Stories about Iran

How successful are Imran Khan’s attempts at becoming an international statesperson?

“My son, look for a kingdom greater than Macedonia, for it is too small for thee.” Alexander the Great’s father, Prince Philip, said this to him when as a young boy he reined in the famous horse, Bucephalus, while everyone else who had tried to do so had failed. Now, while Imran Khan certainly is no great conqueror of lands, nor does he aspire to be, it is evident that Pakistan is too small a stage for him to play on. Even if he wants to dedicate himself wholeheartedly towards fixing Pakistan’s manifold problems and shuns all foreign commitments, it ...

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Can Imran Khan help ease tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran?

Acting upon a request from the United States to calm ongoing regional tensions, Imran Khan’s mission to engage in shuttle diplomacy with Saudi Arabia and Iran has presented a respectable image of neutrality, but this image alone is unlikely to facilitate peace. One would be forgiven for conflating Imran Khan’s impressive international image with productive foreign policy. A maiden visit to the United States this year, last month’s emotional United Nations General Assembly speech on Kashmir, and meetings with two of the world’s most bitter rivals – broken up only by a brief stop in Islamabad to welcome two ...

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Is a Saudi Arabia-Iran thaw a possibility?

The Middle East appears to be in a perpetual state of flux. The constant friction between Iran and Saudi Arabia has meant that the region has devolved into a battlefield where proxy wars are constantly waged, hence only further complicating the already turbulent regional politics. These tensions were only further exacerbated following the attack on two oil plants in Saudi Arabia. Naturally, Saudi Arabia, along with the United States (US), was quick to point at Iran and hold the country responsible for the catastrophe. In this political climate, as Iran becomes increasingly isolated after the collapse of talks with the US, and as ...

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Will a 30-minute demonstration every Friday actually help the Kashmir cause?

Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) has been under lockdown for more than three weeks now. Narendra Modi’s desire to annex the territory was already made clear during his election campaign, and thus many have been asking why Islamabad was unable to pre-empt this. But given that Modi’s move on the geopolitical chessboard caught Islamabad off-guard, the question arises: how should Pakistan respond? Perhaps by rallying on the streets for 30 minutes. In a recently televised address, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he wanted the people of Pakistan to come out onto the streets for half an hour every Fridays in order to stand in solidarity ...

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What happened to Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer?

As Pakistan roils with anger at India’s brazen dismantling of Article 370, the US has remained impassive, disengaged, and has failed to truly recognise, let alone show an active interest, towards the regional gravity and international implications of this tectonic disruption. Understanding that media wars now mobilise international political opinion, (consider both the gilet jaune movement in France, and the weeks-long protests in Hong Kong) India’s absolute isolation of the people of Kashmir is an emphatic prelude to Narendra Modi’s intentions. But it seems that the American top brass is willing to turn a blind eye towards Modi’s antics in ...

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Can Pakistan be polio-free?

People who know me well know that I often compulsively compare and contrast India and Pakistan by virtue of not just their close proximity, but because I consider both countries as my home. When the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared India polio free on March 27, 2014, after it had not had a single case since 2009, I was filled with great pride. Knowing that India is densely populated, afflicted with poverty and has poor access to healthcare for millions, polio eradication was indeed something to celebrate. But as in every such situation, I naturally wanted to know how long it ...

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Pakistan and its BLA conundrum

The United States (US) has stated that the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) will now be considered a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGTS) group.  BLA has long been blamed for carrying out deadly attacks against its opponents, Pakistan’s security forces and labourers from other provinces, but it has been the recent spate of violence which catapulted the organisation into the spotlight. It appears that the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi last year and a deadly attack on the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar earlier this year, has led to the US State Department declaring that,  “BLA is an armed separatist ...

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Why Afghanistan is Pakistan’s principal enemy

It may seem counter-intuitive to claim that a perennially failed state with illogical borders, an ethno-demographic ticking time bomb for a population, and a traditionally ungovernable periphery is the primary enemy of a nuclear-armed and exponentially militarily superior neighbouring state. But in the case of the failed state of Afghanistan’s relationship with nuclear Pakistan, this is the reality. Although traditionally India and Pakistan are considered supreme rivals, ultimately, modern Pakistan can handle India’s random acts of aggression, as was seen in the aftermath of February’s Pulwama incident. Moreover, if India truly seeks to take its place as a leading global ...

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Calling Iran’s bluff: Who are the real winners in the Gulf tanker crisis?

Iran has shot down what it claims to be a United States (US) spy drone in the Strait of Hormuz, accusing Washington of violating its airspace amidst escalating tensions between the two nations. Two days earlier, the US announced that it will deploy 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East in response to Iran’s “hostile behaviour”. The attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week marked a tipping point in their steadily deteriorating relationship, and although both countries insist that they want to avoid war, there are fears that recent developments could inevitably result in military confrontation. ...

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It is our inaction, not foreign involvement that is worsening the Balochistan conflict

Balochistan is once again in the grip of deadly violence. At least three people, including a prayer leader, were killed and 28 wounded in a remotely-controlled explosion inside a mosque an hour before Friday prayers. No one has claimed responsibility for the killings. According to security sources, the target was a religious cleric, while the bombing itself was a result of Taliban infighting. However, this information has not been independently confirmed. Given the nature of the attack, however, it is apparent this is the work of a religious fanatic group. Pashtoonabad is located on the outskirts of Quetta and is predominantly ...

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