Salman Rafi Sheikh

Russia Walking a Fine Line between Turkey �...

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The politics of ‘safe-zone’, a stretch of Syrian territory along Turkey-Syria border jointly managed by Turkey and the U.S., has certainly given a new twist to the Syrian end-game. Most certainly, the US’ encouragement of this ‘safe-zone’ is part of its plan to win back its…

Turkey is Back at It Again in Syria

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For the good part of almost 7 years of war, Syria has seen tremendous upheavals both internally and externally. Even now when the terrorist groups have almost been defeated and the foreign-supported so-called ‘rebel’ groups are also joining the peace-process, the geo-politics around…

Israel’s Undeclared Air War on Iran in Syria

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Until few weeks ago, there was an undeclared war that Israel had waged on Iran in Syria to force Iranian presence out the country. While the war was officially ‘undeclared’, various pronouncements by the top-rank Israeli officials confirmed that there was a war going-on in Syria. However, a number of statements made by Israeli officials would indicate that the…

What is NATO’s New Mission in Iraq?

The newly launched ‘NATO Mission in Iraq’ has a clear geo-political underpinning to it which aims to disturb the delicate edifice of peace that Russia, Turkey and Iran have been building for last two years or so. Although the new mission has been announced at a time when the US…

Despite Reassurances, the US Can’t Change the...

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The US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s visit to the Middle East has come at a time when the US politics at both domestic and international levels is facing extreme contradictions. There is a government shutdown at home, and at international level, Donald Trump and his team are…

Abusive and Disastrous: The Two Adjectives of...

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The US is considering to pull about half of its current fighting force out of Afghanistan in order to pave the way for an eventual withdrawal. The RAND corporation has even prepared a peace-plan, which it shared with diplomats in Kabul, according to which, apart from other things…

Syria: Why the Reluctant Withdrawal?

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In an apparent about-turn, the Trump administration is re-thinking its decision to rapidly withdraw from Syria in order to, what its officials have said, ensure that the ISIS is completely destroyed and that the Turks don’t attack Syrian Kurds. While it is completely erroneous to see…

The Geo-politics of the ‘Arab Embrace’ of Syr...

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In the Syrian war, Syria was hardly the actual target ever. Syria, as it stands evidently exposed now, was only a battle-field against Iran and Russia, and the target was to end, once and for all, their influence and presence, both economic and military, in the Middle East to leave the region open for Saudi and American expansion further into Asia. ISIS, as is now believed even…

US Exit from Syria was Bound to Happen

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The US president Donald Trump’s decision to pull the US military forces out of Syria has certainly surprised many in the world, especially those closest to him i.e., James Mattis, the Pentagon and the hawks who wish to continue to use Syria as a proxy battlefield against Iran and…

Afghanistan: Negotiations or a US Military De...

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While the Trump administration may think otherwise and even take the credit for initiating dialogue with the Taliban on an unprecedented level with a view to pulling the US out of Afghanistan, there can hardly be any doubt that negotiations, after 17 years of continuous war, are nothing…

The Facade of Yemen Talks

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Despite all the positivity that one can extract from the first ever face-to-face bi-lateral talks between Yemen’s warring parties, the ceasefire agreements reached, and the reported ‘progress’ on peace and prison swap made, there is little hope that peace would eventually triumph. While this may…

The Case for Increasing US Military Spending ...

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Despite being the world’s biggest military power, spending a lot more than the combined defence budgets of China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, France, India and Japan, the US hasn’t been able to decisively win a single war in last many decades. Afghanistan is in total chaos…


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