It might be something of a hyperbole that his meeting with Sistani, laden with peaceful intent, reversed the jihad or crusade launched in 1095 by one of his earlier predecessors Pope Urban II.
Americans are faced with an impossible task. They do not wish to be seen to be installing a Talib Emirate in Kabul. If identified with such action they may never look like harbingers of democracy, part of their manifest destiny.
Why does a media owned by industrialists and controlled by the ruling party, heap such generous attention on the Gandhis? Because they are no threat. Anything of a Leftist hue, with the capacity to mobilize the people on a platform of roti, kapda, makaan, healthcare, universal free education, must be thwarted. By this criteria, the Congress is no threat.
At this moment of transition, what construct does one place on the outgoing Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo’s participation in the cloak-and-dagger meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu in the mega city of Neom being built on the Red Sea?
The fragility of the agreement is transparent in the pulls and counter pulls that have obviously gone into the headline. There is unbridgeable distance on the Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s role, for instance. The Taliban will not talk to Ghani whom they describe quite brazenly as a US “toady”.
Who knows an oil and gas rich Israel may in the future be nice to a people it has been particularly nasty with: the Palestinians. The credit for affecting a change of heart will go to a GCC country which will, to that extent, have helped weaken the Iran-Nasrallah ticket in the region.
Tayyip Erdogan who restarted “Namaz” at Hagia Sophia, has come out, all guns blazing as an unabashed Brother. His clash with Sisi, the oppressor or Brothers in Egypt, will cut the ground from under Sisi’s feet. That clash has to be avoided by forces which, alas, are these days preoccupied with issues of their own survival.
After his mishandling of Syria, misreading of Europe, the US and Russia, his popularity in serious question, Erdogan has fallen back on the oldest trick in the politician’s book – religious extremism. “Look”, he will address Islamists, “like Mehmet, the conqueror, I have restored for your supplications a great mosque.”