By Temuri Yakobashvili (the 16/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Twenty years after establishing diplomatic relations with the Central Asia states, China’s economic engagement in the region has expanded to billions of dollars in investments, loans, and energy sales. President Xi Jinping’s September tour concluded with extended aid sums reminiscent of the Marshall Plan. Agreements focused on the fields of energy, trade and finance, and infrastructure, cementing China’s role as Central Asia’s primary economic benefactor. China continues to outpace Russia in both bilateral trade and foreign direct investment measures, though President Xi Jinping is careful not to challenge Russian political primacy in the region. China’s contributions to Central Asia should not discourage the West from participating in regional integration projects and enjoying the rewards.
By Richard Weitz (the 16/10/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Central Asia and South Caucasus governments welcomed the decision of the Nobel Prize Committee to award the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) its annual peace prize. They also supported Syria’s formal accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the Russian-U.S. agreement and subsequent UN Security Council Resolution that establishes a framework for eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons (CW) arsenal. While the Central Asia and South Caucasus states' experiences with eliminating the consequences of the Soviet nuclear weapons activities on their territory is well known, they have also had to manage the effects of the massive Soviet-era CW infrastructure that persists even to this day.
by Stephen Blank (05/29/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia is changing its defense policies in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Late last year, Russia sent the regular Army to deal with the North Caucasian insurgency while Ministry of Interior forces (VVMVD) are now conducting large-scale operations with Azerbaijani security forces on both sides of the common border, presumably against North Caucasian and Azerbaijani-based terrorists and insurgents. Russia has also recently created a Special Operations Command consisting of a Special Forces brigade, a training center, helicopter, and air transportation squadrons. Russia will assign its airborne forces (VDV) missions relating to peace-creating operations, while it also spends large sums of money to refurbish its bases in Kyrgyzstan and pressures Tajikistan to host a Russian base.
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.