By Richard Weitz (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
NATO’s inability to commit to a definite role in Afghanistan beyond 2014, along with perceived strategic setbacks in Central Asia and the South Caucasus, are reinforcing the narrative promoted by the Taliban, al-Qaeda, Iran, and to a lesser extent Russia and China, that a war-weary West is abandoning Eurasia. Urgent measures are needed during the next months to reverse this perception before it gains irreversible momentum. The perception is already leading regional players to hedge against the expected consequences of a diminished NATO role. NATO needs to reaffirm and clarify its commitment to Afghanistan and Eurasia.
By Tomas Šmíd (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Chechnya’s economy has been struggling with long-term problems, which have had a significant and visible impact on standards of living in the republic. Post-war reconstruction of the economy is far from accomplished and development is still hindered by an enormous level of unemployment. This provides a ground for both emigration and open sympathies with the opposition, which is currently represented by the radical Islamist wing alone. The Chechen government itself endeavors to spur some sectors of the economy, e.g. the tourist industry; however any major progress can hardly be expected without the implementation of significant political-economic reforms, and above all, an improvement of civic freedoms.
By Valeriy Dzutsev (the 18/09/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
An increasing number of conflicts between Chechnya’s strongman Ramzan Kadyrov and Moscow may signify that the Russian government is gearing up to change the status quo in Chechnya. Regional authorities and Kadyrov himself have long been exempt from Russian law, which Russian leaders have motivated as a necessity for keeping Chechnya stable. Kadyrov’s success in keeping Moscow at bay has to a large extent depended on his personal relationship with President Putin. Growing resentment among ethnic Russians against North Caucasians and Putin’s weakening position make a tougher position on Moscow’s part against Chechnya’s pro-Moscow government more likely, a development that may have numerous unintended consequences.
by Emil Souleimanov (the 08/21/13 issue of the CACI Analyst)
In mid-July, the Chechen Republic‘s President Ramzan Kadyrov admitted that Chechens have taken part in the Syria civil war on the side of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), allegations that he categorically denied one year ago. Simultaneously, the formal leader of the Caucasus Emirate Doku Umarov reversed his stance on the participation of Chechens in Syria. Umarov has earlier appealed to Chechen and North Caucasian youth to refrain from joining the Syria jihad and instead fight the “infidels” in their native land, but has now expressed his support for North Caucasian jihadists going to Syria, with the ultimate goal for them to return and join the insurgency upon their return from the Middle East.
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.