Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Fragmenting Muslim Ummah

Soon after the departure of Holy Prophet, cracks started developing among Muslim Ummah and now the position is that it is divided into dozens of sects, the most prominent being Sunni and Shia.

They are divided on the basis of geographical location and languages they speak. However, they could be split into two distinct groups, one that is subservient to the sole surviving super power and the other that is often termed anti United States.

The situation has prevailed because the countries that are rich don’t wish to offend the mighty and those who have nothing are depended on the US for food, aid, loans and even arms to continue to fight among them. While there have been violent anti US demonstration in many countries lately, many Muslim countries are not raising the voice else the masters are offended.
Organization like OIC, believed to be the voice of Muslim Ummah are proving ‘spineless’. Muslim countries buying goods, including arsenal from the United States are not willing to boycott products made in anti Muslim countries. They will not die if the US goods are not consumed.

The most regrettable has been the role of oil rich countries. They may be earning billions of dollars from export oil at fabulous price but most of these are spent on buying arms from the United States. Major buyers of arms are Saudi Arabia and UAE, which face the least threat of attack from any country.

Arabs are fully supporting the United Sates in crushing Iran. They had supported and financed Iraq in waging 10-years war on Iran. They are assuring the world if oil export from Iran is stopped, the world will not face any shortage of oil. 

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Chris Stevens a diplomat or spy

Killing of Christopher Stevens, US Ambassador in Libya and his portrayal as friend of ‘freedom’ fighters raises a question, was he a diplomat or an ace CIA operator? In the recent past many countries have been alleging that spies have become an integral part of the US diplomatic core.

His death has been termed the first death of a US ambassador in the line of duty since 1979. Stevens, 52 and single, served as a special envoy to the Libyan Transitional National Council last year from March to November. During his 21 years in the Foreign Service he also served in Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo and Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama rushed 50 Marines to Libya to safeguard American personnel and critical facilities there, and ordered a worldwide review of security at diplomatic posts. The moves were made amid escalating worries that a deadly attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi stemmed from a carefully planned extremist plot, not a spontaneous riot.

Killing of Stevens can be termed a fall out of operating in the countries the United States wishes to keep its hold. Presence of CIA operators in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait and even Iran has a history spread on decades. New found territories are those falling in ‘uprising in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

It has been reported in media, “Stevens, whose diplomatic foothold were a couple of battered tables, was on literally on the rebels' side while the revolution was at its most vulnerable and in danger of being crushed by troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “Stevens will be remembered as a hero by many nations. He risked his life to stop a tyrant then gave his life trying to help build a better Libya. The world needs more Chris Stevenses."

Hannah Draper, who is in the US on leave from the embassy said, “He loved Libya and Libyan people and died doing what he believed in." Draper said the ambassador was "legendary" in Libya because he stayed in the country through the revolution, "Liaising with the rebels and leading a skeleton crew of Americans on the ground to support humanitarian efforts and meeting up-and-coming political leaders."

Saturday, 8 September 2012

US Proxy War in Syria

From the early days analysts have been saying that the United States is fighting a proxy war in Syria. It is not an attempt to dislodge Assad but to prove that the super power enjoys complete control in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). An article recently written by David Ignatius for The Washing Post gives more credence to this belief.

According to David the United States and its allies are moving in Syria toward a program of covert support for the rebels that look very much like what super power and its friends did in Afghanistan in the 1980s. In Syria, as in Afghanistan, CIA officers are operating at the borders, helping Sunni insurgents improve their command and control and engaging in other activities. Weapons are coming from third parties.

He even goes to the extent of saying that major financier for both insurgencies have been Saudi Arabia. In his view Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who as Saudi ambassador to Washington in the 1980s worked to finance and support the CIA in Afghanistan and who now, as chief of Saudi intelligence, is encouraging operations in Syria.

As the proxy war in Syria is gaining momentum it is necessary to understand similarities/dissimilarities between Afghanistan and Syria. Afghan mujahedeen won their war and eventually ousted the Russian-backed government. CIA-backed victory opened the way for decades of chaos and jihadist extremism that are still menacing Afghanistan and its neighbors, especially Pakistan and Iran.

Therefore, before entering into any adventurism it is necessary to ask a question, will the intervention yield any result in case of Syria? The reply is evident if one keeps in mind the strategy of the covert war against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The Saudis understandably would prefer that Sunnis who oppose autocratic rule should wage their fight far from the kingdom; Damascus is a far safer venue than Riyadh.
But there are hazards of fueling Sunni-Shiite dynamic in Syria, though rage against Shiites and their Iranian patrons has been a useful prop for the United States and Israel in mobilizing Sunni opposition against Assad, who as an Alawite is seen as part of the Shiite crescent.
But this is the most lethal and potentially ruinous sectarian battle, the kind that nearly destroyed Iraq and Lebanon and is now plunging Syria into the inferno. The Saudis want to fight Shiites but away from their Kingdom.

United States is also using the tribal card, which may be as crucial in Syria as it was in Iraq. The leaders of many Syrian tribes have been supported to wage war against Assad. It may be said that the engine of this insurgency in Syria is rural, conservative and Sunni.

David’s conclusion is thought provoking. He cautions the rebels fighting Assad deserve limited US support, just as the anti-Soviet mujahedeen did. The intervention will cause chaos and extremism that can take a generation to undo if the United States and its allies aren’t prudent.