Husain Haqqani writes: The Pakistani establishment and its apologists want the world to believe that Khan’s triumph is the result of the rise of a younger generation of Pakistanis. These young nationalists have been brought up on propaganda about how corrupt civilian politicians have deprived Pakistan of its rightful place under the sun. - Hudson Institute
Hopes and forebodings in India over the rise of Imran Khan
BY M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
A new predicament now arises for Delhi because the civilian and military leaderships in Pakistan now get along well
Islamist groups seen as behind the fall of Nawaz Sharif’s party in Pakistan
BY FM SHAKIL
The Islamic hardliner groups didn't win many seats in the national elections but made sure Sharif's party lost in several constituencies
Imran Khan’s Pakistan: a look ahead
SHAHID JAVED BURKI
Cricket player turned politician Imran Khan is about to become the next prime minister of Pakistan. The vote count was completed three days after the election last Wednesday, and Khan led his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), to victory. A party – or a coalition of parties – requires the support of at least 137 members of the National Assembly to be called upon to form a government. Khan is close to achieving that goal....
Buyer’s Remorse: Pakistan’s Elections and the Precarious Future of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor by Andrew Small
New Pakistani government faces many challenges
Pakistan is passing a critical stage and facing many challenges on the domestic as well international fronts. The newly elected Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government will inherit these challenges. Pakistan is situated at a geo-strategic location. It connects Central Asia, Russia, East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Being a Muslim nation, it is bridge between the Muslim world and other nations. It is the only nuclear state in the Muslim world. It is situated at the entrance to...
Pakistan faces tough choice: Help from IMF or China
(Asia Nikkei Review) Soon after next week's inauguration, a tough decision awaits Pakistan's new Prime Minister Imran Khan, as he will have to choose whether to turn to the International Monetary Fund or to China for financial support to rescue the country from its balance of payments crisis.
Afghanistan Strategy: Few Tough Questions, Fewer Detailed Answers
By Robert Cassidy, RealClearDefense: “Many open source articles and books explain why, what at first looked like, a successful war, with the Taliban taking flight, then saw the regeneration of the Taliban and the onset of a protracted war of attrition ...”
Trump’s Warning to Iran
By J. Robert Kane, RealClearDefense: “The aggression in Latin America through Iranian operations is not benign. It has serious effects. Namely, Iran is trying to replace the U.S. as the power ally to Latin American countries”
U.S., IRAN: Iran's President Mired in Palace Intrigue Amid Rising U.S. Pressure
By Rohollah Faghihi, Al-Monitor: “There is a war going on within the Iranian presidential palace, where two leading members of the administration are striving to force First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri out of the government.”
U.S., MIDDLE EAST:
U.S. Considering Military Options to Keep Strait of Hormuz Open
From The Jerusalem Post: “The U.S. is considering military options should Iran decide to close the strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route for oil produced in the Middle East, reported Maariv on Saturday.”
U.S. Options for Responding to Sharp Power Threats
By Anthony Patrick, Divergent Options: “Sharp power actions are normally covert in nature allowing the perpetrator plausible deniability. Given the combined military and economic power of western democracies, sharp power is the preferred method for disruptive actions against the international order by authoritarian powers.”
U.S. Provocations Present Opportunity for Iran
By Ian Dudgeon, The Strategist (ASPI): “U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s provocative speech on 22 July that attacked Iran’s leadership and policies, and prompted a brief but hostile exchange between President Hassan Rouhani and President Donald Trump about the threat of war, has provided an opportunity for Rouhani to seize the initiative and sell himself and the Iranian government, domestically and internationally.”
Abbas bids adieu
Al-Monitor examines President Mahmoud Abbas’ legacy as Palestine says good-bye to the US-led peace process in the latest installment of our long-form journalism.
The Strategic Framework for Israeli Operations in Syria
By Yaakov Amidror, RealClearDefense: “What is the logic guiding Israel’s actions in Syria, which have been going on for several years, and how far is Israel willing to go?
THE LONG WAR JOURNAL: INTERACTIVE MAPS ON U.S. COUNTER-TERROR POLICY IN NORTH AFRICA, PAKISTAN & ARABIA
US Counterterrorism strikes: Tempo remains high in Somalia and Yemen, transparency improves
In 2017, LWJ reported unprecedented levels of airstrikes in Somalia and Yemen. Thus far in 2018, the United States has sustained its high strike tempo in Somalia and improved transparency on its air campaign in Yemen. Strikes in Pakistan have leveled off, however press restrictions make tracking operations there difficult. In Libya, the U.S. has targeted jihadists sparingly.
Bomb, bomb Iran
By Rodger Shanahan, the interpreter: “...it is reported that “senior figures in the Turnbull government” claim that Washington could bomb targets in Iran as early as next month, and that Australia would assist in target identification.”
The Pentagon Should Be Planning for an Occupation of Iran
By Joe Karle, Modern War Institute: “Since war rarely goes according to plan, the circumstances and situations war create demand policymakers evaluate countless “what if” scenarios; including the possibility of a military strike escalating into regime change and a subsequent occupation.”
US redirects Iraq assistance to religious minorities
The Donald Trump administration on Thursday announced plans for 10 reconstruction projects in Christian and Yazidi communities in Iraq as part of an effort to directly fund minority areas decimated by the Islamic State. Vice President Mike Pence first redirected the funds last year amid accusations that the UN Development Program was not adequately stabilizing minority areas in the Nineveh Plains. Under the new directive, $118 million in stabilization funding for Iraq will go to minority communities, more than a third of the total US stabilization aid in Iraq. Pence on Thursday also announced an additional $17 million to clear land mines in Iraq’s Nineveh province.
Iraq’s national elections bode poorly for their future — and the United States
Kenneth Pollack | AEIdeas
The national elections were anything but the triumph of democracy that has been depicted by various journalists, officials, and experts. In reality, the elections were a disaster. There was massive fraud, made more salient by low voter turnout. Consequently, the results of the election have little legitimacy in the eyes of most Iraqis.
CHATHAM HOUSE U.K. Real Power Over Pakistan’s Regional Policies Will Continue to Rest With the Military
A new government led by Imran Khan is unlikely to challenge the military’s primacy over relations with neighbours, writes Farzana Shaikh. Read the expert comment >
Khan is saying the right things, but can he really deliver?
BY KUNWAR KHULDUNE SHAHID
The ex-cricketer has already triumphed over 22 years of adversity, but there will be more pain ahead as he tackles an ailing economy and security issues
Army-backed’ Imran Khan set to be Pakistan Prime Minister
BY KUNWAR KHULDUNE SHAHID
The controversial former cricket captain's party looks likely to form the next Pakistan government with the backing of smaller parties
India needs clear policy to achieve peace in the valley
For years, New Delhi tried to observe Kashmir through the lens of electoral politics and disturbances caused by Pakistan. The present dispensation is no exception. Obviously, it is an open secret that India's neighbor has been waging a proxy war, aiding the separatists and the terrorists to create disturbances in the Kashmir Valley. Anyway, blaming only Pakistan is not going to solve this mess, as when we assign blame, we are talking only of...
Israel detects Russian shift on Iran's presence in Syria
Israeli military sources sense that President Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin and even Iranian President Hassan Rouhani wouldn't object to Israel pushing Iran out of Syria.
Iran maneuvers to protect its interests in Syria
Iran’s strategy on Syria enters a more proactive phase as the Islamic Republic maneuvers to keep its interests, including its partnership with Russia, intact.
Assad's Lethal Peace Deals
by Mohammed Alaa Ghanem via Analysis
Ceasefires are often assumed to be a means to peace; but in Syria, the Assad regime has transformed them into a powerful weapon against civilians. This essay describes how Assad's forces have strategically deployed ceasefires to achieve two goals: (1) the starvation and displacement of urban areas, and (2) the massing of otherwise overstretched forces. Through a series of case studies, this essay also charts the evolution of Assad's ceasefires strategy, from the “local ceasefires” that took hold early in the conflict to the current “de-escalation zones.” The essay also highlights impacts on Iranian regional expansion and long-term population displacement and demographic re-engineering.
The Sorrows Of Egypt Revisited
by Samuel Tadros via Analysis
Does Egypt still have a place in the US grand strategy? For many pundits in Washington the answer is a resounding no. From every corner of the US foreign policy community frustration abounds with Egypt. If, however, the United States is ever capable of understanding its troublesome ally and salvaging what remains of the US–Egyptian alliance, it must tread carefully, following Fouad Ajami’s steps, and approach the Egypt of reality, and not that of imagination. It must take a voyage to “a jaded country,” as Ajami called it, and visit the land of sorrows.
Egypt's Sorrows Aren't Going Away
quoting Fouad Ajami, Samuel Tadros via Mosaic Magazine
Revisiting the historian Fouad Ajami’s 1995 essay “The Sorrows of Egypt,” Samuel Tadros finds that many, although not all, of its observations still hold true: In 1995, Ajami accurately wrote that “it is no consolation to Egyptians that they have been spared the terror visited on less fortunate places like Syria or Iraq or the Sudan.”
Editorial: The low-grade conflict underway between Israel and Hamas since March nearly escalated into a full-scale war over the weekend. After an Israeli soldier was shot and killed near its border with the Gaza Strip, Israeli planes carried out more than 60 airstrikes against Hamas targets. - Washington Post
HAMAS LOSING DETERRENCE AGAINST ISRAEL
Hamas losing deterrence against IDF
Hamas' decision to deploy snipers against Israeli soldiers after months of border protests and growing international attention highlights the internal divide in the movement and threatens to shatter previous achievements.
The United States In Northeastern Syria
by Fabrice Balanche via Analysis
The presence of the United States in northeastern Syria after the defeat of the Islamic State is justified in the context of the confrontation with Iran and Russia in the Middle East. However, by relying primarily on the YPG (People's Protection Units), an outshoot of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), Washington creates an existential threat to Ankara and pushes Turkey into the arms of enemies of the United States. The inversion of local power to the benefit of the Kurds and the disastrous economic situation strikes the Arab populations, who are turning to Damascus. That calls into question all the calculations made by strategists who are not interested in the deep reality of the territory that must support their actions.
Russia Can't Control What Happens in Syria
// Krishnadev Calamur
As the civil war morphs, Putin is trying to position himself as the indispensable power. But a dangerous confrontation between Israel and Iran is escalating.
Pakistan reimagined — interview with Husain Haqqani
Sadanand Dhume | AEI video
Husain Haqqani's new book, "Reimagining Pakistan: Transforming a Dysfunctional Nuclear State," calls for Pakistan to redefine itself as entrepreneurial and intellectual, rather than dominated by its army and animosity toward India. With a major election looming, Haqqani discusses his vision for Pakistan with AEI's Sadanand Dhume.
six AEIdeas blog entries from earlier this year, Kenneth Pollack fleshed out his ideas on how best to push back on Iran in the Middle East region. Beginning with a broad outline of the strategy and closing with a deeper look at its specific facets, including the optimal US policy toward Syria, Iraq, the nuclear agreement, and regime change, Pollack provides a fuller sense of what a strategy of pushing back on Iran could look like. Revisit the blog series here.
RISE OF THE REVISIONISTS: For more on how China, Russia, and Iran are attempting to rewrite the global order and challenge the idea of liberal democracy across the globe, order a copy of Schmitt’s new book, “ Rise of the Revisionists: Russia, China, and Iran,” which features chapters from other AEI scholars such as Dan Blumenthal and Frederick W. Kagan and The Wall Street Journal’s Walter Russell Mead.
Israel targets Syria’s Hama from inside Lebanon
The Israeli army sounded air defense sirens in northern communities near the border with Syria and Lebanon today amid reports that a Patriot missile interceptor was launched at a drone entering Israeli airspace. The alarm comes less than 24 hours after Israeli fighter jets fired missiles from Lebanese airspace against a military post in the city of Misyaf in western Syria. Syria’s official news agency SANA quoted a military source saying that the strike only caused material damage, but Syrian opposition members claimed members of Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guards were killed. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the air strike targeted a “workshop supervised by Iranians where surface-to-surface missiles are made.”
The escalation comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet today with a Russian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chief of Staff Valery Gerasimov. Netanyahu said he would share the same stance he presented to President Vladimir Putin when they met in Moscow last week, namely that Syria must respect the 1974 Separation of Forces agreement with Israel. “We are continuing to act in Syria to prevent Iranian entrenchment there,” Netanyahu said Sunday. Read More
● https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog-july-19-2018/ (part about gaza)
Countering Islamism In The Middle East
by Dennis Ross via Analysis
Countering Islamism requires several elements. First is defining the term and understanding that Islam is one of the world’s great faiths and that Islamism is not a religion but an ideology of power and control. Second is recognizing that radical Islamists seek to use that ideology to gain control for a violent, exclusionary, and expansionary agenda. Third is realizing that radical Islamists are both Sunni and Shia. The Sunnis, in the case of the Islamic State, must be defeated and the idea must be discredited—and only other Sunnis can do that.
PAKISTANI MILITARY JUNTA LEADERSHIP TRIES TO CAPTURE, TAME ISLAMISTS WITH POLITICAL POSTS & AFGHAN CONFLICT DRAWS IN REGIONAL ACTORS
Islamist groups hope to form Pakistan’s next government
BY KUNWAR KHULDUNE SHAHID
Pakistan's caretaker government has allowed several known militant groups to contest the upcoming general elections
Russia, Iran and the Middle East: What Comes Next?
By Stephen Blank, Eurasia Daily Monitor: “The idea that Iran is in such bad shape domestically that pressure will either destroy the regime or force it to yield to Washington echo the types of assumptions made 15 years ago about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.”
Anthony Bubalo writes: For many months, Saudi Arabia’s young tyro Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) has given the impression he is a very different kind of Saudi leader[..] But what if the great Saudi reform push he leads is coming to a grinding, stuttering halt? What if, like some of his predecessors (and in fact other autocratic rulers around the Middle East), he ends up choosing the path of cosmetic rather than deep change for his country? - War on the Rocks
Iraq on fire — again
Kenneth Pollack | AEI
The Iraqi elections on May 12 were riddled with fraud, which will result in a government of limited legitimacy, and a frustrated electorate produced a fragmented parliament that is likely to seat a national unity government incapable of acting except in the pursuit of corruption. As a result, faith in the efficacy of Iraq’s government is at an all-time low. America must reengage
How the Middle East Can Escape the Middle-Income Trap
Ferid Belhaj & Rabah Arezki, Project Syndicate
Iran and Pakistan seek to bolster military cooperation
The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces today wrapped up a three-day visit to Pakistan, where he met with his Pakistani counterpart. After the meeting, Iranian Maj. Gen. Hossein Baqeri and Pakistani Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa issued a joint statement asserting that the two countries had “reached a consensus on a comprehensive military framework for mutual cooperation” focusing on “coordination to achieve the goal of a peaceful and trade-friendly border.” The agreement aims to prevent human trafficking and drug smuggling along their notoriously porous border. The two sides also agreed to confront the Islamic State (IS). Baqeri’s visit comes days after an unprecedented meeting between the spy chiefs of Iran, Russia, and China in Pakistan to discuss IS in Afghanistan. Read More
Yes, Syria Is Still a Mess
By Robert Moore, RealClearDefense: “Tracing its troubled history from the downfall of the Ottoman Empire and the much-maligned Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916, the Syrian state over the past century has existed as a nonsensical mixture of historically antagonistic groups forced to live under the same government through external policing or internal authoritarians.”
Sharif and Maryam have won first round of nerve-racking battle
It was Fatimah Jinnah in the 1960s who was termed a traitor, Sheikh Mujib in the 1970s, Zulfiqar Bhutto in the late '70s, and then Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif were declared corrupt and traitors in the 1990s. But the course of history proved that they were the ones who were on the right side of history while dictators like Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf stood on the wrong side...
Will Imran Khan turn Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state?
Sadanand Dhume | The Wall Street Journal
Fans of Imran Khan hail him as an incorruptible outsider who will cleanse politics. But his knee-jerk anti-Americanism, record of pandering to fundamentalist clerics, and promise to create an “Islamic welfare state” bode ill for Pakistan. With a stuttering economy and a reputation for fostering jihad against its neighbors, the troubled nation needs a dose of introspection.
“Pakistan is now just a semi-authoritarian state, with a diverse but controlled media and multiple political parties, all operating within parameters set by an invisible military-intelligence authority,” said Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. - Bloomberg
Imran Khan is bad for Pakistan’s democracy
Sadanand Dhume | AEI video
The 2017 ousting of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and his subsequent imprisonment for corruption, have made Imran Khan the front-runner to be the country's next prime minister. Sadanand Dhume argues that Khan’s ascent to power backed by the army would weaken Pakistan’s nascent democracy.