By Svante E. Cornell
December 8, 2023
Kazakhstan has been deeply affected by the geopolitical turmoil across the region in the past several years, which threatened to undermine the viability of the country’s multi-vector, balanced foreign policy. But Kazakhstan’s leaders have stayed the course, which has for twenty years sought to balance relations with Russia through the expansion of ties with powers ranging from China to the U.S. and Europe. In recent years, Kazakhstan has also embraced regional cooperation in Central Asia, while strengthening ties with Turkey as well. The continued success of this approach remains crucial to the continued independence and stability of Central Asia as a whole.
By Svante E. Cornell and S. Frederick Starr
October 3, 2023
Central Asia is often portrayed through metaphors such as a “Grand Chessboard” or a “Great Game,” which suggest that the players in the game are the great powers, and the Central Asian states are merely pawns in this game. This might have been a plausible argument thirty years ago. But today, thirty years into independence, it is abundantly clear that Central Asian states have agency at the regional and even global level.
By Vali Kaleji
July 8, 2021, the CACI Analyst
After the Second Karabakh War, the tripartite ceasefire agreement on November 10, 2020, opens a possibility for Iran to become connected to the southern railway network in the South Caucasus. As a result of the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, an important part of the South Caucasus Railway, which passed through the Nakhichevan region, Syunik Province in southern Armenia, and Jabrail, Fizuli and Zangilan regions in southern Azerbaijan, was destroyed or removed from communication routes. As a result, unlike Turkey and Russia, Iran has no rail connection to the Caucasus.
By Sudha Ramachandran
April 27, 2021, the CACI Analyst
A new railway line running between Khaf in Iran and Herat in Afghanistan has generated much optimism in the two countries as it has the potential to boost bilateral travel and trade. The railway link is important to the larger region as well as it is part of the ambitious Five Nation Railway Corridor project. While there are great expectations of the FNRC project and the Khaf-Herat railway link’s recent inauguration in the participating countries, the road ahead will not be easy and the project faces implementation problems as well as competition from rival projects.
By Farkhod Tolipov
April 21, 2021, the CACI Analyst
April 1, 2021, saw the reopening of the long-awaited road connecting the Uzbek Sokh enclave, located within Kyrgyzstan, with Uzbekistan’s mainland, allowing free movement of cars and pedestrians. This became possible after the visit of Kyrgyzstan’s newly elected President Sadyr Japarov to Uzbekistan in March 2021, during which the two states announced their determination to eliminate all remaining border problems between them. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan demonstrated and confirmed their relationship as strategic partners and provided a new example of Central Asian cooperation.
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.