Not Eyeless In Gaza Any More

(MENAFN- NewsIn) By Uttam Sen

Kokata, April 22: A scion of a former Indian princely state, diplomat and Aide-De-Camp to the last British Governor-General, Louis Mountbatten, Mr Narendra Singh Sarila, has said in his engrossing volume on Partition that Russia was being closely monitored to ensure it did not access the regional oil wells. He saw the subcontinental division in the shadow of the Great Game, the Anglo-Russian rivalry across South and Central Asia through most of the 19th century. China had not entered the equation yet. Iran was quickly in the eye of the storm when the irrepressible Muhammad Mosadegh successfully led the campaign for legislation to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and later became Prime Minister. Earlier, the Subcontinent had sunk deeper into the morass of religion-based division, in its own way facilitating the geopolitical balance of power for the same purpose.

When Iran and Saudi Arabia struck a deal in March 2023 to resume diplomatic relations it seemed a new equilibrium was emerging. That it is unsustainable for the present was proved by Hamas's attack on Israel, Israel's retaliation in the Gaza Strip and Iran's assault on Israel. Iran was indirectly involved through its patronage of Hamas but Saudi Arabia was seeking a paradigm shift in the way West Asia works and is disconsolate in being geo-politically pigeon- holed again.


Indian commentators and diplomats are watching with dismay the stand-off in the world's most sensitive energy hub and the psyche of political leadership from Ukraine to Gaza and beyond. The most astounding has been the subliminal vision of those who still subscribe to the political contours of 1945 (which is what is driving people to the subject). It is also the setting, the shadow of the Great Game, in which the volume on Partition was written.

The others are the naivety of political leaders who cannot look beyond their noses in a dangerously inter-connected world and the hazards of technological obsession not only with the weapons of destruction but the thinking that goes into the politics involved. Cold-blooded mechanics, sometimes finance, as the determinants appear to be replacing humanism even for appearances. The positive aspect was projected in an article which noted that in a“fixed match” oil prices had remained unaffected (through the Iranian adventure). The other is the recapitulation in lesser-known literature on the subject of how a fair and equitable settlement in South Asia in 1947, and Palestine around the same time, would have made the simmering West Asian arc a region of unprecedented prosperity to be shared with South Asia.

Instead it has marked time on the sufferance of geopolitics: for example it is now being pointed out how Iran, a resourceful country of around 90 million people, had to survive the regressive regimes of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and then Ayatollah Khomeini (not to mention the war with Iraq). Iran's human resources have the potential to constructively cope with geopolitics rather than watch their country being reduced to a primeval pawn.

The world watched with some trepidation the Iranian attack on Israel after the latter had killed some Iranians (including Generals guiding its terrorist movements) in an attack on their Embassy in Damascus. The Iranian barrage of missiles and drones was described as unprecedented by a former Israeli Prime Minister, Mr Ehud Olmert. Iran has been manufacturing these weapons on a large scale lately. Equally, Israel's interception and neutralization of 99% of them (with the help of several other significant powers who can now sue for peace) was described by Mr Olmert as a resounding victory that obviated further military retaliation. A tenuous peace holds with Israeli military honchos still threatening revenge.

Mr Olmert saw prospects of ending the war in Gaza. With about 10, 000 Hamas fighters already dead Israel has made its point. Iran too has expressed satisfaction with its own endeavours. Peace could be rung in while the iron is still hot.

The Philistines had blinded Samson and consigned him to Gaza where he was fastened to a millstone. If he moved he could only do so in circles. When he regained his strength he crushed everything around him and eventually killed himself. There are doomsday prophesies about Israel, however far-fetched, but if it strikes for peace as Mr Olmert would have it, West Asia and the world would breathe easier.




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