By Eduard Abrahamyan
August 22, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On June 11, 2018, Azerbaijani state media reported the conclusion of a Belarus-Azerbaijan arms deal, displaying the procured battery-size Polonez Multiple Rocket-Launch systems (MRLS) produced by a Belarus-Chinese military industry company. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev inspected the equipment at the new brigade site near Perekeshkul, north-west of Baku. At least five launch vehicles were showcased, each equipped with eight 301mm A200-type high-precision rockets, with a firing range of about 200 kilometers. The new artillery brigade is also equipped with LORA (Long-Range Artillery System) all-weather capability precision ballistic missile systems, with a maximum firing range of 300 kilometers, manufactured by Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI). The systems were subsequently showcased during a military parade in Baku on June 26.
By Rafis Abazov
July 10, 2018, the CACI Analyst
On the eve of the 20th anniversary of moving Kazakhstan’s capital from Almaty to Astana, the country’s government announced that the city of Astana has welcomed its one-millionth resident. Indeed, this was a remarkable achievement for the city, which within just 20 years – between 1997 and 2018 – grew from a population of only 290,000 to more than 1.1 million inhabitants, or more than 300 percent. Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev envisions that the population of Astana could exceed three million by 2050. Therefore, the main question is whether Kazakhstan can sustain this rapid urbanization shift without facing major social and demographic upheaval.
By Emil A. Souleimanov and Huseyn Aliyev
July 5, 2018, the CACI Analyst
In late May, Nakhichevan-based Azerbaijani forces entered no-man’s land to the northwest of the exclave, formally part of Armenia, as deep as 10-15 kilometers. The territory was occupied without a single shot, and represents a physically larger portion of land than that acquired by Azerbaijan as a result of the April 2016 clashes. As the Armenian public was preoccupied with the toppling of the regime of Serzh Sargsyan and the Pashinyan government’s subsequent anti-corruption initiatives, the “silent occupation” of land in Armenia’s Vayotz Dzor province went virtually unnoticed. Since further advances into Armenian territory are likely to force Russia’s response, both sides remain cautious to avoid further confrontations.
By Tristan Kenderdine
July 17, 2018, the CACI Analyst
A strategic deployment of trade corridors is taking shape across Afghanistan and Iran as both India and China subvert each other’s trade strategies through key geoeconomic states. Afghanistan’s land corridor to Chabahar port connects it to India by sea, creating a Persian-Gulf to Caspian Sea corridor, while the Afghan air corridor to India provides a parallel, more direct trade route. By contrast, China’s twin economic corridors in the region run perpendicular: north-south through Pakistan to the Gulf, and east-west through Iran to Istanbul. Pakistan’s Gwadar and Iran’s Chabahar are thus effectively in the same geopolitical node, connecting very different Great Game trade strategies.
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.