Stories about national security

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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With Donald Trump’s travel ban 3.0, is America any safer?

Today, the Supreme Court allowed President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban to be fully enforced. This ban restricts visas from eight countries, including six Muslim-majority nations. The premise: ‘national security’. But does such a ban really make Americans safer? Here are five points all Americans need to understand. 1. Religious extremism, not Islam, is the real threat There is no denying the fact that religious extremists, and terrorist groups like the Islamic State (IS), pose a grave threat to the United States. These groups pervert religion for ulterior geo-political agendas. Their violent rhetoric – advocating for the killing of homosexuals, ‘blasphemers’, apostates and anyone who disagrees with ...

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The corrupt, disgraced and disqualified prime minister who cried wolf

A while ago, Nawaz Sharif suggested that if things kept going the way they were, he would also, in retaliation, reveal the many secrets and insider information he was privy to. This was a veiled threat, but the implication was clear: Nawaz would not go down quietly, and if the attack on him did not abate, he would most likely disclose state secrets. Now, Nawaz seems to have made good on his threat, for in a recent interview to controversial journalist Cyril Almeida, he acknowledged that the terrorists behind the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were non-state actors sent by Pakistan, and ...

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The curious case of Hussain Haqqani

In ancient cultures across the globe, people believed that the gods punished them directly for their transgressions. These punishments would be in the form of droughts, excess heat or cold or simply too much rain. Numerous outcasts or prisoners paid the price as human sacrifices to the gods including children sacrificed by the Aztecs. In certain cultures, the sins of the people were transferred onto a goat by a priest and then sacrificed to pay for peoples’ transgressions. A similar story can be found in the Bible. Hence the term ‘scapegoat’ was born. I think it’s best to state the ...

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Thank God for Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan!

Thank God for Fawad Khan and Mahira Khan, their powers are unlimited! Now that they are back in Pakistan, India is safe and the Indian actors whose jobs they took or whose films (see Ajay Devgn) might have flopped because of their magical presence in side roles or extended cameos are even safer. However, don’t underestimate the power these two extraordinary individuals possess, one tweet from them, one line on Facebook, or just a simple press release and the entire Kashmir issue would be resolved. It is just amazing how selfish they are by holding back, when a little effort on their part ...

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Iran and the clash of modern civilisation

The Iranian Revolution of 1979 ended 2,500 years of uninterrupted monarchical rule and ever since then, the country has been hit with a series of sanctions that have had a huge impact on it economically and politically, leading to relative isolation. With changing political winds and shifting strategic alignments, the sanctions have been eased considerably, thereby allowing Iran to once again participate more actively in global matters. This gradual reintegration of Iran into the world community has been one of the big geopolitical stories over the last few months. Iran is undoubtedly a significant nation. It is strategically located, has huge energy reserves, a rich cultural ...

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As a citizen of Pakistan, I am to blame for the death of Khurram Zaki

I lost my friend on Saturday night. He was sipping tea at a Chaikhana (tea shop) with two colleagues when four men on bikes showed up and showered them with bullets. He received five bullets in his upper body and was shifted to a hospital in critical condition before he was finally moved to the Agha Khan hospital for treatment. Khurram Zaki – the activist, the blogger, the progressive ideologue, the wall of perseverance against the rising tide of sectarian violence, a devoted father and a good friend – was martyred before the clock struck 12 am. One never really ...

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The honeytrap and the (gullible) Indian Air Force

I recently heard about the honeytrap that was used to extract sensitive Intel from members of the Indian military. When I was finally able to stop laughing, I began to wonder why this hadn’t been bigger news on this side of the border because all Google searches on the subject result in Indian sources. Okay so today I learnt about the 'ISI honeytrap' Been laughing for 3 hours straight — HereBeDragons (@rageandpencils) January 6, 2016 ISI Used Fake Facebook ID To Honeytrap IAF Airman & Got Confidential Information yeh toh lol hogya…. — Junaid Shah (@junaidshah492) January 2, 2016 No guns, violence, and pigeons needed ;) #ProudPakistaniMoments #ISI https://t.co/LX5iKktDPh — ...

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Should the Gulf states be wary of the revolution tsunami coming their way?

Socio-political change is happening across the globe at a pace not previously experienced in history. This is particularly true within the Gulf States. Each day, growing unrest is visible through dissident activity, protests, strikes, and violence. Frustration and anger once repressed is now acted upon. Unprecedented access to communication technologies and the proliferation of social media tools offer platforms for disadvantaged and repressed people to gather, collaborate and make themselves heard – even if only to others in their situation. Media outlets, YouTube videos, Twitter, and Facebook posts spread messages that embolden marginalised people and activist networks into individual and collective action. Rulers of some Gulf ...

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Why LUMS is Pakistan’s leading university

Living abroad, I am extremely conscious about how fortunate I have been to have studied at a prestigious university like LUMS, which guarantees its students the freedom of expression and independence of thought. In fact, when my foreign friends ask me if moving to Germany was a cultural or academic shock, my answer has always been no. Because growing as an individual at an institution like LUMS taught me to foster the tenet of higher education, namely academic freedom; which is also something that is found in educational institutions abroad. However, it is unfortunate that this cherished academic freedom is now under ...

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