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Security, Warfare and Religion in International Relation

In security and warfare religious connection is not similar in all parts of the world. This mainly depends on the political status of religion on that particular state or region. In many cases, religion is used as a device to manipulate war and insurgency which can destabilize the security of states.
Most of the states of Europe are inhabited by the people of Christian religion. Cultural similarities are visible in those countries. Most parts of Europe have designed their security plan in a secular means, Judio-Christian secular manner. European countries commonly adopt the policy of co-existence with stable national security. Some of these countries are the member of NATO. Europeans have formed Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This organization is free of religious value.
Unites States being the only super power strategically apply both secular and religious policy. In peace time they are the promoter of secular democracy, although secularism and democracy both are the products of Christianity. But in war time they sometimes adopt direct Christian ideology to get public and international support for war. At the beginning of Afghanistan war President Bush tried to recognize it as a crusade however, it was quickly countered by the Muslim world and some non-Muslim nations as well. In next phase he stated the 'war on terror' and it has not confined within Afghanistan and Bin Laden's group. It is said to be continued against Muslim and non-Islamic countries which would seem to be supporter of terrorism. Based on this statement Bush characterized Iraq, Iran and North Korea ‘axis of evil’. Nevertheless, Bush administration could not exterminate the religious flavor from US –Afghanistan and US- Iraq war.

In Africa insurgency are frequently occurred because of national antagonism, not because of religion. Somalian Al-Shabab or Algerian GIA is less influential than other ethnicity based guerilla movements.

Characters of Asian countries are different in this regard. In Middle East after the establishment of Israel four major Arab-Israel wars have occurred. Besides conflict and tension are the usual phenomena between Jewish Israel and Muslim Arabs. Concern of USA and other western countries on Middle East issue reflects a double standard. In Israel-Palestine issue they blindly support Israel at the same time, they work to retain status quo in friendly Arab states. Minna Saarnivaara says that,

The continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict represents to many Muslims the perceived double standards of Western countries and their support to the status quo in the Arab world. While international terrorists are using the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a tool for the legitimation of their actions.[1]

In Indian subcontinent major wars and conflicts have occurred between India and Pakistan. These two countries have been established in 1947. Four major wars have been occurred between them. These two countries have detonated nuclear weapons to demonstrate their power. Besides India-Pakistan issue Hindu-Muslim riots are frequent in India. It is seen that, “The expansion and consolidation of ‘Hindu power base’ in constitutionally secular India has occurred in the past three decades.”[2]

In Myanmar ethnic minority of Rohingya Muslims faced brutality by mainstream majority Buddhists for several times in history. In Philippine there have religion based ethnic conflict between government and Abu Sayaf, a guerilla organizations of Mour Muslims of Mindanao. In China irregular conflicts occur between Muslim minority of Xinxiang province and government. Other states of Asia abide by the principle of peaceful practice of religion in private, public and international level of co-operation. Religious or ideological differences do not generate problem there.

[1] Minna Saarnivaara, “Taking a Local Struggle to the International Stage the Palestinian Conflict,” in Islam, the West, and Violence: Sources, Catalysts, and Preventive Measures, ed. Timo Kivimäki  (Helsinki: Hakapaino Oy, 2005), 110, http://www.landscheidt.com/The%20Islam.pdf (February 3, 2012)

[2] Ravinder Kaur and Dietrich Jung,  Religion in Security Politics New Themes and Challenges,” http://www.sasnet.lu.se/pdf/roskildeconf07.pdf (accessed February 25, 2012).