By Stephen Blank (05/21/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Iran is substantially modifying its policies in the Caucasus and is seeking to draw Azerbaijan closer. The high point of this rapprochement was the visit of Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to Iran in April, a visit arranged after he and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met in Davos in January. The visit received glowing reporting in both countries and led to the signing of several memoranda on minor issues. However, the key is that Iranian Supreme Leader Seyid Ali Khamenei expressed assurances of greater bilateral cooperation as a result of the visit as well as Iran’s support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, including apparently Nagorno-Karabakh.
By Farhad Aliyev (the 22/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The Geneva interim agreement in November, 2013, between six world powers and Iran on its disputed nuclear program could mark the start of one of the most significant transformations in the Middle East over the last decades, with ramifications across Eurasia. Azerbaijan, as one of Iran's neighbors and sharing certain religious, ethnic, and cultural commonalities with Iran, should be considered among the countries most influenced by the success of negotiations with Iran, even in terms of Azerbaijan's domestic development.
By Stephen Blank (the 08/01/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
As India enters 2014 it faces multiple and mounting security challenges in Central Asia, which originate first of all in Afghanistan and second in Iran. The impending U.S. and NATO withdrawal leaves India as the most exposed foreign power supporting Afghanistan, which few believe can survive without continuing large-scale allied support and at least some military presence. The U.S. withdrawal, which might be accelerated if no Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) is signed between Washington and Kabul, would expose India to the risks of intensified fighting in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s belief that India’s presence there represents a threat also exposes India to further terrorist onslaughts, particularly by forces trained and supported by Pakistani military and intelligence agencies.
By Oleg Salimov (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The challenges of economic development and regional integration in Central Asia have given rise to a number of projects in various spheres. Among these, the “Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Tajikistan” railroad is directly aimed at stimulating the participating countries' economies through the creation of a better transportation system for easy access to new markets. The project's goal is to expand regional infrastructure, connect the landlocked countries with seaways, and eventually link Eurasian and Southeast Asian markets. The ability of the participants to successfully finalize construction of the railroad, provide security, and incite an interest from other countries will determine whether this project can mark the beginning of a new Silk Road.
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.