By Robert M. Cutler
March 12, 2021, the CACI Analyst
For over twenty years, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have been at odds over the mid-Caspian oil and gas field that the former called “Kepez” (often rendered “Kyapaz” from the Russian) and that the latter called “Sardar.” In late 2020, they agreed to rename it Dostlug/Dostluk, meaning “Friendship” in their Turkic languages. On January 21, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing on the terms for their joint exploration and development of the field. This agreement removes the last obstacle to the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline (TCGP).
By S. Enders Wimbush
February 18, 2021, the CACI Analyst
Both Russia and the United States are advertising new strategies for dealing with Central Asia, but each is deficient in its own way. While Russia seeks to exclude Afghanistan from its vision of Central Asia, the U.S. explicitly and wisely incorporates Afghanistan as organic to its vision. Neither vision links Central Asia strategically to a larger Eurasian concept that embraces the South Caucasus. To the contrary, both explicitly (the Russian version) or implicitly (the American version) isolate Central Asia geopolitically from the larger emerging political, economic, and security dynamics that Central Asians themselves seek to encourage to establish their region as the connective tissue between Asia and Europe.
By Brenda Shaffer
February 16, 2021, the CACI Analyst
On January 21, 2021 the Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan signed an intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for joint development of the newly named Dostluq (friendship in Azerbaijani and Turkmen languages) oil and natural gas field. This agreement will likely facilitate multiple new ventures in oil and gas in the Caspian Sea. It also reflects the mutual desire of the two states for increased cooperation in multiple spheres beyond energy and is the result of increased contacts between the two neighboring countries over the last two years. Increased cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan is likely to emerge beyond the sphere of energy.
By Stephen Blank
February 8, 2021, the CACI Analyst
The advent of the Biden Administration provides an opportunity to give the South Caucasus the importance it deserves in U.S. foreign policy. The recent war over Nagorno-Karabakh has underlined the region’s geostrategic importance, whereas the institutionalization of a Russo-Turkish rivalry/condominium raises the real possibility that another clash could trigger a confrontation between these two powers, one of whom is a NATO ally, as well as their proxies. Simultaneously, Georgia suffers from a drawn-out political conflict among the leading political parties. In this context, the new Administration and its allies in Europe should act to improve the West’s position in the South Caucasus.
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.