Monday, 19 April 2010

14 April 2010 News Digest

Published in News Digest

By Alima (4/19/2010 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Karzai lashes out at West over Afghan elections 1 April President Hamid Karzai accused the West on Thursday of trying to ruin Afghanistan's elections, intensifying a showdown with parliament over whether foreigners will oversee a parliamentary vote this year. Karzai's international reputation took a beating after a U.N.

Karzai lashes out at West over Afghan elections 1 April President Hamid Karzai accused the West on Thursday of trying to ruin Afghanistan's elections, intensifying a showdown with parliament over whether foreigners will oversee a parliamentary vote this year. Karzai's international reputation took a beating after a U.N.-backed fraud watchdog threw out a third of the votes cast for him in last year's presidential election. He is now wrangling with parliament and the United Nations over fraud protection measures for a parliamentary vote due in September."Foreigners will make excuses, they do not want us to have a parliamentary election," a defiant Karzai told a gathering of election officials. "They want parliament to be weakened and battered, and for me to be an ineffective president and for parliament to be ineffective." "You have gone through the kind of elections during which you were not only threatened with terror, you also faced massive interference from foreigners," Karzai told the officials. "Some embassies also tried to bribe the members of the commission." In Washington, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley rejected Karzai's accusations the West wanted to see the Afghan parliament weakened and for him to be ineffective. "We do not accept that judgment," Crowley said. What was important, said Crowley, was that Karzai be seen by his own people as governing effectively and that he take "measurable" steps against corruption. "Karzai has to step forward," Crowley told reporters. Karzai singled out Peter Galbraith, the American former deputy of the U.N. mission in Kabul, sacked after accusing his boss of turning a blind eye to fraud, and French General Philippe Morillon, head of an EU vote monitoring mission. "There was fraud in the presidential and provincial election, with no doubt there was massive fraud. This wasn't fraud by Afghans but the fraud of foreigners, the fraud of Galbraith, of Morillon and the votes of the Afghan nation were in the control of an embassy," Karzai said.He accused Galbraith of telling an election official he would be "digging himself an early grave" if Karzai was declared first round winner and said Morillon had tried to block the announcement of results to force Karzai to accept a political alliance. Galbraith told Reuters in a telephone interview that Karzai's accusations were "ludicrous." (Reuters) "It's preposterous of him to accuse me of fraud," said Galbraith, who also denied telling election officials anything except to follow published guidelines. (Reuters)

Big business must invest in North Caucasus – Medvedev 1 April Big business must assist socioeconomic normalization in the North Caucasus, President Dmitry Medvedev said at the Thursday conference in Makhachkala. "Everyone who cares about the future of this country and has money must do that," he said. "Not all of the investments must go to Moscow and foreign countries. They [big business] must pay their dues here." Heads of North Caucasian republics are attending the conference. (Interfax) Anti-terrorism intelligence exchanges to intensify in SCO 2 April The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure will meet regularly to exchange intelligence and organize exercises in Russia. "Representatives of authoritative agencies from the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will hold regular meetings to broaden cooperation in fighting terrorism, separatism and extremism, and to exchange intelligence. Also, a group will be set up to coordinate the fight against a major international terrorist organization," the Agency's chair, Vice Chairman of the Kazakh National Security Committee Zhanat Dzharasov said after the 16th meeting of the Agency's Council. The Council made the decision to hold a joint anti-terror drill in Russia this year, as well as a separate stage in the Peace Mission 2010 anti-terror drill in Kazakhstan. SCO General Secretary Muratbek Imanaliyev attended the Agency meeting during which the new director of the Agency's Executive Committee Dzhenibek Dzhumanbekov assumed his duties in a ceremony. Uzbek Deputy Foreign Minister said during the ceremony that a joint declaration will be signed during UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's visit to Uzbekistan on April 4 and 5, which will pay special attention to the fight against terrorism. (Interfax)

NATO says German troops kill five Afghan soldiers 4 April NATO says German troops based in northern Afghanistan have mistakenly killed at least five Afghan soldiers. The alliance said in a statement today that the incident occurred when a unit of German soldiers was approached by two unmarked vehicles which failed to stop in Konduz Province. Earlier, Konduz Governor Mohammad Omar said that six Afghan soldiers were killed in the incident, which happened near Char Dara district. The shooting came just hours after the Germans lost three of their own soldiers in a gunfight with insurgents. (RFE/RL) Karzai rallies tribes, distances self from the West 4 April President Hamid Karzai, under fire for anti-Western remarks, distanced himself from his foreign backers in a speech on Sunday, telling tribal elders Afghans need to see their leaders are not "puppets." Speaking in front of some 1,500 elders at a "shura" or traditional council meeting in the southern city of Kandahar, Karzai said he would block an upcoming major NATO offensive in the Stanley McChrystal, who flew down to Kandahar with Karzai, sat on the stage behind the Afghan president but did not speak. "Afghanistan will be fixed when its people trust their president is independent ... when the people trust the government is independent and not a puppet," Karzai said, adding that government officials should not let "foreigners" meddle in their work. "The other day, I told Mr. (Barack) Obama: 'I can't fix this nation through war,'" he said. "It has been eight years that this situation is going on, we want peace and security... I'm engaged with all my force to bring peace in this country." U.S. President Obama met Karzai in Kabul last week during a brief nighttime visit to Afghanistan, his first in the nearly 15 months since he took office. The visit was overshadowed days later when Karzai delivered a verbal attack on the West. The White House demanded an explanation after Karzai accused foreigners of perpetrating election fraud, bribing officials and trying to weaken him and his government. Once the darling of the West, Karzai has fallen out with Western leaders in recent years, especially after a fraud-marred presidential election last August which saw him return to power. The strained relations could complicate a counter-insurgency military strategy, which calls for NATO troops to emphasize their support for Karzai's government more than ever. NATO forces are planning on launching the biggest operation of the 8-year-old war in and around Kandahar, southern Afghanistan's biggest city, birthplace of the Taliban and home town of Karzai and his powerful family. Washington calls the offensive -- due to begin in earnest when thousands of additional U.S. troops arrive at the end of May or early June -- the main focus of its "surge" strategy to turn the momentum against the insurgency this year. In his speech, Karzai promised to consult tribes before the operation and block it if they do not support it. "These days the foreigners speak of an operation in Kandahar. I know you are worried. Are you worried?" Karzai asked. "Yes we are!" some shouted back. "Well, if you are worried, then there won't be an operation, if you are not happy," Karzai replied. U.S. Major General William Mayville, in charge of operations for NATO troops, played down those comments, saying the president was "on board" for the operation and was only trying to win support for it from the community. "It doesn't really matter what we think. It matters what the 1,300 or so folks in that room think. (Karzai) acknowledged he's the commander in chief, that's helpful," said Mayville. "You've got to have the community really wanting in, otherwise things are stalled. (Karzai's) convinced, he's on board. We would not have had this shura if he wasn't convinced this is the right stuff," Mayville told reporters. (Reuters)

Azeri terrorist extradited from Pakistan 5 April Pakistan has extradited a leader of the Forest Brothers armed criminal group to Azerbaijan, suspected of committing a terror attack at a mosque in Baku. "Samir Mekhdiyev has been arrested in Pakistan and extradited to Azerbaijan," the Azerbaijani National Security Ministry reported on Monday. Mekhdiyev was on a wanted list on suspicion of committing a terrorist attack at the Abu-Bakr mosque in Baku on August 17, 2008, it said. The suspect illegally crossed into Iran, Turkey and Georgia after the terror attack, and remained in Pakistan until he was arrested. A group of Azri citizens are being tried in Baku on suspicion of forming a radical religious group with links to an international terrorist ring, and committing a string of terror attacks, including one at the Abu Bakr mosque, earlier reports said. The 31-member group was led by Azer Misirkhanov, also known as Abdullah. The group was planning to stage a series of terror attacks in Azerbaijan in order to provoke panic ahead of the 2008 presidential election. They also planned to blow up the Baku-Novorossiisk oil pipeline, according to investigators. The group helped Mekhdiyev escape abroad. Three suicide belts, five kilos of explosives, four grenade launchers, nine assault rifles, one gun and a large amount of ammunition and explosives were seized when the suspects were being detained. (Interfax)

Baku won’t oust Armenians from Karabakh upon conflict settlement – diplomat 5 April Baku has called the claims, that the return of Karabakh to Azerbaijan would drive Armenians out of that territory, by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan unfounded. "Mr. Sargsyan must be a poorly informed man, as he claims that Azerbaijan could drive away its own residents on nationality principles," Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Elkhan Polukhov told Interfax. About 30,000 Armenians live in Azerbaijan, he said. "They enjoy all rights and are not subjected to discrimination based on nationality," he said. "Thus, claims that Azerbaijan, which has a 30,000-strong Armenian community on its unoccupied lands, may oust Armenians from Karabakh are unfounded. Azerbaijan lives by these rules now. Why should it change the policy for citizens in Karabakh?" Polukhov asked. He also called unfounded the opinion of Sargsyan that Karabakh must have right to call themselves independent as in the case of the republics of the former Yugoslavia. "Mr. Sargsyan must remember that the former Yugoslavia, the same as the former Soviet Union, disintegrated for historic reasons, and Armenia became independent in the same way. It is politically and legally wrong to compare Azerbaijan and Yugoslavia," he said. As for the self-determination rights of Karabakh declared by Sargsyan, the position of Azerbaijan has always been clear, he said. "Armenian and Azerbaijani communities of Karabakh have self-determination rights within the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. They are free to use these rights," he said. (Interfax)

Terrorist attacks in Ingushetia, Dagestan, Moscow may be connected – source 5 April The explosions Monday morning in Karabulak may be a link in a chain of terrorist attacks that took place in Moscow and Dagestan earlier, a well-informed source in law enforcement told Interfax. "Undoubtedly we are studying the possible connection between the explosions in Karabulak, Ingushetia, on Monday and the previous terrorist attacks in Moscow and Dagestan," he said. "The forces trying to undermine stability may be one and the same," he felt. However, there are also serious differences between the recent attacks. The source said that the explosions in the Moscow metro were aimed against civilians while in Kizlyar and Karabulak they were aimed against law enforcerment. "Final conclusions can be drawn only after closely studying all circumstances of the latest terrorist attacks," the source told Interfax. (Interfax) U.S. Consulate in Peshavar attacked, Taliban claim responsibility 6 April At least seven people were killed on April 5 and several injured when Taliban militants launched an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan. Ambulances rushed to and from the area near the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar after militants armed with guns, some wearing suicide bomber vests, tried to attack the consulate building. One of the suicide bombers reportedly blew himself up close to the gate of the consulate, but Pakistani police said none of the militants succeeded in entering the heavily fortified complex. Witnesses reported hearing three large explosions followed by gun and rocket fire in the area around the consulate. There were unconfirmed reports that the consulate building was damaged, but there were no reports that any U.S. citizens or local employees at the consulate were killed or injured. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Azam Tariq, who claimed to be a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the attacks were "revenge for drone attacks." The United States is widely believed to be responsible for unmanned drone attacks that have killed scores of Taliban militants, including some of the group's leaders, in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border. A number of civilians have also been killed in those attacks. Washington does not comment on the use of drones in Pakistan. The Taliban spokesman warned that more attacks would follow. "Americans are our enemies," Tariq said, vowing "we will target any place where there are Americans." (RFE/RL) NATO airstrike kills four Afghan civilians 6 April A NATO air strike in southern Afghanistan mistakenly killed four civilians, including two women and a child, while targeting suspected militants in a compound, the military said Tuesday. "Insurgents were using the compound as a firing position when combined forces, unaware of the possible presence of civilians, directed air assets against it," the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said. "Later, once they were able to enter the compound, combined forces found four dead civilians - two women, an elderly man and a child - inside," a statement read. "Four males, suspected insurgents, were also found dead inside the compound." Asked by AFP if the civilians were killed by the coalition air strike an ISAF spokesman said: "yes sir". (AFP) Karzai remarks ratchet up tensions with Washington 6 April Remarks by Afghan President Hamid Karzai continue to cause tensions with the United States. The U.S. State Department has reacted to comments Karzai is alleged to have made to Afghan lawmakers, threatening to join the Taliban insurgency if he continued to receive pressure from Western backers to overhaul his government. "I'm going to take a cautious approach here. I can't explain what he said about the Taliban. He is the elected leader of Afghanistan, we are working closely with him and his government, [and] ultimately, as I said last week, this is not about the relationship between President Karzai and the United States. This is about the relationship between President Karzai, his government, and his people. Ultimately, he has to demonstrate leadership and effectiveness to his people,"  said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. Meanwhile, Karzai has refused to back down from comments he made last week alleging foreigners had bribed and threatened election workers to carry out fraud in last year's presidential election. In an interview with BBC television, Karzai said what he had said about the election "was all true," and suggested the United States was behind the fraud. On April 2, Karzai phoned U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to ease tensions sparked by the comments. But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that since that phone call "it obviously didn't get any better." Gibbs also expressed frustration "on behalf of the American people" over Karzai's remarks, and invoked the sacrifice made by families who send loved ones off to Afghanistan to fight. (RFE/RL)

Ban urges restraint in Central Asian water dispute 6 April UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged restraint in a growing dispute between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan over the building of a massive Tajik hydroelectric dam. Ban, who is in Tajikistan as part of a tour of Central  Asia, told  reporters he is "deeply concerned" over the dispute over the Rogun dam project. Uzbekistan fears the dam will reduce the flow of vital water to its cotton-growing areas. Ban said all parties concerned should refrain from unilateral action until the World Bank's international assessment team has finished its technical assessment of Rogun later this year. He said all resources should be used "fairly and harmoniously," respecting the interests of neighbouring countries. He described this as a collective responsibility for all of the leaders of Central Asia. In Dushanbe, Ban has held talks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon on topics including Afghanistan, human rights, and climate change. (RFE/RL)

Kyrgyz rights activists report detentions of opposition leaders 6 April Kyrgyz human rights activists have claimed that opposition leader Omurbek Tekebayev has been detained in Bishkek. "Everything happened before our very eyes. A group of submachine-gunners detained him and took him in an unknown direction," a local rights activist told Interfax. She said she was at an office of a human rights organization, around which armed men have been deployed. Kyrgyz opposition said earlier that two leaders of the opposition Social-Democratic Party had been detained in Bishkek because of unrest in the regional center of Talas. "We were at the party office when NSS [National Security Service] officers came in. They are escorting us to their office as witnesses to the events in Talas," parliamentarian Isa Omurkulov, a party leader, told Interfax. Omurkulov said another Social-Democratic Party leader Emil Kaptagayev had been detained as well. Interfax could not immediately obtain comments from law enforcement agencies regarding the reported detention of Tekebayev, Kaptagayev, and Omurkulov. (Interfax)

Astana talks Afghan security with Petraeus 6 April Stability in Central Asia is dependent on the success of the international mission in Afghanistan, the Kazakh foreign minister said in Astana. Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev met this week with U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. Central Command, in Astana to discuss regional developments and the international mission in Afghanistan. Saudabayev said success in Afghanistan would have a ripple effect throughout the Central Asian community, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry noted. "There is no way to ensure stability and sustainable development in Central Asia without the stabilization of Afghanistan," he said. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Afghanistan was a priority during his country's tenure at the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, adding it would be one of the key issues on the agenda of the OSCE meeting in Astana planned for later this year. Kazakhstan in January agreed to let NATO forces use its territory to ferry supplies to international forces operating in Afghanistan. Petraeus, for his part, thanked Astana for its "excellent contribution" to the mission in Afghanistan. Astana reminded the visiting general that it was a keen supporter of international forces operating in Afghanistan. (UPI) Ousted Kyrgyz leader partly blames “forces abroad” for revolt 8 April Kyrgyzstan's toppled president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, in a radio program on Thursday, claimed that the revolt on Tuesday and Wednesday that claimed scores of lives and forced him to flee the capital Bishkek had partially been the work of "forces abroad" and that he is determined to remain in office. "I won't name the specific country, but it's practically impossible to carry out such a well-coordinated operation without the involvement of forces abroad," Bakiyev told Moscow's Ekho Moskvy radio. Asked in what way he planned to regain control of Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev said, "Time will show." "I was elected for my second term quite recently - it hasn't even been nine months yet. Is it possible that the people have changed their opinion as much as that over such a period? By no means," he said. "What started two days ago was an armed seizure. Frankly speaking, neither the president nor any of the structures was prepared for it. Such competent, such skillful deployment of forces suggests very serious thoughts," the ousted leader said. He denied reports that he has left his country. "I am in the south of Kyrgyzstan," he said. According to the website, Bakiyev is in the village of Markai 10 to 15 kilometers from the southern Kyrgyz city of Dzhalal-Abad. (Interfax)

Kyrgyz interior minister allows looters to be shot 8 April The interior minister in Kyrgyzstan's interim government said he had given permission on Thursday to fire at looters in the capital Bishkek. "Today I have permitted weapons to be used against looters," Bolot Sherniyazov told state television. "I appeal to people of the capital to join people's militias and rise to the defense of the property of the city, companies and people," he said. "This evening road patrols will be taking part in patrolling the city jointly with medics. Members of a people's militia will be wearing white bands as their distinguishing marks," Sherniyazov said. (Interfax)

Astana lauds nuclear energy efforts 9 April The decision by Kazakhstan to dismantle its nuclear weapons program serves as a model for the road to peaceful nuclear energy, leaders in Astana said. Kazakhstan in 1991 dismantled the nuclear weapons program it inherited following independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The country supplies around 20 percent of the world's natural uranium supply. Astana said it dedicated a substantial portion of that resource to develop peaceful nuclear energy technology. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said he welcomed a decision by U.S. President Barack Obama to host more than 40 heads of state at a nuclear security summit starting Monday in Washington. "I am coming to share with President Obama and other heads of state the bold plan Kazakhstan implemented to reduce and prevent the threat of nuclear terrorism through nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful civilian power use," he said in a statement. "It has worked well for Kazakhstan and it can work for the rest of the world." His statement added that Kazakhstan has offered to host an international nuclear fuel bank that would let countries purchase fuel for civilian nuclear energy reactors. The bank, which could operate under the International Atomic Energy Agency, would potentially keep nuclear material out of the hands of rogue actors. (UPI)

Karzai to militants: renounce violence 11 April Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called on Taliban fighters in the northern province of Kunduz to renounce violence. Karzai made his appeal at a meeting today with hundreds of elders in the provincial capital, Kunduz, where he traveled along with the commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, U.S. General Stanley McChrystal. Kunduz's provincial governor, Mohammad Omar, warned at the gathering of deteriorating security in the province unless a joint Afghan and NATO operation was conducted. In a sign of the volatility of the northern region, plans for Karzai to address German troops in Kunduz today were called off at the last minute. Residents and German forces said rockets had fallen near the German base there. In the coming months, thousands of U.S. troops are expected to be deployed to the region, where some 4,500 German-led soldiers are already stationed. (RFE/RL)

Ankara in renewed talks with Armenia 12 April Turkish officials are to meet in Washington with an Armenian delegation in an effort to repair bilateral relations. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to meet his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan on the sidelines of a nuclear conference in Washington. Erdogan, prior to his departure to Washington, dispatched Feridun Sinirlioglu, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to Armenia to discuss bilateral ties, the official Anadolu news agency reports Monday. Turkish relations with Armenia were complicated by claims of genocide during the Ottoman Empire. Recent ties were strained further over issues regarding the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an area of dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia.Turkey reacted angrily to a series of measures passed in Sweden and the United States that described the killing of Armenians in World War I as genocide. The Turkish envoy to Washington was recalled briefly when a measure narrowly passed March 4 in the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs. Leaders from Turkey and Armenia met in October, however, to sign protocols aimed at restoring bilateral ties following years of acrimony. The protocols outline a series of provisions, ranging from a bilateral denunciation of terrorism to stating a "willingness to chart a new pattern and course for their relations on the basis of common interests, goodwill and in pursuit of peace, mutual understanding and harmony." (UPI)

Azerbaijan weighs gas transit options 13 April Liquefied and compressed natural gas are possible avenues for gas transit diversification to Europe from Azerbaijan, executives said Tuesday in Bucharest. Delegates from Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania met in Bucharest to sign a memorandum of cooperation in the gas sector. The construction of gas processing and transit centers for Azeri gas on the Black Sea coast was discussed at the Bucharest meeting. A project outlined in the measure calls for the construction of LNG terminals in Georgia and Romania, the Trend news agency reports. Additional measures could accommodate compressed natural gas. The facilities could process as much as 700 billion cubic feet of gas. Rovnag Abdullayev, the head of the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan Republic, said preparations of feasibility studies from the Bucharest meeting could help Azerbaijan determine the best way to export gas from Black Sea ports. "We have several options, including the export of LNG and CNG," he said. "The variety of these options will allow us to choose the right path." (UPI)

Uzbekistan to hold investment conference in Tokyo 13 April The Uzbekistan government will hold an investment conference in Tokyo on April 22 to offer new industrial opportunities to Japanese companies. At the conference, senior Uzbek officials will make presentations on the economic and industrial potential of Uzbekistan and development opportunities in the free industrial economic zone or FIEZ, an area with special conditions for foreign investment set up by the Uzbek government in Navoi, west of Tashkent, according to organizers. (Japan Today)

Ban talks about democracy message in Central Asia 12 April UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he repeated a "simple and direct" message to Central Asian leaders on the importance of respect for human rights during a recent tour of the region. Ban also discussed the current power struggle in Kyrgyzstan and the management of natural resources throughout the region. In all five countries, Ban said, he told leaders that the protection of human rights is a "bedrock principle" of the United Nations. Ban told officials that democracy could only exist with a robust civil society rooted in the rule of law, respect for human rights, and freedom of expression. "I urged the leaders in the region to comply fully with international human rights laws and many treaties to which they are signatories," Ban said on April 12. "I also urged them to fully implement all the recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council under the universal periodic review." Two Central Asian states, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, are regarded as among the world's worst human rights offenders by the U.S.-based group Freedom House. Rights groups have urged Ban to condemn the human rights violations in both countries. Ban visited Kyrgyzstan just two days before violence that killed at least 80 people led the country's president, Kurmanbek Bakiev, to flee the capital and political opponents declared an interim government. Ban said he has been following the situation "very closely" and that his special envoy, Jan Kubis, is in Bishkek until April 15. "He has been meeting with all parties, working closely with the envoys of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe...and others to maintain and restore constitutional order while respecting the wishes of the Kyrgyz people," Ban said of Kubis's visit. Ban's spokesman, Martin Nesirky, confirmed that the UN under secretary-general for political affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe, had met with Kyrgyz opposition leader Roza Otunbaeva while Ban was visiting Kyrgyzstan last week. The details of that meeting were not disclosed, but Nesirky said that Ban could sense the political tension during his visit. In his discussions with Central Asian leaders, Ban said he also focused on an issue of "crucial importance" for all five Central Asian states: the management of the natural resources, chiefly water and energy. "Every year tensions are rising. Visiting the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan, I saw a graveyard of ships moored in the sand [that] was once a deep seabed," Ban said. "Resolving these tensions harmoniously through dialogue and negotiation is a collective responsibility not only of the region's leaders but the international community." Aside from the Aral Sea disaster, a simmering water-rights dispute between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is near the boiling point. Tajikistan has announced its intention to complete a dam and hydroelectric power plant at Rogun that Uzbekistan vehemently opposes. Tashkent is concerned that completion of the Rogun Dam will severely constrict flows downstream that Uzbekistan uses to irrigate crops of one of its most lucrative exports, cotton. Dushanbe dismisses those concerns as unfounded. More than 60 percent of Central Asia's water resources originate in Tajikistan, and water distribution and management are a frequent point of friction among the Central Asian states. (RFE/RL)

 EU energy chief arrives in Azerbaijan 14 April EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger arrived Wednesday in Azerbaijan to discuss natural gas corridors for the European Union. Oettinger arrived Wednesday in Baku for meetings on the so-called Southern Corridor of gas transit networks for Europe, the Azerbaijan Business Center reports. "Azerbaijan and the EU have developed a strong relationship on energy issues over time," he said. "Progress on the Southern Corridor will be high on the agenda." Europe aims to diversify its energy sector through the Southern Corridor projects, which include the Nabucco pipeline through Turkey, the White Stream project from Georgia and the so-called Interconnector between Greece, Turkey and Italy. European partners are struggling to secure commitments from supplier nations for their diversification ambitions. Energy-rich Azerbaijan is seen as a promising candidate to help meet that effort. Oettinger has meetings scheduled Wednesday with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev and representatives from the State Oil Co. of the Azerbaijan Republic. (UPI)

Turkey losing money on BTC pipeline 15 April Corporate disputes and capacity issues with the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline cost Turkey more than $200 million since 2007, energy officials said. BTC stretches some 1,100 miles from Azerbaijan to Turkish ports on the Black Sea. It is the second-longest oil pipeline in the world after the Druzhba pipeline in Russia. Turkey, however, has lost more than $200 million in the past three years because of disputes between Turkish pipeline operator BOTAS International Ltd. and BTC Co., the international consortium managing the pipeline, Turkish daily newspaper Today's Zaman reports. A move by BTC to expand work in natural gas, BOTAS complains, costs the Turkish company "millions" of dollars, the report said citing anonymous energy officials.  BOTAS said it wants to be compensated for any loss from the pipeline, adding it wouldn't turn a profit until 2012 unless all issues were resolved. Meanwhile, BTC hasn't operated at full capacity since at least 2007, costing Turkey around $165 million in potential oil-transit revenue. Oil was pumped first through BTC in 2005. The pipeline was shut down briefly in 2008 because of a conflict between Russian and Georgia over breakaway republics. (UPI)



Read 8004 times

Visit also





Staff Publications

Screen Shot 2023-05-08 at 10.32.15 AMSilk Road Paper S. Frederick Starr, U.S. Policy in Central Asia through Central Asian Eyes, May 2023.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, "Promise and Peril in the Caucasus," AFPC Insights, March 30, 2023.

Oped S. Frederick Starr, Putin's War In Ukraine and the Crimean War), 19fourtyfive, January 2, 2023

Oped S. Frederick Starr, Russia Needs Its Own Charles de Gaulle,  Foreign Policy, July 21, 2022.

2206-StarrSilk Road Paper S. Frederick Starr, Rethinking Greater Central Asia: American and Western Stakes in the Region and How to Advance Them, June 2022 

Oped Svante E. Cornell & Albert Barro, With referendum, Kazakh President pushes for reforms, Euractiv, June 3, 2022.

Oped Svante E. Cornell Russia's Southern Neighbors Take a Stand, The Hill, May 6, 2022.

Silk Road Paper Johan Engvall, Between Bandits and Bureaucrats: 30 Years of Parliamentary Development in Kyrgyzstan, January 2022.  

Oped Svante E. Cornell, No, The War in Ukraine is not about NATO, The Hill, March 9, 2022.

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, Kazakhstan’s Crisis Calls for a Central Asia Policy Reboot, The National Interest, January 34, 2022.

StronguniquecoverBook S. Frederick Starr and Svante E. Cornell, Strong and Unique: Three Decades of U.S.-Kazakhstan Partnership, Central Asia-Caucasus Institute, December 2021.  

Silk Road Paper Svante E. Cornell, S. Frederick Starr & Albert Barro, Political and Economic Reforms in Kazakhstan Under President Tokayev, November 2021.

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.


Sign up for upcoming events, latest news and articles from the CACI Analyst