former Afghan spy chief Amrullah Saleh about the US-led war in Afghanistan and why 16, years on, the Taliban continues to have a strong foothold in the country.

In the Reality Check, we explain why conflating Israel with Jewish people is wrong, and how it’s sometimes Israeli officials who make this assumption.

And in the Arena, we debate whether Joseph Kabila, the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, will keep his promise to hold elections by the end of this year, since he is already past the two-term limit enshrined in the constitution.

Headliner – Is the military strategy in Afghanistan flawed?

This year marks 16 years of unrelenting war in Afghanistan between the US-backed government and the Taliban.

With no end to the war in sight, can the Taliban forces be defeated? Is reconciliation possible?

For Amrullah Saleh, who served in Afghanistan as State Minister for Security Reforms, to defeat the Taliban, US-backed forces must focus on Pakistan instead, calling its southern neighbour the “root cause” of violence.

“Go to the source, and go to the root cause of this,” says Saleh, who also served for six years as the leader of Afghanistan’s spy agency, the National Directorate of Security. “What the United States does need is [to] come out with more clarity and tell the Pakistanis: We know what you are doing and we are a superpower, but we do not have super-patience.”

In this week’s Headliner, Mehdi Hasan challenges former Afghan security official Amrullah Saleh on why he believes the US needs to change its strategy in order more effectively to combat the Taliban.

For more from this interview, click here.

Reality Check – Anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism and Israel’s leaders

Anti-Semitism is racism. No ifs, no buts. It’s hostility to, or prejudice, against Jews.

There are some who have suggested that anti-Zionism – the opposition to a Jewish-majority state in Palestine – is also a form of anti-Semitism.

While some anti-Zionists do cross the line into anti-Semitism, many, including Jewish anti-Zionists, make clear their criticism is of Israel, not of the Jewish people. They make a distinction between Jewish people and Israel’s policies.

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan explains why conflating Israel with Jews is wrong, and how it’s sometimes Israeli leaders who do this conflating.

Arena – DR Congo: Does Kabila intend to stay in power?

The Democratic Republic of Congo was expected to welcome a new president last year, but with elections delayed, President Joseph Kabila remains in office past the two-term limit enshrined in the constitution.

Kabila has promised that elections will be held by the end of this year. So will the country finally be restored to full democratic rule, or could he attempt to remain in power?

For Martin Fayulu, an opposition politician who claims to have been shot in the head by government forces during a peaceful protest, Kabila is not willing to give up power.

“Kabila knew clearly that he has to go by the end of last year. But what he did? He tried to manoeuvre not to have elections,” says Fayulu, who hopes to replace Kabila. “I’m not sure that by the end of this year we’ll have that transparent and credible election.”

“If there is anything Kabila does not want to do, it is to stay in power for ever,” says Zihindula Mulegwa, a former spokesman for Kabila. “We are involved in voter registration right now and we expect to have elections at the end of this year.”

In this week’s Arena, former government spokesman Zihindula Mulegwa and opposition politician Martin Fayulu debate the future of democracy in DR Congo.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.

Source: Al Jazeera News

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