By Fuad Shahbazov
October 18, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On August 16, the Azerbaijani MP and head of the Azerbaijan-Russia interparliamentary group Ali Huseynli told local media that “It would be advisable to consider Azerbaijan’s participation in the Collective Security Treaty Organization” (CSTO). The sensational statement triggered a public discussion on Azerbaijan’s possible membership in the Russia-led CSTO and its consequences for the region. While some state officials described this prospect as a logical extension of Baku’s cooperation with Moscow, others strictly opposed the idea, stating that it would pose dangerous challenges to the country.
By Rafis Abazov
October 16, 2018, the CACI Analyst
During the Astana Financial Days event in July 2018, President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan announced and personally endorsed the opening of the Astana International Financial Center (AIFC). He envisions that the AIFC will provide financial services “not only for Kazakhstan, but also for the whole world.” If successful, the AIFC can contribute to diversifying the financial resources for Kazakhstan’s national and international projects. Through its proper implementation, the government of Kazakhstan can develop a tool for improving collaboration with neighboring countries in Central Asia in the industrial, agricultural and tourism sectors, making the Central Asian section of the Silk Road more attractive for business and financial deals. In addition, the Center can become a real financial hub not only for Kazakhstan and Central Asia but also for the wider Eurasia region if it is capable of attracting enough financial resources from large international players.
By Huseyn Aliyev
October 2, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On May 27, Ingushetia’s Muftiate (The Muslim Spiritual Center of Ingushetia) excommunicated Yunus-bek Yevkurov, head of the autonomous republic in Russia’s North Caucasus. According to the head of the Muftiate, Isa Khamkhoev, the excommunication implies that Yevkurov is no longer a Muslim and is not allowed to participate in wedding and funeral ceremonies or other Muslim events in the republic. The Muftiate motivated its decision with Yevkurov’s persecution of the religious community, the illegal use of administrative resources to lobby against the Muftiate, and the use of security forces to seize land allocated for a mosque in the capital city Magas. Notwithstanding the excommunication, Yevkurov was reelected as the head of republic in the September 9 local elections.
By Stephen Blank
September 27, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Sri Lanka’s experience with China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a cautionary tale for governments in Eurasia that wish to affiliate with this mammoth project. Chinese investments in the port of Hambantota already in 2004 identified as part of China’s “string of pearls” strategy in the Indian Ocean. However, investments took the form of loans that the Sri Lankan government could not repay. After months of negotiation and heavy pressure, the Sri Lankan government turned the port, including all its structures and capacities, plus 15,000 acres around it to China in late 2017.
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.