By Avinoam Idan
February 6, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Israel’s Prime Minister Binjamin Netanyahu made a landmark visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in December 2016. The Israeli Prime Minister's visit reflects Israel’s growing interest in Central Asia and the Caucasus, a region that is part of Israel's greater strategic environment. Israel's interest in Kazakhstan focuses on its trade potential, its regional and international status, and its position as a vital link in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative. Azerbaijan's geographical location, its role as a significant energy exporter, and its security approach have been foci of the close relations that have developed between Baku and Jerusalem over the years. The Prime Minister's visit reflects the continued deepening of ties with Azerbaijan.
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 Farkhod Tolipov
December 15th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
Uzbekistan’s and Tajikistan’s independence in 1991 raised the Shakespearean “To be or not to be?” question concerning the ambitious construction of a dam on the mountainous Vakhsh river in Tajikistan, which would embody the Rogun Hydro Power Station. Uzbekistan – a downstream country – has permanently and vigorously rejected and resisted the project referring to numerous risks associated with Rogun for all downstream countries. Uzbekistan’s president has been the principal political antagonist of this project. Two months after his death in September 2016, Tajikistan’s president has decided to move on with the project.
By Robert M. Cutler
November 7th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
According to Azerbaijan’s energy minister Natig Aliev, his country and Kazakhstan will construct an oil pipeline under the Caspian Sea to provide additional necessary routes for export of Kazakhstani oil from the offshore supergiant Kashagan field, which has finally entered commercial production after years of delay. The two sides appear unbothered by the sometimes vexatious and still unsettled matter of the Caspian Sea’s legal regime, which has for nearly two decades prevented Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan from constructing a natural gas pipeline under the sea between their two countries.
By Rafis Abazov and Zhumatay Salimov
October 4th, 2016, The CACI Analyst
The government of Kazakhstan has been among the pioneers in Central Asia in promoting the development of technoparks, perceived as vehicles for attracting investment to hi-tech industries, stimulating technology transfer and ultimately contributing to the building of a knowledge-intensive economy. The government also envisions that technoparks will help the national economy move away from dependency on commodities exports and establish competitive knowledge-intensive industries. Yet, the effectiveness of these multi-billion tenge investments has been hotly debated among experts in the country. Some argue that developing technoparks and innovation clusters is the only route towards an internationally competitive national economy. Others claim that the policy has not been effective, and that technoparks have failed to produce significant outcomes even after a decade of active investment.
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.