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Saudi Arab, Iraq And Iran: A Growing Relationship

All of the three states have a very complex relationship with each-other and it is evolving now. Iraqi president has recently visited Saudi Arab and Iran to discuss the regional stability. Iraq and Iran have recently agreed upon joining forces to promote peace and stability in the region. On the other hand, Iran and Saudi Arab, and Iraq and Saudi Arab, are restoring their relations too.

Saudi Arabia and Iran frequently highlight their political and religious conflicts rather than addressing their common regional interests. However, the example of Iraq, with which Iran fought a devastating war in the 1980s shows that differences, even a history of hostilities, can be transformed and set aside when it comes to shared geopolitical and economic interests between states. Iran and Iraq presently have some of the strongest political, social, and economic ties of any two Middle Eastern nations. Same is the case with Saudi Arab and Iran. Many analysts claim that religious differences between the two countries are the cause of the current “cold war.” They think Saudi Arabia and Iran are in competition for control of the Islamic world. These religious differences between the Sunnis ( Wahabism) and Shias ( Shiaism) become minor, when it comes to economic differences and competition for regional influence. Five rounds of negotiations between Riyadh and Tehran have taken place, which have been hosted by Iraq during the past year. According to the Iraqi president, “reconciliation is near between the rivals’’ and this is a sign of shifting political alignments across the region.

Improved ties between the three would benefit not only the Middle East but also North and East Africa, allowing Muslim nations to refocus on poverty eradication, intolerance of other religions, and terrorism as well as advancing democratic changes. Also, their evolving relationship can influence and help preventing the Israel’s control over Muslim holy sites, its expansion into the West Bank, as well as Israel’s covert nuclear weapons program. Normalization of relationship between Iran and Saudi Arab will also enhance closer ties with European Union. This triangle of Saudi Arab, Iraq and Iran will also facilitate economic stability in the region. It will also help them to seek stable oil prices knowing how important this market is to their economies.




Crisis Management: A Sixth Wave Of Covid-19 In Pakistan

COVID-19 health problems cross international borders. All nations had to deal with the pandemic threat, although the majority of less developed nations have been found in more risky positions as a result of their insufficient financial and medical resources. The pandemic COVID 19 has not been ended yet. There is again a new wave which is spreading globally and Pakistan too is in a midst of it. So, the most important thing is to remain pro-active by taking timely actions and measures to reduce the risk of high spread. The government needs to adopt protective measures because the consequences of the virus are not hidden.

Fortunately though, an increase in cases has not, until now, resulted in an increase in hospitalizations. A significant defense against the virus is provided by vaccinations in conjunction with immunity acquire, especially in preventing sickness severe enough to necessitate hospitalization. Therefore, unlike the first three waves, this time around, hospitalizations are expected to be significantly lower than before, even in the case of the high spread of virus. Pakistan is relatively well-prepared to handle the upcoming ripples and waves of Covid-19 given the benefit of experience, having dealt with five waves, and having a vigilant National Command and Operation Centre more securely formed in the National Institute of Health. There are still many things to be concerned about, therefore this should not lead to carelessness. Now is the time for people to start taking it seriously. High rates of vaccination, including boosters, and observance of safety precautions increase the likelihood that the transmission of infection won’t spin out of control; even if the virus mutates, moderate to severe cases are likely to be uncommon. Despite this, there is always a chance that something unforeseen may occur during the pandemic.

Giving advice will never be helpful anywhere until and unless the government and the people cooperate. Pakistan is already going through severe economic crisis and it cannot afford to have the lockdowns once again. If the government and the people are not vigilant about the new wave and do not follow the precautionary measures, then this will not only effect the health but, the whole economic system as well. As we all know that the lockdowns cause economic loss and Pakistan’s economy is already at a very suffering stage. This pandemic has put mankind and global resilience at risk while also presenting unexpected challenges to countries.




Nuclear Weapons And National Security

The nuclear weapons play an important role in safeguarding the National Security. A policy tool for ensuring national security is the combination of nuclear weapons and elements of national power. National security is a broad idea that encompasses more than just military power. Other factors that contribute to the development of national security interests include geography, the geostrategic environment, the economy, diplomacy, demography, and, most crucially, the leadership. The protection of national interests cannot be guaranteed by any one aspect of national power but nuclear weapons are one of the powerful elements for the national security of a state. The ultimate deterrent capability that enhances national security remains to be nuclear weapons and forces. Rebuilding intra-war deterrence is a secondary goal. Also, states acquire nuclear weapons essentially to improve political prestige and diplomatic ties. It is up to the state’s leadership to develop a plan to take advantage of this opportunity.

There are a lot of cases where nuclear weapons have played an efficient role in deterrence. The biggest example is of Pakistan and India. Pakistan has the very important geostrategic location in South Asia and is bordered by the countries and one of which is it’s rival and enemy, India. Pakistan’s nuclear weapons make major wars less likely between the threatening states of Pakistan and pose a threating situation to India. Nuclear weapons are a vital part of Pakistan’s military strategy. They have not only assessed counteract the military disadvantage brought on by the growing conventional difference with India, but have also stopped a number of military operations from occurring and Not only evaluated military counterbalance disadvantage brought about by the rise in traditional inequality with respect to India, but have also stopped a number of conflicts in the area. Pakistan’s Military Policy seeks to uphold broad deterrence against conventional nuclear aggression, too. Therefore, Pakistan chose for Nuclear weapons are not actually intended for use to wage a war. Pakistan used the approach of minimum deterrence that is credible. The changes in the security environment and India’s reliance on additional security measures prompted Pakistan to sustain and improve its nuclear defenses doctrine. Despite having a qualitative and quantitative advantage in conventional military hardware, India was restrained from waging war in 1985–1986 (Brasstacks), 1990 (Kashmir uprising), 1999 (Kargil conflict), 2001–2002 (military standoff), and 2008 due to the general presence of an effective nuclear deterrence. From an economic standpoint, the money spent on developing and sustaining nuclear weapons capacity is greatly outweighed by the costs of the three wars. In the first 25 years after when Pakistan came into being, it fought three full-scale wars with India, which eventually led to its dismemberment in 1971. Since forty years of work on the nuclear weapons program began when Pakistan obtain nuclear capability, there have been no wars between the two neighboring countries, except for the 1999 Kargil crisis that does not fall under the category of a conventional war. Pakistan would have maintained its nuclear ambiguity policy, as it was known at the time, had India not carried out nuclear explosions on May 11 and 13, 1998. Any discussion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons system’s prevention must take into account both the country’s limited nuclear weapons program and its larger security challenges in the region. The goal of Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence is to prevent future conflicts with India.

However, having nuclear weapons gives the nation an inherent advantage and ensures that it cannot be treated like some other nations that lack the capabilities to defend themselves militarily. Every time a state perceives a threat to their territory or sovereignty, they choose to use nuclear weapons to defend their territory, which motivates them to take the most safety precautions possible. However, the belief is that having a nuclear weapon is enough in and of itself to provide deterrence in order to maintain a deterrent posture. The “Deterrence” theory will be used to discuss this area of study. According to this idea, the purpose of nuclear weapons is to dissuade other states from using them to launch nuclear attacks by threatening reprisal. The Neo-Realism theory is another theory that is strongly similar to this one. By stating that nations function in an anarchical international system and must thus rely on self-help to safeguard their national sovereignty and security, it supports the security model. Nuclear weapons have established themselves as the ultimate source of security due to their immense destructive potential. Also the security of the nuclear weapons is also important as they are very explosive. They should be protected from the nuclear terror and should be safe and secured. For instance if there is any natural disaster occurred Nuclear weapons should be protected in a way that they don’t explode because of that. Also it should be protected and hidden by the enemies.




Saudi-Arabia and Turkey; Renormalizing Ties

Saudi King, Muhammad Bin Salman has recently visited Turkey and met the Turkish president Tayyip Urdogan. This step has been taken to fully normalize the ties between the two countries which were not so normal since 2018 though Turkey has had deep-rooted historical and cultural ties with Saudi Arabia ever since. It has been emphasized during the talks that the two nations are determined to enter a new era of cooperation in their bilateral relations. According to the Turkish official, there are no longer any trade, travel, or TV series screening prohibitions between the two nations, and adverse media coverage between them has also ended.

According to a new agreement, the two sides also proposed expanding their trade relations and cooperation in a variety of areas, particularly tourism, energy, and the defense industry. Ankara urged Saudi investment funds to make Turkish startups. A falling lira and inflation that has climbed above seventy percent have significantly strained Turkey’s economy. On the other hand, Prince Mohammed has been utilizing Saudi Arabia’s wealth and capacity to make oil to mitigate criticism of the country’s record on human rights. Turkish businessmen and government leaders expected the visit would release at least $3 billion in investment projects that Saudi Arabia had planned to in recent years but that haven’t yet been implemented.

This reorientation of the new partnership will be significant for the Muslim states as well in a way that, both the states have called for an effort to establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with international agreements and the Arab peace initiative. This shows that the effects of the normalization of the ties between two will be on Israel as well. Reconciliation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia is likely to restore a crucial economic link. This will also get Turkey out of the regional isolation. Saudi Arabia’s new investments in Turkey could lead Turkish products to enter the kingdom freely, and Riyadh may engage in currency exchanges with Ankara with other Gulf States. This partnership is expected to improve the military and economic diplomatic relations between the two states.




Earthquake In Afghanistan: Crisis Upon Crisis

Afghanistan, a country which was already going through a lot has recently faced another crisis, earthquake. The biggest obstacle the Taliban have faced since seizing control nearly a year ago is a devastating earthquake in eastern Afghanistan that killed at least 1,000 people and destroyed homes in rural areas. The Taliban regime is in charge of an impoverished nation where the impacts of decades of war are still apparently felt and where there is a terrible drought, widespread hunger, and an economic catastrophe. Now, the earthquake has worsen the situation and has increased the chances of revealing the shortcomings of a government that is mostly no relations from the outside world and severely short on funds and resources.

While humanitarian aid is still being supplied, when the Taliban overtook Kabul last August, extended aid money was suspended. As the West pushes for concessions on human rights, notably for children and women, it has further enraged the Taliban by holding billions of dollars in Afghan reserves frozen abroad. The withdrawal of crucial development funding has devastated Afghanistan’s health sector over the past nine months. Taliban isolation limits Afghan response to earthquake. Pakistan, being a neighboring country has sent its assistance to Afghanistan but that is not enough for such a big disaster. To help the earthquake victims in Afghanistan’s war-torn province, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had sent medical teams as well.

Adnan Junaid, IRC vice president for Asia also stated that there is a need for an international community to develop a plan outlining methods for resuming economic assistance, offering the central bank direct help, and ultimately freeing Afghanistan’s foreign currency reserves because the innocent population is suffering. There are major humanitarian crisis going on which needs to be settle down. The United Nations and international humanitarian groups should expand to meet their growing needs for the sake of humanity.




Importance of Intelligence for a State

It is known that International Security is one of the grand strategies of the foreign policy of every state. The role of intelligence in the policy-making of the state is quite significant. By the role of intelligence in policy-making, it means, the importance of intelligence agencies in shaping up the country’s foreign policies. In order to enhance the decision making, along with the strategic intelligence which is needed to enhance the decision-making process, states’ intelligence institutes are equally important for shaping the long-term plan of the states. Policy making is the process of developing and identifying the ideas, options, and long-term policies in order to achieve the objectives and national interests of the state. State’s individuals like leaders, policymakers, and state’s institutions like political, military, and economic plays role in foreign policy. So, similarly, intelligence also has its role too. It has been analyzed that if the intelligence of the states works effectively, then it will help the policymakers to shape the state’s strategies which will support the security and survival. The data and information which is collected by the intelligence are very important because the country’s strategy is based on that, and even sometimes, decision-makers blame their wrong decisions on the intelligence that correct information was not given to them due to which there was an error in the strategy. One of the examples of this is when United States waged ‘’War on Terror’’ in Iraq and justified it by telling the whole world that there are weapons of mass destruction, which later on, were not found. Intelligence was blamed for not giving the correct information. In the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, intelligence services were questioned as well.

Sun Tzu, a Chinese strategist in his book ‘’The Art of War’’ emphasized on the importance of information. It has 13 chapters that address the general definition of a strategy, up to the usage of tactics such as spies. According to him, all warfare, on the strategic and the tactical level, is based on deception and surprise, and therefore on intelligence as well. So, Sun Tzu relied on intelligence as in his sight, continuous use of information about the enemy’s strategy and tactical capacities is the only effective way to exploit the enemy’s weaknesses and gain your national interests. He focused on ‘’know yourself and know your enemy’’ which is not possible without having information through intelligence. Hence, the importance of intelligence is apparent in national security and every strategist considers the idea of Sun Tzu about intelligence important. Knowledge of the enemy’s dispositions is important to obtain and this can only be done by intelligence. The relationship between strategy and intelligence is that whenever the strategies are made for example if we take the example of Pakistan, its top strategy would be security and survival since it has India, an immediate neighbor as an enemy. So there would be India-centric strategies and for that, it is important to know your enemy. Intelligence helps in revealing the secret information of the adversaries. Intelligence has also played a role in shaping the counter-terrorism strategies in Pakistan along with the other state institutes. Strategies of the states are not limited to achieving the political goals of the states, or for the military purpose and for winning the wars, but it includes the long-term planning, training, exercising, public awareness, risk analysis, and preparedness. Intelligence and information also have special importance in formulating the defense strategy.

Intelligence does not only play role in shaping the country’s policies but also helps to implement those policies as well. Intelligence can play a role in building narratives in people’s minds to accept the policy of the state and make people accept the long-term plans of their country. Ordinary people and their interests must also be treated as citizens rather than subjects, so this can cause complexity to formulate and implement strategies so for this, intelligence is also required. Intelligence cannot make real-world easy, but it can give awareness and intuition with respect to the objectives or strategies, resources, leadership, and priorities. Intelligence can keep an eye on that who can ruin the policy of the states. Covert actions can be used to influence political, military, or economic conditions or situations abroad, here the role of intelligence is equally important. Policymakers should not only solely rely on intelligence because sometimes there can be false information or sometimes, but the information also could not be found. For example, the intelligence of U.S failed to detect the 9/11 attack. Though, intelligence-free strategy is surely less possible in this century. Strategies can become more successful if they incorporate information from intelligence. This is even more vital for the process of implementation. Intelligence aims for analyzing the information in support of law enforcement, national security, military, and foreign policy objectives. Intelligence is not supposed to have its own policy agenda or strategies but the duty of intelligence is to inform and improve policy decisions made by the appointed officials.




Israel – Palestine Conflict And The Violence Continues

It would not be wrong to see Israel-Palestine conflict as Israel’s illegal occupation in Palestine. Israel has been breaching international law by opting to extend its occupation by building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. This occupation has left Palestinians with no civic horizon. The systematic oppression of one racial-national-ethnic group over another sustains the persistent Israeli occupation, which has now become an apartheid practice. It involves the major human rights violations and crimes against humanity apart from the ethno-religious and national element. It is not only about the specific ethnic group but, it is about humanity now.

During the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict, Israel captured East Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa. In 1980, it annexed the entire city and this move has never been acknowledged by the international community. The violence against Palestinian Muslims has escalated in the past few months. Since 2014, the number of Palestinians killed in disputes with Israelis over the occupation reached an all-time high last year. In fact, the number of Palestinian children killed by Israeli terrorism in 2021 was the highest. Similarly, the attacks on Mosque Al-Aqsa continued in the holy month of Ramadan even this year. The protests took place in many countries around the world against the Israel’s violations and it resulted in the temporary ceasefire. The violence continued but the media coverage of the Israel’s violations did stop. Media plays a very important role in this conflict. Media can help de-escalating the conflict by doing conflict sensitive reporting but perhaps it has failed to do so in terms of this conflict.

‘’Ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, and discrimination against Palestinians is essential to stopping the decades-long conflict between the two sides.’’ A new UN independent human rights body recently said. These words are not enough but there is a need of taking action which United Nation has not taken any yet. There is no humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza even. The israel-Palestine conflict leaves a big question mark on the credibility of the institutions like U.N. It is evident that Israel has no intention of ending the occupation. The world needs to give Palestinians a right of self-determination. To deter Israeli aggression and safeguard the life of Palestinian civilians, an international protection structure must be formed. There must be accountability for Israel’s violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.




Anti-Democratic Acts In The World Largest Democracy

India is the world’s largest democratic state but ironically, the most anti-democratic acts have been observed in India in the past few weeks. From depriving the lower class Hindus and the other minority groups, like Muslims, from basic rights to now targeting specific religion (Islam), brutally killing Muslims and committing violence against them, the democratic values seem to be weakened. Tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India have been a point of conflict for decades, since before the British left and the country achieved independence in 1947. However, when Modi’s government assumed charge in 2014, the number of crimes committed against Muslims has progressively escalated. Members of the BJP have not publicly recognized their ambition of establishing India a Hindu nation until now, but, the BJP’s majoritarian politics, excluding Muslims, the country’s second largest faith, has proven to be a successful tactic of doing so.

 

Democracy in India can questioned since the minorities are deprived of basic social, political and economic rights. This is unacceptable in a democratic state. This largest democracy is also trying to annex Kashmir, a Muslim majority area, which so is a non-democratic idea. Indian Muslims are in a threat. It is clear that India is targeting specific community or ethnic group (Muslims) and indirectly trying to do ethnic cleansing. This comes under genocide and the world needs to realize this Nazi side of the BJP government. Muslims of India have become increasingly marginalized population and are indeed the victims of hate crimes. It is not wrong to say that ‘being Muslim’ in the worlds’ largest democratic potentially cost you your life.




Hindutva Ideology: The So Called Secularism In India

The definition of secularism as the principle of separating the state from religious institutions, differ from the kind of secularism being practiced in India. In fact, the question is, is India even a secular state? The recurrent violations against the minority groups, specifically violence against Muslims, shows that there is no tolerance and only a space for the Hindu nationalist party ( BJP) led Hindutva ideology left in the country. This whole ideology contradicts with the idea of a secular state.

 

Since 2014, the BJP has governed in an ethno-religious and populist way. It represents traditional social systems as inherent to Indian culture and promotes communal, religious, caste, and gender-based violence. Not only Muslims are treated as second class citizens, but there is a lot of discrimination among the Hindu groups as well. The lower class Hindu families are also not treated fairly. The state infrastructure and institutions have been infiltrated by Hindutva ideology. This ideology has penetrated the media and public. It has an increasingly adverse influence on the courts, universities, and cultural institutions, which are largely dominated by Hindu nationalists. Hindutva activists engage militant groups, cultural patrolling, and brutality to gain control over civil society. Religion has been involved in the politics and is being used as the tool. The government is using its mainstream media to instill this narrative into its public and this is quite evident.

It has become so hard for Muslims to practice Islam while living in India. A lot of activities have had taken place which shows the anti-Muslim side of this ideology. For example, the ban on wearing Hijab and depriving Muslim children from right to education. Their cow protection law is also an anti-Muslim law. The most recent example is of the blasphemous remarks against Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) by the spokespersons of BJP on media which is also condemned by many Muslim states. Their hatred for Muslims is not hidden from the world anymore but the international community (other than the Muslim states) still chose to remain silent. Their anti-Muslim narrative is not limited to India but the Indian violence against Muslims of Kashmir is also visible. It would not be wrong to asses that this ideology also contains the idea of greater India.

This ideology seems to have a long-term goal since narrative building for this ideology has already started. Hindutwa ideology is being promoted through textbooks in schools and colleges and also through the media. It’s high time for the International community to break the silence against Hindutva-fuelled hate and violence against Muslims and the minority groups of India. There is a lack of political participation of the minority groups as well which is one of the basic rights is also. This ideology has involved religion in politics to such an extent that it seems to be a no more secular state and this is against democracy as well.




SINO-INDIAN Relations And Its Iimplicatons

Tactical confrontations between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and India and Pakistan at the Line of Control (LOC) occur on a regular basis in the India-Pakistan-China triangle. It has a complex history of unsolved border disputes. Furthermore, the geographic location of the three nuclear-armed countries defines this triangle, with any confrontation seen as posing the possibility of nuclear weapons use, or the potential of a war. This triangle is the key element of the whole South-Asian region.

It’s important to note that the unipolar world brought economic cooperation, and only two decades later, states are finding themselves tied in deep security interdependence, putting the future of economic growth and peace in jeopardy. The trilateral relations between China, Pakistan, and India has an interesting political and security interdependence dynamic. It shows not only their bilateral concerns, but also how regional powers’ influence is constrained regional multilateral mechanisms. China is self-sufficient in terms of security, but its economic progress is dependent on the rest of the globe.

Economic development is also the main interest between the two states. If Sino-Indian relations involve more of the economic dependency, there is a chance that China makes an effort to resolve its border disputes with India. This may help or hinder Pakistan to resolve its dispute on Kashmir with India. This may avoid the two-front war as China and Pakistan border disputes with India are still not resolved and Pakistan and China have a close strategic and military partnership. The India-Pakistan-China relationship is shaped by national power disparities and reciprocal threat perceptions, which are further exacerbated by the regional implications of the US-China dispute. China’s good relations with India can help China contain the U.S influence in India. Apart from the more abrupt responses and counter-reactions over the disputed borders, tensions may agitate in international arena on matters like counterterrorism and nonproliferation, as well as the regional stability scenario in Afghanistan.