By John C. K. Daly
September 27, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On August 22, after nearly 16 years of war in Afghanistan, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to increase the U.S. military presence there, extending the longest war in U.S. history and adding billions more dollars to its cost, now estimated to over US$ 1 trillion since 2001. In searching for revenue streams to support this outlay an idea that has been around for more than a decade is being revived: exploiting Afghanistan’s rich, underused mineral wealth. Despite the extent of the country’s mineral deposits being well known, many impediments remain to their development despite international interest.
By Armen Grigoryan
September 25, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Whereas the Armenian government cautiously seeks opportunities to maintain and develop its relations with the West, the incumbent administration’s main priority is to maintain its own political and economic interests. It therefore strives to avoid internal instability or hostile reactions from Russia that could jeopardize the administration’s continued rule, as well as reforms that could endanger the oligarchic system’s grip on the economy. Despite the government’s official statements, the signing of a pivotal partnership agreement with the EU still depends on these priorities.
By Surayya Mammadova
September 12, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Prior to the 2015 Riga summit, Azerbaijan began to distance itself from EU partnership initiatives. Responding to criticism on crackdowns that intensified since 2013, the country adopted an increasingly anti-Western rhetoric in its foreign policy. Since then, the geopolitical and economic situation in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus has become more complicated and unpredictable, forcing both the EU and Azerbaijan to reevaluate their strategic priorities. Negotiations on a new partnership agreement began in February 2017, during Ilham Aliyev’s long awaited visit to Brussels, and the parties plan to finalize a draft agreement by November. Although Azerbaijani and EU interests align in some areas, issues such as political and security cooperation could become stumbling blocks once again.
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.