By Richard Weitz
December 22nd, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In early November, John Kerry made a long overdue trip to Central Asia, becoming the first Secretary of State to visit all five Central Asian countries in one diplomatic tour. His agenda focused on reassuring the regional governments that the United States cares about their concerns, specifically Afghanistan and religious extremism. Kerry also highlighted U.S. support for region-wide economic integration, ecological protection, and cultural and humanitarian cooperation. He further developed bilateral cooperation with each Central Asian government. However, there were no major agreements or blockbuster initiatives announced during Kerry’s visit. It will require sustained follow-through by the current and next U.S. administrations to achieve enduringly positive results.
By S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell
December 10th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
A number of initiatives have combined to make the development of continental transport and trade across the heartland of Eurasia a reality rather than a mere vision. Some of these have been external, while many have been internal to the region. Yet Europe, which launched the visionary TRACECA program in the early 1990s, is largely absent from the scene today. Yet if Europe works with Central Asian states, it stands to benefit greatly from this process. This would involve work to make the transport corridors more attuned to market logic; to promote the development of soft infrastructure; to pay attention to the geopolitics of transport and support the Caucasus and Caspian corridor; and not least, to look ahead to the potential of linking Europe through Central Asia not just to China, but also to the Indian subcontinent.
By Rohullah Osmani
September 18th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
After several years of uncertainty, a hope for a breakthrough has emerged for a critical energy project in South-Central Asia. On August 6, 2015, the 22nd TAPI Steering Committee approved Turkmenistan’s Turkmengaz as the consortium leader to oversee efforts in constructing, financing and operating the 1,600 kilometer natural gas pipeline. Achieving this milestone suggests a very important development for TAPI. Turkmenistan is taking a firmer lead in the project after talks with a French investor stalled, and also after the recent agreement over Iran’s nuclear program. This suggests Ashgabat is speeding up the project over fears that Iranian gas might flood back on to the market.
By Tavus Rejepova (09/02/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On August 6, the participants of the 22nd Steering Committee meeting of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project unanimously agreed in Ashgabat that Turkmenistan’s State Company TurkmenGas will lead the TAPI Ltd. consortium, a pipeline company that will design, build, own and operate the TAPI Pipeline. After the much awaited selection of a possible consortium leader among interested international oil and gas companies, this move paves the way to begin work on the project.
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.
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.