By S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell
December 10th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
A number of initiatives have combined to make the development of continental transport and trade across the heartland of Eurasia a reality rather than a mere vision. Some of these have been external, while many have been internal to the region. Yet Europe, which launched the visionary TRACECA program in the early 1990s, is largely absent from the scene today. Yet if Europe works with Central Asian states, it stands to benefit greatly from this process. This would involve work to make the transport corridors more attuned to market logic; to promote the development of soft infrastructure; to pay attention to the geopolitics of transport and support the Caucasus and Caspian corridor; and not least, to look ahead to the potential of linking Europe through Central Asia not just to China, but also to the Indian subcontinent.
By Eka Janashia
December 9th, the CACI Analyst
On November 23, a group supportive of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) released a video via social media calling on Georgian Muslims to join the “Islamic caliphate” and admonishing that the time of beheading “infidels” would soon come.
The twelve-minute video containing the “message to the Georgian people” was posted on the Russian-language Furat’s social media accounts and a Georgian-language pro-ISIS website, proclaiming itself to be the “Caliphate’s Georgian Information Channel.” The video, featuring Russian subtitles, shows four Georgian-speaking men, armed with AK-47 rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.
By Natalia Konarzewska
December 7th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
After meeting with Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller in Milan on September 25, Georgia’s Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze announced that the parties discussed increasing Russia’s transit of gas to Armenia and opened a possibility for Georgian commercial entities to buy additional volumes of Russian gas. In October, Kaladze reiterated that Tbilisi wants to diversify its natural gas routes and suppliers through imports from Russia and possibly Iran. No details about the eventual increase of gas shipments from Russia have so far been revealed. Yet the prospective agreement has already caused controversy among Georgian political opposition, which questions Gazprom’s reliability as a gas supplier, and raised concerns in Azerbaijan, which is Georgia’s largest gas provider.
By Mina Muradova
November 30th, the CACI Analyst
In recent weeks, a political controversy has emerged in Tbilisi over the Georgian government’s negotiations with Gazprom over a return of the Russian natural gas giant to the Georgian market. Georgian officials insist there is no intention to replace gas imports from Georgia’s main supplier Azerbaijan with Russian gas, but Georgia’s own experience of dependency on Gazprom makes the issue highly controversial.
By Stephen Blank
November 20th, 2015, The CACI Analyst
In early October Frontera Corporation announced that it had discovered 3.8 trillion cubic meters (TCM) of gas in Georgia’s Kakheti region. Although the discovery needs to be confirmed and the precise amount of gas determined; this discovery has major potential benefits of both an economic and geopolitical nature for Georgia, Azerbaijan and Europe. But there are lurking dangers as well, especially as the Georgian government recently voiced its intention to sign an agreement with Gazprom for Russian gas and diversify away from its exclusive reliance on Azerbaijan, despite that country’s utter reliability over several years and lack of designs upon Georgia.
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.