By Ankit Shah
The breakthrough peace deal between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is not just bad news for Iran, but also for Pakistan and Palestine.
Even before the Corona chapter, an alliance of strong leaders of several countries was in the making. But on the eve of the Indian Independence Day and immediately after finalisation of the UAE-Israel deal, UAE’s briefing to India about Israel pact shows that the Arab World is now all set to formalise a unique strategic alliance. It’s a final pack up for the cover-up of Palestine and Kashmir radicalisation as a noble Islamic cause.
Leaders like Trump – Modi – Netanyahu – Boris – MBS – Bin Zayed – Scott Morrison – Abe – Macron are forming a strong chain of aligned views for the post-corona World. The recent UAE-Israel deal is a shocker for countries like Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. Pakistan’s bonhomie with Erdogan’s Turkey was already paining Saudi Arabia. But the recent warning of Pakistan’s foreign minister forcing OIC to conduct a narrative peddling meeting on Kashmir at the earliest has rattled the Kingdom. Needling a young, impulsive blood like Crown Prince MBS publicly could prove costly. Pakistan army chief Bajwa is called to the Kingdom for explanations and as some sources claim, a list of conditions is handed over to him for Saudi aid of oil and money to continue flowing. There is absolutely no possibility now that Islamabad will be able to dictate Saudi-UAE to consider Kashmir as an ongoing global Islamic agenda.
With a 25-year China-Iran deal amidst stringent sanctions, Israel and US have a genuine concern that Tehran will be weaponised adversely, disturbing the security balance of the region. To pre-empt the moves, the UAE-Israel deal is just a start. Iran is in deep trouble. Despite a massive deal with China, it sustains its civilisation-identity and hence cannot compromise national interests for accommodating Beijing as a partner as Pakistan can. The Chabahar port project with India is the only life-line for balancing of ties with the World that remains intact as of now. If Delhi withdraws from the Chabahar port project, Iran completely stands isolated and like Pakistan, at the total mercy of Beijing.
The warning bells are ringing for Islamabad as well with a collapsing economic scenario. Pakistan’s dreams of propping OIC to peddle narratives on Kashmir and forming a separate alliance with Turkey-Iran-Malaysia, both seem to be falling apart. Turkey, which wants to claim the leadership mantle of Islam has its own kind of economic pressures. Malaysia, on the other hand, has loosened the ties with Pakistan and Turkey ever since Mahathir Mohammad resigned and after it faced tremendous economic backlash with Delhi’s palm oil trade ban. Pakistan has a huge human resource deployed in Arab states for employment and cannot afford to lose the massive remittances if Saudi-UAE ties are damaged permanently. On the other hand, Iran being a Shia majority country, it’s difficult for Pakistan to join hands with them as a new partner.
Looking at the UAE-Israel deal and fissures between Saudi-UAE and Iran-Turkey, Pakistan is reduced to a sandwiched state. The leaders of Saudi Arabia and UAE are expected to formally bind India and Israel with other Arab states in a strategic alliance. It would not come as a surprise as a nation with second-largest Muslim population of the World, if India is soon proposed to become a member of the OIC and Pakistan is cornered there as well.
The Arab world in the interest of their own economic relevance in the long term, preparing for the post-free crude oil world, will soon take favours from India-Israel to de-radicalise their societies and the region. For the sake of a pilot experiment towards that end goal, perhaps Temples, Yoga and Ayurveda will soon make a debut in the Gulf. Parallel to these developments, a new western front is also being planned to pivot globalisation on democratic values and punish China’s CCP for the corona spread and belligerence towards all its neighbours.
Ankit Shah. The author is a CA & CS by qualification, Consultant, Faculty, PhD scholar, South-Asia Expert & has served as Academic & Research Associate at IIM Ahmedabad. Follow him on @ankitatiima for his predictions-analysis of China-Pak issues. He can be reached at [email protected]