Topics of Interest

Iran’s Game in Yemen

“In the past four years, Saudi Arabia has used its military to intervene in both Bahrain and Yemen. Its rationale in both cases: To protect those Arab countries from “Persian subversion.” In its discussions of foreign policy, Riyadh portrays Iran as a hegemonic power whose nefarious support of its Shia Houthi proxy precipitated a civil war in Yemen—a struggle the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, describes as being “between good and evil.” But Saudi Arabia is grossly exaggerating Iran’s power in Yemen to justify its own expansionist ambitions. Iran is not the cause of the civil war, nor are the Houthis its proxy. Chaos, not Iran, controls Yemen. With no vital economic or strategic interests in Yemen, Iran has, for the last few years, only opportunistically supported the Houthis to create a political sphere of influence.” – Mohsen Milani, Foreign Affairs

With Ghani in Kabul, will relations with Pakistan change?

“There are signs that the long-fraught relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan could improve, following the change of leadership in Kabul. Reciprocation from Islamabad will, however, be needed.” – Farooq Yousaf, Center for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad

Why the framework nuclear agreement with Iran is good for both sides

After months of negotiations, Iran and six world powers have finally reached a framework agreement on limiting the country’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The deal announced on Thursday is intended as the basis for a comprehensive agreement to be worked out by the end of June.

Netanyahu’s hard line on Iran: A four-point reality check

“Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday urged U.S. lawmakers to reject the nuclear deal being negotiated between Iran and world powers, warning that it would help Iran acquire nuclear weapons and threaten Israel’s survival. Iran’s regime could not be trusted to abide by any agreement, he warned, and he urged the United States to increase pressure on Tehran until it agreed to dismantle much of its nuclear program and change its regional behavior. The White House has long warned that abandoning the current negotiating framework would open a path to war — an argument he rejected. But the Israeli leader’s characterization of the deal and of Iran’s current nuclear efforts have long been challenged by Western governments involved in the talks.” – Al Jazeera America

Kazakhstan Takes Control Of Russian Military Testing Range

“Kazakhstan has reached an agreement with Russia to take over most of a Russian military training facility in far western Kazakhstan. The deal represents the latest step in Kazakhstan’s efforts to regain control over the many Soviet-legacy military and other strategic facilities that Russia still operates in the country.” – Eurasianet

Russia: With Progress On Nuclear Program, Iran Could Join SCO

“Iran may be admitted into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization this summer if it makes progress in resolving disputes over its nuclear program, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, has said. It already seems clear that India and Pakistan, who have both long sought SCO membership, will be admitted at the organization’s summit this July in Ufa, Russia. Iran — which also has been trying for years to enter the SCO — has been hampered by the fact that it is under international sanctions related to its nuclear program.” – Eurasianet

Puncturing The Myths Of Radical Islam In Central Asia

“The notion that authoritarian governments and their enablers abroad cynically exaggerate the threat of radical Islamism in Central Asia has become widely accepted. But even well-meaning analysts of Central Asia tend to perpetuate similar myths about politics and Islam, two scholars argue in a new report.” – Eurasianet

Pakistan Has Launched the Real War on Terrorism

“While Europe pretends to actively fight against terrorism by rallying multi-million marches in the French capital and the US carries on air strikes against ISIL militants without much success, there are countries that face a persistent terrorist threat, therefore they are taking a lot of efforts to genuinely fight terrorism with certain degree of success, instead of attaining mere propaganda results.” – Victor Titov, MSNBC International

Russia Had Some Major Diplomatic Wins This Year

“Since Russia invaded Crimea last summer, the West has relied on a strategy of economic sanctions and international isolation to compel the Kremlin to withdraw its support for the rebels in eastern Ukraine. But Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent series of diplomatic successes – in particular, with Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan – has all but negated the effectiveness of this strategy.” – Richard Weitz, World Economic Forum

Taliban Besiege Pakistan School, Leaving 153 Dead

” First the Pakistani Taliban bombed or burned over 1,000 schools. Then they shot Malala Yousafzai, the teenage advocate for girls’ rights. But on Tuesday, the Taliban took their war on education to a ruthless new low with an assault on a crowded school in Peshawar that killed 145 people — 132 of them uniformed schoolchildren — in the deadliest single attack in the group’s history.” – The New York Times