New Age Islam
Tue Aug 03 2021, 08:10 PM

Islam and Sectarianism ( 11 May 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Fostering Arab Springs to Civil and Sectarian Wars in the Middle East


By G. Asgar Mitha

11 May, 2015

If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed ?from the Adolf Hitler Book (2008). Remarkably Hitler's legacy is now applicable to the US, NATO friends, Israel and the Gulf Arab monarchies.

Soon after the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan by 2004, civil unrests or Arab Spring started in the Arab world as a wave of popular uprisings against oppressive autocratic regimes due to high levels of unemployment, poverty, extrajudicial killings, and nepotism, preventing freedom of speech, high inflation and rampant corruption of leaders, their families and cronies.

The Arab Spring started in Tunisia in December 2010 and led to the overthrow of President Zine el Abedine Ben Ali in January 2011 after 24 years in power. Zine El Abedine and his family fled to Saudi Arabia with over one ton of gold and other valuables, cash and jewellery worth US$150 million. Saudi Arabia has been known to offer asylum to repressive leaders along fraternal grounds including Uganda's Idi Amin in 1980 and Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif in 1999 among others. Those granted asylum were provided so at the behest of the US and UK to purchase their silence against their former colonial masters. In other words, the neo-colonial powers were responsible for instigating and supporting the repressions through covert actions.

The Arab Spring quickly spread to Egypt, Libya and Yemen and by 2012 it had led to the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt after 30 years in power, killing of President Gaddafi of Libya after 45 years in power and overthrow of Yemen's kleptocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh who flew to Saudi Arabia after 22 years in power after ceding power to President Abd Mansur Hadi of Yemen in February 2012. Saleh regained control of Yemen in early 2015 and forced Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Civil uprisings and unrests followed in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Oman, Western Sahara, Kuwait, Morocco, Palestine, Mali and other Arab countries without the killings and overthrowing of leaders. By late 2013 the usage of Arab Spring had been discontinued. What has, however, replaced it is civil wars with the most recent one on-going in Syria to remove the Al-Assad dynasty which has been ruling the country since 1971. Syria is a testing ground for other civil wars with the most recent one in Yemen while simultaneously testing out the potential for sectarian wars in the region. The civil unrests or the Arab Spring, uprisings, civil wars and the coming sectarian wars are the brainchild of the western powers in collusion with their two most important proxies Israel and the Gulf monarchies, notably Saudi Arabia.

The western interests for the regional wars - civil or sectarian - are to ensure the permanent geographical, political, resources and economic domination or hegemony of the region by the US. However what are most important are three ingredients that are needed for the domination recipe. The first is the covert intelligence provided by the US and the second by Israel towards the understanding of the fundamental tribal psyche that both unites and splits the Arabs as well as the religious divisions along historical lines. The third which in my opinion is more important is the financial ingredient and more so since the financial crisis of 2008 and to maintain a balancing of the economic power from China. The western powers and the US can ill afford to undertake geopolitical risks that might lead to further financial erosion. Accordingly Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been the financiers for the Arab Springs, civil and sectarian wars.

The Gulf monarchies have amassed trillions of dollars of oil wealth in western banks over the past five decades. No one country understands the oil game better than the US who has pioneered the base industry since its inception in the early twentieth century. The Gulf producers not only need the political support but the essential technology to keep the oil wells flowing to maintain their luxurious and wasteful lifestyles. While the US and Israel have provided the first two ingredients, the Gulf oil producing monarchies have managed the financial support to eliminate the risk of financial erosion for the western powers. Moreover the success of the Arab Springs and civil unrests have served notice on the Gulf monarchies that they too are vulnerable to internal civil unrests and sectarian wars within their countries which can be stoked by Iran together with Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

The first such step in the sectarian war was initiated by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) which suddenly came into being in July 2014 in full military force in eastern Syria and north-western Iraq. The acronym suggests that the jihadists-terrorists want to establish an Islamic empire in the region but one that, interestingly, has no resemblance whatsoever to Islam (which implies peace) but towards Wahhabism that prevails predominantly in Gulf countries. The western media have suggested the theory that al-Qaeda and other splinter groups formed ISIS but that financing was provided by certain powerful Sunni Wahhabi Saudi Arabian and Qatari royalists who've been clandestinely led to believe that the Shia Iranians are determined to dominate the Middle East militarily and religiously and are therefore pursuing the nuclear program with the ulterior objective of obtaining the bomb.

Why would the US-EU then engage in talks to diffuse Iran's N-program and the Sunni Arab fear associated with it? Either the west intends to remove sanctions on Iran so that it'd be in a financial position to engage in the coming major sectarian war or create a pretext to derail the deal. On 30 April 2015, US Vice President Joe Biden provided Iran remarks at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy's soref symposium in which he outlined the consequences of Iran reneging on the deal. Biden mentioned that "There’s nothing simple, minimal, or predictable about a war with Iran. If required, it will happen." Following Biden's comments, some muted threats from Kerry in Israel on 3 May and harsh threats from Netanyahu, Iran's Khameni warned "Why do they make threats? They say if this doesn’t happen or that doesn’t happen they may take military action. First of all, the hell you will…. the Iranian nation will not set free someone who wants to invade. We will pursue.”

In all reasoning, the world should hold out the hope that a catastrophic sectarian war can be prevented but knowing the past behaviours of US and Israel of fomenting crisis after crisis in the region over the past four decades, it is difficult that such a hope can materialize now or in the near future, more so now since the Gulf monarchies are willing partners due to their imbibed fear of Iran.

G. Asgar Mitha recently retired from working with a large oil company in Canada as a Technical Safety Engineer