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Central Asia's Energy Bazaar
Articles - January 27, 2011

Call it the Great Game, round three. The first such contest, famously chronicled by Rudyard Kipling, involved the 19th century struggle for dominance between the British and Russian empires over access to India and its lucrative trading routes. The second centered on the post-Soviet scramble for resources and influence in energy-rich Central Asia. Today, a third such round of geopolitical competition is emerging in South Asia, spurred by the vast energy potential of the post-Soviet space and the uncertain political disposition of Afghanistan.

Last month, this competition took a giant step forward when Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with the presidents of Turkmenistan and Pakistan, as well as with India's oil and gas minister, in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat. The meeting netted an agreement to begin construction of a new natural gas route known as the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline in two years' time.

Names You Need To Know In 2011: Saif al-Adel
Articles - November 15, 2010

For the moment, Muhammad Ibrahim Makawi is still far from a household name. Outside of a small corpus of terrorism experts and national security specialists, few people are familiar with the Egyptian-born militant who is arguably al-Qaeda’s most dangerous operative. But they should be. Mounting evidence suggests that, after years of absence, Makawi—better known by his nom de guerre, Saif al-Adel (“sword of justice” in Arabic)—is back in action and spearheading a new stage in al-Qaeda’s war with the West.

Backing Diplomacy With Force
Articles - September 28, 2010

Can sanctions stop Iran's nuclear drive? Since the passage of new U.S. and multilateral measures this summer, there have been unmistakable signs that Iran has begun to feel the economic pinch. Prompted by mounting international pressure, a slew of foreign multinationals have exited the Iranian market, while a range of countries - from South Korea to the United Arab Emirates - are in the process of curtailing their financial dealings with the Islamic republic.

But, despite these heartening signs, the ultimate success of sanctions depends on what could come after. In order for economic pressure to be taken seriously in Tehran, Iran's leaders must be convinced that their continued intransigence on the nuclear front will lead to something far worse.

For the moment, at least, they clearly are not. That is in large part because, despite repeated assurances from U.S. officials that "all options remain on the table" in dealing with the Iranian regime, Tehran has been permitted to wage not one but two irregular wars against America for more than half a decade and to do so with virtual impunity.

South Asia Security Monitor - No. 260
Bulletins - August 25, 2010

Pakistan plays a triple game...; As the U.S. scales back pressure on Islamabad; AQ takes a backseat in Afghanistan; Pentagon report touches on China-India conflict

Eurasia Security Watch - No. 226
Bulletins - August 20, 2010

Israel and Lebanon clash at the border; Arming the Saudis; Terror title shifts to South Asia; IMU leader Yuldashev dead

With Friends Like Islamabad, Who Needs Enemies?
Articles - August 4, 2010

What do you call an ally that tries to kill you? That's the question most Americans are asking in the wake of last month's dissemination by Internet clearinghouse WikiLeaks of some 92,000 classified U.S. military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan. The files provide a sobering portrait of the true state of play on the War on Terror's first front. Far and away the most damaging disclosures, however, are those relating to the pernicious role being played by Pakistan, long regarded as a critical American ally in South Asia, in supporting and sustaining the anti-Western insurgency there.

South Asia Security Monitor - No. 258
Bulletins - July 22, 2010

New U.S. base in northern Afghanistan?; Pak cracks down on Punjabi Taliban, sort of; India considers beefing up border presence even more; Headley tells India ISI involved in Mumbai

South Asia Security Monitor - No. 257
Bulletins - July 8, 2010

India eases defense purchasing; Maoists get their wish, Nepal PM resigns; Afghanistan draws closer to Pakistan; Al Qaeda down to 500 or less; Controversial new media law in Pakistan

McChrystalizing Failure
Articles - June 24, 2010

The new issue of Rolling Stone magazine has yet to hit newsstands, but its centerpiece - a devastating expose of Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan - already has sent shockwaves through Washington. The article, copies of which already have found their way onto the Internet, paints an unflattering picture of a military commander at war with his own civilian leadership, replete with insults of sitting officials and serious charges of political malfeasance.

Since news of the piece leaked over the weekend, Gen. McChrystal has issued repeated public mea culpas and was forced to fly to Washington for an in-person dressing down by the president. The apologies were not enough; Wednesday afternoon, President Obama announced that he had relieved Gen. McChrystal of duty as commander of the Afghan theater.

South Asia Security Monitor - No. 253
Bulletins - April 27, 2010

Taliban turn to Tehran for training; Hezb-i-Islami makes an offer in Afghanistan; Assessment of Bangladesh militancy; Maoists up the stakes against New Delhi