Global Flashpoints, 2020

Shaking up the status quo
Developing Just Leadership

Waseem Shehzad

Jumada' al-Ula' 06, 1441 2020-01-01

News & Analysis

by Waseem Shehzad (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 48, No. 11, Jumada' al-Ula', 1441)

What is depicted in the movies as fiction often becomes reality in life. The entertainment industry serves as a window to human imagination. It imagined events like video calls, daily computer communication, and even terrorist attacks, long before they occurred in real life.

The latest release of the Messiah TV show by Netflix illustrates the rise of Dajjal and all the cataclysmic events that are to follow. This nudges us to analyze the global flashpoints and pay attention to them in 2020.

From North America to Cambodia, the world is experiencing intense political struggles. The crucial ones that are likely to influence the Muslim world are briefly analyzed below.

In the US, Donald Trump is facing the threat of impeachment. While he is unlikely to resign even if he is impeached, the entire process and Trump’s presidency have shaken the very foundations of America’s soft-power appeal.

Trump’s ignorant rants have actually served to expose the vile machinations of the US establishment. The Donald is simply saying what other US presidents were doing in practice but would sugarcoat and couch in diplomatic jargon. Since Trump’s election in 2016, US imperialism has become completely unmasked and even if he is not re-elected, it will be almost impossible for his successor to restore the US soft-power and political appeal.

If Trump is re-elected even after all the hurdles the “liberal” spectrum of the US political establishment throws at him, his second term as president will be a lot more reckless and less restrained. As Trump stated in Iowa during the 2016 campaign, “I could shoot somebody and not lose votes.” This is quite true. His support base consists of people with limited understanding of issues. They are also highly dogmatic and cultish. Thus, Trump’s re-election would probably mean greater risks of global economic and political crisis worldwide.

On the European continent, the Brexit saga is continuing to seal Britain’s last hopes to remain a second-tier player for global influence. Once the UK exits the European Union (EU), the rest of the EU countries will create hardships for Britain to make it an example for others, especially those contemplating leaving in order to keep the continent’s most successful geopolitical project intact.

There is a downside in this saga for Muslims. With Britain’s successful exit from the EU, it will unleash even more anti-Muslim political forces. As Imran Shah of MPACUK accurately pointed out in his column for the 5pillarsuk that “Brexit is fundamentally a racist, anti-Muslim project and Muslims should be at the forefront of making sure it doesn’t happen.”

As the corporate media’s global campaign regarding the oppression of Uighur Muslims in China intensifies, it cannot be ruled out that Western powers will attempt to utilize Muslim anger over Beijing’s mistreatment of Muslims to pile up even more pressure on China. No doubt, the Uighurs are going through very tough times. Nevertheless, the corporate media’s intense focus on their plight while regularly demonizing Muslims, and in particular Muslim activists elsewhere, should raise a red flag. The US-China economic tussle is unlikely to subside anytime soon and as the protests in Hong Kong showed, the US is very eager and willing to utilize violent political leverages to extract economic gains from China.

In South America, a strong US pushback against the leftist socio-political forces is beginning to reach a dead-end after temporary success. Since the release from prison of the former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, election of Alberto Fernandez in Argentina, and mass protests against pro-US regimes in Chile and Ecuador, along with the ability of the Venezuelan government to abort Washington’s coup, all these factors point to a resilience of anti-imperialist forces in South America.

In the Muslim world, the places to keep an eye on are Iran, Yemen, Palestine, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Central Asia, and Oman.

Iran’s regional clout will continue growing. As the London-based ISS’s Strategic Dossier stated in November 2019, “no state has been so active, and perhaps as effective, as Iran in regional conflicts in modern times.” Over the past 40 years, the Islamic system in Iran has managed to convert every crisis into strategic opportunities for its geopolitical growth. The current Western pressure on Iran will not decrease anytime soon but Western regimes do not have adequate leverage to create any insurmountable obstacles for Iran. Since 1979, Islamic Iran has faced far tougher tests than what it is facing today and with the God’s help and people’s support, it has not buckled and is still going strong.

The fate of Yemen and Saudi Arabia are intertwined in Islamic eschatology and current developments nudge us to evaluate them together. Riyadh’s defeat in Yemen is now certain. It is simply seeking a face-saving exit. The key question is, will Yemen hold back? Those raising eyebrows about a potential Yemeni continuation of the war until the liberation of Makkah and Madinah should re-member that very few could predict in 2014 that Yemen would be able to humiliate the Saudi forces backed by the most powerful military machines in the world. The resistance of the people of Yemen has surprised us at each turn and there is no reason to preclude the grand surprise of all.

The situation in Palestine and Egypt will influence one another. Last year was the first time ‘Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi’s murderous regime faced mass protests. If the US-Israeli backed autocracy in Egypt begins to weaken, the Zionists will do their utmost to save it. Hopefully, the Palestinians, having decades of experience of resistance, would chip in to destabilize al-Sisi’s autocratic regime in Cairo. Regimes like the one in Egypt are the first line of defense for the Zionist monstrosity of Israel.

At the end of November 2019, Turkey and Azerbaijan formally marked the completion of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) in order to decrease Western Europe’s energy dependence on Russia. Many experts agree that without Turkmenistan’s gas, TANAP is not as useful as it appears. It is highly unlikely that any regimes in Central Asia will join TANAP without Moscow’s approval. And Russia will not grant such permission without extracting significant geopolitical and economic concessions from NATO. Thus, it is highly probable that the NATO powers will attempt to destabilize Central Asia and the South Caucasus in order to loosen Russia’s grip on the region. Crescent International will be following these developments closely in 2020. It has the potential to reconfigure the socio-political landscape of the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Some might be surprised by our inclusion of Oman in the list of key flashpoints to pay attention to but the primary reason is because its autocratic ruler has no successor and he is quite ill. In addition to this, the UAE and Oman have a territorial dispute. The Saudi regime is also unhappy with Muscat not taking a staunch pro-Saudi position against Qatar and Yemen. It cannot be ruled out that Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, the amateurish Muhammad bin Salman (MbS), will push the Emiratis into an adventurous move in Oman once Sultan Qaboos dies. Abu Dhabi may not be fully on board with this approach. This might create a new crisis among the primitive kingdoms of the occupied Arabian Peninsula.

While it is not possible to predict specific aspects of the key global flashpoints in 2020, we can broadly analyze that 2020 will be the year of shake-up of the status quo in many fields and areas of the world. The overall picture appears more positive for the oppressed and negative for the imperialist regimes.

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