Mahendra Sukhdeo –
American airstrike on October 3 on Kunduz in Afghanistan led to the destruction of the hospital run by ‘Doctors without Borders’ (Medicins sans Frontieres – MSF).
During 14 years of US involvement in Afghanistan, this is one of the most tragic instances of civilian deaths, killing 12 MSF staff, burning alive some of the 10 patients, including three children and injuring 37 others.
It was known that the Talibans had entered Kunduz. The embattled city is now without the much needed trauma-related medical facility.
The US has belatedly admitted its mistake and MSF President Joanne Liu reportedly stated that the US and Afghanistan have made an ‘admission of a war crime’ and called for an external enquiry of the bombing.
The gist of the war crime claim is based on the assumption that no prior warning was given for the wave of airstrike raids. If fully established, the US would be in breach of humanitarian international law. It is an inexcusable action that requires free and unfettered investigation. Would the US allow this?
The US is now on its back foot and the event would tarnish the legacy of President Barack Obama. The hospital bombing in spite of its location being known to the NATO authorities is likely to trigger a series of defensive strategies that would dilute the role of the US and its ‘willing’ allies in the conflict.
Almost parallel with this shambolic event, Russia has seized the opportunity to enter the Middle East jigsaw matrix.
It has exploded a series of cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea targeted at the rebels of the President Bashar Al Assad regime in Syria.
Russia is helping a long term ally, Assad to shirk off destabilisation and be active arbiter of Syrian post-war negotiations. President Vladimir Putin with his background in KGB (Russia’s intelligence hub) initiated this strategic action that has several military and political ramifications.
Unlike the US and its cohorts, Russia has entered the war arena with the consent of the legitimate governing regime. Those who went in without such approval will have to be accountable to the War Crimes Tribunal.
The ousted Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbot used the untenable and an atrocious proposition that the British proposed at the time of forcible occupation of Australia during and after the convict settlement. He said that the state boundaries between Syria and Iraq had become porous and thereby implied it was a ‘no man’s land.’
The missiles were being tested by the Russians in reply to the US tomahawks that had dominated the skies unmatched since the start of the Cold War.
In spite of the Eastern Europe consisting mostly of states broken away from the USSR and its allies and therefore ostensibly the Russian sphere of influence, the West managed to isolate Russia with unilateral sanctions linked with Russian action in Ukraine.
Now Russia has come out of the politically closed gate and both Iraq and Iran are warming up towards Russia to neutralise the debilitating Western influence.
With the missiles gunning down Syria’s rebel targets, the West is powerless in preserving their power across the Middle East. Russia has now emerged as a power to reckon with.
The Middle East is both recalcitrant and nebulous in regard to the sincerity of the West for espousing democracy and imposing their kind of two-party, dominantly Caucasian and capitalist oriented democracy on other states.
Democracy has failed in most of the Middle East where the West backed strongmen had ruled once without impunity. This is so because the West cannot accept democratically elected staunch Muslim regimes. Middle East is littered with such examples.
In Egypt, the Morsi regime was ousted; so is the case with Libya and Yemen.
If the United Nations mandated elective machinery carries out democratic elections now in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq, there is no doubt that militant Muslim would be in command and in the case of Syria and Iraq, the ISIS would be the victors.
The lesson is that it is pointless to espouse democracy when one is not willing to accept the democratic outcome.
India was the first country in the world to accept a democratically elected communist government in the state of Kerala in 1957.
Mahendra Sukhdeo is a Fiji born academic with a postgraduate (Masters) degree in Politics from the University of Bombay. He is the author of the recently published book,
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