Stories about Iran

The truth about why Saudi Arabia and Israel are forming an alliance to destabilise Lebanon

Despite Saudi Arabia’s tough rhetoric and brutal assault against its neighbour, Yemen (the poorest country in the region), the unfortunate reality is that Saudi Arabia is not the strongman it has hopelessly painted itself to be. This isn’t conjecture, nor is it an attempt to needlessly bolster and promote regional rivals such as Iran, as has become the trend among anti-imperialist  commentators. Yes, Saudi Arabia is an oil-rich country who uses its money to great effect on the international level. Saudi Arabia’s relationships with the nuclear powers, Russia and China, have also been intensifying. However, what the media won’t tell you is that there is actually ...

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The scapegoat and $33 billion – The hidden truth behind Saudi Arabia’s royal crisis

According to the Washington Post’s Fareed Zakaria, in order to understand how traditionally secular Muslim countries became hubs of radicalisation in recent years, you need just one example – Saudi Arabia. Zakaria explains: “In Southeast Asia, almost all observers whom I have spoken with believe that there is another crucial cause (behind the ‘cancer’ of extremism) – exported money and ideology from the Middle East, chiefly Saudi Arabia. A Singaporean official told me, ‘Travel around Asia and you will see so many new mosques and madrassas built in the last 30 years that have had funding from the Gulf. They are modern, clean, air-conditioned, well-equipped, and Wahhabi (Saudi Arabia’s ...

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Chabahar: Without Pakistan, there is no stability or growth in landlocked Afghanistan and Af-Indo relations

We can bypass neither our history nor our geography – we have to live and deal with the consequences of both. Europe has a bitter history of war and dissensions among its member countries, with France and Germany, for instance, having had a long history of animosity and distrust. They fought many battles against each other, but by learning from their history and accepting their geography, they decided to come together for the common good of their people. Today, South Asia resembles this pre-World War II era, with historical animosities defining the political wisdom of South Asian states. The distrust is so deep that countries ...

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16 years after 9/11: Its tragic memory, surreal aftermath and the insecure world it left behind

In 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, young men like me who had posed as ‘Marxists’ across the 80s were overwhelmed by a sense of both sadness and dread. And yet we knew that things in our beloved Soviet Union were not quite like what we had imagined – a socialist Utopia in which the working classes (the proletariat) had risen above economic, religious and social biases to consolidate their own rule according to the noble dictates of Marxist-Leninism. I was 22 in 1988 and about to head out to a university in Moscow on a scholarship. The plan was ...

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Did Iran make a historical mistake by signing a nuclear deal with the US?

It was reported in the Washington Post that the US Secretary of State, Mr Rex Tillerson, said the following words, “I would like to assure the North Koreans that the USA is not their enemy; does not want any harm to come to them; they have nothing to be afraid of; the US does not seek regime change or the forced unification of the Korean peninsula, and the North Koreans need have no fear of any military invasion from the USA.” He then went on to say that the North Korean ballistic missile program is a serious threat to the US. Therefore, it is exerting peaceful pressure ...

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Justin Trudeau, Mohammad Bin Salman and Kim Jong Un: Three leaders with the potential to either make or break the world

In today’s global political scene, we can see three young world leaders from three very different countries, political systems and cultures for which the term ‘Greenhorn’ could be used. The three leaders I am referring to are Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, newly appointed crown prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS), and the supreme leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un. Trudeau, MBS and Kim have each been at the centre of the world stage in recent days, but each for very different reasons. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau. Photo: AFP Justin Pierre James Trudeau Born on December 25, 1971, Trudeau is the 23rd and current PM of Canada and ...

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After 70 years, India and Israel’s longing bromance is finally out of the closet

It took a long time coming, 70 years to be precise, but perhaps it was inevitable. In the nearly seven decades, since the state of Israel came into existence, no Indian prime minister set foot in the country.  But true to the unorthodox style that is revitalising Indian diplomacy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally corrected this longstanding anomaly with his trip to Israel this week. The extraordinarily warm welcome Modi received illustrates how much his hosts wanted this visit to happen and how much it matters to them. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was effusive in his welcome address, using a few Hindi words and liberally sprinkling catchy ...

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Why should Pakistan observe neutrality when it can dominate the political discourse in the Middle East?

The Gulf States have an existential reason to not make their armies strong because if they do, it would mean that the heads – quite literally – of the various kings, princes and other royals would be on the line. Enter the United States (US) armed forces and the 600,000 strong land, sea and air forces of their strongest Muslim ally, Pakistan. While the presence of the US armed forces is known by all and sundry, a lesser known piece of information is how crucial Pakistan is to the precarious balance of power and peace in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia sees the Pakistani Army as the defender of the ...

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Why a ban on Qatar may not be in the interest of the countries joining forces against them

While the announcement that several Middle Eastern counties including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Yemen were outright banning all relations with Qatar, the fact that they actually did it has had reverberations across the globe. Saudi Arabia declared a complete ban on all air, sea and land routes into and out of Qatar while UAE and Bahrain demanded the expulsion of Qatari diplomats from their countries. At last count, Libya and Maldives had joined the growing chorus against Qatar. Qatar is a tiny emirate jutting out as a peninsula from Saudi Arabia towards Iran. While it is a member of the international oil supplying nation group Organisation ...

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Is Pakistan willing to jeopardise its relations with Iran for Saudi Arabia?

It was shocking to hear Defence Minister Khwaja Asif proudly confirm that the government has agreed to the Saudi request and will allow former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif to command the Saudi-led military alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight terrorism. However, observers are concerned that the coalition could be used for future conflicts against Iran and its ally Yemen.  The National Assembly had earlier agreed that it would not be in the country’s interest to take sides in the present war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Iran’s ally), and had decided that Pakistan would stay neutral in the ...

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