The Beginning of a Peace Process in Afghanistan – Finally?

Is Afghanistan finally at a turning point – after so many disappointments and wasted opportunities? At the Kabul Process II conference on 28 February, President Ashraf Ghani proposed to launch peace talks with the Taliban without preconditions, offering to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political group, and presenting a number of significant proposals to… Read more »

Theses on Peacemaking in Afghanistan: a Manifesto

Author’s Note: Royalist and republican, Khalqi and Parchami, Soviet Union and the West, communist and Islamist, mujahid and Talib, Hanafi and takfiri, al Qaeda and America, warlord and technocrat, Pashtun and non-Pashtun, Islamic Emirate and Islamic State, KGB, ISI, and CIA – all have for decades carried on an uninterrupted struggle in Afghanistan. Attempts to… Read more »

Afghanistan – a new chapter in the Great Game?

May the shifting superpower dynamics bring hope for Afghanistan? Both Moscow and Beijing are displaying increasing interest in Afghanistan, after a decade and a half of domination by Washington. This shift is having effects in both Afghanistan and among its neighbours. the international power play surrounding Afghanistan is changing Recent news from Afghanistan has been… Read more »

Putin Brags about Missiles and Remains Mum about Mercenaries

The annual presidential address to the parliament is usually a rather dull affair in Russia, but President Putin has certainly managed to make an impression with the speech delivered on March 1, 2018. He elaborated at great length about Russia’s military might, but before describing new weapon systems (some of them entirely phantasmagorical), he briefly… Read more »

Turkey’s Risky Adventure in Afrin

Turkey’s military incursion into Kurdish-controlled northern Syria risks straining diplomatic ties and exposing Turkey to increased terror threats. The Turkish offensive on Afrin that began on January 20 had long been anticipated. But while the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) may hope this campaign can drum up anti-Kurdish nationalism ahead of the 2019 elections,… Read more »

Conflict Portrait: Afghanistan

The armed conflict between the Afghan government, along with its international allies, and armed radical Islamist insurgents intensified after 2014. At the end of that year, the mandate of the NATO-led ISAF combat mission expired, and the responsibility for security was officially handed over to the Afghan authorities. ISAF was replaced by a far smaller… Read more »

Totalitarianism Closing in on China

The only drama in the “two sessions” jamboree in Beijing this spring is that there was no drama at all. Each year the Chinese political élite, 5000 men and a few women strong, congregate in the capital for a week of meetings of the legislature, the National People’s Congress, and its advisory body, the Chinese… Read more »

Why a War with North Korea Is Unlikely

Here are three scenarios for the North Korean crisis: The recent flurry of threats between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump has caused much consternation. Threats can indeed be dangerous but only when they are followed up by hostile action. The latest important developments in this crisis have been North Korea’s July 4 and July 28… Read more »