Will military courts help Pakistan eliminate terrorism?

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Author: Sajjad Ashraf, NUS

In August 2015, Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which has a history of validating military takeovers under the ‘doctrine of necessity’, upheld the 21st amendment to the constitution allowing military courts to be established parallel to the existing civil judiciary for two years. Read more…

Something for everyone in Abe’s WWII statement

there is something for everyone in Abe's WWII speech, even if some will not find enough within it to be satisfied. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Richard J. Samuels, MIT

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s carefully crafted statement marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II will leave some wanting. Still, it exceeds the expectations of those who doubted Prime Minister Abe’s ability or willingness to transcend pragmatically his revisionist base, and it attempts, appropriately, to speak to a broader domestic and international audience. Read more…

Taliban leader Mullah Umar’s death is a setback for peace in Afghanistan

Afghan residents watch as security forces keep guard at the site of a huge blast near the entrance of the international airport, in Kabul on August 10, 2015 (Photo: AAP)

Author: Abdul Basit, RSIS

On 29 July 2015, the news of the Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Umar’s death put to rest months of speculation about his life-status and whereabouts. The Taliban Shura quickly appointed Mullah Mansoor Akhtar as Umar’s new successor. Mawlawi Haibatullah Akhundzada, a religious scholar of the Taliban Shura, and Sirajuddin Haqqani, commander of the dreaded Haqqani Network, have been appointed as Mansoor’s deputies. This development will have far-reaching consequences for the fledgling Afghan peace process, the future of the Taliban movement, regional peace and Afghanistan–Pakistan bilateral relations.

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What to expect from Abe’s WWII anniversary statement

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe accompanied by Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga poses as he receives a 38-page report from the government panel commissioned by Abe to review the country’s recent history in Tokyo, 6 August 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Yuichi Hosoya, Keio University

Since 1995, historical issues have been one of the main sources of antagonism in Japan’s relationships with its two most important neighbours, China and South Korea. On 14 August 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to issue a new historical statement. The most controversial issue regarding Abe’s statement has been whether he will uphold the key words of the Japan’s ‘gold standard’ apology, the Murayama statement. Read more…

Islamist militancy on the rise in Bangladesh

Bangladeshi activists campaigning for capital punishment, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saturday, April 11, 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Iftekharul Bashar, RSIS

Islamist militant groups in Bangladesh are showing signs of revival. According to Bangladeshi authorities, militants from at least two banned outfits — Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT) — are preparing for attacks in the country, including targeted assassinations involving individuals whom they consider apostates or obstacles to establishing an Islamic State in Bangladesh. Read more…

70 years on, peace remains incomplete

Paper lanterns float on the Motoyasu River in front of the Atomic Bomb Dome in Hiroshima on August 6, 2015 (Photo: AAP)

Author: Tessa Morris-Suzuki, ANU

‘Japan has appeared to surrender, and we are waiting this weekend to hear whether this will become effective. If so, this horrible war will be at an end, but many of its ill-effects will be with us for a long time. It is, in fact, a new world that lies before us. I hope that freedom, beauty, quiet and security may find a place in it. It is a hope without much confidence.’ Read more…

Japanese should embrace activism as apology

Japanese students and scholars stage a demonstration march to protest against controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country's armed forces, in front of the National Diet in Tokyo on 31 July 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Akiko Takenaka, University of Kentucky

15 August 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of Emperor Hirohito’s historic speech of surrender ending the Asia Pacific theatre of World War II. Speculation about what Abe will say on this year’s anniversary has been more intense than in previous years due to the prime minister’s nationalistic agenda. Read more…