By Arslan Sabyrbekov
October 1st, the CACI Analyst
Kyrgyzstan’s parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on October 4, 2015, with 14 political parties competing for 120 seats. The official campaign kicked off on September 4, with leaders of political parties touring the country and presenting their programs. Regional observers anticipate that the election will, unlike most other regional elections, actually be competitive. During the elections, Kyrgyzstan will for the first time in its election history use its controversial biometric registration process, using fingerprints to verify citizens’ identity before voting. In a recently conducted public test, the equipment revealed some of its drawbacks, leading to wider criticism that the process is unconstitutional since citizens who have failed to submit their data cannot vote.
By Emil Aslan Souleimanov
September 25th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Russia’s recent military engagement in Syria and calls for the establishment of an international coalition against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) has produced renewed interest in Moscow’s policies toward the jihadist quasi-state. Against this background, while many have speculated about Moscow’s true intentions in the Middle East, relatively little attention has been paid to Moscow’s interests in Central Asia and the Caucasus in the context of its increasingly vocal rhetoric of fighting ISIS. Moscow is actively utilizing the risks and threats stemming from the ISIS to boost its clout in the near and far abroad.
By Kirgizbek Kanunov (09/02/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
This summer, the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) faced the brunt of a natural disaster which neither regional authorities, nor the central government in Dushanbe were prepared to handle. The months of July and August were particularly difficult for this part of eastern Tajikistan, which already struggles with a number of socio-economic issues such as unemployment, job-related emigration, endemic corruption and drug addiction.
By Arslan Sabyrbekov (19/08/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On July 21, Kyrgyzstan’s Prime Minister Tamar Sariev signed a government decree, unilaterally terminating the 1993 cooperation framework agreement with the U.S. Bishkek’s decision came as a reaction to the State Department’s decision to reward Azimjan Askarov with the Human Rights Defender Award. To Kyrgyz officials, Askarov is an ethnic Uzbek political activist serving a life sentence for organizing and taking part in the mass riots in Southern Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. In its official protest note to Washington, Kyrgyzstan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has referred to him as “a symbol of disruption” and described the award as evidence of an attempt to undermine the country’s unity.
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.