VOL. 17 NO. 13, 8 July 2015

By George Voloshin (08/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)

On June 22-24, Uzbekistan’s capital, Tashkent, hosted a third meeting of the Uzbek-Tajik intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation. Unlike the two previous sessions, which were organized in Dushanbe in August 2002 and February 2009, this year’s bilateral trade talks took place against the backdrop of an emerging détente between the two Central Asian neighbors. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are currently confronted with a host of shared challenges ranging from the threat of radical Islam to socioeconomic instability, while their bilateral relationship is still constrained by unsettled disputes from the past.

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By Micha’el Tanchum (08/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)

On June 24, 2015, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania signed a declaration committing to advance the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Romania Interconnector (AGRI) project that will transport Azerbaijani LNG across the Black Sea to Romania for re-gasification and sale in European markets. The project creates a theoretical possibility for Turkmen LNG to reach Europe through a modified use of the system. Of great geopolitical consequence, the option requires a commensurate amount of political will to implement. Independent of potential Turkmen gas exports, the furtherance of the AGRI project constitutes an important advance for Azerbaijan’s strategic policy to develop European Union stakeholders in its political sovereignty.

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By Charlie Smith (08/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Central Asia is a key region that many believe has fallen into the crosshairs of the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS). Local governments are gravely concerned about returning fighters and possible ISIS infiltration in the region, and foreign powers, especially neighboring Russia and China, have expressed their deep concerns. This grim picture, however, obscures a more complex, and perhaps more accurate, story. Might the specter of ISIS have less to do with its on-the-ground ability to destabilize the region and more to do with the geopolitical concerns of those who are stating these threats?

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By Tomáš Baranec (08/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)

The continuous crackdowns on North Caucasian militants conducted by Russian security forces intensified in first half of 2015, deepening the crisis caused by the split in the Caucasus emirate. Although security forces are targeting both Caucasus emirate loyalists and pro-Islamic State rebels, the former appear less resilient to such operations. Paradoxically, in comparison to the pro-ISIS group, the Caucasus emirate is better established and hierarchal and its cells are therefore more easily infiltrated by moles. The assassination of the Caucasus emirate’s emir Aliaskhab Kebedov, nom de guerre Ali Abu Muhammad, dealt a fatal blow to the virtual theocracy, facing a decreasing pool of possible recruits and increasing competition from ISIS. Despite such developments, it remains unlikely that ISIS, with its brutal methods, will prove capable of establishing itself in the North Caucasus.

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Joint Center Publications

Article Mamuka Tsereteli, "NATO Leaders Should Ease the Path of Georgia’s Entry", Newsweek, July 24, 2015.

Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr, Mamuka Tsereteli, A Western Strategy for the South Caucasus, February 2015.  

Op-Ed S. Frederick Starr, "Dueling Mosques and an American Beacon in AfghanistanThe Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2015.

Article Svante E. Cornell, "Understanding Turkey's Tilt", Journal of International Security Affairs, No. 27, Winter 2014.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, "Is Georgia Slipping Away?", The American Interest, November 14, 2015. 

Book S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, eds., ·Putin's Grand Strategy: The Eurasian Union and its Discontents, Joint Center Monograph, September 2014.

Silk Road Paper S. Frederick Starr, Bulat Soltanov, et. al., "Looking Forward: Kazakhstan and the United States", September 2014. 

Book S. Frederick Starr, Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane, Princeton University Press, September 2013.

 

 

The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with Johns Hopkins University's Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst brings cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.

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