Stories about Russia

Should Turkey have abdicated its sovereign rights for the greater good?

The downing of the Russian plane that allegedly violated Turkey’s borders might go down in history as the event that led to something much grander in the global context. Or it could just be a news story that shocked and bemused its audience. For an amateur historian, this particular incident is a point of great interest because he knows that the worst of conflicts have erupted over much smaller bullets. Those conflicts have taken the lives of millions and have had the potential to wipe out all existence from the face of the earth. The fateful bullet that took the life of Austrio-Hungarian ...

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Is Putin’s ‘holy war’ aimed at saving the Middle East or bolstering Assad’s regime?

The last time Russia conducted military operations in the Middle East, the word ‘Nazis’ was not preceded by the prefix ‘neo’ and Russians were still called ‘Soviets’ without any accompanying nostalgia. In other words, the last time Russia warred in the Middle East, it was World War II. That is, at least, according to CBS News’ Steve Kroft, who last week interviewed President Obama on 60 Minutes. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan seems to have been lost to oversight, but that’s another matter. Perhaps in tribute to the American adage of ‘coming back with a bang’ (but don’t tell the Russians that), Mr Vladimir ...

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Does Saudi Arabia support the ISIS?

For almost four years now, Syrians have been perpetually facing their worst nightmare; five million of them have fled the country while another 7.5 million have been displaced, close to 310,000 made up the death toll until April 2015, and only God knows how many more have been killed past that. But none of this was enough to trigger Saudi Arabia (KSA) – the strongest country in the region and a major player for regional cooperation – to intervene in this crisis. What did trigger the country (or certain fractions of it) was the imminent presence of countries like Russia and Iran in the region. For those who ...

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China’s WW2 parade has attached more shame onto humanity’s shoulders

Wars may be designed to destroy nations; however, they play a critical role in building them as well. Is that what China has attempted to do today? China’s commemoration of the Second World War took place today in the city of Beijing. India too, is planning a festival to memorialise the 1965 war with Pakistan. 2015 seems to be the year we’re all celebrating war. China put on a grand display of its military strength and laid bare its hegemonic ambitions in the Asian region. The Chinese administration has asserted that the intention of the parade is to remind the world of the sacrifices the Chinese people ...

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Where is Al Jazeera’s journalistic responsibility?

Al Jazeera News Network was recently in the news for relatively positive reasons. A surprise, one must say. Their editorial on “Why Al Jazeera will not say Mediterranean ‘migrants’”, grabbed attention not only among global media consumers but also various renowned media networks – who published scores of commentaries appreciating the stand taken by the media outlet. In their policy editorial by Barry Malone, Al Jazeera’s online editor, wrote, “At this network, we try hard through our journalism to be the voice of those people in our world who, for whatever reason, find themselves without one. Migrant is a word that strips suffering people of voice. Substituting refugee ...

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If Iran and the US can make peace, why can’t India and Pakistan?

The nuclear deal between Iran and the West has opened up new avenues of engagements for those nations which have been in conflict for decades. It has proved that time-tested diplomacy is the only way to achieve peace in the world. Therefore, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s gesture of sending mangoes to his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, holds more than just symbolic value. It is, at one hand, a reflection of the desire to normalise relationships between the two countries while at the other hand, it suggests the calming down of frayed tempers on both sides of the border which have been boiling over the ...

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Is Modi now credible and trustworthy enough to steer a peace process?

Dialogue has a long shelf life. It never gets old or fades away. Sooner or later it asserts itself. It renews itself. That is what has happened in the Russian town of Ufa on July 9th, when the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, shook hands despite indulging into acrimony for a year. The Indian government has termed the meeting a ‘breakthrough’ and counts it as a great step forward in dealing with Pakistan. The interaction has paved the way for both civilian and military engagement between the two neighbours in time to come, which will address all the ...

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Are we really going to blame India for the heatwave?

The recent heat wave in Karachi that has claimed over a thousand lives is one more nail in our government’s coffin of negligence and its inability to deal with a crisis. It has also become the norm in the subcontinent to give public officials the opportunity to show just how mind-numbingly dumb they really are. In a recent statement, the Minister for Climate Change Senator Mushahidullah Khan has said that the actual responsibility for the heat wave lies with the boogie across the border, India. He claims that coal-powered plants in Rajasthan, India could have contributed to the heat wave. The senator does not quote any scientific research to support his claim, ...

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Sepp Blatter resigns: Ding dong, the king is gone

I was asked to write this blog immediately after news of the FIFA scandal broke preceding the general election. I thought to wait. Despite strong objections from UEFA and of course the Americans amongst others, nothing could stop the inevitable; Blatter was re-elected without much fanfare or surprise. Gabriele Marcotti, a writer I regularly follow, titled his column Sepp Blatter wins FIFA election but football is the real loser. My Noel-Coward-wit intact, thoughts began to spill out in concurrence with the general gist of Marcotti’s article only for rumblings to emerge that Blatter was under immense pressure to resign. I thought to wait. ‘Sepp Blatter resigns’ the unanimous scream from across the ...

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Is Pakistan capable of protecting its minorities?

The recent attack on the Ismaili Muslims in Karachi brought a lot of things into perspective. Firstly, it exposed the ineffectiveness of various military, rangers and police operations, and, secondly, it unveiled the dangers our minority communities are exposed to. But seeing this attack in isolation would not be of any help. We need to understand how religion has facilitated the state and, by extension, the militant organisations over the past decades and how it has led to the conundrum that we find ourselves in now. The first time Islam came to serve the government was in 1953, for Mumtaz Daultana, which led to ...

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