Trump, the Islamic Alliance and Pakistan

Reuters photo

 

By

Imad Zafar

 

Change is the only law of nature that is and will always be constant. Civilizations can never be made stagnant nor can they be imprisoned in a certain period or specific time. Ideologies and patterns of thinking in civilizations always change with the shift in balance of power.

Saudi Arabia, an important ally of the United States and equally important player in the global establishment, is finally learning this law and lesson of change. Slowly but gradually it is withdrawing the restrictions from its society. American President Donald Trump was greeted in an unprecedented way in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, addressing the summit for a united front of 55 Islamic countries and, like his predecessors, put his weight behind the Saudi Arabian monarchs by criticizing Iran for its role in promoting extremism in the Muslim world.

 

Trump’s criticism of Bashar al-Assad was a message to Russia, in addition to the fact that the Pentagon is not going to relax its position on Trump in normalizing relations with USSR. This means that the U.S. and Saudi alliance will become much stronger in future and will likely result in more proxy wars within the Muslim states. Saudi Arabia and Iran are both traditionally involved in sectarianism and waging proxy wars against each other, but Saudi Arabia, being an old ally of the U.S., is often forgiven for nurturing extremism in different Muslim countries while Iran, being an ally of USSR, has to face criticism from the U.S. all the time.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia are equally responsible for spreading hatred and sectarianism in Muslim countries. Saudi monarchs have the “Muslim Ummah” (Muslim nationhood) card by which they exploit Sunni dominant countries which makes them an important player in the U.S. faction of global establishment, while Iran has the “Shia” card up its sleeve through which it exploits the Shia dominant countries, making Iran an important player in the USSR led faction of the lobal establishment. Therefore, both Saudi Arabia and Iran have somehow become part of the global establishment at the expense of other Muslim countries. In this situation, where does Pakistan stand? It does not need any rocket science to answer this question. Gulf countries usually require a large number of laborers who can do hard work and we have provided them with this labor force since the 1970s.

 

Likewise when the global establishment needs a labor force to fight or wage its wars we are always there to render our services. We did it in the 1980s when during the Cold War period a proxy war of USSR and the U.S. resulted in USSR occupying Afghanistan and, after getting money from from U.S. and Saudi Arabia, we waged a Jihad against Afghanistan in the name of saving Muslim Ummah. The Riyals and Dollars sponsored Jihad ended in USSR’s defeat in Afghanistan and through this we earned billions of dollars and riyals, but the cost of upto now is being paid by the generations in Pakistan. This new alliance of Muslim countries again will protect the global establishment’s interest and will give us dollars and riyals but its price too will be paid, again by the generations to come.

But somehow the policy makers in Pakistan and other Muslim countries are not ready to learn from past mistakes. The ‘Muslim Ummah’ concept seems so fascinating and romantic that it is very easy for the policy makers in Muslim countries to sell this non-existent theory. In the name of Muslim Ummah and conspiracies against this self-proclaimed Ummah give birth to sectarianism, Jihadists and extremists that eventually results in destroying each other’s country in the name of religion or protecting sects. Generations grown under the influence of this propaganda of Muslim Ummah still believe that this is right and buy this same propaganda again and again. The slogan ‘Amreeka ka jo yaar hay ghadar hay’, (U.S. friend is a traitor’) still attracts millions in Pakistan and around other less developed Muslim countries. No one even bothers to think whether or not this slogan is true and that if the friends of the United States are traitors, then Saudi Arabia and Pakistan being the old friends and allies of the U.S. are not traitors according to this slogan?

The creation of the block of 55 Islamic countries, made to protect Muslim Ummah, actually raises further questions; why do Muslim countries only create blocks and alliances to wage wars, and why cannot an alliance of Muslim countries be formed to make schools universities, research and technology centers in the Muslim world instead? There is a saying that your priorities determine your journey to success. If priorities are only to prove each other wrong or to become the most valuable clients of the weapons industry then as a result one cannot expect the birth of scientists, researchers or inventors in Muslim societies, one can only expect the birth of brainwashed people who love to wage wars against each other in the name of sects, and who love to become suicide bombers for the sake of imposing their religious or ideological beliefs.

 

If weapons were the only thing needed to rule the world then USSR would never have broken, North Korea perhaps ruling the world in this case. Weapons can be used to threaten or attack weak and exploitative countries like Afghanistan or Syria but are of no use against any country that has significance in the world. China is slowly becoming another world power and are doing so with the help of economy and technology, not with weapons. Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are somehow related to the two different factions of the global establishment and are enjoying the benefits of being an important player within this. It is time now for both the public and rulers in Pakistan to think how long we will live under the ideological slavery created on beliefs and the blind following of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both these countries have given birth to sectarianism and extremism in our society.

 

We have had a very good relationship with the United States from the day of our creation, the U.S. having always lent support to us on economic grounds as well as helping us silently on diplomatic fronts. Yes they used us against USSR but we choose to be on their side by deciding ourselves. Had it not been a silent support from the U.S. on the China-Pakistn Economic Corridor, (CPEC), project we would not have been able to initiate this due to the annoyance of a few Gulf States as they fear that CPEC will ultimately turn Gwadar into an international Port that will eventually hurt their economy. So if it is always the U.S. who lends us support, whether in Kargil or in putting pressure on international financial institutions to facilitate loans on relaxed conditions, then why should we as a nation not stop this hypocritical approach and double standards behavior of nurturing hatred against the U.S. and other countries of the west?

Why should we not start to discourage the mentality of sloganeering like ‘America’s friend is a traitor’, why should we not stop teaching kids that no Muslims can ever be our friends while on the other hand an atheist dominated China helping us through CPEC is being called our all-time friend; if a conservative country like Saudi Arabia is starting to quit its conservative and double standard approach in order to move on with the civilized world then why not we? Why can we not host the U.S. President Donald Trump in the same way as he was hosted in Saudi Arabia? In the global power chess board every player makes his move according to his status and ability. If Saudi Arabia and Iran are free to make their moves then we too should make our moves independently without being under the influence of both these countries.

 

We need to get rid of the fake concept of the Muslim Ummah that is actually not present anywhere. In the world of diplomacy there are no permanent friends nor are there any permanent enemies, the global establishment being run on the same principal. So, if instead of teaching our kids in text books about the non-existent Muslim Ummah and false history, we can teach them that there is a relation of interests that actually determines the relationships of the country, perhaps our future generations will be able to see and judge the world more objectively and without any prejudice.

Trump may be hated in Pakistan and other Muslim countries but the way he is dealing with the Muslim and especially Gulf block is good for his country, actuallty making the U.S. alliance with the Gulf States stronger in order to get results for that country. It is time now for Pakistan to instead of becoming a pawn on the global chess board, to become a player in this chess board. It can only happen if the use of slogans and hatred based ideologies towards the world are stopped and each and every person in the country, instead of taking sides with Saudi Arabia and Iran, takes the side of their own country.

 

 

 

 

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar

Imad Zafar is a journalist based in Lahore. He is a regular Columnist/Commentator in newspapers. He is associated with TV channels, radio, newspapers, news agencies, political, policies and media related think tanks.

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