An Essay on Modern Central Asia
Ever strengthening growth of freedom of the individual in Central Asia.
1. TERMINOLOGY AND HISTORY
As the USA strategists term it this zone includes IRAQ, IRAN, PAKISTAN AND AFGHANISTAN all Islamist by religion. We need no reminding of the Iran/Iraq war: One million dead total in early 1980’s. Iran has been a pariah state to the USA since the fall of the Shah in the 1970’s on account of its so called extreme Islamist regime with a semi-religious government. Iraq under Saddam became a menacing regime but he was Baathist and Socialist and non Islamic. Afghanistan was a haven for terrorists post 2000 and for the ultra religious (Islamist) Taliban party. The Taliban went back years to the Mujahideen fighting against the USSR in the 1980’s in their country when the Russians occupied it de facto. Finally Pakistan has harboured Islamist terrorists particularly in South Waziristan latterly. Indeed the Al Quaeda leader himself Osama bin Laden was liquidated by US Navy Seals (Special Forces) on Pakistan soil. Proper.
2. THE DANGER FROM AND IN CENTRAL ASIA
The terrorists ‘Taliban’ menace from Afghanistan itself has been dented and provided the Afghani Forces loyal to the new de jure regime stand firm the future is fairly secure. This proviso is by no means to be taken for granted. In Iraq the forces of instability have been quelled but not entirely as the toll of Baghdad bombings tells us. The new government as in Afghanistan has been built on non fanatical religious lines with USA support. Both regimes nerve will be tested to the hilt. The USA has three bases firstly in Northern Iraq (Mosel and Kirkuk Zone). Secondly Baghdad (Central Iraq) and finally Basra (Southern Iraq). Wisely the USA has kept this presence which is more precautionary than intended to be interventionist. The British have drawn back from Basra which had been their base to 2011/12. One expects th USA to follow a similar strategy in Afghanistan with bases positioned to support the new Afghani Army and regime. The USA will demonstrate a greater willingness to intervene in Afghanistan than Iraq on account of the past infiltration of the people by the Taliban in the aforementioned country. Iran’s menace is its nuclear capability and willingness to supply suppressive and oppressive leasers e.g.: President Assad in Syria. Presently Iran is stable within its borders after elections. Israel is concerned Iran could make an unprovoked nuclear strike against her. The two countries are not far apart in geographical terms (Iraq and Syria in between). Iran knows any nuclear strike against Israel (sovereign state against sovereign state) would lead to Israeli retaliation if not a pre-emptive strike and massive USA response and worldwide condemnation. Iran knows such a policy would be strategic suicide for herself and her allies and that is the ultimate deterrent to her leaders regarding a nuclear strike. Clearly some things cannot be excised (i.e. Iran’s nuclear capacity).
5. PROGNOSIS AND LESSONS OF INTERVENTION
I believe thanks to the soldiers of Britain and the USA the peoples of Afghanistan and Iraq have a good chance of security within Islamic practice. The lesson is only to intervene where the de jure regime is severely discredited (Saddam) or broken down (Afghanistan). In Syria the lawful regime of Assad still rules the crucial west of that country including cities and ports. Assad is not a worldwide terrorist threat as Afghanistan became in early 2000’s. Saddam had to be unseated in justice on account of his chemicalising of the Kurds in the north and Shia Arabs around Basra sometime before his downfall when they presented no threat to his regime. He acted in a brutal and inhumane manner in these actions and they constituted crimes against humanity for which he paid the ultimate and proper penalty thanks to the tenacity of George Bush Junior. Bush was thus entirely right to invade Iraq – it was the only way to overthrow the tyrant who could not be allowed to continue in power bearing in mind his past directions and commands as supreme ruler of Iraq. Sometimes it takes time to do justice. Assad does not come into the Saddam category yet both were Baathist, when the conflagrations broke out in Syria and Iraq. Assad has used Sarin under extreme provocation and menace from the Syrian rebels who seek to overthrow his de Jure regime without authority and put him and his colleagues to death. The Kurds and Southern Shias never did that nor began to do it in Iraq. Yes, Assad’s Generals have used chemical weapons in this situation de extremis for his lawful government. Note chemical weapons were used a century ago in the Great War on the Western Front and there was no grave moral outcry yet the results were grievous (mustard gas). War is war and internecine worse even. Post 2nd World War tear gas (not fatal) has been used on numerous occasions on civilians in Europe and worldwide. We will have to let the Syrians fight it out and concentrate on medical and humane corridors for our aid and personnel. I do not believe Sarin is always fatal however reprehensible its use may be.
Pakistan and Iran are managing to conduct relatively stable governments. “If it ain’t broke don’t mend it”. Nothing is perfect in this world I say and we can be thankful for the relative moderation of the Rulers in these two countries. Let us not imagine the worst nor pray in desperation but ather work with Iran and Pakistan to secure their borders and prosperity and the tranquillity of their citizens. The same goes for Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been through the “fire” yet they have emerged on the other side. The way has been made straight - no longer does the voice cry in the wilderness. Let them go through to the Promised Land of old. I urge.