I hate to have to write this particular note. I wish I could repeal the thoughts, subdue the feelings and just have an inner conversation with myself on this topic. Sometimes, the most dangerous thoughts or suspicions are better left unearthed until the reality looms. These are one of the very few times I crave some global authority to be able to stem some of the disastrous tide befalling our world.
Oh my friends, we need prayer! Earthquakes, Volcanoes and all that, even though predictable, still hit us massively and to many people, unawares. But here is a disaster that can be curbed but a lot of loose ends have been left untied and we are facing a dire reality in life.
Some days back, I updated my facebook status thus: “In one of the greatest upsets of the 2010 WC, Nigeria edges Argentina 2-1 but fails to make it out of the group stages nonetheless. Don’t ask me how I know, it’s the same way I saw World war 3 happening”. Going by the initial comments (both on facebook and personally – text, call, chats), it dawned on me that people were quite dismissive about the former part of the status but deeply concerned about the other. More so since it had come from someone claiming to have “seen” it happen. They would say things like “Abeg, try go back go re-dream dat thing wey u dream oh!, lol!”
But if you are just a tiny bit conversant with the histories of the WW1 and WW2, we know there were big actors, big winners, big losers and a lot of other institutions/phenomena that came out. Let’s look at just a few: The United Nations, Nuclear weapons and the debate on non-proliferation, Israel’s wars and eventual status, NATO, American supremacy, Cold war and so on. Looking at the way alliances were formed and reformed (Russia and Italy were the big alliance prostitutes at the time), it is scary now seeing the same line of events happening. Not to bore you with too much history or theory, I simply want to look at 5 key events, concepts or countries that are shaping the current debates around this issue and increasingly driving us closer to a third world war in mid-2011.
Iran is pursuing a radical and revolutionary quest for Nuclear power. In theory, it is very justified. There have been no hard proofs that it has developed one (As a co-signatory to the UN Non-proliferation treaty, it would be a violation) and it has severally claimed it uses its nuclear materials for energy purposes (South Korea generates almost half its energy through nuclear means and has no nuclear weapon!). But everyone knows Iran is ambitious! Unlike Iraq (which is in the same region, also has oil and was invaded by the US under flimsy excuses of the discovery of Weapons of Mass destruction), Iran is governed by a President but is actually ruled by a strong and powerful Muslim sect chaired by the Ayatollah Khamenei. He heads the Revolutionary guard who directly manages the nuclear issue. Iran is rich, has close ties to China, Brazil and Russia and wants to lead the region. The Americans know this. The Iranian President in the last one year has made historic visits to Chile & Venezuela (both radical leftist Latin American countries), Brazil (a regional power broker), Uganda (which along with Nigeria occupies a 2-year non-permanent seat on the UN Security council) and Zimbabwe (which is a sworn enemy of the west). All these visits have a lot of political and strategic undertones and the West is not oblivious to that fact.
And going by Iran’s past behavior and involvement in wars and disputes, it is in the world’s general interest that Iran does not own such a weapon and joins the prestigious club of Nuclear power nations. Iran has been engaged in the Gulf war, after invading Kuwait. Iran supports Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Iran funds Hamas, the dissident Palestinian terror organization and a lot of other covert operations. Iran’s President Ahmedinejad has denied the Holocaust and called for the extinction of Israel. There lies the problem. Right there! Israel is a Nuclear power (even though it hasn’t openly admitted the fact), is within shooting range of Iran and is the strongest US ally out there. The Iranians would (ok, might) blow Israel any day they can lay their hands on that weapon. But Israel would not let them see that day. Israel would strike sooner than later.
We would have a war on our hands because many countries are very sharply divided on this issue and have a lot to gain from such a war.
THE ISRAELI ANGLE
Yes, they are “the chosen people” and have the resources, will power and expertise to execute such a war but they would need lots of allies. Israel is growing notorious by the day, a fact that increases the likelihood of them hitting Iran without much public or global support. The Americans have been able to garner a lot of global goodwill and support against Iran (even for sanctions against Iran) from traditional Iran backers like Russia and China because Iran has been dilly-dallying for too long and are not honest about their objectives. They (Iran) rejected a plan by the powerful countries to send lowly-enriched Uranium (used in developing nuclear bombs) to Russia for conversion to fuel rods (usable for the energy purposes they have so much vaunted). Iran accepted, and then backed out. Everyone knows they are buying every single second or minute possible to take them closer to getting “the” weapon.
But Israel is the only one country that can spark the war today because other countries are too pre-occupied with domestic issues and the US is already fighting two expensive and highly unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even though public opinion in the US suggest they want the Iran threat dealt with sooner than later. But Israel is messing up the game. Their spy agency, the Mossad, recently executed a known Hamas militant in the UAE sparking global outrage and prompting ally countries like Australia and Britain amongst others to recall their ambassadors to Israel and expel Israeli diplomats from their country. As if that weren’t enough, Israel is openly defying American orders/wishes to stop expanding settlement building in some parts of Jerusalem (because the Palestinians claim it as their future capital city) as a way of restarting peace talks with the Palestinians. Again, just last week, Israeli forces shot up to 10 militants aboard a turkey-backed flotilla carrying aid materials and food to the people of Gaza. Israel has maintained a ban on such movements in more than 2 years and were not ready to back down but the deaths once again sparked global outrage and deepened Israel’s isolation.
If all these look like impediments to an Israeli strike on Iran, the prospects seem equally bright. Many countries (pro and anti-Israel) stand to gain from such a strike and would be ready to align forces. Remember that between WW1 and 2, Hitler gained power in Germany promising to roll back most of the elements of the “treaty of Versailles” that was an indictment and heavy punishment for Germany’s role in sparking WW1. He started invading countries they were forbidden in the treaty to invade, he invaded Austria and parts of the Suntenland that had been carved from Germany after WW1. He was regaining territory and expanding his evil empire. He rebuilt the air force that they were banned in the treaty from operating and just when the leaders of France and England where contemplating what to do with him, he made the mistake of his life by invading Poland! France & England declared War. In this case, the 2 dissidents are Iran and Israel and one of them would make that first strike that would re-assemble and rally the world again!
PAKISTAN AND AL-QAEDA
It is no secret that Al-Qaeda is currently strongest in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Syria. They have an objective: destroy America. They have one overall strategy: Get a nuclear weapon. Since America can’t be bombed from the Middle East (because of the distance), it is more than likely they would bomb Israel which is seen worldwide as an extension of the US in the region. Pakistan is the only one of these Al-Qaeda strongholds that has a nuke and while recent intelligence activities have either rounded up or killed top Al-Qaeda operatives in this country, they have such a comprehensive integration into the cultural fabric of Pakistan that you can’t totally flush them out.
Besides, Pakistan is unwilling to fight an all-out war against Al-Qaeda because they recognize that the US would leave someday, and they would be left to fight Al-Qaeda alone… We need to watch events in this country very closely and wish to our hearts that they (Al-Qaeda) do not secure those weapons. Otherwise, more than likely, India and Israel would be struck first, and that’s another tunnel to WW3.
DESIRE FOR NEW WORLD ORDER
With every major war, new orders emerged. Along with the end of WW2 came American supremacy as the world’s lone Superpower and the UN apparatus with 5 veto-wielding members. Countries like Germany lost out and countries like Japan, South Korea etc were protected by American security treaties. America gained economic boom and the world economy’s currency was the US dollars. More and more countries embraced the American model of democracy and free market economies. But the depression, market crash and Global recession caused by lower regulatory oversight of US banks and the failure of other free market economy policies in the West have shown that the concept of free market economies is vulnerable after all. Countries with stricter financial and economic measures like China and Brazil where one of the last to enter the recession and one of the first to exit. Countries are beginning to ask themselves if there isn’t something right these guys are doing. That leverage brings a certain thinking in economic circles that these models might be the ones with which to enter the future. Nobody wants to fight a war and crash its economy in the process as we all know wars are very expensive endeavors. So, these frustrated countries would want to break free from the close alliance with the US and the West.
There’s probably an unwritten consensus somewhere that because of the disastrous end to the WW2, a war should never happen again. War vets and survivors of that war can vividly remember all the graphical details of the bloodshed, amputations, executions, mass graves and burials and all that. A 9 year old boy as of 1945 is now 72 years old today and these are probably the only set of people who can still lay claim to these memories. In real terms also, very few current Presidents and world leaders are of this age bracket today so they lack the moral and emotional attachment to fight off the urge to fight another war at all costs. Because of the way the US invaded Iraq and Afghanistan a lot of countries are also very irked. Even traditional allies of the West have been acting in very funny manners lately.
In my next post, I would examine 5-7 key countries that could determine what alliances are formed in fighting the war, why they would join certain alliances, how the war might be won based on those alliances and what the world might look like after the war is fought and forgotten!
Join me in my next article, the Part 2!