By Johan Engvall
March 22, 2018, the CACI Analyst
Something is stirring in Central Asia. The past two weeks have seen a flurry of bilateral and multilateral get-togethers, starting on March 9, when Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev arrived with great fanfare in Dushanbe for the first state visit of a president of Uzbekistan to Tajikistan since 2000. Less than a week later, on March 15, the presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as well as the speaker of Turkmenistan’s parliament gathered in Astana for the first exclusively regional “summit” in almost a decade. What do these meetings, each producing several intriguing bilateral and multilateral agreements and statements, mean for the prospects of Central Asian countries finally embarking upon a path of development through cooperation?
By Richard Weitz
August 3, 2017, the CACI Analyst
The June Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana marked the SCO’s first membership expansion since its creation in 2001. By finally ending this logjam, the SCO has raised expectations of continued enlargement and increased geopolitical weight. However, major obstacles to further growth persist; meanwhile, more members deepen the mutual tensions and rivalries within the institution.
By Farkhod Tolipov
June 6, 2017, the CACI Analyst
In April this year, Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbaev made it clear that Kazakhstan intends to change from the Cyrillic to the Latin alphabet. Thereby, this country took a new step in the overall course of its post-Soviet development as an independent state. Kazakhstan became the third state in Central Asia after Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan that decided to undergo such a change. Kyrgyzstan will supposedly be the next country to move in the same direction. The change of alphabets was met with geopolitically saturated aversion in Russian political circles and media, in contrast to the relatively peaceful manner with which it is being introduced in the countries themselves.
By Fuad Shahbazov
February 21, 2017, the CACI Analyst
China's gradually increasing economic role in Central Asia since the early 2000s is unsurprising considering the region's geographic proximity to China's dynamic economy. In this context, Beijing has carefully shaped a military strategy in the region, particularly in neighboring Tajikistan. In September 2016, Beijing offered to finance and build several outposts and other military facilities (in addition to the Gulhan post, which was opened in 2012) to beef up Tajikistan's defense capabilities along its border with Afghanistan, whereas China's and Tajikistan's militaries performed a large counter-terrorism exercise in October 2016. These unexpected actions have raised concerns in Russia over rising Chinese influence in Tajikistan.
By Franz J. Marty
February 3, 2017, the CACI Analyst
Overwhelming evidence – photographs, an eyewitness account and several confirming statements of diplomats and observers, among them a Chinese official familiar with the matter – leaves virtually no doubt that Chinese troops have undertaken joint patrols with their Afghan (and possibly also Tajik) counterparts on Afghan soil in the Little Pamir, a high plateau near the Afghan-Chinese border. While the Chinese source insists that such joint border patrols were based on an agreement, and therefore legal, the Afghan government steadfastly denies the existence of such patrols.
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.