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September 24, 2019

Descent into chaos

Opinion

September 24, 2019

The recent attacks on Saudi oil installations have once again created a spectre of conflict that is haunting millions of people in the Middle East. Despite being one of the richest regions in the world, the region seems to have no respite from wars, conflicts, civil strife, militancy and extremism.

Once desolated and ignored, the region started attracting the attention of the global powers after the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves, prompting American policymakers to declare it as one of the most important areas of the world for their economic prosperity and global hegemony. Some geo-strategies believe that the control of the region is essential to control the world.

Most Arab states were hostile to the British colonial masters and French imperialists that had ruthlessly exploited the region in a bid to dominate the area and the globe. The hostility continued towards the United States too which replaced the two big powers after World War II. To counter this animosity, seeds of destruction were sown by maverick politicians of the West and cunning geo-strategists of Washington. They came up with the idea of establishing a Zionist state that has been loyally serving its master for decades. Interestingly some Arab autocrats are now covertly supporting this illegal state that has forced millions of Palestinians to leave their homeland, seeking refuge in various parts of the world.

Now the very state that imposed three wars on the Arab world is conspiring along with conservative monarchies to plunge the region into another conflict that has already witnessed the decimation of over one million people during the Iraq-Iran war, more than 2.3 million in the first Gulf War, the American invasion of Iraq and the civil strife that was triggered by the aggression, 555000 in the Syrian conflict and thousands in Libya. These conflicts also rendered millions of people homesless besides destroying infrastructure worth more than $200 billion.

It is difficult to understand as why the ruling elites of these states do not learn any lesson from these conflicts. Despite knowing that conflicts create death and destruction, they are hellbent on pushing the region towards a conflagration that would not only affect the Middle East but could end up engulfing the entire world. The flames of war that are likely to rage in the conflict-ridden area could incinerate the entire globe. But it seems that there is no effort on the part of big powers to thwart the impending catastrophe. One of the reasons contributing to their silence is the prospect of arms sale that would benefit large weapons manufacturers and traders like the US, the UK, France, Russia, Israel and to some extent China.

If a layperson can understand that it is arms dealers who would greatly benefit from any possible conflict then why can the ruling elites of Middle East not figure that out?

A conflict that erupts in the name of ideology will incinerate everything. Nothing will be left, neither ideologies nor states to propagate them. One of the ways to prevent the conflict is to seek a ceasefire in Yemen. All sides should agree to seek a democratic solution. If there have to be any troops in Yemen then let the UN forces come into the country under the leadership of a neutral country or countries with a task to hold elections and let the winning side form the government.

The states of the region should offer billions of dollars for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged country instead of pumping money into the lethal killing machines that have turned the lives of Yemenis into hell. The world's big powers should use their influence forcing their allies to show restraint. The US and the West can persuade Saudi Arabia and its allies while China and Russia could use their offices to convince Iran for the resolution of the Yemeni dispute.

Conflicts elsewhere should also be settled. Let all parties help Syria restore order and eliminate the remnants of Isis and other extremist groups with a promise that Bashar al-Assad will allow free and fair elections under the supervision of international observers once peace is fully restored. The international community, especially the West, that allegedly contributed to the destruction of Syria should generously contribute towards its rehabilitation. Moscow, which enjoys good ties with both Tel Aviv and Tehran, should convince Israel to give up its jingoistic policies. The Zionist state should also reverse its controversial and illegal decisions related to the establishment of settlements in occupied territories, annexation of the Golan Heights and the shifting of the Israeli capital.

Iran and Saudi Arabia should remember that playing the sectarian card could be very catastrophic not only for the two states but the entire Islamic world and the world as well. No country can win this sectarian war. Therefore, it is important that the two sides show restraint.

Any conflict in the Middle East would badly affect Europe and Japan, Many critics believe that since the US is emerging as one of the biggest oil and LNG exporters, it is using coercive methods to kick out other competitors from the market. This is likely to hurt Europe and Japan most, countries which have been heavily dependent on Middle Eastern supply for decades. According to author Robin Mills, "America’s extensive use of military and economic coercion in the Middle East and other oil-producing countries around the world reflects the US’s new position as an exporter of oil and liquefied natural." And that 'Europe should be watchful and prevent Trump from stoking tensions in the Middle East by openly siding with one or two sides to the potential conflict.' Brussels will have to make hectic efforts to foil any move on the part of American war-mongers and their Arab and Israeli allies which is aimed at pushing the region towards a conflagration. They must ensure that the region does not descend into a chaos that is likely to harm Europe and the rest of the world.

The writer is a freelance

journalist.

Email: [email protected] gmail.com

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