Gen Mirza Aslam Beg
Sunday, June 22, 2014 – THE war on Iraq was ill-conceived, based on sinister motives, produced only negative results. The motive was global domination, after the demise of the Soviet Union, which brought America and the allies on one platform to develop a two-pronged strategy against the Muslim World, considered as threat to their global ambitions. Under this strategy, the United States and its allies, stoke-up sectarian divide in the targeted countries, to soften-up the ground for military action, against countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and Syria. As a consequence, “the costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are now spinning out of control and spreading terror towards more dangerous directions. The threat being posed by the extremists, estimated at 15,000-25,000 have become a kind of Petri-dish, in which a growing global terror threat is being cultivated.” – Rand Corporation Report 2013.
The US States Department, in its report says: “The dangerous trap, into which we are falling, is the disintegration of Syria, and the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, compounds ISIS gains across Anbar province. We are on the verge of seeing Iraq fracture into an extremist Sunni state, in the West and the Iranian puppet state in the East. What then is the opposite of ‘Mission Accomplished?” President Obama refuses to intervene in Iraq. He is not prepared to send the droneseither, although he has positioned a warship in the gulf, to show angry faces. He wants to see Maleki gather courage to build up the resistance against the ISIS rampage. Whereas Maleki, “using his brand of Shia triumphalism” perpetuated this situation by denying to the Sunnis, their due share in governance. Unfortunately “Syria and Iraq are both trapped between dictators on the one hand and extremists on other. An unhappy choice.” – The Economist.
The bitter lesson America and its allies have learnt, that, “invading and destabilizing extraneous countries only makes matters worse. The ISIS, led by Abu Bakar Baghdadi, consists of over 10,000-12,000 jihadists in Iraq and Syria and an estimated 3,000-4,000 foreigners from Britain, Europe and United States. The western countries, therefore, must be fretting about the threat from their own citizens who have joined the jihadists and may come home (to roost) to threaten homeland security.” Senator L. Graham rightly warns: “Iraq and Syria combined are going to be the staging area for the next 9/11”. And don’t forget Abdullah Abdullah of Afghanistan who, like Maleki is being groomed to head the government by the Northern Alliance who rode the American tanks to capture Kabul in 2001. The Taliban, who are in majority, fought and won the war, are being denied due share in governance. Mullah Omar, who controls over 80% Afghan territory, like Abu Bakar Baghdadi, may be waiting on the wings to sweep across Afghanistan and capture Kabul, as soon as the occupation forces, leave.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were aimed at controlling the Heartland of the Muslim World, have proved very damaging, for the United States and its allies. The “Deterrence”, which their military power provided to maintain global order, has been lost. Their economic strength, which supported their military power has also suffered degradation, because of the two very expensive wars and the global economic melt-down of 2007. Therefore, the obtaining result is that “the United State of America, the sole super power of the world is in decline, and so is Europe. Both are incapable of taking damage control measures in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. To say that mission has been accomplished, presents a pathetic narrative.”
Confronted with such daunting problems, the United States is taking some jerky decisions: It has now embraced Iran, whom it has been demonizing for the last three decades, “as the greatest threat to the Sunni Muslim countries of the region and Israel”. Now USA wants Iran to militarily intervene in Iraq to save the day for Maleki. On the other hand the World War II warring nations – Germany and Japan, are being provoked to regain their military prowess and join hands with China and India, to maintain global balance of power, but the policy is not synchronous with the existing policy of Asia Pacific Military Alliance of USA, Japan and India, to contain the rising power of China. Confusion seems compounded. Iraq seems to be fracturing and falling apart. The occupation forces, through a series of sectarian riots, during the period 2007-2009, segregated the population into Sunnis in the West and the Shias in the East. The Kurds have occupied areas upto Kirkuk, the oil producing region for the emerging state of Kurdistan. The recent reports are quite disturbing, that the jihadists from far and near are converging on Iraq. Saddam’s ex military men and loyalists, under Izzat Aldawari have formed a sizeable fighting force, with captured aircrafts, gun-ships, weapons and ammunition. Iran and USA are likely to intervene to further complicate the chaotic situation.
It would be proper, if USA and their allies turn the pages and read the early history of Islam. Some fourteen hundred years back, Muslims faced these very problems of Sectarianism. Takfiris; Salafis; the Arab–Ajam divide and the renegades of various shades and colour; yet the Muslims learnt to live in peace, and built one of the greatest Empire of the time. Pakistan is one such example, where sectarian harmony prevails, despite such distractions, provocations, intrigues, induced riots and cold blooded sectarian killings. Social justice is the simple logic, based on equal rights to all, which adds strength to our national resilience. There is no discrimination in selection or election of a competent person to the highest rank of authority in Pakistan.
The strategy to weaken the Muslim countries, by provoking sectarian divide has failed. So has failed the military option. Yet there is an option to achieve interfaith harmony by adopting the way so boldly shown by Rev Pope Francis. On 8th June, 2014, he invited the People of the Book – the Muslims, Christians and Jews and their leaders to the Vatican City, and jointly prayed to God, for mercy. And for the first time, Azaan, the call for prayers, was made from the high pedestal of the Vatican City Church, seeking Allah’s blessings, for peace and harmony, the way to a peaceful global order!!
PS: President Obama has declared that the Iraqis will have to get their act together to defend Iraq and to evolve a political plan to settle the matter themselves, and that American troops will not return to combat in Iraq, except 300 military advisors. American aircrafts and drones, stationed at bases outside Iraq, will carryout targeted and precise military actions to keep the ISIS Jihadists away from Baghdad. America will not encourage Iran to get involved in Iraq militarily. Good luck to Maliki!!
—The writer is Ex-COAS, Pakistan Army.