The US in Iraq = Soviets in Afghanistan?

My favorite part in a good editorial from the Daily Star's Rami Khouri, from a few days ago:

The allusion is often made to America's failures in Vietnam; the better analogy is the Russians in Afghanistan. A generation has passed, and the Americans in Baghdad in 2005 have become like the Russians in Kabul in 1985 - mighty foreign warriors, armed to the teeth, technologically superior, full of determination and staying power, clear on their mission and their resolve, willing to kill hundreds at a time ... but unable to walk into a local grocery store and buy a chocolate bar from the people they are trying to liberate and protect.

A very apt analogy, and a rather worrying one considering the failure to win the Afghan war was perhaps one of the biggest factors in the downfall of the Soviet Union.

Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region,