As the anti-IS coalition struggles to stay together can BRICS be a balancing factor that can keep the members unruffled against a common threat?
The US-led anti-IS coalition has been in news more for its internal dissent than for the fighting or gaining an impressive victory over the militant group.
The purportedly united league, comprising over sixty members including the major Middle Eastern countries apart from the Western nations, seems to be at discord about which the real enemy is – the ISIS or the Syrian regime led by President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey is yet to commit access for the United States to its air bases to carry out attacks against IS. It apparently even conditioned toppling of the Assad regime as a pre-requisite to Ankara’s support of the US-led coalition.
The incident of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani sets a good example of how rambled the alliance is, with the Turkish government not too gung-ho about assisting the town from falling.
Whatever the regional cacophony, the fact is the Islamic State is a threat that has transcended beyond just the Middle Eastern borders to threatening not only the West but also the larger Asian region including India and China.
Apart from the thousands of Chinese and Indian workers living in Iraq and many of who are still stranded in the war-torn region, both countries have reported radicalized youth joining the Islamic State. India was recently alarmed with an incident of an ISIS flag being carried by masked men in its northern region of Kashmir. The ISIS has highlighted India as a target in its grand plans.
Reports have also appeared of jihadists from China’s Xinjiang region fighting alongside the ISIS which considers China as a country where the largest numbers of Muslims are being persecuted.
There’s clearly a need for credible middlemen that can bring all the important players of the anti-Islamic State fight together and pressurize the US and its allies to leave “other” issues for later.
Can the BRICS – representing 25% of the world’s land area and 40% of the world’s population and hold a combined GDP of $20 trillion create that platform? After all leading members of the bloc including India, China and Russia have built significant influence in the Middle East. It perhaps is a good time to reap those benefits for a greater share in the global political center stage.
As BRICS expert Helmut Reisen, who headed research at the OECD Development Center until 2012 before founding his Berlin-based consulting firm ShiftingWealth, says, “IS is a barbarian assault on civilization. Much is at stake, including the reputation of the BRICS to be able to assume and share global responsibility. Turkey´s President Erdogan has certainly not won international esteem by first staying passive with respect to Kobani. If the BRICS stayed passive as well in the face of IS, they might share Erdogan´s loss of reputation, including in West Africa where threats similar to IS abound (witness Mali or Kamerun, Boko Haram).”
Written by: JHINUK CHOWDHURY – read more at RT