China Plays the Iran Card (Project-Syndicate)

A recently announced partnership accord between China and Iran will have far-reaching strategic implications in the Middle East and South Asia. As much as Americans would like to withdraw from these regions once and for all, the fact is that the US rivalry with China will be a global affair.

Vali Nasr, Professor of Middle East Studies and International Affairs at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, is a former senior adviser in the US State Department and the author of The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat. – Ariane Tabatabai is a Middle East fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a senior research scholar at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

South Asia’s New Strategic Reality (Observer Research Foundation)

Last week, the Indian Army’s special forces took out several suspected terror camps across the volatile Line of Control in Kashmir in response to an attack on an Indian army post in Kashmir by Pakistan-based terrorists that killed 20 soldiers on September 18. The Indian response came almost 11 days after the initial attack and reflected an attempt by the Modi government to pressurise Pakistan on multiple fronts, thereby gaining leverage over an adversary that had long used terrorism and proxies to challenge India.

Will Sri Lanka find more takers in South Asia? (Padma Rao Sundarji, South Asia Monitor)

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is currently on his second visit to India within two years since the unlikely ‘rainbow’ coalition of his United National Party (UNP) and the faction of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) under President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in a stupendous election in January 2015. One of the earliest promises made by Wickremesinghe’s government was to restore ties with India which, under the former government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, had sunk to their lowest levels.

South and Southeast Asia—The Islamic State’s New Front? (Joshua Kurlantzick, CFR)

Over the past year, as the Islamic State (ISIS) has suffered multiple losses in Syria and Iraq, the group has clearly been looking to widen its impact, taking the fight to countries outside of the Middle East. Increasingly, ISIS leaders have used social media to call on Islamic radicals to stage attacks in countries in the West like France and the United States, where the Orlando gunman, the San Bernardino gunmen, and the Nice attacker, among others, have publicly identified themselves with ISIS. In most of these cases, the attackers were lone wolves (or duos) who had not received any training or funding from ISIS, and often had not even traveled to Islamic State-controlled territory to train and fight. (To be sure, some recent attackers in Western nations had traveled to ISIS-controlled territory and fought with the group.)