SYRIA AND THE DEATH OF UMMAH
This article may be overtaken by events as it goes into publication; the Syrian conflict has metamorphosed into a salad bowl of challenges where no one can easily predict the outcome. As innocent Syrians die on daily basis (on both sides of the divide), armchair pundits and strategic thinkers all around the world are busy in calculating the outcome of the conflict. Mr Obama is worried about the US credibility, Iran is looking at her growing or diminishing role in the Middle East, KSA has its own calculations on reshaped region, and Turkey has been already busy with fallout of the conflict and what lies ahead. Israeli security establishment is in the war rooms, calculating their next move or moves as the chips are brought down.
Security experts have been busy projecting new trajectories and painting new scenarios of the Greater Middle East, economists are predicting another Oil Shock and battered currencies in the emerging economies are sliding down a deep gorge.It may be over simplistic to draw plausible conclusions about outcome of the Syrian conflict, as one is likely to flounder, what I have done is drawn few plausible scenarios and look beyond 2016 to find answers to the enigma of Syrian conflict.
Scenario 1 : The US Strike with the help of Western and Middle Eastern Allies succeeds in overthrowing the Assad Regime without major interference from Syrian allies.2015 Syria will be a big cauldron of human tragedy where reprisal war(Sunni majority against Shiite minority) at the scale of Rawanda could warrant a major UN humanitarian operation. Permanent cleavages within Middle East based on Shia Sunni fault lines would divide the entire Islamic World into two warring blocks. Iran’s power will diminish considerably and Iran could be physically attacked by the US lead coalition within next two years, bringing more misery to the entire Middle East. The economic cost of this war upto 2016 would be unbearable with entire world and energy dependent emerging economies experiencing a reverse of economic growth. The pearls of Middle East will lose their relevance (no body will think of even travelling to Dubai,Abu Zahbi and Qatar),may be Islamic World will have to suspend the Hajj for couple of years. The human cost could be anything between two million to 10 million dead and wounded, mostly from the Middle East.
Scenario 2: The US invasion of Syria is contested by Iran,Hezbullah and Iraq through military means and Syrian Allies like Russia and China support the Assad regime indirectly and politically, the war lingers on for almost one year,the US frustrated by progress of war expands the conflict by striking Iran directly,Iran drags Israel into the conflict and the war goes out of control.NATO,Turkey,KSA,GCC,Russia and even Pakistan and Afghanistan join the war. The gulf is closed for more than six months and Middle East experiences the use of nuclear weapons,more than two dozen cities like Tehran,Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Dubai, Abu Zahbi, Doha, Manama, Shiraz, Beirut, Baghdad, Aleppo and Antakya are erased from the face of the earth, total human cost could be as high as 100 million.The entire energy system of the world collapses and brings misery to the emerging economies as well as the developed world. Islamic World dies its ultimate death; however the Shia- Sunni conflict comes to an end as there are very few Shias and Sunnies left in the Middle East,the UN fails to bear the burden of human cost and Middle East is left to rotten as a Somalia at grand scale.
Scenario 3: Reading the writing on the wall, KSA, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and GCC calls for an extraordinary meeting of the OIC to solve the problem politically and peacefully, right in Damascus. The OIC announces the start of interfaith dialogue and denounces use of force and takes a firm stand.US backs out of war as no Muslim country is ready to host US forces.The interfaith dialogue continues in Tehran and Riyadh for next six months and Islamic World experiences a new wave of development and progress. Scenario 3 is not possible as Islamic World has been unable to produce any statesman worth his salt in last forty years or so.
Fast forward to 2020,in a chilly night of December I visit a graveyard with millions of graves,one of the dusty tombstones has an epitaph with these engravings, “THE OIC BORN IN RABAT ON 25 SEPTEMBER 1969, EFFECTIVELY DIED IN SEP 2013(IT EXISTED ON PAPERS ONLY) AS IT FAILED TO MEET ANY OF ITS IDEALS AND OBJECTIVES. FAILED TO PRESERVE ISLAMIC SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC VALUES; FAILED TO PROMOTE SOLIDARITY AMONGST MEMBER STATES; FAILED TO INCREASE COOPERATION IN SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, CULTURAL, SCIENTIFIC, AND POLITICAL AREAS; FAILED TO UPHOLD INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY. FAILURE OF THE OIC CAN BE ATTRIBUTED TO ONE SINGLE REASON; THE ISLAMIC WORLD WAS RULED BY LEADERS WHO COULD NOT SEE BEYOND THEIR NOSES AND WHO PLAYED GAMES WITH THEIR PEOPLE, EITHER ON THEIR OWN OR ON BEHEST OF OTHER POWERS AND BROUGHT UNIMAGINABLE MISERIES TO THE MUSLIM NATIONS AND REST OF THE WORLD.”