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.
In the first half of the 1960s, Congo had been involved in a devastating civil war, which not only resulted in hundreds of thousands of casualties but also laid the foundation for the continuous destruction and exploitation of the state. In her analysis of this crisis, the author, Lyba Mobeen, notes that the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo worsened due to the involvement of Belgium – the former colonizer of Congo– and the two superpowers of that time – the US and the USSR. She explains that, during the Cold War, a proxy war had started in Congo where each of these three states fought to achieve their interests, and played specific roles to bring it under their control.
Over the past few centuries, global trade and economic ties have strengthened, creating an economic interdependence between states. This interdependence, according to economic liberals, is the reason why no war at the scale of the World Wars has occurred since 1945. They argue that global peace is positively proportional to economic interdependence and that economic gains and common interests prevent states from resorting to war. However, the author, Syed Qasim Abbas, refutes this and asserts that the decreasing interest of states in armed conflict is not solely due to economic interdependence, but rather due to the collusion of many phenomena. He explains that while liberals support interdependence’s role in obtaining peace, realists, Leninists, and mercantilists prove that the pursuit of economic gains and interdependence lead to conflict – not peace.
After spending almost three decades as the world’s sole superpower, the United States of America has finally reached the point where its decline begins. The US economic, military, and political prowess is being rivaled by Russia and China. Abdul Majeed, a political researcher and former member of the Youth Parliament of Pakistan, notes that America’s share in the world economy has fallen from 40% in 1960 to 24% in 2019. Whereas, China’s share is increasing due to the massive infrastructure projects it has undertaken in Asia and Africa. Similar to its economic decline, the US has fallen behind Russia and China in technological development, and the 5G and space race. The author argues that the superpower is no longer the ideal democratic state. Not only has it been marked as a flawed democracy for the fifth consecutive year, but it has also lost its ability to militarily protect its allies, and as Russia and China develop, so do the threats to the US hegemony.