US uneasy as Iraq gets new prime minister

Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi (L) receives appointment decree from President Barham Salih (R), Baghdad, February 1, 2020  In happier times, Washington and Tehran might well have zeroed in on Mohammed Tawfik Allawi as their consensus candidate for the post of Iraq’s prime minister.  Why not? He was opposed to Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship — …

Putin ushers Russia into transition period

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered his annual address to Federal Assembly, Moscow, January 15, 2020  It is a common fallacy that authoritarian rulers can afford to be impervious to public opinion. On the contrary, leaders like Russia’s Vladimir Putin or Turkey’s Recep Erdogan who are democratically elected ‘strongmen’ and enjoy high popularity in their respective …

Why Turkey won’t hitch Syrian wagon with US

Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on rare visit to frontline in northwestern Idlib province, October 2019. (File photo) The remark by President Recep Erdogan on Friday that Turkey might militarily intervene in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province fuelled speculation that tensions between Ankara and Moscow have reached a point of no return.  However, this is nothing but …

Pakistan’s exit from FATF list puts India on the spot

US Acting Asst Secy of State Alice Wells  met Pakistan’s Interior Minister Ijaz Shah, Islamabad, Jan. 20, 2020 The media reports that in the Indian estimation there is “a 75 per cent chance” of Pakistan exiting the ‘grey list’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at the plenary of the international body on February 16 …

India’s neighbourhood first policy crumbles

Massive anti-CAA rally at Kochi, Kerala, on New Year Day Two of South Asia’s most prominent national figures have made critical remarks regarding India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and related issues. The criticism is striking not only because it is unprecedented but both Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai have …

China, Myanmar to build shared future. What’s there for India?

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Nay Pyi Taw, Jan. 18, 2020. The state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Myanmar on January 17-18, the first of its kind in nineteen years, has been a transformative event in regional politics from the perspective of China-Myanmar …