By Azad Garibov
May 12, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The collapse of oil prices and outbreak of a pandemic seems to catch Central Asia in an economic perfect storm. Some regional energy exporters will suffer directly from low oil prices and the pandemic; others will face adverse economic consequences more indirectly, in the form of reduced gas demand in China or decreased remittances sent by migrant workers.
By Stephen Blank
April 27, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Crises are often telling indicators of an institution’s fitness. The Coronavirus pandemic is currently putting governments and regional institutions like the EU under profoundly challenging stress tests. Another such regional institution is the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which Russian President Vladimir Putin and its champions have claimed is organized along the lines of the EU. Whatever the EU’s successes or failures, it is clear that the EEU has failed to display even a semblance of the EU’s cohesion. Moscow has simply disregarded the interests of its partners and pursued a sharply unilateralist policy that seriously complicated if not threatened its partners’ economies, particularly in Central Asia.
By John C. K. Daly
April 8, 2020, the CACI Analyst
After 18 months of negotiations, the U.S. and the Taliban signed their bilateral landmark “peace agreement” in Doha on February 29, alongside representatives from more than 30 nations. Afghanistan’s northern neighboring post-Soviet states, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, are concerned whether Afghanistan’s post-ceasefire instability will intensify and subsequently spill across the borders after foreign military missions withdraw. If the unrest roiling Afghanistan erupts into open military confrontation following the departure of foreign military forces, the question is whether the three nations alone can mount an acceptable response, particularly Turkmenistan whose international neutrality stance is recognized by the United Nations.
By Farkhod Tolipov
March 26, 2020, the CACI Analyst
Three recent events have recently drawn the attention of the public, experts and official circles in Central Asia: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and his meetings with the presidents of these states on 1-4 February 2020; the “C5+1” meeting in Tashkent; and the announcement of a new U.S. Strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025. In Central Asian capitals as well as in Moscow and Beijing, these three events served to alter the existing geopolitical calculus: Washington effectively reminded Central Asians and U.S. rivals Russia and China of itself and its interests. It thus seems that the old Great Game continues.
How is Afghanistan Really Doing?
By: S. Frederick Starr
The Afghan peace talks are the order of the day. The negotiations themselves are wrapped in secrecy. But are Americans (and NATO allies) in a position to evaluate their outcome? This depends in large measure on whether our reigning assumptions about what’s going on in Afghanistan itself are accurate. This briefing paper acknowledges that many of them are; Afghanistan remains a very troubled land. But it also presents evidence that those assumptions are dramatically and woefully incomplete. It argues that important positive developments in the Afghan economy and society have been largely ignored, but are gaining ground over the long term. These in turn demand and justify revisions in strategic thinking in Washington and other NATO capitals.
Americans are well acquainted with the official evaluations of American aid to Afghanistan that have been issued annually by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). Based on voluminous data, these reports present a grim tale of malfeasance and corruption. Headings in the “Executive Summary” of the most recent report include “Widespread Insecurity,” “Under- developed Civil Policing Capability,” “Endemic Corruption,” “Sluggish Economic Growth,” “The Illicit Narcotics Trade.” “Threats to Women’s Rights,” “The Challenge of Reintegration,” and “Restricted Oversight.”
The work of the Special Inspector General has been thorough and dispassionate. To be sure, one can challenge his findings in several areas.
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.