Moving beyond Chaos

Greater Kashmir

Muslim world is in a “state of crisis”, as pointed out by Mahathir, in the recent Malasyian summit. From military and political chaos in African Muslim countries like Libya to bloody wars of Iraq, Yemen and Syria in Arab world to decades of unending destruction of Afghanistan and genocide of Rohingaya community in Asia. Muslim world is plunging into more darkness with each passing day. African countries are reeling under massive poverty despite having abundant resources which are being continuously exploited by European countries. And more misery is sure to come if things are not changed.

The Summit

Recent meet in Malaysia was an outcome of the growing frustration amongst Muslim countries which are desperately seeking a life of dignity and peace. This meet was taken as an attempt to create a new leadership parallel to the existing leadership in Muslim world. Some of the progressive and militarily more powerful Muslim countries under visionary leadership could sense an extinction of Muslim world if some strong and hard decisions were not taken immediately. Pakistan and Turkey were seen as the main players of this new parallel OIC meet with the support of Iran, Qatar and host country Malaysia. Iran is considered diplomatically, strategically and militarily powerful amongst Muslim world where as Qatar is a very resource rich country. Most of the Arab nations saw this summit as an attempt to sideline them and a try at starting a new leadership in OIC. Most of the rich Arab states refused to participate and stopped some other members from being part of it by using financial threat.

Possible Challenges

Conflict in Idlib is one of the many issues which can create hurdles and suspicion in the new alliance. This particular conflict has brought Erdogan and Assad in a face to face battle. Assad is backed by Russia and powerful Shia militia on ground supported by Iran. Now this is the time for Iran and Turkey to raise above and beyond such issues for a much larger cause. It is a known proverb that a neglected spark can burns a house. The new coalition which these members of OIC are trying to form can get a early dent if this conflict goes out of control. America and its allies will be more than willing to back Turkey in this conflict. Battle for Idlib has the capability to become the worst one in this region. During the Syrian turmoil which broke out in 2011 many Sunni Muslims, nearly 3.5 million, took refuge in Turkey. Turkey has a strong presence in the Idlib region of Syria where it intends to rehabilitate all the refugees it is currently hosting with some special provisions it demands from the Assad regime. Turkey has made it clear it has no intention of invasion and wants the Sochi agreement to be respected which addresses various angels of this issue. All the sides should rationalize and see the issue from a mature view. As the saying goes nip the evil in the bud.

Today if Russia has gained back its respect in world the credit would go majorly to its role in Syria other than annexation of Crimea. And Russia could not do what it achieved in Syria without Iranian help on ground. So if Turkey and Iran collaborate it will not only set an example for the rest of the Muslim world but can give them a negotiation power even with Russia. As Russia economy is not anywhere close to American henceforth cannot afford a long term engaging conflict.

Last week  Trump administration gave a statement that Iranian government should be thankful to Pakistani administration and specially to Imran Khan for timely intervention in support of Iran after Qassim Solemeini’s killing. Pakistan and Turkey share a very special relationship. They have even announced their intentions of dual citizenship which can take care of the foreign remittances Pakistan receives from middle eastern Arab countries through its work force which is based in this region. So Iran needs not to be apprehensive and suspicious of its brother countries.

Another issue which is worrisome for Iran is Pakistan’s support to Taliban in Afghanistan. Pakistan should also explain to Iran about how it plans to support Taliban while keeping Iran’s security and well being in consideration.