By M.D. Nalapat
posted June 14, 2012 by Global Times
On May 16, 1916, in the middle of World War I, Paris and London approved a secret agreement to dismember the Ottoman Empire and divide the Middle East between themselves.
The Sykes-Picot agreement set new boundaries for many countries in the region, and began a period of direct control of the Middle East that the West has sought to perpetuate to the present.
Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US and Iraq’s former colonial master, the UK, NATO has been transparent in its desire to once again exercise direct control over the countries in the region. The few regimes that are opposed to NATO hegemony are being faced with a concerted effort by NATO and its regional backers to overthrow them.
After Iraq, it was the turn of Libya, followed by Syria. Next will be Iran. I believe the casualties in Libya were much higher than the official figures claimed by the coalition. Libya has become a madhouse of tribal and religious conflicts, and a country where competing mafias have sliced up the country, united only by their subservience to the commercial interests of their creator and benefactor, NATO.
Even the so-called peace mission to Syria has as its deputy head a diplomat from France, the main player in the 2011 regime change in Tripoli and a country that is actively pressing for military intervention in Syria. Only UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with his complete confidence in NATO member states, believes that Jean-Marie Guehenno will play a “neutral” role in Syria.
NATO is also encouraging Turkey to believe that it can regain the status it enjoyed during the Ottoman Empire, thereby provoking Ankara into a hyper-active stance in support of NATO’s regime change operations.
As for Qatar and Saudi Arabia, they are so blinded by their hatred for the anti-monarchist and Shia regime of Bashar al-Assad that they are willing to join hands with NATO in destabilizing a fellow Arab government, oblivious to the fact that someday, they themselves could get exposed to the same medicine.
Unlike Libya, Syria is not in an isolated corner. An intensification of the NATO-sponsored civil war in that country, which is pitting Salafists and Wahhabis against Shia, Druze, moderate Sunnis and Christians, would set off sectarian unrest in the entire region.
If this has not happened so far, the credit must go to Russia and China, which have thus far succeeded in blocking NATO from direct military intervention. The alliance needs to know that 2012 is not 1916, and that their ongoing efforts at repeating the Sykes-Picot agreement will lead to disaster.
The author is director and professor of the School of Geopolitics at Manipal University in India. firstname.lastname@example.org