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 Eka Janashia
November 19th, the CACI Analyst
In mid-October, the prosecutor of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda visited Georgia in an effort to open a probe into war crimes committed during the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008. “There are no substantial reasons to believe that the opening of an investigation would not serve the interests of justice,” she said.
On October 13, the prosecutor filed a 160-page “request,” involving the details of suspected crimes attributed to the Georgian, Russian and South Ossetian sides, before the ICC three-judge panel. The panel will make a decision on whether to launch an investigation in Georgia covering the period from July 1, 2008 to October 10 of the same year.
By Eka Janashia
November 6, the CACI Analyst
On October 10, Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili made an unplanned visit to Baku to meet with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. The visit came after statements by Georgian officials on a possible restoration of gas supplies from Russia. Given Azerbaijan’s central role in Georgia’s gas sector, the move could damage the partnership between Tbilisi and Baku.
By Eka Janashia
October 12th, the CACI Analyst
On September 18, one day after his release from jail, Tbilisi’s city court returned Gigi Ugulava – the leader of opposition United National Movement (UNM) party and former Tbilisi mayor – to prison. The court found Ugulava guilty of misspending public funds and sentenced him to four years and six months in prison. The original sentence implied a nine-year term, but the act of amnesty, adopted by the Georgian parliament in 2012, halved his time in jail.
By Carolin Funke
October 6th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In the absence of Euro-Atlantic guarantees for deeper economic and political integration, Georgia is further diversifying its cooperation with states outside the Western hemisphere. Over the last year, Georgia has particularly been strengthening ties with the People’s Republic of China, which seeks to increase its presence in the South Caucasus as part of its Silk Road Economic Belt. Due to declining Western involvement in the region, the U.S. and European Union have little reason to complain about Tbilisi’s new alignments. Nevertheless, anchoring China as a long-term player in the region will likely lead to a further decline of Western influence in Georgia.
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.