BISHKEK (TCA) — As Beijing is pursuing its Belt and Road Initiative aimed at generating mutual benefits for China and its partners in Eurasia and Central Asia in particular, we are publishing this op-ed by Executive Secretary Shamshad Akhtar of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific:
LONDON (TCA) — In Kazakhstan, two former prime ministers are serving jail terms now, and shadows are packing on top of dozens of other members of the upper circle and hundreds within slightly lower echelons.
TASHKENT (TCA) — As the new Uzbek president pursues his policy of improving political and economic relations with Uzbekistan’s neighbors in Central Asia, we are republishing this article by Fozil Mashrab, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
BISHKEK (TCA) — How can Central Asia’s nations reverse the force of greed thriving their upper echelons in favour of a fairer division of wealth en replace personal enrichment by collective economic improvement? If western parties would replace provocations by assistance to get justice done, it would help a lot, and give a new political generation no longer driven by selfish aspirations a chance to impose a velvet transition in the right direction. Kyrgyzstan appears to be the best-placed for such a process.
ASTANA (TCA) — Oil-rich Kazakhstan needs to take the maximum use of its huge hydrocarbon and mining sectors revenues at a time when the country’s economy is being affected by low oil and commodities prices. In this context, we are republishing this article by Anton Artemyev, the executive director of the Soros Foundation Kazakhstan, originally published by EurasiaNet.org:
ALMATY (TCA) — Recently a minor-scale bank in Kazakhstan named KazInvest ran aground. Now, another one, Delta Bank, is moving towards the brink of bankruptcy. Yet another “junior”, Temirbank, formerly owned by BTA and now controlled by Fortebank, recently defaulted on its coupon repayment schedule as well. In 2016, Temirbank posted a net income of 10.875 billion tenge which turned into a net loss of 4.41134 billion for the full year during the last quarter. During the last three months, equity capital dwindled from 54.5 billion to 39.2 billion tenge. Current asset par value stands close to 357 billion tenge, but it remains unclear what the percentage of exposed assets within that amount is.
LONDON (TCA) — Some attempts have been made to draft a rough sketch of the “Silk Route of Terror” but mapping it proves a bit hard. Besides, that map could fundamentally change if somehow the Afghan government manages to forge a compromise with the Taliban rebels. Presently there are two itineraries for Central Asian would-be terrorists. Either they move from their home country in Central Asia to Turkey, from there to Syria or Iraq, then to Afghanistan and back home enriched by experience and evil plans, or from Central Asia they pass into Afghanistan, from there to the Near-East battleground and back, through Turkey or directly. In both cases, the significance of Afghanistan as a transit hub and training ground is on the rise.
BISHKEK (TCA) — Tomorrow, February 12, Turkmen citizens will go to the polls to almost certainly re-elect incumbent President Berdimukhammedov for a new term. As Turkmenistan is experiencing economic, and security, challenges, we are republishing this article by Stratfor’s Lead Analyst Eugene Chausovsky, originally published by Stratfor:
BISHKEK (TCA) — Amid reports on Russia’s alleged contacts with the Taliban, apparently in an effort to strengthen Moscow’s position and influence in Afghanistan and Central Asia, we are republishing this article by Stephen Blank, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
LONDON (TCA) — Are the governments of Central Asia’s post-Soviet republics taking effective action to root out the phantom of terrorism lurking in all corners of the region? The awkward question was carefully avoided during the latest peace talks on Syria in Astana. Fact remains, however, that thousands of nationals of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and (most of all) Uzbekistan are “fighting” in Syria and northern Iraq. In the meantime a rather large number of them are also spreading over the world to replace terrorists originating from the Near-East to spread new waves of havoc, while others “bring terror home” by returning to their countries of origin ready to carry out attacks on their own communities. However, so far nobody has properly mapped the overall situation.
ASHGABAT (TCA) — December 2016 marked an important anniversary for Turkmenistan: ten years since the country’s autocratic ruler Saparmyrat Niyazov passed away in December 2006, giving the way to power to the current president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov. During the last decade he has tried to change, at least on a propaganda level, Turkmenistan's place within the international system, but failing to achieve the main objective: diversification of Turkmen gas export routes.
BISHKEK (TCA) — Is Astana going to become a regular meeting point for squabbling parties in troubled corners of the world, shooting it out at home but inclined to compromise to spare lives and economies? The results of the talks on the situation in Syria, which ended with mostly a confirmation of the status quo excluding any outlook of a longer-term political situation in Syria, are an ambiguous indication of such a prospect. UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura was quoted as stating: "Kazakhstan, under the leadership of President (Nursultan) Nazarbayev, has provided a remarkable contribution to our efforts to push for peace in Syria."
BISHKEK (TCA) — On 26th January India will celebrate its national day. It will be a day of celebration and confrontation between great achievements and the ambition to become a global player. Problems at home, as fiscal constraints and a demographic explosion, limit the country’s investment and economic development, and although New Delhi has been looking internationally for a quite some time, it has so far not been able to develop a proper strategy toward Central Asia. There is no doubt that a more result oriented policy toward an expanded Central Asia may help India achieve a better result and undisputed links for its business. The situation with Pakistan and China is far from being resolved, and it certainly restrains additional investments and creates barriers toward a global role for India irrespective of its consistent economic growth. The Times of Central Asia is republishing this article of Stratfor under its Geopolitical Diary:
LONDON (TCA) — What is at stake at the upcoming negotiations in Astana between the parties involved in the terrible civil war in Syria? The fact that the Syrian government and most (though not all) of the so-called moderate opposition have promised to be present means little. Those “moderate” groups are in fact armed militias grouped around political chiefs after the notorious model of Lebanon during its 16-year civil war. Iran, Turkey, Russia and most European states appear to be willing to live with that. Two wildcards remain: the USA and Saudi Arabia.
LONDON (TCA) — Was it “human error”? Was it “technical”? Or was it just the fog? Whatever caused the terrible accident with the Turkish Boeing that crashed on a Kyrgyz village on January 16 should be revealed after the black boxes have been examined. What is probably almost certain is that Kyrgyzstan’s air navigation services are not always functioning as they should.
BISHKEK (TCA) — As the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) established an intergovernmental Committee on Energy that will meet for the first time in Bangkok 17-19 January, we are publishing this OP-ED by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Executive Secretary of ESCAP:
BISHKEK (TCA) — Contradicting reports referring to the Turkish authorities have spread all over the media for more than a week following the deadly attack on an Istanbul nightclub. Even though IS has claimed responsibility it remains unclear who the perpetrator was and on whose behalf he acted.
BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s development results for 2016 are encouraging because the country has not faced major upheavals. According to Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Kyrgyzstan has shown the best results in terms of economic growth among the CIS countries according to international statistical standards.
BISHKEK (TCA) — As the world, and Central Asia, is looking toward new policies to be pursued by the incoming US administration, we are republishing this article by Rodger Baker, originally published by Stratfor:
LONDON (TCA) — For people in the heart of Central Asia, and especially those bearing state responsibilities, determining one’s fears means looking south and determining one’s hopes means looking north and east. Governments now pin their hope on regional economic integration, but that remains easier to profess than to make it happen.
BISHKEK (TCA) — Call it stabilisation, call it stagnation. Another year has passed in which Central Asia’s national economies remained aloof from overall collapse. For a badly needed breakthrough, drastic measures needed have been confined to conference rooms and far away from reality.
BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan is going to discuss with Russia the reimbursement of funds spent for the construction of the Upper Naryn hydropower plants cascade, Aibek Kaliyev, head of Kyrgyzstan’s National Energy Holding said.
TASHKENT (TCA) — As international attention is being focused on new foreign policy and economic priorities of the new Uzbek president, we are republishing this article by Umida Hashimova, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
LONDON (TCA) — “Classical” cases such as the massive amounts of money embezzled by former BTA bank chief Mukhtar Ablyazov and ex-mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov have been haunting Kazakh law enforcers for well over a decade. But white collar crime, meaning not bribes and extortions but straightforward swindle and theft, have become endemic in Kazakhstan during the last couple of years.