Salman Rafi Sheikh

Yemen: A Beleaguered Saudia Opting for a ‘Pol...

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While originally a war waged by a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthis, Yemen quickly turned into a war being fought as much between the Houthis and the coalition as within the coalition itself, particularly between Saudi Arabi and the UAE. Mutually conflicting interests within the coalition rather than the alleged Iranian support for the Houthis were…

Afghanistan: An On-Going Story of War Crimes

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While the Afghan peace process has been stalled and the US forces have been busy dropping more bombs on the Afghanistan than any other time in the last one decade or so of the Afghan war, the story of gross human rights violations and even potential war crimes, too, continues to unfold in the country. With more civilian and unarmed…

BC: Iran Maneuvers to “Contain the US” in Syr...

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Apart from Russia, it is Iran that has a legitimate presence in Syria, and has fought directly to prevent the fall of Assad from power. Over the last six years of Syrian war, Iran’s role and character has expanded and changed from sending military advisers and fighters to becoming a new bone of contention between Russia and the US over its future presence and role…

“Robbing” Syria’s Oil to Thwart Syria’s Recov...

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In the name of what the US president called “securing the oil” or what the Pentagon chose to describe as an attempt to “protect” Syria’s oil, the US is basically indulging in what can, in simple terms, be described as purposeful pillaging of Syria’s natural resources. There are three objectives that the US aims to achieve through this “control…

Syria: Who is Winning the End-Game?

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Despite the US president’s claim to have killed the ISIS leader and thus prove his country’s relevance to the Syrian crisis, the US ability to influence the ground realities in such a way as to shape the end-game to its own advantage are limited. The death of Baghdadi is highly unlikely to win the US a seat in the Russian-led peace processes, although this…

How the US is Trying to Play Turkey against R...

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Whereas Trump’s telephonic conversation with Erdogan opened the way for a US exit from (northern) Syria and Turkey’s subsequent incursions into Syria against Kurdish militias, the very fallout of Turkish operation in Syria has led to events that appear to be at the centre of US efforts to ‘appease’ Turkey in such a way as to not only to make amends for previous US policies but also to…

The US Didn’t Foresee a Russia-Turkey Surpris...

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When the US president tweeted about withdrawing from Syria and letting Turkey move its forces in to take control of areas hitherto under Kurdish control, Donald Trump was probably thinking of Turkey as more of a ‘NATO-ally’ allowing him to fulfill his promise of ending America’s “useless wars” in the Middle East. Little did he seem to know, as the turn…

Amid Turkey’s Operation in Syria, Ankar...

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While the mainstream Western media has spent last two years or so predicting a ‘downfall’ of Turkish-Russian relations because of some (perceived) fundamental strategic differences between the two countries in Syria, the actual trajectory of their bi-lateral relations has been just the opposite of what seemed…

On the Geo-Politics of Turkish Incursion into...

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Despite the fact that Turkey has been defying the US as of recently with regard to its purchase of Russian S-400 missile system, the US president has finally conceded to its NATO partner’s long-standing demand of invading northern Syria and wipe out the Kurdish militias. This is a critical decision since Kurdish militias were…

BC: Saudia-Israel Alliance: A Quest for Ultim...

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The news of Saudi-Israeli alliance should not have come as a surprise to any close observer of inter-state relations and of the manner in which geo-political alliances, overt and covert, are formed. It is a well known fact that when interests of two ‘enemy’ states converge, especially because of the common threat they face from a common enemy, they tend…

Is the US Really Preparing for War with Iran?

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While the mainstream western media has given extensive coverage to Iranian president Rouhani’s refusal to secretly meet with the US president— something that the US president must have been wanted to do to defuse crisis—there hasn’t been significant or even moderate coverage of some highly significant military…

Elections Can’t Bring Peace to Afghanistan

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Notwithstanding the enthusiasm surrounding the Afghan presidential polls, there is little hope that the new government will be able to make any meaningful progress towards bringing peace to Afghanistan. Fundamentally, Afghanistan’s strings continue to be pulled from Washington and the question of whether the 19 years old war…


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