Kateqoriya arxivləri: Opinions

Baku-Beijing Relations and China’s Growing Interest in the South Caucasus

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Beijing, Dec. 10, 2015. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

This past January, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev attended a session on “The Silk Road Effect” at the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, alongside Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (President.az, January 19). Presumably, the intention of both leaders was to promote the importance of the new China-led “Silk Road Economic Belt” project and its role in the future development of the economy and infrastructure in the South Caucasus. As a source of and as a transit corridor for strategic global resources such as oil and natural gas, as well as the intersection of important transportation routes between the East and West as well as the North and South, the South Caucasus holds great geostrategic importance. While a relatively low priority for China during the early 2000s, more recently the South Caucasus has become an area of great interest as an extension of the highly ambitious Chinese Silk Road project, which aims to connect Europe and East Asia via new roads and railways across the Eurasian landmass. Oxumağa davam et Baku-Beijing Relations and China’s Growing Interest in the South Caucasus

Forgotten lessons of Libyan War

Photo Credit: Associated Press
Photo Credit: Associated Press

Since the emergence of ‘failed states’ in the Middle East and North Africa region driven by the so-called “Arab Spring” events, Russia has actively endeavoured to expand its influence across the region. In Libya – the country, which has suffered from bloody sectarian wars since 2011 and thus, became a terrorist haven, seemingly is a new target of Russian expansion. This expansion is driven by its economic interests as a major oil producer and supplier of arms, and by history.

Today Libya is a failed state. Western military intervention has caused all of the worst scenarios: nearly all embassies have closed, the south of the country has become a training camp for ISIS terrorists, and the northern coast a centre for migrant trafficking. Amid all these tensions and political instability, general-lieutenant Khalifa Haftar pretends to be the long-awaited strongman, who is able to end six-year long anarchy and chaos in Libya. General Haftar, who once was fighting alongside Muammar Qaddafi but then opposed his regime, now enjoys the full support of Russia in his fight against radical terrorist groups. Oxumağa davam et Forgotten lessons of Libyan War

Karabakh: Diplomatic Attention Needed to Address Growing Risks

An Azeri serviceman stands guard at the frontline with the self-defence army of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan
An Azeri serviceman stands guard at the frontline with the self-defence army of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. Photo: Zulfiya Safkhanova/Reuters

On February 25, Armenian troops alongside allied separatist forces in Karabakh attempted to carry out sabotage in the Khojavend – Fizuli sector of the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact (LoC) that separates Azerbaijani – Armenian military zones. While around five Azerbaijani soldiers were killed, the latest flare-up in the frontline demonstrated the ever-present risk of a new wider escalation of the conflict. As a result of the deadly ongoing skirmishes in the frontline, the bodies of the killed Azerbaijani soldiers remained in the neutral zone between two sides including Major Agshin Abdullayev and Senior Lieutenant Tural Hashimli. It took two days before Azerbaijan has removed the bodies of servicemen from the neutral zone.

The Defence Ministry of the separatist regime in Nagorno-Karabakh accused Azerbaijan of launching night attacks in the south-eastern section of Khojavand (Martuni) with the TR-107 rocket launcher. Azerbaijani Defence Ministry, however, accused the Armenia-backed forces of initiating provocative incursions in hope of gaining certain strategic points.   Oxumağa davam et Karabakh: Diplomatic Attention Needed to Address Growing Risks

China’s Long March into Central Asia: How Beijing Expands Military Influence in Tajikistan?

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon during a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Beijing, Sept. 2, 2015 (AP photo by Lintao Zhang).
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon during a signing ceremony at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Beijing, Sept. 2, 2015 (AP photo by Lintao Zhang).

Published by Central Asia – Caucasus Institute (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.

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 Oxumağa davam et China’s Long March into Central Asia: How Beijing Expands Military Influence in Tajikistan?

The case of Lapshin: How it will affect Azerbaijan – Israel partnership?

Blogger Alexander Lapshin at Baku airport. Photo: Trend Agency
Blogger Alexander Lapshin at Baku airport. Photo: Trend Agency

On 8th of February of 2017, a plane carrying Russian travel-blogger Alexander Lapshin landed at Baku International Airport. Alexander Lapshin, who was detained in Belarus a month ago at the request of Azerbaijan, is charged with violating the country’s legislation by illegally visiting occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Reportedly, Alexander Lapshin, who illegally travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh region in 2011, and 2012, presented Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh as an “independent state” on his social media account, and supported the “independence” of the unrecognized regime. The Supreme Court of Belarus on Tuesday upheld a government decision to extradite blogger to Azerbaijan, which raised a huge outrage in Armenian mass media. Oxumağa davam et The case of Lapshin: How it will affect Azerbaijan – Israel partnership?

Will Central Asia Fight Over Water Resources?

Women pick cotton in 2005 in the town of Andijan, Uzbekistan, for farmers who are forced to sign annual agreements with the government to grow one of the country's leading exports. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)
Women pick cotton in 2005 in the town of Andijan, Uzbekistan, for farmers who are forced to sign annual agreements with the government to grow one of the country’s leading exports. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)

Water has always been a major cause of wars and border conflicts in the Central Asian region. For being one of the greatest geographical regions, Central Asia has limited water resources. Modern history of the region has been fueled with various ethnic and territorial clashes. Apparently, the main catalysts behind conflicts have been attempts to take control of rich water resources. The main sources of water in Central Asia are the Syr Darya and Amu Darya Rivers, mostly fed by snow- and glacier-melt from the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Tien Shan mountain ranges. The 2,200-kilometer Syr Darya originates in the Tien Shan, flows through Kyrgyzstan as the Naryn River and combines with the Kara Darya to become the Syr Darya.

The water resource crisis is not a new phenomenon in Central Asia. With the eventual fall of the Soviet Union, the resource-sharing system it imposed on the region totally disintegrated. The root of the problem is that the main water resources in Central Asia Oxumağa davam et Will Central Asia Fight Over Water Resources?

Will the ‘Troika format’ of Astana talks bring peace to Syria?

Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, left, and Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov shake hands, as Russia’s special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev and Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaber Ansari, right, shake hands and UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura stand after the final statement following the talks on Syrian peace in Astana, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017. (Photo: AP)

On January 23, the next phase of peace talks started in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. Syria’s government and opposition forces are to meet in Kazakh capital Astana for the first time since the fall of Aleppo.

Negotiations between the Syrian government delegation and rebel fighters, sponsored by Russia and Turkey – who have been backing different sides of the conflict – are expected to last three days. One of the most significant points of the talks is that this time Syrian opposition is represented mainly by the militant groups, which fight in Syria, not just by secular, and political forces. Nevertheless, uncertainty prevails over all aspects of the talks – from the attendant list to the agenda of the meeting.

The guarantors of the Astana talks – Turkey, Iran, and Russia are seemingly making efforts to show the effectiveness of “Troika” Oxumağa davam et Will the ‘Troika format’ of Astana talks bring peace to Syria?