By Rafis Abazov
May 23, 2019, the CACI Analyst
The resignation of Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev in spring 2019, after 30 years of uninterrupted stewardship, had an unexpected timing. However, even more unexpected was the Parliament of Kazakhstan’s hastily announced early presidential elections scheduled for June 9, 2019. Even some major political insiders were caught unprepared. Indeed, leading local analyst Sergei Domnin of Expert Magazine wrote that the entire political establishment woke up to find Kazakhstan at a political “crossroad.” Some believe that the elections are just a face change and that the ruling elite will continue to pursue the same policies. Others claim that the elections could lead to the emergence of an “entirely new political model.”
By Tamerlan Vahabov
May 7, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Azerbaijan’s centralized Ministry of Defense Industry (set up in 2005) has for now been dismantled and replaced by the Azersilah Corporation. For now, because the former ministry is “terra incognita” when it comes to its assets and liabilities. Depending on its indebtedness and liabilities, its corporate form may switch back to become a government agency. Yet regardless of its legal form, President Ilham Aliyev’s decree envisions corporatization, corporate management and sustainability of the defense industry product output. The twokey questions are how Azersilah will manage its relationship with newly emergent local companies in Azerbaijan’s defense industry market to attain financial stability, and how the new legal entity will contribute to a better alignment of its portfolio development with thearmy’s operational needs in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
By Uran Botobekov
May 2, 2019, the CACI Analyst
In January 2019, the Central Asian terrorist group Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ) publicly renewed its Bayat (oath of allegiance) to Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s global chief. More than seven years after the killing of Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda continues to attract Central Asian Salafi groups. This trend has intensified since the start of the Syrian civil war, where several thousand radical Islamists from Central Asia went to wage Jihad. The conflict has allowed al Qaeda to claim Syria as its newest and most important safe haven for a global Jihad ideology. The ideological assimilation of the Central Asian groups with al Qaeda took place precisely in Syria.
By Natalia Konarzewska
April 29, 2019, the CACI Analyst
In March 2019, two high-ranking Armenian officials revealed that Armenia and Russia have not yet reached an agreement on the price of natural gas. Negotiations on gas tariffs are ongoing and remain high on the bilateral agenda. In late December 2018, Gazprom announced that it will raise gas prices for Armenia in 2019. Subsequently, Armenia has sought to reduce the price for Russian supply, with little success. In a move to improve Armenia’s negotiating position vis-a-vis Russia, Yerevan started to explore the possibility of importing gas from Iran. The gas row comes amid heightened tensions in post-revolutionary Armenia’s relations with Russia. Moscow has traditionally used its gas deliveries as a lever in bilateral relations and now routinely expresses its distrust in Nikol Pashinyan’s government.
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.