A Closer Look | The Daily Star
  • The Syrian civil war: Confused battle-lines and countless lives lost

    Turkey and the Russia-backed Syrian government led by Bashar al-Assad are in a tight jostle for full control of the north-western Syrian province of Idlib. The province—the last of the four de-escalation zones agreed by Turkey, Iran and Russia in 2017, which is yet to be taken over by the Assad government—is important to all the warring actors for diverse and awkward reasons.

  • Yemen’s collateral damage

    The five year long bloody civil war that spiralled out of control soon after it broke out in 2015, has claimed the lives of “tens and thousands” of civilians.

  • A tale of two cities

    Activist-turned-politician Arjun Kejriwal has had smooth sailing at the recently held Delhi legislative polls, with his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) being handed a strong mandate by the Delhiwalas, winning a sweeping 62 out of 70 seats. This is his third straight term in office.

  • When economics prevails over genocide

    Two days after the Interna-tional Court of Justice (ICJ) approved emergency “provisional measures” asking Myanmar to stop persecution of the Rohingya in all forms— including killing, raping, and destroying homes and villages—two Rohingya women died in Rakhine State when the Myanmar army shelled a village. One of them was pregnant.

  • Bangladesh caught in the crosscurrents of Middle East posturing

    Tensions that saw a renewed escalation in the Middle East after the US unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2018, on grounds that can be at best termed flimsy and unconvincing, are only intensifying by the day.

  • What Soleimani’s assassination means for the IS

    The US assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC’s) Quds Force

  • Fractured and fractious

    The last remaining major European colonial powers, Britain and France, were whiffing quite an opportunity at the dawn of World War I, as they found themselves on the right side of history.

  • Qassem Soleimani’s Assassination

    On January 3, the Middle East was shaken by the news of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force, by the United States near Baghdad’s international airport.

  • Despite improvements, journalism remains as precarious as ever

    2019 has seen a significant drop in the number of journalists being killed—49 as against the annual average of 80 journalists killed for the past two decades. The annual report by Reporters Without Borders, known better by their French initials RSF (Reporters Sans Frontières), termed this figure “historically low”.

  • As India teeters on the brink, can it revive its pluralistic tradition?

    While witness-ing chaos unfolding in India over the newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act (ACC), I could not help but think about Amartya Sen’s bestseller The Argumentative Indian, a book that invokes the rich Indian tradition of scepticism and heterodoxy, and discusses how this has facilitated the flourishing of the world’s largest democracy.

  • A divisive move riddled with pitfalls

    The upper house of the Indian parliament, the Rajya Sabha, passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) on

  • Trafficking in Rohingya: Exploiting the desperate

    In Myanmar, the Rohingya have faced persecution, witnessed murder, endured sexual violence. While fleeing the genocide perpetrated by the Myanmar military, they had only one aim: survival. And survive they did once they crossed the border and made it to the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar.

  • Myanmar’s legacy of rape as a terror tactic

    While it is a well-docu-mented fact that more than 700,000 Rohingya had to flee Myanmar’s Rakhine state since the latest onslaught of violence unleashed on them by the Myanmar military and nearly 9,000 Rohingya had been killed in Rakhine between August 25 and September 24 in 2017

  • Of bruises and blues

    Between January and October 2019, 173 women have been killed by their husbands in Bangladesh, 37 have been murdered by the husband’s family, while 36 have been killed by their own family members.

  • Problem Right, Solution Not

    Illicit Financial Flows (IFF)—which means “money illegally earned, transferred, or used that crosses borders”—have become a real global problem.

  • Winter, dengue and STDs

    Mosqui-tos have become our closest companions, staying by us every hour of the day, waking us up with their love bites and lulling us to sleep with the ever-familiar hum of their buzzing wings.

  • The Rohingya relocation dilemma

    The concerns and uncertainties over the relocation of some Rohingya refugees to Bashan Char are showing no signs of easing.

  • Arming genocide

    Arms trade is big business, governed by its own set of conventions. These transactions are triggered by conflicts and peacekeeping; for violence and security—depending on who the buyer is. And global arms sale has reached alarming levels in recent years—highest since the end of the Cold War.

  • What happens when democracy fails

    With mass protests breaking out across a number of world capitals, it would seem the last few months have been unkind to the world. People in Sudan, Algeria, Hong Kong, Egypt and more recently in Iraq, Chile and Lebanon, have been forced to take to the streets seeking justice and equality, and respite from corrupt governing systems.

  • Questions unfashionable

    The threat of climate change is growing more real and more urgent by the day. According to Climate Nexus, a rise in temperature by 1.5 percent can lead to sea-level rise of 48cm...

  • Strange times call for stranger bedfellows

    The recent “deal” reached between Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, to end Turkish operation in northeast Syria, on October 22, has been causing quite a stir.

  • A flawed artiste in a flawed world

    In awarding the Nobel Prize in literature to Peter Handke, the award committee said, “it’s not the academy’s mandate to balance literary quality against political considerations.” We need to talk about this.

  • Pesticides, heavy metals and a healthy diet

    The world today is observing World Food Day with the theme, “Healthy diet for a Zero Hunger world”, This is a worthy fight to pick, particularly for Bangladesh, a country where we are constantly assailed with news of food adulteration and contamination. The mobile court drives that fine fruit sellers and milk producers for selling contaminated products, and restaurant owners for serving unhygienic and inedible food to the customers, are a testament to the low-quality food that we are consuming day in and day out.

  • Rewarding delinquency

    The central bank has found itself in a bit of a quandary. The bank recently gave the remittance award to 36 individuals, including a loan defaulter—a top defaulter of Bangladesh Commerce Bank Ltd. (BCBL)— who also happens to be a money launderer, having laundered Tk 200 crore through the bank. This tragicomic episode neatly sums up the situation of our banking sector, especially with regard to loan defaults and the treatment afforded to them.

  • Kurds - betrayed again

    Donald Trump pulling out US forces from northeast Syria and exposing the region and its major ally—in the fight against Islamic State (IS)—the Kurds to Turkish offensive comes as no surprise given the litany of backstabbing the Kurdish people have suffered over the decades.

  • Let’s walk the talk of empowering our girls

    Emperors and kings and even queens have traditionally aspired for boys—male heirs to the thrones, who would govern their nations in the future. Very few, if at all ever envisaged or expected their daughters to succeed them. While the birth of a boy brought joy and celebrations, the birth of a girl has often been treated with less enthusiasm.

  • Press freedom: Forking paths in a world of discontent

    The recent protests in Egypt, sparked by the allegation of financial misappropriations by a government contractor against the country’s current president and former army chief, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have died down almost as soon as they came to life.

  • How prepared are we to fight mosquito-borne diseases?

    Bangladesh is still reeling from the worst dengue outbreak in its history, even though the initial shock has passed.