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US-Iran Conflict in Historical Perspective

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The US-Iran conflict has become critical in wake of US Drone Strike that assassinated Iranian top general Qassem Suleimani since the US considered him the imminent threat to the United States but Trump administration has been heavily criticized by Political Circles.

The political analysts and foreign policy experts are of the view that Donald Trump has committed the extrajudicial killing of General Suleimani and has deliberately escalated the situation with Iran to escape impeachment which is likely to commence as Nancy Pelosi has announced the impeachment managers. The Impeachment Process has already begun.

In a historic perspective, the US has always meddled in the affairs of Iran. The 45 years of hostility towards Iran has sowed the seed of hatred when US and UK agencies orchestrated a plan against a democratically elected secular Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq to overthrow his Government since he tried to nationalize Iran’s Oil Industry.

Oil has been the alluring industry for the US and Mossadeq’s attempt to nationalize Iranian Oil cost him his Premiership in 1953.  The Political Analysts call it a historical blunder to meddle in the affairs of Iran.

Later, the US-backed the dictatorial ruler Shah of Iran- Mohammad Reza Pahlavi despite being aware that his regime was incompetent and the rising autocratic Governance model has been weakening.

The streets started flooding with protesters against Shah of Iran’s Regime and he was forcibly ousted by secular and religious forces in 1979, known as the Islamic Revolution.

This growing dissent and turmoil in Iran paved the way for the return of the exiled Islamic Religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The referendum was held and Iran was formally proclaimed as the Islamic Republic of Iran on 1s April 1971.

US backing to Shah of Iran resulted in growing hatred and antagonism against America. The angry protesters ransacked the US Embassy in Tehran and made the whole staff as a hostage in 1979. After President Ronald Reagan took the office, the 52 hostages were released by Iran after 444 days in 1981.

US-Iran relations witnessed another Setback when the US secretly shipped arms as the exchange of Iran’s help in the release of US hostages held by Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. This Iran-contra scandal-hit US hard when the benefit such as arms supply channelled to rebellion group in Nicaragua that caused a severe political crisis for American President Ronald Reagan.

Similarly, as Iran has mistakenly downed Ukrainian Passenger jetliner in which 176 passengers were killed, American warship had also shot down an Iranian Passenger plane killing all 290 passengers on board.

Most of the victims were Iranian pilgrims bound for Makkah. Unlike Iran, the US had made a similar statement that the Airbus A300 was downed by mistake considering it a fighter Jet.

This incident had also increased antagonism and hatred against America in Iran.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 incident, in 2001, the US carried out strikes against Taliban in Afghanistan terming Osama bin laden as a most wanted terrorist and for the regime change in Afghanistan.

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Meanwhile, the Iranian opposition group revealed that Iran has been engaged in nuclear Program having set up Uranium enrichment Plan, however, the Iranian Government denied such charges.

American President George W Bush during his union address denounced Iran as part of an “Axis of Evil” along with Iraq and North Korea, thus opening another chapter of conflict.

The UN Watchdog IAEA inspected Iran’s Nuclear Program. Consequently, tough sanctions were imposed on Iran by the US, EU and UN that crippled its economy during the regime of President Mehmood Ahmed Nejad. The economic sanctions devalued Iranian currency that caused abrupt inflation and economic condition became volatile.

The relations between US and Iran grew closer as the moderate and secular president Hassan Rouhani took office and after decades of stiff relations, the ice started melting when US president Barak Obama phoned Hassan Rouhani after three decades.

Following such gesture from the US, the diplomatic channels worked for Iran prompting to sign a long-time nuclear deal in 2015 with great power group containing  US, UK, France, China, Russia and Germany.

Through the deal, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear programme allowing International Inspectors. In return, the crippling economic sanctions were lifted that had affected the country very hard especially its Oil exports -the main source of income for the country to strengthen its economy.

Trump administration has become a great headache for Iran since Iran’s nuclear deal was abandoned by President Donald Trump and threatened to impose economic sanctions against Iran and against those who intend to buy oil from Iran.

Such a hard attitude instigated the conflict even further since the Iranian Economy was already under heavy recession.

As a result of above the statement, US President Donald Trump re-imposed tough economic sanctions on Iranian Oil in May 2019 while Iran started a pressure campaign against the US.

The series of Incidents happened thereafter such as Explosions hitting tankers in Gulf of Oman and Iran’s shooting down a US drone hovering over Strait of Hormuz. The US claimed the drone was over International waters whereas Iran said that it was over their Territory.

Given the US Sanctions and blame game, Iran started rolling back from its commitments as reflected in the nuclear deal and started Uranium enrichment.

Finally, when US Drone strike assassinated Iranian Top General Qassem Suleimani in Iraq, the Iranian people became united.

Millions of people attended the funeral prayers of General Qassem Suleimani and protested against America in Iraq and Iran.

The analysts said that it was the biggest protest after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran as millions of people participated in the last rituals of General Qassem Suleimani.

Iran announced to take revenge to shun angry protesters that demanded retaliation against US aggression.

Under-Pressure Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei approved targeting US Military basis in Iraq by firing dozen Cruise Missiles but there were no casualties.

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Since then, Donald Trump has been heavily criticized for the extrajudicial killing of General Qassem Suleimani. Even Middle East crisis worsened following the Iraqi Parliament resolution demanding US Troops and Allies for leaving Iraq after Qassem Suleimani’s  Assassination. The Iranian Proxies may attack US military basis since Iran has a strong network of proxies in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Palestine.

Now the Questions arises that will it be a world war-III the answer is “No” since, after strikes, both countries have shown sensibility and restraint as plane tragedy has spread shocking tremors after Iranian Revolutionary Guards claimed the responsibility of mistakenly downing a Passenger Jet carrying 174 passengers in the limits of Tehran’s International Airport. Iran, at first, denied the incident, but after international pressure accepted that the passenger jet was downed by mistake.

Iran has publicly apologized for the mistake and announced compensation for the bereaved families but the Ukrainian and Canadian Governments have demanded a thorough investigation and apologize through diplomatic channels.

Mike Pompeo has also sought help from Pakistan for de-escalation as both countries do not want war. All the world powers have urged both the US and Iran to de-escalate tensions and resolve the conflict through negotiations.

The European Union, UK, Russia, China and other NATO members have started diplomatic efforts to prevent both countries going to all-out war as War will bring miseries and destruction for humanity since both nations are nuclear capacious though Iran has not announced its nuclear capability.

UN and European Union must play their role to engage both parties in negotiation so that Possibilities of World War-III may be averted to save humanity falling prey to destruction, hunger, Economic crisis, homelessness and disease. Negotiations will also pave the way for the lifting of tough economic sanctions against Iran that have crippled the fragile Iranian Economy causing Inflation and Price hike.

Moreover, US-Iran conflict may jeopardize US-Taliban talks for which Pakistan has played a key role to make the deal Possible as Afghan Peace will be beneficial to the whole region including Pakistan. Terrorism emanating from Afghanistan has affected Pakistan very badly especially Economy that has also been volatile owing to corrupt practices of politico regimes and rising debts.

The world must wake up from the slumber to play their role to de-escalate the tensions between US –Iran so that diplomatic relations stalemate may be scrapped and the new chapter of Economic cooperation and relations may be written that will benefit the people of both beleaguered Nations having tumultuous and alienated history causing the existing crisis that has made the Middle East and Gulf Crisis even worse.

Given the situation in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, world leaders especially EU and UN must come forward to save the humanity falling prey to World War III that will be disastrous and destructive owing  Nuclear Technology. The world cannot afford to see tragedies like Hiroshima and Nagasaki

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Analysis

The Uncertain Future of Rishi Sunak in the Summer UK Election Gamble

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In the realm of British politics, the upcoming summer election poses a significant challenge for Rishi Sunak, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer. Despite the formidable reputation of the Conservative Party, internal divisions threaten to undermine their electoral prospects. As Sunak strives to navigate these turbulent political waters, the outcome of the six-week campaign remains uncertain. This article delves into the complexities of the situation, examining the factors at play and the potential implications for Sunak and the Conservative Party.

The Conservative Party’s Internal Struggles

The Conservative Party, a longstanding powerhouse in British politics, is currently grappling with internal discord that could have far-reaching consequences. Factionalism and differing ideological perspectives have created a rift within the party, complicating Sunak’s efforts to present a united front to voters. The challenges of managing these internal tensions while projecting a cohesive image to the electorate pose a formidable task for Sunak and his team.

Sunak’s Political Strategy

As the face of the Conservative Party in the upcoming election, Rishi Sunak faces the daunting task of steering the party through a period of uncertainty and division. Despite his efforts to reshape the political landscape and garner support for the party’s agenda, Sunak has encountered resistance and scepticism from both within and outside the party. His ability to effectively communicate his vision and policies to the electorate will be crucial in determining the election outcome.

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The Changing Political Climate in the UK

The UK’s political climate is in flux, with shifting public opinion and evolving priorities shaping the electoral landscape. Sunak’s challenge lies in adapting to these changing dynamics and effectively addressing the concerns and aspirations of the electorate. The ability to resonate with voters and offer compelling solutions to pressing issues will be key to Sunak’s success in the summer election.

Sunak’s Leadership and Vision

As a prominent figure in British politics, Rishi Sunak’s leadership style and vision for the country will be under scrutiny during the election campaign. His ability to inspire confidence, articulate a clear vision for the future, and demonstrate effective governance will be critical in winning over voters. Sunak’s capacity to navigate the complexities of the political landscape and offer credible solutions to the challenges facing the UK will be closely observed by both supporters and critics.

The Path Ahead for Sunak and the Conservative Party

In the lead-up to the summer election, Rishi Sunak faces a formidable challenge in steering the Conservative Party to victory amidst internal discord and a shifting political climate. The outcome of the election remains uncertain, with Sunak’s ability to unite the party, connect with voters, and offer a compelling vision for the future playing a decisive role. As the campaign unfolds, the political fortunes of Sunak and the Conservative Party will be closely watched, with the potential for unexpected twists and turns shaping the outcome.

In conclusion, the summer UK election gamble presents a significant test for Rishi Sunak and the Conservative Party, with internal divisions and a changing political climate adding complexity to the electoral landscape. Sunak’s leadership, vision, and ability to navigate these challenges will be crucial in determining the outcome of the election. As the campaign progresses, the political fortunes of Sunak and the Conservative Party hang in the balance, with the potential for both triumph and defeat on the horizon.

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Economy

Starwood’s $10bn Property Fund Taps Credit Line as Investors Pull Money

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The real estate sector, once a bastion of stability and a reliable investment avenue, is currently navigating turbulent waters. One of the latest indicators of this instability is Starwood Capital Group’s recent move to tap a credit line to manage heavy redemption requests from its investors. This development has sent ripples through the investment community, highlighting broader concerns about real estate valuations and market liquidity. In this comprehensive article, we delve into the specifics of Starwood’s situation, the underlying factors at play, and the broader implications for the real estate market.

Understanding Starwood’s Move: A Strategic Necessity

The Basics of the Credit Line Utilization

Starwood Capital Group, a leading global private investment firm with a significant focus on real estate, manages a $10 billion property fund that has recently had to draw on a credit line to meet the redemption demands of its investors. This move, while not unprecedented, is a clear signal of stress within the fund. Utilizing a credit line to handle redemptions is a strategic measure to ensure liquidity and meet investors’ withdrawal requests without having to liquidate assets at potentially unfavorable prices.

Investor Redemptions: A Closer Look

The spike in redemption requests from investors can be attributed to multiple factors. Primarily, there are growing concerns about the valuation of real estate assets amidst fluctuating market conditions. With interest rates rising and economic uncertainties looming, investors are seeking to reallocate their capital to safer, more liquid investments. This trend is not isolated to Starwood but is reflective of a broader sentiment within the investment community.

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The Broader Market Context

Real Estate Valuations Under Scrutiny

Real estate valuations have come under intense scrutiny as the economic landscape shifts. The pandemic’s aftermath, coupled with rising interest rates and inflation, has created a complex environment for property valuations. Investors are wary of overvalued assets, particularly in sectors like commercial real estate, where future cash flows and occupancy rates remain uncertain.

Impact of Rising Interest Rates

The Federal Reserve’s policies have a profound impact on real estate investments. As interest rates rise, borrowing costs for property purchases increase, which can depress property values. Higher rates also make alternative investments, such as bonds, more attractive, prompting investors to reconsider their real estate holdings. This shift in investor preference is evident in the increased redemption requests faced by funds like Starwood’s.

Starwood’s Strategic Response

Ensuring Liquidity

By tapping into a credit line, Starwood Capital Group is taking a proactive approach to manage liquidity. This strategy allows the fund to meet redemption demands without being forced to sell properties at a discount, which could further erode investor confidence and potentially trigger a downward spiral in asset values.

Portfolio Management and Asset Sales

In addition to using credit facilities, Starwood is likely reassessing its portfolio to identify non-core assets that can be sold to generate liquidity. This selective asset disposal is a way to balance the need for cash while maintaining the integrity and long-term value of the portfolio. The challenge lies in executing these sales in a market where buyers are also cautious and seeking bargains.

Implications for Investors

Short-Term vs. Long-Term Perspectives

For investors, the immediate concern is the liquidity of their investments. The use of a credit line, while a temporary solution, does not address the underlying issues of asset valuation and market confidence. However, for those with a long-term perspective, Starwood’s strategic moves could be seen as stabilizing measures that preserve the fund’s value and potential for future growth.

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Diversification and Risk Management

The current scenario underscores the importance of diversification and robust risk management strategies in investment portfolios. Investors should assess their exposure to real estate and consider balancing their portfolios with assets that have different risk profiles and market dynamics.

The Future of Real Estate Investment Funds

Adapting to Market Realities

Real estate investment funds must adapt to the new market realities characterized by economic volatility and shifting investor preferences. This adaptation involves enhancing liquidity management, reassessing asset valuations, and being transparent with investors about the risks and strategies being employed.

Regulatory Considerations

As funds navigate these challenges, regulatory scrutiny may also intensify. Regulators could impose stricter liquidity requirements and more rigorous stress testing to ensure that funds can withstand periods of high redemption requests without destabilizing the market.

Conclusion

Starwood Capital Group’s move to tap a credit line amid heavy redemption requests highlights the current challenges facing real estate investment funds. Rising interest rates, economic uncertainties, and investor concerns about asset valuations are driving a wave of redemptions, forcing funds to find creative solutions to maintain liquidity and investor confidence. For investors and fund managers alike, this period is a reminder of the importance of strategic liquidity management, robust risk assessment, and adaptive strategies to navigate the complexities of the real estate market. The actions taken today will shape the resilience and performance of real estate funds in the years to come.

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Analysis

Putin Emphasizes the Crucial role of China in Russian Foreign Policy and Trade.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s role in global politics and its close relationship with Moscow, calling it of “premier importance” in Russian foreign policy. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin commended Beijing’s efforts to maintain regional stability and promote peaceful conflict resolution. He also highlighted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between the two countries, which has strengthened significantly in recent years.

The comments come as Putin prepares to visit China for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, where he is expected to discuss trade and economic ties between the two nations. China is Russia’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of $108 billion in 2018. Both countries have also been working together on major infrastructure projects, including the Belt and Road Initiative and the Northern Sea Route.

Putin’s remarks reflect the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy, as Moscow seeks to strengthen its ties with Beijing amid strained relations with the West. The two countries share a common interest in challenging US global dominance and promoting a multipolar world order.

Putin’s Praise for China’s Peace Efforts

Putin praises China's peace efforts in an interview, emphasizing its importance in Russian foreign policy and trade

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s peace efforts in an interview with Xinhua, highlighting the country’s “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” with Russia. Putin commended Beijing’s commitment to resolving global issues through peaceful means, citing its role in the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the Syrian conflict.

Putin also emphasized the importance of the partnership between Russia and China in promoting regional and global stability. He noted that the two countries share similar views on many international issues, including the need to strengthen the role of the United Nations in maintaining peace and security.

The Russian leader’s comments come amid growing tensions between China and the United States, as well as concerns over Beijing’s military expansion in the South China Sea. However, Putin’s remarks suggest that Russia sees China as a key partner in its foreign policy objectives, particularly in the areas of trade and economic cooperation.

Overall, Putin’s praise for China’s peace efforts underscores the importance of the strategic partnership between the two countries, and highlights China’s growing influence in global affairs.

Strategic Partnership Between Russia and China

Putin emphasizes China's significance in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

Russian President Vladimir Putin has praised China’s “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” with Moscow, citing the two countries’ close cooperation in both trade and politics. In an interview with Xinhua, Putin commended Beijing’s efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, and emphasised the importance of China in Russian foreign policy.

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Trade Relations

The trade relationship between Russia and China has grown rapidly over the past decade, with bilateral trade reaching $108 billion in 2020. In recent years, the two countries have signed a number of major agreements to deepen economic ties, including a $400 billion deal to supply Russian natural gas to China over 30 years.

Political Alliances

Beyond economic cooperation, Russia and China have also formed close political alliances in recent years. The two countries have worked together to promote a multipolar world order and to counterbalance what they see as US dominance in global affairs. In addition, Russia and China have strengthened their military ties, conducting joint military exercises and signing a number of defence agreements.

Overall, Putin’s comments reflect the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy. As the two countries continue to deepen their strategic partnership, it is likely that their cooperation will extend to new areas, including technology, energy, and infrastructure.

China’s Role in Russian Foreign Policy

Putin emphasizes China's pivotal role in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

China has become an important partner for Russia in terms of foreign policy and trade. In an interview with Xinhua, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised China’s efforts to maintain peace and stability in the world. Putin also highlighted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership” between Russia and China, which he believes is a key factor in maintaining global security.

The two countries have been working together on a number of initiatives, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The BRI is a massive infrastructure project that aims to connect China with Europe and other parts of Asia through a network of roads, railways, and ports. Russia has been a key partner in this project, with plans to build a high-speed railway between Moscow and Beijing.

In addition to the BRI, Russia and China have also been working closely together in the SCO, which is a regional security organisation that includes other countries such as India, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. The two countries have been working together to combat terrorism, extremism, and separatism in the region.

Overall, China’s role in Russian foreign policy has become increasingly important in recent years. The two countries share a common vision for a multipolar world, and their partnership has helped to counterbalance the influence of the United States and other Western countries.

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Future Prospects for Sino-Russian Cooperation

Putin emphasizes China's key role in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

As Putin highlighted in his interview with Xinhua, the strategic partnership between China and Russia has reached an unprecedented level. This partnership has been strengthened by the two countries’ shared commitment to promoting peace and stability in the world.

One area where Sino-Russian cooperation is expected to continue growing is in the field of trade. The two countries have set a target of reaching $200 billion in bilateral trade by 2024, up from $108 billion in 2018. To achieve this goal, both sides have been actively promoting investment and trade in key sectors such as energy, agriculture, and technology.

Another area of cooperation is in the field of international affairs. China and Russia have been working closely together to promote multilateralism and uphold the principles of the UN Charter. They have also been coordinating their efforts to address global challenges such as climate change, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.

In addition, the two countries have been deepening their cultural and people-to-people exchanges. This has been facilitated by initiatives such as the China-Russia Year of Media Exchange and the China-Russia Youth Friendly Exchange Year.

Overall, the future prospects for Sino-Russian cooperation are promising, as both countries continue to deepen their strategic partnership and work together to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the world.

Implications for International Relations

Putin emphasizes China's significance in Russian foreign policy and trade in an interview with Xin

Putin’s praise for China’s peace efforts and strategic partnership with Russia has significant implications for international relations. The strong relationship between the two countries could potentially shift the balance of power in the world, with China’s growing influence being a key factor.

The strategic partnership between Russia and China has already had an impact on the world stage, with the two countries working together on issues such as Syria and North Korea. This partnership could also have an impact on the global economy, with the two countries working to increase trade and investment.

Furthermore, the partnership between Russia and China could have implications for other countries, particularly those in the West. As Russia and China continue to strengthen their relationship, it could lead to a shift in global alliances and a realignment of power.

Overall, Putin’s comments highlight the growing importance of China in Russian foreign policy and trade. As the two countries continue to work together, the implications for international relations could be significant, potentially leading to a shift in the global balance of power.

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