Salman Rafi Sheikh
Libya: Why a New Flashpoint between Russia and the West?
Even though it is already a well proven fact that the core reason for Libya’s present troubles is the NATO intervention that took place in 2011—which was largely a result of cooked up ‘facts’— the West continues to treat the war-torn country as its exclusive territory of influence; hence, its increasing resistance to the potential or […]
Why are Arab States No Longer Bound to Follow Washington’s Policy on Iran?
With the US military presence in the Persian Gulf dwindling on the back of Pentagon’s recent withdrawal of troops from Saudi Arabia, an important question that the Gulf Arab states need to consider is whether they are to follow the US-imposed anti-Iranian line. For the US, Iran remains an enemy state. Accordingly, the US continues to thrash fresh […]
Why is Trump Drumbeating a ‘New Cold War’ with China?
Whereas Trump’s negative portrayal of China goes back to his 2016 election campaign when he directly called out China, saying “because China’s going bad it’s going to bring us down too”, a number of subsequent US officials documents, policy papers and reviews have left no stone unturned in painting China as a ‘bully’, threatening US […]
What Led to the US Withdrawing Patriot Systems from Saudi Arabia?
Whereas the telephonic conversation between the US president and Saudi King Salman reportedly ‘reaffirmed strong ties’ between both countries, the oil crisis and the subsequent US decision to withdraw patriot batteries from Saudi Arabia, particularly those that were guarding Saudi oil facilities, indicate that there’s a lot of geo-political activity taking place under the surface. […]
With an Eye on Elections, Trump Bashes China
There is a remarkable similarity in the way populist leaders all over the world seem to be handling the COVID-19 crisis—particularly, the lockdown. Interestingly enough, all of them not only seem to be in favour of rapidly opening up—primarily because the urge to reopen echoes well with the natural popular sentiments and the desire to […]
War in Yemen Reflects War within the Arab World
With Yemen’s Southern separatist rebels declaring ‘self-rule’ in southern Yemen, there remains little gainsaying that the crisis will escalate. Its roots, however, are not just in the internal divisions that have plagued the country since 2011 when Saleh was forced out of power; the present crisis, as also the whole war, has its roots in […]
How Threatening Iran Works for Trump
According to ‘System Survival Theory’, country leaders often postulate an external enemy to create powerful distractions to hide their incompetence and/or to stay in power and maintain their regime. Behind Trump’s recent, though not unusual, threat to Iran lies the same ‘system survival’ logic. Facing extreme pressure at home due to his administration’s extreme mishandling […]
How and Why OPEC+ Deal Saved Shale Oil from Total Destruction
If Trump’s dream, a year or two ago, was to make America’s shale oil industry dominate the world, the recent ‘oil price war’ has completely shattered it, leading to a new dream of ‘co-existence’ of shale and crude oil. As most analysts and American think-tanks believe, but for the OPEC+ deal, the US shale oil […]
Middle East: How is the UAE Changing Its Geo-Political Game?
Whereas the leaders of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, popularly known as MBS and MBZ respectively, have a number of reasons to stay united and support each other, inter-state relations are never static, with critical differences between them emerging at every turn even when state interests converge deeply. When the UAE decided in 2019 […]
Why the US wouldn’t Ease Iran Sanctions
Past two weeks saw the US officials moving from first issuing an alert to their military commanders to make plans for a retaliatory strike against Iranian targets to talking about ‘easing’ sanctions on Iran if Iran ‘wants it.’ It’s obvious that there is no reason why the Iranians wouldn’t want to see sanctions against them […]
On Turkey’s New Plans for Syria
That Turkey was forced to do yet another deal with Russia to avoid a military humiliation in Syria unmistakably showed the limitations of using military means to achieve its cardinal objectives. While the spread of COVID-19 may change the military equation and affect the possibilities of conducting direct operations, there is no gainsaying that Turkey’s […]
In the “Oil War”, Washington Blinks First to Survive
The “oil war” started by the Saudis (and the US) has, within a matter of weeks, already led to a change in the narrative from purportedly establishing ‘shale oil dominance’ to ‘energy market management’ and avert a crisis that could ultimately destroy the very shale oil industry of the US. This resulted in the US […]