By Stephen Blank
October 10th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
There are several signs of a possible turn for the better in the energy prospects of Caspian states, and especially Azerbaijan. The collapse of energy prices appears to have bottomed out. Even prices stagnating at US$ 40-60 a barrel gives energy producers a certain margin to cushion the shocks they will endure. A major aspect of the Caspian states’ comparative advantage is their proximity to Turkey and Southeastern Europe. As European growth recovers, the demand for energy coming through those states will likely grow. Ukraine’s growing freedom from Russian energy coercion will also stimulate it to look for alternatives and new opportunities for Caspian producers. Yet the perhaps most encouraging sign is the construction of new capacities to tie together and eventually integrate the European market.
By Emil Aslan Souleimanov
October 6th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The North Caucasus insurgency has weakened dramatically in recent years. While Chechnya-based jihadist groups now number a few dozen fighters, jamaats operating in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay have been nearly wrecked. In Ingushetia, a few insurgent groups remain numbering a couple of dozen members. In Dagestan, the epicenter of the regional insurgents, several jamaats have survived and number around a hundred active members. Indicative of the unprecedented weakening of the North Caucasus insurgency is the jihadists’ inability to elect an amir of the Caucasus Emirate: since the liquidation of the last amir Magomed Suleimanov in mid-August 2015, the jihadist resistance has been beheaded as it lacks a formal leadership. Yet has the regional insurgency indeed been defeated?
By Eka Janashia
September 29th, the CACI Analyst
In the beginning of September, Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) registered 23 parties and 6 electoral blocs to run in the October 8 parliamentary elections.
They will contest for 77 seats via a proportional party-list system and must clear the 5 percent threshold in the nationwide popular vote to enter the 150-member Parliament. The remaining 73 seats are allocated for single-member districts under a majoritarian system, where majoritarian MPs have to win over 50 percent of the votes in order to win outright in the first round or compete in a second round after 25 days.
By Fariz Ismailzade
September 26th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The frequently discussed but always delayed “North-South” transport corridor was finally kicked off during a trilateral summit of three Presidents in Baku in August. It will bring major geopolitical changes to the region and further cement the growing ties between Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Coupled with the “East-West” transport corridor, Baku is set to become a transport hub of the greater Eurasia.
By Natalia Konarzewska
September 15th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Despite the Black Sea’s geopolitical importance, NATO has neglected Russia’s enhancement of its military capabilities there to unprecedented levels over the past few years. Russia’s new military buildup in the Black Sea will allow it to project power into adjacent regions, and to compromise NATO’s operational ability to protect its Black Sea riparian member states. The latest NATO summit in Warsaw on July 8-9 addressed this issue and called for the deployment of new deterrence and defense measures in the region.
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.