The dynamic relationship between refugee flow, rebel groups, and civil wars are often used by states to justify the rejection and expulsion of refugees. While respecting the principle of state sovereignty, Shazeen Waseem discusses how it is necessary to establish a depoliticised and law-based framework to properly address the situation of the millions of refugees worldwide.
At the NATO Summit this year in Madrid, the 2022 Strategic Concept was presented and adopted by the alliance’s representatives. The latest strategic doctrine underscores one of the most significant policy shifts in NATO’s deterrence policy since the end of the Cold War. The document declared the People’s Republic of China as a security challenge. The alliance has now also categorically recognized the Russian Federation as the most significant and direct threat to the security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region.
Built between 1984 and 1995, Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and one of the top 10 largest power plants in the world. The plant was taken over by the Russian forces on 4th March, 2022, consequently severing its connection to the Ukrainian grid. As it is located right in the middle of the war zone, concerns of a radiation disaster have been mounting.
The US has had a turbulent relationship with Pakistan since the country’s independence in 1947. Over the course of 75 years, minor changes have occurred in the way bilateral exchanges are conducted between the two nations. Despite the rollercoaster relationship, the US has assisted Pakistan by providing necessary loans, humanitarian aid, and military equipment during exigent situations. Moreover, the US is a major foreign direct investor in Pakistan’s economy, and its largest export partner. However, bilateral relations between the two have been deteriorating because of scathing remarks and underhanded activities.
Due to its strategic location, Pakistan is a country that the Central Asian Republics cannot ignore. Areej Haider aims to explain the recent access to Gwadar for Tajikistan, its importance for both states, and future implications.
Facing one of its toughest winters, Europe looks to the Gulf countries to provide it with the energy that Russia had been providing for a long time. Previously, the EU’s inclination for renewables and climate change—and GCC’s immutable investment in fossil fuels—stood in the way of an energy partnership. Suhaib Shaukat explains the opportunities and challenges of cooperation between the EU and the GCC states. Some of the glaring obstacles include geopolitical decisions and critical infrastructure needs.
Two former Soviet Union republics, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, have been engaged in sporadic border clashes since 2017. The most recent escalation of the conflict happened a day before the SCO Summit in Samarkand. The reason isn’t entirely clear. According to Amna Asif, it could be because of political motivations, or even disagreements on the demarcation of the territorial boundaries.
While Russia does not have complete political or military control over the four Ukrainian territories—Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk and Luhansk—if the annexation process is confirmed, Moscow declared that Ukraine’s attempts to retake its own land would be seen as strikes at Russia itself. This annexation followed referenda held in all four regions, where the majority ‘voted’ to join Russia. This ‘voting’ has been declared invalid by most of the Western world and is likely to be the subject of much scrutiny for a long time.
As of September 2022, the Nord Stream pipelines have been damaged. The Nord Stream leaks have been internationally scrutinized, with states blaming either the US or Russia for the incident. Maryam Ibrahim asserts that regardless of who’s to blame, one thing is certain: the leaks were not the result of a natural calamity. She further takes into account the different factors involved in the repair of the damaged pipelines to assess how long it’ll take to get them back to work.
The 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 77) opened on 13 September 2022, and the week-long debates were heavily dominated by one conflict—the Russia-Ukraine war. It drowned out other important matters like the food crisis, the energy crisis, and the conflicts elsewhere. Moreover, many leaders were displeased with the West’s bias towards Ukraine.
In light of the recent import ban on Russia, European countries are facing a severe energy crisis. As the fuel hike persists, it is becoming increasingly impossible to maintain efficiency while being environmentally conscious. Due to this, many countries have reverted back to extracting the primary source of their energy from coal. While Abrish Nayyar highlights the need to revert to fossil fuels, she also discusses the environmental devastation that such usage will cause.
The 22nd annual summit of the Council of Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held on September 15 and 16 against the backdrop of a geopolitical upheaval challenging the world order. The leaders discussed regional and global challenges and resolved to achieve common goals of climate resilience, connectivity, digital sovereignty, peace, security, and economic development, notwithstanding the conflicts among member countries. Prospects of multilateral cooperation were discussed at the Samarkand meeting, but of greater interest were the side-line meetings between heads of states, especially between Xi and Putin.
Though the Russia-Ukraine war has closed the door to the Western oil markets for Moscow, it has given the oil-exporter access to Asia’s oil-scarce states. Regardless of the Western sanctions, Russia’s oil production hasn’t been significantly impacted. On the contrary, the state increased its oil exports in April and May 2022. Maryam Ibrahim notes that the conflict has initiated an energy cold war, dividing oil importers into three categories. She asserts that where oil is concerned, states may even discard alliances.
Safia Mansoor discusses the concepts of air power and air denial before relating them to the Ukraine war. She describes Russia’s strategy and weaponry to attain air superiority. She also explains Ukraine’s air denial strategy through the use of various missiles, drones, and air defence systems. The article concludes by highlighting the key causes of Russia’s unsuccessful attempt to control the sky, and the evolving nature of air warfare.
Amid climate concerns, states are now devising ways to change and control the weather. However, this initiative could tempt global powers into using weather to gain military advantage. Muhammad Sajjad and Saba Kiran review international frameworks and several studies to demonstrate how weather modification technology can be used in future wars.
Khawaja Obaid ur Rehman explains the concept of ‘hostage diplomacy’ – linking it to the recent arrest of US basketball player Brittney Griner who got arrested in Russia. He also applies the concept of ‘prisoner’s dilemma’ to show just how tricky the practice of imprisoning foreign nationals to achieve specific national interests can be.
After 6 months of continuous fighting, the Russia-Ukraine war shows no signs of ending. Aamina Ikram notes that despite Russia commanding the world’s second-largest military, Ukraine has been able to fight back – thanks to the West’s endless support. The war has already taken the lives of more than 5,000 people, and has struck a huge blow to the global economy. The world is also wary of a nuclear catastrophe emanating from Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is currently occupied by Russian forces.