by S. Frederick Starr
In recent months Turkmenistan has emerged from its self-imposed shell. Under its new president, Serdar Berdimuhamedov, it has launched a very active, though still cautious, foreign policy. While reaffirming its neutral status, which the UN recognized in 1995, it has intensified its relations with all the global powers and, significantly, with its neighbors as well. Both the U.S. and EU have applauded these initiatives and the new president’s strategic concept that underlies them. However, events unfold, Turkmenistan has decisively lifted its head, and will henceforth be a significant factor in regional and continental affairs and not simply a perplexing outlier.
By Stephen Blank
December 10, 2019, the CACI Analyst
The Caspian Convention of August 2018 represented a major step forward in demarcating the Caspian Sea and the rights of littoral states. It also regenerated thinking about large-scale projects to integrate the Caspian basin with European, Chinese, and South Asian markets. This agreement was part of a larger contemporary trend involving China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Russia’s North-South project through Iran and Central Asia to India. However, it will take years of multilateral economic, technological, and political efforts to implement these visions and despite the optimistic dreams fostered by the Caspian convention, there will be many disappointments on the road to realizing them.
By Nurlan Aliyev
July 22, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Russia’s minister of North Caucasus Affairs Sergey Chebotarev recently stated that Russia’s ports in the Caspian and Black Seas will become hubs in a new transport corridor, providing an alternative to the current transport corridor through the South Caucasus. In April, presidential adviser Igor Levitin underlined the necessity of transport projects in the Caspian Sea, aiming to connect Russia’s North and the South transportation links. The Russian government has recently announced several ambitious projects in the Caspian, designed to improve Russia’s strategic and economic presence in the region.
By Nurlan Aliyev
February 21, 2019, the CACI Analyst
On December 5, 2018, Colonel-General Alexander Dvornikov, commander of the Southern Military District (SMD), stated that the basis of an inter-forces troop contingent including sea, air and coastal components has been established in Dagestan. According to Dvornikov, fighters of the 4th Army Air Force and the SMD’s Air Defense have been put on alert at one of Dagestan’s airfields. Strengthening its high precision strike capabilities in the Caspian, Russia also intends to improve its ability to block the Basin to outside actors in support of its strategies regarding the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East. The Caspian holds immense strategic value to Russia, given its geographical proximity to the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
By Stephen Blank
November 29, 2018, the CACI Analyst
The signing of the Caspian convention in August 2018 has opened up exciting new possibilities for getting Central Asian oil and gas to European and global markets. The long-desired Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) from both shores of the Caspian has thus become a possibility. By thinking big, we can use Caspian gas for beneficial economic and political purposes. Whatever route Caspian energy takes to Europe, it must traverse the Caucasus and can be of substantial value in transforming the Eurasian geopolitical scene and agenda. Specifically, those parties who have the most to gain form resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can now devise a peace program that incorporates the use of energy to help foster an enduring peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, reduce Russia’s ability to manipulate this conflict, and at the same time enrich them both as well as European consumers.
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.