Stories about US

Why nobody wants to admit to the real reasons behind American mass shootings

There was a “mass casualty event” at an American high school a couple of days ago that took the lives of 17 people, including students, teachers and staff, and I’m unfortunately not surprised at this point. Mass shootings have become commonplace in America as of late, and after every incident, the political blame game spins round and round, even before we send out our redundant “thoughts and prayers”. “We have to ban guns. No, we need more guns. We need to put more police in public places – and even in schools to deter shooters. We need to ban gun-free zones. We ...

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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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The US never did and still doesn’t know what it is doing in Afghanistan

Almost a week on since I wrote on the (im)probability of peace talks with the Taliban, Afghanistan has not only seethed with violence but has further drifted into the abyss of terror. The country’s misery has continued in 2018 as a spate of major terror attacks, especially in the heavily-guarded capital of Kabul, has left its people reeling with agony, terror and fear. In the latest of these attacks, 11 soldiers were killed when five Islamic State (IS) militants attacked the Marshal Fahim National Defense University (MFNDU) on January 29th. This was the third major attack in just over a week, with the ...

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Waging a war against the Taliban and then calling for peace talks – the US doesn’t know what it wants

A Pakistani foreign official (FO) recently disclosed that the US administration was secretly pushing Pakistan to bring the Haqqani network to the dialogue table. This revelation was shocking as the Donald Trump administration, following the footsteps of its predecessors, has constantly asked Islamabad to crack down against the anti-US and Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network allegedly operating out of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The FO official also revealed how there were no specific demands made by the Trump administration other than facilitating Washington on the reconciliation process with the Haqqanis. Such developments are coming at a critical juncture, with Afghanistan losing ground ...

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While Saudi Arabia was busy pointing fingers at Iran, it didn’t see its own looming doom

Saudi Arabia has viewed the recent protests in Iran as no less than a geopolitical opportunity as the Kingdom is currently locked in a regional power struggle against the Islamic Republic. Saudi commentators have publicly lambasted Iran, calling the protests a “fierce blow to the heart of Khomeinism” and stating that the protests had “made Iran boil like it’s on a crater of a volcano”. Some commentators warned “collapse” would be next. Apparently, Saudi Arabia has forgotten that not too long ago, it launched a crackdown of its own (something Iran initially tried to avoid doing in response to the protestors, believe it or not). While at ...

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Actually, General Bipin Rawat, nuclear weapons CAN deter war; a deterrence our countries are all too familiar with

Indian army chiefs rarely make policy statements. Thus, on the rare occasion when they do choose to partake in diplomatic posturing, it is taken very seriously. This is exactly why the DG ISPR and the Defence Minister took very stern notice of General Bipin Rawat’s press statement on January 12th, where he said that his force was ready to call out Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and carry out cross-border operations if need be. It must be fun to engage in high-level brinkmanship. Otherwise, it must get tiring to have so much authority and yet not be able to do anything with ...

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The fall and fall of Pakistan’s economy in 2017

There were a lot of fairly good economic indicators seen in 2017, such as the following: – An 8.5% growth in Large-Scale Manufacturing (LSM), – An inflation rate of 3.9%,  – A super-strong growth in lending to the private sector, – A 74.4% growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) worth $939.7 million, – A 19.5% growth in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Tax Revenues and a double-digit growth in exports Amidst these “good” indicators, less focus was paid to the depleting foreign currency reserves and burgeoning imports. Whether this is due to Mr Ishaq Dar being pre-occupied during the year, trying to save himself and his boss from the aftermath of the Panama leaks, or merely because the ...

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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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Jerusalem, Sadiq Khan, and the right to call a place ‘home’

Earlier this month, two major incidents captured the world’s attention. Both are in dissimilar contexts and with starkly different repercussions, yet both unified by the sentiment of belonging, and a notion that was once familiar but is now complex – home. The first event was the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel by the US, whereas the second occurred with a few words uttered by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, during his visit to Pakistan. When asked by a BBC reporter if coming to Pakistan felt like coming ‘home’, he promptly replied, “No, home is South London, mate.” On one hand, for Palestinians, their wounds were reawakened ...

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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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