This paper argues that Iraq’s destabilizing experience of power-sharing can be avoided if Western actors apply a model defined by three interrelated lessons from Iraq: the need for adjustment, completeness, and commitment in power-sharing. “Housing” instructs Western actors to identify major political interests within a state and to ensure that power sharing includes those interests. “Comprehensive” instructs Western actors to enable power-sharing that encompasses multiple dimensions – and not fully invested in one – so that power-sharing can be better tailored to different interests. “Engagement” instructs Western actors to maintain the stability of this power-sharing by monitoring compliance by the participants. Each lesson that the model encompasses identifies an instructive failure of Western actors in Iraq that remains avoidable in Afghanistan: Western actors have failed to address important Iraqi interests such as Sunni Arabs and pro-unit Shiite Arabs; This informed them of their failure to ensure completeness and allowed autonomy alone to dominate and destabilize the Iraqi power-sharing. and they pledged themselves primarily to military victory, not to overseeing compliance with details of Iraqi power-sharing. This essay adds to existing debates on the division of Iraqi power by showing how three lessons from Western failures in Iraq can be applied to develop stable Afghan consociationalism.
Structurally, the essay begins with a brief clarification of its consociation approach and the corresponding academic debate, and then proceeds in two sections: First, the instability of the Iraqi power-sharing is assessed in order to derive the three interrelated lessons of the model for Afghanistan. Second, these lessons will then be applied to Afghanistan and the ongoing Doha negotiations, noting that Western actors can create stable consociationalism in Afghanistan by learning from these mistakes in the Iraqi power-sharing experience.
By presenting the theoretical approach of the essay, the definition of the power-sharing dimensions is clarified by the model and central academic debates about Iraq’s experience of power-sharing are initiated. Consociationalism characterizes four dimensions of power sharing: autonomy, proportionality, large coalitions and mutual vetoes. That is, “autonomy” of territories or cultures, “proportionality” in terms of representation and state resources, “grand coalitions” including major local segments within government, and “mutual vetoes” that allow these segments to issue sensitive policies hinder. These aim to regulate conflicts in several societies such as Iraq and Afghanistan by recognizing and managing deep divisions. However, the instability that characterizes Iraq’s experience of power-sharing has led to a debate between consociationalists and “integrationists” about whether this instability is caused by the absence or presence of dimensions of association. Integrationists argue here that consociationalism is ineffective for conflict regulation. They prefer voluntary coalitions, majority systems, and autonomy determined by administrative practices rather than cultural divisions. All aim to construct a civic nationalism rather than strengthening ascriptive identities.
While both sides recognize Iraq’s instability, the debate tries to answer whether consociationalism was the cause: for example, Younis argues that Iraq’s consociationalism was comprehensive – a power-sharing across multiple dimensions – and that its instability shows how ineffective Consociationalism for conflict regulation is what would advocate an inclusive model for Afghanistan. In contrast, Ltaif argues that Iraq’s instability is due to incomplete consociationalism – it is insufficiently comprehensive and has failed to address key interests such as Sunni Arabs. Still other scholars and practitioners attribute Iraq’s instability neither to its adaptability nor to its completeness, but to police failure to comply with power-sharing. Examples from Kirkuk and the Erbil Agreement increase the commitment of Western actors to power-sharing. However, none of these arguments alone offer a complete model of the uncertain future of power-sharing in Afghanistan. Rather, the interrelated failures of the West-led conflict regulation in Iraq are addressed in each case, which must now be summarized in order to demonstrate how a similar instability in the power-sharing of the Afghan consociations can be avoided. The first of these lessons is about accommodation: the sharing of power in the community requires consideration of key interests, but the unstable sharing of power in Iraq does not.
Iraq’s lesson about accommodation in power-sharing arrangements begins with Western planning errors for a political settlement after the invasion: The US has neither agreed on an inclusive political settlement nor the institutions in which an inclusive settlement could be negotiated. On December 16, 2003, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrote to Vice President Cheney responding to this criticism: “Since opponents say we have no ‘plan’, it is important that we continue to refer to our ‘plan’.” However, Rumsfeld’s December 2003 “Plan” merely affirmed ownership of the US ad hoc struggle to establish Iraq after the invasion. He ignored the planning that had been going on in Washington since 2001 because those plans were flawed. Rumsfeld had been involved in the planning of the Iraq war since September 2001 and in early 2002 supported the Bush administration for a minimalist occupation of Iraq by the US, which reflected the allegedly successful change of the Afghan regime. Rumsfeld lost to a US Department of State (DoS) alternative that included a US-led organization of pre-established Iraqi provisional civil government that hastily institutionalized democracy. The immediacy of the transition was paramount: no plans were made to incorporate various Iraqi interests into a political settlement, as it was assumed that their interests would be considered by the immediately installed Iraqi Provisional Government, not US authorities or the military . However, until 2002 and early 2003, attention turned to the fight against planning, while peacebuilding plans faded, and when Saddam’s regime collapsed in April 2003, those DoS plans were not ready: until the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) was up no US agency equipped to support a transition) Established in May 2003, which then spent another five months organizing the Provisional Government of Iraq. Details for an accommodative political settlement were not only lacking in the US planning, but their planning for the development of institutions that were conducive to accommodation was not properly carried out, so that the institutions that might have communicated with Iraqi interests to a national Developing acceptable, inclusive power-sharing did not exist at the crucial moment when Saddam’s regime collapsed.
In addition to this vulnerable disruption of governance, there was a second US failure to accommodate, which further condemned the Iraqi power-sharing system to instability: the Bush administration’s failure to set boundaries for debaathification and the subsequent underrepresentation of antagonized Sunni Arabs in negotiations the power sharing. Bush decided to clean up the Baathist leadership, but never enacted a limit. The CPA decided to do a thorough purge, firing 30,000 bureaucrats from four tiers of administration, destroying the Baghdad government over Iraq. As a result, the Ba’ath military in Iraq was disbanded and 400,000 mostly Sunni-Arab soldiers were unemployed and disempowered. This vacuum of governance and security was answered by uprisings, which reflected how a West-led conflict regulation made an accommodative power-sharing increasingly unlikely: Many Sunni Arabs who were affected by the debaathification felt the new state to be exclusive and illegitimate, and expressed themselves violently by uprisings and then politically by boycotting the elections in January 2005. Sunni-Arab voter turnout reached lows of 2% in the Sunni-dominated province of Anbar and below 20% in other predominantly Sunni-Arab provinces.
This boycott, caused by the lack of accommodation for Sunni Arabs in Iraq, has historically been identified time and again as a turning point in Iraq’s unstable experience of power-sharing as the elections determined the balance of voting members for the 2005 draft constitution . At the recommendation of Western advisors, a nationwide constituency and party list were used in the elections, which was exclusive since the lack of constituencies meant low Sunni Arab voter turnout, leading to overrepresentation among the high turnout segments – Kurds and Shiite Arabs. As a result, largely pro-unified Sunni Arabs were not sufficiently represented against Kurdish and Shiite Arab pro-federalism interests. Instead of ensuring that Iraqi power-sharing was negotiated by an inclusive group of elites who precisely represented each significant segment, as consociationalism suggests, the US was instead engaged in insurrection, pushing the CPA and then the US embassy towards an agreement produce the elections in January, disinterested in whether the power-sharing corresponded to the pro-unit interests of Iraq.
The mistake of critique of integration is to misidentify this failure of adaptation as functional consociationalism, as Younis does when she argues that debaathification was a direct product of consociationalist primordialism – that consociationalism requires the exclusion of Sunni Arabs because theirs Grievances are immutable and cannot be reconciled. However, the CPA, which was responsible for the debaathification, was not consociational – it expressed integration-oriented views on federalism – and its successors in the US embassy were not primordialists, but made belated and unsuccessful efforts to improve Sunni representation after the boycott . Likewise, consociationalist theorists emphasize inclusivity and – from the 1990s onwards – are no primordialists. Rather, it was the failure of Western actors to accommodate, not healthy consociationalism, that would bring about Iraq’s unstable constitution on power-sharing: In contrast to consociationalism, Western actors did not include any substantial pro-unified interests in the power-sharing negotiations and ultimately did so excessively pro-federalism, non-comprehensive power-sharing that is responsible for Iraq’s unstable experience.
This pro-federalist, non-comprehensive power-sharing was finalized in the Iraqi constitution of 2005, in which the consociative dimension of autonomy – its federalism – was developed at the expense of comprehensive consociationalism with destabilizing consequences. The Kurdish parties KDP and PUK jointly pushed for maximalist federalism – their preferred alternative to independence, which was unrealistic at the time. Although Shiite Arab parties were on a unified list, they were more divided on constitutional issues: SCIRI advocated federalism in the hope of governing an autonomous Shiite region, while Dawa and the Sadrists advocated unified rule of Baghdad, which recognized Kurdish autonomy but opposed further federalism. However, given their overrepresentation in the January elections, Kurdish and pro-federal Shiite interests turned out to be too powerful – pro-unified Shiite Arabs alone could not curb the pressure for comprehensive autonomy. With the resulting constitution of 2005, a Kurdish Federal Region (KRG) was created in which all government powers are ceded with the exception of nine policy areas that are exclusively reserved for Baghdad, most of which play no role besides foreign policy. In order to live up to SCIRI’s ambitions, a way to form new federal regions was offered, although Shiite Arab voters in the subsequent elections instead advocated a unified, centralization-friendly policy that was appropriate to their overall majority. Western actors did not recognize the long-term risks of a non-comprehensive agreement on the distribution of power, but invested the distribution of power almost exclusively in one dimension: autonomy, preference for the Kurds and non-compliance with pro-unified interests. This incompleteness was only problematic because of the previous failure of the accommodation: The US facilitated a one-dimensional power-sharing agreement that was inappropriately geared towards over-represented Kurdish and SCIRI interests. Without external pressure to expand power-sharing, only a fraction of the pro-unit Shiite Arabs were left to demand completeness, but their gains were insufficient to achieve stability by incorporating diverse interests across multiple consociative dimensions.
These remaining dimensions – proportionality, mutual vetoes, and grand coalition – illustrate how the failure of Western actors to ensure completeness contributed to Iraq’s unstable experience of power-sharing. Proportionality within the constitution was only partially justified as a side payment for autonomy: the PUK, KDP and SCIRI offered concessions on oil ownership and revenue – forms of proportional economic power-sharing – but the Kurdish negotiators sought to exchange some oil Exchange autonomy and federal grants. The only vetoes of the Kurdish autonomy also served: vetoes between the federal layers, where the KRG vetoed almost all federal laws in its territory. This is a form of self-government that is definitely not consociative because it is not mutual. Nor was there a grand coalition in the constitution to appease unhodged Sunni Arabs freshly dethroned from historical political dominance. There was only a temporary two-thirds majority for the selection of the interim presidents who appointed the prime minister-designate responsible for forming the government. However, this lapsed after the transition to a runoff election with a simple majority. This incompleteness of the 2005 constitution worsened the unstable experience of Iraq by creating a political system designed to serve a federalist clique that accommodates Kurdish and some Shiite Arab interests at the expense of uniting interests in a strong government in Baghdad.
Dixon, a critic of consociationalism, was correct for various purposes in noting that these provisions do not address all four dimensions of consociational power distribution, and elsewhere the same observation of incomplete consociationalism has been labeled “consociationalism ‘light” and “informal consociationalism “. The instability of the Iraqi power-sharing cannot therefore be attributed to the strong presence of a consociative power-sharing. Rather, the instability is due to the fact that Western actors did not take Iraqi interests into account, which then ruled out the completeness of power sharing in these one-sided negotiations. Unsurprisingly, pro-unity ambitions survived ratification of the constitution: Sunni Arabs participated in subsequent elections and pro-unity Shiite Arab parties became increasingly popular against SCIRI government against a non-accommodative, non-comprehensive power-sharing constitution. The result was and is a constant destabilizing tension between Baghdad, Erbil and their national constitution.
However, this destabilizing relationship between Baghdad and Erbil cannot be fully explained by lack of adaptation and completeness alone. It also requires the inclusion of the third lesson of the model – how the lack of commitment on the part of Western actors to compliance with power-sharing by the police ensured that no agreement was ever reached after these destabilizing disputes. The US was committed to military victory over the insurgents, but that obligation did not extend to overseeing the power-sharing provisions in an Iraqi state that it wanted to present internationally as independent and competent – metrics for successful liberal peacebuilding. For Washington, Iraqi disputes over the division of power were a solution for sovereign Iraq, the destabilizing consequences of which Kirkuk and the Erbil Accords make clear. First, Kirkuk is a disputed area in Iraq, historically Kurdish, but settled by Arabs during Saddam’s regime, along with ethnic cleansing against Kurds who are currently a slim majority. A sensitive, symbolic and oil-rich issue, a three-stage process was agreed in the 2005 transitional legislation and constitution to reach an agreement on the division of power for Kirkuk before 2008. This process included milestones such as the referendum and the deadline that Western actors could have used to monitor compliance through an easily observable implementation. However, the US did not undertake to guarantee the process, instead focusing on counterinsurgency and only interested in Kirkuk if there was a risk that the US’s timely withdrawal would be disrupted. With no outside policing, Baghdad and Erbil’s approach to Kirkuk was pissed off and resembled more of an interstate dispute than domestic politics. Baghdad, expecting a referendum to return a majority vote in favor of joining the KRG and thus withdrawing under Kurdish autonomy, refused to adhere to the agreed procedures. Erbil, eager to regain historic territory, reacted compulsively when Peshmerga occupied Kirkuk in 2014, to which Baghdad responded militarily in 2017 and regained control of Kirkuk. Regardless of whether Kirkuk would have acceded to the KRG in an agreement on power-sharing or had gained special autonomy vis-à-vis the KRG or Baghdad, such cooperative solutions required external policing, which never materialized as Western actors do not understand the details of the Iraqi distribution of power. Although motivated by both liberal peacebuilding aversions to interfering with Iraqi domestic politics and their focus on security issues, the lack of engagement by Western actors ultimately destabilized the Iraqi power-sharing experience by cementing the hostilities between Baghdad and Erbil, which did not dispute this dispute alone could solve cooperatively.
In Baghdad, the lack of commitment by Western actors initially enabled a destabilizing crisis in the formation of a government and then did not guarantee a fragile grand coalition agreement – the Erbil Agreement of 2010 – to stabilize the Iraqi power-sharing that required external support. The Iraqi prime ministerial office was an atypically weak prime minister due to the extensive autonomy of the 2005 constitution. Nouri al-Maliki took office in 2006 and was dissatisfied with the prime minister’s weakness. He built patronage networks within Iraqi intelligence and security forces and bypassed the chains of command. Western actors concerned with Iraq’s military effectiveness have fueled this by helping al-Maliki centralize civilian control of the Iraqi military in an advisory position dependent on his appointment. Al-Maliki, who has this patronage network, signaled that he would not accept defeat after the indecisive elections in 2010, as the parties struggled to form a voluntary coalition with minimum profits. For integrationists like Younis, this is evidence that consociationalism is the problem, as it recommends parliamentary systems that increase competition for the prime ministry in forming coalitions. This neglects the importance of completeness, however, as the consociative response to this struggle has been to combine proportional electoral systems with the broader dimension of the grand coalitions – formally assigning positions rather than bargaining for coalitions with minimum profits – that Iraqis will maintain by 2010 wanted to achieve. Erbil Agreement ”.
Here, al-Maliki retained the premier in exchange for a promise to formally distribute the executive portfolios and committee chairs between the parliamentary blocs: a form of association’s grand coalition that would improve the completeness of Iraqi power-sharing and contain destabilizing crises in government formation. Yet again, Western actors have not committed themselves to monitoring the Erbil Agreement – an issue of Iraqi domestic politics. Toby Dodge predicted the failure of the deal for similar reasons: that it was unenforceable because Iraqis could not oversee their own executive branch and corrupt military. Both Kirkuk and the Erbil Accords show the long-term destabilization of previous Western failures in creating an accommodative, comprehensive power-sharing, worsened by this lack of commitment to even the flawed power-sharing that has been generated. At each step, the failure of Western actors to adapt, completeness, and engagement resulted in the Iraqi experience of power-sharing becoming marked by instability. And it is precisely these three lessons that form the model for the Western-led power-sharing of the consociations in Afghanistan.
In order to avoid repeating the instability of Iraq, Western actors must first learn their lessons from the accommodation: If Doha’s intra-Afghan negotiations do not take into account the breadth of Afghan interests, they risk a destabilizing first step, that of alienating and fighting the Sunni Arabs equivalent in Iraq. In particular, there is a risk that two internally different interests will not be taken into account in Doha’s negotiations: firstly, elites in Kabul who are not loyal to the current Afghan government, and secondly, local elites who make up the decentralized uprising of the Taliban. The risk of destabilizing exclusion in Kabul was already recognizable during the negotiations in Doha: On October 21, 2020, a Pashtun Islamist elite in Kabul, the leader of the Hezb-e Islami, publicly denounced the negotiations in Doha and explicitly referred to the exclusion of many Afghan leaders, including himself. Unsurprisingly, Kabul’s elites are threatened with a future of power-sharing – the distribution of offices and valuable patronage networks is watered down by the involvement of the Taliban. Islamist groups like Hezb-e Islami will face the toughest electoral and client competition from the Taliban’s inclusion in Afghan politics, and their leadership is sending out a warning that will be familiar to post-invasion Iraq: if they fail to consider their interests, they can they are compelled to delegitimize or corrupt a settlement for sharing power.
For procedural reasons, it is unrealistic that Hezb-e Islami would be in Doha at this point. Still, US mediators need to tackle these potential spoilers as they occur to ensure their interests are taken into account in Doha’s final deal despite their absence. There is currently no evidence of US efforts to accommodate these dissenting Kabul elites. US diplomacy treats Kabul’s Doha delegation as representing Kabul’s interests, but it really represents a mix of Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah’s preferred candidates. While no population like Sunni Arabs was almost completely excluded in the Iraqi negotiations of 2005, the exclusion remains important as it antagonizes the political elites in connection with militias and insurgency stories: Hezb-e Islami and their Pashtun Islamist base could easily destabilize the Afghan power-sharing when they are not housed. None of the Doha delegations will accept Hezb-e Islami voluntarily at their own expense, just as no one expected Kurds or Shiites to consider Sunni interests in Iraq on a non-profit basis. In both cases, the responsibility rests with external actors to ensure this fundamental stability.
Just as the Doha’s Kabul delegation cannot be expected to take Kabul’s elite interests fully into account, Western actors must not confuse the Doha’s Taliban delegation as fully representative of Taliban interests throughout Afghanistan: the admission of the Taliban must be so-called “Taliban caravan” include. This describes the highly motivated and highly decentralized leadership of the Taliban uprising. The Taliban in Doha do not have strong authoritarian control over this insurrection and cannot guarantee that all Taliban commanders will comply with the Doha Accords if these commanders prefer further conflicts. Three main interests in the “Taliban Caravan” are: Pakistan-sponsored Taliban, Taliban Islamists and “local” Taliban. The first Pakistani-sponsored Taliban can be regulated indirectly by admitting Pakistan, whose security interest in preventing stronger Indo-Afghan relations is addressed by ensuring the Taliban’s presence in government through grand coalitions and proportionality, as detailed below. The grand coalition and proportionality also provide shelter for the interests of Hezb-e Islami: proportional electoral systems will enable competitiveness despite the presence of the Taliban, and grand coalitions will maintain their presence in government despite the dilution of the Islamist votes.
The second interest of the “Taliban caravan”, stubborn Islamists, requires careful handling of the “emirate question” to reconcile ideas of an Islamic republic and an Islamic emirate that can be jointly administered through mutual vetoes. The third, “local” Taliban, describes municipal power brokers who participate in the movement because it offers basic security and justice in otherwise independent communities – these interests are taken into account through autonomy for local, traditional political institutions. Adaptation to the Afghan power-sharing therefore depends on its completeness: in order to avoid the instability of the autonomous distribution of power in Iraq, the Afghan power-sharing must deal with each of the above-mentioned dimensions of association instead of privileging the preferred dimension of a segment such as Kurdish autonomy. There is a risk that the Iraq experience will be replicated by again neglecting interests and motivating spoilers. This instability is due to inadequate power sharing. The next important question is how, given the failure of this process in Iraq, a comprehensive power-sharing in Afghanistan can be organized.
Gegenwärtig schließt die afghanische Verfassung eine große Koalition der Konsoziationen durch ihren integrationsorientierten Präsidentschaftswahlkampf aus, der die afghanische Politik bereits ohne Beteiligung der Taliban destabilisiert hat. Obwohl die Afghanen in ethnischen und subethnischen Gruppen stark fragmentiert sind, von denen keine eine Mehrheit wie die schiitischen Araber im Irak bildet, hofften westliche Akteure Anfang der 2000er Jahre, dass eine unteilbare Präsidentschaft eine starke Zentralisierung und einen staatsbürgerlichen Nationalismus hervorbringen würde, um die historisch schwache Zentralregierung Afghanistans zu überwinden. Stattdessen wurden die Spaltungen zwischen diesen Segmenten, wie die große tadschikische Minderheit und die paschtunische Pluralität, durch einen Ausschlusswettbewerb um die Präsidentschaft vertieft – Ashraf Ghani und Abdullah Abdullah brachten den afghanischen Staat zweimal in eine Krise, indem sie die wertvollen Ergebnisse der Präsidentschaftswahlen bestritten. Ihre Streitigkeiten wurden durch US- und UN-Mediation geregelt, was zu einer Ad-hoc-Machtteilung führte, die in Abdullahs Rolle bei der Leitung der innerafghanischen Gespräche fortbesteht. Da der mehrheitliche Präsidentialismus bereits darum kämpft, die tiefen Spaltungen Afghanistans zu überleben, verspricht die Einführung der Taliban, um um dieses exklusive Amt zu kämpfen, eine Rückkehr zur Gewalt und unterstreicht die Sinnlosigkeit der Anwendung integrationsorientierter, mehrheitlicher Modelle für Afghanistan – diese Modelle erfordern eine Grundlage für ein zentristisches Großzelt. Afghanischer Nationalismus “, den es nicht gibt.
Stattdessen würde ein Semipräsidentialismus wie der des Irak die Aussöhnung nach Konflikten erleichtern, indem die Präsidentschaft in ein Premierministeramt und einen verstärkten Sprecher der Versammlung aufgeteilt würde, wodurch zwei neu ermächtigte Ämter geschaffen würden, um weitere Interessen innerhalb der Führungsrollen zu berücksichtigen. Der Nutzen dieser großen Koalitionskomponente war im Irak so offensichtlich, dass sie informell entstand, ein „irakischer Nationalpakt“ eines kurdischen Präsidenten, eines schiitischen Premierministers und eines sunnitischen Sprechers. Der informelle, nicht durchsetzbare Charakter des Irak-Pakts ist jedoch eine Schwäche, die unnötig die Instabilität in Afghanistan gefährdet, wenn ein Segment bereit zu sein scheint, sich zu widersetzen. Was auch immer Dohas Teams für eine inklusive Verteilung dieser Ämter vereinbaren mögen, die große Koalition Afghanistans muss den Taliban mindestens eine solche Führungsrolle garantieren, um sowohl den Quetta Taliban als auch ihren pakistanischen Verbündeten gerecht zu werden. Schon dieser erste Schritt in Richtung Konsoziationalismus zeigt, warum Stabilität weitere Vollständigkeit erfordert: Wie könnte der afghanische Semipräsidentialismus mit großen Koalitionen ohne Verhältnismäßigkeit funktionieren?
Insbesondere überwindet die Verhältnismäßigkeit zwei Hindernisse für die großen afghanischen Koalitionen: Erstens entfremdet die Unterbringung der Taliban nicht Kabuls besorgte Islamisten wie Hezb-e Islami; zweitens die Verhinderung der Bedrohung durch die Mehrheitsbeteiligung durch ein Segmentinteresse, die jedes innerafghanische Abkommen ruinieren würde, aber ein Maß an Unverhältnismäßigkeit erfordern würde, das nur in Mehrheitssystemen denkbar ist. Bei den Parlamentswahlen in Afghanistan wird die einzige nicht übertragbare Stimme (SNTV) verwendet, ein mehrheitliches System, das in Wahlkreisen, in denen mehrere Parteien dieselben Wählerbasen ansprechen, ein hohes Maß an Unverhältnismäßigkeit und Verschwendung riskiert. Die Taliban und Hezb-e Islami stützen sich in ähnlicher Weise auf Paschtunen, islamistische Wähler, und SNTV riskiert, Hezb-e Islami unter den Wahlsiegen der Taliban zu subsumieren. Proportionale Wahlsysteme verhindern dies, indem sie die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit von Nischenparteien fördern, Stimmenüberschüsse vergeben und Sitze formel zuweisen. Durch die Aushandlung eines proportionalen Systems in Doha wird den Taliban und Pakistan versichert, dass paschtunische und islamistische Wähler in der Regierung genau vertreten sein werden, während Hezb-e Islami versichert wird, dass der Taliban-Wettbewerb sie nicht in den Schatten stellt, wie dies unter dem Majoritarismus möglich wäre. Darüber hinaus garantiert die Verhältnismäßigkeit innerhalb des mehrfachen Kräfteverhältnisses Afghanistans, dass kein Segment auch zwischen den Parteien einen mehrheitlichen Anteil an der Regierung ausüben wird – es gibt keine Mehrheit wie die schiitischen Araber im Irak, die einen Rückfall der Mehrheit drohen könnte, wie Horowitz das „Degradationsproblem“ nennt Ein Mehrheitssegment sammelt und regelt ein Ende der Machtteilung.
Große Koalitionen und Verhältnismäßigkeit in Afghanistan werden das Risiko einer Verschlechterung der Machtteilung aufgrund der ethnischen Fragmentierung ausschließen. Und genau wie die Verhältnismäßigkeit große Koalitionen erleichtert, zeigt die Erfahrung des Irak, wie die Verhältnismäßigkeit ohne große Koalitionen in Post-Konflikt-Situationen nicht funktioniert, und rät erneut zu einem umfassenden Konsoziationalismus: Die irakischen Parteien waren durch gesetzlich vorgeschriebene Verhältnismäßigkeit fragmentiert, mussten jedoch freiwillig Koalitionen mit Mindestgewinnen im rohen Bürgerkrieg bilden Abteilungen. Das Erbil-Abkommen zielte aus diesem Grund darauf ab, während der langwierigen Koalitionsverhandlungen 2010 die Verhältnismäßigkeit mit einer großen Koalition zu verbinden. Um der Erfahrung des Irak zu entgehen, muss Dohas Abkommen nicht nur das afghanische Regierungssystem mit einer formellen großen Koalition überarbeiten, die die Interessen zwischen Kabul, Quetta und Islamabad berücksichtigt, sondern darüber hinaus diese Dimension durch Verhältnismäßigkeit stärken und gemeinsam die Umkehrung zu bewaffneten Konflikten von Misserfolgen zu einvernehmlicher Form abwehren Koalitionen mit minimalem Gewinn.
Yet even with a grand coalition and proportionality to accommodate Pakistan, Quetta Taliban, and Kabul Islamists, further comprehensiveness through mutual vetoes is required for the predictable flashpoints within this grand coalition that further includes the many ‘independents’ like Ghani and parties like Jamiat-e Islami and Hezb-e Wahdat. Here, Iraq’s lesson is that vetoes must be mutual if they are to promote stability, not unidirectional and destabilising as from Erbil to Baghdad. Although no single party will gain a majority given proportionality, broader ideological interests threaten to win destabilising majorities: Specifically, the ‘Emirate question’ concerns whether Afghanistan should preserve civil liberties and democratic institutions gained since 2002 or introduce Islamist reforms. For Afghan power-sharing stability, each side must be empowered to protect these sensitive political needs. Taliban, for example, cannot be enabled to rally broader Islamist support beyond their own mostly Pashtun base to undermine women’s rights in the 2004 Constitution, which they have signalled. Inversely, pro-Republic Afghans cannot be allowed to freely trample Islamist needs like religious justice or education, yet an Afghan Uzbek military commander recently signalled an eagerness to answer growing Islamism with violent suppression.
The pragmatic solution is security through mutual vetoes—preventing destabilising, non-cooperative policies on sensitive issues by requiring consensus. Given Afghanistan’s multiple balance of power, it could suffice to allow one-third of the assembly to pass a motion designating a bill as a key decision requiring a two-thirds majority, similar to a mutual veto mechanism in Northern Irish consociationalism. This threshold approximates recent polling where 25% of Afghans supported transitioning to an Islamic Emirate, but the threshold is negotiable and simply aims to stabilise Kabul’s government through mutual political security. Iraq’s handling of vetoes was destabilising precisely because it was not mutual: Baghdad was effectively powerless to govern the KRG due to the constitution’s provisions on regional legislation’s precedence, and this one-sidedness informed the refusal of Baghdad to comply with provisions treating Kirkuk. Consequently, Western actors must swallow their liberal preferences and push Doha’s negotiations to include mutual vetoes: if vetoes are absent or one-sided as they were in Iraq, then even combined proportionality and grand coalitions risk unravelling over sensitive policy needs.
While central government interests are accommodated through these three consociational dimensions, it would be a mistake to assume this is sufficiently comprehensive for Afghanistan: Autonomy remains necessary to accommodate local actors in Afghanistan’s conflict—the ‘local Taliban’ of the decentralised insurgency, powerbrokers, and warlords, who all threaten stability if neglected. While Iraq’s treatment of autonomy emerged from overrepresenting Kurdish and Shia Arab interests during negotiations, Afghanistan suffers an opposite problem—strong local interests exist for autonomy across Afghanistan’s rural communities, yet little appetite exists to accommodate these interests in Doha’s negotiations, which are primarily concerned with power in Kabul. Autonomy in Afghanistan would not be federal, but rather involves formalising the informal political institutions already governing Afghanistan’s rural communities since at least the 1970s, surviving decades of civil war and earning strong legitimacy. A great failure of Western-led conflict regulation from 2001 was expecting ‘trickle-down centralism’ to spread nationwide from a Kabul government that was highly centralised on paper; this project failed, just as it failed when Abdur Rahman first tried it in the late-nineteenth century, and it currently risks undermining the legitimacy of a power-sharing Kabul. The Taliban’s rapid spread in the 1990s, and again in the 2000s, was facilitated by these local actors who primarily sought security and justice from a superior government, whether Kabul or insurgents, demonstrating these interests’ strength. For everyday governance, these communities are self-reliant and distrust Kabul’s bureaucrats: Localities most often form autonomous extra-legal councils staffed variously by elders, maliks, mullahs, or khans depending on the culture, but in every case handling dispute resolution and local politics through traditional institutions perceived as legitimate.
Amidst civil war, these communities are increasingly militarised, whether joining the Taliban or mobilising against it. Consequently, many now include militia commanders whose cooperation in ‘Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration’ processes is essential for a successful Doha ceasefire. Their interests must be accommodated with guarantees to preserve these institutions in which their social and political capital is invested. This requires Kabul to formalise limitations on its power over rural communities, which is a concession requiring Western pressure without voices at Doha representing these local interests. There is little directly analogous between Iraqi and Afghan autonomy given their immensely different contexts, yet the generalised lesson of Iraq’s experience remains instructive: comprehensiveness in power-sharing is crucial for accommodating the diverse interests within a polity and thereby avoiding an experience characterised by instability.
Although Afghan power-sharing’s stability relies upon this laborious accommodation of interests through comprehensiveness, Iraq’s experience demonstrates how merely agreeing to these terms is insufficient without corresponding commitment from external actors policing compliance. The US must therefore push at Doha for a role as an external guarantor of Afghan power-sharing’s implementation, and this commitment must coexist with its February 2020 withdrawal agreement, upon which Taliban participation depends. Military withdrawal risks being interpreted as non-commitment, yet this is a moment where US commitment must only change tracks from military to political. The failure of US commitment in Iraq before, during, and after the 2005 Constitution was to minimise Western commitment to Iraqi power-sharing while instead focusing on invasion and counter-insurgency. Once agreed, Afghan power-sharing must be implemented and upheld, which requires constitutional amendments, legislative reforms, and elections—fragile processes risking reversion to war. Without external commitment, Iraq’s experience showcased elites refusing to implement agreed power-sharing, like Kirkuk and the Erbil Agreement. In Afghanistan, the risk of conflict over comparable failures has recent precedents in the 2014 and 2019 elections. In these elections, the necessity of Western commitment was demonstrated by US and UN election monitoring, discovering substantial voter fraud and offering essential mediation. This crisis was managed by external commitment and from Iraq’s experience of non-committed external actors to imagine that subtracting external policing while adding Taliban participation would produce stability. The commitment of external actors to policing Doha’s agreements will determine the stability of any comprehensive, accommodative, consociational power-sharing in Afghanistan by managing these inevitable moments of crisis and dispute.
In conclusion, Western actors must address three interrelated components of power-sharing in Afghanistan to avoid an unstable experience: Power-sharing must include diverse interests which may not presently have a voice at Doha yet credibly risk destabilising an unaccommodating intra-Afghan agreement; it must achieve this accommodation through comprehensiveness, broaching all consociational dimensions of power-sharing; and it must obligate commitment from Western actors, primarily the US, to police compliance with this agreement, without which the risk of disputes and reneging which threaten to spoil peace. Each of these lessons is inseparable and together forms an instructive model derived from the failures of conflict regulation in Iraq, where consociational power-sharing was not joined by accommodation, comprehensiveness, or commitment, and so produced an Iraqi experience characterised by instability. By applying these lessons fully, an intra-Afghan agreement would finally be on a meandering road to stable, consociational power-sharing.
 Arend Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), 25–43.
 John McGarry, Brendan O’Leary, and Richard Simeon, ‘Integration or Accommodation? The Enduring Debate in Conflict Regulation’, in Constitutional Design for Divided Societies: Integration or Accommodation?, ed. Sujit Choudhry (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 45–51; John McGarry and Brendan O’Leary, ‘Iraq’s Constitution of 2005: Liberal Consociation as Political Prescription’, International Journal of Constitutional Law 5, no. 4 (2007): 670–76.
 Nussaibah Younis, ‘Set Up to Fail: Consociational Political Structures in Post-War Iraq, 2003–2010’, Contemporary Arab Affairs 4, no. 1 (2011): 2.
 Eduardo Abu Ltaif, ‘The Limitations of the Consociational Arrangements in Iraq’, Ethnopolitics Papers 38, no. 1 (2015): 5–12.
 Toby Dodge, ‘Iraq’s Road Back to Dictatorship’, Überleben 54, no. 3 (2012): 150–57; Raad Alkadiri, ‘Federalism and Iraq’s Constitutional Stalemate’, Research Paper, Middle East and North Africa Program (Chatham House, 2020), 2, https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/2020-11-27-iraq-federalism-alkadiri.pdf.pdf.
 Donald Rumsfeld, ‘Referring to the “Plan”’, 16 December 2003, https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/FOID/Special_Collection/Rumsfeld/DocumentsReleased_to_Rumsfeld_Under_FOIA.pdf?ver=2017-05-05-104646-373.
 Toby Dodge, ‘Intervention and Dreams of Exogenous Statebuilding: The Application of Liberal Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq’, Review of International Studies 39, no. 5 (2013): 1201; Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons: The Iraqi Reconstruction Experience (Washington, D.C.: US Government Printing Office, 2009), 7–28.
 Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons, 7–8.
 Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, 8.
 Phebe Marr, The Modern History of Iraq (Boulder: Westview Press, 2012), 260–65; Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons, 40–41.
 Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons, 73–74.
 Jonathan Monten, ‘Intervention and State-Building: Comparative Lessons from Japan, Iraq, and Afghanistan’, ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 656, no. 1 (2014): 182; Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, 267–68.
 Dodge, ‘Liberal Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq’, 1206.
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 Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, 287–92; Gareth Stansfield, ‘Intervention in Iraq: From Regime Change to de Facto Partition’, in Routledge Handbook of Security Studies: Second Edition, ed. Myriam Dunn Cavelty and Thierry Balzacq (New York: Routledge, 2017), 281; Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), 295–96; Younis, ‘Set Up to Fail’, 12–13.
 Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons, 204; Mansour and Jabar, ‘Power Sharing in Post-Conflict Iraq’, 191–93.
 Paul Bremer, ‘Strategy for Iraq’s Political Transition’, 10 November 2003, https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/FOID/Reading%20Room/CPA_ORHA/06-F-2495_doc_1.pdf; Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons, 205–6.
 Younis, ‘Set Up to Fail’, 4 and 9–10.
 Coalition Provisional Authority, ‘CPA 0767: Administrator’s Weekly Governance’, 12 March 2004, § 3, https://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/FOID/Reading%20Room/CPA_ORHA/08-F-1338_CPA_0767_Administratior_weekly_Governance_March-12-2004.pdf; Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Hard Lessons, 229–31.
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 Alkadiri, ‘Federalism and Iraq’s Constitutional Stalemate’, 4; Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, 269–71.
 Gareth Stansfield, ‘Accepting Realities in Iraq’, Briefing Paper, Middle East Program (Chatham House, 2007), 6, https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/97ACCEBF0B94A5FC492572DF000F82CA-Full_Report.pdf; Alkadiri, ‘Federalism and Iraq’s Constitutional Stalemate’, 4–5; Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, 293.
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 Constitute Project, ‘Iraq’s Constitution of 2005’, 2005, §§110 and 114-15, https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Iraq_2005.pdf.
 Alkadiri, ‘Federalism and Iraq’s Constitutional Stalemate’, 7–8; Dodge, ‘Iraq’s Road Back to Dictatorship’, 154.
 Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies, 38–39; Deeks and Burton, ‘Iraq’s Constitution’, 63–65 and 72–74; Mansour and Jabar, ‘Power Sharing in Post-Conflict Iraq’, 199.
 Constitute Project, ‘Iraq’s Constitution of 2005’, §§ 110, 114-15.
 Lijphart, Democracy in Plural Societies, 37; Matthijs Bogaards, ‘Iraq’s Constitution of 2005: The Case Against Consociationalism “Light”’, Ethnopolitics, 2019, 6–8.
 Constitute Project, ‘Iraq’s Constitution of 2005’, §§ 70 and 76.
 Paul Dixon, ‘Is Consociational Theory the Answer to Global Conflict? From the Netherlands to Northern Ireland and Iraq’, Political Studies Review 9, no. 3 (2011): 316–17; Bogaards, ‘Iraq’s Constitution of 2005’, 1–2 and 8; Toby Dodge, ‘Iraq’s Informal Consociationalism and Its Problems’, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 20, no. 2 (2020): 145–48.
 Dodge, ‘Liberal Peacebuilding in Afghanistan and Iraq’, 1206–12.
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Written at: King’s College London
Written for: Professor Michael Kerr
Date written: December 2020