It is now clear that the decade-long US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than establishing democracy and eradicating terrorism - their stated objectives - have instead created authoritarian regimes.

President Barack Obama’s nocturnal visit to Kabul on May 1 made this evident. The fact that his visit occurred at night speaks volumes about the US failure in Afghanistan, with or without the proposed significant number of US personnel - CIA, special ops, black ops, assassination squads, and drone assisting personnel - that will be allowed to remain in Afghanistan even after the projected withdrawal of US combat troops at the end of 2014, as long as 2024, as stipulated in the Strategic Partner Agreement (SPA) Obama signed with the Hamid Karzai government.

The proposed SPA is strikingly similar to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreed to by the US and Iraq in 2008, but which the Nouri al-Maliki government refused to sign. The full, or even partial, implementation of the SPA will most likely have the same fate.

The reasons for the failure of the SOFA and the likely failure of the SPA are also clear. Prime Minister Maliki’s government did not want the US combat troops in Iraq any longer, which would hinder his ability to consolidate his power over his Sunni Arab and Kurdish (Sunni) opposition in the north of the country. Continued US combat presence would also impede Maliki from consolidating his Shia-led government from dominating the drilling, selling and marketing of Iraq’s abundant oil and gas resources. Oil production in the Shia-dominated portion of Iraq is expected to reach four million barrels a day by the year 2015. The Maliki government thought that the presence of US combat troops would increase Sunni, Arab and Kurdish demands for sharing funds gained from the selling and marketing of oil and gas.

From May 2003 to the end of 2009, the US spent $19 billion and the Iraq government $16.5 billion on training, equipment, weapons systems and pay for Iraq’s armed forces. By May 2012, the result of these expenditures, and the billions spent from the end of 2009 to May 2012, is clear. The Maliki government is almost as authoritarian as the regime of Saddam Hussein, which the US deemed so evil that it was necessary to topple it, invade and occupy the country that led to a decade-long war.

It is obvious that the same fate awaits Afghanistan. The war-torn country has been dominated and ruled by the Pashtun peoples from its creation in 1885. The Pashtun comprise about 12 million of Afghanistan’s 30 million population; the other two major population groups are Tajiks comprising an estimated eight million people, and Uzbeks at about three million. Also, the Pashtun in Afghanistan are supported by the 28 million Pashtun in Pakistan.

But the dominance of Afghanistan by Pashtun will be delayed if the SPA that Obama signed with Karzai is fully implemented. Thirty-three years of war, including a decade against the USSR and a decade against the US, has hardened the nationalism of the Pashtun. It is unlikely that Pashtun leaders will permit a strong role for the Tajiks or the Uzbeks in Kabul. Rather they will assume positions more like the marginalised Sunni Arabs in Iraq or, like the Kurds, compelled to try and achieve an independent state.

It also seems likely that Afghanistan, like Iraq, with follow the authoritarian route taken by the US-tolerated regime in Iraq. Also, like Iraq, it is likely that Afghanistan, fuelled by the billions of dollars that Washington has already spent on building the Afghan army, and the $4 billion a year recommended in the SPA, will further facilitate the establishment of an authoritarian regime in Afghanistan - let us hope that it will not be one and facilitates or condones terrorism.

n    The writer is a Middle East analyst based in Lexington, Kentucky. This article has been reproduced from the Turkish newspaper, Today’s Zaman, with which TheNation has a content-sharing agreement.