By SHAHID EHSAN KHALID
Ruthless, tyrannical policies of the Asads, bordering on genocide led to a revolt of its citizens, asserting one of their fundamental rights. However, some nations, and some people, are more unlucky than others.
While the Syrians were trying to throw the yoke of the blood-thirsty regime, a bigger vampire entered that ancient land: the so called Islamic state. The establishment and expansion of this monster was possible only due to a peculiar set of circumstances.
Iraq was more concerned about its Sunni population, Turkey was more concerned about the Kurds and any Kurd expansion, and Syria was more concerned about its own rebels and above all, survival of its dictator, successor Bashar-al-Asad. The might of these countries involved, it gave Daesh lot of opportunity. This was promptly wasted by killing as many people as it can, and plundering the occupied cities.
Iran was an active ally of Asad regime for reasons best known to clerics of that beautiful but unfortunate land. Or it may be similar treatment to the ordinary citizens of their respective countries. Syria is fast becoming the Gordian knot in this Middle Eastern labyrinth. Made even more complicated by Russians, ostensibly to help present Syrian ruler.
The real purpose seems to assert status of Russia as a Super Power, which of course it has been since Second World War, and an indispensable player in the ME. Traditionally, also the two countries had cordial relations. The Russian presence also enhanced efforts of ME rivals, Iran and Saudi Arabia about their share and importance in the whole area.
Iran and Saudi Arabia dispute, like Yemen is not a sectarian issue. It is not about Muslims either. Many Middle Eastern and African countries suffer from internal backwardness. When western industrial revolution and imperialism changed the face of the world forever, these societies were at tribal stage. Well covered, well concealed and well served by the Ottoman Empire for centuries, its demise exposed the whole Middle East to social upheaval, decaying morals and modernity. The British intervention and fragmentation of the whole area did not help at all.
A lesson of history: when the Ottomans lost their European colonies the result was Balkanization, it still haunts Europe. What would happen when its Oriental former colonies start to show the same pattern? Prospects are frightening to say the least and portents are not good.
The fragile position of the society is compounded by weak state structure and selfish rulers. Usually such rulers are dictators, who are marked by ruthlessness of their tactics in their own countries and by their ill gotten wealth in the Western countries. Politically and socially, the whole area lives in middle ages.
Resultantly, whenever even third rate dictators like Saddam or Qadafi are thrown out (there is no decent way of removing them), the whole artificially fabricated mirage of a solid and stable, forward looking society just collapse. Old tribal rivalries with older claims and modern lethal weapons just emerge again and again. The idea and reality of my tribe replace the concept of the so called country at the first opportunity. This provides these benevolent rulers another solid reason and incentive to kill more humans. The whole world is watching this recurring human tragedy with as much seriousness as an exciting motion picture demands. Libya, Iraq and now Yemen are some bleeding examples.
In the present situation, Iran for ideological and national reasons is the most destabilizing factor in the region. Exporting revolution is never easy. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia is pillar of stability in the Middle East, for all the wrong reasons. They want to keep the status quo intact. Preserving status quo seems the only way to save monarchies and dictatorships of the worst kind.
This historical parallel is frightening indeed. So are we going to watch the inhabitants of the region suffering, just like their European counterparts did. And remember the ordeal of Ottoman Empire’s occidental parts is not over yet. Balkanization is the term used to denote Mega-anarchy of these former Turkish colonies.
In near future it seems peace is going to elude the unlucky region. There was graveyard like silence, when security was provided by bloodthirsty rulers. And now freedom of anarchy, greeted by gun fire.
Right now the quagmire that is Middle East got more complicated by entrance of so called Islamic state. In this situation the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran takes the attention and action away from the main culprit.
Is there any chance of peace in the area? We all are keeping our fingers crossed. And hope for better times, as a matter of principled optimism, than a realistic chance.
What should Pakistan do? Understand and realize that it is not our war and/or our dispute. We should wait, watch and not act. However promoting our own national interest and well being of our citizens is our utmost duty. That is the only honorable way for a nation state to act.