By Haider Abbas
Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21. The 11 days war ended with 232 Palestinians casualties, including 65 children and 1900 wounded, while 12 died in Israel along with hundreds injured, tells Reuters. The truce was mediated by the long-term midwife of Israel, Egypt, but the bad omens are all around and very likely to spill out towards what may turn out to be the focal point for the third-world-war.
It may be mentioned that the primary objective of Zionism is to establish the third-temple after demolishing Al Aqsa , where the Jews believe their messiah would come to mark their supremacy in the world. In the latest conflagration, as for the Muslim world there is just a spineless surrender as no state would come forward to stop Israel in its ranks, and moreover Muslim elite has been quite rummaged that Al Aqsa would fall and later again won by Muslims! If that was the sole case then why would Salahuddin Ayyubi win it in 1187? He could have also sat in his cozy-environs, as the Arab rulers comfortably sit today.
What happened in Gaza was all in-store and only a small slice of recent events can help recollect this building scenario. On August 4, 2020, there was a devastating blast in Lebanon, which was triggered by a series of manmade miniature earthquakes orchestrated by Israel. Eminent blogger Richard Silvertein on that very day had written ‘Israel bombed Beirut’. The Arab states were stuck with further ‘shock and awe’ as they have been ‘done to’ since two decades. Only ten days later UAE, at the green signal from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) opened up to Israel embassy as a complimentary gesture to Pakistan on its independence day. Bahrain and Sudan followed suit. Israel was to soon start with its new intelligence base on Socotra Island gifted by UAE.
For Israel, the Arab states are peanuts, owing to the US sprawling influence but formalization with Pakistan, a nuclear state is what matters the most, as Pakistan was supposedly to be a stumbling block particularly when it was distancing itself from US, after US was to finally withdraw after its defeat from Afghanistan. Pakistan wanted to steer clear of KSA influence and wanted to forge an alternative Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC with Malaysia, Turkey, Iran with the help of Russia and China, but the alternative is still elusive in wilderness. OIC as a matter of fact is a shameless Khassi (impotent) organization which has never gone beyond its lip-service, the same as it did when the latest hostilities broke between Israel and Palestinians. KSA was to have readily embraced Israel had US President Donald Trump was to swear to office. Since, August last Israel has had a moon-harvest as KSA Imam of Mecca has sermonized that Jews are to be friends and there has also been almost an Israelisation of education policy in KSA too, in the last since around ten months.
How KSA was to react to Israel invasion of Al Aqsa was quite predictable but what Israel wanted to score was that Pakistan PM Imran Khan, be given a purple carpet welcome, and be present in KSA while Al Aqsa was to be raided! Imran Khan could never have been slapped so hard by a purported friendly KSA. KSA crown prince MbS it may be known is battling his alleged involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoghi and is ready to bend to any extent to please the US new President Joseph Biden. The earlier one, Donald Trump, had ‘saved his ass’ from CIA which had reported about MbS involvement. It is s foregone conclusion that once after the so-called COVID-19 ends all the 22 Arab states are to make a beeline to embrace Israel with the exception of Iran. Pakistan and Qatar are in their respective catch-22 positions.
Israel which rode on an unassailable gumption that it in invincible had to see how the cutting edge from Hamas, the armed group of Palestinians, made Israel scurry for cover, as Hamas fired more than 4000 rockets into Israel, most of them Israel neutralized by its Iron Dome technology, yet for 11 days the populace inside Israel was on tenterhooks as sirens blazed all over the country and people took to bomb shelters. The pride of Israel Shin Bet, responsible for internal-security was totally caught on nerves as riots broke inside Israel and there was a civil-war lurking inside the whole nation. The entire 1.5 million Arabs out of 9 million Israelis were ready for the street battle. Moreover, Muslims from Jordon and Lebanon thronged to Israel borders for the safeguard of Al Aqsa. Here, Mossad, the external intelligence agency of Israel was caught off-guarded.
How come Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu who was crying to continue the war for ‘as long as necessary’ became an overnight lame duck? And, US President who had pledged 735 million USD supply of weapons to Israel cried for a ceasefire? The answer lies in one of the most toughest stand taken by Russian President Vladimir Putin who called Israel ambassador Alexander Ben Zvi to Moscow on a firing-line and warned of a single more civilian death as it was Russia which had already toppled the US applecart in next door Syria to make Bassar Al Asad to continue at the helm. Syria too had fired three rockets on Israel and four were fired from Lebanon. Both Syria and Lebanon as well as Hamas have a strong Iran’s backing. Russia and Iran have been long time partners.
What was Pakistan doing? And why was Turkey in the huddle? It was Malaysia, despite Mahatir Muhammed not present, which announced to send its forces to defend Al Aqsa. Turkey’s President Erdogan, who roared like a lion after reclaiming Hagia Sophia with the retort to recover Al Aqsa could not even put a squeamish response. He had been in a dress-rehearsal to become the ‘Caliph’ after 100 years of the end of Caliphate. He had put a brave front to Greece, to France and even to Russia in the latest Azerbaijan-Armenia war but this time around he was in sheer rhetoric. The skeptics even likened him to be nominated for the best actor award at the next Oscars.
The political players, NATO, US and Israel want a Turkish-Russian war, but in fact, Russia has risen out to be a winner as it did not react when its ambassador was shot in Turkey. It did not let the temperatures rise even as Nagorno-Karabakh war was underway and acted as a supercop to forge a ceasefire. Russia has even given its most powerful S-400 to Turkey much to the consternation of US and NATO. Russia even ascribed to Turkey and Muslim sentiments when it banned Prophet of Islam cartoons inside Russia in the wake of this controversy erupting out of France in October last. The doomsayers are prophesying a war between Russia and Turkey but Russia has been instead acting like a big-brother.
But, Turkey perhaps developed its cold feet as Arab states are all aligned with Israel. It wasn’t that late when UAE had sent F-16 to help Greece fight Turkey while France had given its Rafael to Greece for free. Then, too, Russia came to the rescue of Turkey with its naval-exercises around Cyprus in East Mediterranean sea. It may therefore cannot be discounted that this time too, Russia came to the help Turkey as Turkey was engaged only in tongue-wagging against Israel. But, Iran an ally of Russia, came-out openly behind Hamas and Hezbollah to meet to Israel. Pakistan, the always rentier state, yet again proved that it is a sick-baby of KSA as it hasn’t been that late when PM Imran Khan acted a chauffeur to MbS on the latter’s visit to Pakistan-slightly after Khashoghi’s murder. This time around too he has been dangled with some carrots. The grand Islamic Military Alliance Chief Rahil Sharif is sure to have got his ‘deep-pockets’ filled by making Imran dance to KSA tunes while Palestinians were to be roasted in their furnace.
The US power is waning. It has to wane. Russia is rising and with it China too. China is looking for Arab states as ‘market’ and is set to invest 400 billion USD in Iran’s ‘military and market’ which has rankled Israel, US and India alike. Israel is exporting its technology to India to counter China and China is smarting from the way Israel ‘kicked-it-out’ from its desalination water project worth 1.5 billion USD after Mike Pompeo intervened in 2020. There may now be a new strategy to evoke selected wars like China with US & Allies in South China Sea, Turkey with Greece, India with Pakistan, Yemen and KSA, KSA with Iran and more turmoil in Afghanistan, so ease out a way for Israel to again attack Al Aqsa, but US and Israel grandiose plans right now seems to have boomeranged. During the 11 days war Biden called Netanyahu 8 times and the last was with a warning to stop and bid for ceasefire in 24 hours! But, why was Biden, the self professed Zionist so desperate? Perhaps, the answer lies that Russian forces were almost ready to attack Israel and which was to spiral into a major confrontation. This made Netanyahu numb in his knees.
Russia has developed a fantastic strategy and according to some conservative estimates Russia has around 40% Muslims in its military and before it embarked on Syria, Vladimir Putin called Islamic scholars who opined that Khawarij were fighting in Syria and were to be eliminated. Here, too Russia was expected to send its Muslims to safeguard Al Aqsa. US had to bite dust. Of late Russia has nailed US in every part of the world as it did in the latest context. But interestingly, before the war could end Iran gifted its UAV drone named ‘Gaza’ to Hamas. Israel thought that Hamas was to soon exhaust its ammunition but Hamas instead announced to fight for the next six years.
Russia and China, in the wake of this new situation, want the theatre of conflict to change from South China Sea where US and its 10 Allies are engaged with China, to Middle East, where Russia and China want to build a task force involving Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia etc to save Al Aqsa from any further attack by Israel despite Kashgar on the boil inside China. This move is likely to be thwarted by US and Israel with their all might. It can be anyone guess that Arab states would go by the side of US which is Israel by extension. Pakistan will again be in its existential crisis as it will never be able to resist kickbacks from KSA!
Back home, in the melee of Israel-Hamas conflict China took the chance to build 67 kms of road close to Arunachal Pradesh which China calls as its South Tibet. India has been taken aback as there has been quite a lot of Indo-China acrimony in the recent past. Now, India with BECA signed with US, might be ready to provide its military bases to US ‘for some specific missions’ like keeping an eye on China and particularly on Gwadar where China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is to tail-end. India might also provide its naval-bases in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to counter China in Indo-Pacific region and also to keep a check on Malaysia. US ground forces might be stationed in Kashmir too. Bangladesh, out of US pressure has already signaled to join QUAD, to the irking on China and has now just removed the ‘Israel exception’ from its passport for travelling purposes. This welcome gesture came from PM Sheikh Hasina just after Eid-ul-Fitr, informed WeeklyBlitz of Bangladesh on May 22, all the while when Israel was raining fire, death and destruction on Palestine!
A small trigger at this juncture has the capacity to unveil the great third-world-war but the establishment of State of Israel would never be completely done until its cardinal objective of making the Third-Temple on the site of Al Aqsa is completed. In India, the Supreme Court of largest democracy in the world has already gifted the Babri Masjid site to Hindus to make a Lord Rama Temple on it. No wonder, the similarities are dangerously ominous. Meanwhile, it is to be seen as to how long Netanyahu is to continue as protests against him have again broken for dragging Israel into a pointless war, something of the same kind, which happened on August 2, 2020, when thousands protested outside his residence over his involvement in corruption and two days later Lebanon was bombed!
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner in India and a political analyst.