Despite having some of the highest-paid think-tanks in the world, no country has the surest ‘Sadim touch’ – a Midas touch in the negative – than the United States of America. Whatever Uncle Sam touches turns to ashes, sooner or later. And friends are destroyed faster than enemies.
Over the last one month, ever since the Americans withdrew from Afghanistan with their tails between their legs, the Joe Biden administration has pulled off a foreign policy disaster of epic proportions. And this despite having trained an Afghan army more than three times the size of the rag-tag Taliban hordes.
After disappearing quietly into the night, the American armed forces had to return temporarily to rescue the rest of the civilians and “assets” left behind to face a vengeful Taliban dispensation. Everyone knew the Americans had lost their taste for war in Afghanistan, but it takes special effort to ensure that even the withdrawal is done without a shred of dignity left. Not for nothing did Henry Kissinger, Secretary of State in the Richard Nixon administration, say: “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.”
The truth is all Western interventions in Islamic areas have led to something worse than what existed before.
When the British dismantled the Turkish caliphate after the First World War, they helped create the stern Wahhabist regime in Saudi Arabia.
When the British left after partitioning India, they created the world’s first Islamist state called Pakistan.
When the Americans left the Shah of Iran in the lurch, the clergy used the Leftists to come to power, and once in the saddle, they got rid of the Left. That should send some kind of message to today’s left liberals who believe that it is their job to play dhimmis to Islamist forces in the name of fighting Islamophobia. Once their purpose is served, Islam will destroy the left as surely as it did every one of its enemies.
When the secular Turkish army, the West’s best ally in that strategic region straddling Asia and Europe, was quietly delegitimised by the Western media, what rose in its wake was Islamism under Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Turkish President was originally feted as a moderate Muslim by the West, only to realise later that he had hopes of building himself up as global Islamist leader.
Now, in a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, there is every possibility of another Emir emerging as a kind of mini-Caliph who will begin to harbour terrorist forces like Al Qaeda. The Taliban have also been fighting along with Pakistani terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammed, which will now be free to target India as Uncle Sam has left the battlefield around Kabul.
The Islamic Caliphate under Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi may be gone, but what we now have is five new mini-caliphates to contend with, even if each one is not called one. A Caliph does not have to be called one to be recognised as someone vested with enough power to rally Islamists under their leadership.
In Pakistan, the army chief plays Caliph behind the scenes to elected governments.
In Iran, the Ayatollah is a mini-Caliph with some power over other Shia areas like Iraq and Syria, with the Hizbollah participating in its proxy wars with the west and Sunni states.
In Saudi Arabia, despite the modernisation efforts of Muhammed bin Salman, the clergy remain strong, and one cannot rule out the possibility of another Osama bin Laden emerging to topple the Saudi royal family and emerge as yet another mini-Caliph of the Gulf states. With Islam’s two holiest sites under its control, a Saudi Caliph cannot be written off as a non-starter.
In Afghanistan, we are likely to see another mini caliphate or emirate emerge, now that the Americans are gone.
Turkey’s Erdogan has spared no effort to paint himself as a defender of Islamic interests everywhere, including in Palestine. He clearly sees himself as Caliph material.
Inside Turkey, he has armed himself with all the powers needed to appoint top public officials, including the judiciary. Erdogan’s former chief adviser, retired Turkish general Adnan Tanriverdi, has been articulating an Islamic vision where 61 Islamic countries create a Sharia-based confederation with Istanbul as its capital. The idea is to establish Islam as a superpower beholden to no Western or any other power.
The world now has to grapple with the reality of five mini-caliphates, each with its own agenda and internal antagonisms, but united by a hatred for all kafir-ruled nations. India has much to worry about.
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