The World Today..
ll Hari Om ll
Early in the year 2006, Dr. Aniruddha Dhairyadhar Joshi (Aniruddhasinh) wrote a series of editorials titled 'The Third World War' in the daily 'Pratyaksha'. This series was then compiled and published in the form of a work by the same name.
Aniruddhasinh primarily wishes to acquaint His friends with at least 2% of what the third world war means. 'Only because...', the preface to the work reveals the intent and purpose behind this work, a study of the current political scenario as well as of the possibilities that will unravel in the times to come... ...and today we see the picture on the canvas of the world coinciding with this study. There is discontent that becomes rage, there is unrest that becomes uprising and there is aggression that becomes war but is not necessarily recognized as war. Vested political interests and the rapidly changing considerations or the convenience of the moment shall we say, makes the scenario all the more uncertain and so even worse. The tremors of bombings are felt the world over but are considered isolated or stray acts of whim when in actual fact they are part-pieces of a large jigsaw, they are not just drumbeats of war, they are much more and as Dr. Aniruddha Dhairyadhar Joshi (Aniruddhasinh) points out in His work 'The Third World War', "Concealed behind her veil of calm, the witch that is the third world war knocks at the door".
Today, there is neither a demarcated battlefield nor does the clash remain restricted to conflicting nations only. The other nations of the world are bound to and they do take a stand - one that serves a selfish motive, which again changes every coming day. The conflict therefore draws several nations into war – each enters with its own motive and with an axe to grind leading to a world war.
So the point is, 'she' – the witch that is the third world war is already here and so may we not mistake her veil of calm for 'peace' or even be laid back because the unrest is happening in a far off nation.
Just like ripples in the ocean spread over the entire expanse of its waters, the war will spread to every nook of the earth. A spark will cause flames and the flames will spread far, to the farthest point.
Let us try to understand the current political scenario of the world basing our study on the work "The Third World War".
We begin our study with Syria, the country that is causing concern the world over.
Syria Today. Syria is a blatant illustration of the tumult and the ripples that we have been talking about. The protests within the nation that turned into conflict have spiraled into the 'civil war'. The nations of the world are taking a stand, within and outside their countries and the ripples are roping in more and more nations compelling us to see a new pattern emerging before us, with every turn of the kaleidoscope.
Geographical Location: A country in the Middle-East, Syria borders Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south and Israel to the south-west.
Background: Syria, The Kingdom of Silence: The modern Syrian state gained independence in April 1946 and saw a series of coups and coup attempts for quite some time after. Syria has been under Emergency Law from 1963 until April 2011 effectively suspending most constitutional protection for citizens and implying immense powers of arrest and detention to security forces. Since 1980, any opposition to the Ba'athist regime has been prohibited. All other parties but the ruling one remain banned making Syria a one-party state without free elections. Rights of expression, association and assembly are strictly controlled. There have been allegations of violations of Human Rights and of prisoners being tortured. Popular sites like Facebook, Wikipedia, Amazon and YouTube were blocked until 1st January 2011 when all citizens were permitted to sign up for high-speed internet and the sites were allowed. So until 2011 Syria remained what 'Al Jazeera' (an independent broadcaster owned by the state of Qatar) termed as the 'kingdom of silence' mainly due to stringent security measures and prospects of insurgency.
Hafez al-Assad held the office of President since 1971 until 2000 when following his death, Bashar al-Assad, his son and the present day President succeeded him.
The Scene Today: 1. The Syrian civil war is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the ruling Ba'ath party government and those wanting to oust it. The Syrian government consists of Shia Alawites whereas the opposition is dominated by Sunnis. The protestors demand the resignation of President Assad and the 5 decade old Ba'ath party rule. The conflict has no clear fronts with armed conflicts scattered over and across the country. The protests that began moderately escalated to become an armed uprising. The Syrian army executed severe crackdowns seeking to quell the uprising.
2. In July 2011 army defectors near the Turkish-Syrian border declared the formation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Several opposition groups have now come together under the body called the Syrian National Council (SNC) that has international support and was until recently considered a partner for dialogue by the US.
3. To escape violence hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. According to various sources more than 30,000 have lost their lives in this civil war, by October 2012, upto 28,000 were reported missing and about 1.2 million have been displaced within the country.
4. Syria is thought to have the third largest stockpile of weapons for chemical warfare in the world, and opposition forces are concerned they may be used as a last resort to remain in power by the regime.
5. USA provides weapon aid to Syrian rebels not directly but via Saudi Arabia and Qatar but can hardly control where exactly they land. And indeed they mostly land up with extremist groups who should not lay their hands on them. The SNC made special efforts to bring opposition groups together so that it was easier for foreign countries to provide weapon aid.
6. There is a rift among the rebels and the ones associated with the Al Qaeda prove one up on the others.
7. Meanwhile the Shia rebels in Iraq come together to back the Assad government. These groups include the Hezbollah that is up in arms against the American army in Iraq. So the conflict now dons a Shia vs Sunni colour although both parties deny it.
8. The UN peace envoy Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi proposed a 4 day ceasefire over the festival of Eid. The declaration proved in vain as it was breached within hours after it came into force. The last day saw the Syrian army strike air attacks on Damascus.The unrest, the violence and the lash out it is observed, does not remain limited to Syrian territory. The brunt of the discontent and in fact even active participation in skirmish and backlash spills over in the neighbouring countries.The bloodshed continues unabated despite the call for ceasefire and despite the withdrawal of support to the opposition from the US. Where do Syria's other neighbours and the world stand today? What do the spillovers of violence and explosions point to?
...to be continued
ll Hari Om ll
Published at Mumbai, Maharashtra - India