We keep wishing peace and happiness at every New Year. In hindsight, it appears wishful thinking, doesn’t it? The underlying truth is that since time immemorial, the desired peace and happiness have been eluding us. The past has not been peaceful. The reason: There are forces which work against peace and happiness. Power hungry leaders, nations, arms dealers and their terrorist agents are among those peace destroyers. They are a nexus: One feeds on another.
The flames of war would have long flickered out if only nations had behaved well and suppressed their hunger for the type of power that they wanted to dominate the other countries and plunder their wealth. But they pursue power and more power, bringing upon misery on hundreds of millions of innocent people. Their principle seems to be live and let die. They live while others die for them.
The television visuals of wounded children are far too many. They no longer make us cry. To the much glee of power hungry nations, agents of war and terrorists, we have been desensitised to the suffering of the people caught up in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine and many other places. There is no proper count of how many have died in conflicts created by power-hungry nations. According to a Brown University study, more than 500,000 people have died in the United States’ wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan by October 2018. But other studies say the death toll is more than 1.4 million
in Iraq alone.
Since the past has not been peaceful, the law of average injects pessimism into 2020. For the new year to be peaceful, power politics should end and the arms industry should roll up its business strategy of creating conflicts and bogeys to sell weapons. Of course, power hungry nations and the arms industry should stop their sponsorship of terrorism.
It is too naïve to believe that terrorism is self-generated. Terrorism is created. In some cases, social injustice and the absence of an upright judicial mechanism at domestic level to right the wrongs may entice angry and frustrated youths to take up arms. But there are international vultures which swoop on trouble spots to further their global agendas. The terrorism that bled Sri Lanka dry economically, socially and psychologically for three long decades had its foreign sponsors.
The type of terrorism the world is now grappling with also did not erupt in a vacuum. It was created. Be it al-Qaeda or the Islamic State (IS), the big powers had a hand in the birth of such terrorist groups. They arm, train and fund terrorist organisations to achieve their geopolitical ends.
Agree, the United States killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 and IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last year. But the killings of these terror leaders do not absolve the world’s number one military power of the crime of aiding and abetting their terrorism. The US had hailed al-Qaeda members as freedom fighters when they were fighting Washington’s war in Afghanistan against its cold war enemy the Soviet Union. Al-Qaeda received US weapons and money to fight the Soviet occupation forces in Afghanistan.
Although, al-Qaeda later turned an enemy of the US and attacked US targets such as the war ship USS Cole in the seas off Yemen in 2000 and the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in September 2001, these attacks, in hindsight, appeared to have unfolded according to a script that was prepared to pave the way for the US to achieve its geostrategic objective of expanding its military dominance not only in West Asia, but also in the Russian backyard of Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Perhaps, al Qaeda leader bin Laden was hunted down and killed because his handlers feared he could one day spill the beans.
In the aftermath of the killing of IS leader al-Baghdadi, questions were raised in the social media whether he was killed because he also could one day expose who he really was and how he was handled by powerful intelligence outfits. Killing the people who know a lot of secret is an old practice intelligence outfits adhere to, especially if such persons have outlived their usefulness.
In the John F Kennedy assassination, the one who killed Kennedy was killed by another assassin, who also died mysteriously while in prison. Recently, American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in one of the hi-tech tight security US prisons. With him, it is said, died many dirty secrets of world leaders, with whom he had close ties.
Whatever it is, IS leader al-Baghdadi would not have come into the scene, if the US had not invaded Iraq and later become an accomplice with some regional powers to kindle the flames of war in Syria.
As we welcomed the New Year, terrorism watchers warned that IS was gearing up to re-emerge much stronger in Iraq than it had been under al-Baghdadi. Iran which played a key role in defeating the IS in Iraq was livid this week, when the US killed 25 members of an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group that was in the forefront of the war against the IS. The US says it launched the attack because of a rocket attack that killed a US contractor in a US base in Iraq.
Attacking a group that fights the IS could mean the US is supporting the IS. In Syria, too, Iranian troop positions were targeted by Israel with US blessings. Often Israeli attacks had taken place when the Iranian forces were taking on IS terrorists.
If these examples are not enough to show that the US and its allies were doing the wrong thing to deny the world the much needed peace, then there is also Palestine where the US and Israeli actions, especially US President Donald Trump’s preposterous acts, have killed even the remotest chance for peace. These acts include the Trump administration’s recognition of the whole of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the declaration that Israel’s illegal settlement building activities in occupied Palestinian territory are legal.
International politics is largely a struggle for power. In this power struggle, people are disposable while their right to life is extremely violable. As long as power politics drives the world order, the old year will give way to a new year without making peace a reality.