Discredited West ought to keep quiet on Kashmir

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The US has withdrawn troops from northeastern Syria. DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP

Recently, a few US senators, members of the UK Labour party and some political leaders from other Western nations have advised India to lift restrictions in Kashmir.

They say they are monitoring Kashmir, and have at times have even accused the Indian government of violating human rights.

However, many West and South Asian countries have been left in turmoil mainly due to the misad-ventures of the Western world.

These nations consider themselves to be guardians of the world but have caused more damage than good, wherever they have ventured.

The fallout of their actions has begun impacting their own way of life, as refugees, seeking to avoid conflict caused by their actions, try and push their way into Europe.

Yet they continue to interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.

Countries like Iraq and Libya, comprising a multitude of ethnicities, needed strong individuals to control them.

Saddam Hussein’s foray into Kuwait was illegal, and the Western coalition led by the US did push the Iraqis out and restore order.

Subsequently, the same US-led coalition, claiming Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, launched operations to remove Hussein from power.

While they did succeed, they left behind a nation whose oil resources were exploited, economy broken and its population in abject poverty.

This created conditions for the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, which then claimed thousands of lives.

The coalition then decided to withdraw in haste, adding to the confusion.

Iraq has yet to regain stability and peace.

The current violent protests, which have claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands injured, is a fallout of Western misadventures based on fake intelligence inputs and a desire to control Iraq’s oil supply.

Libya is another example.

Muammar Gaddafi had handed over his nuclear weapon designs obtained from Pakistan and hence could never have produced a nuclear weapon.

Yet, solely because he was a powerful leader of a major oil-producing country, the Western world openly backed the Arab Spring that attempted to remove him from power.

A multinational coalition led by Nato entered the country, ostensibly to protect civilians but mainly to oust Gaddafi.

Human catastrophe

Since then the country has witnessed two major civil wars, with the second, ongoing since 2014, claiming thousands of lives.

Barack Obama, the US president at the time, admitted in public that supporting the removal of Gaddafi was among the biggest errors of his administration.

Syria is a third example of Western interference.

The West’s initial desire to remove Bashar al-Assad proved to be a failure.

Subsequently, the US created and employed the Syrian Democratic Forces against IS.

Their presence and support enabled these forces to tackle the IS.

In a sudden decision, Trump has now opted to withdraw, leaving those who fought alongside the US to face the might of the Turkish forces, which have launched operations ostensibly to create a buffer zone.

This could open the door for IS to rise again.

Pressure on Turkey will not work as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to push the three million Syrian refugees living in his country into Europe if his actions are objected to.

Western support of Saudi Arabia and the UAE has resulted in their interference in the crisis in Yemen, leading to a face-off with Iran and making Yemen the worst human catastrophe of recent times.

The turmoil in Afghanistan exists because US-led Nato forces neither adopted the correct strategy of hitting the Taliban leadership in Pakistan nor deploying the necessary number of forces needed to win the battle.

After taking over the country, with the help of the Northern Alliance, they sought to control the region, not eliminate their enemy.

Narrow national interests

Had recent US-Taliban talks succeeded, it would have been another example of the Western world ditching their local allies and leaving them at the mercy of rebels, in this case the Taliban.

US-led air and drone strikes have killed hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, for which no action has been taken against those who erred.

This is because the West believes that they possess immunity for their actions.

The US’ maltreatment of Afghan prisoners is well documented.

Uncertainty still exists in Afghanistan, where US strategies and end goals have regularly changed.

No one is certain whether Trump will pull another Syria in Afghanistan and withdraw all forces, leaving the country to its fate.

All this shows that wherever Western nations have ventured, they have left behind chaos and confusion.

The result has been thousands of innocent casualties that would never have occurred if they had acted in good faith and not for their narrow national interests.

The large-scale migrations into western Europe is a result of their follies and interfering in regions where they neither comprehend the realities nor stay on until they achieve the desired objectives. They walk in and walk out, leaving chaos behind.

Despite their failures everywhere, they still have the gall to advise India, which has kept Kashmir under control despite changing its status.

These Western politicians have never bothered to understand the reasons why India acted how it did and the intentions behind continuing with restrictions.

Their biased notions are based on a few write-ups in the Western media.

They comment without comprehending the realities and India’s responsibility to protect lives.

Their only belief remains that they consider themselves to be guardians of human rights, whereas everywhere that they have interfered, human rights have been ignored, if not extinguished.

With such a miserable track record, politicians in the Western world should be examining their own failures, rather than advising a nation which has an excellent human rights record.

The day India seeks to openly criticise these nations for the damage they have caused to the world on the pretext of rectifying a wrong, they would have no answers.

India as a policy should ignore their criticism, or in case they do not desist, remind them of their debacles.

Harsha Kakar is a retired Indian Army major-general.

The Statesman (India)/Asia News Network