Curated expert opinion on intractable contemporary issues

Global Outlook Articles by Amin Saikal

Amin Saikal is adjunct professor of social sciences at the University of Western Australia and co-author of Islam Beyond Borders: The Umma in World Politics (2019), and co-editor of Afghanistan and Its Neighbours After the NATO Withdrawal (2016).

Russia And China Are Edging Out The US In The Middle East

By Amin Saikal  |  19 April, 2023

The strategic landscape of the Middle East is changing rapidly, but not in favour of the United States as the traditional powerful actor in the region. Continued adversarial US–Iranian relations and regional Arab states’ growing concerns about Washington’s reliability as an ally have widened the arena for Russia and China to expand their strategic footprints in the region.

The Limits of Beijing’s Middle East Diplomacy

By Amin Saikal  |  28 March, 2023

In China-brokered talks, the two oil-rich and rival states of Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic relations after a seven-year split. Although the two sides need much confidence-building, their rapprochement carries the potential to change the regional geopolitical landscape at the cost of concerns for policy hawks in the US and Israel.

Has the Iranian Regime Reached the End of its Rope?

By Amin Saikal  |  27 October, 2022

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed the West for fomenting the widespread unrest that has rocked Iran over the past few weeks. But his claim is no longer heeded. The ranks of the protestors have swelled despite the authorities’ forceful crackdown. The Islamic regime faces its worst legitimacy crisis since its advent in the wake of the revolution of 1978–79 that toppled the pro-Western autocracy of Mohammad Reza Shah.

Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Tragedy of Afghanistan

By Amin Saikal  |  10 September, 2022

As the world marks the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks this weekend, two other events should be remembered. Afghan commander Ahmad Shah Massoud was assassinated on 9 September 2001 by al-Qaeda agents, two days before the attacks on New York and Washington. Massoud had fought Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Taliban and al-Qaeda alliance in the following decade. The other event in this bleak trio is the Taliban’s reassumption of power in the wake of the US and allied retreat from Afghanistan a year ago. Together they explain the mess that is Afghanistan today.

The Taliban’s Disastrous Year-Long Rule in Afghanistan

By Amin Saikal  |  19 August, 2022

One year on, the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan continues to be marked by extremist brutality in the name of Islam and defiance of the UN-led international demand for an inclusive government and respect for human rights. The group has not been accorded global recognition and the Afghan people are in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan’s modern history. The country’s future prospects have never been so bleak.

The West is Facing a New Alliance of Autocracies and Theocracies

By Amin Saikal  |  16 July, 2022

World politics has reached an ominous phase of polarisation. The struggle between the US-led democracies and the Russo-Chinese-led autocracies primarily underpins this development. Yet there’s also another dangerous dimension to it: the emergence of close relations between the autocratic powers and such extremist theocratic forces as the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The views and opinions expressed in Global Outlook are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Toda Peace Institute.