By Tristan Kenderdine
July 17, 2018, the CACI Analyst
A strategic deployment of trade corridors is taking shape across Afghanistan and Iran as both India and China subvert each other’s trade strategies through key geoeconomic states. Afghanistan’s land corridor to Chabahar port connects it to India by sea, creating a Persian-Gulf to Caspian Sea corridor, while the Afghan air corridor to India provides a parallel, more direct trade route. By contrast, China’s twin economic corridors in the region run perpendicular: north-south through Pakistan to the Gulf, and east-west through Iran to Istanbul. Pakistan’s Gwadar and Iran’s Chabahar are thus effectively in the same geopolitical node, connecting very different Great Game trade strategies.
By Stephen Blank
January 25, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On December 5, 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that all the key issues regarding the delimitation of the Caspian Sea had been resolved and that a treaty was being prepared for heads of state to sign in 2018 in Astana. Yet less optimistic statements from the other parties, particularly Iran, suggest that Lavrov’s assessment was premature. If Russia and Iran can nevertheless reconcile their differences on the demarcation of the Caspian, this would have important strategic consequences not only for the littoral states, but also for the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East.
By Stephen Blank
November 27th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Few people think about trends in the Caucasus with reference to or in the context of Russia’s Syrian intervention. But Moscow does not make this mistake. From the beginning, Moscow has highlighted its access to the Caucasus through overflight rights and deployment of its forces in regard to Syria, e.g. sending Kalibr cruise missiles from ships stationed in the Caspian Sea to bomb Syria. Therefore we should emulate Russia’s example and seriously assess military trends in the Caucasus in that Syrian context.
By Robert M. Cutler
November 7th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
According to Azerbaijan’s energy minister Natig Aliev, his country and Kazakhstan will construct an oil pipeline under the Caspian Sea to provide additional necessary routes for export of Kazakhstani oil from the offshore supergiant Kashagan field, which has finally entered commercial production after years of delay. The two sides appear unbothered by the sometimes vexatious and still unsettled matter of the Caspian Sea’s legal regime, which has for nearly two decades prevented Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan from constructing a natural gas pipeline under the sea between their two countries.
By Stephen Blank
October 10th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
There are several signs of a possible turn for the better in the energy prospects of Caspian states, and especially Azerbaijan. The collapse of energy prices appears to have bottomed out. Even prices stagnating at US$ 40-60 a barrel gives energy producers a certain margin to cushion the shocks they will endure. A major aspect of the Caspian states’ comparative advantage is their proximity to Turkey and Southeastern Europe. As European growth recovers, the demand for energy coming through those states will likely grow. Ukraine’s growing freedom from Russian energy coercion will also stimulate it to look for alternatives and new opportunities for Caspian producers. Yet the perhaps most encouraging sign is the construction of new capacities to tie together and eventually integrate the European market.
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.