Feb 26, 2024
Feb 26, 2024
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.
More by : Dr. Rajinder Puri
|I have a question as well as a simple (simpleton!) answer. Every nation of the world has to move towards secularism. Even an Islamic state needs to be secular by brushing off shia sunni differences. Once sunnis and shias start living in peace, islamists will start living in peace with other religious groups and nations. Vested interests create divisions. Shiaites bringing out tazia on martyardom of Hasan and Husain etch deeper and deeper division in the minds of the two sects every year. Hindus hardly speak of death of Ramchandra and his brothers, nor Parasuram's despicable act he is famous for. 'Kalanka` is better forgotten than being underlined over and over again. Hindus have forgotten who were Asuras and who were Devatas. If Indians too can not forget the hiatus of partition, we too will not have a bright future. We should have more and more Metro projects to lessen our oil needs and depending less on car manufacturing nations. Stronger SAARC and India China bhai bhai will mean less arms need. Modi is quite capable to do that.
|Money makes mare go. Iraq has plentiful of oil reserves. USA fired Sadam Hussein for that reason. Russia was shrewd to eye this and does not tolerate this. Except in the past Stalin changed side and sat with Churchil for the common cause to fight HITLER. The question is forming FEDERATION OF SAARC NATIONS of which most are Islamic and India is mostly Hindu though
has professed and acted secular. In these ares wars have been caused mostly because of religion. What is the special arrangement of Confederation? Except for economical grounds/supremacy India may prefer Confederation. But that will be an experiment.
|The prioritising of Sunni/Shia interests over the Divine prove Islam to be about the central issue of who is the rightful successor to the founder Mohammed rather than about brotherly love at all costs for the sake of the Almighty. In all fairness, this form of sectarian priority afflicted Christianity in the past in the Catholic/Protestant divide. In the latter case, the resolution was not so much in respect of the Divine, but an overriding need for peace in the realm. As for peaceful co-existence between Sunni and Shia, this occurs in non-Moslem ruled countries as a rule, UK included, because in Muslim ruled countries power is identified in sectarian dominance as the natural priority of the religion as aforesaid.
|Please red my article carefully! I state that we CANNOT intervene in Middle East because we have not set things right in our own home. Had we done so, we would have been a different nation capable of being the role model for a new world order. I erred, 70 percent of our energy needs are met from entire Middle East, which could be disrupted due to escalation of the Iraq fighting.
|First of all, Indian imports of Iraqi crude are only 13% and not 70% as mentioned in your opening remarks. I am quoting a report to prove that:
“India readies Iraq contingency plan; to buy oil from Middle East suppliers in case supplies are disrupted
PTI Jun 17, 2014.
NEW DELHI: As violence in Iraq threatens to disrupt global oil markets, India has sounded suppliers in the Middle Eastand elsewhere for buying additional crude in case supplies from its second largest supplier are disrupted.
Iraq is India's second largest crude oil supplier behind Saudi Arabia. It met over 13 per cent of India's oil need in 2013-14, supplying about 25.1 million tonnes (MT) of oil. The same level of imports was projected to be maintained in current fiscal.”
While I would not dispute your theory of who messed up the Middle East peace plans, your suggestion for India to get involved in this mess sounds rather surprising. When Indian Muslim population is living in relative peace, why rock the boat by trying to integrate them into the Middle East population?