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 Sudha Ramachandran
September 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
With its shuttle diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan to ease tensions between the two neighbors, China has expanded its peacemaking role in the Afghan conflict. Successful peacemaking is vital for ensuring stability in the region, which in turn is needed to secure the future of China’s Belt and Road Initiative. It will require Beijing to move beyond offering Kabul and Islamabad economic incentives to address the core issue underlying Afghanistan-Pakistan estrangement: alleged support to acts of terror directed against each other. Given its own strong interests in undertaking peacemaking, can China be an honest broker?
By Stephen Blank
August 29, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Inexplicably, Russia’s rapprochement with Pakistan over the last several years has received little or no attention in the West. It raises several vital questions about Russian policy in Central and South Asia as well as Russia’s approach to terrorism and to India and China. Since Moscow now advertises itself as a partner to the West in a new phase of the war on terrorism, its relationship to Pakistan and thus to the anti-terrorist war in Afghanistan possesses is highly relevant. Yet this relationship remains an unduly neglected issue in the analysis of Russian foreign policy.
By Richard Weitz
August 3, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The June Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana marked the SCO’s first membership expansion since its creation in 2001. By finally ending this logjam, the SCO has raised expectations of continued enlargement and increased geopolitical weight. However, major obstacles to further growth persist; meanwhile, more members deepen the mutual tensions and rivalries within the institution.
By Michael Clarke
July 20, 2017, the CACI Analyst
President Xi Jinping’s ambitious “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) seeks to make China the hub of trans-Eurasian economic connectivity by linking the Chinese economy with the major continental and maritime zones of the Eurasian continent through both physical and financial infrastructure. President Xi has proclaimed that BRI will “benefit people across the whole world” as it will be based on the “Silk Road spirit” of “peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness”. This rhetoric may be enhancing Beijing’s diplomatic position but it is one that rings hollow in China’s own Eurasian frontiers such as Xinjiang where BRI is coinciding with the imposition of new forms of political and social control.
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.