By Stephen Blank
March 22, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Central Asia has never ranked high on U.S. priorities. That is unlikely to change under the Trump Administration. Yet recent developments in Central Asia, particularly in Uzbekistan, do offer an opportunity to advance U.S. interests through a greater economic-political presence in the region, whilst also countering growing Chinese economic dominance and Russian efforts at military hegemony at a relatively low cost. The two key countries in this possible opportunity for the U.S. are Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.
By Armen Grigoryan
March 20, 2017, the CACI Analyst
March 5 marked the start of official campaigning for Armenia’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for April 2, after which a parliamentary system will replace the current presidential one. Yet these elections are unlikely to bring about any significant changes in either the economic and social spheres or in Armenia’s pro-Russian foreign policy, given the dominant position of the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA). The opposition running for election is fragmented and short of resources, and will compete in an election system favoring the RPA.
By Natalia Konarzewska
March 16, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The crushing defeat in Georgia's October parliamentary elections will have far-reaching consequences for the former ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM). The election results sparked a heated conflict in the UNM leadership and prompted a group of senior party members to challenge former President Mikheil Saakashvili's leadership in absentia of the party. In mid-January a group of party members opposing Saakashvili, including prominent figures, left the party. On January 20, UNM's party congress decided to leave the chairman position vacant until the former president is able to return to Georgia. Saakashvili currently resides in Ukraine, where in late 2016 he launched a new oppositional political initiative after resigning from the post of Odessa governor.
By Theresa Sabonis-Helf
March 13, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The critical but aging Georgian hydropower facility of Enguri is currently closed and under inspection, likely in urgent need of repairs. The facility serves both Georgia and Abkhazia, with portions of the facility located in each territory. Existing agreements compel Georgia to keep the lights on in Abkhazia – for free – in return for Abkhazia's (and Russia's) continued acknowledgement Georgia as the owner and operator of the facility. With Abkhaz consumption continuing to rise, Georgia is increasingly questioning how much it should be willing to do in order to maintain control of its largest power plant.
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.