By: M Alam Brohi
President Donald Trump’s rage to give bloody cuts to the Muslim world continues unabated at the behest of his blue eyed boy, Prime Minister Netanyahu and, quite unfortunately, some Arab monarchs who, in their narrowness of vision, undermined the broader platform of the Organization of Islamic Conference at the altar of the expedient-ridden and pliable Arab League exasperating their vulnerability to manipulation by the global powers. Today, the Muslim world stands voiceless; its protests are taken in stride and its rulers ridden roughshod in the world politics.
The Palestinian issue engaged the rapt attention of the Muslim world and the comity of nations for long seven decades. Though the Muslim leaders could not bring enough pressure on the USA and the Western world to compensate the Palestinians for the injustice slapped on them by establishing the Israeli state in their land in 1948, they successfully kept the issue simmering in the UN and the capitals of the major powers. The Muslim world, dominated by tall leaders wielded influence in the world politics by bilateral and multilateral diplomacy.
The events triggered by the so called Arab Spring greatly weakened the Arab world compelling monarchs to run helter and skelter to save their thrones from the avalanche of the spontaneous public protests and bring down the citadels of those perceived to be a threat to their power. They were complicit in the resulting mayhem from Iraq to Libya, Syria and Yemen. The frontiers collapsed and armies disintegrated into armed groups; the sovereign territories were bombarded; the leaders hunted down by mercenaries; the private armies trained, financed and set on killing spree.
All this devastation of the Arab world was not enough to pacify the audacious designs of Israel to prevail in the region as the mini superpower with almost all the Arab monarchs making a beeline to have some security arrangement with it. President Donald Trump, up in his sleeves, had more sinister plans to denigrate the Muslim world. Goaded by his pro-Israel advisors – Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman – he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv in May 2018. He exited from the UN Human Rights Council accusing it to be biased against Israel. In September 2018, he closed the representative office of PLO in Washington.
President Donald Trump’s hostility against Iran owes a great deal to the perceived security threat from it to Israel and some Arab allies. In the current turmoil of the Middle East, Iran has undoubtedly strengthened its sphere of political and strategic influence from Yemen to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Hamas-ruled Gaza
Following in quick succession was his proclamation of recognizing the Israeli annexation of Golan Heights whilst Prime Minister Netanyahu was unabashedly expanding Jewish settlements in the West Bank and provocatively declaring the Israeli sovereignty over the united Jerusalem and any piece of Palestinian territory west of Jordan River, or threatening to annex illegal Jewish settlements.
President Donald Trump’s hostility against Iran owes a great deal to the perceived security threat from it to Israel and some Arab allies. In the current turmoil of the Middle East, Iran has undoubtedly strengthened its sphere of political and strategic influence from Yemen to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Iranian entrenchment in the Middle East indisputably poses a security challenge to some Arab monarchies and emirates impelling them to embrace Israel in a joint endeavour to isolate this common adversary.
Their joint pressure on President Donald Trump resulted in the US exit from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May last year, and reintroduction of economic sanctions. Israel was alone in opposition to JCPOA. The USA declared Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization and, to further squeeze Iran economically, refused to extend the sanctions waiver for buyers of Iranian oil that include Turkey, India and China. Since May last year, the Iranian oil exports have dipped from 2.5 million barrels a day to less than 1.3 million and could further dip this year. The economic squeeze has pushed the inflation to skyrocketing 40 percent.
Lately, the US moved an aircraft carrier – USS Abraham Lincoln – its strike group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf warning Iran against any possible threats to the American forces in the region. The National Security Advisor John Bolton claimed there were intelligence reports that Iran was moving short and medium range ballistic missiles on boats in the Persian Gulf. However, the critics drew quick parallels to the Bush administration’s 2003 invasion of Iraq when intelligence reports of the presence of weapons of mass destruction were faked to justify the war.
President Hassan Rouhani has, indeed, not ruled out the possibility of disrupting oil shipments from the Gulf countries with Foreign Minister Javad Zareef warning the guarantor states that Iran could walk away from the nuclear deal. Iran, to the shock of guarantor states, disassociated from certain provisions of the JCPOA dealing with its uranium enrichment programme. The Western world is baffled what the Trump administration’s ultimate goal in Iran is beyond protecting the US forces from any attack. The US leadership gives only ambiguous signals with John Bolton suggesting regime change whilst President Trump, for his part, has been talking of renegotiating the nuclear deal on certain conditions.
The US has presented Iran tough conditions for the renegotiation of the JCPOA which amount to total surrender to the American dictat which the Iranians, as we know them, would never accept. These demands, inter alia, call on Iran to dismantle all nuclear programmes, withdraw forces from Syria, terminate support to armed groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Quds and Houthis, and stop the destabilizing policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Gulf region and supporting Al-Bashar in Syria, Noori Al-Maliki in Iraq.
The Iranians will prefer to perish in a war than surrender so ignominiously to the ‘Big Satan’ as they routinely disparage the USA. Hence, the situation in the Gulf region is fast escalating into a war which would be the last nail in the coffin of the Muslim world. Given the Iran’s strategic location and military capability with all those medium and long range missiles, the war will set alight the entire Gulf region and push it into an abyss of political, economic and strategic turmoil.
The author was a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan and he has authored two books
Updated On: MAY 15, 2019