Afghanistan’s relation to the illegal drug trade can be traced back to the 1980s. Since then, opium cultivation has become an integral part of Afghanistan’s economy and the livelihoods of its farmers. The author, Madiha Rauf, notes that although the US and the previous Afghan governments have introduced measures to reduce opium production and trade, the efforts have been half-hearted. In reality, Afghanistan’s opium trade has not only benefitted the warlords and the Taliban but also the previous regimes. Although the Taliban regime has made promises to eradicate the illegal drug trade, given the state’s dependency on it, it is unlikely to fulfill these promises and the opium war in Afghanistan might not see an end in the near future.
When the United Nations first introduced its peacekeeping missions the operations simply observed ceasefires and monitored conflicts. Yet, over the years, peacekeeping operations have evolved to include humanitarian and technical assistance as well. The first two generations of peacekeeping required non-use of force, impartiality, and the consent of the parties involved, hence, limiting the authority of the peacekeepers. The author notes that due to the failure of these generations, third-generation peacekeeping has been tasked with reforming the peacekeeping operations.
The dissolution of empires and the formation of new nation-states after the two world wars divided the Kurdish region and population into four states—Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. For decades, the Kurdish people have been subjected to persecution, discrimination, assimilation, and repression in these states. Unlike the Kurds of Iraq, the Kurds of Syria, Iran, and Turkey do not have their own autonomous regions. The author argues that this can be contributed to the fact that the Kurdish people have long forgotten their true objective and have assumed the role of pawns for the very states that once abandoned them.
In the quest to become the regional hegemon, Iran and Saudi Arabia have backed governments, militias, and organizations based on sectarian lines in the Middle East. While Tehran is financially and militarily supporting the Assad regime and Hezbollah in Syria, Riyadh has resorted to backing the Syrian rebels and jihadist groups, like the Army of Islam, Jaish al-Fatah, and Ahrar al-Sham, against the regime. The author argues that the proxy war in Syria, while only a battle for supremacy for Iran and Saudi Arabia, has devastated the Syrians and turned the state into a haven for extremist groups.
In a world motivated by soft power, states steer and adapt their foreign policies according to the evolving nature of global affairs. Central Asian states are no exception to this reality, especially since they are motivated by geostrategic and geoeconomic interests. The shifting world order presents both interests and risks, and hence they must carefully design their foreign policies – and hedge their bets. Image credits: U.S. Department of State | Flickr
Somalia has been in a constant state of civil war since the 1980s. Today, almost 3 million people require assistance in Somalia. The influence and conflicting interests of Ethiopia, Al-Shabaab, and the state’s warlords have prevented the establishment of peace in the African state. As a result of this conflict, attacks against civilians, violence against women and girls, corruption, and unemployment have become increasingly prevalent. The author notes that with the current peace process impeded and a pandemic threatening the state, the situation in Somalia is likely to worsen, if not addressed timely.
The research paper focuses primarily on the different phases of diplomatic relations between Iran and Israel – two strategic states of the Middle East. The author highlights the strategic role of Russia as a mediator between the two states to show how in order to pursue their national interests, states play out their part in international politics with direct bearing on other states at the national and international level.
Being one of the longest conflicts in the Middle East, the Israel-Palestine conflict has remained in the eye of the international media. The author notes that the news coverage of the conflict has never been neutral. Through an analysis of the news coverage of the BBC, The New York Times, The Times of India, and Al-Jazeera, she reveals how misrepresentation, framing, linguistic determinism, and media manipulation can be observed in the news coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. While this media manipulation has benefited them and served their interests, it has impacted how the audience of specific media outlets views the conflict.
To incorporate the Middle East in its sphere of influence, the United States has either directly or indirectly intervened in the Middle East. The author notes that America’s foreign policy in the Middle East included meddling in the political affairs of many countries in the region, and installing and assisting in radicalization and sectarianism just for its own geostrategic and economic interests. This approach, along with the Israel-Iran rivalry and the Shia-Sunni rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, has prevented peace from being established in the region. Ultimately, the Middle East has turned into a battleground for sectarian conflicts, proxy wars, and instability.
The ongoing civil war in Yemen has aggravated the plight of Yemeni children. Despite the state being a signatory of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government of Yemen has completely failed to preserve the basic rights of the children. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has put the physical and mental health of an entire generation at stake. The author, Farhan Ijaz, notes that the warring parties have committed grave human rights violations, deprived the children of their right to an education, and forced them to take up arms. Furthermore, due to the war, the number of internally displaced children, the outbreaks of infectious diseases, child marriages, and child labor in Yemen have increased at an unprecedented rate.
Technology has played an important role in shaping international politics. During the Cold War, both superpowers, that is, the Soviet Union and the United States were involved in the strategic rivalry and the arms race, with both trying to undermine the other’s defense capabilities. Russia has built many surface-to-air batteries and has now developed highly advanced missile defense systems such as the S-400 missile defense system. During the 2018 summit in New Delhi, India signed a deal with Russia for 5 units of the Russian S-400 defense system which, the author believes, can negatively affect the strategic stability of South Asia.
The violence, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslims in the contemporary era is the continuation of the rivalry between the East and the West since the times of the Crusades. The author notes that the prejudice against Muslims can be traced back to medieval and crusader literature. She explains that crusader orientalism and the politicization of literature by the elite sowed the seeds of this biasness, by regarding Muslims as “infidels”, “black pagans”, “sub-humans”, “polluters of the Christian church”, and “aggressive”. Furthermore, the use of literature and art as a tool for manipulation has ensured the persistence of Islamophobia in the 21st century.
On 3rd January 2020, the United States killed top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. The assassination of Soleimani is attributed to the historic rivalry between Iran and the US, the US agenda to lower the influence of Iran in the region, and Trump’s aggressive and dominant personality. His assassination has a huge impact not only on the politics and relations between Iran and the US but also in the region. This research paper seeks to find the reason for the US’s assassination of Qasem Soleimani.
This article is aimed at explaining the fractured relationship between China and the United States during Trump’s term in office. The author explores different conflicts of this era which include the trade war and the 5G race, among others. The future of Sino-US relations depends on how respective administrations will steer the conflict.
Since the Cold War, the US and India have signed a series of strategic agreements, strengthening their alliance. The US-India nexus stems from the threat of a rising China in the international arena. The author, Muhammad Abubaker, notes that the US has capitalized on the Indian regional aspirations and effectively used India to advance America’s strategic goals in Asia vis-à-vis China. He explains that this strategic cooperation between the two powers has impacted China, Pakistan, and the Asian region as a whole. It has aggravated Pakistan’s security dilemma and forced it out of the American bloc. The insecurity caused by this has compelled Pakistan to strengthen its relations with China and look for an ally in Russia.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is recognized as an important aspect of increasing the employability of workers. However, the author notes that the current model of TVET employed in Pakistan places more emphasis on domain-specific expertise, in an unpredictable world where transferrable skills are necessary for job security. To reform the TVET system he proposes a competency-based approach, along with the incorporation of job crafting behavior and transferrable skills, to be used in TVET in the pre-employment phase, not only will the employability of workers increase but so will the job security and their motivation to work.
The Balkan states, comprising of multiple ethnic groups, used to constitute a unified nation under the Ottoman Empire – and before that, the Byzantine Empire. Despite their ethnic and cultural diversity, the Balkans co-existed peacefully, and even had inter-communal relations. However, this changed due to the spread of nationalism by Western-influenced political elites. By analyzing the writings of Ogier Ghislain de Busbecq, Mark Mazower, and Andrew Watchel, Hurain Sheikh, explains how this nationalism created homogeneous sentiments within a heterogeneous population. This nationalism caused them to turn against one another and demand physical boundaries. She notes that this not only resulted in mass ethnic cleansing, but also embedded hatred so deep within the hearts of the Balkans, that it has passed on from one generation to the next.