Monday, January 18, 2021

Kashmir – The New Battlefield For Saudi-Iran Proxy War – Israel Media Reports

The Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan has so far remained a localized conflict. But thanks to Iran’s growing influence and entrenchment in Kashmir, particularly targeting its Shia population, that could be about to change. EurAsian Times brings you an OpEd by Abhinav Pandya written for the Israeli Media – Haaretz 

The Disappearance of Shia Muslims In Pakistan – Is Saudi-Iran Rivalry Taking A Toll On Shia Muslims?

Other Muslim-majority states, from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, are jostling for position in Kashmir too, whether to counter Tehran or push their own political and religious agendas. But India’s politicians, strategic experts and its mammoth intelligence-bureaucracy aren’t ready for this internationalization of the Kashmiri conflict – and its dangerous consequences.

Iran is targeting the 1.4 million Shia Muslims who make up 15 per cent of the entire population of Indian-administered Kashmir. They are mostly concentrated in the Budgam district of Central Kashmir, parts of Srinagar and Kargil.

Despite a history of Shia-Sunni friction in Kashmir, the Sunnis mostly followed a syncretic and locally-rooted Sufi form of Islam, known as Kashmiriyat, that was particularly amenable to coexistence with diverse faiths and sects within Islam and other religions.

The sectarian divides have never been as virulent in Kashmir as in the Middle East – but now, Middle East states are exporting their partisan divisions to the territory.

Traditionally pro-India, Kashmir’s Shias are primarily seen by India’s security apparatus, think tank circles and popular opinion as a key bulwark against separatism which, for the overwhelming majority of its adherents,  aims for an independent Kashmir. In the past, the Shia community has shunned separatism. But this, too, has begun to change.

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