By Richard Weitz (the 18/09/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The latest Steppe Eagle annual multilateral military exercise in Kazakhstan occurred from August 10-23, at the Illisky Training Center near Almaty. The exercise, held under NATO auspices, confirms that the Kazakhstani national security community wants to retain defense ties with Western countries despite their country’s deep military relations with Russia. This goal should grow in coming years as NATO winds down its combat operations in Afghanistan. In this context, sustaining Kazakhstan’s Airmobile Forces Brigade (KAZBRIG) is important for promoting interoperability between NATO and the rest of Kazakhstan’s military.
By Rafis Abazov and Arystanbek Mukhamediuly (the 04/09/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Kazakhstan plans to host World EXPO under the theme “Energy of the Future” in 2017 as part of its ambitious Innovation Strategy, designed to develop skill-intensive sectors and to promote innovative businesses, especially in the alternative energy sector. In preparation for the event, the Kazakh government plans to spend between US$ 3 and 5 billion on alternative energy development and infrastructure, respectively. Opinions in the country are deeply divided. Some believe that this is an excellent opportunity to promote targeted industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the alternative energy sector. Others are very skeptical, considering it likely to become another white elephant with little impact on Kazakhstan’s national economy.
By Jacob Zenn (the 04/09/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Since the first terrorist attacks struck Kazakhstan in 2011, the country has reformed its counter-terrorism strategy to confront emerging threats. Kazakhstan learned that more intelligence and understanding of extremists could have prevented the attacks. The country also saw that counter-radicalization programs are necessary to counter Salafism, which is anathema to the country’s religious traditions and can serve as a gateway to jihadism. In the near future, Kazakhstan will also focus on regional counter-terrorism cooperation to limit the fallout of wars abroad on the home front.
By Georgiy Voloshin (the 04/09/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On September 2, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev officially opened the new session of the country’s Parliament after a traditional summer recess. At the beginning of his address, the head of state commended the work of the current legislature formed as a result of early parliamentary elections in January 2012. Apart from the ruling Nur Otan party, which dominated the lower chamber of Parliament for the five preceding years, two other political parties are since represented there, even if their relative weight remains insignificant. Nazarbayev’s praise also comes as a confirmation of his lasting trust in the deputies, whereas a number of experts previously predicted new snap after the controversy caused by the pension reform law.
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.