Little Boxes of thoughts seperated and put in prospective

Little Boxes of thoughts seperated
and put in prospective

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Yemen:Devil and the deep blue sea

We live in times when events unfold rapidly. Especially for those who bury their heads in sands like ostrich. It was probably year 1998 or 99. Yahoo! Clubs were the “in” thing back then. I remember this group where members and admins used to hangout and talk. I think the word admin was not used at the time, it was either founder or co founder(of the club). There were people, interesting people, good people with great intellect. LebaneseEgyptian, perhaps Libyan Iraqis Pakistanis Indians .. All kind of people, all kind of nationalities. At the time the very fact was thrilling that we could all interact.

I am guessing many of you can figure Conspiracy Theories were discussed a lot. However there was a clear understanding at the time that.. A Pan Islamic Organisation with goals to overthrow incompetent governments is on the cards. No one had heard of Al Qaeda, OBL was just a nobody. Some Militant hiding in some Godforsaken cave like structure(or actual cave). Rarely discussed except when US carried out an unsuccessful missile strike on him. Taliban were primitive but peace in Afghanistan was a God sent and everyone expected them to "moderate" with the passage of time. And there was clear understanding at the time that (what now is called) reshaping of Middle East is on the cards. Maybe it is difficult to believe now. But he ground was ripe. 

When I look at past now, the first hint of how things can go haywire was when Israel carried out an air strike in Lebanon blowing up their main power plant which provided some 70-80% of electricity for the country. It was some sort of joint punishment from Israel to Hizbullah(Or Hamas, don't really remember). I immediately emailed my net friend in Lebanon who replied almost promptly and after a small chat or email saying he is online but he has to go due to power shortage in the country. Email? Yahoo messenger, could be. It some 16-17 years, I don't recall exactly.

Lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and discussing the last 17 years is.. well I might very well write a book. 

Lets jump to 2015, Syria gone, recently TIME estimated using satellite imagery that 83% of lights in Syria have gone dark. Iraq, well there is nothing much to say on that. Libya...Same story. Afghanistan, well.. No words there.. Sudan divided and things have indeed gone (further) haywire there. Not to mention stateless Somalia. 

In my Opinion the new world order is evolving, nature is taking its course(it always does) and no one exactly has a grip on it. Powerful people do interfere, normally they make things worse. 

What to do with middle east? what is the core issue of Middle East Now? With all the due respect to Wahabi School of Thought and Iranian Revolutionaries(or Shia Clerics ruling Iran) this cold war must end. That being said no end is in sight in immediate future.

We have to ask ourselves, what went wrong with the US plan? Why did they attack Afghanistan and Iraq at the first place? In my opinion wise men implemented their knowledge of diplomacy and war from European theatre to middle east. It is true the world is a different place now and perhaps its no use talking of how Alexander or British performed in Afghanistan. That's another debate for another time. 

There is always a point of talking about how we are where we are. However that's a very long debate. Jumping to today, what is Iran doing? What is Saudi Arabia doing? 

Iran has not attacked another country for nearly 200 years. However they are guilty of using shia minorities to create unrest in different countries. Apparently the non Irani Shias are acceptable collateral damage for Irani regime. It is very difficult to understand Iran, during the 1980s they have accepted American help through Israel(through Pakistan) to maintain a stalemate in Iran Iraq war. They have in all probability co operated with Israel for Operation Opera(attack on Iraqi Nuclear installation). Then they are a major trading partner with India. Yet they use Shia minorities to create unrest in Pakistan and even India. However they have collaborated with India in the past to create unrest in Pakistan. Their mindset is very complicated and perhaps the feeling of Racial superiority is the best explanation. Right or wrong? I don't know, that at least makes some sense. 

If their hearts bleeds for oppressed Muslims, how many times they have sided with Pakistan on Kashmir? What was their role during the Bosnian crisis? And now in their misguided wisdom they have mistaken a cold peace with US as some sort of silent understanding. They are meddling in Bahrain and now the militias they backed have almost taken over Yemen. ISIS is probably the worst terrorist group that existed, but what Iranians did after US invasion of Iraq played its part. Mehdi militia I read was no better then ISIS and apparently they have no problem using ISIS like tactics their proxies (militias) fighting with Iraqi army uses. And don't even get me started about their role in Afghanistan, they are one of the main forces behind the Afghan Civil war(after Soviet withdrawalalong with India and Russia. And now, at least on the surface they are quite satisfied with destruction of Syria until Iranian backed Bashar has some sort of control in a few cities.

Lets come to Saudis and GCC. They have skeletons in the closet, no question there. However post 9/11 they have adapted to situation and their major blunder was abandoning Pakistan and supporting Wahabi school of though(funding it) in Pakistan. Many of which have waged war against Pakistan killing more then a hundred thousand. Dynamics of Pakistan are different and Pakistanis have adsorbed heavy cost of human casualty and suffering and is standing strong. However Pakistan was(is) a friend they should NEVER have abandoned. During the Zardari era(2008-2012) they basically turned their policy around and starting building ties with India. For Pakistan it was blasphemy. Forget the debate that if it was cosmetic of not. It was a blunder and Saudis have and might pay dearly for it. 

Now we have a situation where Iran has in their miscalculation have crossed a red line in Yemen they should not have. They have basically made Yemen stateless, mainly controlled by Militias backed by them who have (in all probability) serious internal rifts.

What are Saudi options? What should they do? What can they do at this point? Iranian nuclear program is a ruse and frankly it barely exists in some primitive form in my opinion. One one side Saudis have ISIS who have no regard for human life religion or sect. Then they have a shia minority in Dhahran Iran probably plans to use.

What option Iran has? What can they do? And what SHOULD they do?

Pakistan is a force multiplies and involvement of Pakistan on the side of Saudi Arabia would be a major game changer, however Pakistan is overstretched and goodwill for Saudi Arabia is at an all time low.  Pakistan is fighting a very difficult existential war and tide has recently started to turn in their favor. They don't want another conflict with Iran. The war I'm Pakistan can take anywhere from 6 months to two years to end. At the movement there is no public opinion in favor of another full blown conflict.

Iranian options are limited, they are in over their heads. US has already got them by their weakest point, sanctions have really hit Iran hard. However the ruling junta is at least for now unaffected. 
The squander the soldiers attitude of their generals worked against Saddam,like their second generation aircrafts and scuds. Many historians have pointed out that the post shah setup was more of an accident and they used the anger built in people over the years. That's another debate again.

US is no friend of Iran for several reasons
There is no holy book  which says there can not be a coup,soft coup in Iran. Iran has gone either too far or far enough. They need to back down. What they did in Yemen I beyond some bargaining chip. 

Saudis look surrounded but they have serious military hardware and allies. If there is an actual war with Yemen, by the time first shots would be fired Overwhelming public opinion in Pakistan would be pro Saudi and Pakistani troops fighting side by side Saudis would be a reality. we have some 7 hundred thousand reserves, expedited soldier training can produce a great soldier in six months. Squander the soldier mentality would not work with highly trained soldiers with one of the best military hardware in the world. Forget Pakistanis, Egyptians are well trained and battle hardened. Republicans are likely to come in power in US and Jeb Bush is expected to side with Saudis. Not that Obama is not playing Iranians but Republicans are especially known for their hawkish attitude against Iran. 

Iran has enjoyed almost no interference from Pakistani or Afghan border. On the contrary they have been exporting their revolution(to put it in very soft words). To put it bluntly they have been sponsoring proxies for their benefits.

IF, now there is a big IF. Deals are struck, the border with Pakistan becomes insecure, the border with Afghanistan becomes insecure. Well Fourth Generation war.. even fifth would be upon Iran. And it is really really difficult to fight. Iran's neighbours have not troubled Iran. It has always been the other way around. Their Economy is shrinking and if their nuclear deal fails the status quo itself would mean trouble. With sanctions on Iran, Saudis can simply wait it out, not Iranians. Their GDP has dropped from 528.2 Billion$s in 2011 a year to 368.9 billion$s in 2013. With Iran spending so much on their proxies. A regime change may very well be on cards.

Now the Trillion dollar question.. What should Iran do? Desperate times..Desperate measures, over the years the role of Iran has been extremely negative in Afghanistan and Pakistan especially after the war on terror started. Its time to make some policy changes. They don't have nuke, simple as that. They are not a major threat to Israel, at the moment they are only getting Palestinians killed. Its time to stop exporting revolution, forget India shake hands with Pakistan. Empower Sunni tribes, make a trust and reconciliation commission or something and be the part of solution in Iraq.. not the problem. Same in Syria, Bashar has lost, Iran should help the transition into some stable government instead of providing oxygen to Bashar(that too barely). They should forget Afghanistan altogether, they have already caused a lot of trouble there. And Yemen, ask their proxies to make peace. 

I can only hope sense would prevail. As we say in Urdu

"Dekhain Uunt Kis Karwat Beth ta hey"

Everything apart..Baksh do bhai!! No one needs another stateless region

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