By Huseyn Aliyev, Emil A. Souleimanov
November 23rd, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In early October, Russia's Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu announced that Russian navy warships based in the Caspian Sea had fired a total of 26 missiles at the positions of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. The minister claimed that all the 11 targets, located around 1,500 kilometers from the warships, were destroyed over two days. Russian authorities and pro-regime media have considered the strikes a big success. While information soon resurfaced that some cruise missiles had landed on Iranian soil, the fact that the October strike is definite proof of the failed attempts to turn the landlocked water basin into a demilitarized zone has received less attention.
By Stephen Blank
November 20th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In early October Frontera Corporation announced that it had discovered 3.8 trillion cubic meters (TCM) of gas in Georgia’s Kakheti region. Although the discovery needs to be confirmed and the precise amount of gas determined; this discovery has major potential benefits of both an economic and geopolitical nature for Georgia, Azerbaijan and Europe. But there are lurking dangers as well, especially as the Georgian government recently voiced its intention to sign an agreement with Gazprom for Russian gas and diversify away from its exclusive reliance on Azerbaijan, despite that country’s utter reliability over several years and lack of designs upon Georgia.
By Farkhod Tolipov
November 13th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
During the UN General Assembly on September 27, 2015 in New York, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Kazakhstan’s, Kyrgyzstan’s, Tajikistan’s, Turkmenistan’s and Uzbekistan’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs to set up the new C5+1 format for dialogue between the U.S. and Central Asian states. As a first manifestation of this dialogue platform, Kerry made a Central Asian tour in early November. The C5+1 meeting in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, took place in the context of global geopolitical turbulence that has raised Central Asia’s profile in U.S. global strategy.
By Emil Souleimanov
November 9th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov has recently expressed readiness to deploy Chechen militia to Syria as part of a Russian ground force to support President Bashar al-Assad. Russian authorities have from the outset of Russia’s military engagement in the Middle East virtually ruled out the possibility of deploying ground forces, confining their engagement to air power. Yet, according to some observers, it could under certain circumstances become necessary for Moscow to also deploy ground troops. The deployment of Chechen troops to Syria is therefore a prospect to consider in the months to come.
By Dmitry Shlapentokh
November 6, 2015, The CACI Analyst
Moscow has recently undertaken several actions aiming to increase Russia’s influence in the Middle East and Central Asia. On August 23-28, 2015, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes several members from Central Asia, undertook military exercises in Russia. Russian authorities stated that the maneuvers aimed to help CSTO members develop means to effectively move airborne forces and other troops to conflict zones, including in Central Asia. The exercises partly served to address a real concern on the part of Russia as well as other CSTO members over the rise of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS). However, Russia sees ISIS not only as a threat but also as an opportunity for both increasing Russia’s influence in Central Asia and providing a pretext for its venture in the Middle East.
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.