Stories about ISIS

Is a peace deal in Afghanistan possible?

After a month-long thaw starting from last September, the Afghan peace process has now started to gain some momentum. United States Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad met with President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul yesterday to discuss the future of peace talks with the Taliban. On Friday, Moscow hosted Khalilzad, along with Chinese and Pakistani representatives, to find a way for the resumption of the negotiations with the Taliban. Last week, Khalilzad and European Union envoy Roland Kobia, issued a comprehensive communique acknowledging that “sustainable peace can only be achieved through a negotiated political settlement.” However, these intra-Afghan negotiations between the ...

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Vladimir Putin ‘snubbing’ Imran Khan – why all the fuss?

When Pakistan failed to secure a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the recent Belt and Road Forum, a report in the Express Tribune called it a major “diplomatic setback”. Sure, many would have expected Prime Minister Imran Khan to have at least had a casual meet up with the president of Pakistan’s new “regional ally on Afghanistan,” however, it seemed that Putin had other, and more important, commitments. In light of this failure, should it really be seen as a major “diplomatic setback”? Sure, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is already going through a series of governance and public ...

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The US may withdraw its troops from Syria but the war is far from over

Not too long ago, US President Donald Trump shocked the world when he made the announcement that just this once, the US would decide to act in accordance with international law. The announcement in question was that US troops stationed in Syria would now be returning home to their families. This declaration in turn shocked what has become a war-loving media that never once questioned America’s military presence in a sovereign nation to begin with. Not many Americans appear to know this (nor do they appear to care, by some accounts) but the US military has occupied approximately one third of Syria for some time now. Conveniently, 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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Dictators like Rodrigo Duterte need to be careful when they “joke” about using rape as a weapon

The world works in strange ways and the more things change, the more they stay the same. After decades, nay centuries of conflict, it seems the world had finally turned the corner in the 90s. Yes, there was a lot still to be done, but we seemed to be moving in the right direction. The cold war had ended, the European Union (EU) took concrete shape, and globalisation was taking root all over. Free trade and the communication revolution were turning the world into a global village. Perhaps for the first time in human history, democracy and human rights were regarded as supreme and inviolable in ...

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Why do students in American high schools resort to humiliating Muslims and people who aren’t white?

When the student body president of a Northern California high school won his campaign after posting an Islamophobic joke, I was not surprised. It is part and parcel of American high schools to reward students for racism, particularly when the school administration isn’t interested in protecting vulnerable students for the sake of ‘keeping the peace’. By overlooking racist and toxic behaviour, schools inevitably normalise racism, misogyny, and heterosexism, all of which lend to bullying and cheapen the lives of many young people at these schools. And it’s not only the oppressed or the so-called victim who is negatively affected by this situation, but the oppressor as ...

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Trump may be doing the right thing siding by Saudi instead of Iran

Political pundits around the world are trying to analyse the impact of President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and his speech to the leaders of some 50 Muslim countries in Riyadh. Some are saying that it is full of contradictions as compared to his pre-election rhetoric against Muslims. Others say that his clear tilt towards Sunni’s and his siding with the Saudis on their stand vis à vis Iran is illogical and counter-productive to the USA’s fight against ISIS. On one hand, the fountainhead of the theological underpinnings of ISIS is the Saudi Arabian sponsored Wahabi/Takfiri ideology and its main support comes from ...

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In Pakistan, tolerant Islamic voices are being silenced

Last week, only three days after a suicide bomb went off in Lahore, an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) supporter struck a crowd of Sufi dancers celebrating in the great Pakistani shrine of Sehwan Sharif. The attack, which killed almost 90, showed the ability of radical Islamists to silence moderate and tolerant voices in the Islamic world. The attack also alarmingly demonstrated the ever-wider reach of the ISIS and the ease with which it can now strike within Pakistan. ISIS now appears to equal the Taliban as a serious threat to this nuclear-armed country. The suicide bombing of the ...

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Russia will never sabotage its alliance with Iran for Donald Trump

As I write these lines, Washington is abuzz with the news of Donald Trump’s top security advisor, Michael Flynn’s resignation. The White House is trying to clean up the mess Flynn’s rather over-zealously erratic act created, ending up in critics looking at the election victory in a whole new light.  Ironically, Trump saw in Flynn the capability to penetrate the Russian iron curtain by virtue of his connections with Moscow. Ironically also, it was Flynn who had put Iran on an unexplained and unelaborated ‘notice’ early February – an ill-conceived, rhetoric ridden, flash in the pan type of a half-step that really just reiterated Washington’s unsavoury ...

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Five non-fiction books of 2016 you should definitely read!

The past year was encapsulated with great works of literature – especially when it came to non-fiction. The following five books delved deep into relevant issues in today’s world.  1. The Return by Hisham Matar It’s a searing and poignant book that deals with the abduction of Matar’s father, Jaballa Matar, in Libya.Photo: Goodreads. Hisham Matar’s memoir, The Return, a tear-soaked love letter to his father, towered over all other non-fiction books written last year. It’s a searing and poignant book that deals with the abduction of Matar’s father, Jaballa Matar, in Libya. Jaballa was a major opponent of the Qaddafi ...

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