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.
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The Kurdish issue is far more complex and sophisticated than the simplistic nationalist rhetoric, made fashionable by Europeans-- and which all actors in the game feel compelled to employ and have us believe
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.
France's state policy of 'laïcité' (secularism) and its military interventions in Islamic countries has made it the prime target of IS in the West. The hardline French response to step up bombing campaigns against jihadis in Syria, Iraq, and Mali will likely continue, but conversely feeds IS strategy, which is to foment anti-Muslim sentiment among the non-Muslim French population.
At the recent counter-terrorism conference in Jaipur, a star-studded galaxy of policy makers, security analysts and law enforcement officials debated on tackling the Daesh threat. Some of the most positive steps to counter the terror propaganda came from South East Asia and India’s neighbourhood
Recently-released blockbuster Airlift, on the biggest evacuation by air in history conducted by the Government of India during Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990, falls disappointingly short of presenting the true picture of the government’s laudable and timely intervention.
The U.S.-led bombings on ISIS locations have France and the British as its partners. On the other hand is Russia -- targeting the Islamic State but with a primary aim of keeping Assad in power. Is this then World War III?
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.