With the geopolitical engagements on a surge, General Qassem Soleimani’s death has posed challenges for Ministry of External Affairs of India, but not as just another nation, the late General’s cause has a strong vote from history and policy to substantiate the claim of support.

Ever since the George W. Bush administered Iraq Skirmish surpassed the thirty year long Vietnam War to clinch the title of the biggest geopolitical blunder by the United States; the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or Iran Nuclear Deal in July 2015 was deemed to be a progression towards stability in the Middle East and the world at large. But, the Donald Trump government’s withdrawal from this historic advancement in global peacekeeping in May 2018 escalated tensions through out the world including the United States.

Just three days after the entry into the ultimate year of the decade sets the world forth with World War 3 trending; despite the expert’s sacking the chances of one in the first place, the United State’s air strike on Iranian Military Base to assassinate Iran’s topmost official & commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) General Qassem Soleimani, the attack has aggravated tensions through out the Middle East ensuing severe repercussions for the entire world. With, the killing of a military officer like Soleimani who was viewed as a ‘hero’ inside the Iranian Republic, the United States identified him as a ‘terrorist’ dangerous for US Troops and Ambassadors through out the globe.

As, the man in charge of the proxy wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, General Soleimani was to be credited for limiting the influence of Islamic State of Iraq & Levant (ISIL)/(ISIS) in the area and played a crucial role in fighting terrorist from Iran, and more from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Lebanon. Soleimani was the chief architect in saving Basshar Al Assad’s regime in Syria whose survival was on the line and helped him take back the control of important cities & towns from ISIL, the process did cost thousands of Syrian civillians their lives and loss to public property.

But, General Soleimani’s presence wasn’t confined to Iran or the Middle East, the highly influential leader has been a strong ally of India at multiple fronts and occasions; exercising deep influence in administrative and cultural life of Iran, under his leadership India has continued to enjoy Iran’s support economically, strategically and generally. Iran continues to be the second largest supplier of Crude Oil to India with an average supply of 425,000 barrels per day. A poll conducted in 2005 found out that, 71% of Iranians viewed India’s influence positively, counting as the most favourable rating of India for any country in the world.

In the same year, India had voted against Iran’s interests at the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), casting hindrances on Iran’s claim of peaceful nuclear research. The Indian vote against Iran came as a surprise to Iranians as they considered India to be one of their closest friends with a strong historical linkage. Later at the diplomatic dialogue with the Iranian armed officials, India cleared it stance citing politico-military consideratios and it’s larger interest in the peace of the region. To this, the Iranian general positively responded by respecting India’s concerns and assuring India of Iran’s unaffected support and friendship. Further, it was General Soleimani who assisted India in operating with the Northern Alliance later despite the IAEA votings at Vienna.

These reasons might have probed the rejection of Trump’s claim with regard to plan of attacks extending to New Delhi, which wasn’t received to be credible with experts and former diplomats.

Soleimani and Iran have often even objected to Pakistan’s attempts to engage in activities and resolutions against the interests of India at international organisations such as the Organisation of Islamic Countries(OIC) and the Human Rights Commission. One of these was observed when Soleimani backed India at The International Court of Justice in Pakistan’s case against Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian Commander who is allegedly charged for spying for Research & Analysis Wing of India in Balochistan, Pakistan.

“Be it the negotiations on the Chabahar port or Islamabad’s case in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Kulbhushan Jadhav, he had been been a backer of India on issues of national interest,” says veteran defense expert Qamar Agha.

Soleimani was even instrumental in the construction of Chabahar Port which is expected to boost the Indian economy by giving passage for Indian Goods in Central Asia and imports from Iran & other states. The joint interest construction between India and Iran is resultant of the favourable policies by both countries in which General Soleimani had a huge role to play.

To honor this veteran general and ally India needs to be more proactive in the persian region for its economic and strategic interests and abandon its stance of neutrality. This might pose as a serious examination for New Delhi to balance between Tehran and Washington DC, the Ministry of External Affairs needs a very comprehensive action to withstand country’s honor and fulfill its interests.

Faizan Salik

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Image Credits: Vox.com

Fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual, and that stands for a centralised autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.


In the process of looking up the above definition on Merriam-Webster’s website, I’ve made my contribution towards making fascism Webster’s ‘Word of the Year.’ The word that has been looked up the maximum number of times on the website receives that prestigious position of word of the year. While announcing the likelihood that fascism may become its word of the year, Merriam-Webster took to Twitter to send out an entreaty-“there’s still time to look something else up.”

In related news, Oxford Dictionary has declared ‘post-truth’(relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief) its word of the year, while dictionary.com has gone with xenophobia (dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries). The pattern is hard to miss.

Why this fuss about a ‘word of the year,’ you ask? They tend to reflect the socio-political situation we are currently faced with, though to a largely limited extent. A single word fails to capture the plurality of experiences across the world, but does serve as a mirror image of the ideas that are bandied about in conversations or in the media, virtual or otherwise.

While 2016 cannot be described in a word, our concern lies primarily with the circumstances that have led several thousand across the world to take to the internet and find out what ‘fascism’ or ‘xenophobia’ might mean. Acknowledging such words as ‘words of the year’ would involve accepting the unfortunate idea that such circumstances predominate in the minds of a large number of people, and this can be a scary prospect when it comes to terms like fascism. The world definitely hasn’t forgotten what happened the last time fascism gained ground as an ideology.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights Chief, claims that, “The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists meeting in illicit clubs. It is becoming part of normal daily discourse. In some parts of the USA and Europe, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree.” This rhetoric is evident in Donald Trump’s plan to build an “impenetrable, tall, physical, powerful, beautiful, southern border wall” between the USA and Mexico, and in his suggestion of a ‘register’ for Muslims.

Though Trump occupies pride of place in the media, he isn’t the only one sounding the death knell for liberalism. European politicians like Germany’s Frauke Petry and Sweden’s Jimmie Akesson have been consistently opposed to ‘open-door’ refugee policies. An 89-year old survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp recently took to the internet to appeal to people not to vote for a far-right Austrian politician, Norbert Hofer, as their President. She draws similarities between Hofer’s politics and fascism of the pre-second world war period. There have been allegations that India is also currently experiencing fascist undercurrents.

Though Trump has the backing of the people of a democratic nation, having been elected President in a valid election, similarities have also been drawn between Trump’s politics and that of Hitler’s. These similarities, seen not just in Trump but also in several politicians across the world, can be quite appalling.

Maybe looking up other words will help avoid the negativity associated with fascism and xenophobia? But doesn’t the “fear of a name increase fear of the thing itself?”

Maybe we should all look up tolerance instead. Our collective amnesia seems to prevent us from recalling what it means.

 Image credits: Uproxx

Abhinaya Harigovind
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Today is an eventful day. Donald Trump becomes the new President of the United States the same day the globally abhorred Berlin Wall fell in the year 1989. We draw a parallel between the two phenomenon and examine how 27 years from the historic incident, we have got our new wall maybe.

Twenty seven years ago, one of the most pronounced symbol of inter-community segregation was demolished. The Berlin Wall, which had been separating western Berlin from Eastern Berlin and the rest of the nation right since 13th August, 1961 fell today in 1989.Unfortunately for the global community, with popular consensus, a new wall has been erected.
Taking the world, media and market by storm, America has a new POTUS in Donald Trump. He is the billionaire who has been calling all through his campaign black Americans as the miscreants, the uneducated and unemployable section who stop America from being great, Mexican Immigrants as criminals, Muslims as terrorists and boasts about grabbing women “by the pussy”. But America does not care. America does not mind if half of the national population is either thinking about leaving the nation or else is prepared to live the next few years in a constant threat.  America does not care if it becomes the next Germany after it has found its new Hitler.
The Berlin Wall was erected to outcast a certain section of society who posed threat to the German Democratic Republic(GDR). It restricted the immigration of a population hit by the WWII. At that time, America stood against the GDR, making clear statements against any such divider.  Today, the world watches in delirium as USA is constructing its own ulta-conservative and  fascism, xenophobia, hatred made wall. The very American version of “The wall of Shame”. As Paul Waldmen writes, ” Eventually, his voters will figure out that it was all a scam. But by the time they do, the damage will be done”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,  welcome to the original America, which is neither blue collared, white collared nor is brown or black. It is a sick white America.


Image credits: The Guardian 

Nikhil Kumar

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