UAE is the third Arab nation to be friends with Israel, after Jordan and Egypt
Ever wondered why DMK promised televisions as a return gift to voters? Karunanidhi, as wily and as intelligent he was, also knew what is the weakness of his people. The people on whom he and his family should be counting to survive. Apart from the direct influence of his own TV news channel on the viewers and revenues for his TV channel, there is another important aspect. A television set that was supposed to be a luxury item till then, would be considered henceforth, an essential household appliance. It gives a sense of the improved standard of living to its owner. It is expected the family sits around the TV in the evenings and this may – influence few drunkards to give up or at least cut-down. A happy and content family is after all that is at the core of society. Despite his self-serving politics, Karunanidhi was a scholar. He practiced the art of distancing himself from the religion he mastered upon.
Since independence, most of the time, Tamil Nadu was ruled by Dravidian parties. And, apart from Maharashtra and Gujarat, was the only state that was continuously and steadily in the path of progress. The fact that the state has continuous bickering with two of its neighbouring states and was at the center of the Lankan crisis has not slowed down the progress. The prime reason was both DMK and AIADMK were friends with the party that has control over Delhi. Except during “Emergency,” somehow both Dravidian parties have mastered this art and science of changing alliances, which directly helped the state. In the days of the weak Centre, benefits were more.
The Middle East is the only region in the world where one or the other country was fighting with another one in the last seven decades.
What this has to do with UAE joining hands with Israel? In fact, UAE is the third Arab nation to be friends with Israel, after Jordan and Egypt. Saudi Arabia, the spiritual head of the Islamic world chooses to remain silent. Soon, most of the Arab nations in the region will be repeating the same gesture.
Like the voters of Tamil Nadu, citizens of the Arabic world have now attuned to a new lifestyle. Gone are the days of nomadic tribes moving around sand dunes of the desert between various countries with blurred borders. Now, the oil pumped out of their wells has pushed their living standards to a new high. They are not the same Arabs who lived on the stories of Arabian Nights. Petro Dollars have changed them. They evolved over time.
Immediately after having the riches, it was only natural for them to thank their god and spend money on propagating the dogma. However, coincided with that time was the cold war and the spiritual propagation has resulted in created in Mujahedeen and Taliban and what not. Meanwhile, Arabs also experienced various styles of governments, though they stuck largely to the monarchy. They saw democracy, communism and autocracy. And, they have seen what happened to autocrats like Mussolini and Qaddafi. They also witnessed constant and continuous struggles between various Arab countries. And, unlike the Palestinians and Pakistanis, Arabs learned some lessons. At least some of them.
With the riches sort of becoming leadership was thrust on the Saudis, purely for being hosts of holy places of Islam. The difference between the expansion of Islam and Christianity is the expansion of the latter was controlled by the office of the Pope, to a large extent. Islam expanded based on military might and political power. And, just like all other humans in this world, even in the Islamic world, there are many sects and all sorts of discrimination. It is a fact that the Middle East is the only region in the world where one or the other country was fighting with another one in the last seven decades.
The way Pakistan gifted Indian land to China, the way Pakistan join hands with Americans and then Al Qaida, how Pakistan can ignore their own women being taken away by Chinese, were simply too much for the now sophisticated Arabs.
Over and above there is the Palestine problem, which is a genuine one. Finally, it dawned on the Arab world that they cannot do anything substantial to the Jewish state of Israel. In fact, the seeds of terrorism that have germinated in the struggle for Palestine have only spread the virus across the Arab world, though the mainland was much intact. Then, there is the issue of Kashmir that was thrust on the Arab world by Pakistan, another failed state. Though initially, the Arab world looked at Pakistan as guidance, things have reversed in the last four decades. While the Arab countries of the desert were flourishing, Pakistan, with all its plains and rivers was going bonkers. The way Pakistan gifted Indian land to China, the way Pakistan join hands with Americans and then Al Qaida, how Pakistan can ignore their own women being taken away by Chinese, were simply too much for the now sophisticated Arabs. While the non-Arabic Islamic nations consider universal brotherhood amongst all Muslims, the original Muslims of Arab nations were serious about the nationalities of their citizens. An Egyptian is different from an Iranian who is different from someone in Saudi Arabia. The governments in the Middle East have a job to their own people before extending any courtesies to either Palestinians or Pakistanis.
While slowly the world again shaping itself into another bipolar world, they have to choose aside. Either the side of China, whose record on Muslims of Uyghurs stands as a modern-day Nazi regime or the side of America that has supported to create the original Mujahedeen. Of course, it is not so difficult a choice to make. At its worst, America suits best to the Arab world. And, even at its best, China is worse for the Arabs. Yes, Iran has joined hands with China. But, that is just to counter America – and of course, Saudi. After all, one can’t wish internal conflicts to go away soon. Whether Iran joining hands with China, or UAE joining hands with Israel, both are just for the sake. For the sake of immediate benefits that can be gained upon extending the hand of friendship.
And, there were few other influences over the changing paradigm of the Arab mindset. They have seen the downfall of Qaddafi and Saddam and know what can happen to dictators. They also have witnessed Najeebullah hanging, for being with Communists – killed by the Taliban. They also witnessed how the Taliban pushed Afghan back to medieval times. They have witnessed how nations have progressed or regressed just for being on which nation they allied with. They have just witnessed Mahathir Mohamad paying for his unnecessary comments. Whether it was the Al Queda or Daesh, the roots of the evil always came back to the Middle East deserts. Why would Arabs want their own religion to be feared by the world? No sensible Arab would like to happen. And, unlike the Pope, there is not a single spiritual authority that will reap the benefits of Islamic expansion in the present order of the world, especially not in the Middle East. Moreover, what is the point of being the spiritual leader of the Islamic world, when some obscure Pakistani minister can challenge the authority of the Sultan of Saudi Arabia? It is Pakistan today, tomorrow it can be some other country. From a practical point of view, these neo-Islamic nations are a burden on the Arab world that was trying to progress at a greater speed ever since they struck oil in the dunes.
So, the decision to join hands with Israel hoping it may help in elevating the living standards of their own people. Erdogan may make a ruckus, who cares? Anyway, he is not a customer of UAE.
Does it mean, Sheiks of Emirates have forgiven Israel and don’t empathize with Palestinians? Well, no. They have learned the art of being pragmatic. What’s the point of fighting a losing battle and cause inconvenience to their own citizens? All are not the colonels of Pakistan, who can sacrifice their own people to either Americans or to Chinese, for the sake of individual riches and power. Then, the Pakistani establishment doesn’t fall in either democracy or autocratic. That’s a setup straight out of the jungle.
The decision to join Israel was not a decision that was taken overnight at the drop of hat, but a decision that was taken after thoroughly considering long term benefits for UAE. By being silent to this agreement, Saudi has already conveyed much more than what they can convey through words. More than Jordan and Egypt becoming friends with Israel, the decision of UAE is significant. This decision will be testing the public mood in the core Arab world. If there is no sufficient opposition, soon other nations too may change their relationship status with Israel. If that happens, perhaps there can really be a solution to the Palestinian problem. After all, when all nations in the neighborhood are friends with one another, why can’t they work for the improvement of Palestine? I only hope Arabs can drill some commonsense into the minds of colonels of Pakistan also. Maybe the Arab world can become an example to the Islamic world on how to separate religion from politics. It is their duty. After the happenings of the last two decades, the onus is on them. Hope they will rise to the occasion.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.