Stories about Yemen conflict

A ‘progressive’ Saudi Arabia that practises moderate Islam – possibility or a sham?

Is Saudi Arabia turning over a new leaf, or are these new policies just an anomaly; perhaps a misdirected confidence of an individual who is trying to change the society in his own image? Only time will tell. The recently appointed crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS), has embarked on an impressive but debatable development plan for the oil-rich country. This plan will see Saudi radically transform from its archaic system of governance and develop an over-the-top modern, high tech city which, according to MBS, is “The first capitalist city in the world… this is the unique thing that will be revolutionary.” This effort, ...

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Saudi Arabia, India or the US – who is conspiring against Nawaz Sharif and why?

At the beginning of this month, the government found itself in something of a pickle. Regardless of a dubious WhatsApp call fiasco and alleged political proclivities of the joint investigation team (JIT) members, the Sharifs had failed miserably in elucidating a tangible money trail for their opulent assets abroad. To truly offset the velocity of the storm they faced, they would have to counter attack with something far more potent and invidious – something powerful enough to offset the damning reality of their inconclusive money trial – a global conspiracy. A conspiracy that was hatched in collusion with the venal folks in the General Headquarters (GHQ), ...

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Why should Pakistan observe neutrality when it can dominate the political discourse in the Middle East?

The Gulf States have an existential reason to not make their armies strong because if they do, it would mean that the heads – quite literally – of the various kings, princes and other royals would be on the line. Enter the United States (US) armed forces and the 600,000 strong land, sea and air forces of their strongest Muslim ally, Pakistan. While the presence of the US armed forces is known by all and sundry, a lesser known piece of information is how crucial Pakistan is to the precarious balance of power and peace in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia sees the Pakistani Army as the defender of the ...

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Is Pakistan willing to jeopardise its relations with Iran for Saudi Arabia?

It was shocking to hear Defence Minister Khwaja Asif proudly confirm that the government has agreed to the Saudi request and will allow former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif to command the Saudi-led military alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight terrorism. However, observers are concerned that the coalition could be used for future conflicts against Iran and its ally Yemen.  The National Assembly had earlier agreed that it would not be in the country’s interest to take sides in the present war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Iran’s ally), and had decided that Pakistan would stay neutral in the ...

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The world must not allow the situation in Yemen to fester anymore

The Middle East has had a tumultuous history and the region’s politics have been anything but composed and calm. There are many fault lines that run through the geographic, social and ethnic divisions, and as a result, conflict and turmoil have never been too far from taking centre stage. The latest conflict to erupt in these volatile climes has been the civil war in Yemen which has been raging for the last two years. Yemen is one of the poorest and most backward countries in the Arabian Peninsula, yet it is also very strategically located. This makes it a fertile ground for various interests to ...

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No, Zaid Hamid isn’t getting Saudi lashes. Not yet

It is hard for most people to condone the lashings that Saudi Arabia gives out in the form of justice. But when it comes to Zaid Hamid, the first thing that comes to mind is not the barbarism of the image of a man getting 1,200 lashes. It is the irony of the exercise – a bit like falling into a ditch dug by oneself. Since it is Zaid Hamid, nothing will be straightforward. To begin with, the red-cap loose cannon was arrested in early June, but the news came out only on June 25th. Consequently, various Pakistani media outlets reported on July 1st that he had been ...

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Does the death of al Qaeda’s Yemeni leader change anything for the better?

Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, also known as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a video statement on Tuesday confirming the death of their leader, Nasser al Wuhayshi. Like every high profile terrorist death, this incident has ignited the age old debate – would this death be “effective” in destroying a particular terrorist organisation? In today’s world of convoluted terrorist groups, the question should not simply be “is a particular targeted killing effective?” but rather from whose perspective is it effective? If we look at Wuhayshi’s death from the US’s perspective, it is a great success and probably the most significant since Osama bin Laden. Wuhayshi ...

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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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Why do I have to tell anyone if I am Shia or not?

The natural course of policies made in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always had a negative tilt towards the Shia Muslims of the world. Having the privilege of hosting Islam’s most sacred place of worship, they have monopolised the Islamic faith and exploited the concept of pilgrimage as much as possible. After years of exporting its ideology to Pakistan, and many other countries across the Middle-East, and creating fissures in society, the kingdom took it up an ante – since proxy wars may not always be feasible – they have created divisions even in the unifying act of ...

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Four things that Saudi airstrikes in Yemen put into perspective

The unprecedented Saudi onslaught against the Houthi rebels in Yemen has taken many by surprise. As speculation grows over further escalation in the region, so does uncertainty regarding the nature of Saudi’s intervention in the conflict. While a broader Middle Eastern conflict marred by bitter tribal rivalries, petty grievances and a never ending quest for democracy pans out in the coming days, here’s a quick look at four things that the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen help put in perspective. Nothing brings the Arabs closer than Iran Arab unity is a utopian idea, which despite being well-founded in literature has yet to materialise. On rare occasions, this ...

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