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Current Economic Crisis In Sri Lanka And Its Chaotic Impacts

Sri Lanka’s economy has been insubstantial since its independence. There have been highs and lows in the economic system of the country. As it is known that Sri Lanka is a country that had also been involved in an ethnic conflict for decades. The civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamils did only cause the deaths and casualties in fact, the economic cost, social, developmental, environmental and strategic cost as well. However, the conflict got resolved later on but there are many more factors which are currently making the situation in Sri Lanka anarchic, out of which, one is the present economic crisis. The country’s economy pretty much depends on the tourism but the pandemic affected that as well. Sri Lanka’s public finances have been undermined by successive regimes economic mismanagement that has led to national expenditure exceeding income and minimal production of export products and services.

EPA/CHAMILA KARUNARATHNE

Sri Lanka is at the verge of bankruptcy. Farmers who should be planting their crops at the beginning of the rainy season are suffering since they can’t afford or even find the fuel needed for tractors to till the soil. With the economy in collapse, prices are rising, and food is running out. The food crisis is expected to worsen as farmers grow fewer crops. As a result of reducing incomes, costs in shops and marketplaces have risen, and Sri Lanka has become more dependent on imports that it can hardly sustain. Due to the extreme economic inflation, anti-government protests began in March to overthrow their president by the population. The capital was kept under lockdown, and the following day, a state of emergency was announced. The interim president was appointed as well. After the finance minister resigned, the president lost his legislative majority and repealed the state of emergency. Protests erupted around the country soon after, fueled by a new shortage of life-saving drugs. Protesters demanded that the president resign since he was failing to manage the crisis by borrowing too much cash. The situation got escalated and the protests became violent as well. Security forces have been given the power to crack down and the government approached the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. Food yields are down and power cuts have been increased with no enough supply of fuel to power stations.

This is the chaotic situation in Sri-Lanka. The country is at the brink of civil war once again. It is quite obvious that when the population gets deprived of the basic human necessities, the chance of protracted conflict arises. The anarchic internal situation of the country will affect the whole region.To tackle a global economic slowdown, the world must begin to focus on multiple crises at the same time. Many Western leaders act as if the world is engaged in a single crisis and that is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The international community needs to prevent the country from entering in the political and economic war.




Pakistan’s proposal on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to include Turkey: A beneficial step?

According to Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, an ambitious China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can be transformed into a “trilateral partnership” between China, Pakistan, and Turkey. This will enable all three friendly nations to benefit from its prospects. He also said that with the development of financial and industrial activities, trade activities have the potential to increase massively. The current CPEC project will help us achieve our purpose of maximizing regional connectivity and increasing trade. “Turkiye and Pakistan as ‘one nation living in two countries and even before the creation of Pakistan, the Muslims of the sub-continent supported the cause of their Turkish brethren,” said the Prime Minister of Pakistan. China and Turkey are ready to accept this proposal say both the countries’ presidents.

Pakistan and Turkey has a very strong, friendly and harmonious relationship since past 70 years. Turkey and its ideological partnership with Pakistan is significant not only for the peace in the region of South Asia, but also for Europe and the Gulf. On the other hand, China’s and Turkey’s relation has had ups and downs but now, both have been establishing Sino-Turkish strategic cooperation and economic partnership. CPEC would further deepen their economic partnership. This multilateral CPEC project is also leading China towards becoming an economic hegemon and would increase the global relevance of China. Also, Turkey is a key junction to connect China with Europe. This will be very favorable for China.

The partnership will not only be beneficial for economic purposes but, it will strengthen the internal situation of all the member countries and will prevent the external influence from the regions. The new strategic and economic alliances will be built. This Turkey, Pakistan and China relationship can also be helpful for taking a stand on Kashmir issue against India’s atrocities, Palestine issue and making Afghanistan’s circumstances better since they do depend on peace, security, and stability in South Asia and the Middle East. A Pakistani senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed has truly stated: ‘’The policies of “Muslim middle powers” can no longer be dictated by Western nations, while these nations should focus on connectivity, boosting their economies, and coming together for “mutual interests.” Pakistan and Turkey relationship in terms of CPEC will indeed build up a strong position of the two Islamic states in the Muslim world and internationally as well. CPEC is a multi-million project and the largest foreign investment so, it will definitely boost energy resources and increase international trade through its convenient routes balancing geopolitics and economics.




CLIMATE CRISIS: A CHALLENGE FOR BOTH NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES, PAKISTAN AND INDIA

Extreme heat has continued to scorch both the neighboring countries, Pakistan and India. It has been the hottest April in Pakistan in the past years. The record-breaking heat waves caused by climate change occurred in India as well. The heat wave has had severe repercussions. It is not only causing the climate problems but is equally affecting all the living things. Climate change is not only a threat to environment and human’s health but is affecting the animals, plants, crops as well. This can also cause the economic crisis for both the countries since their economies also depends on the agriculture. It is also surging electricity demand and stressing on the power grid since people need the artificial cooling the most right now.

The hot weather has also elevated dust and ozone levels, allowing air pollution to increase in major cities throughout the region. The heat caused mountain glaciers to melt more quickly than in the past, causing in flash floods in Pakistan. At the same time, internal political turmoil and the economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak are attempting to make the reaction to the heat wave even harder. The heat wave in South Region is anticipated to extend to other countries. Hot temperatures are harming wheat growth, possibly going to drive up already high cost of food all around world. . Extreme heat is very dangerous for the people of India and Pakistan. Agricultural sector employs over 60% of India’s workforce and 40% of Pakistan’s workforce, with the task being done outside. Both countries are in the midst of their wheat farming season, leaving millions of people in the terrible situation of having to choose between working in harmful weather or quitting their jobs.

Climate change is not something which will remain limited to a specific region, in fact, it has impact on the neighboring regions as well. India today, is the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Pakistan also run on electricity from burning fossil fuels and this also emit greenhouse gases which heat up the planet. Both the countries, for the sake of their own interests shall take collaborative decision to slow down the climate crisis. Other countries and international bodies shall also help them mitigate the climate crisis. There are ways to safeguard people in South Asia from heat waves, but governments in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan will have to take the issue more urgently than they have before.




Iran and European Union (EU): A New Partnership?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine was a turning point for many countries on different levels. Across western Eurasia, the existing systems such as political, economic, energy and transportation networks are being impacted. Countries are attempting to mitigate the war’s negative effects while forming new trade synergies at a quick pace. For instance, Germany and Qatar have signed a long-term energy deal to export Qatari natural gas, as the Germans seek to lessen their reliance on Russian supplies. For the past 30 years, United States and European Union has kept Iran marginalized systematically from energy trade and multiple projects that connect Middle East with European Union. European countries are highly dependent on Russia; almost 38% of the natural gas is being imported. For that reason, Europe is striving to find new options and end the dependency on Russian gas.

Despite of imposing sanctions on Iran for a huge time period, the intensity of the invasion and new economic sanctions on Russia has pushed US and EU to review Iran’s economic exclusion. For that, Iran also has to think about the Iran and European Union relationship for energy and transit projects. After suffering various sanctions, it seems like Iranian administration is harnessing new economic opportunities that has emerged due to the Ukraine war as well as Russia’s isolation. Therefore, and seriously looking upon European-Iranian partnership for its own benefits which is quite evident. On 15th May 2022, it is said by the Iran’s oil ministry official that Iran is considering gas exports to Europe. The idea was contemplated because of the rocketing prices due to ongoing war.

On the other hand, talks between Iran and US are being held to revive 2015 nuclear deal. Currently, the talks are in a state of deadlock but the EU is making efforts and a last ditch-attempt to save the nuclear deal. The EU policy Chief Josep Borrell has said in a statement: “EU will do everything possible to bring Iran nuclear talks back on track and ensure full compliance with the treaty”. With this we can analyze that a new partnership is budding between the two, on the basis of mutual interests. It will help Iran grow economically in both the cases, even if Iran exports gas to EU or the Iran nuclear deal revive as the sanctions will be removed. Whereas, European Union’s dependency on Russian gas can be reduced having Iran as a new partner.




Delay, Risks and Israeli Stance: New Iran Nuclear Deal

In 2015, Iran signed a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, which is commonly known as “Iran Nuclear Deal”. The deal was signed between five permanent members of United Nations Security Council (UNSC), Germany (P5+1) countries and Iran. When Donald Trump came into power in 2018, a unilateral American withdrawal from nuclear deal was observed. Whereas, in 2021, Joe Biden administration decided to revive the deal in April 2021 on which Iran also agreed and talks started. In February 2022, the participants of the deal said “the deal was on the verge of being finalized after a year of discussions”. At the times when United States and Iran talks advanced, Ukraine-Russia war erupted in the form of a new issue due to which the renewed deal process was delayed. Now, another main point of contention is Iran’s demand of removing Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) be taken off from U.S list of Foreign Terrorists Organization (FTO). They were placed in 2019 on the list after Trump’s maximum pressure campaign after unilateral withdrawal of nuclear deal. The Vienna discussions on deal seem to be crossing the line between a breaking point and a breakthrough. The U.S still considers the deal in its national interests as said by the Secretary of State, Tony Blinken.

However, the ongoing deal has set off alarm bells in Israel; the leaders have condemned the deal at various platforms as they are of opinion it will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. With a signed agreement, Iran will be more confident in its actions and will have more resources. Israel fears that sanctions will be removed and billions of dollars in frozen assets would be released, causing Iran to spend more on its regional proxies. Israel’s Prime Minister Naftali Bennett in a statement has said that “the emerging deal, as it seems, is highly likely to create a more violent and more volatile Middle-East”. Also, he repeated his threat that Israel is not bound to attack Iran. According to United States Ambassador to Israel, Israeli’s hands are not tied if America has a deal with Iran. It can take any action against Iran to protect Israel. Prime Minister has expressed his concerns to secretary of state that afterwards risks of deal will affect the region and Israel. Recently, Bennett has invited Joe Biden to visit Israel which has been accepted. Despite this, Israel’s remarks alluded to points of contention. Israel has warned Biden to not delist IRGC for the security of state. Israeli media is also reporting the chances of nuclear deal are “slim to none”.

If an agreement is made, Tehran has also asked to access the frozen $7 billion and oil exports, the sanctions will be lifted from Iran. As a result, Iran, the United States and the rest of the globe would benefit economically. With Iran being able to sell oil around the world, it may be able to help down the sky-high energy prices caused by Ukraine war. The deal is in limbo; on the other hand, Israel is ramping up the pressure on Biden administration, but it has to be seen yet that U.S will delist the IRGC and will result in a historical “Iran Nuclear Deal” or not.




Israel-Palestine Conflict; Towards Escalation

The current situation:

The deadly violence against Palestinians continue by the Israelis. Israeli Police has entered Mosque Al-Aqsa and has killed many innocent Palestinians in this holy month of Ramadan, at the holy place. Protests have taken place in Gaza as Israeli raided the Mosque calling out the Arab and the whole international community for help. The violation of human rights has seen to be flared up by the Israelis in the last two months of 2022 (March and April). Israel has also carried out air raids in the central Gaza Strip. It is for the second time in the two weeks that Israel is attacking.

Israel-Palestine Conflict under a legal perspective:

According to the Resolution 181, adopted by United Nations General Assembly in 1947, led to the creation of two independent states in the territory of Palestine. One, the Jewish state of Israel, other the Arab state of Palestine.

Article 1 of the Montevideo Convention states “the state as a body of international law should possess the following characteristics:

A permanent population

A defined territory

Government

Sovereignty and Capacity to enter into relations with other states

Israel and Palestine both attained these characteristics but the sovereignty of Palestine has been compromised after the Israel’s creation. Palestine does have a definitive and permanent population and Palestinians reside in both, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It even has the government but still the Israel’s violations and occupation in the Palestine’s territory hurt its sovereignty. This theory of state supports for Palestinian claims to statehood and Palestine meets the criteria of statehood if other states recognize its statehood. Such a formal acknowledgement may have come in the form of the UNGA’s 2012 resolution on the status of Palestine’s statehood. The resolution received 138 votes in favor, 9 against, and 41 abstentions. In result the Palestine was granted non-member observer state status in the United Nations.

The development of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied areas is considered illegal by the international community for violating Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and international declarations. The Fourth Geneva Convention is applicable to the Israeli-occupied areas, according to the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice, and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention. Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights are considered illegal under international law.

Conclusion:

International community and the Muslim world are also against the Israeli’s settlements and violations of international law and human rights, but no legal action has ever been taken. Protests against the Israeli’s violations take place in many states but, the international community has always given a muted response because of its own parochial interests. Yet, Israel continues to illegally violate human rights and other international legal decisions even without any sanctions. This shows the International community’s failure of enforcing UN resolutions, in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It lacks to provide protection to Palestinians nor can it guarantee justice for them. This repeated failure of enforcement questions the precedence of UN Charter. Thus, the conflict will not transform towards de-escalation.




Education Under Attack in Afghanistan

As we all know that the education is the base of human. In the 21st century is totally unbelievable to image a person without education. In Afghanistan the new Taliban government banned the education on girls. Almost three week has passed since the Taliban reneged on its promise to reopen schools for girls from the sixth grade. The international community has sharply condemned the Taliban for the U-turn, and teenage girls have taken to the streets of the Afghan capital in protest, demanding a right to education. After the Taliban swept back to power last August, the group banned most girls aged 12 and above from attending school.

The Women Rights campaigners while expressing their views say that the ban on girl’s education will not only taking the Afghanistan into more economic crisis. Afghanistan is already going through serious humanitarian crisis and the world is helping them in different ways at multiple points. People of Afghanistan are facing huge food shortage and also the shortage of educated persons. According to UNICEF More than 1 million Children’s under the age of five are acutely malnourished. U.N. refugee agency said that more than 24 Million Afghans are in need of vital humanitarian aid they are living their lives below poverty line. The Taliban have banned women from most forms of paid employment, with the main exceptions being teaching girls and providing health care to women. Girls and their families have little incentive to make the major sacrifices often required for them to pursue and complete education when the career they dreamed of is off limits.

The Taliban’s reversal on schools, seen as a bid to appease hard-liners within its ranks, will likely disrupt its efforts to win recognition from international donors. Given the humanitarian crisis, the U.N. agreed to pay the salaries of school teachers though that did not seem to be enough to convince the Taliban to keep to its word. Afghanistan Ministry of Education published a notice and expressed their views on ban of girl’s education, the schools for girls would be closed until a plan was drawn up in accordance with Islamic law and Afghan culture. Girls and boys will be educated according to the Islamic way nor the international way. This is alarming situation for the Afghans banning the education system will directly impact their economy. This is clearly showing the Taliban’s misogyny and demagoguery. It’s obvious that over the years that economic hardship, insecurity and conflicts decrease in areas that have higher levels of girls’ education. Of course, the Taliban will continue to negotiate, but they will face backlash. They have lost even more credibility and not taking the economic disaster seriously.




ISIS attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan: What needs to be done?

Earlier this year, in January 2022, ISIS initiated the biggest attack in Syria since the fall of it caliph three years ago. During the past few months, Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is the news headline of international media. After years of waging a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Syria, the current aggressive strikes indicate that militants have been re-energized. A years-long US-backed campaign destroyed the group’s territorial control in Iraq and Syria, but its fighters continued to kill scores of Iraqis and Syrians in recent months through sleeper cells. After Baghdadi’s death in 2019, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was elevated to the position of Islamic State’s (IS) “caliph”. The US military launched an airstrike on a residential building in a town in northern Syria in response to which the Islamic State’s leader perished. According to US sources, as a result of the raid, a senior deputy of the terror group has also been killed. Beyond the psychological impact, it is unclear whether the removal of the figurehead will make any effect, because a new leader has been selected already by the armed group. The US’s strike neither affected group’s network nor its activities, which is explicit from the ISIS attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since the Afghan Taliban Government in Afghanistan, various attacks have been reported including to which ISIS has claimed the responsibility. Over the past seven years, even before the current Taliban’s Government, the Islamic State (IS) has been targeting scores of schools, mosques, hospitals, and other sites of Shia community. It has a potential to create a conflict between Taliban Government and the people of Shia sect in Afghanistan. The striking increase in attacks in Afghanistan highlights the growing security challenge facing Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers as they have pledged to not let Afghanistan’s soil against any other country. To contrary, ISIS and militant groups while operating in Afghanistan expanding their activities to neighboring country like Pakistan, as the spate of attacks in country was claimed by the armed groups.

ISIS is widely spreading violence and extreme groups across the region. It has evolved into a global terrorist organization which will have implications around the globe. The group is a key security challenge not only for Iraq or Afghanistan but for the whole region’s security, stability and peace. The persistent presence of ISIS in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries including Africa proves that assassinating leaders is not a viable long-term approach for combating armed groups. ISIS’s leaders were killed in two US attacks in 2019 and 2021, but nothing was done to address the underlying conditions that allowed the organization once again to develop its influence and support. ISIS is still active and inflicting havoc around the globe. It is the time for political and military leaders at national and international level to play their due role. It is necessary to acknowledge that the only way to completely eliminate the group is pursuing long-term international peace and development policies rather than launching strategic military operations.




African Union and European Union Digital Cooperation: A Step Towards Sustainable Development In Africa

According to the United Nations, European Union has been a largest trading partner of the Africa. Not only EU but China is also enhancing its trade in this region as well. The new digital 2030 joint vision partnership between EU and African Union has recently been announced this year. This partnership is the different one and is done to boost the continent’s digital transformation. China’s trade is growing in Africa day by day, as it is already ahead in digital transformation of Africa. Many people in Africa are already using 3G and 4G networks which are being run by Chinese companies.

Since after the pandemic COVID 19, the importance of digital technologies is realized. It is now important for the survival of any state. Both, European Union and African Union jointly realized that the digital technologies, data and innovation leads towards the creation of opportunities of the jobs and sustainable development. Both sides established the EU-AU Digital Economy Task Force in December 2018, with the goal of developing clear policy proposals and proposing tangible steps to remove the main impediments to digital connectivity. The Task Force’s proposals have inspired the design of cooperation initiatives sponsored by the EU and its Member States, and are repeated in the African Union’s Digital Transformation Strategy for Africa 2020- 2030. EU aims to increase the internet usage in Africa from at least 33 percent to 60 percent.

There is a possibility that this is more of the political interest of the European Union, in order to counter the China’s economic influence in the region but this will positively affect Africa. It will support the digital rights of the African people. It will also create the technical support to improve provincial and global institutions’ capabilities to produce and implement digital transformation programs. It will also provide a platform for African and European stakeholders to share knowledge experiences, skills, and expertise. Dialogues amongst digital ecosystem actors, participatory policymaking alliances will be promoted. Inclusion, productivity, poverty reduction, and job creation can all benefit from digital technologies. Investing in proper rules and regulatory frameworks will allow citizen participation while safeguarding freedoms, rights, and security is necessary to ensure that everybody benefits. The European Union will support a human-centered digital transformation that will help to bridge the digital divide and accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals. Women, rural populations, and youths, in particular, will gain from the digital transformation if they cooperate together. A secure, long-term, and inclusive digitalization has the potential to help the economy recover and become more durable.




Russian Intercontinental Nuclear Capable Missile

Russia had conducted a first test launch of its Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, a new addition to its nuclear arsenal which President Vladimir Putin said would give Moscow’s enemies something to think about. The Sarmat has been under development for years and so its test-launch is not a surprise for the West, but it comes at a moment of extreme geopolitical tension due to Russia’s eight-week-old war in Ukraine. The new complex has the highest tactical and technical characteristics and is capable of overcoming all modern means of anti-missile defence. It has no analogues in the world and won’t have for a long time to come.

This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure Russia’s security from external threats and provide food for thought for those who, in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country.” The Sarmat is a new heavy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which Russia is expected to deploy with 10 or more warheads on each missile, according to the US Congressional Research Service. The Sarmat super heavy intercontinental ballistic missile is designed to elude anti-missile defence systems with a short initial boost phase, giving enemy surveillance systems a tiny window to track. Weighing more than 200 tonnes and able to transport multiple warheads, Putin says the missile can hit any target on Earth.

Sarmat is the most powerful missile with the longest range of destruction of targets in the world, which will significantly increase the combat power of our country’s strategic nuclear forces. A senior fellow for military aerospace at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the launch was an important milestone after years of delays caused by funding issues and design challenges. He said more tests would be needed before Russia could actually deploy it in place of ageing SS-18 and SS-19 missiles. Sarmat’s ability to carry 10 or more warheads and decoys, and Russia’s option of firing it over either of the Earth’s poles, posed a challenge to ground and satellite-based radar and tracking systems. Editor in chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine, told RIA news agency it was a signal to the West that Moscow was capable of meting out “crushing retribution that will put an end to the history of any country that has encroached on the security of Russia and its people”. Ukraine has mounted stiff resistance and the West has imposed sweeping sanctions to try to force Russia to withdraw forces Moscow says are on a special operation to degrade its southern neighbour’s military capabilities and root out people it calls dangerous nationalists.

The RS-28 Sarmat (NATO name Satan-II) is reported to be able to carry ten or more warheads and decoys and has the capability of firing over either of the earth’s poles with a range of 11,000 to 18,000 km. It is expected to pose a significant challenge to the ground-and-satellite-based radar tracking systems of the western powers, particularly the USA. The world is entering in a new arm race and it will badly effect the state to state relations.