INTL CONFLICTSMIDDLE EASTOPINION

Mounting Teheran – Riyadh tensions: Is third World War likely?

By Sudhanshu Tripathi

Indeed, West Asia is again witnessing another looming specter of likely face-off between Iran and Saudi Arabia due to mounting mutual tensions which may result into a major crisis of large-scale armed clashes between them. Obviously the consequent scenario may lead to possible realigning of international forces with likely formation of Riyadh-Washington-Tel Aviv axis against it, leading possibly to Third World War.

In fact, the immediate cause is due to Iran’s recent cruise-missiles attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructures but both are indeed the two traditional enemies, always struggling for predominance in the region. Although the Houthi rebel’s of Yemen have claimed responsibility for these attacks but the US has concluded it as an act of war, having proven involvement of Teheran. Consequently, the region has been suffering the decades-long tumultuous phase of macabre violence and brutal terror due to worst Palestine-Israel horrible wars in the previous century and also due to presence of several terror-networks.

Unfortunately the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has recently added fuel into fire, following the American President Trump’s terse remarks threatening Teheran of serious consequences. Adding further weight into the US’s charges against Iran, Saudi Arabia’s army spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malaki has also displayed the debris of Iranian missiles and remains of its drones to substantiate its claims. Obviously, that raises potent possibility of counter-launching by Riyadh’s military establishment over Teheran. Should it happens, it may further polarize the boiling region into another Shia-Sunni conflict and accompanying sectarian struggles, likely to spread throughout the Muslim world. Obviously, the consequent scenario grim scenario in West Asia including Persian Gulf may possibly lead to Third World War.

Adding further to deteriorate the prevailing scenario, several global terror networks already present in the region, will obviously exploit the tense scenario in their own favour by further escalating horrible violence and terror with a view to deter the sovereign regional partners to extract maximum mileage. Indeed by inflicting gruesome terror upon sovereign might of the states in the region, these terror networks have their sole objective to establish an Ummah – a global community of only faithful Muslims in the world – and wage global jihad against all non-faithful people or Kafirs. Unfortunately, India continues to suffer the worst form of cross-border terror being exported from Pakistan having proven with these global terror networks. These terrorist are very much opposed to the entire western powerful nations, particularly the US and Russia, due to their active involvement in the region with a view extract maximum economic benefits, as the region is extremely rich as regards crude oil and natural gas. Obviously both Washington and Moscow – besides many other major powers – will evidently jump into the resultant fray so as to fish into the troubled waters in regard to their own respective economic interests. In fact, they have their huge investments in the region for extracting its natural resources to help-run their respective economies vis-a-vis mounting energy crises.

Unfortunately, the prevailing tensions in the region has already led to rising prices of crude oil and gas thereby exerting immense pressure on India’s economy and  towards its efforts for energy security. Indeed, the region provides various employment and business opportunities to many Indians who transfer hefty amount into India and thus contribute into consolidating the national economy and infrastructure. Also, the security and well-being of the Indian nationals are the uppermost priority for the Indian government because they may suffer various forms of threats to their lives and property, if the mounting tensions in the region result into full-fledged war between the two opponents.

Hence, India being the largest democracy and also a peace-loving and non-violent country, enjoying considerable influence in the region, must come forward to extend maximum impetus towards resolution of the prevailing tensions between them. Evidently, India’s rising stature in all over the world, as well-proved by red-carpet welcome of its Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi in the ‘Howdy, Modi’ event on 22-9-2019 at Houston in America, can now help New Delhi to do so. As West Asia is an extended part of Asia, both India and the regional partners can act in a constructive way to ensure lasting peace and security in the entire region by evolving a regional security architecture. As India and the entire region have many historical, socio-cultural and geo-political commonalities coming down since yester-years, they can easily interact and cooperate with each other towards this end.

Thus, there is the urgent requirement to help-restore the peaceful and conducive and constructive environment in the entire region by promoting different areas of social, economic and cultural cooperation among all regional partners. And that will obviously remove their mutual suspicions and may considerably reduce their aggressive attitudes against each other. Evidently, both America and Russia and all other major powers must immediately stop their undue interference in the region, thereby complicating the prevailing grave situation therein.

Indeed, Russia’s continuing support to the Assad government in Syria has resulted into mounting terror activities in the entire region. Similarly, the US’ unflinching support to Saudi Arabia and Israel has boosted the morale of many terror-networks drawing support from Riyadh and also the Israel’s secret agency Mossad to operate against Teheran. As they all are prominent contestants for establishing their undisputed predominance and hegemony in the region, the consequent mutual antagonism among them is just an obvious outcome. Unfortunately, the recent unilateral American withdrawal from the nuclear agreement with Iran has, indeed shocked Teheran and emboldened both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Obviously these external powers, instead of inciting their mutual fratricidal tendencies, must extend their good offices by bringing them both countries across the table for constructive talks and discussions. That will obviously give them an opportunity to sort out their mutual persisting differences and may further pave the way towards establishing enduring peace and security between them and also in the whole region. Further, that may save the global humanity from the possible holocaust of the likely Third World War. This may happen as nothing is beyond human endeavour.

Prof. Sudhanshu Tripathi, U.P. Rajarshi Tandon Open University, Prayagaraj (UP)

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