By Mushtaq A. Kaw
April 26, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In December 2016, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Zhao Lijian, stated that “CPEC is working well” with the support of the Pakistani people, notwithstanding certain opposition. The statement is characteristic of China’s and Pakistan’s praise for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as a game changer for their respective economies and regional connectivity. Yet in reality, the project faces a variety of intricate economic challenges as well as security threats. Its success will therefore depend upon an inclusive, balanced and sustained China-Pakistan approach towards the forces hostile to the project. Even then, the project will have various geopolitical, geo-economic and geo-strategic implications for the region and the world.
By Azad Garibov
April 21, 2017, the CACI Analyst
One year has passed since the “Four-Day War” – an unprecedented escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on April 1-5, 2016 that claimed the lives of over a hundred soldiers on both sides. The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has never been truly frozen, yet the increased intensity of clashes since April 2016 demonstrates that violence can flare up at any time, destabilizing the already fragile region. As no peaceful solution is visible on the horizon, the Line of Contact (LoC) between Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s armed forces has become the most militarized area of the former Soviet Union. Azerbaijani and Armenian societies have also grown increasingly nationalistic as fighting intensifies and casualty rates grow on the frontline.
By Jacob Zenn
April 19, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Since the August 30, 2016 car bombing in front of the Chinese embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, concerns have increased about Central Asians carrying out attacks in their homelands after they leave the war in Syria. A growing number of Central Asians in Syria, especially in the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), are becoming dissatisfied with al-Qaeda because it is limiting external operations, while the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is actively promoting attacks abroad. Moreover, a number of TIP fighters disagree with the Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate's re-branding to appear "less al-Qaeda-like" and "more Syrian." ISIS is eager to see defected TIP members in its ranks, which could enable these fighters to target Central Asian or Chinese interests abroad in the name of ISIS.
By Ilgar Gurbanov
March 27, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Gazprom has officially declared its willingness to use the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) as a route to deliver gas to Europe. TAP is an integral part of the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) which is one of the priority energy projects for the EU to ensure the continent’s security of supply from a non-Russian source. Although technical and legal possibilities exist for Gazprom’s use of TAP’s expanded capacity, the long-term contracts securing the pipeline’s initial capacity for Azerbaijani gas together with EU legislation makes this option less likely. Nevertheless, the possibility of a Russian bid for TAP could hamper the EU’s diversification plans and block future gas supplies from other non-Shah-Deniz sources.
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.