The current crisis in the Middle East sparked by fierce Sunni militancy in Iraq is unlikely to end soon. It may well be the start of a long series of events that could transform the borders of the Middle East after unprecedented bloodshed and mayhem. And as a consequence of this chaos Indian economy could plummet because 70 percent of its energy needs are met by Iraq which will be disrupted.
What can our government do to address this crisis?
First there is need to appreciate what really seems to be happening. Russian President Mr. Putin has accused the US of fomenting the crisis in the Middle East. Mr. Putin is retaliating against western criticism of Russian actions in the Ukraine. The Russian President warned that the situation in the Middle East was the “most serious crisis the world has faced since the Cold War.” Indeed it could be. It needs to be understood why.
Beyond Russian allegations of America fomenting trouble there is evidence that a cold blooded agenda to change the contours of the Middle East is under way. Way back in June 2006 then U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Tel Aviv heralded the creation of a “New Middle East”. At that time the trigger for change was in the Lebanon and not in Iraq. But the game was the same. The Americans in collusion with Britain and Israel were exploiting Shiite-Sunni rivalry to redraw Middle East borders. It must be acknowledged that there was nothing very rational in the existing map which had emerged from Western manipulation after World War Two.
After Israeli attacks against Lebanon in 2006 Condoleezza Rice said: “What we are seeing here in a sense, is the growing — the ‘birth pangs’ — of a ‘New Middle East’ and whatever we do we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the New Middle East, not going back to the old one.” In fact already in an Armed Forces Journal linked to the Pentagon, a security analyst Col Ralph Peters, had prepared an actual map of the New Middle East. The map visualized among other things an independent Kurdistan and a divided Iraq between the Sunnis and Shiites, each side creating new states adjacent respectively to Sunni Syria and Shiite Iran. Further south the map even indicated an independent Baluchistan. It may be seen therefore that quite likely the game in West Asia and South Asia has just begun.
To be honest, the changes contemplated in the map of the New Middle East were not unreasonable. It is the methods deployed by the West to achieve change, and the motive to introduce change that are deplorable. President Obama has indicated that he will not send US troops to Iraq, possibly only advisors. However it is likely that America will resort to air strikes at an appropriate stage. That stage will come perhaps when Iran and Saudi Arabia get sucked into the conflict more directly as suppliers of arms and militants.
Why blame the west for this approach? The fault lies with the Shiites and Sunnis, with Iran and Saudi Arabia as the acknowledged leaders of both sects, who allow themselves to be exploited and manipulated by the west due to deep seated hostility despite both being Islamic.
India could have played a constructive role in the Middle East. As the victim of the Partition in 1947, which resulted in a million deaths and ten million being rendered homeless, Indian leaders ought to have gained some wisdom from the past. Additionally, India has the unique distinction of being the only nation in the world where Shiites and Sunnis live in relative peace. The government could have sent a delegation comprising MEA officials and leading Sunni and Shiite leaders of India to various capitals in the Middle East. The Indian Shiite and Sunni delegates could have urged the establishment of a federal system in the Middle East that allows self-rule to citizens that may divide governments and administrations but allow peoples with common religion and culture to freely intermingle. This could be established by creating Sunni as well as Shiite confederations in the Middle East, allowing free movement of goods and peoples across borders.
India could have done this but of course India cannot.
The leaders in the Middle East would naturally ask, how come that despite common culture, language and ethnicity existing among peoples across the borders of Punjab, Kashmir, Bengal and the Pashtun tribal areas there remain turmoil and tension in all these hot spots?
How come there is no confederation established in South Asia despite the experience of the Partition in 1947? India would have no answer. Therefore our nation like the Shiites and Sunnis of the Middle East is condemned to remain victim of division, manipulation and exploitation conspired by big powers.