By Eduard Abrahamyan
January 8, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On December 6, 2017, the Armenian Parliament unanimously ratified the Armenian-Russian US$ 100 million “state export loan.” The accord, signed on October 24, allows Yerevan to borrow funds for purchasing a wide range of sophisticated arms manufactured by Russia in order to implement the “Common Defense Sector Development Plan.” This is Moscow’s second programmed military loan to Armenia, following the US$ 200 million loan agreed in 2015 which is now in the final stage of realization. The pending loan is intended to allow Yerevan to uphold its consistent procurement of military hardware since 2011 in an effort to negate Azerbaijan’s military-technical superiority.
By Stephen Blank
December 13, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Recently, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan proclaimed their support for and recognition of Spain’s territorial integrity. These announcements were obviously triggered by the outbreak of the crisis around Catalonia’s independence referendum. While Spain’s political destiny is hardly a vital interest for these governments, they do worry about the continuing episodes of minority unrest that could furnish precedents for the dissolution of other multi-ethnic or multi-confessional states like them. On this point, these three governments, probably along with all the others in what used to be the Soviet Union, have justified reasons for concern.
By Fuad Shahbazov
December 7, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On October 30, 2017, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, along with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Georgia’s Prime-minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev, and Uzbekistan’s Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov attended the opening ceremony of the long-delayed Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway. “The opening of the railway is of historic and strategic significance,” Aliyev said at the ceremony in the Caspian port city of Alat, south of Baku, to mark the departure of the first trains. In fact, the opening of the new railway provides an alternative route to existing rail services carrying goods from Asia to Europe.
By John C. K. Daly
December 1, 2017, the CACI Analyst
On November 15 during the 7th Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA-VII) in Ashgabat Turkey, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an agreement providing for a major international trade and transport corridor stretching from Turkey to Afghanistan via the post-Soviet Central Asian republics, named the “Lapis Lazuli Corridor.” While many practical problems remain, the development and operation of such a railway corridor has enormous implications for the countries along its route, particularly Afghanistan.
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.