Call the relationship between Russia and China what you will. When two of the three military superpowers converge in an alliance such as theirs, the third superpower had better watch out. When their organization includes countries with a Muslim majority, the concerns for the future are even greater.
This is not another case of Islamophobia. In this situation, the other countries in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan – are all primarily Muslim and are pawns through which the group will be able to pull more support from other Muslim countries. Russia and China are the threat. The expansion of the SCO across Asia, Europe, and into the Middle East will quickly dwarf NATO in overall population.
They are already courting other countries, some of whom have strong military forces and even nuclear capabilities. The fifth watershed summit in 2005 held in Astana, Kazakhstan, included representatives from Pakistan, India, Iran, and Mongolia. Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev greeted guests by declaring that “The leaders of the states sitting at this negotiation table are representatives of half of humanity”.
This week, the SCO will be holding their largest military drills in history. Dubbed “The Peace Mission 2014”, members of five different armies will be working together to train to eliminate a considerable “terrorist force”. Why they would need to test 40 BMP-2 fully amphibious crawling traction infantry combat vehicles to use against terrorists is a mystery. Or is it?
Preparation for Middle East Warfare
The countries in question have remained passive over the various Middle East conflicts in the last decade. Is this a sign that it could all change soon?
As conspiracy theories go, this isn’t really much of a stretch. The insistence by Russia to control Ukraine seems to be more than just a passing fancy. They’re willing to provoke the United States and Europe over the land which many consider to be their gateway to western Europe. Moreover, it would give them better access to and control over the Black Sea than NATO’s Turkey.
If there are plans in the future to participate actively in the Middle East, having alliances with more Muslim countries will be paramount. Currently, their are loose relationships that are bolstered by Russian aid and Chinese commerce, but if the need for military action arises, they’ll need a solid relationship. We may be seeing the seeds of those relationships breaking through the dirt right before our eyes.