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Partition: the 67-year itch ~ (by Irfan Husain)


The following is a guest post by Mr. Irfan Husain. The article was originally published in the journal of the Pakistan Institute of International Relations.   Like an itch that won’t go away, people of my generation born before Partition keep scratching away at the words, actions and motives of the players involved in that momentous event. Each time we traverse this ... Read More »

Thinking out loud about what a “Taliban victory” in Pakistan looks like


I’m using this post mostly to think out loud about something I have been thinking about for a few months, so please bear with me if some of it is dumb. Mostly I’m trying to think through the tension between two narratives that seem reflexively acceptable: The TTP is a loose coalition of fighters with varying degrees of attachment to ... Read More »

This is not our war (Syria edition)


Well if things weren’t bad or stupid enough, they’re about to get worse and stupider. Here’s a graph of Muslim countries, ordered by the percentage of their population that is Shia (I averaged the numbers here, here, and here). What you will see is that of the countries that have non-trivial numbers of Shias (above 15%), they are either majority ... Read More »

Who Won 2013 In Pakistan?


A few days ago, fellow blogger @mediagag showed me a rather unique way of looking back at the year. It was a link to a series of posts on the American website Grantland, where the author Rembert Browne has asked the question “Who won the year” for several years now. The methodology is fairly simple and the rules and bouts ... Read More »

Guest post: The struggle continues: Mandela and his Legacies

By: S Pakhrin - CC BY 2.0

This is a guest post by Nicholas R. Smith, a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is currently completing a dissertation on crime, policing, and vigilantism in post-apartheid South Africa.  South Africa’s national image has been remarkably tied to the image of one man: Nelson Mandela. However, as Mandela’s life seems to be ... Read More »

Chicago in 13 Maps

By: Bryce Edwards - CC BY 2.0

Perhaps a blog that focuses on Pakistani politics isn’t the best place for this post. However, this is the only blog I write for, so here it goes… I really miss Chicago. I’m incredibly sad to leave Chicago for Washington DC after eight years. Chicago is a city of extremes. There are many downright awful things about Chicago: It has the ... Read More »

Guest post: Enter the Turkish Winter?

By: Syria Freedom - CC BY 2.0

This is a guest post by Burak Kadercan, a Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading. *** What is happening in Turkey? This is the question that many around the globe have been asking for a week. To be fair, people were already interested in Turkey before protests broke out on May 28th, ... Read More »

Some Initial Thoughts on Obama’s Counterterrorism Speech

By: sylvar - CC BY 2.0

Last week President Obama delivered a major speech on Counterterrorism at the National Defense University, hopefully marking a major shift in U.S. counterterrorism strategy. There were many things to like about Obama’s speech: a nuanced, less exaggerated description of the threat of terrorism to the United States, his calls to rein in U.S. drone strikes, close Guantanamo Bay and establish ... Read More »

5 year outlook on the TTP

By: SeHi - CC BY 2.0

I do not like to fashion myself as some authority writing this post, but Ahsan has forced me contribute to fulfill his monthly and weekly post quota. Now that I have expressed the pressure under which I have been forced to commission this piece of blogging, I’m going to start out directly by making a 5 year/long-term prediction about terrorist ... Read More »