Sykes-Picot must be undone for stability

Geopolitical notes from India

M D Nalapat

In any part of the world where the governance mechanism is healthy and the level of freedoms enjoyed by the citizen high, those who have migrated from India do exceptionally well. Indian-Americans are the wealthiest ethnic group in the US, with an average income higher than either Japanese-Americans or Jewish Americans. The story is similar in other parts of the world, including within the European Union. This is despite the fact that there is a transparent bias within that conglomerate of states for those of European ethnicity. In Germany, for example, immigration authorities would most likely turn away a software programmer from Chennai or an engineer from Kanpur, but would welcome with warmth under-educated members of regional mafia groups from Rumania or Bulgaria.
The European Union has been founded on the premise that ethnic Europeans are far and away the most productive and intelligent of human beings, and hence that giving them privileged access would enhance the future prospects of the country taking them in. This is in contrast to the US, where for the past fifteen years, those entering the country (legally) from Asia have been placed on par with those from Europe, unlike in Australia and New Zealand, although even in these countries, authorities are understanding a truth.
That human beings have been created equal in human potential by Almighty, if only each were given the same chance to excel. Again in the US, in the closing weeks of 2008 the majority of voters ( of whom a majority were of European extraction) voted in Barack Hussein Obama as both as their Head of State and Head of Government. Should Obama get his wish fulfilled, the next President of the US will be Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State who was endorsed with grace and charm by Michelle Obama, who made the best speech that was heard during the just concluded Democratc National Convention, far better than the platitudinous remarks that were made by President Obama and his hoped-for successor Hillary Clinton Perhaps because the perception of such quality is what got him the Nobel Peace Prize, Barack Obama constantly puts on the mien of a saint, long on statements of noble intent but less than surefooted about how to translate them into practice.
However, overall he has been an outstanding President of the US, not always because of what he has accomplished, but what he has prevented. Had Obama found the courage to oppose Hillary Clinton in her zeal to ensure that the wishes of France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia got carried out to the letter in the case of Libya in 2011, Europe would almost certainly have been spared the flood of refugees that since 2011 has kept on coming and will keep on seeking to enter Europe for several years more. The flood of weapons into Libya fuelled the conversion of the anti-Assad campaign in Syria into an armed struggle interwoven with acts of terror.
It is the intervention of NATO and its regional partners that has generated the terror groups and the instability that has wracked Syria since mid-2012,when Hillary Clinton and her French and UK counterparts ramped up backing for that nonexistent tribe,” moderate fighters”. Had President Obama not held back from doing a Libya in SAyria, the situation regarding refugees as well as terror would have been worse than even the horrors taking place during the present time in Syria.
Whether it be Iraq, Libya or Syria, intervention by NATO has led to the unravelling of the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement, this time as well mainly by the same powers that signed the initial mapping of boundaries in the region around and within the Levant, France and the UK. Apart from Hillary Clinton, who has consistently backed Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar in geopolitical disputes in the Middle East, it has been Paris and London that have led the way in intervention. In the process, myths have proliferated (such as that “the entry of ISIS is because NATO did not take out Assad the way it did Kaddafy” or that “ a bloodbath was averted in Benghazi by intervention”) that are as much barefaced lies as the repeated statements of George W Bush, Tony Blair and their underlings and apologists that Saddan Hussei possessed WMD when the Iraqi dictator and his men told the world till they were hoarse the truth, that there was no longer any WMD in Iraq.
In the case of Benghazi, the bloodbath followed its “liberation” and not before, although of course, the International Criminal Court at the Hague would not dare to bring to trial Nicholas Sarkozy or the fantasist posing as a philosopher who most bayed for intervention in Libya, Bernard-Henri Levy, who incidentally has been as vocal about intervention in Syria as he was in the case of Libya. Of course, it must be admitted that such views ensure a royal welcome in Doha or Riyadh, not to mention the US Department of Stare, where several dozen serving officers have sought to assure their promotions in the eagerly awaited Hillary Clinton Presidency by demanding US military intervention in Syria.
Should they succeed, the odds are high that there would be a military clash between Russia and NATO in the Syrin theatre, just as the odds are rising that there will be a naval conflict between Japan, the US and Australia with China in the South China seas. Even more than the grossly mismanaged aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, events in West Asia from 2011 to the present have ensured instability – indeed chaos – in large parts of that region for at least a generation more.
Hillary Clinton, even if she somehow manages to lose the Presidential race to Donald Trump, will enter the history books as being a prime mover in the process that has resulted in the reversing of Sykes-Picot. Whether it be Syria, Libya or Iraq,it is unrealistic and indeed dangerous to seek to return these countries to their Sykes-Picot boundaries. New states have become inevitable out of the three, and only when these have been formed will the situation in the region have the potential to regain the stability that was lost for it by NATO and its thoughtless interventions.
—The writer is Vice-Chair, Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair & Professor of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Haryana State, India.

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