Stories about Russia

Intriguing and intricate, Red Sparrow is well-crafted and different from today’s spy thrillers

There’s no denying that in recent decades, the spy film genre in Hollywood has shifted drastically towards the slick, fast-paced and action-heavy fare of films, like Casino Royale, The Bourne Ultimatum, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and the most recent Kingsman movies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, since these are all films that have represented the very best of the spy genre as well as the action genre in the past decade. But in the 70s and 80s, spy films had a very different look and feel, and were perhaps more interested in the boiler-pot suspense and intrigue rather than the action and slickness. Red Sparrow, the ...

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Is Donald Trump the first real illegitimate president of the US?

Washington is perpetually buzzing with activity. It’s been like that ever since Donald Trump descended into the Oval Office. However, this time around, the buzz is a bit of a different sort. Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, read through the expansive indictment charge list against 13 Russian individuals, three Russian companies and one American last Friday. It became nothing but self-evident that Trump and his cronies wittingly or “unwittingly” sold out the 2016 US presidential election to the Russians in the most callous and reckless manner. According to the 37-page special, counsel Bob Mueller produced indictment that the Russian-run, pro-Kremlin, St Petersburg-based, Internet Research Agency, manipulated ...

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The Syrian conflict approaches its seventh year, but the inhumanity is endless

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded. Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed. Everybody knows that the war is over. Everybody knows that the good guys lost.” – Leonard Cohen, Everybody knows 1988 As Syria labels its latest escalation with Washington DC a ‘war crime’, an obscene irony in a civil war fast devolved into a brutal proxy war, on the threshold of its seven year anniversary, the world’s most violent proxy war is fast spinning out of orbit. The developments are dizzying. NATO’s two largest armies, in a tense face-off, now stand on opposite sides of the conflict. In the cross hairs aimed at one another, the Kurdish forces – the Pershmaga, astonishing ...

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Of the great America and its need for coups around the world

In the past few months, there has been a successful coup in Zimbabwe, preceded by a failed attempt in Turkey. While local elements involved in such a takeover are in view of the public, the same cannot be said about foreign conspirators. Talk of foreign involvement is often shrugged off as a “conspiracy theory” by the global mainstream media, and evidence implicating outside actors is often ignored. However, a brief review of recent history (post World War II) unveils the role played by the strongest power in history – the United States (US) – in coups around the world. The history presented in this piece is not based on the opinions of people, but rather on official declassified documents released under ...

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Pakistan says the US is no longer an ally – and it’s a much bigger deal than you think

Donald Trump’s decision to ring in the new year by simultaneously demonising both Iran and Pakistan on Twitter has already backfired tremendously. Following threats that the US would withhold aid to Pakistan, the US confirmed it would withhold $255 million in aid (which has now become $900 million) and is now reportedly threatening a roughly $2 billion more as well. “We’re hoping that Pakistan will see this as an incentive, not a punishment,” a US State Department official told reporters. According to the Wall Street Journal, this recent animosity towards Pakistan has not gone over well. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif said in an interview that the US has failed to ...

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Iran-Turkey is not an alliance, but an incredibly realistic and meaningful partnership

The two greatest imperial foes of the Ottoman Empire were Russia and Iran (Persia). While the Russian empire collapsed in 1917, the Ottoman empire in 1922 and the Iranian in 1979, the modern successor states of the Russian Federation, Republic of Turkey and Islamic Republic of Iran continue to constitute towering Eurasian powers whose influence only continues to grow. This is not surprising in and of itself, but what is surprising is that these three great Eurasian powers continue to expand in terms of regional influence, but not at each other’s expense. Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia continues to dominate headlines, not ...

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Trump’s incoherent tweet will only push Pakistan to “do more” for China and Russia

American President Donald Trump welcomed 2018 with the same practice that he has employed almost for the entirely of his presidency – sending out an incoherent tweet. Unfortunately, this time, his tweet sent into frenzy much of Pakistan’s arm-chair analysts as well as talking heads from the myriad of shows on television. This was primarily because Trump chose Pakistan as the subject of his ire in his very first tweet of 2018. The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies ...

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Can Pakistan sideline the US and pursue an independent foreign policy?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Khawaja Asif, said the following in a statement made earlier this month, “Pakistan’s foreign policy has for long remained US-centric. However, the time had come to review the policy and shift its focus towards Russia and China.” At the rhetorical level, Pakistan’s commitment to shifting its foreign policy focus away from Washington has been in place for quite some time. In this regard, these recent changes that Islamabad has touted by and large deal with the country’s increasing economic dependency on China, as well as Russia’s growing interest in Pakistan. Arguably, Pakistan may have gained some tactical leverage vis-à-vis the US by increasing its economic dependency on other regional states, but ...

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Is the Pak-US marriage of convenience heading towards a bitter divorce?

Pentagon’s spokesperson recently acknowledged Pakistan’s sacrifices stating that the country has lost most number of troops in the global war on terror. However, this acknowledgement contradicted the official position that the White House has maintained over the past few years, asking Islamabad to ‘do more’, whenever Pakistan came under any security policy discussion in Washington and elsewhere. Pakistan, during US Secretary Defence James Mattis’s recent visit, has already made clear that Islamabad will no longer accept Washington’s redundant ‘do more’ mantra without evidence, and that proof of presence of terrorists in FATA should be shared before any finger pointing. This change of ...

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The Iraq intervention ensued and we said “never again” – yet here we are, silent, when it comes to intervention in Myanmar and Yemen

“The world has abandoned us,” was the message that was sent loud and clear last year to the global community from the victims of Aleppo, Syria. There were clear reports of chemical attacks against inhabitants, including children, perpetrated by the Syrian regime. Yet, the international community watched helplessly as rebel-held parts of Aleppo, the largest town in Syria, descended into a humanitarian catastrophe. While the crisis received reasonable coverage in international media, it failed to mobilise large-scale demonstrations in western capital cities. There were more people gathered in front of the French Embassy to mock the burkini ban than there were to ...

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