• KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09140 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00222 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09140 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 4

Islamic Extremism in Central Asia: A Threat to Liberal Progress

Afghanistan earned its reputation as the “graveyard of empires” due to the significant toll exacted on foreign powers in their efforts to achieve military success in the country. This challenge was evident in the experiences of the British Empire, the Soviet Union, and, most recently, the United States. The persistent and decentralized nature of the country's tribal insurgency made achieving a definitive victory a formidable task. Furthermore, the adherence of groups harbored by the Taliban, such as Al Qaeda, to an extremist religious ideology spread terrorism globally, including in the 9/11 attacks as well as other deadly acts of violence in various parts of the world. While the United States arguably played a constructive role in modernizing Afghanistan, the establishment of democracy and Western values in the country proved to be an insurmountable challenge, even with over $100 billion in foreign aid. With heightened tensions between the Islamic and Western populations reignited in the Levant after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October 2023, the threat of Afghanistan-based extremists redirecting their focus towards the West has intensified. Often overlooked is the fact that Salafists jihadists and other radical groups also pose a challenge to the emerging democracies in Central Asia as these Muslim-majority secular republics are seen as areas to spread their undemocratic and potentially violent influence. In this context, policies that may even inadvertently help promote illiberal religious movements threaten the region’s secular identity and the security of its peoples.  We should assess Central Asia’s unique position on religious freedoms but also on jihadist threats For the large part, Western countries come from a privileged position of being able to resist the widespread influence from Islamic extremist movements at home thanks mainly to generations of democratic institution building as well as decent geographic distance to areas that would fall under pan-jihadist aspirations. Consider that there is no apparent threat of jihadists entirely displacing Western democratic institutions or imposing a pan-Islamist state encompassing parts of Western nations; most Western lands do not fall on areas some of these groups want to conquer to create an Islamic Caliphate. On the other hand, many other places, including Central Asia, still risk misconstruing the line between defending individual freedoms and combatting religious extremism. Here, the coexistence of extremist Islamic ideologies and democracy remains somewhat precarious. Islamic radicalism continues to pose a serious challenge to the emerging democracies of the region, where the secular republics are trying to keep a lid on certain hostile ideologies. Militant groups spilling over from Afghanistan and infiltrating post-Soviet countries want to spread jihad to the region and create an Islamic Khaganate stretching from Egypt to China. Pan-Islamist Salafists, such as Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) and Al Qaeda, have a clear goal to overthrow Central Asia’s secular regimes. Moreover, the determination of Salafists jihadists and other groups to spread their illiberal and violent struggle to Central Asia (including from neighboring Afghanistan) has become apparent through their growing presence in the region’s schools and other spheres of public...

Central Asia’s Growing Economic and Strategic Importance Comes to Fore

The Central Asian region has experienced a tremendous economic transformation since the beginning of the century. Its aggregate gross domestic product (GDP) now totals $397 billion, growing 8.6-fold since the year 2000. Its share in global GDP in purchasing power parity (PPP) has also increased 1.8 times. The GDP per capita has tripled as the labor pool has grown to almost 80 million, representing a 1.4-fold increase since 2000. The region’s strategic importance, particularly thanks to its geographic position bridging major economies of Europe and Asia, makes it a key player in geopolitical dynamics. Central Asia’s dependence on commodity exports and remittances has so far limited its integration into global value-chains. The Central Asia Regional Economic Co-operation (CAREC) Program, established by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), plays an important role in fostering regional development and co-operation. CAREC includes the five Central Asia countries (namely Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan) plus Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, Georgia, Mongolia and Pakistan. CAREC also partners with five multilateral international institutions in addition to the ADB (which serves as its Secretariat). These are the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank (a.k.a. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development or IBRD). The Program has constructively helped the countries of Central Asia to address challenges in trade governance. Nevertheless, inefficiencies in cross-border transport and customs procedures continue to hinder their commercial exchanges with one another as well as with external partners. CAREC’s current policy-implementation priorities are integration of regional trade, digitization, climate change, regional co-operation, development of financial technologies and financing in the water sector. There is still significant potential for further development given that the region’s trade within itself has been growing faster than its foreign trade. Enhancing Central Asia’s role in the global economy will require the implementation of co-operative initiatives already identified, especially in infrastructure. Such construction of new physical plants, as well as the renovation and building-out of those that already exist, is crucial for enhancing economic growth and sustainability. This strategy will leverage the region’s strengths such as its strategic location and resource endowments. In 2023, Central Asia’s economic growth is projected to remain relatively steady at 3.9 percent, but this may still be affected by the global challenges of weak external demand, rising inflation and supply-chain disruptions. These global economic conditions, along with the uncertainties that they engender, reflect continuing burdens of the ongoing post-COVID recovery as well as the effects of the war in Ukraine, which significantly impacts the region. In addition to the ADB, the IBRD also focuses on various development initiatives in Central Asia that aim to support regional infrastructure development and the strengthening of cross-border co-operation. These are implemented through relatively low-profile initiatives such as the Central Asia Water and Energy Program (CAWEP) to enhance energy and water security and the Central Asia Hydrometeorology Modernization Project (CAHMP) to improve weather, climate and hydrological services. The IBRD thus aims to increase...

Turkmenistan-Iraq Natural Gas Deal: A Complex Balancing Act

The recent natural gas deal between Turkmenistan and Iraq has sparked both excitement and concern in the energy world. On November 8, representatives from the State Concern Türkmengaz met with a delegation from Iraq, led by the Minister of Electricity Ziad Ali Fadel, to discuss the export of natural gas from Turkmenistan to Iraq. As with any major energy agreement, this deal carries significant implications for both countries and the region as a whole. This opinion piece explores the positive aspects, potential challenges, and wider implications of the Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas deal. The Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas deal presents several positive aspects for both countries. Economically, the agreement opens up new opportunities for trade and investment, providing a boost to the economies of both nations. Additionally, it strengthens diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and Iraq, fostering closer ties and collaboration in other areas. Moreover, the deal has the potential to enhance energy security in Iraq, diversifying its energy sources and reducing dependence on a single supplier. For Turkmenistan, this agreement represents an opportunity to tap into new markets and expand its natural gas exports. While the deal offers numerous benefits, it also comes with potential challenges and drawbacks. From Iraq's perspective, one concern is the possibility that it becomes overly dependent on Turkmenistan for its energy needs. This could create vulnerabilities and limit Iraq's flexibility in the energy market. Disputes over pricing and payment terms may also arise as aligning the expectations of both parties can be a complex process. Additionally, the agreement may face infrastructure and logistical challenges, such as ensuring efficient transportation and distribution of the natural gas. The influence of regional politics on the deal is another factor to consider, as geopolitical dynamics may impact its implementation. The Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas agreement has the potential to significantly impact the regional energy market. It may alter the dynamics of gas supply and demand in the region, affecting other players and stakeholders. The agreement could prompt neighboring countries to evaluate their own energy strategies and explore new partnerships. Additionally, the deal could contribute to greater energy cooperation and integration in the region, paving the way for future collaborations and joint projects. As we consider the implications of this gas deal, it is crucial to examine its environmental impact and public opinion. The environmental consequences of increased natural gas extraction and consumption should be carefully assessed to ensure sustainable practices. Additionally, public opinion in both countries will play a significant role in shaping the perceptions and outcomes of the deal. Public engagement and transparency are vital to ensure that the interests and concerns of the citizens are taken into account. The Turkmenistan-Iraq natural gas deal represents a complex balancing act.  It ultimately offers economic benefits, strengthens diplomatic relations, and enhances energy security while also raising concerns about energy dependency, pricing disputes, and logistical hurdles. The agreement will have implications for the regional energy market, influencing the strategies of neighboring countries and reshaping energy dynamics. As the process unfolds, it is crucial to...

Turkmenistan Observes World Day Against Human Trafficking

On July 30th, Turkmenistan observed the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, a significant event supported by public associations across the country in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Commemorated annually as per the UN General Assembly's resolution, this day serves as a global reminder of the grave issue of human trafficking. Under the theme, "Reach every victim of trafficking, leave no one behind," various initiatives were organized in multiple regions, emphasizing the crucial need to combat trafficking and support its victims. In Ashgabat, the Public Association Yenme orchestrated an event titled, “Stop Human Trafficking.” This gathering saw the active participation of 42 young activists and volunteers. Through interactive sessions, the attendees delved into discussions highlighting the pivotal role of safe and regulated migration in preventing human trafficking. The event incorporated educational tools such as the screening of the video, "5 Facts About Human Trafficking," and an engaging interactive game called, "Degrees of Risk." Participants received informative booklets and souvenirs to further disseminate awareness. Simultaneously, the Ynamly Egindesh Economic Society, operating a hotline in Ashgabat, conducted an awareness-raising event focusing on the multifaceted risks leading individuals into the peril of human trafficking. Emphasizing the vulnerability of various population groups to exploitation by traffickers, discussions revolved around strategies to enhance the efficacy of anti-trafficking measures. Attendees were briefed on the "Vaccination Against Stereotypes" project and society's efforts in preventing trafficking. Turkmenabat witnessed an impactful exhibition organized by the Public Association Taze Zaman. The display featured drawings and cartoons created by residents of Lebap province, educating individuals about the dangers and aftermath of irregular migration and human trafficking. Supported by the city administration, the event also distributed informational materials and products themed around combating trafficking, courtesy of IOM in Turkmenistan. According to The Exodus Road, Turkmenistan ranks among the five worst countries in the world for human trafficking.

Start typing to see posts you are looking for.