By Jacob Zenn
January 16th, 2017, The CACI Analyst
Abu Zar al-Burmi was one of the most prominent Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) muftis and a close associate of the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda. Despite pledging loyalty to the terrorist organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2015, he has recently renounced his support of ISIS and is preaching under the banner of the Imam Bukhari Brigade (IBB), which is a Syria-based IMU offshoot that is loyal to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The case of Abu Zar shows how, since the rise of ISIS in 2014, al-Qaeda has defended its stake in Central Asian jihadism.
By Armen Grigoryan
January 12th, 2017, The CACI Analyst
Further negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue seem to be practically postponed until Armenia completes its parliamentary elections in April 2017. At the same time, the government demonstrates an unwillingness to proceed beyond rhetoric with governance and economic reforms. The administration’s inability to deliver satisfactory economic results and ensure social development, as well as its close connections with Russia with a strong clientelism component, suggest a further growth of dependence and compliance with Moscow’s political agenda.
By Farkhod Tolipov
January 10th, 2017, The CACI Analyst
On December 4, 2016, three months after the death of Uzbekistan’s first President Islam Karimov, the country held new presidential elections. The Prime Minister and acting Interim President Shavkat Mirziyoev became president-elect by defeating three competitors in a highly asymmetric campaign characterized by the utilization of so-called administrative resources. Yet Mirziyoev’s campaign was also an explicit demonstration of new domestic and foreign political trends in post-Karimov Uzbekistan towards more liberal reforms. The campaign also revealed rising new expectations on the part of the Uzbek nation after a quarter-century of one-person rule.
By Zaur Shiriyev
December 20th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Georgia’s recent parliamentary election is hard to distinguish from previous elections in terms of the consolidation of power by the ruling Georgian Dream party. However, a significant difference can be observed in the increased political participation among ethnic Azerbaijanis, most clearly manifested in the number of Azerbaijani-origin candidates who not only ran but were elected, as well as their age and diverse political belonging. This recent shift has introduced a new level of electoral competition, bringing with it the complexities of party politics. The ruling party provides resources to support its own candidates – as seen when two Azerbaijanis lost amid claims of electoral violations.
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.