Stories about war on terror

180 million hearts broken… again

Jallianwala. Dhaka. Quetta. North Waziristan. Peshawar. Places change but stories remain the same. That doesn’t make the heartbreak any more bearable. The unanswerable ‘why’ still looms over our heads. Why this? Why now? Why us? Today’s massacre in Peshawar reverberates throughout the country. I cannot even fathom what the parents of the children are going through but I write to tell them they are not alone, it is the least I can do. It is the least I can do to at least try to reach a level of catharsis which will make me feel capable of ever feeling again, which will make me ...

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If you are the US, you can get away with anything. Even torture.

States exist for their own well-being. They have their self-interests. Domestic and foreign policies define and dictate state acts and omissions on the world stage. In the post 9/11 order, state-to-state interaction has undergone an incredible amount of change with the entire gamut of international relations now at the mercy of a few role players. The United States of America, of course, holds the centre stage, in a global effort against the spread of religious fanaticism and waging a war on terrorism. That being said, the recently released report detailing the US Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) tactics of interrogation after September 11, ...

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Remember, remember, the fourth of December!

I remember that day. It was December 4, 2009. The residents of Rawalpindi were in shock. How could a mosque right next to the military headquarters, surrounded by military bungalows with a busy local market nearby be attacked in broad daylight? There were frantic calls made; mothers called their children’s schools, fathers held their sons by their hands in the mosques and brothers who had not spoken for years hysterically reached out to each other. First the family, then friends, then colleagues… was everyone we knew fine? They weren’t. Rawalpindi is a small city. A family member, a friend, a colleague, a friend of ...

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Ethics in an unethical mirage

It is often said that national interests dictate the dynamics of international politics and that morality has no role to play in international relations. Proponents of this view are likely to argue that international politics hinges on pragmatic and practical issues. Alliances are then, the result of mutual benefit accruing to both parties; animosity is either the status quo or likely to occur where interests do not converge. On the other hand, we have Mr Woodrow Wilson, who argues that, “Interests do not tie nations together; it sometimes separates them. But sympathy and understanding does unite them.” It may be conceded that ...

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Why isn’t Pakistan on Obama’s travel itinerary?

Ever wondered why Pakistan is made to play a second fiddle role when it comes to US handling South Asian affairs? It’s only been a few months since Narendra Modi took office as India’s prime minister but he’s already captured the imagination of the West. He’s treated like a superstar wherever he goes. His visit to the US back in September this year was a tremendous success. He created a superb rapport with US President Barack Obama and his administration, and won admirers all over the US. Obama is now scheduled to pay a visit to India and attend the Indian Republic Day celebrations in ...

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Don’t write off Obama just yet!

Despite severe opposition from the Republicans, President Barack Obama finally did what he should have done years ago – he announced a plan to stop deportation of almost five million undocumented migrants from the US.  Faced with a crisis of confidence and a defeat in the November mid-term elections, Obama, a Democrat, recently lashed out at the Grand Old Party (GOP), a republican party, and said, “They have the ability to fix the system. What they don’t have the ability to do is to expect me to stand by with a broken system in perpetuity.” Immigration reform has been ‘way overdue’. The president’s announcement does not, ...

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Where did Obama go wrong?

He’s a people’s man, a nice guy, a great ambassador, an honest, straight talking individual who means well and, of course, a committed family man. These are admirable personality traits and virtues but only if one is not the president of the United States of America. Politics is a nasty business and President Obama is no stranger to it. His party was routed in the most devastating manner in the November 4 midterm elections – a clear show of no confidence in the president’s policies that essentially have taken the country one step forward and two steps backward. While the decisive Republican tsunami is a reiteration ...

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Bringing FATA into the mainstream

The much talked about and supported military operation, Zarb-e-Azb, has been initiated in North Waziristan with the objective of clearing the region from local and foreign Taliban sanctuaries. The military strategy has already displaced thousands from the war-torn region at a time when the internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected from previous conflicts and disasters haven’t returned to their homes yet. Up to 30,000 soldiers are involved in the current operation, while more than 800,000 people have fled the area over security and an uncertain future. The operation was launched after the failed attempt at peace talks and demands from the ...

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Is America undermining Pakistan’s importance as an ally?

United States strategic shift to the Asia Pacific from the Middle East thanks to President Barack Obama’s Asia Pivot has certainly changed the entire Middle Eastern geopolitical calculus. We are now witnessing a time period when, for the first time in history, the United States is on the verge of becoming energy sufficient as it surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production in October, 2013. This happened while the wrapping up of military campaigns in the greater Middle East is translating into reduced military spending ergo, reduced military might in the said region. These two events are significant as they are a contributing factor in the reshaping of the US ...

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James Foley: Another battle lost by humanity

The search for James Foley, by his family members, began when he was kidnapped in Syria on November 22nd, 2012. After a long wait and dispersion, the quest has come to a devastating end. This was the second time Foley had been kidnapped by a group of militants. In 2011, he and fellow journalists were abducted while in Libya but were later released. Then, while working in Syria, he was captured again, only this time he was not as lucky. Foley was reporting on the suffering of the people of Syria. On Monday, a video called ‘A Message to America’ ...

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