Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Thursday, April 2, 2020 06:21:33 PM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Geopolitics Get Influenced For ME Conflict

By
14th-Jan-2020       
Share
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Save
  • E-mail
  • Print
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Muhammad Amir Rana :
The most significant strategic dimension of the Middle Eastern conflict is linked to the region's sectarian mire and its political manifestations, including violent ones. Though not a party to it, Pakistan feels the heat of the conflict, mainly in terms of how to adopt a neutral position to impede its sectarian consequences at home.
In a diverse and politically-charged religious landscape, it has always been a challenge for the country to maintain sectarian harmony during times of conflict in the Middle East. The fear of sectarian outburst limits Pakistan's strategic choices, thus cautioning it from taking outright sides. That is despite the fact that Pakistan has invested a lot in the Middle East in pursuit of its Muslim identity and in order to gain geostrategic, diplomatic and economic support from the region. Though it has gained some economic advantages out of this, it may come with a political cost.
The assassination of the Iranian top commander Qassem Soleimani by the US military has once again put Pakistan to the challenge of holding a neutral position. For the moment, the country has successfully conveyed its message of upholding neutrality, but the challenge will become increasingly cumbersome if the ongoing US-Iran tension escalates into an all-out war.
The so-called Muslim world is not coherent in terms of social, cultural and intellectual trends - and rightly so - because it is diverse in all these terms, but is affected by political developments in the Middle East. In fact, a political change in the region alerts the Muslim-majority countries and societies to its likely impact in the forms of religious radicalism and sectarian divide. It also adds weight to the argument that extremism is a political phenomenon, which feeds on religious sentiments. It is ironic that Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran, have deepened their political influences in Muslim societies on sectarian lines and also support their proxies there. These proxies promote the interests of these states by exploiting the sectarian sentiments of the masses. They not only divide societies along narrow religious and sectarian lines, but also promote intolerance against religious minorities and cultivate conspiratorial mindsets.
For Pakistan, tensions in the Middle East become more crucial because of its geographical position and strong military credentials.
Iran remains suspicious that, in case of any significant conflict with the US or its allies in the Middle East, Pakistan may choose an opposite side. Iran has nurtured its influence in Pakistan not only on sectarian lines but also by capturing the energy market in Balochistan and adjacent districts of Sindh and south Punjab. Balochistan largely depends on illegal and legal oil supplies from Iran; several other products ranging from grocery to construction materials also come from Iran. The whole paraphernalia of the informal economy flourishes because of weak economic structures and governance. Recently, Iran has made some inroads into Pakistani Baloch separatist groups, which has increased its bargaining position to balance its political relations with Pakistan.
Iran is not the only country to use such tactics to create a political balance with Pakistan. Saudi Arabia and its close allies also use financial and economic incentives to win the country's political support. The only difference is the modus operandi; Iran cannot offer cash to Pakistan, which Pakistan's economy needs the most, but it has found alternative ways to gain economic and political leverage.
As far as proxies are concerned, Middle Eastern and South Asian states have mastered this strategy and nurtured their 'assets' on the basis of a strategic notion that proxies are the cheapest alternatives available to politically weak states. However, sectarian proxies are extremely lethal, and Pakistan has suffered a lot at the hands of such proxy wars fought by rival Middle Eastern states. Even in 2019, when overall terrorism-related incidents were on the decline, there were 14 sectarian-related attacks (some of them high impact) that took place.
Pakistan maintained its historically neutral posture when it decided not to send its troops to aid the Saudis in Yemen. Nevertheless, Pakistan has found other ways to support its Middle Eastern ally, mainly in military and political terms. Retired Gen Raheel Sharif's presence in Riyadh is an indication of Pakistan's strategic priority. Similarly, Prime Minister Imran Khan induced embarrassment in declining the invitation to attend the recent Kuala Lumpur summit - which he himself proposed - to please Riyadh.
Yet Pakistan cannot complicate its relationship with Iran by becoming party in a Middle Eastern conflict, mainly because of its geopolitical proximity with Iran and the fear of sectarian discord and violence. Some would argue that Pakistan's position vis-à-vis Iran and Saudi Arabia cannot be called an absolute neutral position. Yet, most hold that this posture of neutrality has significance in political and diplomatic terms.
Pakistan has its own geopolitical and economic challenges, with India-held Kashmir and Afghanistan being at the top. It is trying to gain the international community's political and diplomatic support through its renewed approach towards the Afghan reconciliation process, which is crucial for its economy as well as its stance on Kashmir. Interestingly, Pakistan failed to get full support from its Arab friends after India revoked the special status of held Kashmir. The Arabs, especially Saudi Arabia and UAE, showed a pragmatic approach, but they would always expect unconditional support from Pakistan whenever required.
Arguably, a financially stable Pakistan would have more freedom to prioritise its strategic interests. But the country also needs to prioritise dealing with its challenges of sectarian divisions, intolerance and extremism. It is imperative not only to improve social cohesion in the polity, but also to come out of the geopolitical trap of the Arabs and Iran. It will, however, require regulating financial flows of religious institutions in the country and adopting a zero-tolerance approach against groups that exploit sectarian sensitivities for the political purposes of 'others'.

(Muhammad Amir Rana, security analyst, writes for The Dawn)

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Business & Economy »

M. Reazul Karim, Managing Director of Premier Bank Limited, handing over a cheque of Tk. 5 crore to the Prime Minister's relief fund to combat the spreading of Covid-19 to Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary of Prime Minister at PMO recently. Syed Nowsher Ali, DMD of the bank, was also present.


Sports »

Cooler tone in new US Soccer women`s equal pay filings


Women players suing US Soccer say in court documents filed Tuesday that the federation has acknowledged the jobs of men and women footballers require equal skill.The language seemed to signal a decrease in tension between the parties after language in documents filed by federation lawyers earlier in March provoked widespread ...

Sports »

Former Marseille president Pape Diouf dies after contracting coronavirus


BBC Online :Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died aged 68 after contracting coronavirus, the club have announced.The Senegalese was president between 2005 and 2009 when Marseille finished second in Ligue 1 twice and reached two French Cup finals.They went on to win a first French league title in 18 ...

Editorial »

Sale of OMS rice to marginal people


THE government is going to launch a special open market sale (OMS) of coarse rice at Tk 10 per kg in all city corporation areas to ensure food for the urban poor amid the countrywide public holiday for coronavirus. The shutdown is being enforced as part of the efforts to ...

City »

Law-enforcers awarding punishment to someone keeping them in standing position for roaming on the streets unnecessarily. The snap was taken from the city's Dholaikhal Natun Rasta Intersection on Wednesday.


Editorial »

Destitute children are extremely vulnerable to deadly coronavirus


AS the coronavirus gains a foothold in the country, the increasing vulnerability of millions of orphaned and destitute children remains largely unaddressed. There are around 4,400,000 orphaned children in Bangladesh. However, the government's department of social services knows of around 2, 00,000 kids who live in 85 government-run children's homes ...

Sports »

Benzema makes unflattering comparison between him and Giroud


AP, Paris :Karim Benzema made an unflattering comment about fellow forward Olivier Giroud, comparing himself to a Formula One car and his former France teammate to a go-kart.Benzema has nearly 250 goals for Real Madrid and won four Champions League titles. He was holding a live chat session on his ...

Sports »

Lancashire chairman David Hodgkiss dies due to coronavirus


LANS :Lancashire Cricket Club chairman David Hodgkiss has died after contracting coronavirus. He was 71.Hodgkiss, who had been on the board at Emirate Old Trafford for 22 years, is understood to have had underlying health issues, reports ESPNcricinfo. He had first joined in 1998 and took over as chairman in ...

Business & Economy »

Md Farid Khan, Vice-Chairman of Summit Group of Companies, handing over a cheque of Tk 3cr to Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to help daily wage earners at the PM Office on Sunday.


.

City »

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaking with field level officials through video conferencing from Ganobhaban on Tuesday with a view to coordinating ongoing activities to prevent coronavirus.


.

Editorial »

Rich people are ready to come to people`s help


COUNTRY'S leading business conglomerate Bashundhara Group has submitted a proposal to Prime Minister to build a 5,000-bed hospital to treat the coronavirus patients. The Group wanted to convert its four convention centres and a trade centre in capital's Kuril area into a hospital which could be ready within a week ...

Business & Economy »

Huawei donated AI solution to BD to combat COVID-19


Business Desk :Huawei Technologies (Bangladesh) Limited donated the video conference systems and AI solution to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare aimed to help the fight of people of Bangladesh against COVID-19. This aid will support the ministry in providing multi-collaboration, remote communication and efficient screening.Zhang Zhengjun, the CEO ...

Sports »

Xavi wants `total harmony` to return to Barcelona as coach


Xavi Hernandez has reiterated his desire to coach Barcelona in the future but suggests he will not return until a different board brings a new sense of direction to the club.Hernandez is in charge of Al-Sadd in Qatar and turned down an approach in January after Barca sacked Ernesto Valverde, ...

Sports »

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to open July 23 next year


The Tokyo Olympics will begin on July 23 next year, organisers said on Monday, after the coronavirus forced the historic decision to postpone the Games until 2021.The announcement comes less than a week after the organisers were forced to delay the Games under heavy pressure from athletes and sports federations ...

City »

DC of DMP(Gulshan Division) Sudeep Chakravarty distributing food among the destitute on behalf of DMP Commissioner in Gulshan area in the city on Monday.


 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news