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Around May 21, the Afghan intelligence arrested a senior Taliban commander moments after he crossed the border from Iran to Afghanistan. The smooth capture stunned the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force (IRGC-QF), which until now has not faced difficulties in transporting Taliban fighters across the border. The arrest did not register in the American media, but it could be the latest sign for how Iran is positioning Afghanistan to impact U.S. politics ahead of the November election, with reports of shifting of some of its proxy fighters from Syria to the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. …


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He improved America’s ties with traditional Cold War allies in the Muslim world, pushed Arab-Israel peace forward for the first time in quarter-century, did not start new American wars in Arab and Muslim-majority regions, and made progress on Afghanistan and Iran.

This is an impressive laundry list of achievements for a first-time president and a first-time politician. In just four years.

President Donald J. …


For peace in this critical region, India and Pakistan must end Kashmir conflict. India’s annexation of Kashmir on 5 August 2019 is a watershed. On this first anniversary, in this final part in the series, Ahmed Quraishi explores opportunities to end this intractable conflict.

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US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate the Kashmir conflict between Pakistan and India marked a turning point. For starters, no American president has come out so strongly in favor of resolving the Kashmir dispute. …


For peace in this critical region, India and Pakistan must end Kashmir conflict. India’s annexation of Kashmir on 5 August 2019 is a watershed. On this first anniversary, in this second part in the series, Ahmed Quraishi explores global reactions.

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Who could have thought that India would see the day when religious violence in that country would overshadow visits by top leaders from America and Japan?

This is exactly what happened in December 2019 when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a visit due to violence on Indian streets over a discriminatory citizenship law. And in February 2020, when the security team of US President Donald Trump, working with Indian counterparts, skipped the Indian capital altogether for the first time by a visiting American president, because New Delhi was not safe due to religion-motivated violence. …


For peace in a critical region, India and Pakistan must end Kashmir conflict. This series explores some ideas on the occasion of the first anniversary of India’s annexation of Kashmir.

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India’s credentials as a responsible member of the international community faced a serious challenge in 2019, and continue to do so into 2020. New Delhi, long seen as a possible anchor for stability in Asia, plunged the region and the world in a territorial and religious dispute under the shadow of a nuclear war.

India did this by taking a brash unilateral action in Kashmir on 5 August 2019, revoking semi-autonomous rule in a disputed territory, and inviting Indian citizens — a billion of them — to throng Kashmir to buy land and turn roughly 13-million Kashmiris into a minority. And since India is predominantly Hindu and Kashmir is predominantly Muslim, this is a recipe for a Bosnia-style genocide that would drag in nuclear-armed neighbors Pakistan and China, and likely other powers. …


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Last week, Pakistani and Iranian army chiefs talked terrorism over the phone. But the official readouts by their respective militaries could not be more different. This is the latest sign of simmering tensions between Tehran and Islamabad that have wider implications for next-door Afghanistan and the Gulf.

Around the same time that the Iranian and Pakistani commanders spoke, Pakistan’s foreign minister stood in the parliament and Iran of pushing up to 5,000 Pakistanis — visiting Iran’s Shia Muslim shrines — through the border despite pleas to wait. Aside from the blatant mistreatment of Pakistani visitors, the Iranian move introduced COVID-19 into Pakistan, and caused a security alert. Tehran is likely to have used the confusion to ‘return’ some IRGC-trained in the Zeynabioun Brigade who fought in Syria. …


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The world has just come out of the petroleum-industry equivalent of the Cuban Missile Crisis, marked by heightened diplomatic suspense and international high-powered backchannel diplomacy. In its aftermath, a surprising and welcome convergence between major powers — to stabilize the oil market — leads to both cautious optimism and fears about calm that precedes a storm.

From the streets of San Antonio in the United States, to Dubai, and to Wuhan in China, late-April and early-May traffic data suggests the oil market is on the way to recovery and demand will gradually rise, and that the worst of the oil demand destruction is behind us. But will it ever get back to the 100 million barrel per day mark? The odds are stacked against a full recovery. Work and life habits are changing. Work-from-home and meetings-over-video-conferencing models have made a strong entry. …


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Who could have thought that India would see the day when religious violence in that country would overshadow visits by the top leaders of America and Japan? But this is exactly what happened in December 2019, when Shinzo Abe canceled a visit due to violence on Indian streets. And this is how an article in Time magazine described the American president’s stay in India two months after Abe canceled his trip:

“It takes a lot to overshadow a foreign visit by a sitting US president. India managed the feat this week, as Delhi was plunged into violent chaos as protests over India’s controversial new citizenship law reached disturbing new levels.” …


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[NOTE This article appeared in March 2002 as a cover story for the prestigious Newsline magazine, published from Karachi, Pakistan, and written five months after 9/11. It is reposted here with the original link at the bottom of the article to help journalists, researchers, political junkies understand where Pakistan’s military doctrine stood on Afghanistan before the Afghan war started going south. It provides an insight into the strategic debate in Islamabad in those early days of the Afghan quagmire, just before relations between United States and Pakistan deteriorated over conflicting Afghan priorities.]

If states are known by the enemies they have, then Pakistan has largely been known by the very country it seeks to avoid: India. …


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Pakistan’s largest media house, the Geo/Jang Media Group, is facing pressures that could end with dismantling this media empire. The country has a robust TV news scene, but Geo/Jang network is the oldest and the most professional. Now, its longtime editor [media mogul, to be accurate] is in jail, in a real estate case that goes back 34 years. Social media trolls are building a narrative that paints him as a traitor to the state. …

About

Ahmed Quraishi

Journalist. National security, human rights, crisis communication. Keywords: brief & sharp. www.linkedin.com/in/ahmedquraishi

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