Saturday, May 09, 2009

New Government’s Iran dilemma

May 9, 2009 by Amitabh Tripathi  

ahamedinejad1General Elections in India are in last leg and next week people’s verdict will be wide open. In wake of an anticipated fractured verdict the deadlock for the formation of new government could extend for few weeks but it seems quite clear that it would be either Congress led government or BJP led government at the centre. South Asia forum has specific information that two national parties has  agreed upon to this point that regional satraps would not be allowed to lead the coalition and they will be forced to support either of one in national parties. General Secretary of CPM Prakash Karat was working hard for an alternate of Non-Congress secular government but he has been isolated in his own party as majority of polit bureau members don’t buy his argument of non-Congress, Non-BJP alternate and they are more flexible to support Congress led government at the centre.  It is important to note that if either BJP or Congress forms the government foreign policy and economic policy would not be affected more than left rhetoric. But new government is going to face a dilemma on the issue of Iran. Though Left would not be in much stronger position as it was in earlier government to veto government decisions as it did last year in nuclear deal with US but Iran could become a delicate issue for new government and it would have to prepare for its acid test on the issue of Iran.

If BJP led government comes to power which possibility can not be ruled out at this juncture would have more open space on this issue as it will not be in any kind of ideological pressure from Left parties but radical policy shift on the issue of Iran could not be expected from BJP led government also because Iran always occupy an important place in Indian foreign policy and both countries have very cordial cultural and economic relations between them. During the previous regime of BJP led government then Prime Minister of India Shri Atal Biharee Vajpaee visited Iran and showered praise for this Middle Eastern country which had its rich Persian culture and also told about his fascination for Shiite sect of Islam to which this country belong. But since then lot of water have been flown in the river Ganges and geo political situation of Middle East has changed dramatically.

 when Indian Prime Minister visited Iran this old persian and now Islamic regime was not headed by president who has something in his mind which ranks him among Islamic fundamentalist with his messianic aspirations to lead the Islamic world.  Having all the good and cordial relations with Iran its great time admirer India did not hesitate to vote against it in IAEA to stand in the queue with those nations who were apprehensive of its nuclear ambitions.  It was not the decision of Congress led government alone it was backed by BJP also because there is a consensus on this issue that India could not afford another nuclear armed country close to its region after Pakistan has got deterrent power.

In last few years geo political scenario in Middle East has changed drastically and Iranian president has become more vocal on the pursuance of his nuclear programe as well as giving direct threat to Israel to wipe it out from the face of the earth. Even he did not mince his words in Durbn conference and repeated it again with his denial of holocaust before European countries. I could recollect how analysts and columnist were not giving due weight to the rhetoric of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad few years ago and were dismissing it merely as propaganda gimmick but in last five or odd years Ahmedinejad has not changed his stance and no longer this issue could be rap under the carpet because he has shown how serious he was for his words when he gathered academics across the world to hold a conference in his country few years ago to explore the possibilities of denial of holocaust. As holocaust and Israel don’t bother most of the people because most of the countries in the world prefer to get benefited from the technological advancement of Israel refraining themselves from the political issues of Israel and current crisis of Iran is one of them.

India is no longer exception of this dilemma.  Since 1991 when diplomatic relations between India and Israel started it has been confined to the state level cooperation and efforts were not being made for people to people contact and due to that lot of ignorance are prevalent for this country.  People understand less the security priority of Israel than a country pivotal to the strife of Arab-Israel. 

At this point of time it is necessary to understand the dynamics of Iranian president’s threat. President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is neither a cynical nor insane he is well calculated person with certain ambitions.  Mahmoud Ahmedinjad is exploiting the religious sentiment of Middle Eastern Shiite people with igniting the debate on Mahdi and advent of twelfth Imam.  Knowing the limitation of Shiite appeal he has broaden the base of political Islam with Arab-Israel issue as a central figure of body politick.  Mahmoud Ahmedinejad working with ambition to extend the legacy of Islamic revolution to evolve himself as an anti American pole to fill the void in Arab states been created with collapse of Pan-Arabnationalism in this process Iranian president don’t hesitate to build a coalition with leftists across the world. Although this effort from Iranian president has created a panic and furor among some Arab states as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia but Ahmedinejad is well prepared to exploit the legacy of Al-Queda and Muslim brotherhood with supporting the mass movements against establishments in Arab Countries.  We have witnessed how Iran has become active in few states of Arab to install their proxy regime.

It is a million dollar question how an active role of Iran in Middle East is going to influence India sub continent when situation in both regions are totally different. In cursory note it seems that Middle Eastern pattern is nowhere related with Indian subcontinent but it was true in the decade of 1990’s but in today’s context it is not as accurate as it is perceived. Wahabi school of thought has penetrated the whole Pakistan and sunni Deobandi added to this ideology which brought the Pakistan in a situation which has lost its continuity with history of Indian subcontinent and very much identified with wahabi and Suadi Arabia.  In present circumstances Pakistan is very much part of global Jihadi movement and its large chunk of Army and ISI is divided on the issue of role of Pakistan on global Jihadi movement which prominently could not be defined merely as a terrorist movement but to work for the creation of new world order in accordance to Shariyat and Quran.

Al Queda has contributed to Islamic world with its propaganda which aroused the aspirations among Muslims across the world to consider political Islam as a tool to crate a new world order in dissonance to existing western dominance at the same time Al Queda brought few issues on the for front of debate as global appeal of Arab-Israel struggle and atrocity on Muslims with their geo-political conditions. Al Queda and Taliban might be differ with majority of Muslims across the world in their tactics but this fact could not be denied that it has aroused new aspirations and enthusiasm among Muslims who have become more concerned for their identity and issues. This fact has gone unnoticed and war on terror has been defined as a war against few organizations and few Islamic terrorists. New administration in United States still marching on  beating track and focused more on eliminating the Al-Queda, Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. United States has never focused on the ideological aspect of this global Jihadi Movement and pursued shorter goal to skip the larger side of problem.

Obama administration is pursuing the policy of larger engagement of countries which has stake in Afghanistan and in this process they are preparing to engage Iran in this region. This policy has some implications for India especially when Pakistan is hanging over in a volatile situation.  Over emphasis on elimination of Taliban and Al-Queda with connecting it to the precondition of aid to Pakistan United States has overlooked the fall out of the struggle between army of Pakistan and Taliban which could throw Pakistan in chaotic situation with a vacuum making Pakistan more vulnerable. If monitor the situation in Pakistan very minutely it seems this country is ripping for revolution without Khomeini and during the long march of Nawaj Sharif this churning was clearly visible.

New administration in United States want to engage Iran in Afghanistan with its old theory that being a Shiite regime it will not help Sunni Taliban in this region but it could prove to be a mistake having seen the past track record of Iran in providing all the logistical and armed support to sunni terrorist group Hamas in Palestinian Authority this theory could not be supported.  Iran is more interested in showing the vulnerability of US in Iraq and Afghanistan and this dream could be fulfilled only by keeping these regions as instable zone. In the wake of those reports which were published in a French website  before G-20 summit that Osama Bin Laden was lifted in an Iranian helicopter from Baluchistan to rescue him to get treatment in Iranian hospital is not easy to dismiss the changing dynamics of Islamic movements.

In this scenario it will be really interesting to see what new government in India decides on its new course of action on Iran.

Last 5 posts by Amitabh Tripathi

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