Countries in the Middle East, such as Iran, Israel or Saudi Arabia, do not want a military confrontation. Yet, current circumstances conduce to the breaking out of just such a war
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Oil prices, arms exports and conflict are inter related especially when it comes to the U.S. Its arms industry grows when high prices and conflicts coincide. This has kept West Asia on a perennial geopolitical boil. This infographic charts the highs and lows of U.S. arms sales, especially in the light of conflicts centred around West Asia
The removal of 11 top ministers in the Riyadh government last week by the young crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, is a geopolitical upheaval, the implications are serious. Domestically, the kingdom is seeking to liberalise its conservative society and move away from oil-dependency – evident from the expected listing of its crown jewel Aramco. For India, which imports oil largely from West Asia, instability could cause a spike in prices, leaving less for its ambitious reforms. Globally, there is now space for new alignments – in the Great Power plays, in the Shia-Sunni rivalry, and in the war on terrorism.
Aleppo is back under the control of the Syrian government, the Russian ambassador to Ankara is assassinated for his country’s role in Syria, and U.S. President-elect Donald Trump wants to cooperate with Russia to fight ISIS in Syria. These momentous events in modern history compel an assessment of the geopolitics surrounding Syria.
With a cessation of hostilities been brokered by Russia and the United States, the conflict in Syria has entered a tense pause. India has had a bystander attitude to the conflict in Syria. However, with the truce expected to be short, does India have the incentive or the option to depart from its current position, and deepen its engagement in Syria?
The world has witnessed a number of upheavals in the past few years, precipitating widespread global political turbulence stemming from geo-economic instability. Over the next couple of months, Gateway House experts will attempt to deconstruct these events and how India and its foreign policy can work to take advantage of these trends.
Today ISIS is the gravest international security threat. To defeat ISIS, the world should pay heed to India’s experience of the need to isolate state sponsors of terrorism. Ultimately, only when Saudi Arabia acknowledges the danger to its own survival from past policies of alleged support to extremist groups, can it be a reliable partner in the fight against ISIS.
The announcement in June of a Saudi-Israeli alliance against Iran has to be seen in the context of the strategic dimensions of India’s relations with Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, and the U.S. And it has far-reaching implications for India’s policy towards West Asia
Currently, it appears that the Wahabbis have the upper hand over the "Sabahis" in the middle east. But the war for the hearts and minds of a people as gifted as the Arabs, is far from over.
The last ten years had signalled the Saudi intention of building closer relations with India based on their immense crude oil resources and India’s growing market and skill sets. With a new king on the throne and the on-going turmoil in West Asia it is in New Delhi’s interest to initiate high-level visits with Riyadh as soon as possible