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Friday, 18 December 2015

Is Turkey the next Pakistan? (Gateway House)

As Iran begins to re-integrate with the global economy, the politics in West Asia are bound to be impacted. Will Iran be the new Turkey? Is Turkey going down the path of Pakistan? M.D. Nalapat, director of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University and Manjeet Kripalani, executive director, Gateway House join our national security fellow, Sameer Patil, to discuss these questions, and more.

M.D. Nalapat: Turkey is like Pakistan in one respect; what Pakistan was to the Taliban, Turkey is to Daesh and Al Nusra, Ahrar al Sham – all these various umbrella organisations which have got this very ultra-Wahhabi theology. Turkey is the safe area for these groups, just as Pakistan was a safe area for the Mujahideen groups in Afghanistan even after the Russians left.
But the difference between Turkey and Pakistan is this: in Turkey, the military has been secular, and it is unfortunately the political establishment that is contra-secular. In Pakistan, the political establishment was largely secular and the military, beginning with Zia Ul-Haq, converted it into a Wahhabi kind of orientation.
Now unfortunately, you have a very curious example of the European Union and the United States. They back the Wahhabi military in Pakistan against the civilian establishment. I remember when Asif Zardari was President of Pakistan, his party controlled the legislature, he wanted to downsize the power of the military. Hillary Clinton and the entire United States establishment came on the side of the military in weakening Zardari, weakening the PPP. And now it is coming on the side of the military again and it is weakening Nawaz Sharif vis-à-vis Raheel Sharif. So they are supporting the Wahhabi military against a more moderate political establishment.
In Turkey, it is the European Union that is responsible for the death of secularism, because the European Union connived with Erdogan in destroying the Turkish military’s independence and autonomy. The guarantor of secularism in Turkey, the guarantor of ensuring that Turkey would not go the Wahhabi way, was the Turkish military. And the European Union was an accomplice in destroying the Turkish military’s autonomy, as the European Union and the United States have been accomplices in destroying the primacy of the civilian establishment in Pakistan vis-à-vis the military.
So now what is happening- they are paying the price for it.
The attack on Saddam Hussain, it opened the door for Iran. Libya opened the door for Al Qaeda to enter into Europe.  I said from the start that this is what is going to happen. Syria- it is going to be much worse. Should, for example, the declared goal of these individuals about changing the Assad regime and removing it with the so-called patchwork work, then Damascus is going to become a complete area, an arena of mass murder. It’s going to become a hub, like Raqqa, of extremism. And the problems are going to become much worse.
Some years ago, I gave up trying to understand the logic of the policy of the Atlantic Alliance. Because this policy is so fatal to its own interests. I don’t understand why they are still walking hand-in-hand with Wahhabism, why they are still participating in these sectarian conflicts? A country I am extremely respectful of is Israel. [But] They got involved in 1982 in supporting the Maronite groups against the Shi’a. And now the only country where Shi’a terror is active is Israel. Today NATO is supporting the Wahhabis. I’m not talking about the Sunnis, the Sunnis are different from Wahhabis. The Wahhabis are being supported by NATO against the Shi’as.
So what is likely if is this continue? Shi’a terror is going to spread across Europe and also the United States. So you have Wahhabi terror and Shi’a terror. You’ll have a two-front war on this kind of theological terror. So why they are making this mistake, I do not know.
The root of the problem is the flawed policy of the Atlantic Alliance. And this flawed policy has to change. One, they have to pull back their proxies- whether it is Turkey, whether it is Saudi Arabia, whether it is Qatar. Two, they have to go into the roots of funding. For example, the weapons and money that ISIS has got, the weapons and money that Ahrar al-Sham has got, the weapons and money of Al Nusra- it’s easy to track them! Track the source- where did it come from? Send those people to jail! Frankly the key funders, in Saudi Arabia, in Turkey, in Qatar, of these organisations should be sent to Guantanamo Bay. Don’t shut down Guantanamo Bay, send the funders there, because these people are a thousand times more toxic than the actual so-called fighters. The ones who fund terror are the real ultra terrorists.
This region is going into a bottomless pit and the reason for that is the deeply flawed policy of the Atlantic Alliance.
You can listen to the full podcast with M.D. Nalapat and Manjeet Kripalani with Sameer Patil below: 

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