Is a Persian-Saudi thaw on the horizon?

Introduction Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s (MBS) recent comments, where he batted for better bilateral ties with Iran, have understandably drawn attention given that, in recent years, ties between both countries had hit rock bottom. Said MBS in a television interview on April 27, 2021: At the end of the day, Iran is a … Continue reading Is a Persian-Saudi thaw on the horizon?

The Saudi-Qatar thaw

Introduction On January 5, 2021, at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit, at Al-Ula, an agreement was signed between Saudi Arabia (along with its allies) and Qatar that restored diplomatic ties. Blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia and its allies In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and Egypt had imposed a trade, travel, … Continue reading The Saudi-Qatar thaw

Biden’s Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel

Introduction   As President-elect Joe Biden gets ready to take over, he faces numerous foreign policy challenges. One of the most complex issues is likely to be Washington’s approach vis-à-vis Tehran. A lot of analysis has focused on how Biden has spoken about conditional entry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)/Iran agreement from which Donald Trump … Continue reading Biden’s Middle East: Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Israel

Pakistan’s long struggle for democracy could get a boost from Trump, Rand Paul, and …the Saudis

In recent days, all eyes have been on President Trump’s January 1 tweet, which sent out an unequivocal message that it cannot be business as usual with Pakistan unless the latter takes concrete action against terror groups like the Haqqani Network.  Said Trump in his tweet: The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 … Continue reading Pakistan’s long struggle for democracy could get a boost from Trump, Rand Paul, and …the Saudis

Why developing countries need to reduce their economic reliance on China

After the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa, Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lankan Prime Minister on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Wickremesinghe, who is the sole member of the United National Party (UNP), will be holding the position of Sri Lankan PM for the sixth time. While the new Sri Lankan PM is a seasoned … Continue reading Why developing countries need to reduce their economic reliance on China

Debt Traps from China, Western Stringency, and the Future of South Asian Democracy

Introduction If one were to look at two events in South Asia – the economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the downfall of the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaaf (PTI) government in Pakistan, one of the points which clearly emerges is that both the South Asian nations have moved closer to China, and there are pitfalls … Continue reading Debt Traps from China, Western Stringency, and the Future of South Asian Democracy

Oil Prices and the Ukrainian War

On March 8, 2022 US President Joe Biden imposed a ban on imports of Russian oil, gas, and energy . Said the US President: “This is a step we’re taking to inflict further pain on Putin.” Biden also said that Americans may have to deal with the economic repercussions of this tough decision for sometime. … Continue reading Oil Prices and the Ukrainian War

China’s new footprint in the Middle East starts with Iran

Introduction Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday, January 14, 2022, in the city of Wuxi, in China’s Jiangsu province. Both of them discussed a gamut of issues pertaining to the Iran-China relationship, as well as the security situation in the Middle East. A summary of the … Continue reading China’s new footprint in the Middle East starts with Iran

China’s new footprint in the post-American Middle East

Days after the UAE’s decision to cancel the agreement regarding purchase of F35 jets from the US, a CNN report (December 23, 2021) stated that assessments of senior US officials suggested that transfers of sensitive ballistic missiles had taken place between China and Saudi Arabia. UAE’s reasons for cancelling the agreement for purchase of F35s … Continue reading China’s new footprint in the post-American Middle East

The Quad of West Asia: New Developments, Old Problems

Introduction The signing of the Abraham Accords in September 2020, through which Bahrain and the UAE normalised ties with Israel, was a significant development which analysts believed had the potential of altering the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle East. In December 2020, Morocco also signed an agreement for normalising relations with Israel, while in January … Continue reading The Quad of West Asia: New Developments, Old Problems

Biden’s newest foreign policy challenge: Iranian and Israeli hardliners

Introduction After the triumph of Ebrahim Raisi in the June 2021 Iranian Presidential election, the US and other countries, especially the E3 (the UK, Germany, and France), which are party to the JCPOA/Iran Nuclear deal would have paid close attention to his statements, which had a clear anti-West slant. Raisi has made it unequivocally clear … Continue reading Biden’s newest foreign policy challenge: Iranian and Israeli hardliners

Will the US and Iran find common ground in Afghanistan?

Introduction On July 7, 2021 Iran hosted talks between the Afghan Government and the Taliban (the Taliban delegation was led by Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai). The same day, the Taliban attacked the Badghis provincial capital Qalat-i-Naw (Badghis is one of thirty-four provinces in Afghanistan). Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif emphatically stated that the Afghan people … Continue reading Will the US and Iran find common ground in Afghanistan?

Iran, the US, nuclear deals, and South Asia

In the coming months, US-Iran relations will be watched closely in South Asia (the region’s geopolitical landscape will be significantly impacted as it is by the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan). India’s ties with Iran are economic and strategic. It has, for example, invested in the Chabahar Port project (during PM Modi’s … Continue reading Iran, the US, nuclear deals, and South Asia

What the rise of Raisi means for regional security and nuclear bargains

Introduction  The triumph of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi in the recently-held Iranian Presidential election is likely to pose a challenge with regard to the renewal of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action JCPOA/Iran Nuclear Agreement (in 2019, US had imposed sanctions on him for human rights violations). Raisi, who has been serving as Iran’s Chief Justice … Continue reading What the rise of Raisi means for regional security and nuclear bargains

The Al Ula Accord: Qatar’s gains, the UAE’s losses, and Iran’s quiet win

Introduction  Days after the signing of the solidarity and stability agreement – the Al Ula accord – between Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Saudi Arabia’s allies, the Qatari Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, made it clear that Doha would continue to pursue an independent foreign policy driven by its own national interest. The Qatari Foreign Minister was alluding … Continue reading The Al Ula Accord: Qatar’s gains, the UAE’s losses, and Iran’s quiet win