Divided Muslim Ummah
By Asif Haroon Raja
The unholy practice of Muslims fighting among each other is in vogue in many Muslim countries. Tunisia, Egypt, Jordon, Algeria, Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had got infected by the Arab Spring in 2011, possibly triggered by CIA and Mosad. As a result, there were regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen. Despite the change in regimes, infighting in the three countries is still continuing.
The Afghans had collectively fought the Soviet forces in 1980s but started fighting among each other after the Soviets departed in February 1989. Cleavage between Pashtun and non-Pashtun Afghans accentuated once Taliban seized power in 1996. The country progressed well despite the sanctions and most of the societal vices were effectively purged because of application of Shariah. Northern Alliance readily joined hands with the US to fight the ruling Taliban in October 2001. After bloodying Afghanistan for over 12 years, the occupiers are now mollycoddling the outcast Taliban to hold peace talks. The US would quit Afghanistan in December 2014, but the war-torn country would remain in turmoil. Afghans will continue to fight among each other for a very long time and its spillover effects would fall upon Pakistan.
Both Iraq and Iran were economically drained and militarily enfeebled in 8-year futile war instigated by the US. Despite the long war with Iran, First Gulf War in 1991 and prolonged harsh sanctions, Iraq retained its military and economic power under Saddam Hussein. We know how the US faked WMD case and made it into a pretext to destroy Iraq in 2003. Iraqi Shias and Kurds in Iraq were instigated by the US and UK to fight Sunni regime led by Saddam. Gen McChrystal pitched Sunnis against al-Qaeda in crucial battles of Ambar and Fallujah in 2006-07 and then fomented sectarian war.
The occupation forces after taking control over oil exited from Iraq in December 2009 but left the country in chaos. Although Shias are now ruling Iraq, but sectarian war which peaked in 2007-08 continue to fester and smolder. The Sunnis feeling sidelined and deceived have joined al-Qaeda and are striking Shias to bring down Nurul Maliki’s government. Sunnis and Shias are wantonly drawing blood of each other giving an extremely perilous dimension to sectarian war. 2013 is proving to be a deadly year in which 1000 people lost their lives in May alone.
Libyans in exile and those who had defected from Libyan Army and Police together with handful of disgruntled elements formed the rebel group to topple Muammar Qaddafi regime. They were supported by three world powers, US, France and UK as well as al-Qaeda starting February 2011. Excessive air power of NATO together with depleted uranium was used to defeat government forces. Besides some Arab countries, Sudan had also extended support to Libyan rebels for the reason that Qaddafi had supported Sudanese rebels in 2008.
Qaddafi had provided free electricity to all, provided loans without interest, awarded $50,000 to the newlyweds, provided free education and medical care to all, gave free of cost land, equipment, seed, livestock and house to Libyans who took up farming, made available a car on 50% government subsidized price to a buyer, fixed price of petrol at $0.4 per litre, sent a portion of Libyan oil sale directly to the bank accounts of all Libyans and gave handsome salaries. Libya had become a model Islamic welfare state under Qaddafi. He was brutally murdered by the US based neo-con Zionists to capture Libyan oil to save sinking US economy and to enslave Libyans. The country is now webbed in chaos and sooner than later there will be bloody civil war.
Sunni rebels and assorted militias in Syria aided by foreign powers are fighting Bashar al-Assad’s Shia regime. While USA, western world, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Hamas are supporting the rebels, Russia, China, Iran and Hezbollah are supporting Bashar. Irked by Assad’s defiance and failure of the rebels to topple him, Obama has now openly declared his intention to arm Syrian rebels. All out efforts are in hand to repeat the story of Libya in Syria where so far 100,000 people have died. But for Moscow and Beijing’s stand essentially because of their economic stakes, by now a regime change might have taken place. Syrians seemingly unconcerned with Libyan tragedy have not learnt any lesson and are madly fighting among each other since the start of 2011.
Notwithstanding Syria’s demographic imbalance wherein 11% Shia Alawides are ruling, the fact is that Assad dynasty leading Baathist Party turned Syria into a strong country and is the only country left in the Arab world that stands up to Israel’s bullying. Syria aligned with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza and Iran had emerged as a formidable challenge to Israel desiring unchallenged monopoly in the Middle East. This grouping has been cracked up by embroiling Syria in deadly sectarian war, isolating and cornering Iran, impelling the two allies Hezbollah and Hamas to become opponents in Syrian war on sectarian basis.
Islamic government under populist President Muhammad Morsi was established for the first time in Egypt on June 30, 2012 and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) renamed as Justice & Freedom Party. His experiment of operating Islamic system within the precincts of secular state structure didn’t appease the indignant liberals who wanted consensus constitution ignoring the fact that it was approved by 63.8% votes. Restriction of powers of judiciary and removal of senior military brass by Morsi angered both the judiciary and the Army.
When the secular-liberals assembled at Tahrir square in large numbers on June 30, 2013 and demanded resignation of Morsi and re-elections, the Army considered it a God given opportunity to exploit their charged sentiments. With undue haste it sacked the President on 3 July, held the Constitution in abeyance, dissolved Islamic dominated Upper House of Parliament and appointed chief justice of supreme constitutional court Adly Mansoor as interim president. While several countries condemned the military coup, the US didn’t do.
Liberals euphoria may not last for long since they are in minority and MB is the most organized and strongest political party in Egypt with considerable street power. Liberals neither have the capacity to confront them politically or physically in the streets nor the ability to form a long lasting stable government. Unless the Army acts prudently and resolves the matter amicably, the crisis is likely to balloon up into a bloody civil war with horrendous consequences for the country as well as the region.
Noose around Iran’s neck was gradually tightened to force it to abandon its nuclear program. While Pakistan was pressured to cancel Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, the Arab world was frightened that Iran has ambitions to export Shiasm into Arab states. Iran was repeatedly threatened by USA and Israel that its nuclear sites will be destroyed. All these draconian measures brought severe strains on Iran’s economy and added to the hardships of the people. It thus became easier to defeat the populist leader Ahmadinejad and get Reformist Hassan Rowhani elected as President with a thin majority of 51% in June 2013 election. The US led Western world is quite excited about the change and is feeling much relaxed.
Pakistan is another target where FATA, Balochistan and Karachi are being systematically destabilized for the materialization of sinister plan to denuclearize, secularize and balkanize Pakistan. Ideologically motivated TTP and secular BLA-BRA supported by multiple foreign agencies are pitched against Pak security forces for a decade.
Divided Muslim Ummah rather than closing ranks and pooling its resources to fight the evil remains divided and prefers to remain dependent upon the US led west. Morally degenerated Muslim leaders and disgruntled elements within the target countries hungering to gain personal benefits are playing into their hands and helping them to achieve their objectives.
The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst. Email;firstname.lastname@example.org