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Kyrgyzstan presidential election: leading party poised to reinforce its position

  • Written by Charles Van Der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — The cards may not have been completely shuffled but it is already clear who hold the trump card in the upcoming presidential polls in Kyrgyzstan scheduled for October 15: current Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov and outgoing President Almazbek Atambayev. The former is the leading candidate for the presidency, while the latter may occupy the post of PM in a new coalition government to be formed after the polls.

Read more: Kyrgyzstan presidential election: leading party poised to reinforce its position

Kazakhstan and Eurasia new oil consortium in a multi-billion Caspian project

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — In a move presented as glorious and spectacular, oil companies from Russia (Rosneft), China (CNPC), Kazakhstan (Kazmunaygas), Azerbaijan (SOCAR) and Italy (Eni) have teamed up to form a consortium for the exploration and exploitation of what is expected to be a new “giant” located in the very heart of the northern Caspian tectonic structure. The project, if successful and market demand to remain unchanged, should prolong the position of Kazakhstan as a global-scale oil supplier from 2040 till 2080. The Kazakhs are committed to contribute in the order of a billion greenbacks each year from now to the project. No overall picture of the total price tag has been presented so far.

Read more: Kazakhstan and Eurasia new oil consortium in a multi-billion Caspian project

Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan need to redirect investment flows as combustibles’ future spells doom

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — The wider Caspian region, which comprises the Caspian littoral states and the lands to their east, is sitting on a vast riches of subsoil resources of which combustibles are made to quench the world’s ever increasing thirst for energy. Those who dedicate their lives and/or cash to such resources hardly ever miss an occasion to stress the need for them, downplaying the growing importance of alternative resources, located not under but on and above the earth’s surface and being infinite.

Read more: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan need to redirect investment flows as combustibles’ future...

Central Asia: all together now

  • Written by Bilahari Kausikan, S. Frederick Starr, and Yang Cheng

BISHKEK (TCA) — Strategically located at the heart of Eurasia, Central Asia has been and will remain an important geopolitical region and a place where the interests of the world’s great powers confront each other. Yet, the region still has to forge its collective identity, and develop into what is called Greater Central Asia, which, besides Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, also includes Afghanistan. We are republishing this article by Bilahari Kausikan, S. Frederick Starr, and Yang Cheng* on the issue, originally published by The American Interest:

Read more: Central Asia: all together now

Terrorism: Central Asia migrants in Moscow recruited by ISIS

  • Written by Joseph Lacinak

WASHINGTON (TCA) — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) targets Central Asians in their home countries online and abroad, and thousands are believed to be fighting for ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Culturally vibrant and famously unstable, the Ferghana Valley is notorious for being a hotbed for terrorism in Central Asia — and it is the origin for many Central Asian fighters in the Middle East. Infamous for birthing the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, this valley is shared between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the porous borders make it easy for insurgents to pass between countries under the radar.

Read more: Terrorism: Central Asia migrants in Moscow recruited by ISIS

Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin: social and economic realities versus political zeal

  • Written by Charles Van Der Leeuw

ALMATY/BISHKEK (TCA) — Language is one of those issues over which emotions often prevail over the voice of reason. Yet, coexistence of more than one language on a single national territory is far more common than many people seem to think.

Read more: Kazakhstan to switch from Cyrillic to Latin: social and economic realities versus political zeal

Shanghai Eight: assessing a multi-headed chimaera

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — All eyes of the world seem to be focused on Kazakhstan and its less known capital of Astana for once. The coincidence is the opening of the World Exhibition EXPO-2017 and a quite unique political summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) which strikes attention by the absence of any western “leader” – no Trump, no May, no Merkel, no Macron here, and even Erdogan is staying home.

Read more: Shanghai Eight: assessing a multi-headed chimaera

Caspian Sea dispute: where solutions jump ahead of problems

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — A fair division of the Caspian seabed including exploitation rights has been subject to debate for a quarter of a century now, with time and again the governments of littoral states — Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Russia — assuring that they were on the brink of clinching a comprehensive agreement. At the bottom of the dispute is the question whether or not the Caspian waters should be seen as a lake or a sea. In the former case, international law requires a convention signed by all littoral states, dividing the entire waterbed into sections. The sea-option prescribes that each coastal state has authority over the waters down to 20 nautical miles from the shore, beyond which navigation is free and fishing and other exploitation rights should be either unlimited or defined by either bi- or multilateral agreements.

Read more: Caspian Sea dispute: where solutions jump ahead of problems

Assessing Kazakhstan’s new campaign to attract capital

  • Written by Charles Van Der Leeuw

ALMATY (TCA) — Following the so-called People’s IPO campaign, which is now widely considered to have been disappointing, a new “privatisation” scheme has been announced by the Kazakh government earlier this year. But as time goes by and timing remains uncertain, many insiders and sideliners start casting doubts on whether either domestic or foreign investors see any point of purchasing stock in companies due to remain out of their control. In other words: rather than contributing to structural economic reform this is considered just one more attempt to fill the dwindling reserves in the state coffers without giving much in return.

Read more: Assessing Kazakhstan’s new campaign to attract capital

The old Silk Road and new Chinese, Russian and Indian alternatives in geopolitical games

  • Written by Giorgio Fiacconi, TCA Publisher

BISHKEK (TCA) — Following the recent summit in China about the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, new plans are emerging showing a clear discomfort from several countries and some popular opposition from various local communities in countries involved in the Chinese plan. If stability and security remain the pre-condition for a successful implementation of any project the present situation of conflict and competition toward OBOR does not augur well (see One Belt, One Road: A plan for Chinese dominance and authoritarianism, TCA, 20 May 2017). 

Read more: The old Silk Road and new Chinese, Russian and Indian alternatives in geopolitical games

The Taliban’s spring offensive: Afghanistan faces a crucial year

  • Written by Abubakar Siddique

BISHKEK (TCA) — As the fighting between the Taliban and government forces continues in Afghanistan, and the situation in the country is in a “stalemate”, with Russia using contacts with the militant group for its political purposes in the Central Asia region, we are republishing this article by Abubakar Siddique, originally published by The Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor:

Read more: The Taliban’s spring offensive: Afghanistan faces a crucial year

French elections, round 1: sending the right signal to Central Asia

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — If Turkey’s referendum in favour of authoritarianism gave the wrong hint to Central Asia’s former Soviet republics, France’s choice for its next head of state is a message well worth heeding. The possible defeat of the nationalistic party and Marine Le Pen may secure a massive adhesion of other losing camps to Emmanuel Macron, and may encourage former Soviet states to move away from one-man regimes towards government by consensus.

Read more: French elections, round 1: sending the right signal to Central Asia

Turkish referendum: sending the wrong signal to Central Asia

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — It all looks like a shameful charade. But on a slightly longer term, Turkey’s referendum can be considered a step backward rather than forward and is certain to create more problems than it could possibly solve. It goes in the opposite direction of a trend emerging throughout Central Asia away from personality rule and towards a more collective form of government. While expected to have little immediate geopolitical spillover, the message sent by Turkey’s narrow majority in the direction of Central Asia is most of all psychological – and it is the wrong message.

Read more: Turkish referendum: sending the wrong signal to Central Asia

ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR A BETTER SOCIETY: Make a difference, battle prison overcrowding

  • Written by TCA

BISHKEK (TCA) — Jails are currently overcrowded and penal institutions are seeking solutions to improve jails’ situations, while being able to monitor efficiently and in a secure manner prisoners who could be released. Moreover, prisons are very expensive to operate. Prisons are overcrowded and have serious shortages of food and medical support.

Read more: ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY FOR A BETTER SOCIETY: Make a difference, battle prison overcrowding

Towards a New World Order in Eurasia: The 21st Century’s Great Game

  • Written by James M. Dorsey

BISHKEK (TCA) — As a new Great Game is just beginning in Eurasia with China being perhaps the key player on the vast region’s geopolitical map, we are presenting an abstract from a paper by Dr. James M. Dorsey, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies and co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture. The full paper is available here.

Read more: Towards a New World Order in Eurasia: The 21st Century’s Great Game

Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik radicals behind terrorism ‘made in Central Asia’

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — In the attack on an Istanbul nightclub last winter and recent ones in Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Astrakhan most of the perpetrators appeared to be not Chechens, Ingush and Dagestanians “as usual” but people from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, as well as ethnic Uygurs from western China. This, in the eyes of the public, has turned Central Asia into a terrorist brand. It appears that the region is ill-prepared to cope with it.

Read more: Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik radicals behind terrorism ‘made in Central Asia’

Will Kurds in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan seek joining Greater Kurdistan?

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Should Central Asia care whether or not Kurds in the world will have their own home in the form of the Greater Kurdistan Republic, covering the northern regions of Iraq and Syria? The answer would be no without taking precedent mechanisms into consideration. There has been talk more than once about Kyrgyzstan being split up into North and South or Tajikistan’s east proclaiming independence, and separatist tendencies in northern Kazakhstan. Any other attempt to change the geopolitical map anywhere in the world means bad tidings for other areas suffering from either real or imaginary geopolitical threats.

Read more: Will Kurds in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan seek joining Greater Kurdistan?

Time to re-engage

  • Written by S. Frederick Starr

BISHKEK (TCA) — As the new US administration is yet to determine its strategy in Central Asia and Afghanistan, we are republishing this article by S. Frederick Starr, the chairman of the Central Asia Caucasus Institute at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, originally published by The American Interest:

Read more: Time to re-engage

China: Belt and Road Initiative

  • Written by Dr. Shamshad Akhtar*

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:

Read more: China: Belt and Road Initiative

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