China Braces for ISIS impact

China Braces for ISIS impactIn Chinese President Xi Jinping’s call for building a “great wall of iron” to shield his country against a possible infiltration by the Islamic State, or ISIS, lies China’s acknowledgement that it is as much vulnerable to this threat as any other country. That is forcing a clear change in Beijing’s traditional security concepts and…

President-elect Trump’s Humanitarian Agenda

President-elect Trump’s Humanitarian AgendaForeign policy, development, and humanitarian aid have had little coverage in the US presidential campaign. However, the issues will still be in the in-tray of Donald J. Trump come January. Here are some of the most pressing: The war in Afghanistan Trump will inherit the longest war the US has ever fought – in Afghanistan.…

China Joins the ‘Great Game’

China Joins the ‘Great Game’During the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent visit to China, the two countries agreed to jointly fund a disaster response center in Afghanistan. It was just the latest sign of China’s increasingly prominent role in that country, which also includes trying to jump-start peace talks with the Taliban. Germany has been a key US ally…

Afghanistan: Spectre of ISIS a Growing Threat

Afghanistan: Spectre of ISIS a Growing ThreatThe emerging struggle for primacy between the Taliban and the notorious Middle East-based Islamic State is causing significant changes in the dynamics of Afghanistan. The war can no longer be simply described as one between NATO forces led by the United States and the Taliban. It has become a multi-sided affair that also includes Iran…

Afghanistan: From Bad to Worse

Afghanistan: From Bad to WorseUpbeat western assessments of the situation in Afghanistan are unrealistic at best and duplicitous at worst. At least 19 people, including two NATO soldiers, have died in the past week in attacks carried out by the emboldened Afghan Taliban. A number of people were injured, leaving a big question mark on the ability of the…

Afghanistan: What Withdrawal?

Afghanistan: What Withdrawal?Any idea that NATO and US forces will be out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014, as President Barack Obama promised, is a chimera, most probably a casualty of the deteriorating situation in the Middle East, where the Islamic State has rushed into the vacuum left by the departing US presence.   The Bilateral…

Iraq Crisis Could Slow Afghan Pullout

Iraq Crisis Could Slow Afghan PulloutThe drama of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan is reaching its climax. Or is it? It seems likely to most observers that with any major drawdown, the Taliban plan a surge of their own that could well mean the loss of country after the 30-nation NATO coalition has lost 3,455 combat troops – the US, 2,179…

Civil War Looms in Afghanistan

Civil War Looms in AfghanistanAfghanistan faces the bleak prospect of a murderous return to civil war despite rosy western reports of a successful April 5 election – which turns out to have been neither free nor fair nor representative, and which delivered up as possible vice president a warlord known for his brutality. On April 17, Mullah Omar, the…

Civil War Looms in Afghanistan

Civil War Looms in AfghanistanWhatever the nature of optimistic statements from the NATO command in Afghanistan, or Washington, DC, it is clear that the country is drifting towards civil war, and with no predictable outcome. Should such an eventuality take place, it has the potential to suck in – however reluctantly – any one or more regional states including…

New Contest Coming for Afghan Resources

New Contest Coming for Afghan ResourcesAlthough the debate  on Afghanistan's post-2014 future centers on the question of emphasis on the question of negotiating with the Taliban, or on the possible strength of the residual force the US is planning to leave, the economic dimension of Afghanistan’s future seems out of the picture. The issue is not merely who would rule Afghanistan…