In Pakistan while we remain glued to our version of the war on terror and AfPak, we tend to remain ignorant to the dynamics of political violence in West Asia and North Africa. For many reasons, the events in these regions have grave security concerns for Pakistan’s security perspectives.

Firstly, Pakistanis look amiably at these countries within the framework of the Ummah and as custodians of the rich Islamic tradition. However noble and romantic these imagery may seem, the reality is ugly and far from noble. These are despot and autocratic regimes that could perpetuate the worse to remain in power. Secondly, some Arabised migrant Pakistani workers induce intolerance; a rivalry endemic to the region for centuries. Thirdly, many sectarian outfits of Pakistan are supported and financed from Middle East, as a proxy of these rivalries. Fourthly, most Middle Eastern countries being inherently monarchies or dictatorships are in effect vassal states, relying heavily on the USA for security and stability. These are never the models to be followed in the traditions of Islamic welfare and sovereignty of Allah.

The international media would like us to believe that the Spring Revolutions sweeping the Muslim world from Morocco to Egypt to Libya and now Syria are tidings to rid tyrants and avenge democracy. Surprisingly all US allies in the Middle East supporting such tailored and hijacked springs are hard-line autocracies, least representative of Islamic governance or jurisprudence. On analysis, each event dawns the reality that these countries are mere pawns in pursuit of broad spectrum US domination of the region; a trade-off to buy a few years of political sustenance at the cost of non-compliant Muslim states. It is also strange that the trans-border forces of violence that the USA and its allies seek to obliterate in its AfPak theatre are the ones being harboured, trained and equipped to usher engineered springs in countries not pliable to US policies. This is also the inference where TTP and militant outfits define their most obvious logic.

The turmoil induced by US-Arab-led violence in Syria is intensifying. Kofi Annan sensing the larger geo-strategic objectives for US domination has already washed his hands off the peace mission. While a UN imposed ceasefire is in place, the West and its Muslim allies are pouring mercenaries; weapons and money to sustain and jumpstart a rebellion. The Syrian government threatened by sanctions is refrained from reacting; these armed militias continue to raise the ante of violence against military and government targets. Syria, perhaps, the only Muslim Arab state with an enviable record of religious tolerance is being punished for its staunch support to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, the nightmare of Israel, friendship with Iran and a tilt towards Russia and China. Though the USA claims that its support to the revolution is on humanitarian basis, evidence is emerging of training camps in Baghdad and elsewhere where nomadic militants imbued with romanticism of Islam are marshalled and poured into Syria from the sea, Iraq and Turkey reminding one of the mock Afghan jihad.

According to Washington Post, “The Gulf monarchies, mainly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are financing the new shipments of weapons. This is drawn from the war-chest of $100 million that was pledged by the US-backed Arab autocrats at the conference in Istanbul at the beginning of April. Officially, the Obama administration is maintaining a cynical fiction that it is only supplying ‘non-lethal material’ to the Syrian armed groups. But it is the US that is now assuming the crucial lead role of overseeing the distribution and deployment of new weapons flowing into Syria.” It goes on to write: “The US contacts with the rebel military and the information-sharing with Gulf nations mark a shift in Obama administration policy as hopes dim for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Many officials now consider an expanding military confrontation to be inevitable.”

Finian Cunningham commenting on the covert war on Syria writes: “Syria, Iran and the Gulf monarchies are closely bound up in US-led war plans in the Middle East that are aimed at projecting American political, economic and military power across this vital region and beyond. Events today are but a continuum with US wars of conquest in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Libya as part of an unfolding agenda for hegemony.” He goes on to comment: “The intensified US-led assault on Syria is not merely aimed at taking out the Assad government. It is an integral part of a long-held Washington plan for imperial dominance across the entire region that has been conducted under the pretexts of ‘war on terror’ and ‘responsibility to protect’.

Saddam’s Iraq, once a US puppet against Iran, paid heavily for its adventure. Amidst confused signals it was led to invade Kuwait that brought its own end. Sunni and Shia militants were used to full effect in the pulp created in shock and awe operations. The hardiest and stubborn were withdrawn to fight another day in Libya, Syria and perhaps Iran. Equally complicit are the Arab states, who funded and harboured these agents of violence adept at creating civil unrests and rebellions.

This entire campaign of US domination of the region reinforces Brzezinski’s theory of the southern front. The foundations were laid through the creation of intra-Arab and Persian hostilities and military imperialism. 9/11 provided the time jump and pretext for the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan morphing into the AfPak strategy. Combined, it reveals a comprehensive and integrated Euro Asian geo-strategy bringing back memory of Cento where the north and south met. The containment effectively checks all sea routes from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean in concert with the APEC arc. The result is containment of Russia and China as rising economic and military giants.

Within the context of Middle East, the Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman are on a USA choreographed collision course with Iran and Syria. Turkey, a Nato member, is no exception. If Western despatches are to be considered, regime change in Syria followed by armed rebellions in Iran are foregone conclusions. The Iranian phase of the war is likely to be more lethal and intense. Israel’s threat of unilateral airstrikes against Iranian nuclear installations with US backing is why Washington’s sanctions on Iran continue to get harsher.

Perhaps, the motive is to contain the military conflict within Iran through sanctions, economic blockades, quarantines and precision strikes by USA and Israel from bases within the region. Concurrently, a spring is likely to be led by Mujahadeen-i-Khalq, an Iranian counter revolutionary group trained and supported by the USA and dominant in the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran and assisted by Israel and Saudi Arabia. This group killed an estimated 17,000 Iranian nationals during the Iraq-Iran war, provided intelligence on Iran’s nuclear programme and assassinated the Iranian nuclear scientists.

Historically, Middle East has never been able to hold its own in the past 500 years. While tribal politics mixed with religion have always fractured and divided this land, an outside power in the guise of Persians, Turks, French, British and now USA has always acted as an agent of equilibrium. Ever since the Iranian Revolution, an imbalance has existed and exploited by the outside powers. Neutralisation of Syria is a stepping stone to Iran.

But there is relief. It appears that President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt has distanced himself from this game and amply demonstrated that he is nobody’s poodle. The flurry of US diplomatic activity to Egypt has not worked. He has sacked his praetorian generals. Instead of talking to Israel, he has blamed them for Sinai bombings, rebuked the Gaza blockade by opening the land strip, disagreed with the Gulf Cooperation Council over its policies on Syria and declared that he would be talking to Iranians, while attending the NAM summit in Tehran. For an Egypt under Mubarak that lived in the shadows of an enemy in Iran, this is indeed a paradigm shift.

There is certainly a lesson for Pakistan here.

 The writer is a retired officer of Pakistan Army and a political economist. Email: