Global in­sta­bil­ity chal­lenges

Pakistan Observer - - EDITORIALS & COMMENTS - Mahrukh A Mughal

28 sub-Sa­ha­ran African states have been at war since 1980. Political cor­rup­tion, Lack of re­spect of rule of law, hu­man rights vi­o­la­tion has been the prob­lem of th­ese coun­tries. Euro­pean colo­nial­ism had also a dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on Africa. Ge­o­graph­i­cally Africa’s con­flicts are tightly clus­tered along an arc stretch­ing from North­ern Mali through South­ern Al­ge­ria and Libya into Egypt ex­tend­ing into the Si­nai Penin­sula. The Boko Haram con­flict in north eastern Nige­ria is an­other epi­cen­ter and sit­u­ated in rel­a­tive prox­im­ity to an area of con­flict hot spots in the Cen­tral African Repub­lic, Eastern Demo­cratic Repub­lic of the Congo, Bu­rundi, South Su­dan and Dar­fur.

On Africa’s eastern coast, the So­mali civil war is still go­ing strong in its third decade. The Boko Haram in­sur­gency is the dead­li­est con­flict that Africa is cur­rently ex­pe­ri­enc­ing and has now spread firmly into neigh­bor­ing Coun­tries as well. Cur­rent mil­i­tary suc­cesses in com­bat­ing the di­verse groups la­beled as Boko Haram are de­pen­dent on spend­ing bil­lions on mod­ern mil­i­tary gear that none of the coun­tries in­volved can ac­tu­ally af­ford, rid­ing all of them into se­ri­ous debt. The other in­ter­na­tion­al­ist ter­ror­ist hot spot in Africa is the Mali- Al­ge­ri­aLibya tri­an­gle.

With many groups in­clud­ing Al Qaeda in the Is­lamic Maghreb be­ing ac­tive across some of the most ar­bi­trary bor­ders in the world, th­ese con­flicts are in­ter­re­lated. But their res­o­lu­tion will still re­quire pri­mar­ily na­tional ap­proaches. Dar­fur, Su­dan and So­ma­lia have ex­pe­ri­enced an uptick in fight­ing re­cently. Al Queda and Al Shabab of­fen­sive in So­ma­lia in 2015 pushed back some of ter­ri­to­rial gains made by the gov­ern­ment over re­cent years. Al Shabab has proven to be vul­ner­a­ble to danger­ous at­tacks due to a corrupt and in­ca­pable se­cu­rity sec­tors.

The war in Syria is presently the world’s gravest, with its ef­fects stretch­ing across the re­gion and suck­ing in ma­jor pow­ers. More than a quar­ter of a mil­lion Syr­i­ans’ have been killed and al­most 11 mil­lions about half of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion dis­placed in or out­side the coun­try. The rise of the Is­lamic State, which now con­trols a large swath of eastern Syria and North West Iraq, has drawn in fire power from coun­tries in­clud­ing the United States, France, UK and Rus­sia. As yet, how­ever none of th­ese coun­tries has ar­tic­u­lated a co­her­ent strat­egy to de­feat the Is­lamic state.

Worse. Still, Moscow and western pow­ers have been work­ing at cross-pur­pose, with Russians’ jets bomb­ing anti Is­lamic state rebels that Wash­ing­ton con­sid­ers part­ners against the Ji­hadi group. Syr­ian pres­i­dent Bashar al As­sad regime con­tin­ues to use in­dis­crim­i­nate ae­rial bom­bard­ment and other meth­ods of col­lec­tive pun­ish­ment, in­flict­ing civil ca­su­al­ties in sunni ma­jor­ity ar­eas that dwarf the num­bers of vic­tims claimed by the Is­lamic State vi­o­lence. Russians in­ter­ven­tion in Syria and Is­lamic State­spon­sored ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Paris has spurred the pace of diplo­matic ac­tion. While the grow­ing in­ter­na­tion­al­iza­tion of the con­flict presents many dan­gers, It many also open pos­si­bil­i­ties for diplo­macy.

Ques­tion about As­sad’s fu­ture which pro­voke the most ve­he­ment dis­agree­ments be­tween ma­jor pow­ers on the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, ri­val re­gional pow­ers, Turkey, Saudi one side and Iran on the other side, and Syr­ian fac­tions re­main un­ad­dressed. In Iraq mean­while the western strat­egy to de­feat the Is­lamic state re­lies largely on mil­i­tary of­fen­sives by Iraqi Kurds, a mostly Shi­ite Iraqi army, and Iran­backed Shi­ite mili­tias.

There emerged a Saudi-led 34 na­tion al­liance which would fight ter­ror­ism how­ever; Saudi Arabia’s main re­gional ri­vals, Iran, Iraq and em­bat­tled regime of As­sad were not in the list. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has also pro­vided mil­i­tary sup­port to the Saudi-led coali­tion. Ne­go­ti­a­tions are un­der­way, how­ever the sit­u­a­tion among var­i­ous groups in Ye­men is very com­plex that are mak­ing Ye­men’s hos­til­i­ties al­most im­pos­si­ble to stop. Even in Afghanistan since the in­ter­ven­tion of United States, The Tal­iban, de­spite in­ter­nal splits, is still a for­mi­da­ble force: Al Qaeda main­tains a pres­ence, and the Is­lamic State has es­tab­lished a foothold. Mul­lah Akhtar Mn­soor’s re­cent killing has pro­vided Tal­iban an op­por­tu­nity to re­or­ga­nize once again as the chances of di­a­logue have di­min­ished.

Th­ese are the chal­lenges for the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to tackle even in the com­ing years, as pres­i­dent Obama in his state of the union ad­dress ex­pressed clearly, “our for­eign pol­icy has to be fo­cused on the threat from ISIL and Al Qaeda, but it can’t stop there. For even with­out ISIL, even with­out Al Qaeda, in­sta­bil­ity will con­tinue for decades in many parts of the world in the Mid­dle East, in Afghanistan, Parts of Pak­istan, in parts of cen­tral Amer­ica, in Africa, and Asia”. — The au­thor writes on In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Pol­i­tics and Pak­istan’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of OIC. She is based in La­hore.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.