Topics of Interest

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

Islamic State’s Footprints in Bannu

PESHAWAR: Footprints of the militant group known as Islamic State have now also started appearing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s town of Bannu, days after similar reports of the extremist group’s presence were received from other parts of the country. – Zahir Shah Sherazi in Dawn

Moving beyond the new deal in Afghanistan

“The establishment of a national unity government in Afghanistan last month was a political deal, but was perhaps the only way out of the protracted electoral dispute in which both presidential candidates claimed victory amid allegations of fraud which had the potential of fracturing the country on ethnic lines. – Shanthie Mariet D’Souza, The Hindustan Times

India and Pakistan Head for Nuke War

“A crisis is brewing between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan that could be their most dangerous ever. India and Pakistan have fought four wars since 1947 and had several crises that went to the brink of war. Both tested nuclear weapons in 1998. Now tensions are escalating between the two again. It began in May, when a heavily armed squad of Pakistani terrorists from Lashkar e Tayyiba (Army of the Pure) attacked India’s consulate in Herat, in western Afghanistan. They planned to massacre Indian diplomats on the eve of the inauguration of India’s new Hindu nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi.” – Bruce Riedel, The Daily Beast

Xi Jinping in India: Is a Breakthrough Possible?

“As emergent major powers, China and India are both in quest of more autonomous and diversified political identities. The relationship with one another must be part of a larger strategic conversation. Without much fuller understandings across the full spectrum of bilateral and regional issues, the possibilities for a lasting accommodation between both countries cannot be realized. A much expanded Chinese role in India’s future development endorsed by both leaders is a necessary and appropriate place to begin. But this week’s deliberations will begin to suggest whether Xi and Modi are also prepared to grasp larger possibilities and pursue them in earnest.” – Jonathan Pllack, Brookings Institution

Water Pressures in Central Asia

“Water has long been a major cause of conflict in Central Asia. Two states – Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – have a surplus; the other three say they do not get their share from the region’s great rivers, the Syr Darya and Amu Darya, which slice across it from the Tien Shan, Pamir Mountains, and the Hindu Kush to the Aral Sea’s remains. Pressures are mounting, especially in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The population in Central Asia has increased by almost ten million since 2000, and limited arable land is being depleted by over-use and outdated farming methods. Extensive corruption and failing infrastructure take further toll, while climate change is likely to have long-term negative consequences. As economies become weaker and states more fragile, heightened nationalism, border disputes, and regional tensions complicate the search for a mutually acceptable solution to the region’s water needs. A new approach that addresses water and related issues through an interlocking set of individually more modest bilateral agreements instead of the chimera of a single comprehensive one is urgently needed.” – International Crisis Group

Tariq Ali: What’s Going On in Pakistan? | Counter Punch

“Those (including me) who had thought that Khan’s new movement might create a political space for something better have been proved wrong. He is demanding the Sharif brothers resign with immediate effect and new elections be organised. … [N]o serious observer of Pakistan politics (including severe critics of the existing order) believes that the elections were that heavily rigged. The Sharif brothers (especially Shahbaz, who runs the Punjab) are masters of guile backed up, when necessary, with plump envelopes stuffed with money. But like it or not, they won the elections, which is why the Baluch parties, the PPP and the Jamaat-i-Islami have not joined the campaign to dethrone them.”

Iran and the P5+1: Getting to “Yes”

“That nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Russia, the UK, U.S. and Germany) were extended beyond the 20 July 2014 deadline was neither unexpected nor unwelcome. The parties had made enough headway to justify the extension, which was envisioned in the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) that was signed in November 2013 and came into force in January, but given the political and technical complexity, they remain far apart on fundamental issues. Unless they learn the lessons of the last six months and change their approach for the next four, they will lose the opportunity for a resolution not just by the new 24 November deadline but for the foreseeable future. Both sides need to retreat from maximalist positions, particularly on Iran’s enrichment program. Tehran should postpone plans for industrial-scale enrichment and accept greater constraints on the number of its centrifuges in return for P5+1 flexibility on the qualitative growth of its enrichment capacity through research and development.” – International Crisis Group