The decision of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to carry out airstrikes against Sunni militant groups in Libya on their own, without informing the United States or anyone else, is final confirmation that West Asia is now being driven by a whole host of independent players.

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The Syrian civil war is now a microcosm of everything that is wrong with West Asia. It’s about Shia versus Sunni, Persian versus Gulf Arab, Israel versus Syria, United States versus Russia and China, al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood, and so on. Read more

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I’m coming to the view that the best way to judge a nation’s response to the new Arab political order is whether it preferred the status quo or not. The status quoits nations are not ideologically similar. Iran and Israel, India and Saudi Arabia – on this they are all on the same side. Read more

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Pakistan’s economic situation is deceptively sounder than it actually is. It’s public debt is about 50 per cent of GDP. Its external debt is about a quarter of GDP. And it basically told the IMF that it doesn’t need the last $ 3.7 billion tranche of an emergency loan that it had negotiated with the multilateral financial body. Read more

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Indian refineries which import crude from Iran are running around in circles. With the third week of July over, Tehran has not intimated whether crude will be sent in August. Read more

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Some stray thoughts about Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden al Qahtani (the family name that his family never used.) Read more

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Kazakhstan superficially reminds one of Saudi Arabia. It is a vast country, much of it ecologically hostile to human habitation (-45 C in the winter one Kazakh told me); inhabited by a population about the same as a large Indian city; and choc-a-bloc with mineral resources – oil, gas, uranium, coal and whatnot. Read more

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This Friday, people power in Egypt will face its ultimate test. After a week of euphoria, intimidation and careful government wooing, it will be seen whether the opposition supporters still have the grit and emotion to do the kind of rally we saw last Friday. Read more

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