Friday, April 17, 2015

Pakistani & Egyptian Armies and the Current Yemen Crisis

Why Saudi Arabia is so hell bent on getting Pakistani army into Yemen instead of Egyptian army? This is a question that has been bothering me for the last several weeks. All the discussion in Pakistan has been that since Saudi Arabia has asked us, so should we or should we not send our army into Yemen. My question is, why SA is not so much interested in Egyptian army? After all the current head of Egypt is an army man, who received 20 billion dollars from SA and other Gulfy friends,
after he overthrew a democratically elected government of Morsi. Geographically Egypt is less than 10Km from SA. They all speak the same language, which is extremely important in a land based anti-gorilla warfare. The answer lies in Ottoman Empire.

In 1383 the then Ottoman ruler, Sultan Murad I, created a force called Janissaries. This was an elite infantry unit that formed the Ottoman Sultan's household troops and bodyguards. So what is the big deal about it, you may ask. The big deal is that the force was entirely non-Turkish. The Janissaries were chosen at about age six among the Christian boys, mostly Greeks, living in Anatolia and the Balkan peninsula to become the elite fighting force. The next question, which relates to the original question of why not Egyptian army, is why Sultan Murad wanted non-Turkish boys of Christian origin to defend his household? Were they so super brave, super intelligent, super chaste? No, none of the above. The important thing was that they were non-Turk and as such had allegiance to no one else except the ruler. Since they had no ties to the local population, so they would use their sword against any individual or group that the ruler would ask them to.

Similarly the Saudis and their Gulfy friends think of Pakistan Army as their Janissaries who have no local ties in Yemen. While they think that the Egyptian army may be not as reliable in this scenario. In a very interesting twist of events, on 15 June 1826, the then Ottoman ruler Sultan Mahmud II, crushed the Janissaries and killed about 40,000 of them. So Pakistani Army and general public should be very apprehensive about “nissaring” their “Jan” to defend the house of Saud. 


Anonymous said...

I think the question is far from whether Pakistan Army should or should not go to Yemen. We have made the mistake of joining someone else's war numerous times in the past, which has always brought us misfortune. We spend billions of dollars every year to train our armed forces to defend Pakistan, and still due to our internal conflicts, we fail at defending our lands every now and then. Going to fight a war that's only going to increase the hostility among Sunnis and Shias will be a major setback for Pakistan, as we already are being criticized for not doing much about protecting our Hazara population from being persecuted.

Ghulam Mahdi said...

I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories or Moulvis but it seems that the scheme is working

Nadeem Chaudhry said...

The link that Dr. Ghulam Mahdi has posted is very relevant.