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Events in West Asia constantly demand global attention due to regional conflicts, faith-based divisions, sectarian violence and wars that are often ignited by external powers. Popular agitations for political, economic and social reform frequently make the scenario even more fragile, turbulent and uncertain.
West Asia is a destination for millions of pilgrims to sacred sites venerated by the three Abrahamic faiths - Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It is also at the heart of global energy, trade and financial dynamics, the centre of logistical connectivity projects, and an emerging hub of technological research and development.
As a new world order asserts its claims across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean, West Asia is witnessing new diplomatic initiatives to reshape regional alignments and define the new order. Developments here are of abiding concern for India - it is closely tied to the region in terms of energy, trade, investment, logistical connectivity and the interests of its eight-million strong resident community.
West Asia at War, written by veteran Indian diplomat Talmiz Ahmad, combines an understanding of the diverse forces that are shaping the politics and economics of this region, and paints a portrait that is at once grim, painful, colourful and exciting.
Talmiz Ahmad joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974 and was posted to Kuwait, Iraq and Yemen, and then as Consul General in Jeddah, in 1987-90. After appointments in New York, London and Pretoria, he became the head of the Gulf and Hajj Division in the Ministry of External Affairs in 1998-2000.
He did two stints as ambassador to Saudi Arabia, besides being ambassador to Oman and the UAE, Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, and Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs.
After retirement from foreign service in 2011, he was in the corporate sector in Dubai and then, from 2016, has been a full-time academic. He holds the Ram Sathe Chair for International Studies, Symbiosis International University, Pune. He has authored three books on West Asian politics, and writes and lectures regularly, on political Islam, West Asia, Eurasia and the Indian Ocean, and energy security.