Why battles for Mosul and Aleppo will not turn into a World War

Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Numan Kurtulmuş recently warned against the risks of disagreements over the battle of Mosul. He said that this could even mark the beginning of World War Three.

Despite the sectarian and ethnic nature of the conflict, the battle of Mosul is not likely to cause a third world war, not even a broad regional war. Similarly, the war on Aleppo, Syria or Iraq would not turn into a broad war. All that is being talked about are mere incendiary talks. They have nothing to do with strategists, planners and decision-makers who sit in air-conditioned rooms thousands of miles away from our region in America or Russia.

The world is already grappling with several conflicts and is not likely to witness any of these turning into as devastating as the World War. World War II took 60 million lives, mostly from the West and a World War Three would be atrocious because it is estimated to kill a billion people. It will use the only weapon that can ensure “victory” i.e. mass destruction of nuclear and chemical weapons.

Countries like the United States, Europe, Russia and others of vital influence will disappear. There will be no winner and the whole world will go back to Stone Age. The earth will no longer remain inhabitable for humans. This is why, no direct wars have been engendered by the escalation of international conflicts.

What was known as the Cold War between the US and Soviet camps was nothing but proxy or indirect wars. As many as 140,000 American soldiers were killed in the Cambodian Vietnam War. However, the US did not resort to the use of nuclear weapons and withdrew after the defeat. There were 4,000 casualties in Iraq before they withdrew.

It is not impossible to imagine a lunatic leader using nuclear weapons in the future. Even if it happens, the reason won’t be conflicts such as the one taking place in Mosul, Aleppo or other parts of our region

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

The Russian empire crumbled and lost 15 countries that were part of the Soviet empire. They even lost three-quarters of their land and half of their population, and yet, they did not talk about a World War III. They did not launch a single nuclear missile. Instead, they continue with the old chess strategy in the struggle with their rivals to gain back influence and regions.

It is not impossible to imagine a lunatic leader using nuclear weapons in the future. This scenario has haunted the world since the end of World War II. Many regulations and protocols have been put in place to avoid this madness. Even if it happens, the reason won’t be conflicts such as the one taking place in Mosul, Aleppo or other parts of our region.

Conflicts in the region

Super powers consider our wars as side conflicts that do not call for a suicidal war that would destroy their countries. What is being circulated in the Arab and Iranian media about World War Three, and being attributed to Russian president or Henry Kissinger, is all forged.

What are the circumstances in which major countries would wage a crazy global nuclear war? It would only happen when their security is directly threatened and is on the verge of collapse. This scenario is extremely unlikely.

We imagine that the world is keen to ensure our security and stability whereas its main concern is safeguarding against terrorists and refugees. Some are only worried about our oil wells as they are their sources of energy. Our governments are solely in charge of the region’s war and peace.

The Middle East is in a state of constant political failure, which has lasted half a century now. We have not been able to live together and have failed to reach lasting agreements that abide by our borders. We don’t respect the conventions that seek to renounce wars as a means to resolve disputes.

Up until this day, we are still living in a jungle, where regimes often become ferocious monsters only caring about stealing and looting. We continue to live in an era in which we don’t know who would bomb us when we go to bed.

This article was first published Asharq al-Awsat on Oct. 21, 2016.
Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed

Last Update: 12:04 KSA 15:04 - GMT 12:04
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.