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Archive for the tag “religion”

It’s the Mysterious Department Behind China’s Growing Influence Across The Globe. And It’s Getting Bigger

The controversial Chinese Communist Party department responsible for promoting its influence around the world will have its authority greatly strengthened. The United Front Work Department, which has fallen under the scrutiny of Western governments in recent months, will now oversee the country’s ethnic and religious issues as well as overseas Chinese affairs.

Read Here – South China Morning Post



Fresh Prince

At only 32, MBS is already the most powerful figure in contemporary Saudi history, having sidelined other members of the ruling family with the full support of his father, King Salman. His concentrated authority and evident will to shake up the system make it possible for him to do great things. But he has also removed the restraints that have made Saudi foreign and domestic policy cautious, conservative, and ultimately successful amid the crises of the modern Middle East.

Read Here – Foreign Affairs

The Rising Role Of Buddhism In India’s Soft Power Strategy

The Modi-led government is placing a strong accent on the use of soft power in India’s foreign policy. One of the more novel manifestations of these initiatives has been engagement in Buddhist diplomacy. The Buddhist faith, due to its emphasis on peaceful co-existence and its wide pan-Asian presence, lends itself well to soft-power diplomacy.

Read Here – Observer Research Foundation

India, Iran And A Divided Middle East

The first presidential visit from Iran since 2003 comes at a complicated moment in Tehran. For the Islamic Republic of Iran, it is the best of times and the worst of times. Iran’s regional influence has never been as expansive as it is today. Yet, there is a huge push back against Tehran from some of its Arab neighbours, Israel and the Trump Administration.

Read Here – The Indian Express

Mohammed Bin Salman: Saudi Arabia’s Great Young Reformer May Struggle To Control The Forces He Has Unleashed

Saudi Arabia is going through more upheaval at the moment than the modern kingdom has ever seen. Not everyone is ready for social change, and members of the House of Saud sidelined by the crown prince’s recent power grab could yet form blocs of opposition against him.

Read Here – Independent

The United States And Pakistan: Best Frenemies Forever?

The United States is once again ratcheting up the pressure on Pakistan to fall in line with U.S. policy in Afghanistan by ending the Afghan Taliban’s enjoyment of safe haven. Unsurprisingly, Pakistan is once again pushing back. Amid the mistrust, mutual recrimination, and stale narratives that have increasingly characterised the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in recent years, there is one Pakistani talking point heard routinely from officials that should be taken at face value: Pakistan does not intend to fight the Afghan war on Pakistani soil.

Read Here – The National Interest

Saudi Arabia And Iran’s Rivalry Is Key To The Middle East In 2018

Another turbulent year in the Middle East has drawn to a close, but there will be no respite in 2018 from the regional chaos that is underpinned by the inflamed rivalry of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The young crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has consolidated power, embarking on an unprecedented cultural revolution and economic reforms in Riyadh, but his foreign policy ambitions have yet to bear fruit. Instead they will continue to sap lives and resources in neighbouring Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, unless a political settlement is reached.

Read Here – The Guardian

Any New Upheaval In Iran Has Far-Reaching Implications

Any new upheaval in Iran has far-reaching implications in the short term for the nuclear deal, and in the longer term for regional stability (Syria, Lebanon and Yemen) and regional power relationships (Saudi Arabia, Iraq). At best, social ferment could herald a new discussion – at worst, it would descend into a fight: about what sort of country Iran wants to be, and how religion and the state might reach a new accommodation.

Read Here – Independent

The Battle For Iran

In Iran, the obstacles to success are daunting. Whereas most Middle Eastern countries are ruled by secular autocrats focused on repressing primarily Islamist opposition, Iran is an Islamist autocracy focused on repressing secular opposition. This dynamic—unarmed, unorganized, leaderless citizens seeking economic dignity and pluralism, versus a heavily armed, organized, rapacious ruling theocracy that espouses martyrdom—is not a recipe for success.

Read Here – The Atlantic

The Mullah-Military Takeover Of Pakistan

It might still be premature to read too much into former military dictator Gen (R) Pervez Musharraf talking about a political alliance with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and its offshoot Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). Not because these groups are officially banned in Pakistan, but because Musharraf is a largely irrelevant political entity these days. However, events of recent weeks suggest that the unlikely merger of the Musharraf-led “grand alliance of 23 political parties” with the Hafiz Saeed-led proscribed groups would perfectly symbolize the mullah-military takeover of Pakistan.

Read Here – The Diplomat

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