Author: Mubashshir Salik

The Soviet Union’s collapse 32 years ago led to rapid change, economic collapse, and violence. In Tajikistan, that violence slid rapidly into civil war. Reflecting on the Soviet Union’s collapse 32 years ago and attempting to draw any sort of conclusion is often a matter of perspective. In his new book, “Moscow’s Heavy Shadow: The Violent Collapse of the USSR,” Dr. Isaac McKean Scarborough, an assistant professor of Russian and Eurasian Studies at Leiden University, writes of the collapse from one of the Soviet Union’s most distant peripheries — Dushanbe. In doing so, he highlights a perspective not often taken…

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Indonesian Defense Minister and former general Prabowo Subianto, who had been barred from entering the United States for two decades, has claimed victory in Wednesday’s presidential election. The current exit poll showed the 72-year-old former special forces commander with an absolute majority of votes, above the threshold of 50% nationwide, and 20% in half of the country’s provinces, without which a runoff vote would be required. At polling stations in Jakarta, ballots were pulled out of boxes by hand, read aloud and tallied by election workers. It is a labor-intensive task performed in a country of more than 200 million eligible voters…

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A year ago Germany deported to Tajikistan an activist from that country’s exiled opposition movement who had been living in Dortmund since 2009. What happened next is a shocking example of what can occur when Germany fails to uphold safeguards in its increased efforts to deport unsuccessful asylum seekers. The Bundestag this month gave police greater powers to carry out deportations. The activist, Abdullohi Shamsiddin, 33, was deported to Tajikistan on January 18 2023. He was detained on arrival by the security services. Two months later he was convicted of trying to overthrow the constitution and jailed for seven years. No credible…

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The disastrous incident in which Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops shot dead three Israeli hostages in Gaza on Friday, mistaking them for Hamas fighters despite their waving a white cloth, is a graphic illustration of the risks involved in armed hostage rescue. Maj Gen Charlie Herbert, a retired British Army general who served on 13 operational tours including Iraq and Afghanistan, told the BBC: “As desperately sad as it is, the shooting dead of the three hostages… again calls into question IDF tactics, proportionality and distinction. One can only imagine how many civilians have been killed in similar circumstances.” The…

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Israeli forces have shot dead four Palestinian children in the Occupied West Bank in the past 24 hours, according to the Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCIP). The victims include 16-year-old Ahmad Mohammad Hamed Abu Al-Haija, 17-year-old Mahmoud Khaled Mahmoud Abu Al-Haija and 14-year-old Ammar Mohammad Faisal Abu Al-Wafa, who were killed during an Israeli military operation in Jenin on Saturday evening. At approximately 6:30 pm on 25 November, Ammar was shot in the abdomen by an Israeli sniper positioned approximately 200 to 250 metres. The incident occurred as Ammar stood with a group of friends near his residence…

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Copenhagen (13/11 – 37.5) When Ranil Wickremesinghe took over as Sri Lanka’s president in July after a popular uprising ousted his predecessor, the South Asian island nation was engulfed in its worst economic meltdown in 75 years. Since then, President Wickremesinghe has managed to a keep a lid on mass protests, improve supplies of essentials and on Monday, secured a nearly $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that opens the door to restructuring about $58 billion of debt and receive funding from other lenders. He has done that despite a deeply unpopular government, his own party commanding just one…

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Ankara and Moscow are nearing a consensus on establishing a gas hub in the Thrace region, aiming to position Turkiye as a pivotal gas supplier to Europe and facilitate energy exports for producing nations, Daily Sabah reports. According to the report, the proposal to set up a hub in Turkiye was floated by President Vladimir Putin last year to replace Russia’s lost sales to Europe. At the same time, Ankara has long desired to function as an exchange for energy-starved countries. The report says the plan came shortly after explosions damaged the Nord Stream gas pipelines linking Russia to Germany across the…

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Berlin (25/11 – 90) Eight United Nations experts are awaiting a response from Tajik authorities to a letter expressing concern about the fate of convicted journalists and civil activists. UN experts and special rapporteurs in their letter demanded an explanation from Dushanbe regarding reports of gross violations of the rights of nine convicted journalists and bloggers, as well as civil activists. The letter dated 12 May 2023, is published here. UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor has visited Tajikistan earlier to address the human rights violations in the country. In their appeal, which UN experts…

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Rome (16/11 – 57) Sri Lanka is mired in a deep political and economic crisis and the country’s then President Rajapaksa has flown out of the country, days after a huge crowd of protesters stormed his residence in July 2022. Protesters for months have demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, whose government has been blamed for chronic mismanagement of the country’s finances. The island nation of 22 million people has suffered months of lengthy blackouts, acute food and fuel shortages, and galloping inflation in its most painful downturn on record. Here is how the crisis unfolded: April 1: State of emergency Rajapaksa declares a temporary state of emergency, giving security forces sweeping powers to arrest and…

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London (04/11 – 67) US district judge, Denise Cote yesterday granted Sri Lanka’s request for a six-month halt on a creditor lawsuit against the country. Hamilton Reserve Bank, an obscure and tiny St Kitt’s bank with interesting ties, says it has accumulated a big chunk of one of Sri Lanka’s now-defaulted bonds and had been suing it for immediate repayment. Sri Lanka had asked for a stay on these legal proceedings to let it restructure its overall pile of debt in some peace and quiet, and had gotten heavyweight support from the UK, France and the US government. Judge Cote ruled, “The Court recognizes that…

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