Ahmed Quraishi Profile picture
I cover national security. Multilingual Mideast journalist. Write for @AlArabiya @UANI @thenews_intl. Worked for @Aljazeera @AlraiMediaGroup. Host @AQTVshow.
18 Jul
#Pakistan foreign minister visits Chinese citizens injured in bus blast, with #China Amb, at military hospital. This #thread includes observations on China's keenness to get involved militarily in combating terrorism, its policy shortcomings, & FM+Amb statement. /1
After the blast, #China is emitting signals that it is exerting pressure for more antiterror action in #Pakistan, including possibly joint missions with Pakistani forces. /2
One example is how quickly #China recast the bus incident as a terrorist attack after #Pakistan initially downplayed the incident. And quickly floated Chinese security assistance "if #Islamabad has any need to combat terrorism." /3
Read 7 tweets
18 Jul
After taking over the border crossing with #Pakistan, Taliban replace #Afghanistan’s flag with Islamic Emirate's. Pakistani diplomats struggle to distance the country from the militant group, but the nation has to cope with a bitter reality. Taliban way of life is also...
.. unacceptable to most Pakistanis. There is strong criticism of Taliban in Pakistan but it gets buried by a twisted national discourse hijacked by anti-West/anti-US/extremist elements jubilant over perceived US/international defeat. Hardly any serious discussion on how US exit..
..is detrimental to Pakistani strategic interests, precipitates a regional proxy war, and enhances Iran & India's influence in Afghanistan, with which Islamabad struggled in 1990s. Jubilation over perceived US defeat also wastes energies that could have been used in explaining..
Read 4 tweets
25 Jun
Yesterday 25 June 2021 was the 25th anniversary of #Alkhobar bombing in #SaudiArabia that killed 19 #US servicemen, injured 500+ from several nationalities, incl #Saudis #Pakistanis #Egyptians. Marked a shift for #Iran #IRGC's ops inside #KSA; close to ARAMCO & a major mil base.
Crater is where a sewage tanker truck detonated nearly 14,000 Kg of explosives. Bomb was a mixture of petrol & explosive powder placed in the tank of the truck. The material was smuggled in exported fruit trucks from #Lebanon and hidden underground in #Qatif, near #Alkhboar.
That day, I was with a group of journalists in #Kuwait waiting for a #US heli to take us to a #Saudi base for a briefing related to the situation with #Iraq. We waited for half a day. After #Alkhobar, US military disconnected for the next 72 hours. [Pic: briefing; Kuwaiti desert]
Read 6 tweets
31 May
In his telephone interactions with the public, PM #ImranKhan of #Pakistan rejected normalization of ties with #India until India restores the position in #Kashmir to pre 5 Aug 2019.

Good claptrap but Kashmiri people deserve more serious discussion than this. /1
As the self-declared 'Ambassador of #Kashmir', PM #ImranKhan has done little in two years to galvanize international diplomacy and public opinion on this conflict, and failed to exploit multiple leverages on #India that changing intl media and political landscape presented. /2
Judging by the sudden Pakistani diplomacy on #Gaza (in which #Pakistan in effect has no role), the Govt's #Kashmir diplomacy is virtually dead. International media gets credit for highlighting K situation. Pak state+private media is tedious/repetitious. Pak narrative invisible./3
Read 4 tweets
30 May
Since 2019, every day in #Pakistan sees new red lines crossed in military-bashing. The latest involves ridicule of top spy chief amid rising impression of state-media open clash. No one expected this to happen in PM #ImranKhan Govt, which started as friendliest to media+military.
This military-bashing, and dragging the top spy chief through the mud, is probably damaging for #Pakistan's military (both criticism & trolls-led defense). #PTIGovernment is distancing itself from this mess (Hint: see last grab here).
This military-bashing and dragging of spy chief's name through the mud in the most personal way possible is a serious matter, underlined by this rare official public comment by #ISI on the controversy, and the pushback through trolls & allies.

Read 5 tweets
28 May
The breakdown in #Syria's presidential election:

Bashar 51%
Al Assad 49%

President #BasharAlAssad is in power for 21 years now. It will be 26 years if he completes the new term.
I still remember when he took oath in Parliament in #Damascus after his father's death in 2000. I was watching the ceremony on TV w/ a close Syrian friend, ex-army, served in Syrian military in #Lebanon. I was flabbergasted after his first live speech:
The new Syrian president spoke in perfect, incisive, articulate Arabic, without pauses. No teleprompter. Impeccable expression. He was the youngest Arab leader then (along Abdullah II of Jordan), a breath of fresh air (before Tamim, MBS, MBZ, Hariri, & Haitham).
Read 9 tweets
3 May
ہمارے میڈیا کی مشرق وسطی میں کوئی بیورو آفیسز ہیں نہیں، اور نہ پہلے کی طرح tentacles ہیں۔ گزشتہ آٹھ سالوں میں خطے کے حکام اور دانشور، ایران ترکی خازاخستان آذربائیجان عمان امارات سعودیہ عراق اردن مصر مراکش، سب میں اعتدال پسندی اور دنیا کے ساتھ اور خصوصا مغرب کے ساتھ مل کر چلنے /1
چلنے پر زور دیا جا رہا ہے اور اسی پر کام ہو رہا ہے۔ ہمارے ہاں الٹا حساب ہے۔ بتایا جاتا ہے کہ نیا اسلامی بلاک بنانے جا رہے ہیں اور چین ایران روس کے ساتھ مل کر امریکہ کو شکست دینے جا رہے ہیں۔ حالانکہ آدھی ایرانی کابینہ امریکی یونیورسٹیوں کی پڑھی لکھی ہے اور آج کل تو وہ ملا بھی /2
ہم سے زیادہ اعتدال پسند نظر آتے ہیں جب سے ایران نے ہماری فرانس کے خلاف مشترکہ محاذ بنانے کی پیشکش پیار سے رد کی ہے۔ وزیر اعظم پر آج کچھ اراکین یورپین پارلیمنٹ انتہا پسندی پھیلانے کا الزام لگا رہے ہیں، لیکن لبنان مصر دبی کے عربی اخبارات میں یہ بات گزشتہ سال سے ہو رہی ہے /3
Read 4 tweets
30 Apr
یورپ فتح کرنے کی تیاری. متحدہ عرب امارات میں پچاس سالوں میں پہلی مرتبہ پاکستانیوں کے ویزے بند. سعودیہ سے تعلقات خراب. عرب-اسرائیل تعلقات کے خطے میں ہم خود ساختہ سب سے بڑے دشمن. فرانس اور برطانیہ سے تلخی. امریکہ خاتمے کیلئے یوٹیوبرز کی مدد سے 'چین ایران روس' خیالی بلاک کی تیاری.
اسلاموفوبیا رہ گیا. عرض ہے کہ ایران اور ترکی نے بھی وزیر خارجہ کے دورے میں ہمارا فرانس/مغرب کے خلاف منصوبہ کی کھل کر حمایت کرنے سے گریز کیا. صدر اردگان اور فرانس صدر کی دوستی ہو گئی ہے.
'اسلاموفوبیا ٹی وی' کی تجویز کو مالیزیا+ترکی نے کبھی پلٹ کر نہیں دیکھا
کشمیر اور بھارت پانچ اگست 2020 سے غائب. جو کام ہوا وہ ریاست کے کچھ اداروں نے نبھایا. کشمیر کے سفیر کو دنیا نے کہیں نہیں دیکھا. اور 70 سال میں بھارت کو پہلی بار دنیا میں بیک فٹ ہونے کا موقع بغیر اچھی سفارتکاری کے تقریباً گنوا دیا گیا. تاریخی موقع تھا، لیکن مافیا زیادہ اہم تھا.
Read 5 tweets
29 Apr
The situation in #Pakistan. A quick update.

PM #ImranKhan's government is shaken by inflation and shortages, some out of its control but compounded by poor planning & governance. Here, long queues can be seen in some cities for govt-rationed sugar & flour in #Ramadan.
#Pakistan is currently divided between urgent issues and sideshows. Government is finally expediting vaccinations; the professionals at @OfficialNcoc are at it. But Govt also continues to push PM #ImranKhan's agenda against #France, #West on #Islamophobia.
One of the biggest sideshows in #Pakistan today is the explosive interview of a former spy chief who has blown the lid off alleged abuse of spy services by PM #ImranKhan to target his political opponents. Check this trend: #BashirMemonLeaks.

Read 4 tweets
26 Apr
Reports on #Iran-#SaudiArabia intelligence contact in #Iraq.

#Zarif leaves #Qatar. #Saudi FM lands in #Doha, invites Emir Sheikh Tamim to meet the King in #Riyadh.

#Tehran (& the #US?) appears to try to take the #Gulf on board.

This could isolate #Israel in a revived #JCPOA.
Some in #Vienna appear to want to isolate #Israel. But officials in #Gulf/#GCC face a difficult choice. They have to weigh if a compromise on #JCPOA and weakening Israel's position will resolve the problem of #Iran's malign activities? Or will it be a temporary solution?
The #US is directly engaging #GCC on #JCPOA, while FM #Zarif engages #SaudiArabia through #Qatar and #Iraq.

If the #Gulf comes aboard, #Israel and #Republicans will be effectively sidelined.

Read 7 tweets
21 Apr
#Pakistan FM seeks #Iran's support for PM #ImranKhan's agenda on #Islamophobia & #France, amid signs no #Muslim country so far supports this agenda.

In his public statement, Iran FM #Zarif has politely indulged Pak FM on this issue but without a clear commitment to this agenda.
#Pakistan Foreign Minister @SMQureshiPTI in #Tehran called on #Iran to support PM #ImranKhan's agenda on #Islamophobia & #France. He also invited #Turkey & #KSA to join in.

Seems difficult. Iran enjoys good ties w/ France. And so does Pres #Erdogan now.

FM @SMQureshiPTI in #Tehran said he will seek #Turkey Pres #Erdogan's support for PM @ImranKhanPTI's anti-#France agenda.

He might get little support beyond lip service. Presidents @RTErdogan+@EmmanuelMacron recently had recently had a good meeting:

Read 5 tweets
20 Apr
'#Taliban as proxies in #Pakistan's endless war' is a cliché from the 2000s. It's outdated. Time to take stock of new realities in Pakistani military thinking because the #US #NATO & #Pakistan must prevent a new civil war in #Afghanistan. /1

No one can win in #Afghanistan. Not even the #Taliban. Some actors would love to see a permanent Afghan war of attrition that engulfs #America+#Pakistan+#Afghanistan. Make no mistake: a new #Islamabad+#WashingtonDC blame game will expedite such a war. /2

What's happening in #Afghanistan is by no means #Pakistan's proxy war. But it is the proxy war of multiple actors who want Afghanistan to be a permanent bleeding ground for #America #Pakistan #NATO. /3

Read 8 tweets
18 Apr
The #IRGC loses a seasoned commander, reports #Iran media. It lost #Soleimani in 2020.
The #IRGC has commanders with impressive experiences: #Soleimani was involved in the #Gulf/#Iraq. #EsmailQaani is touted for his expertise on #Afghanistan+#Pakistan. Hejazi, who died today, was a #Lebanon expert.

☠ Hejazi was also responsible for #IRGC's precision missile program, and oversaw ops in #Syria. In this #thread, contributors in replies suggest possible foul play, and point out confusion over the wording of the cause of death in official announcements.

Read 4 tweets
15 Apr
#French Navy Charles De Gaulle Carrier Strike Group is in #ArabianSea near #Pakistan shores where #France has advised citizens to leave. France joined #Quad drills last week as French FM visited #India. Note: tense ties with PM #ImranKhan's govt precede #TLP riots. 🇵🇰🇫🇷
#Pakistan tries to assure #France & international community that French citizens are safe in the country. Pak is the only Muslim nation rocked by this type of violence, a sign of simmering extremism. PM #ImranKhan led anti-France criticism last year.

Many in Europe & the Mideast see PM #ImranKhan's statements last year against #France as having stoked anger and failed to contribute to resolving the problem. President #Erdogan was also critical but he recently improved his relations with Pres #Macron.

Read 5 tweets
14 Apr
#Pakistan bans an Islamist party behind violent anti-#France protests that crippled normal life in major cities this week. Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan #TLP demanded expulsion of #French ambassador. Bold and unexpected move by PM #ImranKhan government.

The story, first reported by @AzazSyed, represents a welcome departure for PM #ImranKhan's #Pakistan government. Blacklisting #TLP will also help improve his govt's ties with #France which deteriorated last year:

#Pakistan's welcome decision to blacklist #TLP after violent anti-#France riots should lead to some introspection among Pakistani politicians & the public (yet to happen), starting with: Why is it that Pakistan is the *only* Muslim nation seeing this type of violence?
Read 7 tweets
10 Apr
#Pakistan PM #ImranKhan regrets increase in sexual attacks against women+children but links them to women's clothing & vaguely-defined "obscenity."

By this flawed standard, #Muslim-majortiy cities like #Istanbul #Dubai #KualaLumpur should see an outbreak.
Prime Minister #ImranKhan's controversial remarks linking #rape to women's dresses surprised even his ex @Jemima_Khan:

PM #ImranKhan's remarks on rape vs woman's dress resonated internationally, including in the Middle East. This #Egyptian celebrity asked the PM, "Do child victims of rape also wear objectionable clothes?"

Read 9 tweets
6 Apr
#Lavrov in #Islamabad after 9 years, in a balancing act after first visiting #India, but also to mark strides in ties between the old Cold War adversaries #Russia & #Pakistan. These days #Afghanistan is a strong point of convergence where Pk+Ru are cooperating with #US #China.
An official handle of #Pakistan's MFA quotes a couplet from #Russia FM #SergeyLavrov's poetry, indulging him as he visits Pak to talk #Afghanistan. Lavrov did take a backhanded swipe at the #US during a presser but the visit aligns with 🇺🇸 interests.

#Russia & the #US are working closely on #Afghanistan despite friction on other issues. FM #SergeyLavrov's visit to #India+#Pakistan is part of that US-Russian coordination. Hard to see how this visit is part of some anti-US move as some Pak media suggest.
Read 5 tweets
31 Mar
The numbers of #Zeynabiyoun brigade fighters in #Syria has substantially decreased after #Pakistan crackdown on covert #IRGC recruitment since 2016. Almost a cat & mouse game of busting recruitment cells, chasing new ones & methods of recruitment. /1

#Pakistan probably has been more effective in curbing #IRGC recruitment of fighters for #Syria than #Afghanistan, where officials and lawmakers were more vocal in criticizing #Iranian covert recruitment but not matched by a robust crackdown. /2

#Israel+#Turkey indirectly helped #Pakistan's crackdown on #IRGC recruitment for #Syria through dozens (possibly hundreds) of strikes on #Zeynabiyoun positions. Pres #Erdogan reportedly informed Pak officials about targeting #Iran's Pak recruits. /3

Read 5 tweets
30 Mar
Prime Minister #ImranKhan barely survived a no-confidence vote & a fierce opposition alliance this month; gets a breather thanks to opposition #PPP's decision not to rock the system in #Pakistan, for now. But his weak cabinet is a year overdue for a shakeup, saved by #COVID. /1
#PTIGovernment cabinet change was expected early 2020 but pandemic response+ economic situation delayed decision until autumn, when opposition alliance #PDM seized national narrative from the govt. Now, after Senate election, tough decisions are due. /2
The #PTI government could have kicked off its 5-year tenure on a strong footing had it made this decision 25 months ago. Better late than never but a lot of damage has been done. Tough task awaits a young capable minister. /3

Read 5 tweets
19 Mar
#Kuwait's young foreign minister @anmas71 is back in #Pakistan for the first time in 16 yrs (I met him back then). This interesting relationship spans military+strategic issues (#Afghanistan #Iran #Iraq #oil), & a forgotten attempt to save a Pakistani premier from execution. /1
#Kuwait helped #Pakistan withstand international sanctions after the 1998 nuclear tests (with KSA+UAE); was one of top 5 aid givers (with #SaudiArabia #UAE #US #EU) after #Kashmir earthquake 2005. And remains a key oil supplier (along with #KSA). /2

Former #Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed (who passed a way in 2020) enjoyed a close relationship with former #Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and landed in #Rawalpindi in May 1977 to show support to embattled #Bhutto just before a military coup toppled him. /3
Read 9 tweets
16 Mar
With bated breath, the ruling #PTI of Prime Minister #ImranKhan in #Pakistan is watching a crucial meeting of the opposition #PDM alliance that will decide how to weaken or remove PM Khan from power. /1
The opposition #PDM has considerably weakened Prime Minister #ImranKhan's govt but today faces a deadlock on whether to resign from federal & local parliaments or stay and opt for protests, marches & parliamentary votes. /2
Prime Minister #ImranKhan and the ruling #PTI depend on internal bickering within the opposition #PDM alliance to ensure he and the party stay in power amid a weak cabinet and questions on PTI's governance and economic management. /3
Read 4 tweets