By Erik Davtyan
October 3rd, the CACI Analyst
On September 5, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, along with Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Energy Kakha Kaladze, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs David Dondua, paid a one-day visit to Yerevan. Kvirikashvili has previously visited Armenia as Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, however this was his first official visit after he became Prime Minister in December 2015. The visit came nearly a month before parliamentary elections in Georgia, which are set for October 8. Less than one week before, Kvirikashvili made a similar visit to Azerbaijan. During both visits, the Georgian delegation was composed of exactly the same level of representatives, although another deputy foreign minister was present in Azerbaijan – indicating the importance that Georgian authorities attach to demonstrating a balanced policy towards its two neighbor states.
By Fariz Ismailzade
September 26th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The frequently discussed but always delayed “North-South” transport corridor was finally kicked off during a trilateral summit of three Presidents in Baku in August. It will bring major geopolitical changes to the region and further cement the growing ties between Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. Coupled with the “East-West” transport corridor, Baku is set to become a transport hub of the greater Eurasia.
By Sudha Ramachandran
July 30th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Afghanistan’s damming of the Harirud River could boost agriculture and industry in the country. However, the resulting reduction in water flow to Iran could contribute to a deterioration of relations with Tehran. Afghanistan and Iran can no longer delay a dialogue on how to share the waters of the Harirud. Afghanistan has previously blamed its reluctance to engage in such a dialogue on a lack of requisite data and expertise, but can ill afford a conflict with Iran on this issue.
By Stephen Blank
July 1st, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Despite the ongoing terrorist insurgency, Russian officials claim significant progress in pacifying and reintegrating the North Caucasus. For example, in 2015 alone, Ministry of Interior forces in the North Caucasus (VVMVD) allegedly killed over 70 militants. Yet the National Anti-Terrorist Committee expects that the situation in 2016 will show no signs of marked improvement. Moreover, despite many Jihadis’ departure for Syria or Iraq, local insurgent activity has not slackened. In this context, Russia is reaching out to Saudi Arabia, Gulf States and their investment vehicles, as well as Azerbaijan in what may signify more than just a search for foreign investment. Arguably, these moves mark another stage in the recession of Russian power from the North Caucasus.
By Najia Badykova
June 17th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Free of many sanctions, Iran is becoming an active player in the South Caucasus, taking steps towards greater involvement in the region. Russia is not objecting, and even appears to be supporting these initiatives. In March, Armenia’s Energy Minister Levon Yolyan announced that Iran will build a gas distribution network in southern Armenia. Russia’s Gazprom, which currently controls that country’s gas distribution system, has not opposed this plan. Iran is also involved in another initiative with Russia, Armenia and Georgia. The four countries have agreed to build the North-South Energy Corridor, linking them to a unified electric grid. These recent initiatives are just the first to take off. Iran and Russia have been deepening their economic ties with all South Caucasus countries, securing reliable transit corridors while keeping other foreign competitors out of the picture.
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.