Salman Rafi Sheikh

Saudia-UAE Rivalry Upends ‘Gulf Unity’


With Saudia’s strategic partnership with the UAE largely unravelling in the face of a directly growing competition and rivalry between them — which in turn is an outcome of the UAE’s own bid to position itself as the new leader of the ‘Sunni Muslim world’, and Saudia’s bid to ensure its survival as the traditional hegemon – ‘Gulf unity’ is facing an unprecedented crisis…

The US Withdrawal Isn’t the End of the War in Afghanistan


Even through the US/NATO forces have largely withdrawn from Afghanistan, and the Taliban (banned in RussiaDahJTkfw are increasingly advancing towards the northern provinces to expand and consolidate their rule, war in Afghanistan in highly unlikely to end in the coming weeks and months. Whereas a number of Afghan militias have vowed to ally with Kabul…

How Different is Biden’s China Strategy from Trump’s?


The Joe Biden administration has been withdrawing its troops, missile defense systems and fighter jet squadrons from the Middle East for past few months to focus more on southeast Asia to deal with what the Pentagon calls the US’ “number one enemy”, China. With the Biden administration, which came into power promising to start a new era of relations with China…

Why’s Europe Divided on Positive Ties with Russia?


In a recent EU summit held in Brussels, the bloc overwhelmingly rejected joint French-German proposal to normalise EU-Russia relations. The bloc, instead of paying heed to the Franco-German message of redefining EU-Russia relations as a means to increase the bloc’s strategic autonomy in the international arena and reduce its dependence on the US…

Why Reiving the JCPOA is Difficult for the US


While the election of Ebrahim Raisi, who is known as a “hardliner” and “conservative” as opposed to the “moderate” Raisani, as Iran’s president could make a compromise difficult in the on-going negotiations between the US and Iran for reviving the JCPOA, the election of Raisi has also added a new variable of fear to the equation that could alter the whole landscape…

Saudia’s Economic Transformation Eyes Riyadh’s Regional Dominance


With Saudi Arabia’s ‘Vision 2030’ already in full motion, it has become increasingly clear that the purpose of this massive and multi-billion dollar economic transformation plan is not just to transform and diversify Saudia’s oil-dependent economy; rather a cardinal objective of this plan is to restore Saudia Arabia’s central position within…

Why’s the US Reinventing NATO/Europe against China?


The recently held G7 summit in the UK and NATO summit in Brussels effectively demonstrate how the Western alliance under the US leadership is expanding its ideological horizon to counter China. While the alliance remains anti-Russia for reasons that are both historical and geo-politically relevant, the fact that NATO is now particularly focused on China shows how…

On Iran’s Expanding Ties with Russia and the EEU


While the US is in initial talks with Iran to revive the JCPOA and there is a possibility of Iran’s re-entry in the European/western markets, it remains that a fundamental shift in the form of a ‘look East’ policy has already taken place. While China and Iran have already signed a multi-billion dollar deal as a means to integrate Iran with China’s Blet & Road Initiative…

Why Washington Cannot Rein Ankara Back in the Western Orbit


While there is a lot of enthusiasm in the Joe Biden led Washington regarding reining Ankara back in the US-led western alliance, it remains that the wedge that today exists between the two countries may be too wide for Biden and Erdogan to fill through their leveraging their ‘old friendship.’ For one thing, Turkey’s troubled ties with the US…

In the Fight against China, Europe Offers the US no Special Advantage


While the trouble brought by the Trump administration to the US-EU relations was expected to disappear on its own after Trump’s defeat in 2020 US presidential elections, this has not happened even after 5 months of Biden’s inauguration as the US president. While Europe has on the whole welcomed Biden presidency, it remains…

The Biden Administration Ends ‘the Era of Engagement’ with China


When Joe Biden was running his election campaign for presidential election, he targeted Donald Trump for his ‘trade war’ with China, calling it a ‘disaster’ for the US businesses and agriculture. Biden aimed to reverse Trump’s China policy and promised to start an era of ‘engagement’ through intensive diplomacy. However…

With an Eye on China, the US Un-sanctions Nord Stream 2


When the US president Joe Biden recently waived sanctions on the company overseeing the Nord Stream 2 project, it came as a surprise to many. The decision was largely seen as the Biden administration’s way to ‘normalise’ US ties with Germany after their bi-lateral relations having been very consistently torpedoed by the Trump administration. But the question…

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