Topics of Interest

Attention Toronto-area colleagues: Event tomorrow: “Researchers at Risk in Central Asia” (webcast and updated speakers list)

Since 16 June 2014 Alexander Sodiqov, a young scholar and PhD student at the University of Toronto, has been in the custody of the security services in Tajikistan. Under contract to conduct academic research for a British-funded project, Sodiqov had just started his research in Khorog, Tajikistan, when his ordeal began. The detention incommunicado of a young scholar has generated an international outcry—from students, from scholars, from universities, from human rights groups, and from foreign governments. In this global discussion, held in at least nine settings, scholars consider not only the latest information about Sodiqov’s detention but also the broader implications for research scholars around the globe.

The Toronto Meeting will be held at the Munk School of Global Affairs on Friday, June 27
Time: 12-2 PM
Location: Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place

Prof. Edward Schatz (University of Toronto)
Ron Deibert (University of Toronto)
Chrystia Freeland (Canadian MP and author)
Sponsors: Munk School of Global Affairs and Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

Register online

Live webcast will be available

The Birth of a Eurasian Century? | Counter Punch

“The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is gearing up to become something way beyond a sort of counterpart to NATO, focusing mostly on terrorism and fighting drug trafficking. It wants to do major business. Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mongolia are observers, and sooner rather than later will be accepted as full members.”

China, Russia sign 30-year gas deal | Associated Press

“The agreement calls for Russian government-controlled Gazprom to supply state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. with 38 billion cubic meters of gas annually. That would represent about a quarter of China’s current annual gas consumption of nearly 150 billion cubic meters. … The price appears to be closer to the level Russia wanted”

Afghanistan’s Insurgency after the Transition

“To contain a growing, increasingly confident insurgency as NATO troops withdraw, Afghanistan needs continued international support, including military, and the new government in Kabul will need to reinvigorate the state’s commitment to the rule of law.” – International Crisis Group

In Afghanistan, Signs of Democracy Taking Hold

“This is the first presidential election in which President Karzai can’t run. A peaceful handover of power from one democratically elected president to another has never occurred in Afghan history. The mostly positive reports from Election Day have brought that achievement one large step closer. ” – Scott Smith,

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.”