Getting Sucked Into Other People’s Wars by Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JANUARY 20, 2010)

Foreign Policy Drift-II

In this second part of the series Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam talks about some of the reasons for concern over India being gradually sucked into US-UK-Israeli foreign policy orbit.

Recently, the chief of Israel’s security agency Mossad was in New Delhi. It was a low-key visit, with few mentions in the media. A section of the press said the visit was kept low key because of Indian Muslim apprehensions about its implications. Not coincidentally, the White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuell, a known backer of Israel, was also in New Delhi “on a vacation”.

It is interesting to recall a row Rahm’s father initiated early in Obama presidency when he told fellow Jews that Rahm was not there in the White House “to sweep the floor”. “What do you think? Is he an Arab?”, he asked rhetorically before stating that his son would influence White House policy in favour of Israel. That annoyed the Arabs and Muslims of the United States enough to protest. Rahm apologised on behalf of his father and the storm (if it can be called that) blew away.

However, what Rahm’s father said has been borne out with the passage of time: the Obama presidency is as much inclined towards forgiving Israel’s excesses and ignoring Palestine’s appeals for help as George W. Bush, if not more. The catalogue of Israel’s crimes is too long to be enumerated here. Knowing that the Arab-Muslim world has sympathies for Palestinians, Israel has been doing its best to harm Muslims everywhere, including in India.

That is why several Muslim organisations and political leaders have expressed concern over the visit of the Israeli security chief to India. The Maharashtra ATS led by late Hemant Karkare had obtained the confession of Col. Purohit in which he admitted that his terrorist group Abhinav Bharat, which had been attacking mosques and Muslims with bombs, had the backing of Israeli intelligence. He gave out details of his visits to Tel Aviv and Kathmandu (under the king’s rule) where he got assurance of support. Some Urdu newspapers have talked of such Israeli connection with another Hindutva terror group, the Sanatan Sanstha, that carried out blasts at Hindu congregations to implicate Muslims and start Hindu-Muslim riots.

At a recent meeting of Muslim leaders attended by Mulayam Singh Yadav, an Urdu journalist and parliamentarian pointed out how the growing Indo-Israeli cooperation was alienating Muslims. “Our police officers visit Tel Aviv and come back to stage a Batla House encounter”, he said. At the face of it this might sound like a casual remark, but on close analysis you find that it points precisely towards a new trend: Israelis are telling our countrymen that they are part of a single network of victims and the perpetrator is an undifferentiated, monolithic Islamic Jihad. Other illusions are being created, like a parallel between the demolished Babri Masjid and an intended-to-be demolished Haram Sharif in Jerusalem. Not everyone can make a distinction between the two distinctly different cases. And this is precisely why such mischief flourishes. This is also a supposed common ground between the admirers of Hitler (Hindutva terrorists) and the victims of Hitler (Zionists).

Indian Muslims cannot be faulted for reacting to something that is so real. According to one of the early Israeli leaders, David Ben Gurion Jews had to settle scores with the present-day descendants of the ancient (pre-Islamic) Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians and others (most of whose descendants are Muslim today). Most of the present-day Muslim world, which has no such pre-Islamic history, is also being targeted for its sympathies with Palestinians. The ancient peoples mentioned above, it must be reiterated, were adversaries of ancient Jews much before the advent of Islam.

The subtle propaganda and its symbolisms have begun to take root. Not long ago, Delhi Police caught some Muslim young men suspected of militancy. They were paraded before the media, their heads covered with the familiar chequered Arab scarves. The immediate subliminal message went to everyone seeing those images in newspapers and on television screens that there was a continuum of “Islamic” militancy from the Middle East to India, and Israelis are fellow sufferers. It turned out that an over-enthusiastic deputy commissioner of Delhi Police had got those scarves purchased from the market, especially for this purpose. The resemblance with Palestinian resistance fighters was deliberately created to send the subtle massage that the Palestinian cause was not worth supporting, and that Israel was our “natural” ally. The Israel-Batla House connection may not be obvious, but this behaviour of police officers is quite so and amounts to almost the same thing as it shows the enthusiasm of some of our police officers for such gimmicks. This mischief against the Muslim community in India went largely unnoticed and unpunished in a secular, democratic India, except for Member of Parliament. Akbar Dumply appearing in Parliament in a similar scarf and actor Shah Rukh Khan choosing to wear it once in a while.

As I said in the first part of this series the alignment of Indian foreign policy to Americas, British and Israeli foreign policy objectives at a time when they are clearly seen to be on a confrontation course with the Muslim world is not auspicious. It is America and Britain that have invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, not India. In fact, India for centuries had friendly relations with both Afghanistan and Iraq. In that case, there is little point in India sharing their guilt. Iraq was attacked on the false pretext that it had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Ground is assiduously being prepared for attacking Iran on the same false pretext of nuclear weapons, or WMDs. In that, too, India is being made to look like a co-conspirator. This war will certainly spread to more Muslim countries in the years ahead. At this rate, India will be dragged into those conflicts as well. The Anglo Saxon-Israeli Axis of Evil would use India as a shield to deflect some of the fallout towards it. It is worth pondering whether this is the right choice—being dragged deeper and deeper into other people’s wars?

Because of their mischiefs America, Britain and Israel deserve the condemnation they are subjected to all over Asia, Africa and Latin America. India has done nothing to deserve such condemnation. That is precisely the reason it should not be seen as a close ally of this Axis of Evil. There is no lesson to be learnt from these countries because the acts of terror that have come their way are largely a blowback of their own atrocities in Palestine. The terror they are fighting is their own creation. India has done no such thing, and whatever terror and militancy has come its way is not related to the global jihad in any substantial way. It is largely homegrown, or at the most, sourced out of Pakistan. They should never be mixed. That is one reason episodes like the Delhi Police scarf gimmick must be condemned in strongest terms for the racial and religious slur it amounts to, as well as for symbolically connecting indigenous (or, at the most, sub-continental) militancy with Palestinian resistance. Legal action against such police officials would have automatically followed in a country where rule-of-law is better entrenched.

(To be contd.)

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