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The Rise Of The Eurasian Century

25 MARCH 2021

The Rise Of The Eurasian Century

China, India, Pakistan, and Russia all share the same goal of improving connectivity between them and their many partners, with their visions increasingly converging in light of the latest events.

Fast-moving recent developments inspire hope that the Eurasian Century is rising a lot quicker than even the most optimistic observers could have expected. The relevant events are last month’s Chinese-Indian synchronized disengagement and the Indian-Pakistani ceasefire, the US’ threats to sanction India for its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems, the scandals that America provoked last week with China and Russia, last week’s inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue, and the latest progress in resolving the Afghan War. The importance of all five will now be briefly discussed prior to putting them into the larger strategic context.

The China-India-Pakistan triangle over the UNSC-recognized disputed territory of Kashmir always had a high conflict potential, which the world was reminded of during the Indian-Pakistani air battle of February 2019 and last summer’s Chinese-Indian clashes in the Galwan River Valley. All sides to their credit realized that their interests are best served by stabilizing the tense situation there through last month’s earlier mentioned synchronized disengagement and ceasefire. This de-escalates everything and creates a conductive environment for peacefully resolving their disagreements.

The US’ repeated threats to sanction India for its planned purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense systems will also improve the security situation in Eurasia, as strange as it may sound. India must by now realize that the US isn’t as reliable of an ally as some in the country had previously thought. America is attaching unacceptable political, economic, and strategic strings to military cooperation with India through the Quad that many suspect is tacitly aimed at containing China. Should Washington go through with its threats, then New Delhi might in turn take a step back from the Quad, which would by default further improve Chinese-Indian relations.

Last week’s Anchorage meeting between Chinese and American diplomats ended with the latter patronizingly talking down to the former and thus preventing a lot of meaningful progress from being made. In addition, US President Joe Biden’s agreement with an interviewer who asked him whether he thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “killer” prompted Moscow to recall its ambassador for the first time since 1998. Coincidentally, Russia’s Foreign Minister visited Beijing this week to discuss strengthening bilateral ties, which aren’t aimed against any third party such as the US but are only intended to improve the situation in Eurasia.

The inaugural Islamabad Security Dialogue was also held last week and saw Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Chief Of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa jointly present Pakistan’s new multipolar grand strategy. Importantly, Islamabad encouraged New Delhi to take the first step towards resolving their dispute over Kashmir in order for Pakistan to then facilitate Indian connectivity with Afghanistan, the Central Asian Republics, and beyond (perhaps as far as Russia and the EU too). This very friendly outreach could revolutionize Eurasia’s economic connectivity capabilities if India positively responds to Pakistan.

Finally, the recent progress that’s been made on peacefully resolving the Afghan War could unlock the potential for Central Asian-South Asian connectivity. This is especially so when considering last month’s agreement between Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uzbekistan to construct a railway between them. Keeping in mind the Pakistani political, diplomatic, and military leaderships’ unprecedented joint outreach to India last week, then the plausible possibility exists of finally pioneering a Central Asian-South Asian connectivity corridor upon the eventual end of the Afghan War. This would unquestionably be to all of the Eurasian supercontinent’s benefit.

Altogether, the fast-moving developments of recent weeks strongly point to the rise of the Eurasian Century. China, India, Pakistan, and Russia all share the same goal of improving connectivity between them and their many partners, with their visions increasingly converging in light of the latest events. The best-case scenario is that the Chinese-Indian synchronized disengagement and Indian-Pakistani ceasefire hold in parallel with meaningful progress being made on resolving the Afghan War and the Kashmir dispute. That outcome would enable all players to more easily resist the US’ divide-and-rule schemes and thus ensure a win-win future for all.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Eurasia, Eurasian Century, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kashmir, US, Multipolarity.


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SOUTH ASIA

INDIA-PAKISTAN:

  • India and Pakistan are holding their first meeting in three years of a commission on water rights from the Indus River in a further sign of rapprochement in relations frozen since 2019 during disputes over Kashmir. The talks are the latest in both nations’ tentative efforts to re-engage after a 2019 suicide bomb in Indian-administered Kashmir that New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based attackers and India’s move later that year to strip the disputed region of its constitutional autonomy.

SOURCE: AL JAZEERA


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SOUTH ASIA

INDIA-PAKISTAN:

  • India and Pakistan will hold the first meeting in three years of a commission that deals with water rights on the Indus River. The talks represent a thawing in bilateral ties, which have been frozen since a 2019 suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir blamed on Pakistan-based guerrillas and India’s decision later that year to strip Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy in order to bind it closer to India.

SOURCE: GULF TODAY


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Geopolitics

WHAT IS HAPPENING IN GEOPOLITICS? SOUTH ASIA:

KASHMIR:

  • Pakistan and India have agreed to immediately cease military hostilities in disputed Kashmir by restoring a 2003 truce to deescalate tensions between the nuclear-armed South Asian rivals. Bilateral tensions have escalated dangerously since August 2019, when India unilaterally revoked the semi-autonomous status of its administered Kashmir and split the region into two union territories. Kashmir has sparked two of the three wars India and Pakistan have fought since they both gained independence from Britain in 1947.

SOURCE: VOA NEWS


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WHAT IS HAPPENING IN GEOPOLITICS? SOUTH ASIA:

KASHMIR:

  • Violence along the de-facto border in Kashmir is likely to continue to increase and India and Pakistan are unlikely in the near future to make efforts to resolve the conflict bilaterally, according to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) Project. The report said there could be a surge in the activity of domestic and foreign militants in Kashmir after India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status and divided it into two centrally ruled territories. The resulting marginalization of Muslims “could in turn spur militant activity in the region,” it said.

SOURCE: YENISAFAK


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Western Sahara Is Extremely Important For The Anti-Imperialist Cause

Western Sahara Is Extremely Important For The Anti-Imperialist Cause

16 DECEMBER 2020

Western Sahara Is Extremely Important For The Anti-Imperialist Cause

Most folks never heard about Western Sahara until Trump unilaterally recognized Morocco’s claims to this disputed region of the Maghreb last week in exchange for it agreeing to a peace deal with “Israel”, but it’s actually extremely important for the anti-imperialist cause since its standing is similar to Palestine and Kashmir’s in the eyes of international law.

Trump’s unilateral recognition of Morocco’s claims to the disputed Maghreb region of Western Sahara in exchange for Rabat formalizing its long-held and not-so-secret ties with Tel Aviv caught many observers by surprise who previously weren’t familiar with this unresolved conflict. Palestine and Kashmir are much more globally prominent because of the involvement of nuclear powers and the efforts of some to focus more on the inter-religious optics of these conflicts than their international legal origins. Western Sahara satisfies neither of those two “exciting” criteria, hence why it’s largely been forgotten about by most of the world since the issue first came to the fore of international politics in the mid-1970s.

Francoist Spain’s “decolonization” process saw the totalitarian country refuse to grant independence to the Western Sahara, instead dividing it between neighboring Morocco and Mauritania against the wishes of the indigenous Sahrawi people as represented by the Polisario Front. This group in turn proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with the support of neighboring Algeria, which has an historic rivalry with Morocco and was also sympathetic to socialist causes such as this one during the Old Cold War. Mauritania eventually abandoned its claims to the disputed region, and after over a decades’ worth of fighting, Morocco and the Western Sahara reached a UN-backed agreement in 1991 to hold a referendum on the region’s political status.

The vote never took place since the two warring sides couldn’t agree on who’s eligible to vote, with the primary problem being Morocco’s insistence on letting settlers participate. Western Sahara is also de-facto divided by a sand wall that the occupying army built to solidify its control over approximately 80% of the territory. With Trump’s unilateral recognition of Rabat’s claim to the entire region (which might eventually be followed by others such as “Israel”), as well as his government’s subsequent decision to move forward with a $1 billion arms deal, it’s extremely unlikely that last month’s end of the 29-year ceasefire will result in any serious gains being made by the Polisario Front.

Russia denounced the US’ political decision as illegal under international law, which is an entirely accurate assessment, but this isn’t expected to have any tangible effect on altering the conflict’s dynamics. Only Algeria could potentially have an impact, but its ongoing domestic political problems over nearly the past two years have forced it to suddenly look inward instead of continue with its traditional policy of presenting itself as a regional leader. Moreover, the US’ planned arms deal might ultimately shift the regional balance of power in a decisive way, especially if “Israel” gets involved too, or at the very least spark a new arms race between Morocco and Algeria as the latter looks to Russia and China for more military support in response.

Amidst all of this, anti-imperialists shouldn’t ever forget the international legal importance of the Western Saharan cause. However one feels about the legitimacy of either side’s claims in the conflict, it’s nevertheless a UNSC-recognized dispute that’s supposed to be resolved by a referendum. The precedent of the US unilaterally abandoning its international legal obligations is disturbing and arguably also destabilizing, though it’s obviously doing this in pursuit of its own national interests as it subjectively understands them. The problem, however, is that this might embolden other claimants over different UNSC-recognized disputed territories across the world to double down on their maximalist positions, thus making it much more difficult to resolve those issues.

Another important point is that international law exists not solely for “moral” reasons like its most passionate supporters claim (since it’s obviously imperfect), but for practical ones related to the necessity of having predictable means to resolve international disputes in order to avoid unintentional escalations that could quickly evolve into larger and more uncontrollable conflicts. Unilateral maximalist claims by one party are troublesome, but they become even worse when they’re supported by self-interested external actors who might also have an ulterior motive to divide and rule the region in question like the US clearly does in the Maghreb, Mideast, and South Asia regarding Western Sahara, Palestine, and Kashmir.

The Western Saharan cause is therefore inextricable from the Palestinian and Kashmiri ones in the eyes of international law, which is why supporters of those two should stand in solidarity with their Sahrawi counterparts. The issue can only legally be settled by a referendum according to the UNSC regardless of one’s personal views towards the conflict, but since that has yet to happen and might very well never occur after Trump’s combined diplomatic-military support for Morocco’s claims gives Rabat no incentive to comply, observers can’t help but be concerned. The only way to remain consistent with supporting Palestine and Kashmir is to support Western Sahara’s UNSC-recognized right to a referendum.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Morocco, Western Sahara, Israel, Palestine, Kashmir, US, North Africa, Maghreb, Trump.


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South Asia

SOUTH ASIA

  • JAMMU & KASHMIR: Pakistan calls upon India to immediately end its illegal and forcible occupation of parts of Jammu & Kashmir. The Pakistan government plans to make Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) its fifth province, conduct elections there in mid-November, and send representatives to both houses of Parliament. India had firmly rejected the attempt by Pakistan.

SOURCE: HINDUSTAN TIMES

 

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SOUTH ASIA

  • KASHMIR: Indian security agencies are concerned about Turkey’s growing political and cultural influence in Kashmir. It began with the visit of Pakistan Army generals to Turkey last year, and “funds have also started to slowly trickle into Kashmir from Turkey through some NGOs and businessmen”.

SOURCE: AHVAL NEWS

 

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Anti-Goverment Protests

Pakistan

PAKISTAN

  • In Muzaffarabad city of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), a massive protest was organised against the government’s decision to make Gilgit Baltistan a province. The sudden announcement is bound to set the tone for exacerbating tensions, that is already being played out in the east along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on India-China border.

SOURCE: BIG NEWS NETWORK

 

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SOUTH ASIA

  • Pakistan’s government is putting the finishing touches on plans to “provisionally” make the Gilgit-Baltistan region of disputed Kashmir part of the country, risking another high-stakes showdown with India. Pakistan’s move would feed Indian apprehensions that it might have to fight a high-altitude, two-front war against both China and Pakistan, analysts said. The region is also of key strategic importance to China.

SOURCE: SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

 

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