By Najeeb Kakar
In international system, nation-states interact with one another on the basis of their shared interests but the divergence of interests make them bitter enemies. A classical realist, Hans J. Morgenthau’s view is that conflicts are an integral part of international politics. According to him, the international system is anarchic in nature: the state is a rational actor, it vies and fights for power, and “human nature is self-seeking, self-interested and power-loving.” Moreover, small powers often form alliances to maintain a balance of power, when there is a huge threat to their security and survival.
The question that comes to mind is that, whether it is really a counterterrorism alliance or a defensive body that tries to maintain the balance of power in the Middle East. It doesn’t look likely so. In other words, there is a huge difference between its rhetoric and objectives.
The answers to these apparently complex questions are palpable. Ironically, IMA is not a counterterrorism alliance; rather, it aims at checking Iran’s dominant position in the Middle East. It transmits the policy of division and containment towards Iran. If Iran is not kept in check and left unbridled, it becomes more powerful in the region. A Saudi Arabian approach. Therefore, it tries to contain Iran through thick and thin.
However, another question comes to mind; why Shia-Sunni dichotomy and the containment of Iran are its main objectives? It is quite obvious. Iran is trying to maintain Shia Crescent and protects the Middle East from Balkanization. Conversely, Israel, UK and America are trying to break Shia Crescent and Balkanize the region. For this purpose, first, they patronage Islamic State (IS) and now IMA under the command of KSA to sabotage Iran’s agenda.
Besides this, IMA is neither defensive nor maintaining balance of power. In fact, it is offensive in nature. Initially, it pledged to fight against militancy, terrorism and extremism but now its malign purpose has come out to surface by squarely threatening Iran and its Shia allies in the region. This is quite apparent. IMA suits the interests of big powers and supporting Anglo-Zionist lobby in the region. Its so-called rhetoric of countering Islamic militancy was purely an instrument of uniting Muslim world to form a “dangerous alliance.”
The IMA — an Arab Nato — is purely an Iran-centric. It holds the seeds of hatred and sectarianism. It merely creates Shia Sunni divide and regional imbalance in the Middle East. American President Donald Trump declared “Iran as the gravity of terrorism.” He further said, “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fuelled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.”
Only Iran is not responsible for the destruction, pandemonium and violence in these states. America, Saudi Arabia and Israel are equally involved in the damages and horror that are inflicted upon the hapless inhabitants of this region. Logically speaking, Shia-Sunni split is the central motive of this so-called Saudi-American-Israeli instrument. Saudi Arabia and other 40 Muslim states play marionette role in the region against Shia kingdom in order to secure the interests of Anglo-Zionists.
However, it seems two camp struggle, KSA and its allies while Iran and its allies. KSA formed its NATO and Iran may be looking to form its WARSAW. The situation is somewhat like of the Cold War. Cold War struggle was between capitalist America and the then communist USSR (Russia) while this struggle for power is between autocratic Saudi Arabia and revolutionary Iran. They are trying to dominate the region through proxies.
Moreover, KSA and Israel are trying to thwart Iran’s nuclear program with the help of IMA and Trump administration. These powers don’t want Iran to become the only powerful state in the region; because if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it would be a formidable threat to their interests in the Middle East. For that reason, they use iron-fisted policies to counter Iran and control the region.
Pakistan, meanwhile, has some urgent concerns to remain neutral in the Middle East and Gulf crisis, especially between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
1) Pakistan needs to show utter neutrality in the Saudi-Iran conflict because it is equally a vendetta for regional influence.
2) Realistically speaking, Saudi Arabia serves the interests of powerful states in this hapless region. This dangerous alliance is purely “Saudi-American-Israeli instrument pointed out Iran.” So, Pakistan should be very cautious in order to eschew serving the interests of others.
3) In international politics, “one can change one’s friends, but not neighbours.” Iran is Pakistan’s immediate neighbour; the two countries enjoy cordial relations and share cultural ties. Pakistan does not afford hostile relations with Iran; because for a peaceful and successful completion of CPEC project, Iran’s positive role is having a paramount importance in order to counter big-powers diplomacy.
4) Pakistan is the key actor in international politics. For taking KSA’s side brings Pakistan only bad reputation, as the so-called American “war on terror” has given Pakistan a bad reputation in international politics.
5) It is not ours’ war. It is a war between Middle Eastern powers for regional influence. It won’t give us benefits but it gives us a bad name in the comity of nations.
Pakistan is itself entangled by multiple problems, ranging from national disintegration, energy crisis, overpopulation, massive corruption, political instability, sectarian violence to violent terrorism. So, it needs to solve its own matters and get rid of their menace. It is a high time to deal with terrorism that has destroyed the fabric of Pakistani society. The General — if enthusiastic — should fight militancy at home. We are more affected by terrorism than Saudi monarchs.
Najeeb Kakar is a journalist and contributing writer at The Huffington Post and The Diplomat with an interest in religion, history and foreign policy of major powers, based in Islamabad. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow him on Twitter@najeebkakar19 and Facebook.