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Long before ISI became a dreaded acronym courtesy the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan, it was associated with a (failed) economic strategy practiced by India and several other developing countries: Import Substitution Industrialisation.

  • IMHO, that's a mistake. it should read: Long before ISI became a dreaded acronym courtesy of the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan... – michael.hor257k Nov 28 '18 at 14:50
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"Notorious" modifies "[the] Inter-Services Intelligence." "Courtesy the ...Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan" is a phrase modifying "ISI became a dreaded acronym."

Long before ISI became a dreaded acronym--courtesy of the notorious Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan--it was associated with a (failed) economic strategy practiced by India and several other developing countries: Import Substitution Industrialisation.

ISI became a dreaded acronym; that is, people dreaded to hear the term ISI, owing to the fact that the Inter-Services Intelligence (the institution for which ISI stands) is notorious in Pakistan (notorious = well known for bad reasons). But ISI had already been dreaded for a long time because it stands for a failed economic strategy--Import Substitution Industrialisation.

Courtesy here might better be courtesy of, meaning "thanks to," an ironic usage, since the phrase purports to thank the ones responsible for something bad--as if they had done it out of courtesy or consideration for others.

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... ill-famed letter combination, due to the well-known...

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    This isn't correct: dreaded doesn't mean ill-famed, it means deeply feared (which is quite different), and notorious means much more than just well-known, it means ill-famed! – Chappo Nov 28 '18 at 22:57
  • Ominous would be a better choice to replace ill-famed (deeply feared letters would sound strange), however the question wasn't about exact meanings of separate words, it was more important to make it clearer to which parts of the sentence those words refer. – Alex_ander Nov 29 '18 at 5:03
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    Um, no... Firstly, ominous is to dreaded as worrying is to terrifying. Secondly, the exact meanings are important, as otherwise you convey the wrong impression. See Vichara's answer as a good demonstration of a detailed answer that explains why it's correct. :-) – Chappo Nov 29 '18 at 5:15

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