By Stephen Blank (the 30/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The U.S. has decided to give up the base at Manas, presumably because that base is not worth retaining once it leaves Afghanistan next year, and will relocate the base to Romania. Washington is instead moving most of its logistics through Pakistan, with a corresponding decline in the use of the Northern Distribution Network. Once U.S. forces leave Afghanistan there will be no military presence in Central Asia to speak of. Second, the TAPI gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan and Pakistan, nominally the centerpiece of America’s New Silk Road initiative, languishes for lack of any financing.
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.
Stephen Blank (the 02/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Five years after its war with Georgia, Russia is now moving to institutionalize its gains into enduring territorial-political structures. During September 2013, Moscow effectively blackmailed Armenia into joining the Eurasian Union and has now announced that it is going to sign a treaty with South Ossetia and Abkhazia, recognizing the “international borders” between them and Russia. As a result, Russian soldiers are now erecting fences effectively demarcating these territories from Georgia, if not formally annexing them to Russia. Both of these moves undermine the sovereignty, and in Georgia’s case the integrity, of these two South Caucasian states and demonstrate that Russia’s neo-imperial effort to create a closed bloc in the CIS is intensifying and accelerating.
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.