Salman Rafi Sheikh

How Exactly did the US Lose the Trade War With China?

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The ongoing trade war between the US and China has caused both countries economic damage, leading to lower exports for China (by almost 25%) and  higher prices for consumers in the US, but economic and financial losses aren’t the most significant negative aspects. And, whereas both the US and China are beginning to signal a possibility…

How the US is Losing Itself out in the ASEAN

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While the US continues to target China for its assertive policies in the South China Sea, the US still continues to lose itself out in the ASEAN region. This is a result not so much of the way the Chinese are expanding their political and economic reach, but mainly an outcome of the US’ own handling of the region and its failure to meet the ASEAN countries…

JCPOA Saga: Iran Will Act if the Lame E3 Doesn’t

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Ever since the US’ unilateral exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as JCPOA, the EU members of the deal – France, Britain and Germany (E3) – have been trying to find ways to salvage the deal. The E3 first restored to ‘defying’ the US and created a so-called “special purpose vehicle” called INSTEX for Europe-Iran trade…

Yemen: A Beleaguered Saudia Opting for a ‘Political Solution’?

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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 Syria

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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 Recovery

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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 Russia in Syria

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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 Surprise in Syria

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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, Ankara-Moscow Relations Stay Rock-solid

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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 Syria

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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…


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