Sameera Casmod | firstname.lastname@example.org
28 August 2023 | 13:12 SAST
In the ASRI Report on Friday 25 August 2023, ASRI’s Senior Research Associate, Dr Imraan Buccus discussed the significance of the expansion of the BRICS bloc, shedding light on its implications for global politics and economics. The addition of new member countries, set to join the bloc at the beginning of 2024, has sparked discussions about the potential geopolitical shifts and the consolidation of economic and political power.
During the interview on Radio Islam International, Dr Buccus began by emphasising the magnitude of the event, drawing parallels to historical milestones such as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the financial crisis of 2008. He highlighted that this move could grant the group substantial collective economic power, potentially translating into increased political influence over time. Dr Buccus noted that this is the first time since the Afro-Asian conference in Bandung in 1955 that the Global South has had the opportunity to consolidate economic and political power on this scale.
However, amidst discussions about the economic potential of the BRICS nations, host Ml Junaid Kharsany raised the observation that human rights concerns have been largely left out of the conversation. He pointed out that all member countries, including the founding nations, have faced criticism for their human rights records. While acknowledging that similar criticisms exist for Western nations, he underscored the need for a more comprehensive discussion that includes human rights issues.
Dr Buccus delved into the authoritarian nature of some BRICS nations, such as Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. He highlighted the complexity of geopolitics, where both Western and non-Western countries forge alliances with authoritarian states. Dr Buccus argued that the BRICS project is not solely about democratising individual countries, but rather about challenging Western dominance in international trade, finance, and governance.
Regarding the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Dr Buccus acknowledged the theological differences between the two countries but noted that their decisions are often guided by national interests within the realm of geopolitics. He underscored the significance of Iran, a majority Shia country, joining the BRICS bloc alongside multiple majority Sunni countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Dr Buccus credited China for facilitating initial steps towards bringing Saudi Arabia and Iran together, suggesting that this is a remarkable political move.
Shifting focus to the local impact, Baqis addressed the implications of hosting the BRICS summit for South African President Ramaphosa and his party, the ANC. Despite domestic challenges and criticisms, Baqis argued that the outcomes of the BRICS conference have elevated their global standing and positioned them as influential players on the international stage. This development is seen as a positive step for South Africa’s international reputation.
Listen to the ASRI Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.