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Winds of anarchy and chaos in Middle East



None, I am sure, foresaw such an ugly demise of a movement which promised to change the Arab world. They in the West and in the United States endearingly called it Arab Spring and forebode that it would redeem the Arabs of authoritarianism they have always been forced to live with.

In three years the movement — quite proving the Westerners and Americans wrong — has not only died bringing back the old wine of authoritarianism in a new bottle in Egypt, but has also transformed itself into a catalyst of chaos and utter anarchy. Worst, it has resurrected a monster which now threatens the wider world and human civilisation.

A clash of civilisation is in offing, nay under way from Nigeria to Iraq. Across this vast swath of
land, covering most of the Arab domain, a new phase of politics, conflict and existence is fast unfolding phasing out traditional rivalries and ending conflicts between nation states.

The crystallizing new phase of existence in this swath of land underscores end of history and the growth of a virulent religious extremism, intolerance and fanaticism.

In this changing scenario conservative political scientist Professor Samuel Phillips Huntington hypothesises that the fundamental source of conflict will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.

To this I would like to add religion as not just another but as the most important reason of conflict. If not in all of the world but certainly in the Arab and Muslim domains the conflicts will be among "groups of different civilisations. The clash of civilisations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilisations will be the battle lines of the future."

The First World War ended a phase of global politics marked by conflicts between princes and kings and gave birth to conflicts between nations. We in the post Bolshevik Revolution period saw emergence of a fresh phase of global politics which culminated in World War II — conflict of ideologies. Communism, Socialism, Nazism, Fascism and Capitalism clashed head on polarising the global perspectives and viewpoints.

And "during the Cold War, as says Professor Huntington, this latter conflict became embodied in the struggle between the two superpowers, neither of which was a nation state in the classical European sense and each of which defined its identity in terms of its ideology."

What is emerging in the region stretching between Nigeria and Iraq is a complete new and dangerous type of conflict threatening the world, especially the Muslims and the Arabs which in future will both redefine and reshape Islamic civilisation. Fanatical dogmatism and imposition of brute force have already unleashed a vicious conflict primarily to establish religious and sectarian supremacy.

As religious and sectarian identities are now becoming more important for existence in Arab world clash between and among civilisations will turn more frequent and necessary in future. This emerging new chapter of conflict has already sucked the United States and Britain into it with likelihood of more European powers being drawn in. On the other side we have Isis, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and its numerous affiliates wreaking havoc in Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, Mali, Niger and elsewhere in the Arabian Peninsula.
The battle lines of this crystallising new conflict or the conflict of civilisation in Arab world have already been drawn.

America's declaration of war against Isis and its decision not to allow the so-called "Caliphate" to continue mark the beginning of the new conflict which to its rudiment isn't only to save and protect the minorities but is civilisational aimed at bringing back the conflicts of ideologies and economy.

I have lately been asked by many how I view the conflict brewing in Ukraine. Isn't it potent with dangers to grow into a global conflagration or at least a regional clash in Europe? Well, I look at it as an isolated instance of ideological collision which will develop neither into a global nor European conflict.

In its importance Washington's decision to go into war with Isis is far more significant than the on-going conflict in Ukraine and US-Russian interferences there. I strongly feel that the United State's war with Isis, its drone operations in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere in the lawless Horn of Africa mark the final phase of conflict of our civilisation.

This is a war, I believe, will dominate the global agenda and politics for long, in fact, longer that the Cold War; a war which in essence is not to contain or end terrorism but to restore traditional civilisational orders — rivalries between nation states and conflicts of ideologies and economy.

Our civilisation has never been in need of replacing ethnic, cultural and religious identities with ideological identities. The inter-group (cultural), inter-ethnicity and inter-religion rivalries need to be stopped in the greater interest of human civilisation.

Never has our civilisation been more in need of a common value. Beheading people of other civilisations and forcible conversion are the last actions that will enrich us. Such actions ought not to be only condemned but also be fought to restore the traditional orders of peace and conflicts which have equally held the balance of our civilisation.

The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.


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Reader Comments




a very apt analysis of current situation....right on the button! attitude to world affairs is driven by selfish motives....there is no more spontaneous empathy, it has become conditional...very very sad indeed!




Reading the article, I feel sad that the word civilization has lost its meaning and replaced by religious atrocities. The word humanity and culture has become meaningless and replaced by genocide and brutality.

When all religions are supposed to be preaching love, kindness to fellow beings, what we see is the exact opposite. To put it bluntly, religion is totally misused to cultivate hatred among humans. Is that what the holy books tell us? NO.

Consider a world where we treat our fellow human beings with love and kindness and where there is no War. Consider a world where money is used for the right causes, like eliminating deadly diseases like Ebola or feeding the poor selflessly.

Remember this. We have only World to live. If the world cease to exist, there will be no humans, there will be no religion or any God to pray to. We still have enough time to save our precious World.