By Imran Malik
Serious introspection is warranted by the Muslim Ummah as its inherent weaknesses and the complexities of Realpolitik have literally rendered it irrelevant to issues of geopolitical import, like Palestine and Kashmir. Islam, its only unifying factor, is fast becoming superfluous to the self-serving national interests of some Muslim countries. It lacks leaders of international stature, presence and influence and thus garners scant respect as a meaningful global player. Its enormous economic, military, political, diplomatic and human resource potentials are too dissipated in thought and purpose to make it a unified, influential world power. Its internecine divisions have allowed the exploitative and opportunistic US-led West and its allies to continuously "divide and rule the Muslims".
What has caused this diminution of the Ummah's international stature and clout?
The post-World War 1 era saw the demise of the Caliphate (Armistice of Mudros and the military occupation of Constantinople, October 1918; Treaty of Versailles, 1919) and the fragmentation of the Ottoman Empire into numerous small, manageable fiefdoms (Treaty of Sevres, August 1920). In 1924 Mustafa Kemal Ataturk formally abolished the Caliphate transferring its powers to Turkey's National Assembly. The European victors, in the meantime, redrew their respective spheres of influence and retained decisive and exploitative control on all these newly emerging countries of the erstwhile Ottoman Empire. The Ummah got further fractured and splintered as it no longer had a central authority/Caliph to look up to. Leaderless, it gradually lost its collectivism, cohesiveness and clout till it was reduced to its present-day status of an impotent and inconsequential bystander at the regional and global levels. The US-led West then went about systematically building up Israel as its unchallenged representative/hegemon in the Greater Middle East Region, (GMER), neutralizing piecemeal, the bits and pieces of the erstwhile Ottoman Empire, selectively through wars, peace agreements and rank exploitative patronage of some key monarchies/royal families.
The last time the Ummah showed some strong unified presence was at the 1974 Lahore Islamic Summit. This was in the wake of the 1971 Indo-Pak and the 1973 Arab-Israel wars. The Arabs led superbly by King Faisal were set to play the "oil card" which was to transform the world economy forever. The degeneration thereafter was palpable as it was consummated through the brutal assassination of King Faisal of KSA, the hanging of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan, the removal of the Shah of Iran, the assassination of President Anwar Sadaat of Egypt amongst other contributing factors. The Muslim Ummah was thus decapitated, conclusively throttling its resurgence for good.
From the occupation of Palestine, the Arab-Israel Wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 to the notorious bilateral wars, the infamous Arab Spring and the numerous invasions of Muslim states in the GMER and South-Central Asian Region and especially now the Indian annexation of Kashmir, there has been a very distinct and seemingly irretrievable attenuation of the Ummah's political, economic, diplomatic and military clout. It's appeasement of and spineless capitulation to the US-led West (and India?) is
profoundly unnecessary and deplorable. The crass commercial and economic interests of some Muslim countries have apparently trumped the virtues and advantages of Muslim unity. The Ummah is clearly a house divided in itself on petty political, religious, sectarian and economic grounds. Realpolitik, is thus taking its fatal toll on it. Its deathly silence on Palestine and now Kashmir is deafening in its impact. The Organisation of Islamic Countries, (OIC), its ostensible mouthpiece, aptly reflects its current moribund existence; stark impotency, rank ineffectiveness and abject uselessness.
Today, the Ummah does not exist in any tangible or influential form, shape or dimension. The West has prevailed, eventually!
Palestine and Kashmir have suffered the most from this largely self-inflicted malaise. Whereas Palestine is already degraded and lost to the world as an inconsequential tiff between Israel and the "terrorist groups" Hamas-Hizbullah now, Indian attempts to similarly belittle and denigrate the Kashmir issue continue. The Indians have variously addressed it as a commitment to the UNSC Resolutions, as a bilateral issue (Shimla Agreement) with Pakistan and now as its internal matter. They need more clarity and consistency in their approach to Kashmir and related international obligations. Regardless, India remains callously oblivious to the critical strategic implications of its actions in Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K) - where the interests of not two but three (China included) of the world's strongest nuclear and military powers, now ominously clash! Thus, India's senseless aping of Israel's Palestine model in IOJ&K is totally misplaced in time, space and the obtaining strategic environment. Unlike Palestine where Israel has nuclear exclusivity, overwhelming military superiority and arrogant freedom of action, Kashmir is a war zone where a balance of nuclear terror exists. India needs to understand this subtle difference, find a more original approach and get a genuine reality check. Nuclear Pakistan's obligation to the Kashmiris' Right to Self Determination remains meaningful, unwavering, unequivocal and relentless. Furthermore, the world has not readily accepted India's obscene annexation of IOJ&K or its ineffectual explanations thereafter!
The most critical and pivotal phase of the Kashmiris' struggle for their inalienable Right to Self Determination is nigh. Events post-curfew & communications blackouts will be decisive. That will be the time when the Kashmiri struggle will shoot up the escalation ladder. It will move from helplessly "waiting for the world to act", beseeching, suffering, wailing, chest beating and stone pelting in vain to a massive defiant proactive popular indigenous kinetic resistance movement to confront the Indian Occupation Forces head on. This paradigm shift in the Kashmiris' struggle is all but inevitable and will create a far more explosive strategic environment than the Indians/world expect. It will force the UNSC/Muslim Ummah/international community to stand up and be counted, intervene and obviate war in the world's most sensitive nuclear flashpoint - and deliver justice to the Kashmiris!
PM Modi, has driven himself into a strategic cul-de-sac and is short of viable options. World opinion too is perceptibly turning against him. The world looks on aghast as a cornered, bitter, and desperate PM Modi, in his delusional, racist, ultranationalist Hindutva-laced frenzy, takes the world to the brink of a veritable nuclear winter!
The author is a retired Brigadier from the Pakistan Army.