Author: Sufyan bin Uzayr

2014 Winter Olympics, Sochi: Islam and Questions Unanswered

The Sochi Olympics proved to be a big success—exactly what Russia wanted. Right from the opening ceremony itself, the entire event was a megalith in terms of popularity and success. If one wanted to catch a glimpse of Russia’s glorious past as well as its vibrant art, this year’s Winter Olympics were the thing to watch!

But the Olympics at Sochi were not without their share of controversy. Take, for example, the case of the Pussy Riot protest performance.

So success on one hand and chaos on the other. A mixed bag, probably?

However, Russia’s mixed bag had one key element missing: the plight of the Muslims of Sochi.

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Iran And The Gulf: Prospects And Challenges

The past few months have kept Iran busy. Apart from elections and a new President, a proposed nuclear deal is also in the air. With the USA and its allies planning to end their disastrous outing in Iraq, Iran’s role in the region seems to be growing with each passing day. Furthermore, the Iranian nuclear deal might just put an end to the status quo between the Gulf countries and Iran. If so, how is the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) going to react? Arab Gulf Countries: Differences in Wavelength As always, the Arab countries are having a hard time trying to find some common ground to begin with. When it comes to the Iranian situation, different member countries of the GCC are adopting different approaches. For instance, Oman is trying its best to be neutral. In fact, Oman acted as the facilitator during the US-Iran negotiations for the nuclear deal. On the other hand, Qatar is waiting to project itself as the key player in the region, ahead of both Saudi Arabia and Iran. Saudi Arabia has launched its proxy diplomatic wars against Iran—rightfully so, because the US-Iran nuclear talks have left the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia feeling both betrayed and threatened. The position of UAE can best be termed as ‘confused’; on one hand, the UAE is openly siding with Saudi Arabia, whereas on the other hand, it...

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Is South Sudan A Failed State?

Back in July 2011, after a long civil war, South Sudan split from Sudan to become an independent country. However, even though statehood was achieved and a new country was born, the efforts to transform South Sudan into a proper nation-state seem to have come to a standstill. Is South Sudan a failed state? Even worse, is the country almost on the brink of collapse? History Undivided Sudan was Africa’s largest country. It surely had its share of issues, such as famines in the Darfur region, but overall, its primarily agrarian economy was doing well. Around 1999, Sudan also started exporting oil, thereby adding to its GDP. The civil war lasted for nearly 23 years, and it ended in 2005 when a peace deal was signed between the Sudanese state and the southern rebels. However, the separation occurred in 2011, when South Sudan decided to break away from Sudan and form a separate country. This also had a negative impact on the economy of both the nations: most of the oil-rich regions are now in South Sudan, whereas almost all the refineries are in Sudan. Oil is not among the easiest commodities to live without, and coupled with issues such as border disputes, the tensions between the two countries knew no limits. It was only in September 2012 that the leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan reached an...

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