The withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan and the return of the Taliban after two decades has left the world stunned and the UK rushed to airlift more than 4,000 UK nationals and Afghan citizens, while Joe Biden intends to stick to the 31 August deadline. These events show that the “war on terror” has been a complete failure. Furthermore, pumping a trillion dollars in the Afghan National Army (ANA) was a complete waste of money. It appears to have been wishful thinking that the ANA would fight against Islamic militancy and its soldiers either deserted or joined the Taliban and 20 years of western efforts to build a stable state in Afghanistan quickly faded away as puppet government of Ashraf Ghani disintegrated in a matter of days.
The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) is organising a webinar on Afghan Refugees in Pakistan: Past, Present, and Future on Tuesday, 31 August 2021 at 3:00 p.m. (PST). Joining link and details are below. Pakistan has hosted one of the world’s largest refugee populations for over four decades. In successive waves, refugees from Afghanistan have sought shelter inside Pakistan which, over the years, has hosted millions of Afghan refugees. It is estimated that 3 million Afghan refugees still reside in Pakistan but according to the UNHCR, only 1.4 million are registered and the humanitarian assistance provided by Pakistan for over four decades has made a significant impact on its economy and social life and on its strained resources.
Re-Constructing the Murder of Ali Boumendjel in French Historiography
On 2 March 2021, French President Emmanuel Macron officially confessed that Algerian nationalist, lawyer and freedom fighter Ali Boumendjel was ‘tortured and murdered’ on 23 March 1957 by French colonial forces. This revelation from the Élysée Palace put to rest decades of contentious imperial historiography which alleged Ali that Boumendjel had committed suicide while he was detained by French troops during the 1956 – 1957 Battle of Algiers. But ‘Ali Boumendjel did not commit suicide. He was tortured and then killed,’ Macron told Boumendjel’s four grandchildren who were invited to the Élysée Palace, according to the statement. The French President sought to emphasise that the new generation must ‘be able to build its own destiny, far from the two ruts that are amnesia and resentment.’ He went on to state that ‘[it] is for them, French and Algerian youth, that we must advance down the path of truth, the only one that can lead to the reconciliation of memories.’
Macron’s address engendered a polarising response within Algeria itself. While Algerian state media quoted a government statement that ‘Algeria notes with satisfaction the announcement by French President Emmanuel Macron of his decision to honour the fighter and martyr Ali Boumendjel,’ Macron has come under criticism for refusing to issue an apology for the regime of torture and scale of atrocities committed during the Battle of Algiers, in addition to the wider French colonial rule over Algeria from 1830 until 1962. In order to discern why discussions concerning France’s colonial history remain trivialised in the French Fifth Republic, tracing the systematic regime of torture, sanctioned violence and exclusion which lay at the cornerstone of France’s mission civilisatrice may offer a means to understand this dilemma. Continue reading →
Advocate Hina Jilani terms coronavirus pandemic a human rights crisis
The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Saturday held a webinar on ‘Post Covid-19 World Order: Challenges and Strategies’. Human rights activist and lawyer Hina Jilani said with regard to the Covid-19 crisis there’s so much to lament but also so much to reflect upon. It isn’t just a health crisis; it’s a human rights crisis. It’s also an opportunity to correct what we have neglected in the past. The foremost aspect of the situation is that how weak the world is, developed or underdeveloped — employment opportunities have been affected, the right to work has been affected, there have been increased prices (of commodities) etc in the early days of lockdown, it was a matter of survival for many. The issue that arose was how to survive physically. But social isolation affected us badly because the support systems we usually turn to were not available.
Ms Jilani said the crisis has a global dimension because the multilateral system did not respond the way it ought to have, indicating that the system is weak. Agreeing with an earlier speaker, she remarked it was the fragmentation of the multilateral world that impacted the response to the situation. She hoped that it (time to come) will not be the new normal and we will emerge with a better understanding of how to readjust our priorities. “We need to make sure that we give attention to the marginalised and vulnerable segments of society. There has to be a global response to the crisis and there’s a need to recognise that there are more stakeholders who need attention not just the victims [of illness] and government. One of the least recognised sectors that have stepped up in the situation is civil society.” Continue reading →
There has been no fundamental change in India’s attitude towards Pakistan. It has never seriously engaged with Pakistan on conflict resolution.
This was one of the points made by Riaz Khokhar, former Ambassador and Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, on 29 January 2020 in his keynote address in the inaugural session of a two-day conference on ‘Kashmir, the Way Forward’, organised by The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA). Mr Khokhar started his speech by saying that the subject could not be looked at in isolation because it involved a number of factors: the situation in South Asia in the geopolitical and economic context, the world order was in flux, the rise of China, Russia reasserting itself, the US still believing in its superiority as an exceptional power, the US-India strategic partnership and flashpoints such as Afghanistan and the Middle East. He rejected the notion that the Pakistan government was caught napping when Modi made his move [in Kashmir]. “We were following his election very carefully, and there was a genuine understanding that if he was to return with a massive majority then we should expect him to do things. The Pakistani government did handle the first phase of the problem coolly.” Watch Video
Mr Khokhar said in order to analyse the situation we needed to see what Modi did: he basically abolished articles 370 and 35(A). And why at this time? There were several reasons, he argued. First, as the leader of the BJP and a deeply committed RSS man, he was committed to the concept of Hindutva. Secondly, he was convinced that if he did that, it would be a popular move [among Hindus]. Thirdly, he was convinced that the international community was not with Pakistan. Fourth, after the February 2019 skirmish he was convinced that Pakistan was not entirely strong –– he saw it politically fractured, economically weak, but militarily strong. He also realised that Pakistan was financially in a difficult situation; if there was a war we would have difficulty in financing it. Continue reading →
Trump represents the height of dysfunction in the US and the negative consequences of blindly pandering to a pro-Israel lobby and the military-industrial complex’s interests.
While the US and Saudi Arabia continue to accuse Iran of creating instability in the region, it would benefit Trump greatly if he turned his gaze inwards to demonstrate some degree of reflection. When one considers the current crisis and its motivations, it is fairly reasonable to reach the conclusion that Trump instigated a crisis in order to carry out his “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran. Trump incorrectly predicted that his move would be successful in causing the Iranians to capitulate to US demands for Iran to stop funding proxy wars and discontinue its ballistic missiles program. A victory of this nature would have boosted Trump’s credibility in the upcoming US elections while showing that a mediation-oriented leftist approach is wrong. However, Trump’s simple-minded plan has clearly failed as Iran has not backed down and continues to challenge the US on an almost equal footing.
Iran has retaliated in response to the earlier seizure of Grace I (by the UK on the directions of the US) by attempting to halt a UK ship and then by towing the Panamanian-flagged tanker, Riah, to its port for technical repairs in response to a distress signal issued by the tanker. While it is likely that the Riah did not have technical issues, Iran is coating its retaliatory efforts in strategic statements in a similar vein to those of the British who claimed that the reason for the seizure of Grace I was due to EU sanctions against Syria. It is worth noting that the EU sanctions have been placed on Syria since 2014 yet it is only now in the midst of tension that they seem to be remembered in the case of Iran exporting its oil. Continue reading →
Johnson is presenting himself as too keen to please the US President.
Donald Trump’s diplomacy is known for not following any traditional rules. Last week, he refused to work with British ambassador Sir Kim Darroch. This ‘expulsion’ happened after diplomatic cables were leaked that gave away Darroch’s opinion of the US President. In the cables, Darroch called Trump ‘insecure’, ‘inept’ and ‘incompetent’, and the White House as ‘uniquely dysfunctional’. Taking offence, Trump announced that he would not want to work with the British ambassador. Darroch was dis-invited from a banquet and thereafter was unable to attend an event with a minister. He was not only expelled, but also resigned from the post on July 10. In his resignation letter, Darroch wrote: “The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like.” There are several things that are not new about this situation. Kim Darroch’s opinion of Trump and how he is running the White House does not come as a surprise. Rather, diplomats have expressed solidarity with it. Secondly, such diplomatic cables and them getting leaked are not a new phenomenon.
Examples include Wikileaks, going as far back as 2010. Thirdly, Trump’s diplomacy has already adopted a different style altogether, with his opinions coming through on Twitter. This has become known as ‘twitter diplomacy’. What is interesting in this saga, however, is how Boris Johnson has responded to Trump’s decision to expel the British ambassador. Johnson is most likely to be Prime Minister in less than two weeks. He was accused by MPs for not supporting Darroch, leading to his decision to quit. Johnson appeared in a leaders’ debate on television, where he is blamed for not backing the British ambassador. Continue reading →
Caught right off guard or simply unwilling to process the implications that these results may pose, Europe – it may be argued – is visibly unsettled. The results of the European Parliament Elections of 2019 usher in a transformative, albeit disconcerting era where 25 per cent of the European Parliament’s seats are expected to be occupied by the euro-skeptic, far-right, ultra-nationalist parties that have been generating notorious headlines across Europe. Despite the traditional, centrist parties just about managing to scrap the majority in the elections, the question still remains – what can one make of the ruffling victory of the euro-skeptics? Marine Le Pen’s National Rally party of France, Matteo Salvini’s Lega Nord (Northern League) party of Italy and Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party of Hungary made impressive breakthroughs, with Le Pen most notably managing to win 25 per cent of the vote over incumbent French President Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche party, which stood at 21.3 per cent. Salvini, too, confidently and resolutely secured 34 per cent of Italy’s vote.
The momentum that the far-right has picked up within contemporary European politics is a contemplative political development which may be tied down to a diverse range of mutually inclusive and exclusive factors. One of the most pertinent causes for this rise can be linked to the mainstream, centrist, social-democrat parties becoming increasingly influenced by the neoliberal ideological framework – this is most notably encompassed through the economic policies of Emmanuel Macron. Marine Le Pen’s late father, the infamous Jean-Marie Le Pen, had explicitly mentioned the strategy of galvanizing on the disenchantment on the left-leaning supporters who had consistently cast their votes for the social-democrats, stating: ‘Left-wing voters are crossing the red line because they think that salvation from their plight is embodied by Madame Le Pen. They say ‘no’ to a world that seems hard, globalized, implacable. These are working-class people, pensioners, office workers who say, “We don’t want this capitalism and competition in a world where Europe is losing its leadership.’” Continue reading →
Brexit becoming paralyzed indicates for the country being steered towards danger due to the absolute challenges yet to come.
Theresa May never envisioned for Britain to contest in the European Parliamentary elections, 2019 with it being around the corner. All political parties are fighting for it inevitably as a proxy quest for Brexit. The recent local elections have been expounded in the same imprudent way the decisions on Brexit results were interpreted. Yet it would be an extent to make-believe that for the first time in the history of Britain, the European Elections of UK are truly focused on Europe’s and Britain’s position in the contemporary world. The reality is extremely less gratifying. The elections can be comprehended with a holistic understanding of another occurrence in the state and particularly the Conservative party’s distress due to the significant deterioration of British influence as the referendum was a short-term highlight. Therefore the elections are dubious to be therapeutic and purgative. On a conflicting note, the vote of 2016 has hauled the Brits into an entrenched melodrama.
The case regarding Brexit is one that is inescapable. It is binding for leaders and political parties to engage in it. The more it persists, the further the country goes beyond any endeavor to make a thoughtful, far-sighted decision about the actualities that shape its contemporary presence. The argument concerning Brexit is so severe that we fail to perceive lucidly enough the self -injury Britain is inflicting upon itself, regardless of the temporary consequence of the clashes that presently preoccupy the activists’ of the parties. Stephen Kinnock, the Labour MP who is also in favor of a soft Brexit was of the opinion that they have become dangerous in the sense; the European Union’s conventional partners are not willing to exert any burdens any longer stated by Charles Grant, who is a pro-European veteran. In past Britain was considered Continue reading →
It is hard to attach the word ‘great’ with Britain because the citizenship of Reema Iqbal, Zara Iqbal and Shamima Begum has been revoked for national security reasons. But it is equally arguable that the UK has two classes for citizenship: one kind for the whites and another for children of immigrants. The two sisters left UK in 2013 and Shamima left in 2015 with her friends Amira Abase and Kadiza Sultana and all of them married Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists. The most likely reason of the cancellation of their nationality is their Asian descent which is common in all the surviving three women. Had they been of white British origin the Home Secretary Sajid Javid would have taken a different line but he did not hesitate to make these misguided/confused women stateless. Significantly, these Asian British women were not directly involved in crimes against Britain’s national security. Overall, these were not even isolated cases of people travelling to join ISIS or becoming jihadi brides.
According to the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, UK’s national security is hampered by cyber crimes, espionage for other states, terrorism, organized crimes and spreading weapons of mass destruction. And of course as many as 350 jihadis have already returned to the UK after fighting in Syria. Are Reema, Zara and Shamima bigger threats than them? Shamima Begum was a minor when she left for Syria, therefore should she be held accountable for her actions? Albeit, we also heard Shamima justifying the Manchester bombing but that was a naïve statement by her. Those angry people who are supporting the UK government’s deprivation of her citizenship must know that Sajid Javid did not order the cancellation of the citizenship of white British jihadis supporting the terrorism and suicide bombing in the UK. Continue reading →
According to Ken Clarke, the Father of the House of Commons, “The ordinary rules of conventional politics cannot be applied to the last two-and-a-half, three years of Brexit politics.”
Winston Churchill, the legendary prime minister of the UK, took the view that every time we have to decide between Europe and open sea, it is always the open sea. The repercussions of such thoughts never dawned upon him but now it seems that the chickens have finally come home to roost with only 20 days remaining until Brexit day. The clock is ticking. The idea of Brexit, which is in fact driven by a hatred of foreigners and a false sense of superiority among the racist natives of England, is a vicious cycle. Be it a deal or no-deal, to compensate for the losses will be Gordian knot for the UK government but Theresa May is adamant that the UK can walk the walk without a deal despite the fact that Parliament is opposed to the UK crashing out of the EU. One should have an idea of the events in the decades which led to Brexit. Prior to its entry to the European Community in 1972, in the 1960s majority of the people in Britain had manual jobs and not more than one-tenth of the voters took university education.
But, in the 21st century a large number of people in the working class plummeted by becoming financially better off and majority of those people became a part of middle class citizens. Notably, overtime more than 30 percent of the electorates possessed university degrees from the middle class. Overall, this changed the demography of the Conservative and Labour party. The Labour Party always won elections in the past due to constant support of working class. Since 1997 Tony Blair had a centre approach (a third way) and he did not take seriously the fact that working class was responsible for always bringing his party into power. Those people had issues which could have been sorted out by either Tony Blair or David Cameron. But the working class was stranded by both and divisive liars like Nigel Farage took the opportunity to divide the UK and stir up mass racism against immigrants from Europe who can enter the UK without limits because of the magical law of free movement in Europe. Continue reading →
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