By Imran Malik
The Muslim world has failed the peoples of Palestine and Kashmir! It has been criminally negligent in failing to stop the atrocities being visited upon these helpless peoples. The selfish, politically timid and spineless Muslim ruling elites have been played around like mute, submissive pieces on the geopolitical chessboard by the US; most disastrously in the Greater Middle East Region (GMER).
US’ policy for the GMER exploited the age-old colonial principle of “divide and rule”. The basic operational strategy to implement this was “offshore balancing”; employed to killing effect. Coerced, manipulated, and even circumstantial regime changes in the region – like in Iran, KSA, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Yemen et al – further enabled the US to shape the geopolitical and geostrategic environment of the region to suit its own policy ends.
The main contours of the US’ GMER policy focused on the consolidation of Israel as the unchallenged, overwhelmingly dominant and ruthlessly hegemonic military power in the region and the neutralization of all hostile neighbouring/regional countries. The differential in the conventional forces of Israel and its neighbours/regional countries was to remain permanently and decisively in Israel’s favour. No other country in the GMER was to be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons (Iran!) thus cementing Israel’s monopoly and absolute military and nuclear superiority in the region. An equally important step was to simultaneously denigrate the Palestinian issue in international perceptions; it was gradually reduced from a global issue to one limited to the Islamic World, then the Arab World, the ME, then one between the PLO/Al Fatah and Israel till now it has been reduced to the status of terrorism by Hamas against Israel!
This denigration and transformation of the Palestinian’s legitimate cause and struggle to terrorism is the crux of the turmoil that besets the GMER today.
The phenomenal success of US foreign policy in the GMER lies in its consistency over numerous Presidencies and its relentless and ruthless management and manipulation of Arab monarchies/dictatorships. It is epitomized by the paradigm shifts that it has caused in the geostrategic and geopolitical alignments of the GMER. Over the last four decades or so the US has not only neutralized all possible regional threats to Israel’s security but has also significantly defused Arab animosity towards it. It is presently developing an informal “understanding” of sorts between Israel and an All Arab Coalition, (the failed Warsaw Summit refers) to further the collective interests of the US-Israel Combine.
The US is systematically transforming the geopolitical and geostrategic environment of the GMER. It is manipulating an historic change in the collective policy objectives and strategic direction of the Arab states. Now, instead of Israel being targeted for its usurpation of Palestinian (and other Arab) lands and rights the focus is shifting to Iran and its US’ enunciated “malign” activities. The GMER narrative is undergoing a massive change, too. The target and the crosshairs too, are shifting – to Iran instead of Israel. Iran is now the “US and Israel designated villain” of the GMER, not Israel. The battle lines are ostensibly changing too. This is the emerging transformation in the GMER whose strategic connotations could soon engulf the region in a veritable vortex of fire. This US inspired All Arab Coalition will ostensibly aim to not only circumscribe Iran’s sphere of influence in the GMER (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen et al) but to also coerce it into submission.
Yet again, the US’ strategy of offshore balancing is in full flow. Having induced Iran and Iraq to mutually decimate their respective militaries and economies in the 1980-88 war, the US now wants to pitch an All Arab Coalition against Iran and defang it totally. The US-Israel Combine is exploiting the ethnic Arab-Ajam (Persian) and sectarian divides between the KSA-led Arab states (Sunni) and Iran (Shia) to achieve its own policy ends. A future conflict between an All Arab Coalition supported by the US-Israel Combine against Iran would not only weaken both the belligerents significantly but would also brutally divide the Muslim world further. In the process, it will further shift the strategic balance in Israel’s favor. Iran’s purported military strength has already been stunted by the war against Iraq, the Nuclear Deal and crippling economic and military sanctions, however, its missile force still threatens all corners of the GMER. That will be next in the US-Israel Combine’s crosshairs. A weakened, exhausted, decimated and destabilized GMER will be easier for the US-Israel Combine to dominate and literally rule.
The US Industry-Military Complex could not be happier.
All said and done, the US is engendering an unbelievable paradigm shift in the GMER. The Palestine issue has lost momentum and has faded from media headlines and international consciousness. It is getting lost into oblivion. The focus has now shifted from Israel to Iran and its “malign” influences in the GMER. Israel is secure behind its ever-expanding borders (US acceptance of annexation of Golan Heights) and now has perhaps more friends in the Arab world than Iran. That fact alone defines the success of US’ policy in the GMER!
The Muslim world must recognize the current and emerging geopolitical and geostrategic realities in the GMER. It must secure its unity and collective interests. It must close ranks and bridge the ethnic and sectarian chasms that divide and weaken it so savagely that it gets exposed to malign exploitation by global powers. The Arabs and Iran must see through this US-Israel Combine’s deep maneuver for its real objectives and strategic connotations. The focus must go back to the Palestine issue. The Palestinians must have their homeland for themselves. The real and actual villains of the piece must be identified, exposed and confronted collectively. Palestine’s cause must be urgently rejuvenated in the international community and brought back into the global limelight where it belongs. The Muslim World must unite, think and act as one or else the maxim of “divide and rule” will eventually sound the death knell for it as a people of meaning, substance and consequence!
It is Palestine and the GMER today, could it be the Indo-Pak subcontinent and Kashmir tomorrow?