Salman Rafi Sheikh

Why the US wouldn’t Ease Iran Sanctions

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Past two weeks saw the US officials moving from first issuing an alert to their military commanders to make plans…

On Turkey’s New Plans for Syria

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That Turkey was forced to do yet another deal with Russia to avoid a military humiliation in Syria unmistakably showed the limitations of using military means to achieve its cardinal objectives. While the spread of COVID-19 may change the military equation and affect the possibilities of conducting direct operations, there is no gainsaying that Turkey’s plans for Syria largely remain interventionist…

In the “Oil War”, Washington Blinks First to Survive

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The “oil war” started by the Saudis (and the US) has, within a matter of weeks, already led to a change in the narrative from purportedly establishing ‘shale oil dominance’ to ‘energy market management’ and avert a crisis that could ultimately destroy the very shale oil industry of the US. This resulted in the US president  holding a phone conversation with Russia…

Riyadh’s “Oil War” on Russia has some Global Objectives

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The on-going Saudi ‘oil war’ with Russia has its roots in the logic of increasingly using natural resources for geo-political and geo-economic purposes. While this is not something entirely new, the latest push comes against the backdrop of increasing competition between the US and Russia for global leadership roles and the former’s attempts at forcing the latter out…

Is Afghan “Peace” Crumbling Already?

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Whereas the US-Taliban ‘truce deal’ is historic in many ways, the fact that real peace in Afghanistan remains hostage to a lot more complex power dynamics than the US war has become sharply evident ever since the announcement of the deal. The Ghani administration has already rejected the part of the deal about the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners…

Why has NATO Failed to Exploit Turk-Russia “Tensions” in Syria?

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In any other sort of circumstances, the NATO countries from Europe and North America would have rushed to help Turkey fight the “Russian invaders” in Syria and accomplish their avowed mission. This, however, did not happen when Turkey and Russia came “eye ball to eye ball” in Syria over the question of the liberation and control of Syria’s…

Moscow Accord: Is Turkey Genuinely Trying to Establish Peace in Syria?

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Whereas the almost 6 hours long meeting between Erdogan and Putin did produce a ceasefire and resumed joint Russia-Turkey patrols of the M-4 highway, there is little gainsaying that Erdogan’s push for a meeting in Moscow resulted from a growing realisation with regards to the increasing difficulty of militarily holding the Syrian territories…

The West is Falling Apart

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While the US officials continue to claim that the US-Europe alliance is functioning as usual, the fact that the post-World War Two arrangement is falling apart is becoming evident with each passing day. This was pretty obvious at the latest Munich security conference. While this even has traditionally the current administration… For we know that this shift began a while ago, and it will continue even after…

Turkey: Why is the ‘Sick Man of Europe’ itching in Syria?

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If Turkey’s Erdogan had some ‘neo-Ottoman’ dreams, they seem to have been almost fully shattered by the fast-pace Russia-Syria offensive in norther Syria and recovery of the territory hitherto being controlled by the so-called ‘rebel’ forces, including those being funded by Turkey ever since the beginning of the ‘civil-war’ in Syria. An analysis of the evolution of Turkey’s policies in Syria…

What is the US’ New ‘Central Asia Strategy’ All About?

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While rolling out new strategies regarding strategically important regions in Asia is a US policy tradition, the fact that the latest ‘Central Asia Strategy’ document coincides with an imminent peace deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan shows that the cardinal purpose of the US’ war in Afghanistan, which was to maintain a strong military presence and…

Where does Turkey stand in the Syrian Endgame?

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Whereas the mainstream western and Arab media have been claiming a ‘serious rift’ between Russia and Turkey over the death of Turkish soldiers in a Syrian offensive in Idlib, this is far from the case. While there is no gainsaying that Russian and Syrian interests do not always converge fully and that there are some contentious areas, this then is also quite…

Russia Takes the Syrian Endgame a Step Closer to Success

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In the last week of January, US Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffery, travelled to Europe to step up US economic pressure on Syria due to its ‘attacks’ on Idlib. While it may sound strange why the US would sanction Syria for its resounding successes against al-Qaeda jihadi groups, the fact of the matter is that…


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