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Central Asia terror cells and Turkish connection

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — The longstanding plan to destroy the secular states of Central Asia and eventually that of Russia cherished by Daesh and its connected Central-Asian groups has been complicated by Turkey’s recent reconciliation move towards Moscow. This could explain the choice of Istanbul as the latest terror target and the fact that it was masterminded and carried out by former Soviet citizens, probably including at least one Kyrgyz and one Uzbek perpetrator.

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Central Asia: wine offers perspective to investors

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — Vine-growing and wine-making are among those old traditions in all of Kyrgyzstan and the south of Kazakhstan, while the east of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are now reviving the industry under new brands. Technological upgrading with European input could boost output even further with the outlook to conquer a place among global wine exporters.

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Central Asians ‘rediscover’ Russian as a social stabiliser and economic catalyst

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Attempts by national governments of Central Asia’s former Soviet republics to make their indigenous languages tools for nationalistic mainstream politics have been halfhearted from the very beginning following the break-up of the USSR. Intrusions of other external movements, mainly though not only “Islamic” ones, have made authorities throughout the region think twice. With a large number of migrants to Russia and business development, all landlocked countries of Central Asia are in search for coexistence between nationalist sentiments and cross-frontier ambitions.

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Kazakhstan’s agro-sector capital-strapped: investment delayed by trade tycoons

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Hope could be glimmering for Kazakhstan’s stagnating agro-sector which is more than half a century behind in technology, management and other aspects for sheer lack of capital to invest into crop diversification, quality improvement and other needs to boost product competitiveness. Kazakhstan is the world’s seventh-largest grain exporter, with half of its output available for sales abroad.  

Read more: Kazakhstan’s agro-sector capital-strapped: investment delayed by trade tycoons

Violence in Kazakhstan’s Aktobe: 19 killed

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

ALMATY (TCA) — The latest violence in Aktobe, here in Kazakhstan, is leaving the authorities and sideliners in the dark. If it was the work of a gang or terrorist group acting on the orders of either Daesh or Al-Qaeda from their remote strongholds in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan or part of a more secular conspiracy against the Kazakh state, no one seems to be able to explain.

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Terrorism in Central Asia: Will Al-Qaeda take control over Uzbek terror movement?

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — With the recent death of its last strongman, the oldest and most threatening terrorist organization of Central Asia, the Uzbek-dominated IMU, has disappeared – or may be not? From recent events it is easy to observe that Al-Qaeda is absorbing the global jihad conglomerate into its own ranks. This includes Daesh, apparently considered too exposed to be of further use, and of course the Taliban, making the danger toward Central Asia all the more acute.

Read more: Terrorism in Central Asia: Will Al-Qaeda take control over Uzbek terror movement?

Central Asia better protected with India and Pakistan membership to SCO

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — The Shanghai Cooperation Organization, also known as the Shanghai Six, is becoming Shanghai Eight with the now formalized entry of India and Pakistan. For Central Asia’s former Soviet republics, it means that their troublesome neighbor Afghanistan is now sealed from the south, and the two new SCO member states will have less excuses to stand by should the Afghan civil war spill over towards the north.

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Central Asia and Russian and European sanctions: manufacturing locally with a foreign partner

  • Written by Giorgio Fiacconi, TCA publisher

BISHKEK (TCA) — Recently an Italian delegation was in Kazakhstan to find ways and means to cooperate with Kazakh companies to produce in Kazakhstan with Italy as the main partner for the export to Russia. A similar trend is in process in Kyrgyzstan, while European and Turkish companies are already very active in developing new joint ventures with manufacturing and processing plants in Russia, Belarus and other countries. The objective is everywhere the same — a continuation of business relations and trade with the important market of Russia. European exporters are fully aware of the damage they have been suffering in the last 18 months following the European sanctions and Russian counter sanctions, and they are trying to keep the business relations built during many years of cooperation with the Russian market.

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Kazakhstan to hold Eurasian Economic Union-European Union forum

  • Written by Douglas Green

ALMATY (TCA) — On the initiative of Kazakhstan’s head of state, the European Union has come to a point where it cannot rule out normal bloc-to-bloc relations with the Eurasian Economic Union. Both sides are certainly looking for a fair deal, but political reasons may also represent a barrier to be overcome.

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EEU two years later: expansion and unbalance. The case of Kyrgyzstan

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — It is almost two years now that Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia proceeded with the formation of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), a step forward from their Customs Union. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan afterwards joined the Union, and as things stand today the EEU is consolidating and trying to transform the principles that hold it together from just good will into a well-regulated system.

Read more: EEU two years later: expansion and unbalance. The case of Kyrgyzstan

Uyghur minorities in Central Asia: an ethnic group between hammer and anvil

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

URUMQI, China (TCA) — China has offered its military support to Afghanistan to combat terrorism, which may spread toward Central Asia and the western Chinese province of Xinjiang bordering Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. This brings us back to the problem of the Uyghurs and the long list of ethnic minorities “without land” such as the Laps and the Basks in Europe, the Tamils, the Sikhs, the Kurds, and the Kashmiri in Asia. The nearly 10 million strong Uyghur nation, now mostly located within China, clash with the so-called national integrity of UN member states, with problems and solutions that not always match.

Read more: Uyghur minorities in Central Asia: an ethnic group between hammer and anvil

Daesh (IS) and criminal syndicates after the gold of Central Asia

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — Recent reports from various sides concerning the increasing lack of cash flow for Daesh (IS) in the Near East due to difficulties in its Turkish oil smuggling chain add a new dimension to the already existing threat of extremist forces’ concentration in Afghanistan bordering the southern republics of Central Asia. Ever increasing assessments of the area’s world-class gold mining reserves must have drawn the attention of gang leaders of Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Daesh looking for alternative baits and a motive behind their “spring offensive” in Afghanistan and beyond.

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Afghanistan’s mining industry controlled by terrorists and gangs

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (TCA) — Precious metals and stones, along with ferrous and non-ferrous metals, worth according to some estimates up to 3 trillion dollars are waiting under Afghanistan’s soil to be exploited. But to do so appears to be a remote dream at best for mining entrepreneurs given what happens on the ground rather than beneath it, leaving mining activity to thugs and terrorists whose variety in Afghanistan is hardly less rich.

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Central Asia’s ‘Karabakhs’ may be even more dangerous than the original

  • Written by Paul Goble

BISHKEK (TCA) — As Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have been involved in tensions concerning disputed border areas in the Ferghana Valley, a densely populated region shared by Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, we are republishing an article by Paul Goble, entitled “Central Asia’s ‘Karabakhs’ may be even more dangerous than the original”, originally published by the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor, which draws a parallel between the Caucasus and Central Asia. The article is below:     

Read more: Central Asia’s ‘Karabakhs’ may be even more dangerous than the original

Central Asia reviving old cooperation schemes with Iran

  • Written by Douglas Green

LONDON (TCA) — With the recent removal of the sanctions on Iran, Europe and the former Soviet republics have jumped on the platform to announce “breakthrough” deals on the occasion. Today most of those “new” deals are in fact a lot older, and it will take several years before a concrete benefit will be achieved both for Central Asia and Iran. Today Iran needs every bit of cash to cope with its huge socioeconomic problems while Central Asia access to the sea and alternative export routes has always been of high priority.

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Turkmenistan’s gas sales: the choice between cash and ash

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

ASHGABAT (TCA) — Turkmenistan’s dream to become a world energy player seems to have gone up in smoke just when it could have grasped a glimpse of reality. A trade conflict with Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has prematurely locked its gas outlet to the north, leaving only China as its customer. Ashgabat’s lack of market insight in the midst of a continental price slump appears to be the main cause of Turkmenistan’s inability to cash in on its monoculture.

Read more: Turkmenistan’s gas sales: the choice between cash and ash

Kyrgyzstan export with Italians — a new manufacturing approach

  • Written by Giorgio Fiacconi, TCA publisher

BISHKEK (TCA) — European sanctions on Russia and Russian counter sanctions on Europe, as well as new sanctions of Russia on Turkey, have forced European and Turkish manufacturers to find new ways to stay in the Russian market. A new model of export oriented cooperation between Russia and former Soviet States is now taking shape with the purpose to produce in Russia and in several Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) member countries. The new initiative “Made with Italy” is being promoted by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development as a new way of transferring technological know-how and other forms of cooperation to countries that enjoy the benefits of their membership of the EEU and are free from any form of sanctions.

Read more: Kyrgyzstan export with Italians — a new manufacturing approach

Afghanistan: Taliban spring offensive and increasing threat to Central Asia

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (TCA) — In Afghanistan, the Taliban has regained a foothold and launched the spring offensive codenamed “operation Omari,” after the name of its late leader Mullah Muhammad Omar. This will certainly nullify the peace efforts of the quadrilateral coordination group of China, the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan for reaching a direct dialogue between Kabul and the Taliban. The spring offensive will certainly escalate violence and further destabilize the country. Such development on the ground, with the Afghan government’s role in state management reduced by ever intensive fighting, may turn foreign intervention from a last option into the only option. With Afghanistan falling again into chaos, terrorism may spread to neighboring countries of Central Asia and probably China’s western Xinjiang region.  

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Afghanistan: terrorism or war all moving closer to Central Asia

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (TCA) — Right across the Tajik border and under the very noses of Russian and Indian military based near the frontier, it is all-out war again in the northeast of Afghanistan and there is a pretty good chance that Afghan government troops will bite the dust in the absence of American, or eventually Russian, Indian and/or Chinese air support. Only days after the Taliban announced its “spring offensive” throughout Afghanistan, the much-feared extremists already keep the initiative both in the southwest and the northeast. Only resumed infighting between extremist forces could bring some relief for a disenchanted population in the region.

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Kyrgyzstan: new prime minister, old economic challenges

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — The latest row leading to the Kyrgyz Government’s resignation has been a perfect example of the negligence with which the outgoing cabinet treated the country’s urgent economic problems. Since the outgoing PM was a technocrat from outside of the three-party parliamentary coalition, the partnership remains intact with no outlook on so-called snap elections. But the problems faced by the new team need a much better approach than till now.

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Kyrgyzstan’s border trouble between crime and economics

  • Written by Abdul Aziz

OSH, Kyrgyzstan (TCA) — In the southwest of Kyrgyzstan, with its important Uzbek minority and arguable borders there is a potential cause for confrontation with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. At stake are precious irrigation water and mineral resources.

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Kyrgyzstan’s economy in figures

  • Written by Charles van der Leeuw

BISHKEK (TCA) — There is something about economic forecasts proclaimed by institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank: in cases they are mildly positive, realities that follow them tend to be better, and in cases they are mildly negative, realities turn out to be worse. Forecasts and subsequent realities concerning Central Asia in this context appear not just unexceptional, but even exemplary.

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