The Gulf Security In The 21st Century: Military, Economic And Energy Dimensions
Dawn of 21st century has brought number of challenges for the modern world to face. These challenges are security, economic and social development and role played by main stake holders of the world. 20th century was a century of great revolutions and development of nations; Industrial revolution and bringing world together after two world wars World War 1 and World War 2 are the major land marks achieved by world. By development of nations it is meant end of colonial rules in entire world, progress both industrial and social achieved by European countries after facing devastating effects of both World Wars and at last the formation of ideological states. The nations or countries which are based on the ideas of a religion and race are regarded as ideological countries or nations. Present examples of such states are Republic of Israel and Islamic Republic of Pakistan, These two countries or nations are formed on the basis of religion and are these religions are extremely opposite to each other. Formation of these nations is also courtesy of both World War 2 and finishing of Colonial Rule respectively (Madden and Gillick, 2012). Two international platforms formed during twentieth century. First one named as League of Nations which was formed after 1st World War and second United Nations. The formation of both organizations was to provide entire people of world on single plat form and other target was to reduce or finish possibilities of any deadly war (Madden and Gillick, 2012).
League of Nations failed to achieve its goal and the result was a deadly World War 2 which swept away entire human rights and is responsible of thousands of deaths. There was a need to define set of basic human, civil and women rights again internationally. As a result of 2nd World War world had two super powers in the shape of United States of America and Russian federation or USSR (Madden and Gillick, 2012). This situation provided the basis for formation of United Nations.
Although there were millions of lives wasted during both of these wars, yet these wars introduced man kind to ever developing engineering industries known as Telecommunication and Weapon Engineering. The concepts of wireless communication and missile technology were introduced in these wars. Even Internet was first introduced by United States Department of Defense. Most of the fundamental concepts regarding wireless communications were introduced in these wars.
United Nations (UN) after its formation redefined basic civil rights. The laws regarding Prisoner of Wars (POW), War crimes, state terrorism and governing issues were also defined. The bipolar world gave birth to a unique war faced by world as both super powers of the World did not use their own lands for the purpose of this war but they used lands of other nations for fighting and showing their military and diplomatic strengths. This war known as Cold War introduced a new dimension of battles between the nations. Diplomatic war-fare and using resources of other countries or nations for own interest were the concepts introduced during that era (Madden and Gillick, 2012). As examples Invasion of Afghanistan by Russians and Vietnam War started by United States of America. The results of these both wars were devastating for both invaders and the people which were invaded. There were precious life of Afghans and Vietnamese lost during these wars. In Afghanistan only the ratio was 10:1 for Afghans. The struggle and resistance provided by these two nations is a living example until now. Both super powers beside there all military might lose to a very weak enemy (Madden and Gillick, 2012).
Cold War era divided almost entire world into two banks Russian and American respectively. Both polarized group of countries were in continuous state or threat of war all that time (Madden and Gillick, 2012). Korea is still divided in two parts known as North Korea and South Korea respectively. North Korea is still believed to be supported by Russians and South Korea is supported by United States of America. In the similar way Gulf states were also divided into two blocks American and Soviet. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates fall into the American block. On the other hand countries like Syria and Jordan fall into the Russian block. Middle Eastern states are consisting of Muslims as majority population. Muslims are bounded to each other through their religion and social values. There were disputes created for sure between Muslims as they were divided into two main religious sectors Sunni and Shia. Yet the bound existing between them socially is very strong as most of their values despite of their other differences are same.
Cold war also gave birth to a new concept which is known as Proxy War. Proxy war commonly refers to the phenomenon in which two opposing parties use resources and land of a third party in place of fighting with each directly (Alterman, 2013). The case of Russian invasion of Afghanistan is a perfect example of proxy war. Both super powers fought on the land and lives of Afghani people. Russian invaded Afghanistan in the search of warm waters or cost line of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Pakistan is a neighbor of Afghanistan. United States of America used resources and lives of Jihadis (militants present in Afghanistan were fighting Russians and that time). Pakistan provided logistic and weapon support to Jihadis and Americans as it wanted to save its cost line from invading Russian forces. Thus Pakistan, United States of America and Russia fought their wars on the land of Afghanistan. As a result of Afghan invasion and successful resistance of Afghan and Pakistani people; Russian along its idea of capitalism was defeated. Russia was broken into numerous states (Alterman, 2013). Still there are number of proxy wars going on all around the world.
Middle East (Gulf) and Role of big Powers
Middle East or Gulf is the area which lies in a region of planet where eastern and western worlds meet each other (Utah, 2010). This region has a great importance from ancient times as this was the region which is called land of prophets. Three main religions of the world Christian, Jewish, and Islamic have their sacred places in this region. This fact makes this region one of the most sensitive regions of the world. The religion Islam is dominant in the region as almost all of the states except Republic of Israel belong to Muslims (Utah, 2010). There is also an interaction of both western and eastern civilizations caused in Middle Eastern region. The interaction of both civilizations resulted in the division of the world into west mostly controlled by Christian faith and East controlled by Muslims in some parts. Greater area of world is still under the rule of Christian faith. West in form of Crusades succeeded in reducing the influences of Islam in Europe. West is also considered as winner because as a result of Crusades the power of knowledge (Scientific and artistic developments by Muslims) was transferred from East to West. Moreover the results helped both civilizations considering the fact that due to crusades both East and West and civilizations of both sectors of the world opened and became flexible for each other. This helped in flourishing of trade and business all over the world creating economic harmony.
Major countries present in the area are Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Oman, Yemen and Egypt. Egypt is a region which has traces of oldest civilizations in the world. Pyramids of Giza are one of the Seven Wonders of the World. This country has a rich religious and geographical history (Utah, 2010). Egyptians used to have different concepts regarding creation of the world. According to one of the beliefs the whole world was a part of a big dark ocean. Suddenly a large portion of land appeared with reappearance of Sun god. Sun as a god is of great importance in ancient Egyptian religion as it created all things.
Era of Pharohs is an important part of Ancient Egyptian history. Family of Pharohs established a strong state of Egypt which they ruled. As ancient Egyptians religion is based on environment surrounding them. These Pharohs were worshipped by most people of Egypt. Pharaohs also considered themselves as family gods made to rule people. Pharaohs were actually warlords gaining power with passage of time. These warlords so called gods provided protection to people and saw to their needs. Egyptians start thinking that the god name as Pharaoh had support of all other gods. Gradually all other gods vanished expect Pharaoh and his family. Pharaoh became center of Egyptian civilization. Pharaoh led religious rituals performed to withhold Egypt. Pharaoh was not only the god-king of Egypt but also responsible for order of the land. Pharaoh was soon thought to be divine god-king having support and power of all other gods.
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was formed by Ibn-e-Saud with the help of wahabi (a sector present in Muslims) militants. After capturing the most of Arabian Peninsula he announced the formation of his Kingdom in 1933. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has most important and most sacred shrines of religion Islam in it in cities of Mecca and Madina. King of Saudi Arabia is considered to be most strong and valued Muslim leader in entire world. One can easily assume that in order to keep good relations with Muslim World one has to keep good relations with Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This gives this country a central and deciding role in Muslim world (Utah, 2010). Discovery of oil in the region made this country more important all over the world. Until 2001 before 9/11 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) was the largest oil producer of the country. Now there are 50,000 princes in the kingdom which have to control a relatively small population of almost 40 million people.
United Arab Emirates (U.A.E) is country which was part of British Empire until 1971. It was the only country in the region which did not stop the oil production and kept the industry running even rest of oil producers refused to do so as a war tactic. Most of the Arabs are considered as backward and reluctant towards adopting new technologies or ideas and even they are reluctant to provide women rights and economic opportunities (Utah, 2010).
Carmathians formed a powerful sheikdom and army conquered Mecca. After the the disintegration of the whole kingdom the people which were mostly military trained turned into pirates. These pirates were strong enough to threaten the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman in early 19th century. This hostile situation of the region encouraged British to capture the area who in 1820 enforced partial truce and a permanent truce in 1853 (Parent, 1). United Arab Emirates coast line then called pirate coast line was renamed as Trucial coast line by British. British Empire which had no interest in the area as they only entered the area to provide security to the ships carrying merchandise from west to east and vice versa.
U.A.E has played its part quite effectively in order to remove such an image of Arabs in eyes of other world. According to a survey conducted in 2007 there was a literacy rate of 90% among the U.A.E national women. U.A.E introduced Arabs to modern technology for example Etisalat is the first company of world to win mobile phone service license in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The people and government first in Arabs of U.A.E are now aware of the fact that the oil which is providing them all energy requirements is soon going to be consumed in next few decades. Keeping this problem statement in mind Government of U.A.E commits to attain a target of 7% dependence on the renewable energy sources till 2020. The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company known as Masdar has already sent tenders for international companies to invest in the field of renewable energy. Recently, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has founded and U.A.E is awarded as a home of IRENA in Abu-Dhabi’s Masdar City (Malta, 2012).
Abu Dhabi that holds 94% production of the oil is an emirate that welcomed foreign private companies to invest in oil finding and production sector. Abu Dhabi also has a reputation in business world as it was the only member of OPEC which did not nationalize the holdings of foreign investors during the wave of nationalization. This wave swept global oil and gas industry heavily in mid 1970’s (Malta, 2012).
All the emirates comprising U.A.E lie in the region where climatic changes are very less. Most of the time weather is hot in the whole Arabian Peninsula. Days are much longer in the region as compared to whole of the world. There is a problems faced by most of the western countries in designing of buildings while they are to be operated on solar energy. The orientation of building should be in a way that it gets greater intensity of sun throughout the day. Generally houses with house tops oriented towards west cannot install solar energy system. This orientation problem is not faced by U.A.E as the whole region faces maximum energy of sun all the year (Malta, 2012).
The main land mark achieved by U.A.E is the rights and opportunities available for the female population of U.A.E. Arabs are generally considered as reluctant towards giving enhanced development opportunities to their female population. U.A.E is again acting as a pioneer in this field. The literacy rate of females in U.A.E is 90% as of a survey conducted in 2007. The number of females enrolled in the higher education programs are 24% more than males enrolled in the programs. United Arab Emirates have taken a great leap towards religious development of females becoming pioneer to train females as “Muftis” (Mufti is a term associated with a person who can interpret Islamic laws and can enforce them) (Malta, 2012).
Kuwait and Iraq are the countries which have an important part in the history of Middle East. Iraq’s war trained military invaded Kuwait and declared it as a province of Iraq. Other countries of the region including Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (K.S.A) and delegates of Kuwait asked international community to play their part in this situation. United States of America responded with sending half a million troops to Saudi Arabia in order to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait which were under the command of Saddam Husain. This whole situation resulted in first American military base in the region. The presence of American military in the region played and will play a crucial role in the future of region (Utah, 2010).
Role played by the big powers or countries in the region is quite evident from history to present and in future of this region. It is due to the mutual planning of big powers that state of Israel was formed in the region. Formation of Israel and disintegration of Syria gave a deep wound to Arab including Egypt. As a result state two deadly wars known as Arab Israel War of 1967 and 1973 were fought in the region. Egypt and Syria were main partners in both of these wars backed by rest of Arabs and weapons provided by Russia. On the other hand United States of America supported Israel. At one point there was an extreme tension created all over the world as religious sectors of Muslim world (mostly consisting of oil producers) pressurized their governments to stop the supply of oil to the western countries and their allies which were fighting in the support of Israel. This stop of oil was to be used be as a war tactic. The involvement of Syria and Russia in these wars almost brought this world to the verge of a nuclear war (Utah, 2013). The dispute between Arabs including entire Muslim world was on the basis of religion. Some of the biggest shrines of both religions are present in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is regarded as holy city in Christian faith also. The temple or church or the place where Jesus was born and crucified exist in the Holy City of Jerusalem (Utah, 2013).
Arab- Israel wars were one of the most important incidents and their results have a strong impact on the shaping of history of entire world. Stake holders of Arab Israel war and the powers backing them up were crucial not only deciding the fate of these wars but fate of major countries involved in this war also. Second Arab- Israel war ended in October 1973. The eighteen days of war between the Arabs had the loss of 10,000 men, 2300 tanks, and 475 aircraft for the Arab forces. The Israeli forces bear an estimated loss of 2,400 soldiers, 200 tanks, and 115 aircraft. It was the time when Cold War between two big powers of the world that is United States of America and Soviet Union was at its peak. Soviet Union and United States of America were supporting Arabs and Israelis respectively. There came such a tense time in the war that the both super powers alerted their nuclear facilities present all over the world. This situation brought the world at the brink of a deadly nuclear war which fortunately did not happen (Martin, 1998).
In second phase of these wars there was an amazing coordination between the all the stake holders of the war. The united Arab front undertaken by Egypt and Syria was deceptive to the Israeli forces and its intelligence agencies. The Egyptian Plan was very good, unique and hidden beautifully; took the Israeli forces and its intelligence agencies by surprise. The plan utilized intelligent combat and weapon engineering techniques, which were responsible for defeating the Israeli forces battlefield plans in initial days. The Egyptian military engineers used high-pressured hoses to go through the strong sand canal walls. Other technique used by Egyptians was use of heavy artillery while crossing beyond the Israel’s defense lines.
The Egyptian forces were provided with protection using an air defense to shelter them from artillery and air strikes from the Israeli forces, which included the use of highly sophisticated Soviet-made surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), and anti-aircraft guns. This gave a clear indication of Russian involvement in these wars (Martin, 1998).
The embargo resulted due to the crises of crude oil during that time reintroduced the balance between oil consumers and oil producers. Participants of both wars and the global powers behind them were totally exposed. Overall these wars played their role in order to end era of Cold War during that time. Bi-polar world and its division done by both super powers raised concept of independence among different nations. An organization comprising of nations which were not a part of either Russian or American block was formed. This organization named as Common Wealth Organization played an important part for the purpose of removing polarities in the world (Common Wealth, 2014).
Since its formation 53 countries became members of this organization almost from every major part of the world consisting of richest poorest countries of the world. All members of this organization have tried to be given equal importance regardless of economical and military structure. This is the reason why this organization flourished greatly since its birth (Common Wealth, 2014).
21st century started with a new war in which almost the entire world is participating. The ongoing war on terror started with devastating incidents that took place on 9-11-2001. The involved parties in this continuing war and the reason for their involvement lie in the 20th century. Russia as explained earlier invaded Afghanistan in the search of warm waters. Islamic republic of Pakistan neighbor of Pakistan has a rich cost line on a very important trade route (Alterman, 2013). Pakistan from birth is in the American bank and even today playing an important role in the war against terrorism as an allied state of United States of America (Alterman, 2013).
United States with help of Pakistan started empowering the resistance movement that was going on in Afghanistan by Afghan people known as Jihadis. Jihad is an Islamic term which is commonly referred to Holy War believed by Muslims. This slogan of Jihad was used by United States of America in order to gain sympathy for this struggle of Afghan people against (although encapsulate target of United States of America was to repel Russian federation out of the area and later disintegration of Russian federation) occupied force of Russia. Pakistan had three targets to achieve in this long war. First Pakistan wanted to protect its precious cost line from Russian forces. Secondly since the start of the invasion there were almost 40 million people migrated towards Pakistan known as Afghan refuges. Pakistan had not enough economic resources to accommodate these refuges so they wanted to get help from international community on this issue (Fukuyama, 1982).
Last and most important target wanted to be achieved by Pakistani administration of that time was a military one. Pakistan had dispute since its birth with its neighboring country Republic of India. Pakistan needed a great amount of military aid from western countries especially United States of America as India was receiving a huge amount military aid from Russian federation or known as Soviet Union (Fukuyama, 1982). This happened also as United States provided huge amount of military assistance and financial aid of $40 million per week in order to repel Soviets (Fukuyama, 1982).
As Americans were propagating the image Jihadi’s as Holy Warriors. This compelled Muslim militants from all over the world to join hand with Afghan Jihad’s. After with drawl of Soviet forces from Afghanistan; America also withdrew from the region which made these Muslim militants to settle in Afghanistan (Fukuyama, 1982). These Muslim militants after a civil war in Afghanistan formed first fundamentalist Islamic state threatening west especially United States. Afghanistan for almost two decades provided refuge to biggest terrorist group of world Al- Qaeda (Fukuyama, 1982).
Al- Qaeda lead by Osama-bin-Laden belonged to one of the deepest and oldest allied country of region Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Osama first came on to the scene when he presented his offer to Saudi Royals during Iraqi invasion of Kuwait wanting to call his army which he led in Afghanistan to repel invading Iraqi forces. He was also not in favor of the American offer of half million troops. His offer was rejected by the Royals of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Fukuyama, 1982).
On rejection of his offer he took the Royals into the streets labeling them as anti-Islamic and agents of Israel in public meetings. Osama resided in Afghanistan developing and gathering resources for his organization called Al- Qaeda. General attitude of Muslim public was with Osama-bin-Laden. They considered him as leader of mujahidin (Holy warriors). These Mujahidin were enforced in numbers by newly formed Muslim countries of central Asia and backed emotionally and financially by the fact of its anti-Israel and anti-American views (Fukuyama, 1982). With the dawn of new millennium Al- Qaeda was also strengthened to a huge extent and was present in almost every part of the world. Right at the start of 21st century 9/11 incident happened which jolted the whole world especially posted the question on the most secured country that time (Fukuyama, 1982). United States of America known as the most secured country and its intelligence agencies as most efficient agencies in the world was put under critical analysis due to the fact that there were 4 planes hijacked in a single day. Also there was another fact that all the Hijackers of planes that were used in attacks got their training in United States of America (Fukuyama, 1982).
It was a devastating factor for the relation of United States with Gulf countries as 15 out of 19 hijackers responsible for 9/11 incident were Saudi nationals. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is still one of the earliest and strongest allies in Middle East. This strong bound that is existed between two countries is shown by the fact that in 2001 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the biggest oil producer in the world and United States of America was the biggest oil consumer in the world (Martin, 1998). This challenge is so far countered effectively by United States and its allies. Osama- Bin- Laden met his death in 2011 during a covert operation conducted by United States Special Forces in Pakistan (Fukuyama, 1982).
Apart from Afghanistan; Iraq was also a threat for United States of America and its allies in Middle East. Iraq was a strong military power in the region enriched by the wealth of oil. Iraq was suffering from dictatorship of Saddam Hussain (Hinnebusch, 2007). Iran and Iraq War which continued for a decade was the most devastating and destructive war; took millions of lives and same numbers of serious injuries were caused (Hinnebusch, 2007). Enriched with oil wealth and support of the main political figures of the country Saddam Hussain proudly attacked Kuwait and Iraqi forces occupied Kuwait (Hinnebusch, 2007).
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has its border with Kuwait. Saudi Royals were against the Iraqi government. Saddam also kept threatening Arab countries to rule over the issue of supporting America and its allies making issue of Israel as a base for it (Hinnebusch, 2007). This scenario increased anger in Arab countries against Iraq and after the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq; Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with help of half million American troops pushed Iraq out of Kuwait. After the first gulf war designated as operation desert storm by American military resources Iraq was under strict sanctions imposed by NATO, United States and United Nations for over a decade. Iraq was forbidden to sale its oil and its whole air space was declared as no fly zone by Americans and allied forces. Only a small amount of oil was taken by international community in the name of oil for food program. Life of common man in was affected greatly due to sanctions imposed by international community. It is still a question to be answered by international community including platform of United Nations that Why huge population of Iraq suffered due to actions of a single person? (Hinnebusch, 2007)
Saddam Hussain used state terrorism as a tool to suppress his opposition parties. He used chemical weapons on his declared rebels “Kurds”. Kurds commonly refers to a tribe which was not Arab by birth and their forefathers are narrated to be Sala Din and his army. End of Khalafa system in Muslim world resulted due to defeat of Turkish armies supporting Germany in First World War. Muslims divided themselves in to two main race sectors called Arabs and non-Arabs. Arab people are referred to a group of tribes living in Arabian Peninsula or Persian Gulf from ancient times. Non-Arabs are other races which lived outside Arabian Peninsula. Kurd residing in some areas of Turkey and Northern Iraq were not considered as part of either of this group. Kurds are still facing raciest behavior by the governments, administrations and people of Turkey and Iraq. When it was decided to invade Iraq in 2003; these Kurds join hands with United States of America and its allies in order to over throw the throne of Saddam Hussain.
Another factor which caused the downfall of Saddam and its Iraq was religious. Muslims are divided into two main religious sectors called Sunni and Shia as narrated earlier too. Iraq is a country which contains biggest shrines of Shia sector of Islam. In fact Shia sector got his birth in the desert of Iraq. Saddam Hussain belonged to Sunni sector and tried to suppress Shia majority in many parts of the Iraq. Saddam Hussain faced a great opposition from the parts of country which had Shia population dominant. Still there are many Shia groups acting independently apart from Sunni resistance group in Iraq against American occupation of their country. For example Mehdi Militants (Shia militant group operating in Iraq) dented United States of America and its allies in early days of the occupation. Other resistance movements in Iraq are of Sunni militants or ex- Iraqi army officers. Other stories of Saddam’s cruelty are also famous. Iraq showed its interest in developing nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction in late 1990s. This interest taken by Saddam prompted international community because if Iraq enabled to produce weapons of mass destruction it would have caused a major disaster for the allied states present in Gulf such as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Israel (Mearshimer and Stephen, 2003).
There was a continuous propaganda against Iraq and Saddam Hussain and his interest in weapon of mass destruction all over the world by Americans prior to occupation of Iraq in 2003. United Nations inspectors for detecting weapons of mass destruction cleared Iraq and gave solid statement that there are no weapons of mass destruction found at Iraq. Moreover prior to operation Iraqi Liberation in 2003 Iraqi defense missiles were destroyed by United Nation’s inspector due to continuous increasing pressure of United States (Mearshimer and Stephen, 2003). War started by America and its allies in 2003 against much weak Iraqi state is regarded as blood for oil war in opinion of many people. This claim seems to be true owing to the fact that there are no weapons of mass destruction yet discovered in Iraq. Iraq war in the eyes of many people is a useless war which has wasted many precious lives and has given birth to a bigger wave of terrorism (Mearshimer and Stephen, 2003). Iraq was proven to be more stable and peaceful in the era of Saddam Hussain as compared to situation after seen in Iraq after the occupation of American lead allies (Mearshimer and Stephen, 2003).
There is a great debate going on in the world that this world is going to face a clash of religions soon. It is generally referred to tension rising between United States along with its allies and religious sectors of Islam. There is a need of revisiting the policy which is adopted by United States of America. This revision of the policies is nicely explained by speech US president Barak Hussain Obama to United Nations General Council meeting. This speech gives a clear view of America’s revised policy over the issues of clashes between religions and civilizations.
In this speech president Obama explained the attentions of US government and people regarding this hot issue. The main points in Obama’s speech In UN General Council are; America in its foundation has ideas like free speech and free religion.
President Obama delivered a clear message of U.S.A’s stance on the propagation of love and peace throughout the world. America is one of the countries which as nation have accepted people belonging to all religions and races. It is accepted by Obama in its speech that increased military presence and merely a speech cannot stop extremism. The ultimate goal wanted to be achieved by United States of America and other peaceful nations present all over the world is the change in heart of people. Hearts of the people present all over the world should contain love for each other as it is the only solution to all of the major tensions in modern world. Love should be a common religion for people all over the world to follow.
Lauren Markoe calls this speech as “Obama Doctrine on Religion”. According to religious study experts the points that can be achieved from the speech under discussion are, Blasphemy should be tolerated, Religious tolerance is a two-way street, turn the other cheek (as propagated by Obama’s own faith that is Christian faith. America according to Obama in this speech is a one nation under one God; this should be the rule to be followed by all the people of the world as a single nation under single God. The danger of extremism was also addressed by the president during his speech.
Apart from United States of America other big forces are also involved in the shaping the future of the region. Russia has supported Arab countries during both Arab Israel wars and these wars brought the world near to a nuclear war. Especially events in second Arab-Israel war shaped very much the present condition and to some extent future of region also. China has become one of the biggest and strongest economies of the world and potential super power in the future. China has taken control of Gulf’s market also same as it gain control of European and American markets. Now days Gulf markets are also full of Chinese products. There is a phrase saying plan and leave it to great Chinese. It is quite true; China once considered as laziest nation in the world has taken control of world’s economy in much shorter time. China began to make diplomatic relations with Arabian states since 1955. China also supported Arabs in Arab Israel Wars but could not establish its influence in the region due to reason that China itself was experiencing a great revolutionary social change (Wakefield and Levenstein, 2011).
The interest of China in Persian Gulf is shown by the coordination provided by Chinese to Islamic Republic of Pakistan in order to build a sea port. Government of Pakistan has agreed to provide Chinese a space in their sea port (known as Gawadar Port) for the purpose of establishing a military base. According to the contract with Pakistani government by the end of 2015 there will be 80,000 Chinese soldiers stationed at Gawadar port. The location of this port is at a crucial point on the trade route between Middle East and Eastern Asia. Once functional this port will provide a cost effective alternative for ships to use this port instead of using United Arab Emirates ports. This military presence of China has raised a concern in other big powers involved in the region such as United States, United Kingdom and Russia (Wakefield and Levenstein, 2011).
From the implementation of liberal reforms in China the interest of China has been shifted from Iraq towards Iran. The Islamic revolution that broke in Iran in 1979 and start of Iran Iraq war redefined the situation of the whole area. While Iraq and Iran were fighting on the basis of race with each other China was establishing strong grounds in the region for its economic and energy interests (Wakefield and Levenstein, 2011).
China took a very diplomatic position in the Iran-Iraq war. During the whole era of war China took an extremely neutral position in this whole situation for years. China tried to start negotiations between both countries diplomatically while on the other hand it sold heavy weapons to both parties. The 9/11 terrorist attacks in United States of America started a new wave of diplomatic relations all over the world. China supported U.S.A despite all of the disputes existing between both countries in America’s war on terror in Afghanistan. The Iran’s nuclear program uncovered in 2002 and American led attack on Iraq in 2003 changed the region to a large extent. China reviewed its relations with Persian Gulf states and more diplomacy is poured by China in the region. China focused on its relations with major stake holders of Middle East such as Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2001(Wakefield and Levenstein, 2011).
Strategic importance of Saudi Arabia and presence of United States of America in the region was observed by China. The need of United States to have supply of oil at reasonable price and its war with Islamic extremists was of great concern to world as well as China. America’s unnecessary attack on Iraq affected the relation of United States and Saudi Arabia to some extent. A terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia in 2003 and presence of Wahabi militants in the kingdom brought Riyadh and Washington closer again. But Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now more concerned with its relations with rest of the world apart from United States of America. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is also trying to play a important part in the present situation of the region leading the Arab countries in most of the issues faced by Middle East now days (Wakefield and Levenstein, 2011).
These all factors are aiding in the purpose of China and its relations with Middle East countries. So far China has strong ties with all the Middle Eastern country. To keep image of China as a friendly nation in the eyes of Muslims China has strengthen its relations with only nuclear power of the Muslim world Islamic Republic of Pakistan. China also focused on its relations with an emerging Islamic power Iran. The rise of Iran in twentieth century as a strong power is the most significant event in Gulf and whole Middle East. China has developed strong relations with Iran because it is a known fact that Iran will be a potential leader of Muslim world in the near future. This is due to the fact that two worst enemies of Iran are thrown away by United States with the dawn of the new millennium. Saddam’s government in Iraq and Taliban government in Afghanistan are removed by biggest competitor of China that is United States itself (Wakefield and Levenstein, 2011). So we can say that in 21st century it will be soon seen that China will be a big stake holder in the region.
After China role of another strong economic group that has developed and evolved strongly during the past 50 years is European Union. This group of nations has crossed capita of $6,650 at the start of 21st Century (according to a survey conducted in 2007). At the start of 20th century Europe’s life expectancy was only 45% which has increased to 70% by the end of year 2007. Literacy rate in 1907 was 80% in England and France and no more than 40% in Eastern Europe. In 2007 literacy rate all over Europe ranges from 95 to 100% (McDougall, 2007). European Union has a true potential to be a super power in near future.
Population of European Union has outnumbered present super power United States of America. The European Union has the biggest trade volume of the world and this volume is promised to be increased in near future. Euro combined currency of European countries is a great success and has became one of the leading and strong currencies of the world. It is amazing to know that at the start and mid of the last century Europe was victim of two World Wars. It takes considerable amount of time when talking about the recovery from a single war. Europe surprisingly not only survived devastating effects of both World Wars and has made a considerable amount of progress too (McDougall, 2007).
Europe has established strong relations with almost entire countries of Middle East in order to boost its trade. Great powers of Europe like Great Britain are part of American led Iraqi invasion. Europe has done another great thing that is it has propagated its image as a peaceful and friendly place in the minds of common Muslims and under developed countries unlike United States of America. United States due to its military expeditions has lost its peaceful image in the minds of many Muslim nations as well as in many under developed parts of the world (McDougall, 2007). Strong ties of European Union with most of the markets including China and Middle Eastern countries have enabled it to have a considerable amount of influence in Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) too. Also the fact that United Arab Emirates was a part of British Empire and has made considerable progress under Union Jack gives a friendly impression of not only British but other European countries also. This can be shown by defense deals made by U.A.E with England and France in 1994 and 1995 respectively (McDougall, 2007). British Empire ruled was ruling all over the world in the twentieth century. The main goals ought to be achieved by these rules were the total use of natural and human resources of the occupied countries. Sub-continent is still considered as “golden bird” by world was conquered by British Empire in 1857. British enter the sub-continent for trade. At that time the whole area of subcontinent was lacking in a strong centralized government. All regions of sub-continent consisted of small empires of different people and continuously fighting with each other. Trade factor used by the British’s East India Company, acted as a good recon for British. Due to this recon British know nearly all about the strengths and weaknesses of the rulers of the area aiding in capturing of whole region. On the other hand in sub-continent rulers were engaged in mutual disputes and at the time of invasion did not helped each other, in-fact aided British in order to capture the land of enemies (McDougall, 2007).
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) with the purpose of bringing together countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates was formed in 1981. It was the organization first established to save Gulf countries from devastating effects of Iraq Iran war. Since its formation and besides all the shortcomings Gulf Cooperation Council has survived and nevertheless attained some mile stones. It is moving towards the project of common market and common currency. Moreover it has started to play an important part in Gulf politics as well as in sub-Gulf regions too. There is a question asked that Is GCC a security organization or not? GCC was formed announcing goals of “co-ordination, integration and co-operation among all member countries of the organization”. In 1976 there was a call made for writing a defense agreement. But the proposed formula was not agreed by many Persian Gulf states (Koch, 2010).
Since 1981 right from the formation of GCC the concerns over security issues have not been matched by necessary progress. To make sure that there is a coordination regarding self-defense existing between member countries; GCC has made an attempt to put forward security and military agreements. The first step was taken in this regard was the announcement for first collective military force in the area. The decision to establish “Desert Shield Force” in Arabian Peninsula in December 1986 was initially called as a new era in military and security co-operation in the area. In 1990 this “Desert Shield Force” was tested and then failed when Iraqi forces captured Kuwait. Kuwait was a member of GCC organization. As a result in December 1990, “Doha Declaration” was issued in which member countries identified this failure of GCC and security arrangements made by it in order to stop Iraqi invaders or to protect Kuwait from invasion (Koch, 2010).
After Gulf War there was also a slogan of joint defense agreement which like “Desert Shield Force” is not yet received any significant success. Major reason for this situation is that each member state of the organization focuses on the implementation of its own defense policy and own national interest. So the dream of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to play its role as an important security organization is still seems to be in distant (Koch, 2010).
Another important factor for this failure is the interference of the external powers in the region. This interference existed in the area from ancient times as there are Holy Places of three major religions in the area including Islam, Christian faith and Judaism. It was on its height in the mid of 20th century and is still continuing from the dawn of 21st century to this date. American lead invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan happed with the dawn of the new century. Israel’s attempted invasion of Lebanon just happed in 2007. Due to such intense interests of foreign powers in this area they also tend to keep the states present in the area far from each other and not letting them on to get together on single platform on single agenda (Koch, 2010).
It is a known fact even admitted by United States itself that its military presence in the Gulf region is only to protect Israel from intended Islamic aggression. When American led invasion of Iraq happened in 2003; this factor was even admitted by many military experts and analysts America has fought this useless war for the protection of Israel. There was no solid evidence available that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Before the successful invasion of Iraq in 2003; Iraq faced numerous sanctions imposed by international community for almost 12 years. The condition of common population in Iraq was miserable and there were programs such as oil for food to provide Iraqi population some consumer goods by United Nations. Medical supplies were not available for the most of the population. All the defense system including Air Force of Iraq was destroyed from 1st Gulf war to 2003 (Wasting of scud missiles by Iraq on demand of United States and United Nations). Why there was a need to attack such a weak enemy? The only reason was the fact admitted by military analyst was that Iraqi government was against Israel and aggression of Israel against Palestine (Mearshimer and Stephen, 2003).
Another debated heavily done with the start of new century was the debate about Iran’s Nuclear Program. It is a known fact Iran and other gulf states have some ideological clashes. Most of the Gulf States and Muslim countries are considered to be in American block throughout the cold war and afterwards too. Instead of following other Muslim countries and going into the American block Iran choose to be in Russian block from its birth. The possibility of a nuclear armed Iran placed the whole world into a state of shock. It is a nice way to pressurize Iran through sanctions and diplomatic means instead of taking any military action (Dobbins, Kaye, Nader, and Wehrey, 2012). Military operation in case of Iran is a difficult way to follow as the situation of Iran is quite different from Afghanistan and Iraq. There was some sort of anti-government elements present in Iraq and Afghanistan which aided greatly in the military action against them. Iran on other hand since Islamic revolution is proven to be one of the strongest economies as well as democracies of the world. It can be shown by every presidential elections held in Iran; even the last election held in Iran had 98% turnout. There is very small amount of opposition existing in Iran as compared to other occupied countries.
Again United States of America and Israel are in favor of military action against Iran. An Israeli and American attack on Iranian nuclear facilities will trigger possibilities of another global. Iran in its neighbor like Islamic Republic of Pakistan has strong religious and social bonds between them (Dobbins, Kaye, Nader, and Wehrey, 2012). It will also act as a catalyst for Iranian government and administration to develop and deploy more nuclear weapons. After such an attack Iranian influence will increase (influence of Iran is already increased to a large extent in neighboring countries like Pakistan and Iraq since American invasion of Iraq). Shia population of almost entire Muslim world idealizes Iran and any aggression against Iran will trigger more hostility for United States of America and its allies. So this modern and civilized world should otry to find a diplomatic and civilized solution in the case of Iran’s nuclear program. This century was supposed to be started on a good and peaceful note. On the other hand it began in a much bloody manner from the incident of 9/11 to unrest in Middle East still going in Gaza Strip (Dobbins, Kaye, Nader, and Wehrey, 2012).
There are many landmarks achieved by human kind in past two centuries. Industrials and scientific developments made this world a better and lovely place to live now and daily advancement in the field of engineering, communications and medicine will bring this world much closer and a nicer place to live in near future.
As there were great developments and land marks achieved by human kink in 20th century. This world also fought two unnecessary World Wars. 20th century had many revolutionary changes for humans. Industrial revolution changed Europe which was considered as one of the darkest places of the world to one of the brightest places of the world. There was surely many discriminations made on the basis of religion, race and sex at the start of 20th century. Even in the most developed countries like United States of America and United Kingdom people were divided on the basis of color up to the end of 20th century.
There is surely a relation between Ethnicity and Nationalism as most of division of the people of the world is based on the ethnicity only. One race of people considers all others inferior to them. This causes formation of groups and organizations and can result in the major division of society. Division of people on the basis of race like Arab, White Americans, Black American, African Americans and Canadians is a common example of it. The movement that took place in subcontinent was dependent lately on the basis of religion. While in Africa majority of people were striving for basic human rights and freedom from European aggression they were facing. Even modern American society is also divided on the basis of race. All the movements of African people came to success in latest eras of 20th century as there was a much less focus on the races; only movements that had religious ideologies to empower them succeeded in 20th century. Even today people are ruled in the countries like Zimbabwe and Namibia due to their black ethnicity. Nelson Mandela is considered as an icon in this regard as he was the only black person succeeded in obtaining equal rights for black and white people and laid foundation for free Africa.
Black revolution or struggle of black people in order to achieve their basic human rights in United States of America under the command of Dr. Luther King became successful in 1989. This was the situation in one of the most developed nations of the world; once can easily imagine about situation faced by people living in the rest of the world. Similarly in Europe also people were discriminated on the basis of color and race. Even in United Kingdom or England people faced racist behavior of the authorities on the basis of race. As an example even in 1999 numerous cases of race discrimination were recorded in United Kingdom.
As explained earlier in the introduction 20th century saw division of humans on the basis of ideas and religion. Colonial rule of British Empire finished in many parts of the world. Rules regarding prisoners of war (POWs), basic human rights and women rights were also redefined in the mid of 20th century. International community was provided with a common plat form in the form League of Nations first and then United Nations. Religious diversity and its affect on the progress of human kind were also addressed by organizations. There were states made in the name of religion. States of Israel and Islamic Republic of Pakistan as explained earlier in the paper were formed on the two different and opposite religious ideas. According to Collin Powell, former US army commander in Middle East and former foreign minister in Bush administration the situation in 20th century resulted in formation of two ideological states that are almost impossible to be broken known as Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Republic of Israel; foundations of these both nations had religion in their basis containing ideas that are opposite to each other
Muslim system of Khilafa came to an end in the start of the 20th century courtesy of World War 1. Arabian Peninsula was divided into many small states. Most of the Peninsula was captured by Ibn e Saud and he laid the foundations of an independent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He did so with help of strong religious sector in the region known as Wahabi’s. Persian Gulf or Middle East has huge significance religiously and socially. Biggest and most sacred shrines of three greatest religions of the world Islam, Jewish and Christian faith are in the region.
Discovery of oil in the Middle East brought revolutionary changes in every aspect of daily affairs of the whole region. Political, industrial and strategic importance of the region was increased to a large extent. Big powers focused on their relations with Middle Eastern countries. The purpose of improving these relations was to fulfill energy needs which were heavily dependent on the oil. Cold war was also fought on the Middle East land and was thus had a huge affect regarding shaping of the present and future of the region.
Two Arab- Israel wars were fought on these lands. These wars are a part of cold war or in other words proxy war for the between United States of America and Soviet Union. Soviet Union also invaded Afghanistan and Jihadis fighting against the Russian occupation were supported by United States and its allies. With significant help of Islamic Republic of Pakistan United States was successful in defeating Soviet Union in Afghanistan resulting in disintegration of Russian federation and end of cold war.
Iraq Iran war continued for a decade and as a result of these wars many precious lives were lost. Iraq suffered from dictatorship of Saddam Hussain who in its military pride invaded Kuwait and it resulted in first Gulf War designated as operation desert storm by American. As a result of this war first American military base was established within the Arabian Peninsula. This war also created Al-Qaeda and Osama-Bin-Laden and turned out to be basic factors in 9/11 attacks on United States of America. This resulted in Afghan war started from the dawn of 21st century to present day. Iraq after facing strict international sanctions for a decade was invaded by America and its allies in 2003. There was no proof of the causes which were claimed by United States in order to attack Iraq.
Owing to political, strategic and economic interests Gulf States tried their best to get together on a single plat form in shape of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), economically, socially and for defense of the region. But all of these struggles failed due to priorities given to individual national interests as compared to common interest of the region. The involvement of other big powers of world was also a cause of failure in these struggles.
Another debate rising in the region started by knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program as it was uncovered in 2002. The ways how to tackle the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitions is under discussion for a considerable amount of time. There are two options put forward by different powers of the world one of them presented by United States of America and Israel to take military action against Iran; other is the enforcement of economic sanctions on Iran. But it is to be noted that case of Iran is much more different than that of Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran is a powerful democracy and has strong religious and social ties between its neighbors like Pakistan and entire Shia population of Muslim world. It has strong defense and economic relations with Russia too.
Another remarkable achievement of mankind is finishing the division on the basis of race in many underdeveloped countries and continents. Africa which was called as “dark continent” by European people as most of the interior portion of Africa was unknown to them. British Empire spread southward in region from Egypt 1875 and northwards from Cape Town present in this age a part of South Africa. Africa is the region of the world which is enriched with huge natural resources was captured and full advantage of resources was taken by British. A popular example given about that time African mentality level is socks full of diamonds were exchanged for a lighter by African people. British and other European countries not only used natural resources of the continent but also used human resources or man power extensively. African people that are black in color were taken as slaves in large quantities at that time by British, other Europeans and Americans too. This huge amount of enslavement and full exploitation of the people even depriving them of basic human needs raised many social activists from almost every corner of the world. Leader like Gandhi (great leader of sub-continent and regarded as founders of Republic of India) also participated in slave movement of Africa.
Nevertheless political, social and economic importance of Persian Gulf and countries in it cannot be neglected. This region has played its part in the social and economic development of the world greatly. For this region to play an important part in 21st century it is required by these countries to come together on a single plat form economically, socially and culturally. Saddam, Qaddafi and Mubarak regimes which were a continuous threat for the development of region are now finished. Moreover international community should also respect the religious values of the region and should try not to interfere in the internal political issues or developments. By mutual understanding and respect this world can become a much nice place to live on for us and our future generations.
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