After taking a backseat to the United States and Russia in Central Asia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, China is finally making its mark in the region, says Joshua Kucera. But while the three powers vie for influence, it could be the 'stans' that are playing the wiliest game of all.
If the London Conference on Afghanistan held last week demonstrated anything, it is that it's only a matter of time until India loses whatever strategic leverage it previously enjoyed compared with Pakistan in the country.
In June, Austin Mackell was in Iran for The Diplomat to get a sense of modern life inside the Islamic Republic; to talk politics, religion, love, sex, drugs and rock'n'roll with the social networking-savvy, Western-influenced members of generation next who hadn't even been born when the 1979 revolution took place, yet whose lives remain indelibly shaped by it. On the night of June 12, that story changed into something far darker. This is it.