By Svante Cornell and Marcela Londoño (6/6/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKGROUND: It is well-known that the trade in illegal drugs, with the high risks it entails, is driven by the huge profit margins at all levels of the commerce. A farmer growing coca or opium earns up to five times as much as if he was growing wheat or rice; yet this pales compared to the profits made by the middlemen that refine the drugs and carry them from producers through international borders to customers. Added to this is the addictive qualities of narcotics, especially heroin and cocaine, which makes the demand for these drugs close to inelastic: no matter the price, the user needs to have them, and will go to great lengths to get them.
By John C.K. Daly (6/20/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKGROUND: It is the explicit goal of the Russian government to retain as much control and profit as possible from the production and transit of Caspian oil. Energy has become the fiscal engine that drives the Russia government. Moscow intends to have Caspian oil transported in Russian bottoms.
By Roza Zhalimbetova and Gregory Gleason (6/20/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKROUND: The original goal of creating the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in late 1991 was to ensure the sovereignty of the individual republics. It is clear that the signatories of the CIS charter believed this goal could be accomplished without sacrificing what was referred to at the time as a 'unified economic space'. Soon after the dissolution of the USSR, however, events freed politicians of these illusions.
By Khatuna Salukvadze (6/20/2001 issue of the CACI Analyst)
BACKGROUND: The initial GUAM grouping (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) came into being in 1996 in the process of the talks on the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. The four had in common their opposition to Russias dominant position in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), expressed through its military presence on their territories. When Uzbekistan joined in 1999, GUAM became GUUAM.
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.