By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev

January 23, 2019, the CACI Analyst

Recent weeks have seen an unprecedented series of high-level meetings of Armenian and Azerbaijani representatives on Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijan’s breakaway territory closely linked since the early 1990s to Armenia. Whereas many analysts considered resumed peace talks unlikely after the April 2016 fighting, Armenia’s Velvet Revolution and the replacement of the country’s war-hardened Karabakh elite with a forward-looking and liberal government has provided new stimulus in this regard. As Azerbaijani officials perceive the recent power shift in Armenia as a window of opportunity to advance a peaceful solution to the long-standing conflict, optimism regarding the prospect of a deal appears higher than in many years.

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By Stephen Blank

February 13, 2019, the CACI Analyst

When he announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, President Trump also announced the departure of one half (7,000) of America’s troops in Afghanistan.  This abrupt decision both damaged the U.S. position in the Middle East and undermined ongoing negotiations with the Taliban over Afghanistan. It upset all the calculations of the Afghan government, leaving it scrambling for a new negotiating and strategic posture, and undid two years of successful albeit modest U.S. policy of renewed economic and political support for Central Asia. This will allow both Beijing and Moscow to respond by extending their influence in Central Asia at America’s expense and to employ their strongest capabilities for doing so.

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By Tristan Kenderdine

January 23, 2019, the CACI Analyst

The Ob’-Irtysh is the sixth largest river in the world by drainage area and sixth longest in the world at 5,410 kilometers. It is a broad and deep river, easily navigable by river barge, and also by sea-going vessels deep into the Eurasian continent. Geographically, this river system connects Kazakhstan to the Arctic Ocean, and if sufficient river maritime infrastructure were present then Kazakhstan could avoid the endogenous trade tariff that comes with being landlocked. This has massive implications for Kazakhstan’s potential trade, industry, and wider economic development.

 

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By Neil Hauer

January 17, 2019, the CACI Analyst

The ongoing dispute over the transfer of 10 percent of Ingushetia’s territory to Chechnya shows few signs of calming. Regional authorities, including the heads of both republics, have attempted to both assuage and intimidate the incensed Ingush population with little success. The current redrawing of regional borders, unprecedented in the post-Soviet period, threatens to aggravate similar grievances across the region, while raising questions about the sustainability of its current political structure. Ramzan Kadyrov’s willingness to continue expanding his influence at the cost of his neighbors also serves as an ominous portent for regional stability.

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  • Russia's Intervention in Ukraine Reverberates in Central Asia
    Wednesday, 19 March 2014 17:46
    Russia's Intervention in Ukraine Reverberates in Central Asia

    By Slavomír Horák (03/19/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    While Russia's intervention in Ukraine at first glance has few implications for developments in the Eastern part of former Soviet territory, Central Asian governments and elites are likely to analyze Russia's recent actions carefully. While the Crimea intervention could serve as a short term deterrent against foreign orientations away from Russia's regional integration project, the increasing Chinese influence in Central Asia will in the long term offer these states a powerful alternative to Russia and the crisis in Ukraine is increasing China's attractiveness as a partner.

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  • China's Silk Roads and Their Challenges
    Wednesday, 07 January 2015 16:02
    China's Silk Roads and Their Challenges

    By Stephen Blank (01/07/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    Few realize that China is actually building three Silk Roads, one through Central Asia to Europe; a second, maritime one, through South East Asia to India and South Asia; and third, China is building a robust commercial network through the Arctic to connect it with Europe. In all three cases there is a common geopolitical dream that has been shared by Russian and Asian leaders since the opening of the Suez Canal: building a land-based alternative connecting East, South, and Central Asia to Europe by purely terrestrial means. China’s plans for Central Asia are extraordinarily ambitious but there are serious problems that could undermine them.

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  • The Eurasian Economic Union – Implications for Governance, Democracy and Human Rights
    Wednesday, 10 December 2014 08:58
    The Eurasian Economic Union – Implications for Governance, Democracy and Human Rights

    By Daniel Linotte (12/10/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    In January 2015, a new regional agreement will enter into force between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia – it will create the so-called Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), replacing the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC) established in 2006. Taking into account actual trade flows and national economies, the EEU can hardly be justified and should not have much impact on economic integration among its members. Nevertheless, Western countries should still be worried about possible non-economic consequences of the new agreement, especially for governance, democracy and human rights, in countries that are already displaying authoritarian tendencies.

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  • Resurgence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict - A Russian Move on the Ukraine Chessboard
    Wednesday, 03 September 2014 14:04
    Resurgence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict - A Russian Move on the Ukraine Chessboard

    By Avinoam Idan (09/03/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)

    The return of open fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict recently brought about a meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi, under the auspices of President Putin, on August 10, 2014. The growing tension in the conflict and the Sochi meeting take place against the background of the crisis in Ukraine. The Karabakh conflict serves as Russian leverage in influencing and promoting Russia’s geostrategic aims in the Caucasus and beyond, and Russia’s new initiative in the conflict meant to improve Russia’s stance in its confrontation with the U.S. and EU and its hegemony over the gateway to Eurasia.

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Joint Center Publications

Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell and S. Frederick Starr, Modernization and Regional Cooperation in Central Asia: A New Spring, November 2018.

Book S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, ed., Uzbekistan’s New Face, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

Article Svante E. Cornell, “Turkish-Saudi Rivalry: Behind the Khashoggi Affair,” The American Interest, November 6, 2018.

Article Mamuka Tsereteli, “Landmark Caspian Deal Could Pave Way for Long-Stalled Energy Projects,” World Politics Review, September 2018.

Article Halil Karaveli, “The Myth of Erdoğan’s Power,” Foreign Affairs, August 2018.

Book Halil Karaveli, Why Turkey is Authoritarian, London: Pluto Press, 2018.

Article Svante E. Cornell, “Erbakan, Kısakürek and the Mainstreaming of Extremism in Turkey,” Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, June 2018.

Article S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, “Uzbekistan: A New Model for Reform in the Muslim World,” Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst, May 12, 2018.

Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell, Religion and the Secular State in Kazakhstan, April 2018.

Book S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, The Long Game on the Silk Road: US and EU Strategy for Central Asia and the Caucasus, Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2018.

Article Svante E. Cornell, “Central Asia: Where Did Islamic Radicalization Go?,” Religion, Conflict and Stability in the Former Soviet Union, eds Katya Migacheva and Bryan Frederick, Arlington, VA: RAND Corporation, 2018.

 

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 the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.

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