Stories about sanctions

For PM Imran Khan: A guide on how to fix the unfixable

There is a new sense of optimism in Pakistan. Many in the country are looking to the government of Imran Khan to reform the way the country works and put it back on the track of development and prosperity. The new government has signalled a willingness to think outside the box. This means trying to do what has not been done before. It means going against vested interests, the ‘rent seekers’ who have used their influence to accumulate power and enormous wealth. And finally, it also means going against established international ‘norms’ of behaviour as defined by the ‘Washington Consensus’. First ...

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Will Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un finally take their thumbs off the nuclear button?

Much of the world is still coming to grips with the news that US President Donald Trump has agreed to meet with leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Jong Un. Fortune described the news as being “nothing short of a miracle”, which aptly describes how the rest of us, who do not want a nuclear holocaust, feel. That being said, it must be asked, what is behind Trump’s intention of meeting with Kim, and why now, at this particular juncture in history? It wasn’t too long ago that reports were emerging that the US was secretly considering a direct military strike on North ...

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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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Shame on you, Manchester United fans!

Imagine ourselves hosting India in a significant cricket world cup fixture at the Gaddafi amidst an electric atmosphere. The green caps are chasing a relatively easier target with consummate ease, pinning the blue shirts completely against the proverbial wall with an exhilarating display on the pitch. Our arch rivals have all but lost the match in their heads, with Dhoni and company, praying for an external intervention to somehow save their collective back sides. Intrusion arrives, but not in the form of rain. Instead, vile chants regarding the Army Public School massacre start pouring down from the travelling support. If that had ...

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Modi and Nawaz Sharif need to stop undermining cricket for political gains

During the Sri Lankan tour to Pakistan in 2009, the bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team to the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore was fired upon by militants, injuring six Sri Lankan players and killing six policemen and two civilians. It was a sad day for Pakistan cricket as no country was willing to send its team to Pakistan after this unfortunate incident.  In a scathing attack on the serious security lapse, the then Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram said, “Such incidents could make Pakistan a failed state, and that one was not sure as to who was in control of the country.” We, in India, always ...

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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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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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Will Israel always manage to reign supreme over the US?

The romantic flame between Washington and Tehran, which had reignited last year in the form of the historic phone call between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, has been dampened. The tentative deal between the US and Iran, limiting Iran’s nuclear program for around a decade before easing up on restrictions has raised strong opposition from Israel. On invitation of a Republican congressman, which was condemned by the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his way to Washington. The stage was set, the world was watching, and Netanyahu was going to put up a good show for the hottest ticket in town. Netanyahu, who ...

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US-Iran renewed ‘friendship’: What’s in store for Pakistan?

On November 24, six major powers agreed with Iran on a landmark interim accord over Iran’s nuclear program. Tehran has committed to halt uranium enrichment beyond five per cent in return for some relief from sanctions, signalling the beginning of reconciliation with the major powers that would make the world safer. Some reports suggest that the P5+1, a group of six world powers including US, Russia, China, UK, France and Germany, dialogue was merely a show. It was the Obama administration’s secret diplomacy that succeeded. This shows the willingness of Washington to resolve the long-standing dispute through diplomacy. The interim deal, for six months, has benefited both sides. Iran has ...

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Iran, Syria and the Muslim divide

It has been quite some time now that the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran has flooded international media. The western media is contemplating an attack on Iran and is putting forward all kinds of reasons as to why Iranian intervention is imminent and necessary. This media, which is not only anti-Iran but anti-Asia, is adamant on portraying Iran as a state that will attack Israel as soon as it is equipped with nuclear arms. Western media moguls and analysts are thus proposing that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions must be surrendered for the larger interest of the region. However, one ...

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