By S. Enders Wimbush

February 18, 2021, the CACI Analyst

Both Russia and the United States are advertising new strategies for dealing with Central Asia, but each is deficient in its own way. While Russia seeks to exclude Afghanistan from its vision of Central Asia, the U.S. explicitly and wisely incorporates Afghanistan as organic to its vision. Neither vision links Central Asia strategically to a larger Eurasian concept that embraces the South Caucasus. To the contrary, both explicitly (the Russian version) or implicitly (the American version) isolate Central Asia geopolitically from the larger emerging political, economic, and security dynamics that Central Asians themselves seek to encourage to establish their region as the connective tissue between Asia and Europe.   

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By Brenda Shaffer

February 16, 2021, the CACI Analyst

On January 21, 2021 the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for joint development of the newly named Dostluq (friendship in Azerbaijani and Turkmen languages) oil and natural gas field. This agreement will likely facilitate multiple new ventures in oil and gas in the Caspian Sea. It also reflects the mutual desire of the two states for increased cooperation in multiple spheres beyond energy and is the result of increased contacts between the two neighboring countries over the last two years.  Increased cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is likely to emerge beyond the sphere of energy.

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By Stephen Blank

February 8, 2021, the CACI Analyst

The advent of the Biden Administration provides an opportunity to give the South Caucasus the importance it deserves in U.S. foreign policy. The recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh has underlined the region’s geostrategic importance, whereas the institutionalization of a Russo-Turkish rivalry/condominium raises the real possibility that another clash could trigger a confrontation between these two powers, one of whom is a NATO ally, as well as their proxies. Simultaneously, Georgia suffers from a drawn-out political conflict among the leading political parties. In this context, the new Administration and its allies in Europe should act to improve the West’s position in the South Caucasus.

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By Fariz Ismailzade

January 29, 2021, the CACI Analyst

Over the past 30 years, Azerbaijan and the United States have developed a strategic partnership based on common interests and values. This partnership includes area of cooperation such as energy security, counter-terrorism, joint economic opportunities, and trade, political and humanitarian efforts. Clinton and Bush administrations have pursued a bipartisan policy of deepening engagement with Azerbaijani to increase US national interests in the Caspian region. 

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  • Russia's Intervention in Ukraine Reverberates in Central Asia
    Wednesday, 19 March 2014 17:46
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    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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    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
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    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
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    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, Kazakhstan's Role in International Mediation under First President Nursultan Nazarbayev, November 2020.

Book S. Frederick Starr, Eldar Ismailov, Nazim Muzaffarli, Basic Principles for the Rehabilitation of Azerbaijan’s Post-Conflict Territories, 2010.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, How Did Armenia So Badly Miscalculate Its War with Azerbaijan? The National Interest, November 14, 2020.

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell, Halting the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan: Russian Peacekeeping is not the Solution Washington Times, October 20, 2020.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, Can America Stop a Wider War between Armenia and Azerbaijan? The National Interest, October 5, 2020.

Article S. Frederick Starr, America Inches Toward a Serious Central Asia Strategy AFPC Defense Dossier, June 3, 2020.

Silk Road Paper Farrukh Irnazarov and Roman Vakulchuk, Discovering Opportunities in the Pandemic? Four Economic Response Scenarios for Central Asia, July 2020.  

 

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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