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Anchal Vohra

Beirut, Lebanon
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About Anchal
Anchal Vohra is a Beirut-based TV and Print journalist. She is a freelance Correspondent for AJ English and a writer on the Middle east for Foreign Policy. She also contributes to the Times, the Atlantic, the Telegraph, the New Statesman, and Berlin Policy Journal. Ms Vohra has been Deutsche Welle English's Lebanon Correspondent in the past.
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Qatar Is Ready to Call Netanyahu’s Hostage Bluff

25 Apr 2024  |  Foreign Policy
Qatar, leveraging its influence over Hamas, threatens to withdraw from mediating hostage negotiations with Israel unless Prime Minister Netanyahu stops what it perceives as a smear campaign. Qatari officials accuse Netanyahu of delaying hostage releases to prolong the war. The U.S. pressures Qatar to expel Hamas leaders, with some lawmakers threatening to revoke Qatar's major non-NATO ally status. The situation remains tense, with both Israel and Qatar holding firm on their positions, complicating the release of over 130 Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Modi’s ‘Make in India’ Didn’t Make Jobs

19 Apr 2024  |  Foreign Policy
A new highway from Delhi to Meerut symbolizes hopes for growth, but the 'Make in India' initiative has failed to deliver on job creation promises. Despite the construction of infrastructure, unemployment remains high, especially among educated youth. The International Labor Organization reports that educated individuals face higher unemployment rates, and economic inequality has worsened under Modi's tenure. Experts attribute the crisis to poor education quality, insufficient government investment, and a lack of labor-intensive industries. Structural transformation is slow, with many returning to agriculture due to a lack of urban jobs. Modi's policies, including demonetization and new taxes, have further strained the economy. Despite these challenges, some, like Manu Chaudhary, remain hopeful for future job opportunities.

Netanyahu’s War Strategy Doesn’t Make Any Sense

05 Apr 2024  |  Foreign Policy
The article critiques Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's strategy in the Israel-Gaza conflict, highlighting the lack of a coherent plan to eliminate Hamas and free hostages. It discusses the growing dissatisfaction among hostages' families and the Israeli public, as well as the international implications of Netanyahu's actions. The article questions the feasibility of Netanyahu's goals, including the demilitarization and deradicalization of Gaza, and suggests that his approach may lead to a prolonged occupation and increased international isolation for Israel.

EU’s Pretending to Be an Honest Trade Cop

02 Mar 2024  |  www.politico.eu
The EU's concessions to farmers and the suspension of trade talks with Mercosur nations highlight the influence of European farmers. The EU's trade agreements now include sanctions for noncompliance with labor and environmental standards, a move that has been met with criticism from diplomats and experts in the global south. The EU's Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the potential for sanctions are seen as unfair by emerging economies, who argue that the EU is shifting the cost of its green transition onto them. Experts suggest that labor rights and sustainability goals should be negotiated separately from trade agreements. The EU's focus on trade deals with democracies is also noted, but the overarching sentiment is that the EU may be overregulating and should reconsider its approach to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs).

China Is Quietly Expanding Its Land Grabs in the Himalayas

01 Feb 2024  |  flipboard.com
While global attention is focused on the potential invasion of Taiwan, China is steadily continuing its territorial expansion in Bhutan, seizing land in the Himalayas.

China Is Quietly Expanding Its Land Grabs in the Himalayas

01 Feb 2024  |  Foreign Policy
China has been expanding its territorial claims in the Himalayan region, particularly in Bhutan's Beyul Khenpajong area, constructing infrastructure and military posts. Bhutan, with limited resources, is unable to counter these encroachments, raising concerns about regional stability and the potential for conflict with India. The situation is complicated by Bhutan's historical ties with India and the strategic importance of the Doklam plateau. Experts suggest that Bhutan may need to establish diplomatic ties with major powers like the United States to balance Chinese influence.

Israel’s International Assassination Campaign Won’t Be Easy

17 Jan 2024  |  Foreign Policy
Israel is intensifying its international assassination campaign against Hamas leaders, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorizing Mossad to target Hamas officials globally. The campaign faces significant challenges, particularly in countries like Turkey and Qatar, which are U.S. allies and have complex diplomatic relations with Israel. While Israel has successfully conducted operations in Lebanon, targeting Hamas leaders in Turkey and Qatar is more complicated due to geopolitical considerations. Turkish President Erdogan has warned of serious consequences if Hamas members are killed in Turkey, reflecting the country's support for Hamas and domestic pro-Palestinian sentiment. Qatar, hosting Hamas leaders since 2012, faces mounting pressure from Israel and the U.S. to expel Hamas officials. Despite public rhetoric, both Israel and Turkey are cautious of escalating tensions, prioritizing their strategic and economic ties. The article highlights the intricate balance Israel must maintain in its assassination campaign while navigating international diplomacy.

Hamas’s Political Leaders Aren’t in Charge

28 Nov 2023  |  Foreign Policy
Hamas's military leaders, particularly Mohammed Deif and Yahya Sinwar, are the primary decision-makers in the ongoing hostage negotiations with Israel, overshadowing the political leaders based in Doha and Beirut. The military wing's dominance is evident in their control over hostages and their influence on negotiation terms. The article delves into the backgrounds of Deif and Sinwar, highlighting their extremist actions and personal histories that shape their current strategies. Despite the political leadership's attempts to present a united front, the military leaders' actions and decisions are pivotal in the conflict. The article also touches on the broader implications of Hamas's actions on the Palestinian cause and the international community's perception.

Israel’s hostage deal means truce, not ceasefire

24 Nov 2023  |  www.afr.com
Israel's strategy to pressure Hamas militarily into releasing hostages is unlikely to lead to a ceasefire, despite high levels of support within Israeli society for eliminating Hamas. Former Israeli deputy national security adviser Eran Lerman and IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus indicate that military operations will resume after the current pause. Public opinion in Israel is divided, with some advocating for immediate negotiations and others supporting continued military pressure. The EU calls for humanitarian pauses but does not back a ceasefire. Hostages' families are torn between wanting immediate release and supporting military action. The Israeli government credits its military operations for bringing Hamas to the negotiating table, while activists criticize the government for delaying negotiations. Prime Minister Netanyahu asserts that the war will continue until all objectives are met, despite the death toll and destruction in Gaza.

Israel’s Wartime Economy Can’t Hold Up Forever

07 Nov 2023  |  Foreign Policy
Israel's economy is under severe strain due to the ongoing conflict with Hamas, impacting key sectors like agriculture, tourism, and technology. The war has led to significant labor shortages, business closures, and a plummeting shekel. Despite $200 billion in reserves and $14 billion in U.S. aid, experts predict a long and costly recovery. The government is urged to reallocate funds towards defense and economic aid, but political divisions hinder comprehensive solutions. The startup industry and civil society are making efforts to mitigate the economic fallout, but the long-term impact remains uncertain.

The Unkept Promise of German Unification

23 Oct 2023  |  New Lines Magazine
Apolda, a city in Thuringia, East Germany, showcases the architectural remnants of its prosperous manufacturing past, contrasted with signs of decline following the Soviet occupation and German reunification. The local population, having experienced significant job losses and economic upheaval post-reunification, harbors distrust towards political parties and skepticism about government spending on refugees. The rise of xenophobia and the far-right Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) party in the region reflects historical isolation and a lack of contact with foreigners. Despite the challenges, some businesses like Strick Chic, a knitwear factory, have survived, and the owner, Gerald Rosner, expresses a mix of pride and frustration. Refugees in Apolda face discrimination and are eager to contribute to the economy, but bureaucratic hurdles delay their employment. The article highlights the complex interplay of history, economic struggles, and the refugee crisis in shaping local attitudes and political dynamics.

Can Hamas Be Destroyed?

10 Oct 2023  |  Foreign Policy
The article explores the complexities and challenges Israel faces in its efforts to eliminate Hamas following a brutal attack by the militant group. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have vowed to take decisive action, but the presence of Israeli hostages complicates the situation. The article discusses potential military strategies, the historical context of the conflict, and the broader geopolitical implications, including the role of international mediators like Qatar. It highlights the high stakes and potential humanitarian costs of a ground incursion into Gaza, as well as the internal and external pressures on Israel to achieve a strategic victory.

Iran is the only one likely to benefit from Hamas’ attack on Israel

09 Oct 2023  |  POLITICO
Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel, resulting in significant casualties and captives. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared war and promised retaliation. The attack, not triggered by immediate events, has drawn global condemnation and speculation about its timing, potentially disrupting a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Iran, supporting Hamas and opposing the deal, may benefit from the attack by diverting attention from its nuclear ambitions. The attack showcases Iran and Hezbollah's influence and training, while the potential Israeli-Saudi deal could isolate Hamas and shift the regional power balance.

If Canada is to be believed, India has gone rogue

27 Sep 2023  |  politico.eu
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that Indian agents were behind the killing of Canadian citizen and Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar. India denied the allegations, calling them absurd. The incident has strained relations between Canada and India, with Canada accusing India of violating its sovereignty and India accusing Canada of inaction against Khalistani extremists. The U.S., U.K., and Australia have shown restraint in their responses. The situation has political implications in both countries, which are approaching elections, and has sparked discussions about India's intelligence capabilities and its approach to security and counterterrorism.

NATO Has Its Sights Set on Asia

24 Jul 2023  |  Foreign Policy
NATO is increasingly linking trans-Atlantic security to the Indo-Pacific, focusing on the threat posed by China's military and economic rise. The recent NATO summit in Vilnius included non-NATO members Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, highlighting the alliance's strategic shift. European countries have varied approaches to China, with France and Germany taking cautious stances. NATO allies are recognizing their dependence on China for key minerals and are wary of China's military ambitions and economic leverage. The alliance's recent communique criticized China for its opaque strategies and warned against arming Russia. China responded with military exercises around Taiwan and accused NATO of expansionist motives. The Biden administration views China as a significant threat to the international order and is working with European allies to develop a coordinated strategy. NATO aims to enhance ties with Asian partners through joint defense exercises and interoperability, though full membership for these partners is unlikely without treaty changes. The article underscores the growing importance of aligning military capabilities between European and Asian democracies to address the China challenge.

Rishi Sunak’s Government Is Anti-Asylum

12 Jun 2023  |  foreignpolicy.com
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's government has introduced a bill that aims to ban individuals who enter the UK illegally from seeking asylum, detaining and deporting them to countries like Rwanda, and permanently barring them from entering the UK. The bill is criticized for making it nearly impossible for most to claim asylum in Britain, as there are no legal routes for entry to claim asylum. Activists and experts argue that the policy could embolden far-right and conservative politicians in Europe to adopt similar measures. The legislation has been condemned by various NGOs and international bodies, including the UN Refugee Agency, for breaching the 1951 Refugee Convention. Critics also point out the historical failure of similar offshoring policies and the lack of legal routes for asylum seekers, with the UK government's approach seen as a political strategy rather than a genuine effort to manage immigration.

Population Control Is Back in India

28 Apr 2023  |  foreignpolicy.com
India's population is set to surpass China's, reaching nearly 1.43 billion, prompting debates on whether to adopt China-like population control policies. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has members advocating for a two-child policy, while opposition and analysts suspect underlying motives to deepen Hindu-Muslim divides. Despite the push for centralized population control, India's fertility rate has declined to an average of two children per woman, below the replacement level. Experts argue that coercive policies are unnecessary and ineffective, suggesting a focus on high-fertility districts and overall human development. Controversial bills in states like Uttar Pradesh propose incentives for smaller families and penalties for larger ones. The Indian government faces challenges in providing quality education, jobs, and healthcare to leverage its large working-age population for economic growth.

Why Xi is Redefining Chinese Cultural History

20 Apr 2023  |  exbulletin.com
Chinese state media is heavily promoting President Xi Jinping's Global Civilization Initiative, part of a trio of ideological frameworks including the Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative. These initiatives emphasize sovereignty and cultural diversity, appealing to developing countries. The article critiques the historical claims of a 5,000-year-old Chinese civilization and highlights the challenges in promoting traditional Chinese culture under the Chinese Communist Party's censorship. Additionally, U.S. federal authorities have indicted Chinese police officers for harassing Chinese nationals in the U.S., and India has overtaken China in population for the first time. The article also touches on climate change, noting a record heatwave in China and the country's ongoing shift to renewable energy.

Violent Sikh Separatism Is Repeating as Farce

04 Apr 2023  |  Foreign Policy
A cat-and-mouse game is unfolding in Punjab as police hunt for Amritpal Singh, a Sikh separatist advocating for Khalistan. Singh's evasion tactics and media coverage have turned him into a national figure, sparking protests among the Sikh diaspora. His rise has raised questions about potential foreign influence, domestic political manipulation, and the revival of the Khalistan movement. Despite his efforts to address Punjab's drug crisis, experts doubt his capacity to lead a militant organization. The situation has heightened concerns about communal tensions between Sikhs and Hindus, reminiscent of the violent 1980s Khalistan movement.

The EU Is Turning Against NGOs, Too

29 Mar 2023  |  foreignpolicy.com
The European Union, while criticizing Georgia for proposing a law requiring NGOs to register as foreign agents, is considering similar legislation. This has raised concerns among NGOs in Brussels, who fear the law could be abused by right-wing parties like those led by Orban in Hungary and Meloni in Italy. The EU's moral authority is questioned as it prepares to regulate NGOs, which activists argue could lead to hypocrisy and provide authoritarians with a pretext to target human-rights organizations. The EU's move follows the Qatargate scandal, where NGOs have been made the scapegoat for corruption involving politicians and Qatar. The European People’s Party has been accused of using the scandal to discredit NGOs and push a pro-industry agenda ahead of EU elections. NGOs argue they are self-regulating and transparent, and warn against disproportionate administrative burdens and the potential loss of anonymous donors.

Latvia Is Going on Offense Against Russian Culture

21 Mar 2023  |  Foreign Policy
Latvia has enacted several laws to diminish Russian influence, including removing Soviet-era monuments, separating the Latvian Orthodox Church from the Russian Orthodox Church, and banning Russian TV broadcasts. The most significant changes involve eliminating Russian from school curricula and public spaces, aiming to strengthen national cohesion and counter Russian propaganda. These measures have sparked debate, with some experts warning they could deepen ethnic divides. The Latvian government hopes these steps will distance ethnic Russians from Kremlin influence, while critics argue they may be counterproductive.

What Happened to German Pacifism?

07 Feb 2023  |  Foreign Policy
Germany's traditional pacifism, deeply rooted in its historical experiences, is undergoing a transformation in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. While pacifism has been a significant part of Germany's national identity, the current geopolitical situation has exposed its limitations. Chancellor Olaf Scholz's cautious policies, including delayed military aid to Ukraine, reflect an attempt to balance pacifist sentiments within his coalition and the broader public. Despite internal and public opposition, Germany has increased defense spending and provided military aid to Ukraine, indicating a shift in its foreign policy. The ongoing conflict challenges the relevance and effectiveness of pacifism in contemporary international relations.

Modi’s China Policy Is a Failure

18 Jan 2023  |  flipboard.com
The Indian government's cautious approach towards China has led to significant challenges. Since 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policies have been criticized for failing to effectively manage relations with China, resulting in increased tensions and strategic setbacks.

Modi’s China Policy Is a Failure

18 Jan 2023  |  Foreign Policy
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's attempts to build a rapport with Chinese President Xi Jinping and resolve the border dispute have been unsuccessful, with China continuing its assertive territorial claims. Modi's policy has been criticized as too cautious and passive, potentially inviting further Chinese aggression. Despite economic measures and increased defense spending, experts argue that India's responses are insufficient to deter China. Modi's reluctance to engage militarily is seen as a failure to uphold his image as a strong leader. The article suggests that a more proactive military stance could lead to better outcomes, as seen during the Kailash Range occupation. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue and potential U.S. support are discussed as possible avenues for India to strengthen its position against China.

Ukraine Is Crowding Out the World’s Foreign Aid

12 Dec 2022  |  Foreign Policy
European countries have redirected significant portions of their foreign aid budgets to support Ukrainian refugees, resulting in reduced assistance to other regions in need. Activists and organizations like the International Rescue Committee express concern that aid to Ukrainians is at the expense of millions globally who rely on Western aid for essentials. The war in Ukraine and climate change have exacerbated conditions for vulnerable populations. Traditional donors like Denmark, Sweden, and the UK have cut foreign aid, influenced by the rise of far-right parties and OECD accounting rules that include refugee hosting costs as aid. Countries like Syria, Ethiopia, and Somalia have received less than half of their requested aid, while Ukraine's requests were quickly funded. The reduction in aid could backfire by potentially increasing refugee flows to Europe. Philanthropists, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, have stepped in to address the shortfall, but the future of millions remains uncertain.

Can This Brussels Neighborhood Shake Its Jihadi Reputation?

20 Jul 2022  |  Foreign Policy
Molenbeek, a neighborhood in Brussels, struggles with a reputation for being a hub of European jihadism following the 2015 Paris attacks. Residents feel stigmatized and fear increased police scrutiny. The area faces high unemployment, poverty, and rising drug-related crime, which experts believe contribute to radicalization. Despite government investments to improve local conditions, challenges persist, and the relationship between law enforcement and residents remains strained. The article highlights the complex interplay of local and global factors in Molenbeek's ongoing issues with extremism and crime.

Why Iran Is Downplaying Israel Assassinating Its Officials

01 Jul 2022  |  foreignpolicy.com
Iran is downplaying the assassinations of its officials, including Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei of the IRGC, which have been attributed to Israel by analysts and former security officials. These killings are part of a covert war between the two countries, with Israel allegedly targeting individuals linked to Iran's nuclear program and military infrastructure. The Iranian government's response is seen as an attempt to hide perceived intelligence failures and the vulnerability of its security measures. The recent escalation of covert actions by Israel reflects its concerns over Iran's nuclear advancements and support for regional militias like Hezbollah. The situation threatens regional security and risks a wider conflict.

Why Iran Is Downplaying Israel Assassinating Its Officials

15 Jun 2022  |  inkl
The article discusses the recent assassinations of Iranian officials, attributed to Israel, and Iran's subdued response. It highlights the covert war between the two nations, focusing on the implications for regional security and the potential for further escalation. Key figures and analysts provide insights into the motivations and consequences of these actions, emphasizing the strategic shifts and intelligence failures involved. The narrative underscores the ongoing tension and the risks of a broader conflict in the Middle East.

A Pawn in a Cruel Political Game

03 Jun 2022  |  Foreign Policy
Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian Swedish physician, faces imminent execution in Iran, accused of espionage. His case is intertwined with that of Hamid Noury, a former Iranian prison official on trial in Sweden for war crimes. Activists and experts believe Iran is using Djalali as leverage to secure Noury's release. This situation highlights Iran's pattern of using dual nationals and Westerners in political negotiations. Despite international condemnation and calls for collective action, Western governments' responses remain fragmented, prioritizing diplomatic and business relations with Iran over resolving hostage crises.

Violence flares as Israelis march through Muslim quarters of Jerusalem

30 May 2022  |  www.thetimes.co.uk
Right-wing Israelis marched through the Muslim quarters of Jerusalem's old city, chanting provocative slogans and waving flags, leading to clashes with Palestinians. A significant number of Jews entered the al-Aqsa compound, with some appearing to pray, contrary to Israeli law that bars non-Muslims from praying there to maintain peace. The march was heavily guarded by Israeli security forces.

The draconian law used by Israel to steal Palestinian land

08 Jul 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Israeli settlers erected the Evyatar outpost in the West Bank, claiming land illegally under both international and Israeli law. Despite the outpost's illegality, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered to potentially classify the land as state-owned, which would allow settlers to take over. Organizations like Peace Now and B'Tselem criticize Israel's use of laws to confiscate Palestinian land, a practice that has been ongoing since the 1948 and 1967 wars. The Biden administration's response to these actions remains to be seen, with implications for the future of Palestinian statehood and Israeli settlement policies.

Israel losing US perception battle as Palestinian sympathy grows

01 Jun 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Israel appeared to be losing the perception battle in the United States as sympathy for Palestinians grew, with US lawmakers questioning pro-Israel policies. The shift was highlighted by increased Palestinian digital activism, the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and changing attitudes among younger adults and liberal Democrats. The recent conflict in Gaza, which resulted in the deaths of 66 children, received significant media coverage. Discussions on racial justice in the US and the emergence of progressive voices within the Jewish community contributed to the shift. The Biden administration was encouraged to act as an honest broker in the conflict, and the UNRWA called for a political solution. Meanwhile, journalist Emily Wilder was fired by The Associated Press for alleged bias towards Palestinians, reflecting ongoing challenges in media objectivity.

Lebanon crisis: Boutique hotels pivot in the age of ‘Lollars’

21 Apr 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Lebanon is experiencing a severe economic crisis with widespread poverty, inflation, and a shrinking economy. Amidst this, boutique hotels like Beit al Batroun and Guita Bed & Bloom are adapting by offering discounted rates to the country's remaining middle and upper classes who have funds trapped in semi-frozen bank accounts. These businesses are leveraging the situation to maintain operations, while the political and financial elite fail to address the crisis. The IMF and World Bank are potential sources of aid, contingent on meaningful reforms, which are currently hindered by political deadlock.

Syria launches COVID vaccine drive as Israel questions swirl

17 Mar 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Syria has initiated its COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with front-line health workers receiving the first doses. The government has been secretive about the vaccine's origins, but it is widely believed to be Russia's Sputnik V, possibly funded by Israel as part of a prisoner exchange deal. There is widespread distrust among Syrians towards their government, Russia, and Israel. Concerns have been raised about the equitable distribution of vaccines, especially in rebel-held areas. COVAX, led by UNICEF, Gavi, and WHO, aims to vaccinate 20% of the Syrian population by year's end. Human Rights Watch has warned that the Syrian government may use vaccine distribution as a weapon of war. Despite challenges, including a decimated healthcare system and a professional medical exodus, many Syrians prioritize daily survival over vaccination.

Iraq and Syria face ISIL resurgence

02 Mar 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Iraq and Syria are experiencing a resurgence of ISIL, despite the group's physical caliphate being destroyed in 2019. ISIL has been regrouping and launching attacks, with nearly 600 assaults recorded in Iraq in early 2020 and daily deaths in Syria. The group still has significant resources and fighters, posing a threat to the region. The US, with troops in Iraq and Syria, faces the challenge of containing ISIL without being seen as an occupying force. Local forces, sectarian tensions, and international coordination play crucial roles in addressing the ISIL threat.

For Lebanese and Iraqis, small victories in a long struggle

20 Feb 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Protesters in Iraq and Lebanon, despite facing economic distress, corruption, and threats from militias, have transitioned from street protests to political engagement. In Lebanon, independent candidates have achieved significant victories in campus elections, signaling a political awakening among the youth. In Iraq, new political parties formed by activists are preparing to challenge established parties in the upcoming elections. Both movements aim to replace sectarian power-sharing systems with technocratic governance and reduce foreign intervention. Despite the challenges, including threats and control by traditional parties, these small victories provide a sense of optimism for long-term political change.

Dreams dashed: Trump’s Muslim ban damage may never be undone

31 Jan 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Joe Biden's repeal of Trump's travel ban, which affected predominantly Muslim-majority nations, has brought hope to many affected individuals. However, the damage caused by the ban may be irreversible for some, as it has disrupted lives and shattered dreams of a better future in the US. The ban's legacy continues to affect the perception of the US abroad, with a significant portion of Americans still supporting the ban. Personal stories of those impacted, including Syrians, Iranians, and Kurds, illustrate the profound negative consequences of the policy.

In Lebanon, Israeli warplanes terrify a traumatised population

23 Jan 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Israeli air raids in Syria have caused significant fear among the Lebanese population, particularly those traumatized by the August 4 port explosion in Beirut. The constant presence of Israeli jets has exacerbated the psychological distress of many residents, who are already grappling with economic collapse, the aftermath of the explosion, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The article highlights personal stories of individuals affected by the air raids and discusses the broader geopolitical context, including Israel's actions against Hezbollah and the potential impact of the Biden administration's policies on the region.

Syria sanctions inflict suffering as al-Assad regime marches on

16 Jan 2021  |  www.aljazeera.com
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains in power despite a decade-long war and severe economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions. Syrians face hyperinflation, food shortages, and unemployment, with many blaming al-Assad's military tactics and the US and Russia for their suffering. The Syrian economy, once self-sufficient in wheat, now relies on imports, with Russia reducing its exports. US sanctions, while allowing for food trade, have led to over-compliance issues, affecting essential sectors. Experts are divided on the sanctions' impact, with some suggesting an incremental approach to lifting them in exchange for political reforms. As President-elect Joe Biden enters office, he faces the challenge of balancing civilian welfare with political pressure on the Syrian regime.

Reports from the Middle East and South Asia for Al Jazeera English. For details, please visit www.anchalvohra.com

Al Jazeera's Anchal Vohra visited the state of Madhya Pradesh, where the indigenous community is fighting to protect its way of life.

Babri Mosque case: Indian top court gives disputed site to Hindus Muslims will be given another piece of land to build a mosque. Al Jazeera's Anchal Vohra reports from New Delhi.

India eases lockdown in Indian-administered Kashmir The Indian government has eased some restrictions in Indian-Administered Kashmir, which has been in lockdown for more than two weeks.

India-China talks: Kashmir issue off the agenda China's President Xi Jinping has arrived in Nepal after a two-day state visit to India. Xi held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of issues, including trade.

Eleven non-Kashmiri workers have been killed in the region in the past few weeks. Al Jazeera's Anchal Vohra reports from Budgam in Indian-administered Kashmir.

Shops shuttered, streets deserted as Kashmir loses special status Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision in August to change Kashmir's status and tighten its grip over the region also claimed by Pakistan has stoked anger and resentment while a three-deca

Reports from the Middle East for the New Statesman

Syrian detainee No. 72's tales of torture

30 Jul 2020  |  www.dw.com
The article discusses the harrowing experiences of a former Syrian detainee, referred to as No. 72, who was subjected to torture in the jails of Bashar Assad's regime. The Syrian government has recently admitted to the deaths of numerous detainees while in state custody. Journalist Anchal Vohra provides an account of No. 72's ordeal, shedding light on the broader issue of human rights abuses and torture in Syrian prisons. The story serves as a testament to the suffering endured by many prisoners and the grave human rights situation in the country.

My FP page

Anchal Vohra Home

30 Jul 2020  |  www.anchalvohra.com
The journalist in question has a notable background in covering various conflicts around the world, including in Kabul, Kashmir, Syria, and Palestine. Her work is characterized by a commitment to accountability, with her investigative reports gaining attention in legislative bodies such as the German and Indian parliaments. Despite the fast-paced nature of daily news, which she enjoys, she places a strong emphasis on securing exclusive stories that have the potential to make an impact.

The War Has Arrived Inside the Assad Family

15 Jun 2020  |  Foreign Policy
The article discusses the internal rift within the Al-Assad family, which has ruled Syria for decades. It highlights the recent public dispute between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his cousin Rami Makhlouf over a $230 million back tax charge. Makhlouf's defiance is seen as a potential turning point for the regime's stability. The article recounts past family conflicts and suggests that the current economic crisis in Syria, exacerbated by sanctions, is causing unrest among the Alawite sect and the general population. It also touches on the ambitions of other family members and former regime loyalists, such as Ribal al-Assad and the Tlass family, to play a role in Syrian politics. The article concludes by suggesting that while Bashar al-Assad's grip on power may be weakening, Russia's influence over him is likely to increase.

The Death of Lebanon’s Middle Class

21 May 2020  |  Foreign Policy
In Lebanon's second-largest city, Tripoli, activists are providing discreet financial aid to middle-class families who are too ashamed to seek help amidst the country's economic crisis. The Lebanese lira has devalued by 60 percent, businesses have closed due to the pandemic, and poverty is widespread. Essential service providers are sharing information about indebted families with activists, who distribute cash donations from the diaspora. Hala Kabara and Fida Jundi Hajjeh of the Sanobel Aid organization highlight the plight of the middle class, which is now struggling to afford basic necessities. Economist Roy Badaro notes the middle class's loss of purchasing power. Lebanon's government is seeking a bailout from the IMF, but international aid is contingent on reforms. The lower-middle class and poor are in dire need, with some relying on soup kitchens. Protests continue as citizens lose faith in the government's ability to address the crisis.

It’s Syrian vs. Syrian in Libya

05 May 2020  |  Foreign Policy
The article discusses the journey of Mohammad Abu al-Saar, a Syrian mechanic turned rebel, who became a mercenary in Libya due to the financial hardships caused by the prolonged war in Syria. Initially fighting for political freedom, Saar is now a hired gun for Turkey, supporting the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya. The GNA, backed by Turkey and recognized by the UN, is in conflict with forces led by Khalifa Haftar, supported by Russia, the UAE, and Egypt. The article also covers the recruitment of Syrian rebels by both Turkey and Russia to fight in Libya, with Russia using Colonel Alexander Zorin to enlist former rebels with promises of high pay. However, the reality of lower wages and higher risks has disillusioned many recruits. The piece highlights the complexities of the Libyan conflict, the involvement of foreign mercenaries, and the exploitation of Syrian fighters by foreign powers.

Indian students allegedly linked to BJP assault activists

07 Jan 2020  |  www.aljazeera.com
Students at a top Indian university report being beaten and abused for opposing a controversial citizenship law. They allege that rival students linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party are responsible for the attacks. The report highlights the ongoing tensions and violence surrounding the new law.

India infant deaths: Rajasthan hospital draws national attention

04 Jan 2020  |  www.aljazeera.com
An investigation into a public hospital in Rajasthan, India, revealed that inadequate medical infrastructure and extremely poor hygiene conditions contributed to the deaths of nearly a thousand infants last year, with 100 deaths occurring in the past month alone. The inquiry highlighted severe sanitation issues, including pigs living on the hospital grounds.

India protester shot in head driving outrage at police

01 Jan 2020  |  www.aljazeera.com
A young man was shot in the head and killed by police during a protest in India, according to his family. This incident has contributed to the outrage against police amid ongoing demonstrations against the government's new citizenship law. The protests have resulted in at least 25 deaths, with police attributing some to protesters carrying illegal firearms. However, activists contest this claim, suggesting evidence to the contrary. The majority of the deaths have occurred in Uttar Pradesh, as reported by Al Jazeera's Anchal Vohra.

Rioting in India’s Assam continues over ‘anti-Muslim’ law

14 Dec 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Protests have escalated in Assam, northeast India, following the enactment of a new citizenship law perceived as anti-Muslim. The law provides a path to citizenship for six minority religious groups from neighboring countries, excluding Muslims. This has led to significant unrest and a hunger strike involving nearly 10,000 protesters. The population of Assam is divided on the issue, with many opposing further migration.

India economy: Companies cut jobs as unions weakened

08 Oct 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
The Indian government has been supporting loss-making state-owned companies, which are consequently reducing their workforce. New labor reforms have weakened the negotiating power of unions, leaving many workers at risk of job cuts and poor working conditions. The situation is particularly evident in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.

Lebanon’s draft budget: A quick fix?

27 May 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Lebanon's government has drafted a 2019 budget aimed at reducing its deficit to access international loans. The draft proposes tax increases and spending cuts, including a controversial pension cut for retired army personnel. Critics argue the budget lacks meaningful reforms and relies on quick fixes. The finance minister sees the deficit reduction as satisfactory, while international donors require spending restraint for an $11bn loan. The draft faces opposition from public-sector employees and skepticism from some parliamentarians. Banks are concerned about the impact of increased taxes on deposits. Economists suggest that hiring freezes and fighting tax evasion could be more effective than tax hikes.

Lebanon stock exchange trading suspended over central bank strike

06 May 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Trading on Beirut's stock exchange was halted due to an indefinite strike by Banque du Liban employees, protesting potential salary and benefit cuts. The suspension aims to protect investor interests amid Lebanon's fragile economy, which is experiencing growing discontent and political division over austerity measures. Experts from the American University of Beirut and Byblos Bank commented on the limited impact of the suspension and proposed solutions for economic improvement. Lebanon's government is debating austerity measures to meet conditions for an $11bn loan, with proposed cuts sparking protests demanding better services.

Threat of US sanctions looms over Lebanon’s Hezbollah allies

07 Apr 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Following US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Lebanon, where he threatened Hezbollah’s political allies with sanctions, some Lebanese officials have traveled to Washington, DC, to lobby against these sanctions and attend the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings. Pompeo's message was to contain Hezbollah or face sanctions, as part of the US's broader strategy to limit Iran's influence in the region. Lebanese politicians, including members of the Amal Movement and the Free Patriotic Movement, are seeking to discuss the sanctions and their implications with US officials. Experts warn that sanctioning Lebanese figures could be counterproductive and garner sympathy for Hezbollah. The Trump administration's stance appears to view the potential impact on Lebanon as collateral damage in its campaign against Iran.

Syria: Civilians face familiar threats in rebel-held areas

16 Feb 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
In Idlib province, Syria, civilians are facing crimes such as looting, extortion, and torture by rebel groups, including Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), despite an agreement to protect the area. Human rights groups have accused HTS of human rights abuses, and Turkey, which backs some rebel groups, has been criticized for not containing the violence. The local economy is failing, and international aid has been cut, leading to lawlessness and violence. Civilians, unable to flee, live under the control of armed groups, with reports of targeted abductions and murders.

What next as battle against ISIL nears an end?

13 Feb 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
The battle against ISIL in Syria is nearing its end, with the group now confined to a small area in Baghouz village. Abu Jaber al-Shaiti, a leader of the al-Shaitat tribe, is on the front lines seeking revenge for the massacre of his kin by ISIL. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are making significant progress, but the conflict has resulted in numerous civilian casualties and displacement. Humanitarian organizations like the International Rescue Committee are struggling to support the influx of displaced people. Despite ISIL's imminent defeat, concerns remain about the group's potential resurgence and the future governance of liberated areas, with tensions likely to arise between Arabs and Kurds. The post-ISIL phase will present new challenges for stability in the region.

Rukban camp in Syria receives first aid in three months

07 Feb 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
The Rukban camp in Syria, controlled by the US military, received its first aid delivery in three months, facilitated by the United Nations and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. The aid included food, medicines, and children's kits, reaching 40,000 residents after prolonged negotiations with the Syrian government. The camp, largely populated by women and children, has faced severe hardships, including child deaths due to inadequate medical care. The article highlights the challenges in aid distribution, the need for specialized medical care, and calls for a long-term solution and safe exit routes for the camp's residents.

Syrian refugees wading through knee-deep water in Lebanon camps

11 Jan 2019  |  www.aljazeera.com
Storm Norma has severely impacted Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, causing flooding and harsh living conditions. Refugees like Tarima Ibrahim face freezing temperatures, lack of medical care, and insufficient food. The UNHCR and IRC are working to provide relief, but challenges persist due to poor infrastructure and government restrictions. Lebanese authorities have been criticized for their limited support and restrictive policies on refugee settlements. The situation remains dire, with refugees struggling to survive amidst the storm's aftermath and ongoing harsh weather conditions.

Lebanon: Palestinian boy, 3, dies after ‘hospitals refuse care’

24 Dec 2018  |  www.aljazeera.com
A three-year-old Palestinian boy, Mohammed Wehbe, died after multiple hospitals in Lebanon allegedly refused to admit him to an ICU due to various reasons, including unpaid bills and lack of beds. His death has sparked protests in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, with residents demanding better healthcare facilities. Activists blame the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for delays in payment, while UNRWA and Lebanon's caretaker Health Minister Ghassan Hasbani deny these allegations, citing a lack of available specialized care and the advanced stage of the boy's condition.

Lebanon’s border tense as Israel excavates ‘Hezbollah tunnels’

22 Dec 2018  |  www.aljazeera.com
Tensions rise along the Lebanon-Israel border as Israel's 'Operation Northern Shield' aims to locate and destroy alleged Hezbollah tunnels. The operation, initiated on December 4, has led to concerns among Lebanese residents about potential conflict escalation. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims the tunnels pose a significant threat, while local shopkeepers and analysts suggest political motivations behind the operation. UNIFIL confirms the existence of the tunnels but faces criticism for its limited mandate. The situation remains tense, with local support for Hezbollah despite fears of further conflict.

Lebanon: British radio DJ Gavin Ford murdered in Beit Mery home

28 Nov 2018  |  www.aljazeera.com
Gavin Ford, a popular British radio presenter, was found murdered in his home in Beit Mery, near Beirut, Lebanon. He was reportedly covered in blood and had been strangled. Ford's car was also stolen. He had been a beloved figure in Lebanon for 20 years, hosting a breakfast show on Radio One. The Lebanese police are investigating, and the British Embassy has expressed condolences. Ford's death follows the killing of British diplomat Rebecca Dykes last year, raising concerns about the safety of expatriates in Lebanon.
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