• Central Asia and the Conflict in Ukraine: Russia-Friendly Neutrality

     Since the onset of the war in Ukraine in February 2022, the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have adopted a neutral stance towards the conflict. Their leaders have carefully avoided passing value judgement on the war which Dushanbe, for one, still calls  “an incident that occurred between the two states” …

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  • Solar Solutions to Power Outages in Energy-rich Iraq

    Solar Solutions to Power Outages in Energy-rich Iraq

    In 2011, the World Bank  estimated Iraqis endured, on average, 40 power outages every month –  placing Iraq in the unenviable position of sixth globally in terms of frequency of outages after Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yemen, Lebanon, and Papua New Guinea.  Over the past 12 years, the situation in Iraq has deteriorated further with widespread and…

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  • Moving past the Blue Diamond Affair: Saudi and Thai ties deepen

    Moving past the Blue Diamond Affair: Saudi and Thai ties deepen

    On November 20th, Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok as a guest of honor. For Riyadh, his appearance was indicative of the kingdom’s increasingly prominent presence in multilateral forums, marking a significant step in the Saudis’ efforts to deepen their relationships with key Asian countries.…

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  • Israel’s Upcoming Election: The View from Amman and Ramallah

    Israel’s Upcoming Election: The View from Amman and Ramallah

    Jordan and Palestine are bracing themselves for Israel’s fifth election in just over three years, slated for November 1. Beyond Israel itself, these two countries are arguably most affected by the outcome and subsequent shifts in domestic politics. Taking primacy are Jordanian and Palestinian concerns over the future prospect of a two-state solution given trends…

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  • Capitalising on Covid: China’s health diplomacy in the Middle East

    Capitalising on Covid: China’s health diplomacy in the Middle East

    In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, China’s Belt and Road Initiative has enabled the rising superpower to expand its sphere of influence in the Middle East. Much analysis of the initiative, which has seen China invest in more than 70 countries across Asia, Europe and the Middle East, is focused on infrastructure, including new…

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  • Emerging space power in Central Asia: Kazakhstan at the crossroad

    Emerging space power in Central Asia: Kazakhstan at the crossroad

    After the disintegration of the USSR, Kazakhstan inherited a significant technological artefact of the Soviet space program, the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The management of the spaceport, from which the historically significant Sputnik 1 was launched, was transferred to Russia through a lease agreement from 1994 till 2050. However the Kazakhstani leadership had remained committed to the…

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  • Navigating Great Powers: Mongolia and Kazakhstan’s shared geopolitical uncertainties

    Navigating Great Powers: Mongolia and Kazakhstan’s shared geopolitical uncertainties

    Though seldom analysed together, Mongolian and Kazakh foreign policies are connected today by nature of their shared experience of their two larger neighbours China and Russia. Mongolia and Kazakhstan have both attempted to balance a largely economic relationship with China and a military strategic relationship with Russia, in order to develop and maintain their security…

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  • What will be Labor’s policy on Palestine?

    What will be Labor’s policy on Palestine?

    With the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) victory in the Australian parliamentary elections on May 21, some policy shifts could be imminent. This is not limited to foreign policy, a space historically underpinned by broad bipartisanship in Canberra. However, ALP’s 2021 political platform suggests the party could explore a series of new approaches that reorient Australia’s…

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  • China and Iran: Unrecognised Potential and Opportunities

    China and Iran: Unrecognised Potential and Opportunities

    Iran presents important opportunities for China’s regional and continental ambitions. It has one of the world’s largest proven reserves of oil and natural gas which is important to the famously energy insecure Chinese economy. Iran also occupies a geographic region between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, a key point in the old Silk…

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  • How Iraq became Iran’s cash cow

    How Iraq became Iran’s cash cow

    With the October 2021 Iraqi Parliamentary elections recording the lowest ever voter turnout in post-2003 Iraq, there is little doubt that Iraq’s yet-to-be-announced next government already faces a legitimacy crisis. Amid the problems that Iraq faces in overcoming its domestic challenges, there is a massive driver of its cyclical political system in neighbouring Iran of…

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  • Kazakhstan unrest: implications for Australian interests

    Kazakhstan unrest: implications for Australian interests

    The abrupt and turbulent start of the year in Kazakhstan has engineered the conditions for a dual narrative to emerge. Firstly, the widespread violence and protests, coupled with Kazakhstan government’s botched handling of containing the violence demonstrated the fragility of the security conditions in Kazakhstan. This was made even more shocking by the apparent mistrust…

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