By Stephen Blank
November 27th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Few people think about trends in the Caucasus with reference to or in the context of Russia’s Syrian intervention. But Moscow does not make this mistake. From the beginning, Moscow has highlighted its access to the Caucasus through overflight rights and deployment of its forces in regard to Syria, e.g. sending Kalibr cruise missiles from ships stationed in the Caspian Sea to bomb Syria. Therefore we should emulate Russia’s example and seriously assess military trends in the Caucasus in that Syrian context.
By Tomáš Baranec
November 9th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Two and a half months prior to parliamentary elections in Georgia, on July 21, 2016, Russia’s State Duma recommended the government to once again ban imports of Georgian wines and mineral waters. Introducing embargos on Georgian wines and mineral waters is a proven tool of the Kremlin’s foreign policy towards its southern neighbor. It was first used in 2006, under the pretext of poor standards of Georgian exports, dealing significant damage to Georgia’s economy. However, three months after this statement, Moscow still has not applied this tool for exerting economic pressure on Georgia. The question is whether Moscow could afford such an embargo – especially given the rising significance of China’s market for Georgian exports.
By Armen Grigoryan
October 21st, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsyan has reshuffled the government only months before the general elections, after which the presidential system will be replaced with a parliamentary one. The new appointments seemingly aim to ensure the continued rule of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) after next year’s elections. The current foreign policy course based on loyalty to Russia and its Eurasian project will likely remain unchanged, despite its dire economic consequences.
By Ilgar Gurbanov
October 17th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas talks have recently gained momentum. Iranian and Georgian companies have signed gas purchase contracts, to supply natural gas to Georgia through Armenia. While the perspective of enhanced Iran-Armenia-Georgia gas cooperation is limited from political and technical viewpoints, Armenia is actively seeking to carve out a new role for itself in order to mitigate the repercussions of its long-running isolation in the region. Yet the dominant role of Russia’s Gazprom in Armenia’s energy sector, as well as the lack of technical opportunities, pose significant obstacles to the delivery of large amounts of Iranian gas to Georgia through Armenia.
By Huseyn Aliyev
October 14th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The last week of August 2016 saw two large-scale Counter-Terrorist Operations (CTOs) in the North Caucasus republics of Kabardino-Balkaria and Dagestan, followed by another CTO conducted in the second week of September. This relatively low-scale increase in military confrontations between militants and security forces in the region nonetheless indicates a steady recovery of non-ISIS Islamist cells, which have been in decline since the emergence of ISIS in the region. While these recent developments may not indicate a revival of the local Islamist insurgency, they indicate that local insurgent jama’ats are still present and active in the region.
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.