By Stephen Blank
May 9th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
China has steadfastly refused to get involved in providing hard, i.e. military, security to Central Asian governments, including Afghanistan. This might now be changing. In a March visit to Kabul, General Fang Fenghui, Chief of Staff of the PLA, announced plans to set up an anti-terror regional alliance with Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan reportedly endorsed this proposal. China’s initiative could imply a major new development in Chinese policy and in Central Asia’s overall security, with lasting implications for the region.
By Roger N. McDermott
March 28th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Russia’s and Tajikistan’s joint antiterrorist exercise on March 15-20 involved five Tajik training ranges, and showcased bilateral security cooperation. The exercise seemed routine, consistent with each country’s national security concerns; however a number of factors coalesced on Moscow’s planning and deployment side to make it both unique and potentially revealing. Buoyed by its recent experience of military conflict in Ukraine and Syria, Russia’s Armed Forces display increased confidence in supporting a more pro-active Russian foreign policy posture. The elements it deployed in Tajikistan for the exercise contain strategic messages for the benefit of other actors and Russia’s potential adversaries in Central Asia: for regional governments the message is one of reassurance and renewed confidence.
By Johan Engvall
December 14th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Since independence, Kazakhstan’s foreign policy – and its multilateral relations in particular – has expressed a clear logic: to develop a role as a respectable international citizen that can be a pragmatic partner with all quarters of the globe. The decision to launch its bid for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for 2017 can be seen as the ultimate commitment to this role. At the same time, seeking a UNSC-seat is but one part of an increasingly urgent need to assert Kazakhstan’s sovereignty and statehood and to counter the Western notion of the country as being under Russia’s thumb.
By Richard Weitz (09/02/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
That China is as worried as Afghanistan’s other neighbors regarding how to sustain security in that country is evident in how Beijing has set aside some long-standing “red lines” concerning that country. In recent months, Chinese diplomats have more actively tried to promote reconciliation between the Afghan government and the Taliban as well as between Afghanistan and Pakistan. China has also more openly provided security assistance to the Kabul government. But Beijing has yet to take a decisive step for Afghan peace despite the critical issues involved.
By Stephen Blank (19/08/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization took place on July 9-10 in Ufa, and ratified the expansion of membership to include India and Pakistan, and Iran may join in the future. Thus the SCO is well on the way to becoming a venue for the most powerful Inner Asian states to work together and discuss policy issues affecting Central Asia and beyond. But new membership is not likely to make this organization any more effective as a regional security provider. In fact, all the disputes among the major members, including India and Pakistan, might be imported into the SCO’s structure and serve as a brake on the expansion of its capabilities.
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.