Asia

Nawaz Sharif’s Exit and the Pakistan-China-India Triangle: Why Islamabad needs a serious re-think

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All eyes in the next few months, into the elections of 2018, will be on how Nawaz Sharif, who  resigned last month, as Prime Minister of Pakistan after being disqualified from Parliament by the Supreme Court, will play his cards vis-à-vis the Pakistan army. TRIDIVESH SINGH MAINI IPP Review Will Sharif, who was also forced to resign as president of his party, PML-N, adopt an aggressive posture with the Pakistan army, or play it smartly? In his first two tenures as Prime Minister, his ... Read More »

Turkish Airlines pilot refuses to fly failed Kent asylum seeker

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A failed asylum seeker remains in the UK after the pilot of a plane on which he was to be deported to Afghanistan via Istanbul refused to fly him. ABC Samim Bigzad, 22, had been living in Ramsgate, Kent, after entering the UK illegally two years ago in order to join his father who was granted asylum. The Turkish Airlines pilot refused to fly Mr Bigzad when he became hysterical as he was put on the plane at Heathrow. He ... Read More »

Myanmar refuses visas to UN team investigating abuse of Rohingya Muslims

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Government led by Aung San Suu Kyi says it will deny entry to mission after UN report said treatment of minority group could amount to ethnic cleansing Reuters The Guardian Myanmar will refuse entry to members of a United Nations investigation focusing on allegations of killings, rape and torture by security forces against Rohingya Muslims, an official has said. The government, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, had already said it would not cooperate with a mission set ... Read More »

Thousands more Rohingya flee to border as Myanmar violence flares

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More than 18,000 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and some with bullet wounds, have fled the worst violence to grip northwest Myanmar in at least five years, while thousands more are stuck at the Bangladesh border or scrambling to reach it. COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh – Reuters Hurriyet Aug. 25’s series of coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security forces in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state and ensuing clashes triggered the Rohingya exodus, while the government evacuated thousands of Rakhine Buddhists. ... Read More »

China, Japan and the Energy Quest in the East China Sea

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In early August 2017, Japan lodged a protest with China over its gas exploration in a disputed area of the East China Sea. Confirming the presence of a Chinese drillship close to Tokyo’s proposed median line, Japan accused China of conducting “unilateral development in the area” which remains yet to be demarcated between the two countries. IPP Review Amrita Jash In its defence against Tokyo’s accusations, Beijing categorically pointed out that its oil and gas activities in the maritime areas in ... Read More »

The Hajj and the Struggle for Islamic Hegemony

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The ethnic Sunni-Shiite rift parallels the Saudi-Iranian political rift, the Wahhabi-Muslim Brotherhood ideological rift, and the historic rift between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar BESA Tensions over Islamic hegemony arising from these rifts are likely to come to a boil at the 2017 Hajj. Wednesday, August 23, 2017, is the first day of Zhu–l-Hijjat, the Muslim month in which two important events take place: the pilgrimage to Mecca, one of the most central ... Read More »

Turkey’s Downward Spiral

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It is becoming harder by the day to make sense of the strategy behind Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy choices—assuming there is one at all. Marc Pierini Carnegie To Turkish analysts, Ankara’s policies may make sense. For Western politicians and analysts, including eternal hopefuls, summer 2017 will be remembered as a time when Turkey spiraled downward into more rule of the arbitrary, increased political inconsistencies, and aggressive postures on the international scene. It is becoming harder by the day to ... Read More »

Participation in the Seoul International Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism

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The Cyprus Institute and the Future Earth Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Centre will feature data and research on the challenges facing cities in MENA nations at an upcoming exhibition in South Korea. Future Earth This page will be updated following the opening weeks of the Biennale. The Cyprus Institute (CyI) and the Future Earth Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Centre will participate in the upcoming Seoul International Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in South Korea. ... Read More »

US to install radar systems on tiny Pacific island nation of Palau

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The Defense Department plans to install two radar systems on the tiny Pacific nation of Palau for monitoring air and maritime traffic and possibly tracking North Korean missiles Wyatt Olson Stars and Stripes The systems would include a series of radar towers on the Palau archipelago, which includes more than 300 islands. Officials of the two countries last met on Aug. 16 to discuss the proposed radar arrays, according to a joint statement from the office of the president of ... Read More »

With Referendum Approaching, Kurds Wait for More U.S. Military Aid

MOSUL, IRAQ - OCTOBER 20:  A Kurdish peshmerga tank moves forward during an assault to recapture the village of Tiskharab on October 20, 2016 near Mosul, Iraq. Kurdish and Iraqi forces, supported by numerous countries including Britain and the USA, have continued their advance towards towards Iraq's second largest city of Mosul which has been held by Islamic State militants since 2014.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

A $22 million U.S. Defense Department fund that has helped pay the salaries of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq is due to run dry in September, worsening a financial crunch as the government in Erbil struggles with billions of dollars in debt. Paul McLeary Foreign Policy The timing couldn’t be worse, as the one-year program runs out at the same time the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) plans to hold a referendum on formally leaving Iraq, a vote the United ... Read More »

Use it or lose it: Why Canada’s navy needs to be in the South China Sea

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Canada’s diplomatic and strategic engagement in East Asia has been erratic over the past two decades. Successive governments have been incapable or unwilling to clearly articulate a regional strategy, remaining virtually silent on major geopolitical tensions. Adam P. MacDonald iPolitics  Some observers have advocated regular deployments of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to create a visible, routine presence in the region. One unexplored question is whether Canadian naval ships should participate in U.S. freedom of navigation (FON) patrols in the ... Read More »

Rohingya refugees ‘forcibly returned’ to Myanmar

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Rights group asks Bangladesh not to turn away refugees, and slams Aung San Suu Kyi’s ‘unacceptable response’ to crisis. Al Jazeera Bangladesh has detained and forcibly returned at least 90 Muslim Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar, as thousands of civilians from the ethnic minority area, on the other side of the border, attempt to escape from continuing violence that has killed scores of people. At least 20 Rohingya were caught on Sunday and sent back after crossing the Naf river, ... Read More »

China’s PLA readying missiles to counter Indian air power

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As tensions mount between India and China in a border dispute, Beijing is strengthening its mobile missile defenses to counteract India’s perceived air supremacy Zi Yang Asia Times Every summer the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a major air defense exercise at its western theater command’s air force experimental training base. The anti-aircraft brigade of the 79th group army was the main participant in this year’s drill, on August 22. The exercise evaluated the unit’s radar system, command and control ... Read More »

India guru rape: Followers start to leave Ram Rahim’s HQ

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Followers of a controversial Indian guru have started to withdraw from his 1,000-acre compound in Sirsa, Haryana, after a tense stand-off with soldiers. BBC Tens of thousands are still believed to be inside the headquarters of the Dera Sacha Sauda sect. Some 38 people died and hundreds were injured in riots on Friday after their leader, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was convicted of raping two disciples. Authorities fear more bloodshed could follow when he is sentenced on Monday. Police arrested some ... Read More »

Myanmar Tips into New Crisis after Rakhine State Attacks

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The Rohingya insurgent attacks that killed twelve Myanmar soldiers and officials and perhaps 77 of their own number is a serious escalation of a ten-month-old crisis. ICG They make implementation of this week’s recommendations to address Rohingya grievances from Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission both harder and more urgent. In the early hours of 25 August, militants from Harakah al-Yaqin– a Rohingya insurgent group that now refers to itself in English as the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) – mounted coordinated attacks ... Read More »

Turkey ‘Searching for Ways to Reconcile With Assad’ Amid Situation in Idlib

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Lately, Turkey has been actively engaged in contacts with regional states and allies, discussing the situation in Syria. Leading political observer Zeynep Gürcanlı, from the Sözcü newspaper told Sputnik Turkey that the attempt to alter foreign policy strategy and seeking a thaw with Damascus could be behind Ankara’s recent diplomatic efforts. Sputnik “Currently, perhaps the most significant steps have been made in the country’s [Turkey’s] foreign policy in terms of departing from the traditional 16-year political strategy  of the ruling the Justice and Development Party ... Read More »