By Roger N. McDermott
November 17, 2017, the CACI Analyst
While much international attention has focused upon Russia’s joint strategic exercise with Belarus, Zapad 2017 in September, in its aftermath Moscow also staged important operational-strategic exercises on a wider scale across the South Caucasus and Central Asia. Not only was the geographical scope of these exercises greater than Zapad 2017, but their various vignettes and scenario details provide glimpses into Moscow’s planning and modelling of future conflict on its periphery.
By Eduard Abrahamyan
July 11, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In early March, Georgia’s Defense Ministry announced the details of the NATO-backed Noble Partner-2017 multinational drills, scheduled for July 30. Armenia and Azerbaijan are set to participate in the exercises, along with 11 other NATO partners and allies. Noble Partner will be the first large-scale practical NATO initiative gathering Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijani troops to perform a common task. Moreover, Montenegro's NATO accession seems to have renewed the impetus for the South Caucasian states to reengage with the Alliance. However, the question is whether Yerevan and Baku are capable of defying Russia’s potential reaction to their renewed endeavor to cooperate with NATO in terms of joint exercises.
By Mamuka Tsereteli
February 17, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The weakening strategic position of Turkey will have a profound impact on the Black Sea-Caspian region and wider Central Asia. An assertive Russia and diminishing U.S. and Western engagement further limits Turkey's ability to play a pro-active role in the region. For regional actors in the South Caucasus, part of the solution should be to create the best possible conditions for transiting Asian cargos via Central Asia, the Caspian Sea, the South Caucasus corridor and the Black Sea to Bulgaria and Romania. This is how countries of the South Caucasus can bring new balancing powers to the region.
By Avinoam Idan
February 6, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Israel’s Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu made a landmark visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in December 2016. The Israeli Prime Minister's visit reflects Israel’s growing interest in Central Asia and the Caucasus, a region that is part of Israel's greater strategic environment. Israel's interest in Kazakhstan focuses on its trade potential, its regional and international status, and its position as a vital link in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Azerbaijan's geographical location, its role as a significant energy exporter, and its security approach have been foci of the close relations that have developed between Baku and Jerusalem over the years. The Prime Minister's visit reflects the continued deepening of ties with Azerbaijan.
By Boris Ajeganov
January 23, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Foreign investment in Georgia is strengthening the country’s importance in connecting East Asia with Europe, which has positive implications for the broader region. The rise in FDI in commercial and transportation infrastructure in combination with the signing of international free trade agreements will reduce Georgia’s vulnerability in terms of economic and, ultimately, ‘hard’ security. The growing importance of the South Caucasus as node for EU-China trade will weaken Russia’s incentives to undermine its southern neighbors by military, political, and economic means as it has done in the past. Accordingly, Tbilisi’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy is set to improve despite the absence of Western security guarantees.
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.