Sponsors of terrorists. Or not?

31 October 2016; Siegfried O. Wolf

Interview/Quotation with EastWest Magazine, conducted by Daniele Grassi:

Pakistani Christians hold candles to pay tribute and pray for victims of the Army Public School attack in Peshawar on the anniversary of the attack at a ceremony in Lahore, Pakistan, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza – RTX1Z006

On 16 December 2014, terrorists burst into a school in Peshawar and killed more than 130 students aged between 10 and 18. The attack was the worst in Pakistan’s history, and many had hoped that after years of ambiguous government policies, which included support for terrorist groups active in various regional theatres of conflict, the horrifying events would signal a turning point. The massacre in Peshawar shocked the entire country and revealed the urgent need for immediate and thorough action to combat terrorism.  Continue reading “Sponsors of terrorists. Or not?”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: An Assessment of its Feasibility and Impact on Regional Cooperation

28 June 2016, by Siegfried O. Wolf

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar infrastructure investment project, is heralded as a game changer for Pakistan’s economy and for regional cooperation more generally. As a crucial part of the major development initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR), to connect Asia with Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the CPEC is widely linked to hopes, interests, as well as regional and global geopolitics. However, such a mega-project also raises numerous questions, especially with regards to the feasibility of its implementation, the impact on the region and, India’s stance vis-a-vis the endeavour. Therefore, this Research Paper seeks to shed light on involved interests and challenges, potential impact on regional development and makes special reference of India’s role in it.

Read more at:

SADF WORKING PAPER 1 – The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: An Assessment of its Feasibility and Impact on Regional Cooperation

Pakistan – Friend or Foe?

23 June 2016; Siegfried O. Wolf

The controversial German constitutional lawyer and political theorist Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) in his well-known work ‘The Concept of the Political’ promotes a clear distinction between “the friend” and the “foe”. This radical premise of a ‘friend-foe relationship is supposed to be the basis of all ‘political’ and should be applicable to all political actors. In other words, “whoever is not for us, is against us”. Continue reading “Pakistan – Friend or Foe?”

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

31 May 2016, Siegfried O. Wolf

Exclusive Interview with E-International Relations, conducted by Satgin Hamrah:

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a significant part of a regional initiative led by China, known as ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) or the New Silk Road Economic Development Corridor. Basically the OBOR plan aims to revive ancient trade routes connecting Asia with Europe and Africa. This was a vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013. Since its announcement Xi’s vision has made headway and has become a major focus of Chinese diplomacy. Led by Beijing, the OBOR concept refers to two ambitious development proposals – the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The SREB seeks to revive the ancient Silk Road that once connected China with Europe by land via high-speed railroads, highways, energy and distribution networks, as well as fibre optic networks. The CPEC must be understood as a crucial part of the China’s OBOR’ initiative aiming at the establishment of an overland Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road through Pakistani port facilities.

AFP PHOTO / Aamir QURESHI

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The Fallacy of State Rhetoric: Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Terror in Afghanistan

10 May 2016

This article is based on the notion that terrorism is a political strategy and can be utilized by any actor whether they be individuals, organized groups or loose networks, domestic and international organizations, or even states. Subsequently, the article argues that states can be also terrorist actors and that state terror has to be included in the study of terrorism. Continue reading “The Fallacy of State Rhetoric: Pakistan, Haqqani Network and Terror in Afghanistan”

From Export to Import: The rise of Jihadism and the advent of the Islamic State in Bangladesh

13 October 2015

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Bangladesh is threatened by an increasing surge of radical Islamist violence. The killings of Bangladeshi liberal thinkers and progressive secularists, such as the blogger Avijit Roy[1], are not an entirely new phenomenon and exemplify the gravity of the situation. As such, the murder of secular thinkers in Bangladesh is only the gloomy peak of growing Jihadi influence in the country. Continue reading “From Export to Import: The rise of Jihadism and the advent of the Islamic State in Bangladesh”

From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation

10 October 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Vigil (left) with members of his team and members of the Northern Alliance west of Kunduz

On 28 September, 2015, the Taliban launched a major offensive in northern Afghanistan, capturing the city of Kunduz. The fact that some hundred Taliban fighters took over a major urban centre, an area which was held by 7,000 regular Afghan troops, in less than 24 hours, is not only a military debacle for the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and an embarrassment for the provincial authorities, it also marks the greatest success for the Taliban at an open battlefield and an extraordinary ‘propaganda coup’. Continue reading “From FATA to Kunduz: The Pakistani Taliban’s new northwards orientation”

Pakistan’s Political Stiffness: The ‘Social Agreement’ for FATA’s North Waziristan

14 July 2015; Siegfried O. Wolf

In witnessing the 2013 general election and the installation of a new government entrusted with a remarkable majority in vote, the people of Pakistan and many international observers thought that the time for major change had finally come. Especially the country’s neglected and repressed areas, like North Waziristan, which is part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), were hoping for significant improvement of their socio-political and economic conditions. However, after two years in power, it seems more and more obvious that the current administration of Nawaz Sharif did not intend to change the patterns of Islamabad’s decision-making in any significant policy area. Today, the country’s political arena is still determined by the unchallenged supreme role of the army, the lack of political will and capacities of civilians to implement any noteworthy reform measures, endemic corruption, and the ongoing dominance of the Punjab province and its establishment leading to the consequent side-lining of the smaller territorial entities. Continue reading “Pakistan’s Political Stiffness: The ‘Social Agreement’ for FATA’s North Waziristan”

The fruitlessness of unconditional aid for Pakistan

March 2015, by Siegfried O. Wolf

Source: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels, Belgium

The recent US State Department’s budget proposal for the fiscal year 2016 once again contains substantial aid for Pakistan, this time around USD 900 million. Besides the fact that Congress must still approve the budget, one thing is already clear: the administration of President Barack Obama is still not able or willing to learn from the lessons of the past. The continuation of US aid for Pakistan does not come as a surprise but the fact that it’s allocated again more or less unconditionally is quite peculiar.

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