Present day conflicts are a result of artificial borders & divide & rule policies of Colonial Rulers
There is a reason to say majority of conflicts today are a result of policies of colonial rulers. Western European invader-rulers have done much damage to the world. There is little they can argue against this. Creation of artificial states & amalgamating new states have been a legacy that continues to haunt every country colonial invaders occupied. Which international laws will hold these Western European countries accountable for artificial lines, artificial borders, artificial states dividing people as they wished? Should these countries be allowed to resolve the conflicts they created?
Many of the present day countries by name did not exist – they were all christened by these colonial rulers. Many of their borders were drawn by colonial rulers for their own advantage. The present day African countries by name didn’t exist. The Berlin Conference of 1884-5 partitioned Africa among a handful of European countries using a pen – 44% of Africa’s borders were divided as a straight line splitting over 177 ethnic groups into two countries. The Somalis are split between five different countries. The Somali 5 pointed star in its flag represents these 5 divided groups.
The US-Europe are promoting ethno-religious demarcations – if so Africa should have over 2000 countries!
The present day India didn’t exist, colonial British cobbled up independent states and territories and declared it as India. Similarly, countries like Canada, US, Australia came into being having confiscated already occupied lands, killing off these indigenous and claiming it as theirs, while Saudi Arabia, Singapore are also created countries for distinct geo-political and financial purposes.
All of these artificially created borders & countries are having some problem or the other. International laws created immediately after colonial independence were Euro-centric and never dwelt on any of the illegalities committed by their own. This is evident in the Vienna Convention on Succession of States which upholds uti possidetis juris – bilateral agreements are handed down to successor states.
Moreover, Article 50 of Vienna Convention states “If the expression of a State’s consent to be bound by a treaty has been procured through the corruption of its representative directly or indirectly by another negotiating State, the State may invoke such corruption as invalidating its consent to be bound by the treaty.” (doesn’t this question the Indian Government giving Rs.5m monthly to LTTE to agree to signing the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord)
The Durand Line – artificial boundary created in 1893
This arbitrary line is a 1500mile border that divides present day Pakistan (named in 1933) & present Afghanistan (Khorasan). Afghanistan is important for its access to Central Asia & the Indian Ocean. Afghanistan was created to be used as a buffer state by colonial rulers. The Durand Line was established by British India & Kingdom of Afghanistan in 1893. Afghanistan refuses to acknowledge it as a border since creation of Pakistan in 1947.
This line has divided the Pashtun tribes into 2 – who now live in Pakistan & Afghanistan. The line was drawn by British colonial officer Mortimer Duran who disregarded the Pashtun populace. All that Britain wanted was to control the Khyber Pass and make Hindu Kush the northwestern border of British India.
Britain arrived in the Indian sub-continent in the 19th century. Britain annexed parts of Afghanistan in 1879 by an arbitrary treaty in exchange for money – Rs.1,200,000. Britains puppet Shah Shoja emerged after dethroning Afghan king Dost Mohamma in 1839. Britain’s aim was to protect the opium drug line! Taliban is all Pashtuns.
You will be most surprised to know that King Amanullah who ascended the Afghan throne in 1919 engaged in numerous liberalization programs which included reforming the army, abolishing slavery and forced labor, and encouraging the liberation of women, discouraging use of veil, oppression of women giving them more educational opportunities. Instead of Britain feeling happy about these moves they thought it a threat to their reign and supported extremists against the move! “Britain was seen as the culprit in the affair, manipulating the tribes against Amanullah in an attempt to bring about his downfall.” (Afghan historian Abdul Samad Ghaus wrote in 1988)
The British were cunning enough to bind Afghanistan to accepting drawn borders (Article 5 of the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919)
The Durand Line Agreement divides boundaries between Afghanistan, Balochistan & British India. If so a trilateral agreement was required but Balochistan was excluded by making Afghan monarch believe that Balochistan was part of British India. Britain refused Afghan request to relook at borders before it gave independence to India in 1947.
Colonials speak with forked tongues & is a lesson when the same European countries are out to create more new borders claiming to resolve conflicts without acknowledging that they created them!
Did Afghans understand a word the British spoke. Could they read & write English to agree to sign on a dotted line?
Was this ‘treaty’ ratified by the British Parliament if so where are the records if it was gazetted? Has the Durand line been registered in the UN? Validity aside is this line Legal?
How valid & legal are treaties signed by monarchs of these countries and invader occupiers? Can legal experts please elucidate?
Present day issues between Pakistan & Afghanistan is another issue the crux of the matter is that the root cause of these issues associated with the Durand Line is the British who drew the illegal line!
The culprit this time was again Britain & Sir Cyril Radcliffe the Director General of the Ministry of Information was appointed Chairman of the Boundary Commission. His task was to divide India religious lines. Sir Radcliffe had never been to British India & was clueless about the people or the region but was given just 5 weeks to complete the job. He was tasked with equitably dividing 175,000 sq miles with 88m people. That line has impacted India, Pakistan, East Pakistan & Myanmar)
He was not even a cartographer. Sir Radcliffe did the same mistake – dividing villages, separating people and the line at times ran through houses!
Before independence, nearly 40% of India was covered by princely states that were not British possessions and thus not part of British India. It was the choice of the rulers of these independent states to choose which side they wanted to belong to.
The division caused mayhem at independence with 14m fleeing one side of the border to the other & contributed to 3 wars between India & Pakistan in 1947, 1965 and 1971. For the mayhem Radcliffe was made a Peer and made a Knight Grand Cross of the British Empire.
The Radcliffe Line allocated to Pakistan, the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan, East Bengal (became Bangladesh), Western Punjab.
India was given West Bengal, Eastern Punjab,
Kashmir is located on the northernmost tip of India & the northeastern part of Pakistan. The British thought the ruler of Kashmir Hari Singh would join Pakistan after the partition as Kashmir population was Muslim. Hari Singh did not join Pakistan and requested British assistance which led to the 1948 agreement that left half of Kashmir under Indian control including the fertile Valley of Kashmir. Pakistan got the impoverished part of the region. To compound matters the area has disputes between India & China too which led to the 1962 Indo-Sino War.
When asked how Britain could help end the conflict over Kashmir during a visit to Pakistan in 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron said, "I don't want to try to insert Britain in some leading role where, as with so many of the world's problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place."
McMahon Line - 1914
Is another case of illegal colonial invaders imposing arbitrary borders to serve their advantage. Not only are colonial invaders guilty of drawing arbitrary borders they are also guilty of forcing the indigenous to sign treaties with them. How valid are these? In 1914 there was no India – only British controlled parts of present India. There were 565 princely states that were not part of British India (these states were not under British rule)
The line was drawn by Sir Henry McMahon, the foreign secretary of the British-Indian government who was acting as the chief negotiator in the Shimla conference between Britain, China and Tibet. The line was negotiated without Chinese participation and when China opposed the response was to declare it a bilateral agreement between India & Tibet as the land south of Tibet was declared as British India making Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh a part of India.
Today countries are disputing over borders & territories demarcated purposely by illegal colonial rulers to inflict conflict at future dates. These lines the colonials drew were purposely done over areas that provided major tributaries like water, resources, hydro-electric potential & mountains that were geo-strategic.
Sykes-Picot Agreement (1916)– Dividing Middle East
Again it was a British Sir Mark Sykes and a French Francois-Edouard Picot who were tasked to divide the Middle East between the two. It was a secret agreement. It became another example of a straight line pen drawn without any concern for the people living, their cultures or their desire to separate.
North of the line – became modern Syria & Lebanon under French mandate.
South of the line – modern Israel/Palestine, Jordon, Iraq went to the Brits. Issue was Mosul which was north of the line and should have been part of Syria but Brits negotiated & placed it under Iraq. Oil was the reason. Lebanon has historically been part of ‘Greater Syria’ (a region that encompasses Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine & western part of Iraq)
“The Kurds were divided between 4 states : Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. Shiite Arabs were split between Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the eastern provinces of Saudi Arabia. The Alawites, a heterodox Shiite Arab sect, reside today along the northern Lebanese, Syrian, and southwestern Turkish coasts. The Druze were distributed between today’s Israel, Lebanon, and Syria. Lebanon, supposedly a Christian redoubt, included large Sunni and Shiite populations, as well as Alawites and Druze. Sunni Arabs, who formed the dominant population of the Middle East, were divided into numerous states. Pockets of Turkomen, Circassians, Assyrians, Yazidis, and Chaldeans were isolated throughout. At the dawn of the 21st century, minority ethnic groups ruled Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain, often repressively” (Gabriel Scheinmann - The Map that Ruined the Middle East”) http://www.thetower.org/article/the-map-that-ruined-the-middle-east/
Saudi Arabia came into existence after Britain had already promised Hussein ibn Ali, the emir of Mecca, an Arab kingdom in exchange for his military support against the Ottoman Turks in World War I.
There are plenty more artificially created states, borders, territories that colonial invader rulers have forced into being internationally accepted as todays laws are Euro-centric.
If it is illegal for an illegal occupant to enter into any legal agreement that same logic should apply to all of the European colonial countries that went to explore following the 3 concepts of Gold – God – Glory – profit by stealing Asian spices, African slaves, American metals & other resources. Declaring all countries already inhabited as Christian and dispatching missionaries to forcefully convert natives or kill them if they refused to do so. Expand the Western-Christian hegemony across the world and creating an ideology of mercantilism and capitalism where wealth centred around a handful who dictated how the world was to be governed.
The very countries today preaching human rights, good governance, transparency divided the world between them and fleeced countries, subjugating the indigenous and murdering millions of innocent people. None of the present day crimes come anywhere near to the atrocities these Western European countries committed as GOVERNMENT & CHURCH policy upon natives who were peacefully living in their land. We are presented false history by these Western countries who claim to have ‘FOUND’ countries that had people living in them. We can laugh now at how these countries have even celebrated these ‘Founding Fathers’ but have now come to realize these men were horrid murderers. Many of the philosophies and concepts the West claim to be theirs were spoken and practiced by Eastern civilizations. Buddhas teachings covers most of what the West claim to be ‘theirs’! Such confiscation of intellectual property is wrong and immoral without paying due acknowledgement to its original source. But what more can you expect from countries that have historically fleeced, invaded, occupied & murdered and continue to do the same using the cover of international laws & the UN that they control as a puppet.
In highlight some of the above borders that have been artificially created the crux is to draw attention not to the countries presently involved in the dispute but to convey the message that these disputes stem from illegally drawn borders by illegal occupiers and that is why countries fighting over these borders should get together and point fingers at the countries that drew them without fighting with each other.
The Western European countries that invaded, occupied & ruined countries should not be allowed to have any role in resolving the conflicts they created.
Shenali D Waduge