Middle East’s flash point
President Donald trump warning to Russia to brace for American engagement Syria has upped the ante of tension between the two superpowers. The warning came few days after a suspected chemical attack that killed dozens of people in Douma district of Eastern Ghouta province. In a sharp reaction Russia vowed to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Moscow cautioned that a risk of direct Russia-US military clash in Syria is higher than ever. A Russian envoy said that a US missile flying over Syria would be shot down.
The diplomatic relations between Russia, and United States and its Western allies have already nosedived after the incident of nerve gas smearing at the door handle of the house of former Russian double agent Sergi V. Scripal, who lives in Salisbury, Briton. He fell critically ill after being affected by inhaling this gas. UK, The United States and a number of European Union countries expelled scores of Russian diplomats. In retaliation, Russia paid in the same coin.
Both Russia and the United States have boots on the ground in Syria and there are reports of their naval forces build up in the Mediterranean Sea with the deployment of war ships, submarines and aircraft carriers. Russia has a naval and airbase in Latakia, while the US led collation warplanes are hovering along the Iraq-Syria border. The US Centcom Head Quarter is located in Qatar with 10000 troops and an airbase 20 miles out of Doha. The UK Air Force fighter-bombers have been on alert at its base in Cyprus. Likewise, French fighter jets have been put on alert at Saint-Dizier Robinson Airbase for possible strikes in Syria. Israel which has already carried out a number of air strikes in Syria has placed its forces on high alert along border with Syria.
An important NATO member country, Germany appears to be so far neutral in the Syrian conflict as Chancellor Angela Merkel declined to say whether Germany backs a possible airstrike into Syria after the alleged recent chemical attack by the incumbent regime that killed dozens of civilians. She voiced disappointment over the failure of UN Security Council meeting to reach an agreement on Syria. Another NATO member country, Turkey is in catch-22 situation because of its ambivalent foreign policy. On the one hand it backs the Syrian opposition groups battling against the Bashar Al Assad regime forces, while on the other it has formed an informal alliance with Russia, and Iran on the issue of Kurd militantancy in Syria, Iraq and Turkey. Arab foreign ministers, in their meeting in Saudi Arabia, will discuss the situation in Palestine and Syria. But the bold indication are that as usual this meeting will turn out to be an exercise of assembled, discussed and dispersed with issuing a vague and mildly worded joint statement.
The Syrian conflict seems to be the endgame started by the United States and its Western allies in the garb of New World Order after the disintegration of Soviet Union in 1991 and ensuing unipolar world. Since then two wars were imposed on Iraq in which Turkey and some Arab countries supported the United States. The leadership in Pakistan was dived on the eve of 1991 US aggression against Iraq. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif embarked on a whirlwind tour of the Middle East countries, condemning the Saddam Hussain regime. Former President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the then Army Chief General (R) Mirza Aslam baig condemned the US aggression against an Islamic country.
The emerging situation in the Middle East necessitates urgent unity among the Islamic countries for proactive diplomacy to resolve the Syrian conflict which may become a harbinger of bigger conflict that may engulf other countries in the region as well.