Shifting sands of the American policy towards Islamic countries
India and China, the major powers in the region should pressurise the US to hold back all its aid to Pakistan. Then the major problem for Pakistan will be the survival as a nation. It is already on the brink but for the ransom extracted for the US. If it continues to survive, it will try to divert the rabid Sunni militias like that of Haqquanis and LeTetc against India. But with Saudis also forced to cut military aid and financial support, Pakistan military is likely to face nightmare at the hands of interned terrorist organisations. If Pakistan breaks, it will be divided in six parts, namely Punjab, Sindh, Mohajiristan, Baluchistan, FATA and Gilgit-Hunza under Chinese control. With the thousands of Chinese troops deployed in the occupied territory China will certainly usurp it all to reduce the Sunni menace in its own territory.
Internal fight breaking out among these smaller states will help break the vast narcotic and gun running network built up by the Pakistan army. The Pakistan army and the notorious ISI is able to retain its hold on the politicians and civil government of Pakistan and in turn on the common people of Pakistan only because of this nexus. Division of Pakistan will effectively curb the enormous power Pakistani army wields through the parallel economy of the smuggling and narcotic network. It will be the most effective way to contain menace of both the terrorist organisations and Pakistan military to the outside world including China. The most favourable situation for both India and China will be to intact Afghanistan with civilian government in action and division of Pakistan. Pakistan is reluctant to involve India in drawing the post 2014 strategy in Afghanistan because it will than mean accepting India’s role as a major power in the end game. It will not at all be acceptable to the Pakistan as well as die hard Islamic clergy backed by terrorist group. It is for the US to reconsider its stand to bring stability in Afghanistan. Will India be able to assert its role with the lame duck government in power in New Delhi. In fact mood in Pakistan a few month back was to wait and watch till the next Lok Sabha election. It is further strengthened by the recent debacle of Congress governments in December 2013 State elections.
President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai has again pleaded for military aid to India in the first week of December 2013. As such he is not to contest the presidential elections due next year. Picture of the post- election situation is highly unpredictable. Against which faction the military aid from India will be used in not clear. In whose hands the aid will fall after Karzai is not clear. If it is used in the factional clashes within Afghanistan, it will wipe off all the goodwill India has earned so far from the constructive work in Afghanistan. Pakistan can exploit the situation deftly to discredit India in the eyes of Afghan people. Karzai has been in close contact with Chinese simultaneously. He has made frequent trips to China over the last few years. It is very likely that Chinese too have rejected Karzai’s request of arm aid for the similar reasons. He was forced to seek the same from India again.India should totally desist from giving any non-humanitarian aid to Afghanistan.
As such the nuclear development programme run by Pakistan was funded with Saudi money. It is bound to ask its pound of flesh by way of repayment in kind. It is likely that Saudi Arabia will try to acquire the partly assembled nuclear weapons from Pakistan to counter Iran in future in lieu of the aid to Pakistan. These will be in assembled or near assembled state, easy to detonate. There will be great risk. With Iran falling in line, the next target for Israel will be nuclear arsenal directed towards Saudi Arabia as it comes out of the US influence and dependence. In the event the nuclear arsenal reaches Saudi Arabia, the world will be faced with sinister scenario. Wahhabism is deeply rooted in Saudi Arabia. The rising tide against monarchy on the lines of Arab spring can lead to explosive situation. In Syria, Shias killed Sunnis with chemical weapons,in this case it will be Sunnis decimating each other in bid to take over.
Testing time for India
It will be a testing time for India. As such Iran has shown no favourable status for India. When India cut the crude imports from Iran around August 2013 as a fall out of sanctions and started importing crude from Iraq, Iran detained the oil tanker on the flimsy pretext of pollution of oceanic waters in Persian Gulf. It was let go only after India agreed to the Iranian terms. Iran had also rejected Indian offer for the full rupee payment for the crude imports. It is in spite of the fact that India is net exporter of rice and soya meal to Iran. India has steadfastly continued crude oil purchase about 18.1 million tonnes from Iran in the face of displeasure from America, and floated a company to develop Iran oil fields especially for the Farzad-B fields to avoid the US and EU sanctions on the existing oil companies.India had deftly played its cards to help Iran to come out of sanction dead lock. While undertaking the Chabahar-Zaranj- Delaram High Way, it put Afghanistan as the focus of aid. It developed Chabahar port to facilitate sea route from Iran to Afghanistan. In developing the highway India lost many of the workers due to Taliban attacks. But it made progress to the extent that now the US will find it useful. However Iran showed no consideration to ease the Indian position on current account deficit in term of dollar balance. India had to adjust the payment through alternative currency of euro. Currently India pays nearly 55 per cent in euro currency to Iran. With Iran having access to dollar payment, it can buy the rice and soya meal, tea, etc. from other countries, may be at cheaper rate. India will have to compete with Pakistan which is another supplier of rice to Iran. It will be not in favour of India. With backing from the US, Iran may pose further problems to India in terms of oil and gas supply. The role Pakistan was allowed to play to down size India may well be played by Iran with active support from the US.
Iran’s designs and G5 approach
Iran had so far not hidden its goal of going nuclear and developing even the delivery system to the extent of 3,000 KM such that targets in Israel would come within its range. President of Iran Hasan Rohani had to take moderate stand because of the deteriorated situation after the sanctions imposed as late as June 2013 and strictly implemented. It was the middle class that voted him in power. Rohani is aware of this trend in the people’s choice for him. There is growing discontent towards Mullahcracy in Iran. It was evident from the gathering and welcome offered to Rohani on his return from successful negotiations with US. It is likely that under the pressure from the middle classes he maybe forced to follow the terms and conditions of the accord and halt the nuclear weapon programme for a while. Perhaps the message from the large population has reached the supreme leader Ali Khameini. He too backed the accord. It is too early on the part of US President Obama to say that Iran won’t acquire N-weapons the way Pakistan did as it has appeared in newspapers (December 9, 2013). It is shear being naive or too much optimistic to say so. Rohani’s pragmatism may not be backed by the rest of the Mullahcracy which wields considerable clout in Iranian politics. The three developments in Iran, which have been in progress there cannot be overlooked. First, is the development of middle range missiles capable of firing; second is the world’s toughest cement concrete (The Economist March 3, 2012) which can withstand massive earthquakes as well as bunker bursting bombs developed by the US. The third is the gestures Iran is making towards Arab countries in the neighbourhood. Foreign minister of Iran recently visited the Gulf nations of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar Saudi Arabia to mend fences. But it has not stopped supporting Syria. It only indicates its intentions to maintain peace on the borders. While Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme will continue, the international community cannot prevent Iran from making its underground sites safe by reinforcing these with the specially developed cement. Iran will never show full satisfaction towards the relaxation of sanctions and the aid it is likely to receive. It will continue to show discontentment and remorse. As soon as it acquires some strength and achieves financial stability and reduction of social discontentment towards Mullahcracy, it can go back to its nuclear weapon development programme. It was active connivance of the US that Pakistan was able to develop the nuclear armaments. As of today, under very threatening conditions it continues to be highest nuclear arsenal developing country, defying American pressure. As Pakistan used to raise India bogie while developing nuclear weapon programme and the US used to concede, the similar situation may occur with Iran raising bogie of Israeli- Suadi Arabian attack in future and restart the nuclear weapon programme. As such it is close to finish. It may not take more time to develop. At that time US and the G5 Western powers will remain moot spectators.
This can be halted by helping Iran to develop in the agro-economic field and growth of upper-middle class and middle-middle class. These two sections of society will serve to reduce the influence of obscurantist Mullahcracy in course of time. There the US and rest of the G5 group of nations can play a pivotal role. Shifting the items of imports from China to Iran will go long way to achieve this goal. It will give rise to entrepreneurship among the middle classes and develop employment potential among the deprived sections of the society. Hence the next strategy of the G5 nations should be to boost exports of domestic items from Iran and help Iran to overcome the present state of economic disaster.
US tilt towards Shia Iran is likely to change to world scenario. Saudi Arabia will be relegated to the secondary position in the Muslim world. It is bound to face the Arab spring like situation, exacerbated by the US under support to democracy facade. It will definitely relieve the US of the Islamic terror threat. Sunni-Wahhabi influence and associated terrorist activities will take down turn. However the Islamic world will have to realise that it cannot thrive on hate philosophy and Kafir hate psyche. With Shias getting upper hand, the Shia-Sunni conflict is likely to escalate. It will not be good for other Islamic countries and for the globe as a whole. Islamic society anywhere in the world will have to introspect at the social level as to why they are beset with so much of violence. Is it inbuilt in culture? It cannot endlessly continue with the Muslim killing Muslim spree as it is happening in the Middle Eastern countries with active support from both Saudi Arabia and Iran.Introspection on these lines is the need of the day.