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Arabic History :Literature Review Assessment

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Added on: 2023-04-01 06:10:05
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The assessment is:

For each day, there are discussion questions for each lecture answered through the essential readings listed below with indicating to the reference when answering each question.

  • Can you please help me to answer those Questions? -


Session 1a: Introduction & Overview:

Themes, Challenges, Conceptual Framework & Intellectual Tools

This Unit will provide an overview of the Indian Ocean area (see map, p. 2), its security complexes and sub-complexes, with their local security dynamics and major local powers, the role of domestic politics, including regime strategies to stay in power, and the role of external powers. Major security challenges will be identified, among them war, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and transnational terrorism. However, these challenges stem from specific identity issues, such as ideology, religion, ethnicity and nationality.

The term security complex is borrowed from Barry Buzan who has defined and redefined it since the early 1980s. In one of his latest writings, Buzan argues: ‘Analysts apply the term security complex (and therefore designate a region) based upon the contingent, historically specific and possibly changing constellation generated by the interdependent security practices of the actors’.

The geographic area of the Indian Ocean, including the Persian Gulf and the rest of the Middle East, is huge and includes many countries, some of which are separated by vast distances. It stretches from the Mediterranean Sea down to the Arabian Sea and the Horn of Africa; from South Africa to India and then on to Australia. Although some scholars have regarded it as a single region, it is not. For purposes of this course, the Indian Ocean area will not be considered as a single region. The area is made up of several major regional security sub-systems or security complexes:

  • Southern Africa
  • the Middle East with its key sub-regional systems and key local powers ü the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel, Egypt, and Syria

ü the Persian Gulf with Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, and

ü the Horn of Africa with Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia

  • South Asia with India and Pakistan at its core
  • Southeast Asia, and
  • Australia.

Out of these five parts of the Indian Ocean littoral, the course will focus on two regional security complexes: the Middle East (MESC) and South Asia (SASC). Both are now at the centre of the world’s attention as they contain three of the most dangerous conflicts in the world. Within MESC we will emphasize two of the three sub-complexes: the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Persian Gulf. These security sub- complexes are constituted by identity factors: religion, race, nationality, etc. These factors lead to violence, terrorism, political repression, arms races and continuing conflict.

Both the Middle East and South Asia are crucially important for international peace and security. Both are areas of ongoing violence and have attracted attention from the United Nations (UN), the superpowers and other major powers. Both security complexes exhibit issues that are regarded as key challenges to global security, such as conventional arms races, nuclear weapons, other WMD, terrorism and organized crime. Given that this course is about security challenges, the emphasis is on the recent past and current events, and where history is included, it is because it is important for understanding the present and future trends.

 Session 1b: MESC: The Evolution of the Arab-Israeli Conflict 1945–1991


Within MESC there are three strategic zones or security subregions, each with its locus of attention and interactions but also connected to the other security subregions located within the Indian Ocean area. The Persian Gulf is an obvious inclusion. The Eastern Mediterranean has to be included because we cannot ignore it and still make sense of MESC. For, among other things, the Eastern Mediterranean security sub complex is the site of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which cannot be ignored if we are to make sense of the Persian Gulf. For example, United States (US) policy towards Iraq has been tied very closely to the central issue still burning within the Middle East – the Arab Israeli conflict. For that reasons, the Eastern Mediterranean with Israel, Syria, and Egypt, as its regional powers, is included in this course.

As for the Horn of Africa, which would have received much attention in this course had it been taught fifteen years ago during the Cold War, less attention will be paid to it now. We will, however, examine the important links between Somalia and the Sudan and the other Middle East security sub-complexes and the US.

The end of World War Two (WWII) signaled enormous change within MESC. In 1948, in the wake of the horrors of the Holocaust in Europe (and in opposition to previous plans such as that outlined in the 1939 British White Paper) the UN General Assembly resolved that the area formerly known as the British Mandate of Palestine be divided into two separate Arab and Jewish states. War broke out between the two groups after Arabs living within Palestine – who had expected their own nationalist aims to be achieved at the conclusion of WWII – rejected the UN resolution. Jewish forces won the ensuing war, creating over one million Palestinian refugees and proclaiming the establishment of the state of Israel. An attempt by neighboring Arab countries to trounce the Jewish victory failed and so began one of the most protracted disputes, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

General developments in the Middle East also had profound geopolitical ramifications. Many of the crises of the Cold War were played out in the Middle East. One such example was the 1956 Suez Canal Crisis.

The ramifications of this conflict have been enormous – continuing to the present day as a major factor in the history and international relations of the Middle East. The Arab-Israeli conflict resulted in the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War

– both of which ended with decisive Israeli victories. The conflict also contributed to situations such as the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In recent years, a plan for the resolution of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been presented in a ‘road map’ endorsed by the quartet, which comprises the UN, US, Russia and European Union (EU).

 Discussion Questions :

  • What are the key variables that determine regional order and security in the Middle East?
  • What formed the basis for the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and what were the ramifications for the Middle East?
  • What were the regional implications of the 1967 Six-Day War?
  • What was the significance of the 1973 Yom Kippur War?
  • What role did the Middle East play in the Cold War and what trends can be seen in the region as a result of the wind down of the Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union?

Essential reading for discussion question:

  • The Origins of the Arab-Israeli Conflict (in attachment)
  • Wars in the Middle East (in attachment)
  • Conflicts in the Middle East (in attachment)
  • Insecurity and State Formation in the Global Military Order: the Middle Eastern Case (in attachment)
  • Conflict and War in the Middle East : From Interstate War to New Security
  • Should Israel Become a 'Normal' Nation?

Session 2: MESC: Rivalry in the Persian Gulf during & after the Cold War


The Iran-Iraq War of 1980–88, which could also be described as the First Gulf War, resulted in collateral damage sustained by both sides. It was regarded by many in the West as a bedeviled situation – summed up by a comment attributed to Henry Kissinger that ‘the best result would be for both sides to lose the war’. However, facing an alternative of the 1979 fundamentalist Shi’ite revolution of Ayatollah Khomeini, and with the war causing steep rises in oil prices, many in the West and the Middle East chose to back then Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. An exhausted stalemate and ceasefire eventually drew the conflict to an end in 1988, solidified by the death of the Ayatollah in 1989. The Iraq-Iran War and the Cold War came to an end at approximately the same time.

Saddam Hussein’s ambitions were not dented by the Iran-Iraq War. In 1990, relations between Kuwait and Iraq soured over several issues, including the claim that Kuwait was producing oil in excess of its OPEC quota, the effect of this on Iraqi oil revenue, and Iraq’s wish for clear passage to the Gulf through Kuwaiti territory. After a diplomatic crisis ensued, the situation came to a head with Saddam invading Kuwait and proclaiming it the nineteenth province of Iraq. During the crisis Iraqi troops also massed on the border with Saudi Arabia, causing fears that Saudi Arabia and its oil supplies were next on Saddam’s agenda. There was an outcry within the international community resulting in the UN imposing sanctions on Iraq and the US-led Operation Desert Shield to coerce Saddam and Operation Desert Storm to liberate Kuwait.

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and the Allied liberation of the emirate represented a turning point in strategic alliances within the Middle East. The Allied offensive against Saddam’s invasion included, besides US, British and French forces, contingents from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, Egypt, Syria and a number of other Muslim countries. Although most Arab states declared their opposition to the invasion of Kuwait, some of them refused to join an offensive against a fellow Arab state, and others expressed a level of sympathy with Saddam’s cause.

The 1991 Gulf War, also known as the Second Gulf War, had global strategic implications in that it was a concrete demonstration of the post-Cold war realignment of alliances. Internal (including Western supported) attempts to oust Saddam from power in Iraq following the 1991 war failed. The terms of Iraq’s defeat included the destruction of Saddam’s stockpiles of WMD under the supervision of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM). In 1998, Iraq ceased cooperation with UNSCOM resulting in the US and British Operation Desert Fox. UNSCOM was subsequently dismantled and replaced by a new weapons inspection group, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) in 1999.

Following a unanimous UN Security Council resolution 1441 in November 2002, the Iraqi regime allowed UNMOVIC into the country. However, before UNMOVIC could ascertain whether Iraq still had WMD or not, the US, UK, Spain and Australia invaded Iraq in March 2003, with a view to disarming it of its WMD. Despite the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime and subsequent occupation of Iraq by the invading forces in April 2003, no WMDs were found. The claimed link between the fallen regime and the Al Qaeda (AQ) transnational terrorist network was not uncovered either.

Discussion Questions :

  • What are the major features of the Persian Gulf security subcomplex?
  • Major powers and their relationships
  • The role of external powers, especially the United States
  • What does the Iraq imbroglio from 1990 to 2003 tell us about the relationship between international law and security?
  • Why wasn’t the UN able to resolve the problem in Iraq?
  • What was the relevance of the Iran/Iraq war for the Persian Gulf and the Middle East?
  • What were the factors involved in, and the relevance of, the rise of Saddam Hussein on the regional and world stage?
  • What were the key events of the Allied Desert Storm offensive to liberate Kuwait from occupation by Iraq?


Essential reading for discussion question:

  • The Gulf Conflict: A Political and Strategic Analysis
  • The Gulf Conflict: A Military Analysis
  • The Iran-Iraq War: The Political Implications
  • The Iraq-Iran War: A Military Analysis


Session 3: MESC: Stability of Local Regimes & the Prospect of Another Arab- Israeli War


The US, UK, Spain’s and Australian decision to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein from power in 2003 has serious implications for the so-called rogue regimes. Several regimes in the Middle East and Gulf are best described as dictatorships, which lack the support of their people, as it was recently demonstrated in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The public perception has generally been that the end of the Cold War and the Israeli-Palestinian Oslo agreements had together created unalterable political momentum for peace in the Middle East.

However, events of the past decade, including the so-called Arab Spring, demonstrate that the region is sliding into a pattern of terrorism, reprisal raids and the grand reconfiguration of the regional geopolitical map. Rapid regimes changes in Tunisia and Egypt, civil wars in Libya and Syria, the rise and eventual fall of the ISIL as a new stand-alone major geopolitical factor, have highlighted not just fragilities of local regimes but have also increased a possibility of a major geopolitical unrest within MESC and beyond, even a possible regional war.

This session will examine the security of regimes from both external and internal challenges and the strategies those regimes are using in their attempts to stay in power. Analysing the strategies of the Saudi and former Iraqi regimes to prevent coups d’etat will provide with valuable insights into the strengths and vulnerabilities of these regimes. On the receiving end of those activities are individuals and groups for whom the regimes are security challenges. The course will examine who some of these individual actors and groups are, how they are affected, the nature of the threat, if any, they pose to the security of the regime.

The following questions concerning the object of security are for you to consider:

  • Are we talking about the security of local regimes/leaders to stay in power in the face of opposition?
  • Or the security of minority groups (such as the Kurds) in the face of aggression from governments (such as Iraq)?
  • Or the security of US interests in the face of terrorist attacks?
  • Or the security of children (in Afghanistan, for instance) from coalition aerial attacks raids that missed their target?
  • Or the security of young men drafted to fight wars in which they may be killed in unnecessary frontal assaults against entrenched enemy positions with no real benefit to their side in the war (as for Iranian boys killed in the war between Iraq and Iran)?
  • Or the security of opposition figures opposed to a dictator (as in Iraq)?

Discussion Questions:

  • What is meant, or obscured, by the expression ‘security in the Middle East’ or ‘security in the Gulf’?
  • Which methods are used by regimes in the Middle East (including the Gulf) to ensure regime stability?
  • In what respects are the regimes in the region a threat to the security of the populations of their own countries?
  • What are the principal vulnerabilities of regimes in the Middle East and Gulf?
  • What are the prospects of another Arab-Israeli war in the Middle East and what are the likely scenarios?

Essential reading for discussion question:

  • Iran's Grand Strategic Logic
  • Turkey's Increasingly Assertive Foreign Poli
  • The Decline and Fall of the Arab State
  • The Geopolitical Frame in the Contemporary Middle East
  • Gulf Monarchies in a Changing Middle East
  • Iran, the Gulf States and the Syrian Civil War
  • Unlocking the Alawite Conundrum in Syria
  • Qatar and the Brotherhood
  • Egypt's Sorrow and America's Limits
  • Turkish–Iranian Competition after the Arab Spring
  • The Turkey-Russia-Iran Nexus: Eurasian Power Dynamics
  • Kingdom in Crisis? The Arab Spring and Instability in Saudi Arabia
  • Five Bad Options for Gaza
  • Israel and Hamas:Is War Imminent?
  • Keeping Hamas and Hezbollah out of a War with Iran
  • Managing the Waters of Ba'th Country: The Politics of Water Scarcity in Syria
  • Political-Military Relations and the Stability of Arab Regimes (Note: Read "Maintaining Power", pp 19-44)


Session 4 (Day One): MESC: Third Gulf War (Operation Iraqi Freedom)

Session 5 (Day Two): MESC: Iraq Today & Future Developments in the



The Middle East and the Persian Gulf have undergone rapid change and transformation since the end of WWII. The region was a key theater for playing out tensions of the Cold War, and is of central importance as a major oil and gas-producing region. The situation within the Middle East since the end of the Second Gulf War has continued to be as volatile as before. Until early-2003, tensions continued over Saddam Hussein’s refusal to allow UNMOVIC’s mandated role in monitoring, inspecting and verifying the destruction of weapons stockpiles. The standoff between Iraq and the US resulted in renewed armed conflict in 2003.

The security situation in the area has been further ignited the emergence of terrorism as a new transnational threat. The 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon resulted in the initiation of the US-led ‘War on Terror’ (WoT). Several countries in the Middle East are said to contain ‘cells’ of AQ supporters. Aimed at destroying Osama Bin Laden’s AQ terrorist network, US-led forces defeated the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001. However, this victory has neither brought peace to the Middle East nor eliminated support for violent extremism.

Ten years earlier, and following the end of the Gulf War in 1991, unprecedented steps were taken towards finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. An earlier phase of the Middle East peace process culminated in the signing of the Oslo accords and the historic White House handshake between then the PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat and the then Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. However, in the 2000 Camp David negotiations, the peace process again came unstuck over key issues such as illegal Israeli settlements, the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the status of East Jerusalem. Since the occupation of Iraq by the US, the UK and Australia in early 2003, new efforts have been made to try to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem. These culminated in the publication of a ‘road map’ by the US, UN, EU, and Russia, and the visit by then US President George W. Bush to the Middle East in June 2003.

On 19 March 2003, coalition forces commenced military operations against Iraq. The main objective of the US-led Operation Iraqi Freedom was to end the regime of Saddam Hussein, prevent proliferation of WMD and deliver another blow to international terrorist networks in the region. By 1 May 2003 major military operations ended. However, continuous instability in Iraq, together with the escalating civil war in Syria and the insecurity in post Kaddafi’s Libya, the protracted Arab-Israeli tensions, and the problematic nature of many regimes (as highlighted by the social unrest in Northern Africa and the Middle East over the past four years) continue to challenge security in the world’s major oil producing region.

Discussion Questions

  • Has the war against Iraq produced certainty or uncertainty in the region?
  • What is the future of Iraq?
  • What is the likely future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
  • What key factors are likely to continue to undermine security in the region?


Essential reading for discussion question:

  • War in Iraq: Selling the Threat
  • Why Can't the United States Succeed in the Middle East the Way They did in the Balkans?
  • Circumventing Hormuz
  • Saudi Arabia-Iran Contention and the Role of Foreign Actors
  • Iran: Its Strategic Importance
  • Iraq's Sunni Insurgency (Read "Objectives and Strategy", pp. 37-41.)
  • Iran and President Trump: What is the Endgame?
  • Al Qaeda's Quagmire in Syria
  • The Rise of Muslim Foreign Fighters: Islam and the Globalization of Jihad (in attachment)
  • The Information Confrontation with Radical Islam
  • Motives for Martyrdom: Al Qaida, Salafi Jihad, and the Spread of Suicide Attacks
  • The Muslim Brotherhood and the Emerging 'Shia Crescent'
  • Al-Qaeda and the Struggle for Yemen
  • What is Happening in Yemen?
  • Al Qaeda's Palestinian Problem


Session 7: SASC: The Evolution of the Indo-Pakistani Strategic Rivalry 1947–1991 & Beyond


The second regional security complex that will be examined in this Unit is South Asia (SASC), with the Indo-Pakistan strategic relationship at its core. Apart from the deployed nuclear weapons capability and large conventional military forces, this region has been affected by an increase in terrorism and communal violence in recent years. The focus in the second half of the unit will be on the tensions between India and Pakistan, with particular attention given to the nuclear arms race and the so-called ‘Islamic N-bomb’, WMD proliferation, problems in Kashmir, regional maritime security, and terrorism.

The end of the British Imperial rule over South Asia after WWII left behind deep divisions in the Indian subcontinent, which manifested itself in the partition between Pakistan and India at independence in 1947. The desire for a Muslim country was behind the creation of Pakistan, but India has remained secular, with a Hindu majority and a substantial Muslim population. The clash of identities between the two countries has defined security in South Asia for over half a century. It accounted for four major wars and several near-war confrontations between India and Pakistan (as well as India and China), the break-up of Pakistan and the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh, and, finally, a nuclear arms race. The conflict on the subcontinent was affected by superpower rivalry during the Cold War, by tensions between China and India, and by local conflicts such as the issue of separatism in Kashmir. Other regional flash points include internal instability in Sri Lanka and Nepal, largely caused by asymmetric security challenges.

Discussion Questions

  • What are the essential features of the South Asia security complex?
  • How was superpower rivalry played out in the South Asia security complex during the Cold War?
  • What factors drive Indian strategic and defence planning?
  • Is India a regional superpower?

Essential Reading FOR discussion question :

  • Pakistan-India Relations: an Analytical Perspective of Peace Efforts
  • How India will Respond to Civil War in Pakistan
  • Rising Powers, Rising Tensions: The Troubled China-India Relationship
  • India's Relationship with Saudi Arabia: Forging a Strategic Partnership
  • Pakistan's Populist Foreign Policy
  • George Perkovich, ‘Is India a Major Power?’, The Washington Quarterly, 27 (1), winter 2003–04, pp. 129–44.


Session 8: SASC & Asymmetric Threats: Afghanistan & Regional Terrorism


South Asia has seen several protracted armed conflicts between governments and non- state actors, occasionally supported by foreign powers. Ethnic and religious divisions have motivated Tamil separatists to seek independence from Sri Lanka whereas the Maoist rebels in Nepal aim for socioeconomic change. Some of these conflicts were affected by geopolitical developments in the Middle East and Central Asia, especially through the AQ-Taliban (AQT) connection in Afghanistan.

The liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban regime in late 2001 eliminated AQ’s principal base and sanctuary, but remnant cells and groups represent a continuous threat throughout the region. To date, Central and South Asia constitutes one of the key centers of gravity of transnational terrorism.

In the northeast of India, separatist organisations such as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), have pursued their separatist aims in armed uprisings. In India’s west are Islamic militants that seek to end India’s control over Kashmir with its Muslim majority population. The defeat of the Taliban in Afghanistan by US-led coalition has directed the energy of militants toward Kashmir. Following Pakistan’s decision to support the US-led WoT many of these groups have become hostile to the Pakistani government. Some were forced underground or driven across the Line of Control (LoC) into Indian-held Jammu & Kashmir, while others disappeared into Afghanistan. Recently, there were about 20 principal jihadi and other extremist groups operating in and from Pakistan, among them Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Al-Omar Mujahedin, Al-Jihad, and Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF).

Until 2009, the most powerful guerrilla organisation in Sri Lanka was the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), formed in 1972 under the name of the Tamil New Tigers and reorganized in 1976 under their current name. At the height of its power the LTTE sought to form an independent Tamil state out of Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern provinces. In Bangladesh the separatist Shanti Bahini (Army of Peace) was fighting for autonomy in the Chittagong Hill Tracts but formally surrendered on 10 February 1998, ending a 25-year insurgency which claimed more than 8,500 lives.

Despite successes of US-led Operation Enduring Freedom, culminating in the killing of Bin Laden in early 2011, and special counter-terrorist operations of the Pakistani security forces, AQT retained significant capabilities and a sizeable presence in the area. Moreover, there is a strong possibility that residual terrorist activity may be extended into the maritime domain, thus affecting the security of commercial maritime traffic in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf.

Discussion Questions

  • What is the nature of the relationship between governments and armed dissident groups in South Asia?
  • How and why did Afghanistan become a hub of terrorism in the region?
  • How successful have been counter-terrorism activities in South Asia?
  • What are the global repercussions of terrorism and counter-terrorism measures in South Asia?
  • What are the security implications of terrorist activity in Central and South Asia for Australia?

Essential Reading FOR discussion question:

  • Post-2014 Afghanistan and the Looming Consequences of Strategic Misappreciation
  • Afghanistan's Legacy: Emerging Lessons of an Ongoing War
  • Modi's Strategic Choice: How to Respond to Terrorism from Pakistan
  • The Jihad Paradox

          The Terrorist Threat from Pakistan

  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice: Islamist Militancy in South Asia
  • The Other Afghan Transition
  • Plan B from Afghanistan: Why a De Facto Partition is the Least Bad Option
  • A Tale of Two Afghanistans: Comparative Governance and Insurgency and the North and South
  • The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Lost Quest for Separatism in Sri Lanka


Session 9: SASC: The Dilemma of Kashmir


Since the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Kashmir has remained a major geopolitical flashpoint between the two neighbours. The area, whose population is predominantly Muslim, became part of a secular and Hindu-dominated India (Jammu and Kashmir). Kashmir’s Muslim majority population and its location in the West of India, bordering Pakistan, have turned Kashmir into a major source contention between India and Pakistan.

The conflict has resulted in several conventional wars between India and Pakistan, continued occupation of parts of the territory by Pakistani troops, heavy military presence in the parts controlled by India, and protracted low intensity conflicts between local Muslim militants and foreign insurgents, and Indian security forces. Among more recent manifestations of this conflict zone was the Kargil War from April to June 1999, and two military stand-offs: in 2001–2002, and 2008. Other developments include the influx of AQ members and other militants from Afghanistan finding a new area of operational activity after the initial defeat of the Taliban regime in late 2001. US pressure to settle the conflict over Kashmir (which it sees as a cradle of Islamic military extremism) may result in enhanced stability based on accommodations on both sides, with benefits for wider regional stability.

Perhaps the most significant threat arising from the tensions in Kashmir is the escalating nuclear and naval arms race between India and Pakistan.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are India’s options in its conflict with Pakistan over Kashmir?
  • Are there possibilities of intervention by outside powers in the Kashmir crisis?
  • What is the likely impact of events in Afghanistan on the conflict in Kashmir?

Essential Reading for discussion question:

  • Kashmir since 2003: Counterinsurgency and the Paradox of Normality
  • Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir - A Buffer State in the Making?
  • Kashmir: The Problem, and the Way Forward
  • The 2001-2002 Indo-Pakistani Crisis: Exposing the Limits of Coercive Diplomacy
  • Kargil, Terrorism, and India's Strategic Shift
  • India, Pakistan and the Prospect of War

Session 10: MESC & SASC: Problems of Maritime Security


The Indian Ocean and the states on its littoral are of growing significance. The actual maritime area is the third largest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, but larger than the Southern Ocean and Arctic Ocean). The region contains one-third of the world’s population, 25% of its landmass, 40% of the world’s oil and gas reserves.

Four critically critical access waterways (‘choke points’) are the Suez Canal, Bab el Mandeb, Strait of Hormuz, and Strait of Malacca. Other important ‘choke points’ are the Lombok and the Sunda straits. Adding to that, the Asia-Pacific region is becoming a major consumer of the world's oil resources, with China becoming a growing importer of oil and natural gas from the Persian Gulf and other areas through the Indian Ocean. It is expected that by 2020, oil consumption of the Asia-Pacific-Indian Ocean regions will reach 38 million barrels per day, with 80 percent of that oil coming from the Gulf. While India imports about 80 million tons of oil annually (2004), the nation’s annual demand for imported oil was expected to grow to an estimated 150 million tons in 2020.

As a consequence, any disruption in traffic flow through these points may have disastrous consequences for regional economies and globalised international trade. The disruption of energy flows is a particular security concern for littoral states, as a majority of their energy lifelines are sea-based. Since energy is critical in influencing the geo-political strategies of a nation, any problems with steady and secured supply present serious security consequences. Given the spiralling demand for energy from India, China and Japan, it is inevitable that these countries are sensitive to the security of the sea lines of communication (SLOCs) and choke points of the region.

These security concerns paralleled with regional and great power rivalry fuel rapid build-up of naval capabilities of regional powers. The problems of Indo-Pakistani naval arms race, combined with the prospects of introduction of nuclear weapons at sea, and raising asymmetric maritime security threats in the region such as piracy, organised crime and terrorism, make the Indian Ocean maritime security agenda a very complex and important issue.

Discussion Questions :

  • What is the strategic significance of the Indian Ocean?
  • Why there are concerns about regional naval arms race and what are the implications for Australia?
  • What drives India and Pakistan to invest in the development of strong naval capabilities?
  • How serious is the prospect of a naval conflict between India and Pakistan?

. Why regional piracy represents a continuous security challenge to the littoral states and external powers?

  • How significant is the threat of maritime terrorism in the region?

Essential Reading for discussion questions:

  • India's Maritime Core Interests
  • India's 'Monroe Doctrine' and Asia's Maritime Future
  • Pakistan's Naval Strategy: Past and Future
  • The Growth of China's Navy: Implications for Indian Ocean Security
  • Too Early to Celebrate! The Decline of Somali Piracy off the East Coast of Africa
  • Trends in Modern Piracy: Cycles, Geographical Shifts, and Predicting the Next 'Hot Spots'.
  • Understanding Maritime Piracy Syndicate Operations
  • Pirates, Fishermen and Peacebuilding: Options for Counter-Piracy Strategy in Somalia
  • Tackling Somali Piracy Ashore: Maritime Security and Geopolitics in the Indian Ocean
  • Jihad and Piracy in Somalia
  • Contemporary Piracy and Maritime Terrorism) Read "Maritime Terrorism", pp 45-72(

#Day four

Session 11: MESC & SASC: Nuclear Arms Race, the ‘Islamic N-Bomb’, & WMD Proliferation


Given the level of tensions between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the nuclear arms race between the two regional powers has elevated their dispute to a major global security problem. There are reasonable fears that this situation could lead to a possible nuclear exchange with global consequences. India tested a ‘peaceful’ nuclear device in 1974, but it has not been acknowledged as a nuclear weapons state. In May 1998, both India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons, thereby causing consternation around the world. It is estimated that each nation possesses delivery platforms (strike aircraft and ballistic missiles) capable of reaching major population centers on the sub-continent. With about 90–100 ‘low-yield’ fission warheads each, estimates of deaths in a nuclear exchange range into many millions.

Following the September 11 attacks, Washington has sought economic and military re- engagement with both India and Pakistan. However, it is doubtful that such engagement will necessarily reduce nuclear tensions between them. Mutual suspicion of motives over Kashmir may be enhanced by rising military and economic strength on both sides, thereby encouraging adventurism backed by implicit nuclear threats. Pakistan has rejected a “no first use” commitment, but it regards nuclear arms as a “responsible … deterrence … to ensure security”. Besides the threat of nuclear conflict between the two South Asian powers, there is the likely impact of nuclear proliferation beyond the region.

Discussion Questions :

  • Which countries pursue nuclear weapons programs in the Indian Ocean region?
  • How serious is the threat of international terrorists obtaining nuclear capabilities because of regional nuclear weapons programs developments?
  • What factors underpin India’s nuclear program?
  • What is the purpose of Pakistan’s nuclear program?
  • What is the impact of nuclear proliferation on regional stability in South Asia?
  • What are the global repercussions of a nuclear arms race on the subcontinent?

Essential Reading for discussion questions:

  • Dangerous Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East: an Israeli Perspective
  • Prospects for the Iran nuclear deal
  • Revisiting Nuclear Opacity in the Middle East: A Scenario
  • The Enduring Conflict and the Hidden Risk of India-Pakistan War
  • South Asia's Nuclear Decade
  • Pakistan's Battlefield Nuclear Policy: A Risky Solution to an Exaggerated Threat
  • Pakistan's Nuclear Calculus
  • Posturing for Peace? Pakistan's Nuclear Postures and South Asia's Stability
  • Nuclear Terrorism Redux: Conventionalists, Skeptics, and the Margin of Safety
  • Beyond the Dirty Bomb: Rethinking Radiological Terror
  • Uploaded By : Katthy Wills
  • Posted on : April 01st, 2023
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