International

Afghan Political Impasse Ends

AS many Afghanistan watchers had predicted from the outset, a power sharing deal between Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah, the contenders for the presidency was announced with much fanfare on September 22. Under the deal, Ghani has duly been sworn in as president of the country. Only a week before, Abdullah was threatening that he and his supporters would not recognise the results or recognise Ghani as the democratically elected president, even after the votes were audited by the Afghan Electoral Commission under international supervision.

 

US Prepares for Gulf War III

THE decision by President Barack Obama to order the American military back into action in West Asia following the military advances of the Islamic State (IS) forces and the beheading of three western nationals in the region, could lead to another full scale war in the region. In the third week of September, the US House of Representatives and the Senate voted to give the American president its approval for the plan to train and arm the so-called “moderate” rebel forces in Syria, without even a semblance of a debate.

Cease Fire in Gaza: Inhuman Blockade Continues

DESPITE the open ended truce that came into force in the last week of August, Gaza continues to lie in ruins. On October 12, the international community pledged more than $5 billion for the rebuilding of Gaza. It is estimated that $4 billion is needed just for reconstructing the devastated infrastructure of the enclave. Even before Israel launched its third and most prolonged military assault on Gaza, it had become unlivable. After the earlier Israeli “Operation Cast Lead” against Gaza in 2009, the international community had pledged over $4 billion.

Ukraine: Fragile Ceasefire!

THE ceasefire agreement between the central government and the Eastern Ukrainian rebel forces on September 5 was viewed by the governments in Moscow and Kiev as a definitive step forward to end the vicious civil war that had gripped the East European country. At the negotiations in Minsk, the Ukrainian government was represented by a former President, Leonid Kuchma. Aleksandr Zakharchenko represented the rebel factions from the East.

Iraq: Chickens Coming Home to Roost

THE gruesome beheading of three westerners by the Islamic State (IS), previously known as ISIL and ISIS, has once again led to a large scale American military intervention in Iraq. Alarmingly, the US has used the alleged threat posed by the IS to its homeland security to extend the military intervention to Syria. The chorus of right wing voices in the United States has demanded a full scale military intervention in the region. In the videotapes released by the IS on the beheadings, it is a masked man speaking with a pronounced British accent, who carries out the decapitations.

‘Stronger in Deed, Gentler in Style’

ON September 28, 1864, St. Martin Hall, London, witnessed a meeting of workers and refugees from various European countries. They represented various workers’ organisations with heterogeneous ideas. In fact, the meeting started on September 26th itself where representatives of the suppressed Polish workers uprising were felicitated. However, the meeting on the 28th led to the foundation of the First International.

President Xi in India: Opening of a New Chapter!

THE Chinese President, Xi Jinping’s tour of South Asia in the third week of September ended with his three day visit to India. Before reaching Indian shores, the Chinese president had visited the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Both sides have described the visit of the Chinese president as successful. The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, speaking after the return of President Xi to Beijing, said that “cooperation” between the two countries was the main theme that dominated the summit meeting with the Indian prime minister.

India-Pakistan: Back to Square One

EXPECTATIONS about the improvement of bilateral ties between India and Pakistan were buoyed after the Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif accepted the newly elected Indian prime minister’s invitation for his swearing in ceremony. Sharif had come to Delhi at short notice despite the misgivings expressed by many in Pakistan, including those in the powerful security establishment. Narendra Modi on the campaign trail had targeted Pakistan as a threat to India’s internal security and had pledged to take a tough and uncompromising stand on the Kashmir issue.

Afghan Politics: Flawed Elections

IN what was more or less a replay of the presidential elections held four years ago, Abdullah Abdullah, has once again charged that the election process this time was also deeply flawed and that he was robbed of certain victory. As the voting trends became clear in early July and his main rival building up an unassailable lead, Abdullah dramatically announced that he would refuse to recognise the results of the elections.

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