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Archive for category Mahboob Khawaja

America and Pakistan in Search of Peace and Conflict Resolution By Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

America and Pakistan in Search of Peace and Conflict Resolution

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

Reflections on Today’s World of Politics

President Trump and young-looking Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met this week at the White House. Trump is master to transform rhetoric into reality as he did to North Korean leader. Both were trying to overcome the historic indifference and prejudice to bridge the ever-widening gaps between the reality and perceptions of the relationship. If the nation’s relationships are based on the simplicity of truth, wisdom, national interest and integrity, one could foresee political compromises as a virtue to foster friendship.  Trump’s body language signalled some positive overtures as America looks for foes and friends to end its occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan is central to this strategy to facilitate a peaceful and face-saving outcome for America militarism in Afghanistan. Truth is unchanging as it was in 2001 that George W. Bush – an emotionally disturbed and intellectually imbalanced president embarked on military intervention to invade Afghanistan to strengthen his standing before the American masses after the 9/11 events. Truth is the same today as it was almost two decades earlier that America and its NATO allies displaced and killed millions for no other reason except a preposterous and distorted version of warmongering against the poor and helpless people of Afghanistan who had nothing to do with the 9/11 tragedies.  When false assumptions go unchallenged, it breeds more reactionary forces to entrench in violence and destruction.

Bertrand Russell and Alfred Einstein Manifest (1955) called a war with H bomb might possibly put an end to the human race.”  In 2017, America tested the Mother of Bombs in Afghanistan as if it was an American state. This is how America and NATO destroyed the ancient and peaceful culture of Afghanistan. All wars are dreadful and end up in calamities with ripple effects for centuries to come. It is evidence of tragic human abnormality that American, Afghan and Pakistani could not unfold humanitarian approaches to resolve the enlarged conflict in Afghanistan. Now, Trump and Imran Khan have come to understand its reality and wisdom of reciprocal forbearance that could usher a just a viable settlement in Afghanistan. But no one should underestimate the prevalent optimistic scepticism linking Pakistan and Afghanistan to a new American policy and practice for change in southwest Asia.

If America has the political, moral and intellectual capacity to honour its commitments, it could resolve the Afghan problems via a peaceful agreement with the people of Afghan and ensuring a legitimately elected system of governance for Afghanistan. It is not the question of whether Taliban or President Ashraf Ghani’s party should govern Afghanistan, but the people of Afghanistan must have a participatory and final say in making the peace deal.  Rights of the people and political fairness must be the guiding principles to conclude a peace pact between the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Military interventions never deliver peace and social harmony but destroy all substance that should support societal progress and future-making.

Imran Khan should be careful to assess Pakistan’s own weaknesses and strength and learn from the past as to what mistakes were made in military collaboration with the US scheme of things in the region. The USAID gimmick or the loans from the IMF are not viable strategies for national progress and development. Pakistan must strengthen its domestic socio-economic and political productivity, advancements and integration. Its progress is key to international cohesion and services to the neglected masses. Khan does not appear to have expertise in political change, economic productivity and nation-building. Political corruption is cancer in society. He should encourage and engage the new generation of educated and intelligent and honest people to participate in building new public institutions, new systems of participatory governance and political accountability in all domains of affairs. Imran Khan will be wise to enlarge his circle of governance by enlisting educated and proactive visionary men of ideas and strategic experts to deliver services to the people and ensure a progressive Pakistan.

Trump to Mediate Kashmir between India and Pakistan – Will He?

As a friendly overture to softening relationship with Pakistan, Trump offered to mediate the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan.  Immediately, Indian PM’ spokesperson denied Trump’s assertion of PM Modi ever asking him to discuss Kashmir with Pakistan.  In politics, argument and rebuttals could be pondered with varied logical scales. There is a contrast between what India claims to be and what Pakistan stands for and what the people of Kashmir valley aspire for. If we imply canons of rationality, it could clarify the core of fault lines between tense relationships of India and Pakistan.  If India and Pakistan are sincere to find a cure to the overwhelming cruelty, military tyranny and violations of the basic rights of the people of Kashmir, the global community will view them as leaders of peaceful future-making

For a change, Trump has sensed the rationality of restoring normal ties between the two nuclear rivals. It could help him to gain some numbers in political popularity as he did on North Korea – an unthinkable probability making it a thinkable reality for normalization of mutual relationship. Both India and Pakistan and given their competing claims cannot deny the fact that Kashmir is the focal issue to a normal future for the masses in both countries. War is madness if there are people of reason to think about the societal future and wellbeing of the people. Kashmir was never part of India even under the British Raj. In 1947 and 1949 at the UN Security Council Resolutions, the people of Kashmir were promised a referendum (plebiscite) to decide about their future whether to join India or Pakistan.  It is not the domestic territory of India or Pakistan to undo the truth about Kashmir. There is no sense to shed human blood on a precarious experiment whether India administers Kashmir or Pakistanis do. The conflict must be resolved by addressing the humanitarian problems and sufferings of the people of Kashmir. If Trump along with Russia and China could persuade both India and Pakistan to resolve the problem, it could open up a new threshold of peace and harmony in Southwest Asia.

America Needs a Safe Exit from Afghanistan

In a changing world of global thinking and friendly relationships with others, American foreign policy experts should think critically how best they could communicate to a friend in Southwest Asia and enlist urgently needed moral and practical support to pave the ways for a peaceful settlement of the Afghanistan crisis. America is a military power but its legend of invincibility has been torn apart by small groups of fighters in Afghanistan. Much of this land of ancient tribal herdsmen is in ruins, it’s the economy, political and civic infrastructures and productivity devastated by the insanity of war and civilian lives float between obsessed insecurity, daily bombings and extended graveyards. America cannot undo the history of its own ruthless engagement and strategic failure. This consequence is of its own failed strategy or no strategy at all, and not of the role of Pakistan or others. If American rational impulses are intact, its policy should focus on a multilateral approach including Pakistan, Iran, India, China and Russia to pool intellectual resources and work out negotiated settlements in Afghanistan and Kashmir. America needs to be rational and see the mirror of its prolonged involvement in a war that has consumed more than 4,000 lives of US soldiers and almost 15,000 wounded veterans. This is no excuse to reinforce aggression against the people of Afghanistan. America needs a safe exit from the prolonged self-engineered crisis.

Russia, China, India  and Pakistan Could Help America to Negotiate Peace in Asia

While individualism is a political trait, authoritarian absolutism is a political sickness and contrary to the principles of liberty and justice. America enjoins a moral and intellectual history of the making of the nation. “These are the times that try men’s soul”, wrote Thomas Paine in Common Sense (1776), the political vision and reference for the independence of America from Britain as a nation. If global common sense is the hub of rational thoughts, America under Trump has open lines of communication with President Putin and Chinese President Xi Ping. It is rational to assume that Pakistan under PM Imran Khan could facilitate an international gathering inviting Russia, China, India and America to open a dialogue for political change and conflict resolution.

 

This will be a magnanimous forbearance and proactive vision to dispel the notion of war and intransigence and to reshape a turbulent past, be it in Afghanistan or Kashmir and strengthen a legitimate purpose of peace, friendship and sustainable relationships without the tyranny of wars and violations of human rights and dignity. The ferocity of wars and violations of human rights cannot be the intelligent hallmarks of a progressive society striving to harmonize humanity and make sustainable peace as a reality for future generations.

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution and international affairs with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Approaches to Understand the Current Issues and Future-Making. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, October 2017.

 

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Arab Leaders and Aleppo- Insanity Overtakes Humanity By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

 Aleppo

 
 
[Photo: A general view showing damages after what activists said was an airstrike with explosive barrels from forces loyal to President al-Assad in Al-Shaar area in Aleppo] 

December 142016

Arab Leaders and Aleppo- Insanity Overtakes Humanity

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Does Authoritarian Insanity have another Name?

Authoritarian leaders kill people just as butcher slaughters cattle. Casual allusion and changing power metaphors hardly distinguish between people and animals across the Arab world.  The cycle of the dreadful humanitarian crisis unfolding in Aleppo is baffling – as if global humanity and institutions do not exist for other than Americans and Europeans. All advancements of knowledge-based humanity, laws and preservation of life and human dignity and international institutions appear null and void. Our failure to grasp the compelling realities of authoritarian atrocities against the helpless civilians makes us feel we are standing at one of the darkest timelines of history.Is the surrender of Aleppo to powerful insanity inevitable?  Given the informed and resourceful 21st century global community, we were capable to avert the bombardment and to extend security and sense of humanity to the besieged population. Yet, the UNO Security Council and US-Russia kept on talking and talking about paper resolution, abstract dialogue and no concrete action to preserve human dignity and freedom. The abyss of horrors unfolding tells of the deliberate rapes of women and execution of the civilian population by the Assad forces as stated by the outgoing UN SG Ban-Ki Moon. The fallen Aleppo brings shame and disgrace to all the Arab leaders and the global humanity for being indifferent to the ever growing humanitarian crisis.  

Where are the Muslim scholars and intellectuals to claim sense of honesty about what is happening on the ground? If values of human life and wisdom were the signs of intelligence and responsibility, the situation warranted an urgent powerful intervention to safeguard the entrenched people of Aleppo. Witnessing the authoritarian cruelty, bombardment and the on-going cold blooded massacres of innocent civilians in Aleppo, the conscientious Arab masses wonder if there are any Arab leaders to offer sense of security to the people.  Shocking as it is to discover that there are no Arab leaders to protect the people in conflict situations. They are foreign agents of influence imposed on the helpless Arabian people.

The entrenched people kept on calling upon global humanity to come to rescue them but it was an illusion turned fantasy and nothing else. The global humanity, the UNO, America and humanitarian protection laws are just empty words devoid of life, morality and just written in school books with dry ink that means nothing to the suffering humanity in Aleppo.  Today, Shamy, a 15 year old girl from Aleppo sending SOS on Twitter as if there is a living global mankind listening to her in extreme adversity.  Abdullah, a 72 year old man carried his seventy year old wounded wife on a wooden cart and was waiting for medical help but shell fell and an Al-Jazeera reporter showed the clips how she died there in split second, but Abdullah kept on moving with the dead body in search of the unknown.

London-based Al-Jazeera moderator asked 15 year old school girl Aminah Abubaker, if she was safe and had enough food. She answered, “For two weeks we are hiding in the basement watching deaths and destruction and nowhere to go and no food and no shops around here. Is this catastrophic humanitarian crisis out of the nowhere? The inhuman political metaphor is sugarcoated by Syria’s enriched neighbors –  a treacherous cluster of petro-dollar economic prosperity to furbish modernism that prevails in palaces, not amongst the masses.

While Steffan de Mustara, Kerry and Larove pretend to be talking about a ceasefire and safe corridor to allow humanitarian aid and the civilians to depart from the bombardment in Aleppo, it was all a malicious stage drama to cover-up the political failure.    For five years, millions are forcibly displaced to become unwelcomed refugees in European continents, several millions killed and others waiting to be consumed by the insanity of the Assad regime and its military allies. Are these official honest and rational or do they think the global mankind is blind. The game is the same “do nothing” and talk loud. In a global age of knowledge and information, Arab leaders cannot pretend being ignorant and unaware of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding daily on the television screen. The alleged war crimes are just a scenario for the uncertain future, but reality warranted swift action to safeguard the human lives entrapped in the war zones, and honor of Muslims and their habitats across Aleppo, Idlib, Baghdad, Mosul and Yemen. None of the puppets had courage and will to challenge the deliberate pillage and insanity imposed by the Assad forces and the superpowers. Are there no Arab Generals and no Arab armies to help the believers?  If not, why do these leaders spent billions of dollars to acquire weapons from the US and Europeans? How could the rest of the Arab leaders differentiate between their role and what is being carried out by the Assad regime? Are they all sadistic criminals and violent robbers of peoples’ right, human dignity and future? Isn’t the same insane egoism and militarism that brought downfall of Saddam Hussein, Ghaddafi and many others in the region?

All Arab leaders must be held accountable for the crimes committed against the Syrian people. To uplift their own images, when overwhelming crimes against humanity are shown by the global news media, some affluent Arab leaders take asylum in the shadow of British dwindling leadership at a gathering in Bahrain and others sent foreign ministers to Paris to mourn their own wishful thinking for failure to oust the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Often Arab leaders say next to nothing to global audience. But one of the foreign ministers spoke of Islamic extremism emerging out of Aleppo if nothing was done.  The cynical minds know nothing about the realities on the ground. Who will do what to safeguard the besieged people of Aleppo for over several years, is not clear. It is the ruthless forces of Syrian Government and its military Allies Russia, Iran and Shiite army of Hezbollah that are fighting against the civilian population opposing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Ironically America, Britain and France had already destabilized the entire Arab region by continuous aerial bombardment and deaths and destruction to which the frontline Arab countries were an essential component. None of the Arab leaders had any imagination or capacity on how to deal with political problems and approach conflict management and security paradigm. It is always the Master – USA and Britain that dictate the oil exporting Arab states in their affairs. All of the secretive police apparatus are operated by the same egomaniac masters. It is unthinkable to imagine that Bashar Al-Assad  and his allies could ever escape the accountability by time and history.

Are the Arab Rulers Waiting to See the End Game?

Sigmund Freud (Civilization and its Discontent, 1930) noted that “the inclination to aggression is an original self-subsisting instinctual disposition in man, and that it constitutes the greatest impediment to civilization.”  The Arab Middle East is no exception.  In view of the unstoppable cycle of political killings and daily bloodbaths across Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and spill-over to other oil producing Arab nations – and reactionary militancy against the authoritarian rule and dismantling of the socio-economic infrastructures –  is the Arab world coming to its own end because of the sadistic dictators?  The Arab rulers and the masses live and breathe in conflicting time zones being unable to see the rationality of people-oriented governance. Perhaps, the worst is yet to come, surrender to foreign forces as there are no leaders to think of the future or the Arab armies to defend the people. Borrowed weapons and corrupt and failed rulers cannot extend moral or intellectual security to the masses. The question is how to decode treachery, greed, incompetence and dead conscience to tell the future generation – the real story of the Arab ruler’s aggressiveness and drudgery interjected and internalized in egoistic conscience to manage the governance.

Wars suck out positive human thinking and creative energies to articulate a sustainable future.How should humanity view contemporary Arab societies, their war-torn bloody cultures operated by foreign mercenaries and few authoritarian dictators?  What kind of message of civility, moral and intellectual values do they convey to the watchful eyes of the global community? What happened to their Islamic culture, values and glorious civilization? Was the petrodollar a conspiracy (“fitna”) to disconnect the Arab people from Islamic culture and civilization? Contemporary global affairs warrant intelligent and competent leadership not kings, not military dictators or dull princes occupying splendid palaces away from the people. Leaders manage the crisis when facts of life warrant change and adaptability to the future. Often crisis unity people of reason but not the Arab rulers.

The Syrian war will end as it cannot go for ever. Its ripple effects will haunt present and future generations. The people’s struggle could soon move to other neighboring Arab societies encouraging masses to rise against the authoritarian regimes for people-oriented Islamic governance. The super powers and Iran appear to be on the wrong side of time and history. If Iranian had Islamic consciousness and unity of the Ummah (nation) as its policy aim, it was immaterial whether Assad remains in power or not. Professing sectarian shiisim and taking sides with monsters of history and talking about Muslim unity make no sense by the Iranian speaker of the Majlis. They all breathe in self-geared illusions of wishful thinking. While the concerned mankind is shocked by the atrocities and horrors carried out by the Assad regime and Russians, ironically in West Aleppo others are celebrating the victory of insanity over the humanity. History speaks its own language that all those leaders and nations claiming to be most powerful on the planet were destroyed by their own designs and wicked strategies. Those dictators and political monsters that willfully brutalized the humanity should not go unchallenged for their crimes and accountability.

 

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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