The UN Climate Change Conference 2018, or COP24 as it widely known, started with a bang and ended with a whimper two weeks later in Katowice, Poland. The bang came at the high level opening ceremony on December 2nd where celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sir David Attenborough warned negotiators that “time is running out” for the world to take action to control global warming. Unfortunately, their warnings were not taken seriously as the Paris Rulebook that was finalised at Katowice on December 15th actually ended up watering down the Paris Agreement, especially in terms of finance, loss and ...Read Full Post
Annihilating Raqqa while allowing thousands of IS terrorists to escape – who was the US trying to kill?
Amnesty International released an explosive report last week, which described the US-led coalition’s disproportionate and indiscriminate war in Raqqa as the US-led “war of annihilation”. The report confirmed what some people have suspected for a while but few have dared to even talk about. Namely, that the United States and its allies have completely destroyed a Syrian city, and left almost nothing but death and destruction in their wake. In coming to its conclusion, Amnesty researchers visited 42 coalition air strike sites across the city and interviewed 112 civilian residents who had survived the ordeal. The results of their investigation ...Read Full Post
The Trump administration is more confrontational toward Russia than Barack Obama was, Glenn Greenwald and Zaid Jilani wrote in The Intercept recently. There is certainly some truth to the statement, despite the fact Donald Trump has been regularly portrayed as an agent of Vladimir Putin, even before he was elected at the end of 2016. Never mind, for example, that Trump’s nominee to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, recently confirmed that, “A couple hundred Russians were killed by US forces in Syria earlier this year.” Pompeo wasn’t merely stating the blunt truth about an incident in February, in which US ...Read Full Post
Almost a month ago, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted to show solidarity with the Iranian women protesting against Iran’s hijab laws, mentioning that he stands by those who stand for ‘freedom’. As we counter Iran’s aggression, we should always remember the brave people of Iran: their suffering, their hopes, their courage. Women are jailed for removing their hijabs. Students are tortured and shot for advocating freedom. We stand with those in Iran who stand for freedom. — Benjamin Netanyahu (@netanyahu) March 6, 2018 Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UN, also said something similar in January of this year when ...Read Full Post
The world order these days feels more like a throwback to the Cold War era, as the UK and its allies take diplomatic action against Russia for its alleged role in the nerve toxin poisoning of a Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter, Yulia. The UK’s western allies – especially the European Union (EU), the US, and members of NATO – have shown solidarity with London, expelling dozens of Russian diplomats. Skripal, a former Russian spy, was accused of selling Russian secrets to Britain, and was hence jailed. It was in 2010 that he, along with his daughter, went to ...Read Full Post
US President Donald Trump’s cozy relationship with Saudi Arabia makes little sense in its recent historical context, given this is the same Trump who once accused Saudi Arabia of committing the 9/11 attacks. This is also the same Trump who rose to the presidential throne on an anti-Muslim platform, which is intriguing because Saudi Arabia is of course not only the birth place of Islam, but also a country which exports radical Islam as though it were a commodity. However, if there is one thing Trump hates more than dark-skinned refugees, it’s Iran, and this is the crux of the newfound Trump-Saudi alliance. Of ...Read Full Post
This past week, viewers from all across the globe flocked to their nearby cinemas to catch the first female superhero movie, Wonder Woman. People leaving the cinema published accounts of inspiration and motivation. Some even spoke of a rekindled sense of purpose and drive in their individual feminism. Yet in the same news cycle, you could also find a piece or two decrying some ban on this blockbuster placed by Lebanon and then followed by a suspension in Tunisia and Algeria. Naturally, as every ban does, it piqued the reader’s interest. After all, what would the Lebanese, Algerians or the Tunisians have against women empowerment? It made little sense until you opened the closet and ...Read Full Post
Africa and certain parts of the Arab world are not the only places where the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) prevails, as Indonesia is currently on the hot seat for allowing female circumcision on girls as young as one-year-old. On March 27th, a disheartening video of an Indonesian toddler surfaced which shook people around the world. In the said video, Salsa Djafar is shown decorated in a crown with ribbons and shiny clothes, ready to be circumcised. The video is not to be watched by the faint-hearted as it truly captures the pain of the little baby girl while ...Read Full Post
India and Pakistan have had a tumultuous mutual history. Violent separation followed by continued disputes and clashes have created a climate of suspicion and conflict. This is a tragedy of epic proportions given the shared history and heritage of the inhabitants of this land, stretching over thousands of years. While the circumstances of their separation were unfortunate and sowed the seeds of this distrust, a lot has happened over the years to keep those embers burning. There is considerable anger in India over Pakistan’s support for separatism and terrorism in India. Indians also feel that Pakistan has not done enough to curb or punish anti-India activities. The sight ...Read Full Post
The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?
Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...Read Full Post