Syed Ali Zia Jaffery Profile picture
Associate Editor @PoliticoPak Research Associate @CSSPR_UOL. Nukes, strategy, FP, and a whole lot more. VF 2019 @stimsonCenter
26 Apr
Looking forward to this webinar on South Asia's nuclear history. It starts at 11. @Rabs_AA @adilsultan
West's is a perspective of Nonproliferation, so it is important to look at Washington's non-proliferation policy, says @Rabs_AA.
India's nuclear test hardly came as a surprise to Pakistan; it had a direct bearing on Pakistan, says Dr.Akhtar.
Read 10 tweets
19 Apr
This @Rabs_AA piece is not a digital warriors' delight because it neither bashes certain factions nor extols the others. It asks some tough questions of the Taliban and the U.S., a country that has let them run scot-free. pakistanpolitico.com/afghanpeace/
The Taliban, according to the author, must be pushed to share their vision ,their framework for Afghanistan. No free passes for them, please. The Taliban, as the author says, must show the world that they have changed.
That Afghanistan does want to be ruled by TB is reason enough to ask of them as to what their strategy is to win hearts and minds of 34 million Afghans, rightly says @Rabs_AA .
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7 Apr
@Rabs_AA hosted @seb_bw and @WheelerICCS, to discuss their co-authored report entitled 'Nuclear Responsibilities: A New Approach to Thinking and Talking about Nuclear Weapons'.
Introducing the report, @seb_bw said that the idea was to explore ways to foster a culture of responsibility in the heart of nuclear politics, adding that a strong culture of talking and thinking about nuclear responsibilities will reduce mistrust, misperception, instability,etc.
Thinking and talking about nuclear responsibilities, said Sebastian, helps in better policymaking which, among other things, is critical to mitigating misperceptions and creating a better understanding at multiple levels when it comes to nuclear policy.
Read 37 tweets
7 Mar
In this session of the CSSPR Conversation Series, @Rabs_AA discussed with @PravinSawhney the Sino-Indo disengagement and its implications on the threats India faces, the ceasefire on the LoC, India's position within the QUAD, and a lot more.
Disengagement happened within the 1959 Chinese claim line, and in areas which only had tactical value, said Pravin Sawhney while arguing that it showed how the PLA was unwilling to even give tactical concessions to India.
The PLA, he said, was insistent on India needing to vacate places within the Chinese claim line, if further progress is to be made.
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2 Mar
In the CSSPR Conversation Series, Dr. @Rabs_AA hosted Dr. @vali_nasr ,for a wide-ranging discussion on regional dynamics, the intercession between geopolitics and geoeconomics, Pak-U.S. relations, Afghanistan, Iran, and a whole lot more.
According to Dr.Nasr, the Biden administration has not come to office with a forward-looking policy on South and Western Asia, for that matter.
However, Dr.Nasr contended that the changing landscape due to three broad changes will bring in new dynamics.
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24 Sep 20
Enthralling conversation happening right now on @ajwsmall 's interesting and thought-provoking report. @Rabs_AA has made some excellent remarks on the report and the overall dynamics of CPEC.
gmfus.org/publications/r…
Dr.Akhtar calls CPEC as a transformative project, and terms the parleys on CPEC as recalibration and reassessment that would ultimately lead to reassurance.
Dr.Akhtar contends that the watered-down version of CPEC is not denting its gargantuan nature, but the tailoring of the project is more sustainable and reassuring. "Let's face it ,plans and goals change; delays and deliberations happen," she added.
Read 8 tweets
23 Sep 20
William E.Todd ,the nominated US Amb to Pakistan, gave a testimony to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee. foreign.senate.gov/download/testi…
"The U.S.-Pakistan health partnership helped contribute to better-than-expected COVID-
19 outcomes in Pakistan, from training health workers to upgrading emergency operations
centers...."
Todd said Pakistan remains an important regional partner.
Read 6 tweets
4 Sep 20
That @MarkeyDaniel dedicates the preface of his book to Gwadar is quite telling and commensurate with China's priorities in the region.
Interesting point re impediments for China: domestic politics within states of Eurasia.
"“Where does China stand on this issue?”
will become second nature to American diplomats in the region."

Indeed.
Read 4 tweets
31 Aug 20
This piece by @Rabs_AA ,brilliantly lays bare Pakistan's future strategic challenges and the option(s) that the country should exercise ,in the wake of the Israel-Gulf rapprochement. strafasia.com/israeli-gulf-r…
The author argues that Pakistan must not lose sight of the impending threat of encirclement, that could emanate from Israel's forays around and proximity to Pakistan. New Delhi and Tel Aviv could ramp up trouble for Islamabad in the Arabian Gulf, argues the author.
But why Pakistan could be the target? The author says that it is because Islamabad continues to survive, rather than wilt, posing a great deal of discomfiture to those that want to impede the country's rise up the power ladder.
Read 5 tweets
29 Jul 20
"Our campus was off limits ,creativity was not," says @Rabs_AA in an RCSS webinar on Education and Technology.
Internet access is the biggest issue when it comes to the online education landscape in Pakistan, she adds.
Pakistan is not new to virtual education, says @Rabs_AA while giving the examples of the AIOU and VU. She adds that Pakistan must embrace the online world of education, if not ,it stands to lose.
Read 5 tweets
21 Jul 20
18 pages into this interesting study on DPRK by @PerkovichG and @toby_dalton ,I find this point very logical: "Trading some compliance uncertainty for comprehensiveness up front seems worthwhile to build a
broad foundation for the second stage of verified capping to follow." Image
“Permitting” ongoing nuclear and missile activities like this would be politically very hard
to swallow in Washington, Seoul, Tokyo, and probably also in Beijing."

Well, a state doesn't require permission from other states to take decisions in its interest.
retaining CD would be
a necessary condition for North Korea to decide to eliminate nuclear
weapons. The DPRK also would likely continue producing and perhaps
even selling ballistic missiles for conventional military use up to some
agreed range and payload limit.

Fair point!
Read 5 tweets
15 Jul 20
Something that the doctor ordered for me. Captivating title, and an all-important phenomenon that is fast-becoming a key element in a state's crisis behaviour. @heatherwilly Image
The tweet that ,according to the authors, lies at the heart of their argument is this :" To manage escalation during crises, stop tweeting."
They argue that Twitter is not the conduit to share nuanced messages aimed at reassuring allies and deterring adversaries or for strategic signalling.
Read 6 tweets
2 Jul 20
Today, @Rabs_AA spoke at a webinar on India's defense modernisation and its implications on deterrence stability. She started off by saying that the region that confronts trilateral complexities, is undergoing strategic shifts.
Calling for thinking on what India's defense modernisation is geared towards, @Rabs_AA coined the term "Surrogate Deterrence ", which means that India will use its toys against Pakistan (surrogate) for deterrence signalling against China cos direct deterrence is risky.
Talking about the concept of minimal escalation in response to transgressions along the LAC, she noted that the Ladakh standoff has shown that India might have to rethink what minimal escalation might look like.
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28 Jun 20
Dr.@Rabs_AA had a brilliant , scholarly and IR-esque conversation with the erudite @RRajagopalanJNU on alliances, Structural Realism, balancing etc, in the context of India's basket of options in the wake of conflagration with China. Thread to follow.
When asked by @Rabs_AA as to how India ,as a weaker power , can coerce China, Dr.Rajesh, while acknowledging India's relatively less power overall, pointed to things being even stevens at the theatre level in and around the LAC.
He also added that India has some advantages versus China ,especially in terms of airpower ,owing to the terrain. However, he said that the very advantage may not translate into a cogent tool of coercion. Using airpower would be an uncomfortable route to take.
Read 23 tweets
26 Jun 20
This piece by @MadihaAfzal needs to be read carefully in order to understand the deleterious effects of being openly biased and deluded.
brookings.edu/blog/order-fro…
"Perhaps a deal would have been signed anyway. The Taliban got everything it wanted, securing — in its eyes — a U.S. surrender for an absolute minimum in promises."

Really? Undermining Pakistan's role despite knowing full well that the US had practically implored us to do more.
"The Pakistani army, meanwhile, recognized that an ascendant Tb meant that any power-sharing arrangement accompanying a peace deal would likely align with Pakistan’s vision of “strategic depth”..."
When did the Pakistan Army say this? How can this be written so nonchalantly?
Read 7 tweets
23 Jun 20
This is a very interesting piece by @Pushan3012. He talks about the need for India to review and accountability in lapses in intelligence and conduct (of war) at various levels in the wake of the standoff in Ladakh. Thread to follow . orfonline.org/research/deja-…
He writes that systemic shortcomings have to be highlighted and questioned, if India wants chalk out an effective strategy to deal with China.
Pointing to similarities between the intelligence failures in Kargil and the current crisis, the author questions the military's inability to detect China's incursions and act with alacrity.
Read 6 tweets
21 Jun 20
"The Pakistani PM has talked about this many times, and we have been chided for it. We carried out an exercise looking at the similarities between Modi and Hitler. I kid you not ,if you close your eyes, you will not see a difference." @YusufMoeed
facebook.com/nutshellconfer…
You cannot cherry-pick when it comes to relying on bilateralism and multilateralism, said Dr.@YusufMoeed while adding that is a difference between dialogue and reflection. Pakistan is willing to engage in the former.
The clock time given to the Kashmir issue is more than that given to any other issue. Pakistan has done ,and does everything possible for Kashmir, rightly said Dr.Moeed.
Read 7 tweets
15 Jun 20
.@Rabs_AA had a very crisp,scholarly conversation with distinguished scholar, Ashley J.Tellis, on the crisis in the Himalayas, India's two-front war refrain, US-Indo relations and the scaffold of US-Sino competition. Thread to follow.
On the intrusions in Ladakh, Tellis said they appeared to be within the Chinese claim line and in areas that the Chinese had patrolled. That said, Tellis said that previously the Chinese didn't entrench themselves in those places.
Regarding Chinese motivations and whether they were linked to India's August 5 decision, Tellis talked about China's vociferous response to India's gambit in Kashmir. He said that the decision made on August 5 was certainly a turning point.
Read 17 tweets
8 Jun 20
So, let me get at this piece by @MichaelKugelman.

"Still, using what information is available, it’s clear that Pakistan derives benefits from the standoff."
How can hazy information paint a clear picture ? nationalinterest.org/feature/pakist…
"Some Indian media reports—albeit unconfirmed—claim that as many as ten thousand Chinese soldierscrossed into India at various parts along the Line of Control and remain on Indian soil."
LOC or LAC ? The difference can turn the entire piece on its head.....
"China’s military pressure on India underscores a second benefit for Islamabad: The standoff helps advance a core Pakistani foreign policy goal, which is to deter and undermine India."

How can Pakistan exact deterrence viz India when the latter is bogged down in Ladakh????
Read 9 tweets
6 Jun 20
To quote Collingwood, "the only clue to what a man can do is what a man has done."2 trained historians, @Rabs_AA and @tanvi_madan engaged in a wide-ranging conversation on the "Fateful Triangle" plus many an actor. Thread to follow.
Reminiscing their first meeting at a dialogue involving Indian and Pakistani scholars, Dr. Madan highlighted how such initiatives helped and help analysts up their games and broaden their horizons. Both agreed that more interactions between South Asian scholars are needed.
Talking about the main thesis of her new,seminal book, Dr.Madan succinctly traced how New Delhi and Washington oscillated from differing over goals to differing over means ,and from a tight embrace to cooperating gingerly over the Beijing "threat ".
Read 14 tweets
31 May 20
In the SISS Faculty Conversation Series, @Rabs_AA was joined by the inimitable Brig.Feroz Khan. Here is a thread on it ,giving my views on it and putting out some interesting things from the conversation.

100 mins and 26 seconds of the conversation were worth every bit. There are many reasons to like this video.
I was sick and tired of listening to all similar kinds of conversations on nuclear weapons, crisis stability, escalation etc. This was a refreshing, significant departure from those .
Read 12 tweets