Stories about Russia

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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Russia: The one country the US cannot bully

This week US Foreign Secretary John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Russian Black Sea resort, Sochi – the same place where the Winter Olympics took place, which the West boycotted – for the first talks since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis back in the autumn of 2013. Kerry held discussions for more than four hours with Lavrov before he sat down with President Putin. Among the topics discussed were the themes which the US cannot handle without support from Russia, i.e. the Iran nuclear talks and the situation in Yemen and Libya. But apart from these topics, ...

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Baltimore riots: Racial prejudice in the US strikes again

We live in harrowing times. While many are under the illusion that the 21st century has rid us of our inherent prejudices and injustices, that is clearly not the case. And while the West supposedly dubs itself as the emblem of the modern world, I feel there are many examples which render this claim untruthful. Be it the sexist and ageist slurs being hurled at Hillary Clinton for running for office; or the multiple lawsuits filed against Abercrombie and Fitch for their classist policies; or Russia’s anti-LGBT laws (even though they call themselves a progressive state); or the recent racial attack in Ferguson, USA, where an African American ...

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Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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Will Russia survive under Vladimir Putin?

In an interview with the Russian and foreign media on January 19, 2014, Vladimir Putin remarked: “Sometimes it is necessary to be lonely in order to prove that you are right”. But has Putin’s self-righteousness actually been efficacious for Russia? The alteration of the foreign policy decision-making structure by Putin allowed him to emerge as the central decision-maker ever since he stepped into power. Policy matters were assigned to secondary actors composed of an informal circle of loyal associates to Putin. The inner circle of Putin loyalists are power hungry and in such a system, the effectiveness of policy is lost. Corruption is enhanced ...

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