ISDP Voices

    Iran-Saudi Relations: the Foreign Policy of Sectarianism

    Underpinned by confrontation with Iran, the Gulf Arab states have pursued increasingly hardline foreign policies. Razmik Krikorian examines the sharpening sectarian politics in the Middle East.  In recent years, the foreign policies of the Gulf Arab states, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Qatar, have become increasingly bellicose and more openly sectarian […]

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    THAAD and Thawing Sino-DPRK Relations

    Niklas Swanström comments on whether Washington and Seoul’s decision to deploy the THAAD missile defense system is determining China’s “reengagement” with North Korea after a period of frosty relations. After a period of relatively frosty ties following China’s condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests, Beijing appears to want to patch up relations. The month […]

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    Japan’s Imperial Quandary

    Lars Vargö puts into context Japan’s succession issue after Emperor Akihito’s “abdication speech” last week. On August 9, in only his second ever televised address, the Japanese Emperor Akihito expressed his wish to abdicate. He did so in a very Japanese way: while not explicitly stating such, his mentioning of old age – he is […]

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    After the Verdict: What Next for China (and Others) in the South China Sea?

    Niklas Swanström anticipates China’s reaction to the forthcoming verdict by the arbitration tribunal on its claims in the South China Sea. The likely fallout throws into sharp relief the need for an effective regional security structure to manage differences, he argues.  A verdict from the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague on the legal status of […]

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    The Danger of “Islamophobia” in Kyrgyzstan

    Zarinam Turdieva cautions against automatically equating the growing prominence of Islam in Kyrgyzstan with extremism. Rather it is Islamophobia which has greater potential to incite the very radicalization that politicians and other observers fear. Islam has played an increasingly significant role in Kyrgyzstan since independence with a surge of interest among the Kyrgyz population in […]

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    Decision Looms on Myitsone Dam

    The new Myanmar government faces a final decision on the highly charged issue of the Chinese-backed Myitsone Dam. Having taken office two months ago, Myanmar’s new government faces an important decision on one of the country’s largest foreign investments, the controversial Chinese-backed Myitsone Dam. The previous government under President U Thein Sein stalled the mega […]

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