By Stephen Blank
May 12, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Since the occurrence of large scale fighting around Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2016, resulting in some Azerbaijani gains, there has been a widespread fear that this crisis could easily escalate out of control drawing in not only the two belligerents but also Russia and Turkey. Armenia’s response to the visible enhancement of Azerbaijan’s military capability has marked a qualitative escalation of the crisis’ military potential. Moreover, it has further unmasked the Russian policy of abetting the crisis rather than trying to resolve it, even though Moscow professes to be against renewed hostilities and to want a solution.
By Boris Ajeganov
January 23, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Foreign investment in Georgia is strengthening the country’s importance in connecting East Asia with Europe, which has positive implications for the broader region. The rise in FDI in commercial and transportation infrastructure in combination with the signing of international free trade agreements will reduce Georgia’s vulnerability in terms of economic and, ultimately, ‘hard’ security. The growing importance of the South Caucasus as node for EU-China trade will weaken Russia’s incentives to undermine its southern neighbors by military, political, and economic means as it has done in the past. Accordingly, Tbilisi’s ability to conduct an independent foreign policy is set to improve despite the absence of Western security guarantees.
By Richard Weitz
January 19th 2017, the CACI Analyst
The Trump administration will soon undertake a comprehensive review of Russia-US relations and U.S. policy toward the rest of Eurasia. Although the new team will presumably consider many options, the president-elect’s statements imply that the U.S. will not soon support further NATO expansion or other actions that would strongly antagonize Moscow. Despite this limitation, the U.S. government will continue security ties with U.S. partners in Eurasia, such as Georgia. In practice, there are a number of steps the U.S. and Georgia can undertake to advance their mutual security.
By Stephen Blank
January 16th, 2017, The CACI Analyst
Recent evidence shows a gradual increase in Chinese military activity in Central Asia, particularly with Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, although China has for years denied any military interest in the region. In October, PLA and Tajik forces jointly participated in counterterrorism exercises in Tajikistan near the border with Afghanistan, following earlier activity in 2016. Whereas Tajikistan was then silent, this time it publicized the exercises, which aroused a visible anxiety in the Russian media although the Russian government has hitherto been unwilling to comment on this issue. China’s initiative could imply a major new development in Chinese policy and in Central Asia’s overall security, with lasting implications for the region.
By Armen Grigoryan
January 12th, 2017, The CACI Analyst
Further negotiations on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue seem to be practically postponed until Armenia completes its parliamentary elections in April 2017. At the same time, the government demonstrates an unwillingness to proceed beyond rhetoric with governance and economic reforms. The administration’s inability to deliver satisfactory economic results and ensure social development, as well as its close connections with Russia with a strong clientelism component, suggest a further growth of dependence and compliance with Moscow’s political agenda.
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.