Spec­tre of nu­clear ter­ror

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Umar Waqar Email:yal­lau­mar12345@gmail.com

THERE is no doubt that if these mad men ever got their hands on a nu­clear bomb or nu­clear ma­te­rial, they would cer­tainly use it to kill as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble,” Pres­i­dent Obama. The fourth Nu­clear Se­cu­rity Sum­mit headed by Pres­i­dent Obama ended with an­nounce­ment of fol­low­ing ob­jec­tives: Evolv­ing threat and steps that can be taken to­gether to min­i­mize the use of highly-en­riched ura­nium, counter nu­clear smug­gling and de­ter and dis­rupt at­tempts at nu­clear ter­ror­ism. The global ef­fort re­quired to pre­vent nu­clear ter­ror­ism.

The ur­gency of the sum­mit can be dis­cerned from the fact that Pres­i­dent Obama wanted to leave a legacy of do­ing sub­stan­tial work in the field of Nu­clear Safety against threat of nu­clear ter­ror­ism. Is it the guilt of desta­bi­liz­ing the Mid­dle East or some­thing al­ready fore­seen by the US es­tab­lish­ment? Mean­while chang­ing land­scape of the Mid­dle East has al­lowed ISIS to ex­pand her op­er­a­tions, it seems to be op­er­at­ing in Ara­bian Penin­sula, Horn of Africa, North Africa and even into main­land Europe.

As the strate­gic chaos in Mid­dle East and North Africa (MENA) re­gion cul­mi­nates into more ugly and ruth­less do­main, the Is­lamic World and her lead­er­ship re­mains obliv­i­ous to the spec­tre of Nu­clear Holo­caust. Re­cent me­dia chat­ter on pos­si­bil­ity of Nu­clear weapons fall­ing into the hands of Is­lamic State were brushed aside by main­stream me­dia in Pak­istan and Mid­dle East, how­ever a deep in­sight into pro­jec­tions of tra­jec­to­ries of the con­flict in the MENA re­gion, tells an­other story.

MENA re­gion stands on the brink of a nu­clear holo­caust be­cause of fol­low­ing rea­sons: One, the Iraqi test lab un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the West and be­cause of self­ish mo­tives of the states in MENA has un­cov­ered the ugly head of sec­tar­i­an­ism with Shias and Sun­nis on each other’s throat; sec­tar­i­an­ism has en­tered the new phase of ‘I will kill you be­cause you are..’ and it is very simple. Two, cre­ation of en­ti­ties like ISIS in the vac­uum left by loss of state au­thor­ity in Iraq, Syria and Ye­men has made vast ex­panses of spa­ces and de­mo­graphic units un­govern­able. If we com­bine these non-gov­ern­able ar­eas from Libya and Syria to Ye­men and Iraq, we can eas­ily form a Disunited States of Ara­bia (DSA) of more than 40 mil­lion peo­ple

Three, the two poles of schism in Is­lamic World, Iran and KSA have nei­ther re­al­ized the pos­si­bil­ity of a nu­clear holo­caust nor made any ef­fort to stop the mad­ness of sec­tar­i­an­ism. Four, the or­ga­ni­za­tions of col­lec­tive ac­tion within Is­lamic World like OIC, GCC and the Arab League etc, have no ca­pac­ity to stop the mad­ness. De­spite re­cent ini­tia­tive by Pak­istani politico mil­i­tary lead­er­ship to cool the tem­per­a­tures in the Iran-KSA ten­sion, the lead­er­ship in the re­gions ap­pears to be mired in point scor­ing. Even the re­cently held OIC Sum­mit in Turkey could not re­solve the teething prob­lems faced by a di­vided Is­lamic World.

Five, ap­a­thy to loss of life and death has crossed all lim­its, the new ‘nor­mal’ in MENA re­gion is the day when you have less than 50 deaths in con­flicts and wars. Bashar Al As­sad’s Bar­rel Bombs and be­head­ing by IS are be­com­ing the new In­fo­tain­ment with peo­ple watch­ing and shar­ing these on so­cial me­dia chan­nels with the words, RIP, and OMG, and that’s all. Is­lamic World is sit­ting on a nu­clear pow­der keg with sec­tar­i­an­ism as its adopted ide­ol­ogy. How will the sce­nario of nu­clear holo­caust play in MENA re­gion? The stage is set. I have tried to do some crys­tal ball gaz­ing and de­vel­oped two pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios for a nu­clear holo­caust in MENA re­gion.

By 2017, ISIS has be­come an ac­cept­able house­hold name in MENA re­gion and be­yond. The in­ter­na­tional me­dia had been build­ing a false story since 2015 that IS was get­ting some tech­nol­ogy from coun­tries like Pak­istan or through KSA and then the news is bro­ken on CNN, Al Jazeera and BBC that IS has fi­nally ac­quired a crude nu­clear de­vise. Mean­while Iran an­nounces that it can­not tol­er­ate IS to hold nu­clear weapons and goes nu­clear. By end of 2017, ISIS has ad­vanced over Bagh­dad and Shia com­mu­nity is mas­sa­cred in big num­bers, Iran threat­ens to re­tal­i­ate. IS or Iran take the ini­tia­tive and hit op­pos­ing ur­ban cen­tres with nukes. En­tire re­gion goes up in flames with Mus­lim coun­tries get­ting in­volved based on what sect the ma­jor­ity fol­lows. More than twenty mil­lion Mus­lims per­ish within a short span of three months and it be­comes dif­fi­cult to iden­tify who is buried in which grave.

MENA suf­fers huge eco­nomic loss, a false case is built against Pak­istan for pro­lif­er­a­tion of nukes and in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity moves in to take con­trol of Pak­istan’s nu­clear pro­gramme. Whereas the KSA and Iran avoid di­rect con­flict, the sim­mer­ing war con­tin­ues into early 2020 with IS ex­pand­ing her area into Iraq, Syria, Jor­dan and even Ye­men. Iran be­comes a de­clared nu­clear power and KSA also ac­quires nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity. IS has now a full-fledged mil­i­tary with crude nukes smug­gled by Is­rael. By March 2020, the sim­mer­ing con­flict has di­vided the Is­lamic World on sec­tar­ian grounds, Shia Cres­cent of Iran, South­ern Iraq, Western Syria and Hezbul­lah on one side and rest of MENA bar­ring IS on the other.

In one of the ter­ror­ist at­tacks within Ira­nian metropoli­tan cites, IS suc­ceeds in de­vel­op­ing a per­cep­tion that it was done on Saudi’s be­half, Iran re­tal­i­ates with strikes in the coastal re­gion of KSA and a general war com­mences be­tween Shia and Sunni Is­lam with no hold bars. Due to poor com­mand and con­trol mech­a­nisms, the wars en­ters into nu­clear do­main, to­tal cost is flat­ten­ing of the MENA re­gion and death of 100 mil­lion Mus­lims, the en­tire re­gion be­comes a caul­dron of hu­man tragedy ; how­ever the con­flict be­tween Shias and Sun­nis comes to an end as none is left to fight for an­other day.

Food for thought, can the Is­lamic World de­velop an al­ter­na­tive tra­jec­tory to avoid this nu­clear holo­caust? Do we have some sane peo­ple left who can see writ­ing on the wall and take ac­tion to stop the slide of Is­lamic world into the nu­clear hell hole? — The writer is a free­lance colum­nist based in La­hore.

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