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’s Weekly Troop Losses in Ukraine Have Already Overtaken Soviet Casualties in Afghanistan

By Amin Saikal  |  11 March, 2022

Russia claims that the number of its soldiers killed and injured in the first six days of its invasion of Ukraine is a fraction of what Ukraine has said to be more than 5,000 dead and many more wounded. While neither side’s claims can be verified, even if we rely on official Russian figures, they are proportionally much higher than what the Soviet Union lost in Afghanistan over a decade in the 1980s. This raises serious questions about the ability and efficacy of the Russian military under Vladimir Putin in comparison to the forces his Soviet predecessors commanded during the Afghan war.

What the US and its Allies Left Behind in Afghanistan

By Amin Saikal  |  09 February, 2022

The Afghanistan war is over for the United States and its allies. But the suffering of the Afghan people has multiplied under the extremist, repressive rule of the Taliban in the name of Islam. No country today is in as much danger of losing half its population to starvation as Afghanistan. Who is responsible for this?

Kazakhstan Crisis Could Prove Costly for Putin

By Amin Saikal  |  11 January, 2022

The nationwide public unrest in oil-rich and mineral-endowed Kazakhstan, triggered by a hike in fuel prices, has its roots in deeper governance problems and societal demands for structural reforms since the country’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. The upheaval has presented a serious challenge not only to Kazakhstan’s authoritarian regime, but also to Russia. It has carried the potential to destabilise what Russia considers its ‘near abroad’ or zone of security and interests.

The Future of the Iran Nuclear Deal Hangs in the Balance

By Amin Saikal  |  08 October, 2021

The diplomatic tug-of-war between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States over restoration of the Iran nuclear agreement (officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA) seems almost perennial. The two sides have engaged in brinkmanship, seeking to score maximum benefit against one another.

Back to the Future with the Taliban?

By Amin Saikal  |  20 September, 2021

The defeat of the United States and its allies and return to power of the Taliban in Afghanistan have changed the regional landscape. The configuration of forces has shifted in favour of Pakistan as the Taliban’s patron and China as a strategic partner of Pakistan, confronting India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Central Asian Republics and the main power behind them, Russia, with certain policy quandaries. Yet not all is lost, as both Islamabad and Beijing may find that Afghanistan is a very difficult country to govern and sustain.

The Afghanistan Situation Does Not Bode Well for Peace

By Amin Saikal  |  08 September, 2021

The return to power of the Pakistan-orchestrated Taliban has dashed any prospect for the transformation of Afghanistan into a stable, secure and peaceful state in the foreseeable future. The Taliban’s newly formed interim cabinet leaves no room for a majority of the Afghan people and the international community to legitimise it as politically and ethically acceptable. Afghanistan is now potentially positioned as a pariah state.

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.