Wednesday, 25 June 2014

IRAQ CRISIS – ISIS




A lot has been said about Iraq and the prevailing crisis in the war-torn city which is on the verge of total collapse. Before talking about the main issue let's check the background first by unfolding the pages of history.
With the ascendancy of Khomeini in Iran in about 1979, USA with other western powers was adamant to install a democratic form of government (read "PUPPET GOVERNMENT") in the entire region. During the Ottoman Empire days, the region had decentralized form of governance. But with its collapse, the Middle East fell into the hands of authoritarian regimes. When Imperialism was at its peak, the colonizers who were generally unaware of the plural ethnicity present in the region divided the entire region as it did to Africa. They opened up a map and marked their sphere of influence without taking the fate of the inhabitants into consideration. Some regions saw Shia domination while other Sunni, Ba'ath and other sectarian groups.
After independence from their colonial masters, the general public again fell into the hands of the dictatorship regimes. But at least they worked for the progress and such civil wars were rare during that period. Now, in 2003, USA invaded Iraq under the false pretence that Iraq was making WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Their ulterior motive was to destabilize the region for oil wells and end the reign of Saddam Hussein. After a fierce hunt for about a decade, they finally ruthlessly gunned down Hussein. And after much destruction of the country they were successful in installing a 'puppet government' under the Shia leadership and left with the entire band of troops in 2011. Although Iraq has Shia majority but during the reign of Saddam Hussein (who was a Sunni), priority was given to the minority Sunnis. When the Maliki leadership held the reigns, they started discrimination by giving powerful positions to Shia majority. This created angst amongst the Sunni population who held the privileged status during the Hussein’s regime.
In this backdrop ISIS - ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ & SYRIA, an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda came to the fore. Their main aim is to establish a hardliner Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. The larger conflict between the Shias and the Sunnis sustain ISIS. The radical Sunni group has support of former Ba'athist, leftist and other related groups. It is a pluralist urban revolt and a strong reaction against discontent and discrimination. Since the entire Middle East has no national identity and inhabitants face citizenship crisis, there is a lack of inclusive development. That is why the nation-building process is based on religion and is developed on sectarian identity. They wanted to go back in the glorious Caliphate era but with discrimination at different levels.
The USA which was earlier enmeshed in the affairs of Iraq now does not want to intervene. This could be attributed to the fact that USA now has become energy sufficient with the revolutionising of shale gas technology. So, USA now see no profit motive using drone attacks as it did in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. On the other hand, Iran is fighting on the Iraqi government side as Iranian government too is Shia and Iran does not want Sunni Islamist rebels to topple a “friendly Shia government”. Therefore, USA and IRAN, the erstwhile enemies which were at odds over the latter’s Nuclear Programme, has started backdoor diplomacy. This could result in imposition of US Sanctions on Iraq with Iranian military presence on the soil of Iraq.
Also, with repeated failed attempts for a regime change in Syria, Ukraine crisis and the popularity of the multipolar platforms such as that of BRICS, USA is becoming frantic to retain its status as World Power. In pursuance of this hegemonic aim, USA will go to any extent and with Russia and China backing each other and vetoing resolutions at UN has engulfed the world in some sort of foreseeable crisis. Is this the beginning of “New Cold War” like situation?

India will also be engulfed in this crisis. As an oil hungry nation and Iraq being the second largest supplier of crude oil, the crisis impact could be definitely seen on India's budget which would be presented on 10th of July. (The fall in Sensex was a reaction to the Iraq upheaval and there is certainty of rise in petroleum products). Therefore, in such trying circumstances, the need of the hour is to expand its area of procurement and should extensively open up to other nations such as China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and other Central Asian countries.
* USA calls the region as Middle East and India West Asia.
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