By Stephen Blank
November 29, 2018, the CACI Analyst
The signing of the Caspian convention in August 2018 has opened up exciting new possibilities for getting Central Asian oil and gas to European and global markets. The long-desired Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) from both shores of the Caspian has thus become a possibility. By thinking big, we can use Caspian gas for beneficial economic and political purposes. Whatever route Caspian energy takes to Europe, it must traverse the Caucasus and can be of substantial value in transforming the Eurasian geopolitical scene and agenda. Specifically, those parties who have the most to gain form resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict can now devise a peace program that incorporates the use of energy to help foster an enduring peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, reduce Russia’s ability to manipulate this conflict, and at the same time enrich them both as well as European consumers.
By Fuad Shahbazov
October 18, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 16, the Azerbaijani MP and head of the Azerbaijan-Russia interparliamentary group Ali Huseynli told local media that “It would be advisable to consider Azerbaijan’s participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization” (CSTO). The sensational statement triggered a public discussion on Azerbaijan’s possible membership in the Russia-led CSTO and its consequences for the region. While some state officials described this prospect as a logical extension of Baku’s cooperation with Moscow, others strictly opposed the idea, stating that it would pose dangerous challenges to the country.
By Ilgar Gurbanov
October 25, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 12, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Iran, and Turkmenistan signed the Convention on the Caspian Sea’s Legal Status in Astana. The Convention’s provision endorsing the construction of a subsea pipeline raised optimism regarding the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP) project, which has been stalled due to the Caspian’s uncertain status. Discussions on the TCGP have been ongoing since the 1990s, envisaging the export of 30 billion cubic meters/year (bcm/y) of Turkmen gas to Europe across the Caspian by integrating with the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC).
By Natalia Konarzewska
September 25, 2018, the CACI Analyst
August 17 marked the first hundred days in office for Nikol Pashinyan’s government in Armenia, which assumed office after the mass social protests erupting in April and May this year. The leaders of the protest movement underlined that they campaigned for domestic reform, yet the ensuing transition of power followed by a crackdown on corruption and a legal purge among the Armenian political elite has already reverberated in Armenia-Russia relations. Moreover, the new government’s stiff approach towards resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has brought renewed tension in its relations with Azerbaijan.
By Eduard Abrahamyan
August 22, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On June 11, 2018, Azerbaijani state media reported the conclusion of a Belarus-Azerbaijan arms deal, displaying the procured battery-size Polonez Multiple Rocket-Launch systems (MRLS) produced by a Belarus-Chinese military industry company. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev inspected the equipment at the new brigade site near Perekeshkul, north-west of Baku. At least five launch vehicles were showcased, each equipped with eight 301mm A200-type high-precision rockets, with a firing range of about 200 kilometers. The new artillery brigade is also equipped with LORA (Long-Range Artillery System) all-weather capability precision ballistic missile systems, with a maximum firing range of 300 kilometers, manufactured by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). The systems were subsequently showcased during a military parade in Baku on June 26.
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.