The year 2015 is over. It was a very messy year in the global politics. Will 2016 be plagued by the same types of violence? In a fast paced world that we live today, it is difficult to predict the future. In what follows I shall attempt to review a few cases.
No region was probably more affected by the scourge of war than the Middle East where the Daesh (more commonly known here in the west as the ISIS or ISIL), the terrorist outfit, made significant territorial gains only to see much of such gains evaporate later in the midst of aerial bombardments from the NATO and the Russian forces. Through its religious nuances, no matter how absurd and ludicrous such claims are, it has been able to confuse many ill-informed youths around the globe to attract to its nihilistic causes and become its foot soldiers – both within and outside the territories it controls.
For a peaceful future, Daesh needs to be defeated ideologically, a task, which must be shouldered by Muslim scholars exposing their falsity. If they fail they would see their own territories drenched in blood by sectarian unrests, something that the Daesh likes to see happen.
Millions of Syrians and Iraqis have fled their war-torn countries and taken shelter in
other neighboring countries. Some of the refugees have also taken shelter in
Europe where (with the exception of Turkey ) they continue to face
unkind treatment and barriers towards their settlement. It’s highly likely that
Europe and the rest of the world would continue to see such sporadic bursts of refugee
influxes in the coming months unless the political conditions inside Germany Syria and dramatically improve. It goes
without saying that Iraq ’s
dropping of bombs and missiles on the opposition targets have strengthened
Bashar al-Assad’s hitherto weak bargaining position significantly. It is
unlikely that the latter would step down anytime soon unless his main backers
convince him to do so. With him in power,
there is little chance for any improvement in the affected region. Russia
Down south, Boko Haram, another deadly terrorist group, continues to terrorize millions of people in West Africa, mostly in and around
. Like the Lord’s Resistance
Army, it remains a formidable force that will continue killing and kidnapping
the innocent people in vulnerable territories unless fully defeated, which is
unlikely to happen any time soon. Nigeria
The Central African Republic (CAR) had her long-delayed elections last week that probably represent the best hope of reuniting the country, one of the world’s poorest, after three years of ethnic cleansing that has displaced a million of minority Muslims. According to the New York Times, the turnout was heavy among the 1.8 million registered voters, nearly 40 percent of the population. Many of the Muslims, displaced by the genocidal wars by the Christian militias could not vote. More than 400,000 refugees — primarily in neighboring
the Democratic Republic of Congo and — have yet to return. Chad
To this day, the country remains divided: Anti-balaka Christian militias hold territories in the west of the country and small pockets in Bangui, the capital city; the former Seleka rebels (mostly Muslims) control the north and center of the country; and the Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal Christian terrorist and rebel movement that also operates in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Uganda, controls parts of the east. Only the coming days after the election results are declared would show whether or not the government can survive politically under a single flag. Its survival would surely require political compromise and tough choices, which if ignored could only divide the country along ethnic fault lines.
The President in
won’t be sworn in until
March of 2016. It should be noted that the
military-drafted constitution guarantees that unelected military
representatives take up 25% of the seats in the Hluttaw and have a veto over
constitutional change. Key
security ministries (defense, home affairs and border affairs) are selected by
the head of the army, not the president, and there can be no change to the
constitution without military approval. Myanmar
As such, while the NLD has won the general election in both the lower and upper houses of the parliament winning respectively 255 (of the 440) and 135 (of the 224) seats, the coming months will show whether or not Suu Kyi would be able to fulfill the dreams of her supporters bringing in a transformational change in this divided country of many races and religions, thus ensuring safety, security and inclusiveness of all. For her to succeed she must be able to domesticate not only the all-powerful military but also the divisive and fascist forces like the Ma Ba Tha, led by skinhead monks, which tried to influence the election at the behest of the regime. Ma Ba Tha, sadly, continues to recruit and organize the racist and bigot populace for terrorizing the already marginalized Muslim minorities. Unless crushed, their criminal activities would only strengthen the divisive forces within the country that are already fighting the military for their legitimate racial, ethnic and religious rights.
One of the most surprising events of the last year was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impromptu visit of
when he met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on
his return trip from .
It was the first visit to Moscow by an Indian premier in almost 12
years. The tense relations between Pakistan India and
both nuclear-armed nations, have long been a worrisome matter for many area
experts and policy makers, who fear that proxy wars between the two countries
could flare into a real one. Pakistan
On his part, Modi had sent mixed signals about
surprised many by inviting Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony last year, but
three months later abruptly halted that tentative engagement by canceling
high-level talks over Pakistani diplomats’ meeting with separatist leaders from Pakistan Kashmir.
Under his watch, the lives of minority Muslims and Christians in
have worsened significantly. Muslim and Christian places of worship and
business have been attacked, and Muslims killed simply on suspicion of eating
or storing beef, and transporting cattle. It is worth noting here that the slaughter of cows is banned in
large parts of India
but the country exports more beef than any other nation. India produced 43% of the world’s
buffalo meat in 2015, the highest of any nation. India is expected to export
2.2 million tons of water buffalo in 2016, up from 2.1 million in 2015.
The increase is due to rising demand from the Middle East, Africa and India Southeast Asia. Vietnam
and Malaysia are the largest
export markets for ,
according to the USDA. What is also seldom discussed is the fact that long
before the coming of Islam on the Indian sub-continent, beef was widely
consumed. According to history professor D.N. Jha, in the Vedic period it was
particularly widely consumed. India
The fascist Hindutvadi forces, mostly belonging to the Sangh Parivar, want to declare
a vegetarian country. They are trying to distort
Indian history along religious lines and are also behind violent attacks
against the minorities. Many well-to-do Muslims feel very insecure these days.
When Bollywood superstars complained about the growing atmosphere of
intolerance in India ,
they were labeled falsely as anti-India, unpatriotic and pro-Pakistan. India
Rather than condemning such attacks and excesses of his party men, Modi has tried to ignore such issues. And yet, he recently signed a treaty with his counterpart in
- Sheikh Hasina - which allowed for integration of affected people living in
the landlocked enclaves, something that was denied for some 68 years. Bangladesh
This gives me hope against hopelessness. Probably not everything is lost. We can all hope for a better future. In this regards, Modi’s speech in
is quite memorable. Pakistan
“There are some who did not want us to be here. There were those who saw sinister designs in our presence here,” Mr. Modi said. “But, we are here because you have faith in us. You know that
is here to contribute, not to
compete; to lay the foundations of future, not light the flame of conflict; to
rebuild lives, not destroy a nation.” India
I would like to believe that Mr. Modi did not speak with a forked tongue and was genuinely sincere and that the course he has taken toward
Pakistan and has
shifted to embrace engagement, not confrontation. Bangladesh
Let’s hope that 2016 would be a better year than 2015 when our world leaders have learned from their past mistakes to take proper actions that make our world a better place to live together in peace and harmony.