The Dragon’s nemesis: The Ghost of Genghis Khan!

New Delhi: Nothing scares China more than the ghost of Changez (Genghis) Khan, nearly eight centuries after the death of the world’s greatest warlord and empire-builder.

How paranoid Beijing is about a possible reawakening of this ghost became clear in October when it forced a French museum to postpone an exhibit about Genghis Khan. The museum cited ‘interference’ by the Chinese government, which is trying to rewrite history.

The museum on history, Château des ducs de Bretagne, in the western French city of Nantes, said it was putting the show about the 13th-century warrior on hold for more than three years.

Ashamed of being vanquished by the dreaded Mongols in the 13th century, Beijing is attempting to wipe out the nightmarish memory of Genghis Khan’s great empire the present-day China was part of. In Inner Mongolia, China’s autonomous region, Beijing is trying to strip the natives of their identity by enforcing the Mandarin script, the way it has been doing in Tibet and Xinjiang.

China also dreads the moment the separatist Mongols, Tibetans, and the Uyghurs join hands with Hong Kong. It could become a ticking dynamite for the very existence and unity of the People’s Republic of China.

The Mongols and the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang share the same script. That is what unites them—against China.

But why is China so scared of Genghis Khan?

Born as Temujin Borjigin (1158-1227), he was believed to have been fathered by a Sun Ray. Better known by his title, Genghis Huangdi (Universal Lord), he was the founder and first Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. His realm continued to expand for 150 years even after his death and emerged as the largest contiguous empire across Asia and Europe in human history.

The Mongols destroyed the Abbasid Caliphate in 1258, thus splitting Islamic unity and hegemony; they also destroyed the Han hegemony in China, which the current President-for-Life Xi Jinping is trying to restore.

Genghis had come to power by uniting several nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia, conquered most of Eurasia, reaching as far west as Poland in Europe,  and the Levant in the Middle East. His military campaigns were often accompanied by large-scale massacres of the civilian populations in vanquished areas. Because of this savagery, which left millions dead, the Mongols became highly dreaded in human history.

By his death, the Mongol Empire occupied a vast area of Central Asia and China. Due to his exceptional military genius and successes, Genghis Khan has been seen as the greatest conqueror of all time. As per his wishes, his body was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in Mongolia.

Genghis Khan had introduced the Uyghur script as his Empire’s writing system. He encouraged religious tolerance in the Empire. All the Mongols, therefore, regard him as the founding father of Mongolia, one who brought the Silk Road under one cohesive political framework.

Even now, his directives, like simple living and strict discipline, are respected like divine commands by the Mongols. That is why not a single Mongol has died of the Covid-19 pandemic; only 608 were infected and 337 recovered.

China’s political, military and economic power in the 21st century has largely been camouflaged by its inherent insecurity. That is why it resorts to boasts and suppression.

Despite an unprecedented global unpopularity of China, President Xi Jinping has further pushed his country to the precipice: recently, he directed his Terracotta Army, officially known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), to “be prepared for war”. Sensing that the world is encircling China, he sought to put the PLA on alert.

How unpopular China has become was proved in October. Releasing a global poll, Pew Research Center said that unfavorable views of China across the world have climbed to historic highs in many countries, with the highest in Australia.

A majority of those polled in each of the 14 advanced economies had negative views of China. But in nine of them, China’s unpopularity was at the highest Pew had ever recorded since it started tracking it over a decade ago in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Sweden, and South Korea, the report said.

Besides, at least 73 percent of those polled in these nine countries, as also in five others–Belgium, Japan, Italy, Denmark, and France–had unfavorable views of China.

Interestingly, many historians have concluded that, after Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad, Genghis Khan has been the greatest mover-and-shaker in the world in the last two millennia. In 2003, a research paper on genetics revealed that at least 16 million humans across many countries are direct descendants of Genghis Khan!

No wonder China so dreads the Great Khan!!

Frenemies: Trump, Jinping ‘join hands’ to damage the Chinese economy!

“Tis is strange but true; for truth is always strange!” George Gordon Byron once wrote in Don Juan.

Last week, US President Donald Trump, who is still digging in to stay in the White House for a second term, banned American individuals and companies from investing in Chinese firms for national security reasons.

Also his Chinese counterpart, President-for-Life Xi Jinping, ironically, prevented Alibaba founder Jack Ma from launching the world’s largest IPO, fearing the company could become larger than communism!

Both these steps, although unrelated, point in the same direction: spreading rot in the Chinese economy.

Not even in its wildest dreams would China have thought that Trump, in his last weeks in office, could take such stern steps against Chinese companies only two months before handing over the baton to his successor, Joe Biden.

On November 12, Trump signed an executive order banning Americans from investing in Chinese firms that are deemed to be supplying or supporting Beijing’s military and security apparatus.

The ban will be applicable on 31 major Chinese companies from January 11, 2021, at 9.30 AM—that is, just nine days before Biden takes oath as the 46th President. They include both government-owned and privately-promoted companies in China.

China was using them for “increasing exploitation” of US investment capital to fund military and intelligence services, including the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction, the Trump order said.

The US-China relations had nosedived rapidly during Trump’s presidency from 2017. This was the latest in a series of executive orders and regulatory actions targeting China’s economic and military expansion.

Under his “America First” agenda, Trump portrayed China as the biggest threat to the USA and global democracy, pursued a trade war with it, harangued Chinese technology firms, and blamed Beijing for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday’s order prohibits US companies and individuals from owning shares in any of the listed companies, which include major telecommunications, construction and technology firms such as China Mobile, China Telecom, video surveillance firm Hikvision, and China Railway Construction Corp.

Current US investors in these companies will have to divest from the Beijing-linked companies within a year.

The Trump order’s reverberations were immediately felt on the Hong Kong stock market where share prices in state-owned China Telecom dropped more than nine percent, China Mobile fell six percent and China Railway Construction Corp lost more than five percent.

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said the order will prevent Americans from unknowingly providing passive capital to Chinese companies — listed on exchanges around the world — that support the improvement of Beijing’s army and spy agencies.

He said the companies included on the list “routinely target American citizens and businesses through cyber operations,” as well as its economy and military.

O’Brien also lashed out at Beijing over its removal of four pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong this week, calling China’s claims of “One Country, Two Systems Governance” in respect of the former British colony a “fig-leaf” masking Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian grip on the financial hub.

Neither Biden nor his party or representative reacted to this fresh Trump order. Predictably, Trump has dug the pitch for Biden—the new President could soon find himself in a Catch-22 position!

Trump opponents dubbed this executive order as his desperation reflected in his attempts to inflate the Chinese danger for his own survival.

On his part, Xi Jinping also scored a self-goal for Chinese economy!

Apparently, he felt that Alibaba founder Jack Ma had become globally popular and, therefore, a threat to Beijing, its Communist Party, and even the PLA.

So, the President halted Ant Group’s mammoth USD 37 billion Initial Public Offering (IPO) after Jack Ma questioned government policies and criticised its leaders.

China halted the IPO just a week before the financial technology company was set to go for public listing. Ma’s ‘inflammable’ remarks infuriated the Jinping Establishment no end.

The record-breaking IPO would have made Alibaba register the largest public listing. However, China’s new lending rules threw a spanner in its works.

Even after opening the economy, the Chinese Communist Party does not like ascendance of private businesses beyond a limit as they could pose a potential challenge to the fossilized party’s authority. Beijing also controls state-owned companies tightly and their employees are treated not as humans but spare parts of the Machine.

Ma had quoted Xi as saying “success does not have to come from me” and said he wanted to use innovation to help solve China’s financial problems. Ma also criticized the regulators for enforcing a set of international banking rules as “an old people’s club.”

This was too much for Xi and his cohorts. On the President’s orders, the Chinese regulators investigated Ant’s offering, and the IPO was suspended for fears that global investors, including those from Hong Kong, could benefit from it more than Beijing.

The fintech had already secured over USD 3 billion from individual investors across its dual listings in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The long-term impact of the separate American and Chinese governments’ orders will begin to unfold sooner than later…

“Islam in crisis”: Macron only exposed the emerging truth

New Delhi: On October 2, when French President Emmanuel Macron remarked that “Islam is a religion that is in crisis all over the world today, all hell broke loose in the Muslim world. Many condemned him. Some took to violence, beheaded three, and wounded many others in France. It appeared as if Macron was villain-of-the-piece, a global pariah, especially for the non-Arab Muslims and their rent-seeking liberal-democratic-secular cohorts.

However, at a subterranean level, Islam, as we know it, is indeed in a crisis from modernity. The message, howsoever ugly or obnoxious it may appear is clear: Islam must either reform or perish.

Consider this: an atheist China has destroyed 1,600 mosques in its restive Xinjiang Province in three years, banned Haj for the minority Uighur Muslims, scrapped Arabic/Persian architecture of a mosque to make it look like any Chinese shopping complex, and even rewriting a China-friendly Qur’an in Mandarin.

And this: the United Arab Republic (UAE), Saudi Arabia’s alter ego, has just relaxed several strict Islamic personal laws to move on with modern times—at a time when Islamic militants, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, are baying for the French blood for alleged blasphemy, etc.

This new development has come within a month of the UAE and Bahrain signing the “Abraham Accords” with Israel, their medieval enemy, to normalize relations with the Jewish state, to the chagrin of non-Arab Muslim countries like Turkey and Pakistan, among others. Saudi Arabia, is currently tasting waters; it may also follow suit in the face of the threat from Turkey’s attempts to revive the Ottoman Empire.

This only means that the Arab world is realizing futility of its archaic Islamic heritage and wants to move on with modern times and geopolitical realities—something the non-Arab Muslim nations are not yet prepared for.

Last week, the UAE announced a major overhaul of its Islamic personal laws, which now allow unmarried couples to live together, loosened restrictions on alcohol and criminalized the so-called “honour killings”. These have been implemented with immediate effect to keep pace with the changing Arab society.

In the last few decades, the UAE has emerged as a global financial hub, and destination for tourists, fortune-seekers, and businessmen. Earlier, its strict Islamic laws were embarrassing for many of these foreigners and their countries and were seen as obstacles in realizing the full potential of the seven Arab sheikhdoms comprising the UAE.

These historic and progressive reforms are expected to attract millions of foreign tourists to boost the UAE economy and make it less dependent on traditional sources of revenue business-friendly ambience, and oil.

Accordingly, there will now be no penalties for alcohol possession, sales and consumption. There will also be no ban on cohabitation of unmarried couples. The beneficiaries include Muslims as well. The Arab nation will also better protect women’s rights by getting rid of the tribal custom of ‘honour killings’.

The UAE’s strict Islamic laws were equally applicable to the Arab natives and the expatriates. The expatriates outnumber local citizens nearly nine to one. The amendments will now permit foreigners to avoid Islamic Shariah courts on issues like marriage, divorce and inheritance.

Clearly, the Arab world is in for far-reaching changes in the near future.

Another change in the Muslims’ world affairs has surfaced in China where President-for-Life Xi Jinping is the driving force against ‘Islamic heritage’.

But nobody in China’s “all-weather friend” Pakistan, or for that matter anywhere in the world, dare question Beijing for its ‘Islamophonia’, as they do in the case of India, France, and other democratic countries. China routinely hangs Islamic terrorists, has for long been keeping a million Uighur Muslims in ‘re-education’ camps, and even banned their pilgrimage to Mecca.

Few have noticed how China has been effecting far-reaching changes even in mosque architecture, imposing various restrictions, and also ‘Sinicizing’ The Qur’an by getting it rewritten in its own language, giving no room to anyone and making sure the militant Muslims remained in check.

The latest example came in a mosque whose traditional ‘Arab-style’ domes were demolished and the shrine was rebuilt like a Chinese mall.

A recent Australian study, using satellite imagery, had found that China has systematically destroyed nearly 1,600 mosques in Xinjiang province alone since 2017.

As part of its ongoing project to ‘Sinicize’ Islam in China, a large mosque has been completely reconstructed by the government, removing all signs of Islam.

The Nanguan Mosque in Yinchuan, capital of the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, was the largest in the province. It has so completely been rebuilt that—with no minarets or domes–that it no longer looks like a mosque at all. The mosque was built during the late Ming dynasty (1368-1644), and restored in 1981.

It was entirely renovated and changed by the Communist Party government of President Jinping.

The region, inhabited by the largest community of Hui Muslims in China, became a major target of the ‘Sinicize Islam’ drive of the Chinese Communist Party. In the last two years, a large number of mosques have lost their distinguishing features.

Now, all the five bright green colored domes and the golden minarets have been removed. The golden Islamic style filigree, decorative arches, and the text in Arabic script on the mosque have all been scrapped. Even the signboards are in Chinese, according to media reports.

The bright golden and green colored mosque with onion-shaped domes and Islamic style curved windows have been changed into a grey-colored rectangular structure.

The latest images of the mosque were posted by Christina Scott, the United Kingdom’s deputy head of mission in China, on Twitter. She wrote, “TripAdvisor suggested the Nanguan Mosque in #Yinchuan well worth a visit. Only this is what it looks like now, after ‘renovations’.  Domes, minarets, all gone. No visitors allowed either, of course. So depressing.”

The transformation was expedited after a recent visit to the city by  President Xi Jinping, who scolded officials for the slow pace of ‘Sinicizing’ Islamic structures. He remarked that “Ningxia has made some achievements in religious reform, but it was not thorough enough.” It meant that the work should be intensified.

He also visited the region on June 6-8. The demolition activity picked up soon after that. By June 26, the five green domes and the minarets were gone, and the remaining work was completed soon.

The militant Muslims could not do anything, not even expressed their dissatisfaction for fear of the government.

According to reports, the Covid-19 pandemic has come in handy to the Chinese government by giving it the opportunity to expedite the process of Sinicizing mosques in the nation. Imposing restrictions in the name of the pandemic, the government closed down many mosques, accelerated demolitions, and renovations.

Sunni leadership: Pakistan joins Turkey’s one-horse race

To say that ‘history repeats itself’ could be a cliché, even an understatement. But it should be said to see the latest developments in perspective.

To begin, let us say: the kettle is hotter than tea!

A century ago, Muslims of the Indian subcontinent had launched the Khilafat Movement for restoration of the Ottoman Empire in far away Turkey. It was basically an attempt of the Ali Brothers to create a Sunni bloc in the world. Even the then Nizam of Hyderabad, Asaf Jah VII Mir Usman Ali Khan, threw in his hat with the ambition of wresting the Caliphate from the Turks: he was a relative of the deposed last Caliph, Abdulmejid II, and fancied himself as the rightful heir to the high office.

Because of this ‘Indian’ support to the despised Ottomans, the Arab Muslims have since hated them. One by one, Arab nations finally broke away from the Ottoman yoke in the mid-20th century, but their hatred remained. After Partition of India, and emergence of Pakistan as ‘champion’ of India’s Muslims, the Arab dislike was gradually shifted to Islamabad.

At present, the growing bonhomie between the Arabs and ‘Hindu’ India, as also the Jews of Israel, is proof enough of this megatrend of a split between the Muslims of Arab and non-Arab origins.

But Pakistan has refused to learn any lesson from this subtle shift, even after the Arabs’ repeated snubs in the last one year itself, on the issues like Kashmir and the non-Arab axis it sought to create with Turkey and Malaysia within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), headquartered in Saudi Arabia.

So, even as the Arabs kept silent and moved closer to Israel, Pakistan aped Turkey again and condemned France for taking action against Islamists. France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi, who is fighting a grim battle for his own survival in the face of a united Opposition at home, criticised the French President for “encouraging Islamophobia” following the killing of a teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to his pupils.

“Hallmark of a leader is he unites human beings… rather than dividing them. This is a time when President (Emmanuel) Macron could have put healing touch, and denied space to extremists rather than creating further polarisation and marginalisation that inevitably leads to radicalization,” he said in a series of tweets on Sunday.

Satan quoting from the Holy Book. See who is talking about a ‘healing touch’—someone whose country is the global breeding ground for officially-sponsored and funded, and army-supported terrorists of dozens of groups and whose over 7,000 members have been proscribed by the United Nations. A country continuously kept on grey list by the global watchdog on terror funding, Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

Curiously, Niazi himself had admitted in the US last year that Pakistan was home to some 40,000 terrorists!

But this did not prevent him from his peace diatribe: “It is unfortunate that he (Macron) has chosen to encourage Islamophobia by attacking Islam rather than the terrorists who carry out violence, be it Muslims, White Supremacists or Nazi ideologists.”

He claimed that the French President deliberately provoked Muslims, including his own citizens, through encouraging the display of blasphemous cartoons targeting Islam, and Prophet Muhammad.
Without any understanding of it, he attacked and hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims in Europe and across the world.

Early this month, Macron had described Islam as a religion “in crisis,” and announced plans for tougher laws to weed out “Islamist separatism” in France.

His statement came after the gruesome killing of a teacher by a 18-year-old youth of Chechen origin. The youth beheaded Samuel Paty, 47, in broad daylight, near his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb about 24-km from Paris, for showing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.

Ironically, Paty had shown these caricatures during a lesson on free speech, according to reports.

The attacker posted a photo of the teacher’s decapitation on Twitter before being shot and killed by the police. The French media said the teenager had been in touch with Paty before the killing.

The killing suddenly made France boil with rage as anti-Muslim demonstrations were organized across the country. Subsequently, France closed several mosques in an unprecedented crackdown in hotspot areas and even posthumously conferred the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honour, on Paty in a ceremony attended by President Emmanuel Macron.

The French government also launched a crackdown against more than 50 Muslim organisations as agitated vigilante groups attacked mosques.

This was part of Macron’s October 2 plan against “Islamist separatism”. Last week, France said it was conducting multiple raids and would expel more than 200 Muslims from the country.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has also proposed to ban the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF), an organization that claims to track anti-Muslim hate crimes. He lambasted CCIF as an “enemy of the republic” and hinted at dissolving several other organisations.

Fifteen people have been arrested as part of an investigation into the killing, including the assailant’s family members, reports said.

In September also, two stabbings were reported outside the former offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad at the start of the trial for those suspected with involvement in the January, 2015, attacks which killed 17 people.

With growing concerns about Islamic radicalization in France and the rest of Europe, Macron is mulling a new law to push religion further out of education and the public sector in the country, and aims to strengthen “laicite”, France’s strict separation of church and state.

It would, among other things, let the state monitor international funding coming into French mosques, limit home-schooling to prevent Muslims schools from being run by what Macron cited as “religious extremists”, and create a special certificate programme for imams to be trained in France.

France was where the Muslim expansion in Europe was halted in the eighth century.

And France was where the First Crusade began…

Is France now launching the Last Crusade?

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Macron needs ‘mental treatment’.

Watch this space!

Abraham’s Kids: S.Arabia may ‘expel’ Turkey from Islam!

Centuries later, religious forces are undergoing an international realignment. Strange things are happening on the geopolitical stage in the Fertile Cresent. Arch-rivals Israel and Turkey are supporting a Muslim-majority Azerbaijan in its war against a Christian-dominated Armenia. Israel’s ‘immortal’ enemy Shia Iran is supporting Armenia.

Turkey is a member of the NATO whose another member France, and Russia, which is not, are both supporting Armenia. Saudi Arabia is inching closer to the arch-enemy Israel after its neighbors, the UAE and Bahrain, signed the “Abraham Accords” in September 2020 in Washington as guests of President Donald Trump, expecting peace to return to the world’s most volatile region…

But something even more unprecedented may happen on the Muslim world’s political chessboard: Saudi Arabia may ‘excommunicate’ Turkey from Islam, making it the first country to be declared an apostate in the last 14 centuries.

Welcome to the Children of Abraham in the 21st century!

A revanchist Turkey has alarmed the Arab nation-states across the Middle East and North Africa and forced them to come to terms with Israel as a foil to Ankara’s grand militarist designs of the Ottomans after a century of lying low.

For the first time in 14 centuries, therefore, the Arabs and the Jews expect to establish peace. After the 1979 Camp David Accord between Egypt and Israel and then a peace treaty between Jordan and Israel in 1994, the UAE and Bahrain suddenly signed the “Abraham Accords” with Jerusalem.

In the changed geopolitical scenario, Israel has successfully befriended its former foes, the Arabs, gaining their stamp of the legitimacy of the Jewish State, and thus leaving the Palestinians high-and-dry. These peace treaties mean that the Arab states have recognized Israel as the de facto as well as de Jure Jewish state in the Levant region. In other words, the Palestinians could no longer claim what is now Israel, the Promised Land, including the Gaza Strip and West Bank. For the Arabs, it’s a battle of survival of their dynasties against the resurgent Turks.

Israel is a democracy while the Arab states are ruled by the feudal Sheikhdoms. These fresh developments have been forced by Turkey’s ambition to resurrect the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923), a century after the Allies of the First World War dismantled it.

Trying to resurrect this dead Empire and absorb the Arab states again, Turkey’s hawkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has only pushed the Arabs into the Jewish arms. A maverick, Erdogan, who first turned Turkey from a secular into an Islamic state, now sees in himself the new Caliph-cum-Sultan of the majority of Sunni Muslims, represented by the Ottomans. The Sunnis constitute more than 80% of the world’s Muslim population of 1.8 billion.

To snatch the global Muslim leadership from the Saudis, he has been working on a well-planned strategy. It began to unfold with his support of various dissident and terror groups and interference in war-torn Syria.

In 2019, Turkey, together with Pakistan and Malaysia, tried to set up a non-Arab Muslim shop within the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), headed by the Saudis and headquartered in Jeddah. Besides, Turkey has been supporting and funding various Islamist terror groups in the Middle East and North Africa in a bid to gain their backing for his mega-project.

After securing Jerusalem’s support, the Arabs are now bracing for the next decisive step. Indications came last week with reports that Azerbaijan is using imported Israeli drones to attack Armenia in their ongoing war in the Christian-majority but Azeri territory of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. This put both Turkey and Iran—who were supporting Azerbaijan—into a quandary! It only means a further split in the Muslim world and realignment of Muslim countries within the OIC.

The Arab nations and Israel, as also several Christian nations in Eastern and Central Europe, came into existence in the 20th century only after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, headed by Turkey, which was also the seat of the last Caliphate-cum-Sultanate. That is why Turkey’s attempt to revive it a century later has forced the Arabs and the Israelis to forge a friendship and come on the same page.

More Christian nations, former satellites of the Ottoman, may also join the war. They are already infuriated against Turkey which reconverted Hagia Sophia, a church-turned-mosque-turned UNESCO-recognized World Heritage site, into a mosque in September in a bid to drum up support among the Sunni Muslims across the world.

Recently, Erdogan infuriated the Arabs in a bid to provoke their reaction. Addressing the Turkish General Assembly (Parliament), he said things unpalatable to the Arabs. This forced the Saudis to announce a business boycott of Ankara, whose economy is already in doldrums. One reason why Erdogan has brought his country to this precipice is the floundering economy. A revival of Ottoman ‘glory’, he dreams, can camouflage his failures on the domestic front.

That explains why he ridiculed the Arabs. He claimed that some countries in the Arabian Gulf were targeting Turkey and pursuing policies that destabilized the region.

“It should not be forgotten that the countries in question did not exist yesterday, and probably will not exist tomorrow; however, we will continue to keep our flag flying in this region forever, with the permission of Allah.” Clearly, he was referring to the Arab countries which were part of the Ottoman Empire until 1923 and, if his plans succeed, may again be forced back into the revivified Empire.

The Arab reaction, as expected, was swift. Ajlan al-Ajlan, Chairman of the Council of Saudi Chambers, openly called for a complete boycott of “everything Turkish” including imports, investment, and tourism, appealing that it is “the responsibility of every Saudi” to boycott Turkey.

Of late, the Saudis have pressurized local businesses not to trade with Turkey and its industries. The Kingdom has detained trucks carrying products from Turkey. The Saudis have also canceled the employment contracts of high-ranking Turkish nationals working in the Kingdom.

The problem is that the Saudis cannot officially boycott Turkey without inviting sanctions from the World Trade Organisation (WTO). That is why Riyadh has resorted to the unofficial boycott of Turkish goods and services to bleed Ankara as a first warning.

But this has only whetted the Turkish appetite. It has intensified attacks on the Arabs.

The Saudis, and other Arabs, have always seen the Turks as uncouth upstarts. Prince Faisal Bin Bandar Bin Abdulaziz had refused to drink Turkish coffee offered to him last year. And Prince Abdullah Bin Sultan Al Saud had called for a boycott of Turkey and its products until “Ankara reviews its policies with the Kingdom.”

In the September meeting of the Arab League, Egypt also voiced similar views. In their joint statement, Arab League foreign ministers denounced Turkey’s “interference in Arab affairs,” including its military actions in Syria, Libya, and Iraq, and asked Ankara to “stop provocations that could erode building trust and threaten the region’s security and stability.”

But Turkey would not listen to these academic pleas. An important reason for Erdogan’s bellicosity and brinkmanship is that this ‘aggressive’ posture and the carrot of a revivified Ottoman Empire keeps the attention of the Turks away from their domestic problems, the way a buffeted President Xi Jinping is keeping the Chinese’ attention focused out of China in various hotspots, including India.

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world, Turkey was facing a currency crisis since 2018 which led to a sharp recession. In the current fiscal year, the Turkish lira was among the world’s worst-performing currencies, plunging by 22 percent. The situation has rapidly deteriorated on the foreign exchange reserves also.

The Saudis’ attempt to arm-twist Erdogan by an unofficial boycott has led to the Turkish exports plunging by nearly 14 percent in the January-July 2020 period.

But it has not diluted Erdogan’s aggression.

The next step the Saudis could, therefore, likely take to tame Turkey is to excommunicate it from Islam. The best and most powerful weapon Riyadh has is excommunicate Turkey and deny its citizens the right to the Hajj.

In the event of this ex-communication, Turkey’s strategy to dislodge Saudi Arabia from the OIC’s leadership may collapse, prompting it to further intensify its attacks against the Arabs.

What happens when a Muslim is excommunicated?

Although no country as a whole has ever been excommunicated—entire communities, like the 5-million-strong Ahmediyyas (Kadiyanis) have, however, been expelled from Islam in Pakistan in 1984—the well-established principle of Takfir (declaring someone an apostate) has been invoked in such cases. The act which leads to Takfir is known as Mukaffir (finding someone to be an unbeliever).

The Takfir has major consequences of killing, confiscation of the infidel’s property, and denial of an Islamic burial. So, if the Salafis-Saudis excommunicate the Turks, the latter will become vulnerable globally as other Muslims will be duty-bound to wage Jihad against them.

Will the Saudis go to this extent?

According to the school of Islamic theorist Sayyid Qutb, the principle of peace cannot be applied to deal with apostates and jahils (uncouth). It means that Islamists must launch a Jihad against excommunicated infidels. Finding the Turks as the tough nuts to crack, the Saudis could prompt the Salafi religious leadership to order ex-communication and a Holy War against the Turks.

Takfir is now the only effective weapon in the Arabs’ armor: After all Turkey is all set to foment civil wars and popular trouble against the Arab dynastic rulers.

Time to junk UN; create a new world body now!

If you love humanity, hawk peace, and send your troops to other countries to establish sanity, then you are a ‘misfit’ in the sweepstakes of United Nations. Be a bully and you will be respected. And feared.

This is the lesson India has finally learnt, since 1945 when the UN came into existence.

The world body has always been, and will always be, ruled by those who successfully camouflage their power-play, barbarianism, selfish ends, and long-term strategies couched in academic vocabulary.

But we cannot blame the UN. Its DNA was written by the victors of the Second World War: the USA, France, the UK, Russia, and China.

Actually, China had not even fought in the main war theatre of Europe but only its extension in the Far East—against Japan. This war was known as the Second Sino-Japanese War, a military conflict that took place between July 1937 (the Second World War started only in September 1939) and September 1945. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) dates it back to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931.

This war was not fought by the Communist Party but by the Chiang Kai Shekh-led nationalist government of the Republic of China, which later shifted base to Taiwan. The Communists later sold outcome of this war to the Allies as ‘part of the Second World War’ and themselves both as its victims and victors so as to grab a membership on the high table of the UN Security Council.

China also got support from India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who did not want the UN to become an exclusive All-White Club and who was dreaming of making India a Third World Leader via the Non-Aligned Movement.

The world is now paying for the follies of the Allies and India: China has morphed into a global bully and blackmailer.

See how China successfully blackmails the world: the US, which pays 22% of all the bills of the world body, has no control on the World Health Organization (WHO), which has merely become a lapdog of Beijing, as far as the coronavirus issue is concerned.  Japan contributes the second-maximum amount to the UN but has no seat on the UNSC. Germany contributes more that France, UK and Russia put together, without any seat on the UNSC. Clearly, the UN no longer represents the world.

China pays no respect to the UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites—its current sleeping-partner Turkey has reconverted Hagia Sophia into a mosque. Using North Korea, Pakistan and Iran to do its dirty work against the US, India and Saudi Arabia, Beijing regularly shields these rogue states at different world forums. That China respects no human rights either in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet or Xinjiang is now a folklore.

Why should the world, therefore, bow to the so-called UN which is increasingly impotent, pale and helpless, controlled by China and no one else. All the remaining four members of the UNSC are no longer a match to Beijing.

It is, therefore, time to either restructure, reform and revamp it or dismantle the United Nations to create its broad-based successor the way the UN itself succeeded the League of Nations. Inadequacies of the UN should be removed in the next body.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly voiced India’s serious concerns last week in his annual address to the UN General Assembly on its 75th anniversary. Earlier, US President Donald Trump had also raised questions about the WHO’s role in the outbreak of global pandemic.

Despite being the largest democracy and the most dependable nation for the UN to send its “peace-keeping’ force to the world’s volatile areas, India has been kept out of the UNSC since 1945: first of all, Britain saw to it that its former slave did not get a seat on the high table; then the US did so as it suspected that Russia could have an additional vote in New Delhi; now, China is ensuring that India does not get a membership of the UNSC and the power to veto.

At present, with India inching closer to Washington, Russia does not actually want New Delhi to get the seat, although it is one of the largest defence buyer from Moscow.

Apart from India, there are some more countries that deserve to get a UNSC seat. They are Germany, Japan, Brazil, and South Africa. Germany and Japan are no longer treated as losers of the Second World War but as vibrant economies and responsible countries; Brazil is the biggest economy of South America and South Africa is no longer infamous for apartheid. Australia is also a good candidate.

Clearly, the world has moved on from the hysterical sentiments of 1945. The UN should also, likewise, be reformed and revamped—or junked to be replaced by a more representative body of more than 200 member-states.

If Trump wins a second term in November 2020, he should follow up his concerns by either forcing an overhaul of the UN functioning, or kicking out the world body from the American soil. Predictably, China will offer land to shift the world body—but that will expose its game-plan to the rest of the world! Barring his four or five acolytes, no other country would be interested in an UN shifted from America to China—particularly not after 137 of them demanding a thorough probe into the Wuhan-origin of Covid-19.

India, and other countries as well, should understand that there is no place for emotional issues, ethics and other such stuff in the UN’s functioning. The world listens to only those who believe in realpolitik.

No one understands it better than Beijing which has virtually bought the UN using all the tricks in the diplomatic trade.

Even if India gets a permanent seat on the UNSC, it would hardly matter, except as a cathartic feeling that it is now a member of the high table. At the most, New Delhi can use its veto against Pakistan, which is already being supported by China. We have seen the fate of different UN resolutions against Pakistan, vetoed by Beijing.

So, even a membership of the UNSC may only provide India a psychological satisfaction of having ‘arrived’ as a regional power, even as a ‘superpower’ on the global centre-stage.

Even without a veto, Islamabad has successfully stalled India in the UN many a time, thanks to China. Israel has also defied as many as 46 anti-Israeli US resolutions.

If nothing, India should invoke its own Acharya Chanakya. Demonstrate power, for power alone begets power. That is why the Arab nations have seen through the weakness of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (CIC) and moved closer to Israel as realpolitik dictated.

Turkey-on-J&K: India to pay in coin, hints at E. Mediterranean forays

Virendra Pandit

New Delhi: A century ago, victors of the World War I had dissolved the last Muslim Empire, that of the Ottomans, centred around the present Republic of Turkey. Mehmed VI Vahideddin was the last and 36th Sultan of the dynasty from July 1918 to November 1922. He also doubled up as the last Caliph, world leader of the Sunni Brotherhood, even if titular.

Ever since, several attempts have been made to resurrect the Caliphate, the last one being by the terrorist outfit Islamic State (IS), led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (2014-16), in Syria and Iraq. Now Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is trying to resurrect the Empire.

But no one, especially not the Arabs, is interested. On the contrary, the Arabs are moving closer to Israel. In fact, the Arabs rejoiced at the demise of the ‘barbarian’ Turk-led Ottoman Empire and became independent nation-states in the 20th century.

Interestingly, it was an infidel country, India, where the confused Muslims tried to whip up pro-Caliphate sentiments by launching the Khilafat Movement in the early 1920s. It was supported by Mahatma Gandhi who knew it was a zero-sum game; it died of its own inherent contradictions and lack of traction at home and abroad.

A hundred years later, history has turned full circle.

In an attempt to get Pakistan’s support, Turkey has been raising the Kashmir issue. India has disliked this Turkish interference in the Jammu and Kashmir issue. And New Delhi is likely to pay Ankara in coin: by throwing its hat into the Eastern Mediterranean hotspot.

Indications of this outreach have begun to emerge.

Last week, the Director-General of the proposed national university for security hinted that India could play a role in the Eastern Mediterranean, a new geopolitical hotspot, amidst tension between Turkey and Greece.

Significantly, the region included the Syrian coast and is rich in hydrocarbon reserves. It holds reserves to the tune of 1.7 billion barrels of oil and 3.5 trillion cubic meters of natural gas with corporations from various nations such as Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO), U.S.-based ExxonMobil and Noble Energy, France’s Total, Italy’s Eni energy company, South Korea’s Kogas, Qatar Petroleum, British Gas (BG) of the U.K. and Israel’s Delek Drilling and Avner Oil, operating in the region.

Dr Vimal N. Patel, who is currently the Director-General of Gandhinagar-based Raksha Shakti University, soon-to-be upgraded as a Central university, the Rashtriya Raksha University (National University of Security), led a discussion on this matter.

He unveiled the possible pro-active policy at a webinar organized by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), a top think-tank funded by the Ministry of External Affairs. It is currently headed by the Vice President of India, M. Venkaih Naidu.

Speakers on the theme, “The Eastern Mediterranean: A new geopolitical hotspot amidst Turkey-Greece Tensions”, discussed various contours affecting the region. It has become an area of heightened geopolitical relevance in the recent months due its rich oil-and-gas wealth, being eyed by energy-hungry Turkey.

Dr Patel stressed that India has extensive strategic and economic interests in ensuring peace and stability in this region. New Delhi also enjoys unprecedented mutually-beneficial bilateral relations with a large number of Eastern Mediterranean countries like Cyprus, Greece, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Jordan, and Palestine, among others.

He categorically stated that the global maritime commons cannot be unilaterally regulated by any one nation. He affirmed that India emphasises the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)-led and UNCLOS-based approaches must be adopted to resolve the various challenges being faced in the region.

Dr Patel iterated that as India is set to begin its term as the Non-Permanent Member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) next year, it is imperative for all the stakeholders in the realm of geo-strategy to be well-versed with this region which is poised to hold significant relevance in the functioning of this high-profile UN body.

The other participants in the event included Priya Singh, Associate Director at Asia in Global Affairs (AGA), Teiborlang T. Kharsyntiew, Assistant Professor of European Studies in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Fazzur Rahman Siddiqui from the ICWA.

Dragon as Spider: How China is trapping Muslim nations?

First Pakistan. Then Iran. And now Saudi Arabia.

Of course we are not counting others: Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh. All playing Chinese Checkers.

Strangely, these monotheistic countries—indeed all 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), led by the Saudis—were  theologically duty-bound to either convert or annihilate atheistic China; instead, they are all surrendering, one by one, to the crafty Dragon.

The EndGame: China, as we know it now, could first colonize, enslave and then gobble them up.

Always a patient expansionist, China is thinking far ahead, in terms of decades, if not centuries; these short-sighted Muslim nations are thinking only for the next year or two, or a decade at best.

In a way, therefore, China is coming to the myopic Muslim world as their ‘liberator’ from Islam, the same way the Muslim zealots had gone to pre-Islamic short-sighted countries as liberators from their ‘infidel’ past.

Call it cyclicality of history. Poetic justice. Or anti-dote to Islam.

The latest to join the Chinese bandwagon is Saudi Arabia, which is trying to get closer to Israel as well and has already pushed two of its acolytes, the UAE and Bahrain, to sign peace deals with Tel Aviv recently.

Apprehensive of losing the Muslims’ leadership to Turkey and Iran, the Saudis are doing everything they could, including sleeping with the old arch-enemies like Israel and China.

In August, western media reported that the Saudis are building a facility for extracting uranium “yellowcake” from ore with help from Beijing. The plant is located at Al Ula in the desert in the north-western desert in the Kingdom. The Saudis, caught sleeping with the Dragon as well, “categorically denied” but said they had contracts with China on uranium exploration. Yellowcake can be used both to produce nuclear power and, after enrichment, even nuclear bomb. The Saudis also claimed they wanted to diversify their energy sources to nuclear energy as well.

In 2018, Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman (MbS) had said that his country would develop nuclear weapons if Iran also did so. Clearly, they are no longer putting all their eggs in the western basket and wooing China also.

But this revelation is likely to jeopardise the Saudi plan to establish full diplomatic relations with regional ‘superpower’ Israel which has sought guarantees both from Washington and Riyadh. Also, Congressional Democrats in the US capital have sought clarifications from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on this urgent matter.

Interestingly, China is simultaneously sleeping with the Saudis’ bete noire Iran. China’s 25-year-deal with Tehran, a $400 billion dollar project, and a host of other lollipops have come to light recently. Clearly, Beijing is leaving no stone unturned to eject the US and the West from the Middle East.

The reasons for this China policy are, obviously, clear: Beijing has only manpower; for energy, it must depend on the Middle East; and for raw materials on Africa.

Oh. I did not mention Islamabad. Don’t worry. Pakistan is now an international orphan. Bankrupt. Failed state. A basket case.

China no longer needs Pakistan as it did once. And Islamabad, even if it wanted to, cannot free itself from that Dragnet of the Dragon, also known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In any case, Pakistan is, except in name, a Chinese colony now.

Already, Chinese men are increasingly marrying Pakistani women, the way they earlier did in Tibet and Xinjiang. In a couple of generations, the Chinese will completely wipe out influence of Islam from Islamabad the way they have in mainland China itself.

And what China can do unto Pakistan, it can as well do unto Iran and Saudi Arabia!