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The Doctrine of Divide and Rule

Posted by yourpakistan on November 24, 2009


The Divide and Conquer Strategy enables one power to break another into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then take control of those pieces one by one. It generally takes a very strong power to implement divide and conquer strategy. In order to successfully break up another power or government, the conqueror must have access to strong political, military, and economic machines. In reality, it often refers to a strategy where small power groups are prevented from linking up and becoming more powerful, since it is difficult to break up existing power structures.

The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule.

Typical elements of this technique are said to involve:

1. Creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects in order to forestall alliances that could
challenge the  sovereign.

2.  Aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign.

3.  Fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers.

4.  Encouraging frivolous expenditures that leave little money for political and military ends.

Roman, British and old French Republic are known to have used this technique to rule their vast empires. In the current world US deploys similar tactics. This strategy allows the sovereign power to maintain control of other territories with a minimal number of imperial forces. The British did so to gain control of the large territory of India by keeping its people divided along lines of religion, language, or caste.

In his historical survey Constantine’s Sword, James P. Carroll writes,

“Typically, imperial powers depend on the inability of oppressed local populations to muster a unified resistance, and the most successful occupiers are skilled at exploiting the differences among the occupied. Certainly that was the story of the British Empire‘s success, and its legacy of nurtured local hatreds can be seen wherever the Union Flag flew, from MuslimHindu hatred in Pakistan and India, to CatholicProtestant hatred in Ireland, to, yes, JewArab, hatred in modern Israel. [Ancient] Rome was as good at encouraging internecine resentments among the occupied as Britain ever was.”

The British Empire was a master of this strategy. In Sudan they neglected southern Sudan and purposefully left it under-developed and did not include southern Sudanese in governance. The disparity between the North and South helped lead to the First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars. In Nigeria, regions were frequently reclassified for administrative purposes. The British used conflict between “Igbo” and “Hausa” to consolide their own power in the region. Regional, ethnic, and religious splits remain a barrier to uniting Nigeria to-date.British also kept the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority of the island separate and discourage intermingling. By doing this, British hoped and succeeded to strengthen their hold on this strategically important colony. Today, two British Sovereign Base Areas are found in Cyprus and the divide et impera effects endure as the Cyprus dispute.

Germany and Belgium both ruled Rwanda and Burundi in a colonial capacity. Germany first put “Tutsi “minority in power over the “Hutu”. Belgium re- defined “Tutsi” as anyone with more than ten cows or a long nose, while “Hutu” meant someone with less than ten cows and a broad nose. The socioeconomic divide between Tutsis and Hutus continued after independence and was a major factor in the Rwandan Genocide.

Israel has supported Kurdish groups in Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The Israeli foreign-intelligence agency, Mossad, has allegedly conducted covert operations in Kurdish areas such as by training Kurdish guerrillas (or terrorists) to reduce the power of anti-Israeli governments. During Israel‘s occupation of southern Lebanon, Israel installed the South Lebanon Army, a Christian-led proxy militia, to manage a 12-mile wide occupied zone along the border. Israel supplied the SLA with arms and resources to fight Lebanese resistance forces led by Hizbullah. Israel also used the Phalange as a proxy militia to fight Shia Lebanese and the Palestine Liberation Organization. This partly resulted in the infamous Sabra and Shatila Massacre, in which hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian refugees and Lebanese Muslims were killed by Christian Phalangists, while the Israeli Defense Force surrounded the camps.

Education plays a vital role in intellectual upbringing of a nation. The educational system and the academic courses incorporated in syllubi play a  pivotal role in moulding the character, thought process and morals of a nation. British understood this well and deviced a master plan to demoralize their colony states by restructuring their educational systems and revising the syllubi taught in such instituitons to raise a generation of mental slaves who saw Britian as their rulers and idols. They invested heavily in the subcontinent on this project, the remains of which, we can still see in our country in shape of schools, colleges and universities built by the British. This massive and expensive campaign was carried out to enforce English doctrine into young Indian minds to achieve their ulterior motives. India was a rich country, the “Jewel of British crown”, and they did not intend to leave it the way they did. Their educational reforms were therefore not an unfruitful investment for them. Muslim scholars of that era saw through their evil intentions and resisted it, but, the forceful implementation of these plans renderred the muslim ulema helpless and muslims eventually surrendered to this system under Sir Syed’s leadership.

In 1835, Thomas Macaulay articulated the goals of British colonial imperialism most clearly:

“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace the old and ancient education system, her culture, because if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them to be, a truly dominated nation.”

He explained his evil educational  reform design saying,

“We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.”

As the architect of Colonial Britain’s Educational Policy in India, Thomas Macaulay was to set the tone for what educated Indians were going to learn about themselves, their civilization, and their view of Britain and the world around them. An arch-racist, Thomas Macaulay had nothing but scornful disdain for Indian history and civilization.

Islamic Radicalism was also supported and fueled by US against Communists on the same lines. But as judicial model of Islamic Shariah, implemented by Mullah Umer in Afghanistan gained popularity and started spreading like wild fire, the west started seeing it as a threat to their own democratic system and flawed judicial model. They thence, devised a plan to implement their succesful model of divide and rule to control the spread of islamic ideals in the now nuclear Pakistan. This was achieved by creating a divide within the muslim population of this region on ethnical and sectarian lines. US/Israel nexus sponsored the formation of now well-known tehreek-e-taliban Pakistan, named such to serve dual purpose of giving the jihadi afghan taliban a bad name and to create a communal hatred between the Pashtuns of Pakistan and their state. The divide and rule doctrine involves support of minority groups and oppressed classes against majority or the state. Israel sent Islamic literature and trained personnel to brainwash the religious Pashtuns of this region by providing twisted interpretations of quran and hadith and fueling their emotional vehemence by reminding them about the injustice and oppression of the state against them.

This is not the first time these rifts have been created and riots incited by foreign elements in Pakistan. MQM came into being by fueling the grude of the suppressed urdu speaking population of Karachi against the government. Foreign elements masterminded this movement and supplied them with arms and monatary support to start an armed resistance against the state. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) was also created and supported following similar agenda. BLA head office was incidentally found to be in Israel. (printed on their letterhead and their website and revealed by the media in recent past. )

Muslims are an extremely emotional nation, our enemy knows this and uses our sentiments to our disadvantage. We have to learn as a nation to channel this passion in the right direction and use wisdom to understand the enemy’s game and not be played with. For this, we have to identify our enemy, and not quarrel with our Muslim brethren whose grudges are being provoked to fury, and are being exploited by our foes. They incite hatred in the hearts of our Pashtun and Baloch brothers and fuel them with umbrage and revenge. The west has centuries old doctrine of “divide and rule” which they have successfully tested several times, and Muslims have an equally long history of falling for the same trap again and again. It is time that we accept our faults, recognize the injustice we might have perpetrated upon our disheartened friends and seek forgiveness for our acts. This is not the time to exhibit arrogance and power, instead it is time to share love and nurse the wounds of our Muslim brothers. We need to unite under the flag of Islam and defeat the enemy at its purpose. For this, we will have to use our acumen to make good judgment about our enemy’s next moves. We can achieve this by seeking guidance from quran and hadith. Our beloved prophet (SAW) has prophesized many of the events. We have to develop the wisdom to understand these prophecies and use them to our advantage.

[Komal Hashimi]

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