By Wasimul Haque, PhD
Noam Chomsky, one of the greatest Jewish American scholars wrote a masterpiece named, "Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians" after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. This extra-ordinary book gives vivid details of the horrors of occupation of Palestinian lands by the Jewish state of Israel. Today, we witness a new alliance on the horizon being forged in the global politics to challenge or undo Iran's nuclear program. Saudi Arabia, United States and Israel have created an alliance to bomb Iran. These strange political bed-fellows may be termed as the new 'Fateful Triangle', which may ultimately catalyze the stage for Armageddon.
The clarion call by the Saudis to bomb Iran is sending shockwaves throughout the Muslim world. It is also strange to accept the Israeli stance on their nuclear policy. Israel says that it has the right to own hundreds of nuclear bombs, but other regional governments in the Middle East are not entitled to even enriching uranium. According to Wikileaks, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly asked the US to destroy Iran's nuclear capability. He has also garnered support from Gulf monarchs of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi to teach Iran a lesson on their nuclear program.
Saudi Arabia and Iran are the biggest oil producers and each country has significant areas of political influence in the Muslim world. As such, this would be a 'clash of the oil titans' which would bring extraordinary suffering to the already fragile Middle East Peace Process. Saudi Arabia is a strong ally of the US and has been the biggest consumer of US arms. It is also said to have a state policy driven by Wahhabi theocracy which supports extremism to strengthen their religious and political monopoly in the Muslim world. In his book 'The Two Faces of Islam: The House of Saud from Tradition to Terror', American scholar, Stephen Schwartz details the vigorous program of ideological export of Wahabbism financed and directed by the Saudis. Akbar Ganji, a revolutionary guard at the time of Iranian Revolution, and who later became the strongest voice of dissent, refutes the claims of the Western media that Ahmadinejad is the main culprit of Iran's ills today. It is Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has tremendous authority over all major state institutions, and is the head of state, commander in chief, and top ideologue. Khamenei is the Sultan of Shiite theocracy and a key individual behind all repressive operations existing in Iran.
According to the latest ABC news, Gen Dempsey's visit to Israel this week centered on Iran's nuclear program and there is a growing fear that Israel may soon strike Iran. Mitt Romney, a Republican nominee for the 2012 Presidential race, was interviewed by a conservative and a hawkish talk show host O'Reilly of Fox News. During the interview, he warned Romney that bombing Iran could escalate to World War III and result in the blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, which links Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is surprising that Republican candidates are ignoring the work of a renowned conservative scholar and historian, Niall Ferguson. In "Civilization: The West and the Rest", Ferguson argues that 500 years of Western domination is over after the huge economic meltdown. Any act to trigger the war, will raise the oil prices and further destabilize the world economy. If American arrogance continues and Saudi prayers answered, the price of war will destroy the American Empire.
The two key players in this developing conflict, Saudi Arabia and Iran have roots in religious theocracy. It is the Shia/Sunni divide and the repressive nature of the regimes which has become central in the oil politics of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has treated its minority Shia population as second class citizens and similar treatments have been inflicted on Sunnis by the Iranian regime. Shias have long faced discrimination in Sunni-majority Saudi Arabia which follows a very conservative Wahhabi interpretation of the religion, in which Shia are considered heretics. Conversely, as Sunni Muslims, the Baluch people in Iran, experience marginalization and discrimination in a country where Shia Islam is the official state religion and holds political power. In the recent Arab uprising in the streets of Manama-Bahrain, Saudi Arabia supported the brutal crackdown of Sunni Bahraini monarch on the majority Shia population. It is also reported that the Saudis financed the NATO alliance in liberating Libya from Qaddafi's wicked rule and also supporting Syrian rebels to defeat Basher Asaad. The ouster of Asaad is to undo the influence of Iran in Syria. These two countries are another example of strange political bed-fellows. Syria's Baa'thist ideology is strictly secular and socialist, whereas, Iran's ideology is rigidly religious. They are both authoritarian, Iran is predominantly Shiite, but Syria is predominantly Sunni with a ruling Alawite family for several decades, a Shiite sect.
It is understandable that Pakistan could be easily caught in this political and religious inferno. Due to the present crisis in Pakistan brought about by American occupation in Afghanistan, Pakistan should avoid this conflict and find an avenue to come out of this abyss. Iran and Saudi Arabia have their own interest in the Sunni/Shia divide in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Islamist forces in Pakistan should refrain from igniting this religious inferno by supporting the Wahabi doctrine of Saudi Arabia. It is important for the Muslim world to know the history, politics and religious divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran to condemn or support Iran's nuclear race. If other Muslim countries and Pakistan take a neutral stand on this war-mongering, the tide of war will soon wither away. If sanity does not prevail, the planet Earth cannot be saved from a devastating catastrophe. According to the Mayan prophesy and predictions of Nostradamus, the year 2012 has been termed as end of the world-The Armageddon. The followers of all three Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam should seriously read their scripture and embrace "Shalom and Salaam", the symbol of Peace in their political lives. The Christians and Jews should wait for the 'Second Coming of the Christ' and the Muslims wait for 'Mahdi' to appear.
Source: Friday Times, Lahore