It is unwise to make predictions about the future. Unlike physical laws, human behaviour is unpredictable because there are many variables that influence human decision-making. There are, however, certain patterns that enable one to make a reasonable assessment of what to expect.
For instance, if someone slaps a person, it should come as no surprise if there is a negative reaction. What form that takes is difficult to predict. The same applies to the conduct of states. While theoretically, there are certain rules that are supposed to be followed in relations between states, in practice, this is not always the case. States can act just as unpredictably as humans because state decision-making is also determined by humans.
Past behaviour, however, can serve as a useful guide to enable us to make certain projections. Thus, given intense competition between rival powers for influence, domination and the control of resources, it is not difficult to surmise that the year 2023 will be marred by even more conflicts and uncertainty than the previous year. History has seldom witnessed any prolonged period of peace and quiet. In the past, however, conflicts were localized and did not affect in a major way other regions or peoples.
This is no longer the case. Conflicts have become globalized, or have global impact. Take the case of Ukraine that Russia invaded on February 24, 2022. What many thought would be a short, swift operation and Russia would achieve its objectives quickly, has dragged on for more than 10 months. There are no signs that it is likely to end soon. In fact, the chances are that it will drag on for a lot longer and perhaps become a lot messier.
While the physical conflict is confined to Ukraine, its impact is felt globally. There has been major disruption in grain and oil and gas supplies. Both Russia and Ukraine are major grain producers. Russia is also a major oil and gas producer. It was the principal supplier to much of Europe but these have been disrupted under US pressure. The Europeans are not amused but have little say in how their policies are dictated by Washington.
Russia’s leaders fear that the collective west led by the US is not only trying to oust Vladimir Putin from power but that there is a plan to destroy Russia itself. Not surprisingly, the Russians will do everything to frustrate such designs. In addition to freezing more than $300 billion in Russian assets, the west has also imposed a raft of sanctions. These have caused more harm to the economies of Europe than to Russia.
Then there is America’s obsession with China. The Washington warlords want to undermine China’s rise as an economic power because it would eclipse American pre-eminence if it has not done so already. In Taiwan, the US conduct is extremely provocative and meant to draw China into a shooting war. The American aim seems to be to provoke Beijing to the point that a war erupts between China and Taiwan in which, like Ukraine vi-a-vis Russia, the Taiwanese will fight and die against China.
Chinese history shows that it avoids war as much as possible. This also explains its emphasis on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose aim is to connect the world to China’s economic grid. Whether other countries will benefit as much from the BRI as will China is debatable but the Chinese do not send troops into other countries, only technicians, engineers and businessmen.
The US is also trying to use India against both China and Russia but with little success. The wily Indians are playing all sides and there is little the US can do about it. For instance, India has ignored American calls to not trade with Russia or buy oil from it above the cap price imposed by the west. India is doing brisk business with Russia and is making a tidy profit by buying oil at a discounted price and selling it to third parties.
Where does the Muslim world fit into all this? There are numerous trouble spots in the Muslim world. Not all are the result of Muslim mismanagement. External interference in the affairs of Muslim countries is an established fact. The principal villains are the US, Britain, France and the zionist entity.
Take the case of Islamic Iran. It has been targeted since the victory of the Islamic revolution in February 1979. There has been relentless pressure on Islamic Iran to force it to submit to US-western diktats. To its credit, the Islamic leadership in Iran has withstood all such pressures, of course at enormous cost. Going forward, it is unlikely that such pressure will ease. All indications are that with each failure, the west will intensify its disruptive policies.
Beyond Iran, the entire West Asia region is in the collective west’s cross-hairs. Pakistan and Afghanistan are suffering from US policies that are preventing their development and growth. Pakistan was beginning to make steady economic progress after decades of stagnation but the Washington warlords, using their agents in the Pakistani military, disrupted this process. Pakistan is on the verge of political and economic collapse.
The same holds true for Afghanistan although the Taliban seem to have managed quite well despite the enormous challenges they face. While the Taliban-led government has not been recognized by any state so far, they have been quite successful in restoring law and order. Similarly, despite their assets being frozen by the US—illegally one must point out—they have managed to survive.
In the broader Middle East, Arabian rulers led by Saudi Arabia are forging ahead with developing close relations with China. This has caused great heartburn in Washington. The Palestinians, unfortunately have been abandoned and left to the non-existent mercies of the zionist war criminals. Life for the Palestinians as well as Kashmiris, the other large Muslim population under Indian occupation, is likely to continue to suffer. As will the people of Yemen and the Rohingya refugees.
Unless there emerges some unity among Muslims—at present it appears remote—they will continue to suffer despite comprising nearly 20% of the world’s population.
This is a great pity.