By Richard Weitz (01/22/2015 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Kazakhstan stands out in Central Asia and the South Caucasus for its government’s activist diplomacy directed at building institutions, promoting disarmament, and reducing Eurasian conflicts. Astana has sought to ban nuclear tests globally and extend confidence-building mechanisms throughout Asia, and Kazakhstan’s past conflict resolution efforts have addressed Iran, water disputes, and Afghanistan. Kazakhstan’s current mediation effort concerns the Ukraine conflict. Kazakhstan’s recurring challenge, which may disrupt its Ukrainian efforts, is that its ability to resolve disputes is limited in the absence of supporting partners.
By Emil Souleimanov (10/15/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
One attribute of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas area has been numerous speculations on the involvement of foreign fighters on both sides to conflict. Amid the diverse body of volunteers and mercenaries involved in the war, Chechens and other North Caucasians have received particular attention due to their fame as fierce warriors, and because their involvement in the conflict on the side of pro-Russian forces has constituted solid evidence of Moscow’s military engagement in the war. Yet the fact that Caucasian volunteers participate also on the Ukrainian side, and the ambivalence toward the conflict locally in the North Caucasus, demonstrate the diversity of motives and incentives inducing Caucasians to fight in Ukraine.
By Avinoam Idan (09/03/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The return of open fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh (NK) conflict recently brought about a meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Sochi, under the auspices of President Putin, on August 10, 2014. The growing tension in the conflict and the Sochi meeting take place against the background of the crisis in Ukraine. The Karabakh conflict serves as Russian leverage in influencing and promoting Russia’s geostrategic aims in the Caucasus and beyond, and Russia’s new initiative in the conflict meant to improve Russia’s stance in its confrontation with the U.S. and EU and its hegemony over the gateway to Eurasia.
By Stephen Blank (08/05/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
When Moscow invaded and annexed Crimea, it also reacquired control over the Crimean Tatar population there, approximately 300,000 people. Russia’s annexation is utterly at odds with the desires of the Crimean Tatars and their Majlis or Council. As the veteran Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev has said, they want only autonomy within Ukraine, an insight based on the clear recognition that only in a democratic Ukraine, especially in the light of planned reforms to decentralize Ukraine’s administration, can their demands be met. The record of the treatment of Tatars in Crimea after Russia’s annexation implies that Moscow risks inciting a new insurgency, possibly with Jihadist overtones.
By John Daly (08/05/2014 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Two routes of the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), collectively known as the Northern Lines of Communication (NLOC) run through Russia, but deteriorating U.S.-Russian relations over Ukraine could complicate the continued usage of the NDN by U.S./NATO/ISAF forces. The NDN’s importance is well understood in both Washington and Moscow. The question is now, in an attempt to modify Russian behavior over Ukraine, whether a proposed third round of increased Western sanctions and intensified NATO activities around Russia’s periphery may cause the Russian government to deny ISAF and NATO further use of the NLOC segments of the NDN.
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.