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ASIA HAND : No war, no peace in Thailand
Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has presided over a period of detente in the country's still unresolved political conflict, even as her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra remains in self-exile. The sustainability of Yingluck's present position hinges on the interplay of her own threatened legal standing, Thaksin's strategic mindset, and the royal household's state of health. - Shawn W Crispin (Mar 27, '13)

Passing the buck on North Korea
East Asian and Western calls for China to crackdown on North Korea, which surface each time the former's "little brother" launches another nuclear provocation, ignore the regional instability that would be unleashed if Beijing really cut off Pyongyang. The same critics seem blind to the real goal of the North's brinkmanship: security assurances, diplomatic recognition and trade concessions from the US. - Nadine Godehardt and David Shim (Mar 27, '13)

'Third front' is no alternative for India
The departure of the DMK party from India's ruling coalition has lead to renewed talk of opening a ''third front'' in the country's politics. Such talk reflects more the ambitions of various leaders no longer in government rather than a practical option for the future. - Kunal Kumar Kundu (Mar 27, '13)


Musharraf returns as Pakistani democrat
Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has returned from self-exile amid death threats from Islamist extremists, criminal charges from the now-powerful judiciary, and his own aspirations for political power. The former dictator enters the stream as a democrat in the May general election but is unlikely to make much impact on a very changed country from the one he left four years ago. - Syed Fazl-e-Haider (Mar 27, '13)


Iraq, 10 years later
Appreciation of Iraqi suffering was as absent from US coverage of last week's 10th anniversary of the invasion as at the time, with few Americans dwelling on the lives destroyed then or on the corrupt, failing state created today. As the two potential pillars of the US legacy - dismantling a dictatorship and delivering security - rapidly crumble, all that's left is chaos and death. - Dahr Jamail (Mar 27, '13)


Blunt sanctions fail to deter Iran
A new report based on interviews with senior Iranian political officials, analysts and businesses, shows that sanctions are failing in their stated aim of changing the course of Tehran's nuclear program. Amid the undercurrent of economic curbs as a means for effecting regime change, the blunt tool of sanctions must be sharpened by better diplomacy. - Jasmin Ramsey (Mar 27, '13)


TAP surges ahead of Nabucco-West
The Trans-Adriatic Pipeline project is now far better placed than the Nabucco West pipeline as to which will carry Azerbaijani gas to Europe, leaving the European Commission with its initial problem - how to undo Gazprom's quasi-monopoly in southeastern and Central Europe - Vladimir Socor

Putin takes on Nigeria Navy
Russian President Vladimir Putin will raise with West African leaders this week the case of the Myre Seadiver and its 15-man Russian crew, who were arrested and imprisoned on trumped-up charges in Nigeria last October. At the core of the case are the issue of arms found on board and the business role played by the Nigerian Navy. - John Helmer