Topics of Interest

“The Afghan presidential election on Saturday appeared to be substantially cleaner than the widely discredited 2009 election, according to complaint figures released Tuesday by the authorities here. None of the leading candidates have said so far that they would dispute this year’s balloting, whose results have not yet been announced. Widespread complaints about ballot-box stuffing in 2009 led the country’s Independent Election Complaints Commission to order a recount, which cost President Hamid Karzai the outright majority that he initially appeared to have secured, though he still won a second term.” – The New York Times

War and Unrest Provide for a Scarred Campaign Trail in Afghanistan

“There is much about Afghanistan’s presidential campaigns that Americans would probably find familiar. Chartered jets carry candidates to corners of the country where they would ordinarily never set foot, political operatives try to spin skeptical reporters, and rich men hand over bundles of cash to curry favor with their next potential president. But this is Afghanistan, where democracy must be conducted in wartime.” – The New York Times

How have economic sanctions impacted daily life in Iran? | PBS

How the New Great Game Will be Played | Counter Punch

“[F]rom now on, if the House of Saud sees Iran as a threat, it will have to come up with its own strategy. And if Israel insists on seeing Iran as an “existential threat” – which is a joke – it will have to deal with it as a strategic problem. If a real consequence of the current shift is that Washington will not fight wars for Saudi or Israeli sake anymore, that’s already a monumental game changer.”

‘Secret’ Pakistani prisoners appear before Supreme Court | BBC

“The military produced the men to reply with a Supreme Court ruling ordering the military to produce the missing persons. Relatives had launched a legal bid to force the military to produce 35 people who had not been seen since being handed over to the military.”

Pakistan army warns of ‘disproportionate response’ in future wars

Pakistan’s official Army Doctrine calls on the country to “invoke disproportionate responses” in future wars with India, a copy of the document obtained by TheHindu has revealed. “The causes of conflict with the potential to escalate to the use of violence,” the classified internal document states, “emanate from the unresolved issue of Kashmir, the violation of treaty arrangements on sharing of natural resources, and the organised and deliberate support by external powers to militant organisations.”

New Pakistan Army Green Book voices fear of India-U.S. axis

The latest edition of the Pakistan Army’s Green Book, a prestigious internal publication with essays by serving officers, reveals mounting fears among its officer corps that the deepening India-United States strategic relationship could pose a threat to the country. Major-General Shaukat Iqbal, one of the most senior officers writing in the 2011 Green Book, describes what he calls an emerging “Indo-U.S. nexus.” – The Hindu, New Delhi

Postulates on Russian-Indian Relations

“India has undoubtedly entered the 21st century alongside the United States and China as a country that can rightfully claim the status of being a center of global influence. There is a good chance that the world’s future will be largely determined by developing relations in the United States – China – India triangle. India’s position in the global political and economic system makes it even more important that Russia attaches particular significance to the development of bilateral relations with this Asian giant.” – Russian International Affairs Council Working Paper No.III, 2013

Ineffective Aid to Central Asia Threatens Russia’s Security

“If Russia fails to streamline and increase its assistance to Central Asia within five years, transborder threats will inevitably increase, with Moscow losing its clout in the region, primarily to Beijing’s benefit.” – Russian International Affairs Council

Pakistan: drones and duplicity

“US drone attacks on Pakistan attract populist political protests. But official Pakistan is being less than honest, with public and private attitudes at variance.” – Saher Naumaan, Open Democracy