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Tag Archives: Middle East

Iran nuclear deal: the slippery road ahead

It is too early to have an accurate assessment of the monitoring provisions of Vienna agreement. Even if all actors are presumed to act in good faith—which is not a likely proposition— the slippery provisions of the agreement are rather intricate and circuitous; and hence, their execution is likely to bog down into glitches. Text and its likely diverse interpretations embody endless grounds for sounding Iranian noncompliance. After13 years in the wilderness, potentially dangerous row over Iran’s nuclear programme is hopefully coming to a close—at least for the time being. Iran has undertaken to drastically review its programme in return for lifting of crippling economic sanctions. Pakistan has rightly welcomed the accord hoping that it would help resume progress on gas pipeline agreement besides a quantum increase in bilateral trade.

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Deliberate Ambiguity?

A photograph released by Saudi Arabia shows Brigadier General Ahmed Asiri at the news briefing with 11 flags displayed behind him, including those of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Pakistan maintains that it has neither joined the military coalition nor has it sent any military personnel to actively participate in any operation. Earlier CNN apologized to Pakistan for reporting that Pakistani fighter jets had taken part in the fighting in Yemen. PM leaves for Turkey tomorrow for consultations on Yemen; and for the same purpose, Iranian Foreign Minister shall arrive in Pakistan on April 08.

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Pakistan embraces another thankless war

[Featured map: Courtesy BBC] During difficult hours Saudi Arabia, as indeed other Middle East countries, have been looking up to Pakistan for security cover. Bilateral agreements are in place with most of these countries that bind Pakistan to provide necessary support when asked for. Most of these agreement carry a clause that Pakistani troops shall not take part in war on behalf of requisitioning states. Nearly 40 percent Saudi National Guards are of Yemini reign. This composition of National Guards is the underlying reason for current Saudi nervousness. Within Pakistan there is an overwhelming support—almost national consensus— to align with Saudi Arabia during all sort of crisis, including providing military assistance, with a caveat that such force is not used against any other country. Another concern is that such military deployment may embroil Pakistan in the sectarian violence back home. If the government of Pakistan is able to address these concerns, a national consensus is likely to evolve, barring some sectarian outfits. Arab leaders at their summit in Sharm el Sheikh on March 29-30 have voiced their support to the Saudi led operation against Houthi rebels. The UK and the US are also aligned with Saudi Arabia on this operation. Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen conflict, and the subsequent Saudi announcement of a coalition against Houthi rebels, involving Pakistan, has drawn a mixed reaction at home. Pakistan’s involvement in Afghan conflict brought home terrorism, and Pakistan’s involvement in Yemen could accentuate the sectarian violence which is already on boiling point. People of Pakistan deserve better, they need a break from war fatigue— especially from others’ wars. At this point and time, Pakistan must not be on the wrong side of history. Though official stance is that decision to participate in coalition is still under discussion; the decision, in all probability, has already been taken—Pakistan’s military contingent could proceed to Saudi Arabia, sooner than expected.

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