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Mass migration, on the sustained and massive scale that Western Europe is now continuing to experience, is creating tensions not just within but also between them. In particular, Western countries are already beginning to undertake 'migration interventionism' in the affairs of foreign states in order to curb the exodus of people, writes R T Howard.

Lying at the very heart of this new interventionism is the sheer scale of the current migrant crisis. The UNHCR estimates that there are around 65.6 million 'forcibly displaced' people in the world. Most of these are internally displaced within their own countries but around 22.5 million are refugees from their native lands.

The tribes of Central Asia predate the formation of the Soviet Union. They exercised influence in the five Soviet Central Asian Republics throughout the duration of the U.S.S.R. From the rubble of the collapsed Soviet Union, the tribes emerged as the source of power and legitimacy in the newly independent republics of Central Asia, writes Joseph E Fallon..

After Islam, tribes form the primary basis of self-identification for the local population. The tribal system of Central Asia is vertical, and, therefore, fluid. It enables an individual to have four levels of identity. There is the tribe. Above the tribe is the tribal confederation. Below the tribes are the clans of which the tribe is composed. Finally, there is the region of the country, which is the "home" of the clan or tribe.

While kingdoms and empires rose to dominate Central Asia, only to vanish, some within a single generation, the tribes remained. They offered obeisance, often reluctantly, to these various states, then lived as they had for centuries according to their own laws, and customs. The emergence of "the state" transformed tribes into non-state actors living as veritable "states" within the state.

The armies of numerous empire builders have swept across Central Asia. Among the most famous were Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, and Stalin. Each defeated the tribes, but none conquered the tribes.

Pakistan's relations with both the United States and Afghanistan continue to be strained and are likely to remain so. The recent spat in which President Trump denounced Pakistan's "lies and deceit" in a New Year's Day Tweet, and Pakistan's response that it would "let the world know who is lying", coupled with the US withholding $255 million of US aid since Summer 2017 is very public evidence of that strain, says Dr Sohail Mahmood.

The Ghani government in Afghanistan alleges that Pakistan provides safe havens for the Taliban militants seeking to destabilise Afghanistan. Both it and the USA have repeatedly argued that the leadership councils of the Taliban and the Haqqani terrorist network are based in Pakistan, where they plan and coordinate attacks inside Afghanistan. The United States also blames Pakistan for allowing terror groups to operate from its soil.

The powerful Pakistan Army vehemently refutes these charges and claims that that is no organised infrastructure of any banned organisation in Pakistan. It maintains that there are no facilitators of terrorist groups in Pakistan. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is mostly unsecured and for the first time the Pakistan Army has started to fence it for effective border management.

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