September 2011

From criminal schemes to political conjunctivitis

By Mark Zaguda

Theoretical physicist, political loser - Mukhtar Ablyazov a fugitive oligarch has chosen a new tactic of confrontation with Kazakh authorities. READ MORE

Ukraine Could Fall Under Russia's Sway, Ex-President Warns


By James Marson

Former President Viktor Yushchenko warned that the European Union's reluctance to offer a clear path to membership puts Ukraine at risk of falling into Russia's orbit and style of governance. READ MORE

Solidarity in the ongoing struggle “for” elimination of terrorism

By Keith Moon

All anti-terrorist organizations primarily fight against the most unpredictable and dangerous threat to peaceful existence. Terrorism is not just a hazardous act; the very possibility of its rise is perilous. READ MORE

Experts grow wary of Chinese investment in Europe


The response to an attempt by a Chinese businessman to open a leisure resort in Iceland suggests growing suspicion among European experts and a potential backlash that could stifle the relationship. READ MORE

Republic of Moldova and the future of Eastern Partnership: Warsaw summit perspectives


By Eduard Tugui

Between 29 and 30 September Poland will host the second summit of Eastern Partnership, which will bring together leaders of 27 EU member states and of EU Eastern neighbors, European Council President, European Commission President, European Parliament President, EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, representatives of civil society and business environment. Plenary session will conclude with the adoption of a Joint Declaration. Also, within the summit there will be a conference on civil society, which will be held in Warsaw, as well as the first Business Forum of Eastern Partnership, which will be held in Sopot. Two years after the launch of Eastern Partnership, these events represent an opportunity for rethinking European Union commitments in eastern neighborhood, in terms of efficiency of this new European project and reformulation of clearer European perspectives for the states included in the partnership. READ MORE

Obama prepares to punish Pakistan

By M K Bhadrakumar

The Barack Obama administration is making an extraordinary bid with the United States Congress to get the seven-year old embargo on military aid to Uzbekistan lifted poste-haste this month. READ MORE

Project Nord Stream: what’s next?


By Aivaras Bagdonas

The meeting of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Hannover on 19 July was an important event for further development of the Nord Stream pipeline project and first of all concerning Russia’s proposal to consider the construction of the third line on the Nord Stream pipeline. However, Angela Merkel said that Germany would not need “a third, fourth or fifth branches of Gazprom’s pipeline”, and it became clear that she didn’t support Moscow’s ambitions to expand the Nord Stream.  Moreover, according to Merkel, Gazprom should reduce gas price in order to attract European consumers. READ MORE

Russia: Putin heads back to the Kremlin


By Stefan Wagstyl

The question that has obsessed Moscow for so long has been answered: Vladimir Putin is to replace Dmitry Medvedev as president next spring, returning to the post he gave up four years ago. READ MORE

India’s Central Asia Soft Power

By Joshua Kucera

India may not have got the airbase it planned in Tajikistan. But hospital and research initiatives offer a chance of influence – without upsetting Russia. READ MORE

N Kosovo heats up with ‘truck crisis’


High tensions reached a new level at the Kosovo-Serbia border after Serbian authorities refused to allow three trucks carrying cement from Kosovo to enter Serbia despite the reopening of one of the two contentious border crossings. READ MORE

Moscow Reshuffles Bets in Kyrgyzstan

By Ryskeldi Satke

October 30, 2011 presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan have drawn over 80 candidates into much anticipated race that has been a subject of political debate in and around the country for quite some time in the republic. Aside from a several dozen of "wannabe" candidates only a few bare chances of getting through the process of a real deal campaigning nationwide. But regional experts and analysts including a number of domestic political figures say there is a likelihood of drastic change towards authoritarian model of the state rather than parliamentarian republic that came after coup in April 2010. What makes situation in Kyrgyzstan unique is that this is the only country in Central Asia with a record of trying to establish a multi vector political system in the region where such form of statehood is not welcome. READ MORE


The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, and OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier met the Council of Europe’s Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers, Ukraine’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Kostyantyn Gryshchenko, and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland in New York . READ MORE

'No shortcut' to peace in Middle East, says Obama


By Sabina Casagrande, Charlotte Chelsom-Pill, Christina Bergmann

Welcomed with great applause, US President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly in New York. His speech focused on the pursuit of peace in an imperfect world and the Palestinian bid for statehood. READ MORE

Gül to EU: Give Turkey a chance to finish negotiation process


By Abdulhamid Bilici

President Gül and his German counterpart, Wulff, met on Sunday evening to converse over tea with Turkish residents of Kreuzberg, a district known as Berlin's Turkish Town. Europeans should first of all let Turkey finish its European Union membership process successfully, instead of holding debates over whether Turkey should become a full member or not, Turkey's President Abdullah Gül said on Monday in Berlin, while ruling out formulas such as a “privileged partnership” as an alternative to full membership. READ MORE

Americans turn their backs on Europe

By Bruce Stokes

A new survey shows that Americans view Asian countries, not European ones, as the most important partners for the US. READ MORE

Kyrgyzstan and China Move Closer to Joint Railroad Construction

By Erica Marat

Bishkek and Beijing may soon sign a long-anticipated agreement on the construction of the “China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan” railroad. Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev will travel to China to discuss the project’s details. The Kyrgyz government considers the railroad to be an important component in the country’s economic strategy during the next few years. READ MORE

Is Ukraine alone against Russia in the renewed pipeline wars?

By Steve LeVine

Most places ignore the inauguration of new energy pipelines, but most places are not Russia, where the control of the flow of hydrocarbons means raw power. Yesterday, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin inaugurated Nord Stream, a huge gas pipeline linking his country to Germany. It ought to have been an ordinary event, but this 760-mile, $12.5 billion line is steeped in politics -- from Putin's explicitly stated perspective, Nord Stream at last allows Russia to bypass pesky former Soviet Bloc countries such as Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine that resist Moscow's will. READ MORE

Taking the Reset to the Oil Rigs

By Anders Aslund

ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson concluded a big oil and gas deal with Rosneft president Eduard Khudainatov in the Russian seaside resort of Sochi. The world’s largest private energy company had made the biggest deal in Russian history between any foreign energy company and the largest state-dominated oil company. The signing ceremony was overseen by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who acts as the real chairman of “Russia Energy Inc.,” and Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, suggesting that it has Moscow’s full political support. This is a huge success for both ExxonMobil and Rosneft. READ MORE

«Le Monde»: Our Dear Kazakhstan

By Anna Stroganova

“Le Monde” writes about another visit of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev to France – the visit which has not been officially scheduled within the visits of foreign leaders to the Elysee. On Monday September 19th Kazakh President was also received in Paris by the President Nicolas Sarkozy. READ MORE

Ukraine proposes alternative to South Stream


By Maria Selivanova

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych has proposed building one more gas pipeline across his country instead of the planned South Stream project bypassing it. Analysts say Russia is unlikely to support the idea because its goal is to minimize transit risks for its gas deliveries to Europe. READ MORE

Gas Dispute between Russia and Ukraine: in Expectation of the “Hot Phase”

By Oleg Gorbunov

Moscow and Kiev can’t agree on changes of the “blue fuel” supply contracts into this country and gas transit to Europe. Russia suggested Ukraine to enter the Customs Union and lease or sell its gas transporting system in exchange on price reduction. Ukraine doesn’t agree and tries to attract the European Union on its side. Ukrainian political analysts helped us to deal with the cobwebs of the established situation, having answered the questions: which are the chances for mutually beneficial conflict resolution between Russia and Ukraine on revision of the contracts in force for supply and transit of gas? Is Ukraine able to apply to the Stockholm court? Which are the consequences for the kind of step for Ukraine and gas supply to Europe? READ MORE

One Step Forward


By Konstatin Eggert

The relationship between Russia and NATO will forever be defined by encouraging steps forward hampered by regular setbacks. But soon, other regional factors may become even more important. READ MORE

Pro-Russia party scores huge success in Latvia election


By Richard Connor

In Latvia, a party backed by the large Russian minority, has won almost a third of votes in a snap election. But its more nationalist rivals may unite to keep the Harmony Party from power. READ MORE

Why the Fukushima disaster is worse than Chernobyl


By David McNeill

Japan has been slow to admit the scale of the meltdown. But now the truth is coming out. Some scientists say Fukushima is worse than the 1986 Chernobyl accident, with which it shares a maximum level-7 rating on the sliding scale of nuclear disasters. READ MORE

Turkmen gas: in several steps from Europe


By Azer Ahmedbeyli

Strategic plans of the representatives of the Euro-Atlantic space "to fasten" raw material base of Central Asian countries to Europe cause negative reactions from neighbors - Russia and Iran, who consider such a scenario inconsistent with their national interests. READ MORE

Agenda: With George Friedman on the Taliban Strategy


The past week’s attacks by the Taliban on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul may not yet have had a psychological impact on the United States, but it does cast doubt on the Obama administration’s claims of progress in the war. STRATFOR CEO Dr. George Friedman suggests the well-planned strike was aimed at improving the Taliban’s negotiating position. READ MORE

A New, Greater Impulse In Italian-Kazakh Relations

By Dario Cristiani

Kazakhstan and Italy are developing a major strategic partnership that is rapidly altering ties between the two countries. For Italy, one of the main and constant aims of Italian foreign policy – regardless of the political orientation of its government – is to guarantee the stability of its energy supplies. Italy imports about 85 percent of its energy. READ MORE

Balance of Interests in the Most Significant Geopolitical Corridor


By Tevan Pogosyan

The region of Central Asia has turned into the crossing of interests of not only regional leaders, but also leading entities of world policy. Contradictorily developing regional system of affairs is observed here. Interesting is the analysis of dynamics and originality of events and processes in Central Asia. READ MORE

US Ambassador: 9/11 is 'time for world to come together'


By Georgi Gotev

When we reflect on September 11th and other terrorist attacks, whether in London or Madrid or Mumbai, we have to recognise that this is a global issue that affects all of us, making the anniversary of 9/11 "an international day of reflection," US Ambassador to the EU William E. Kennard told in an exclusive interview. READ MORE

Defense Minister Akhalaia and U.S.-Georgia Defense Cooperation in Leaked Cables

Just a month after a U.S. diplomat expressed to President Saakashvili concerns over his selection of Bacho Akhalaia as Defense Minister two years ago, the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi reported to Washington that although it was yet early to make a final judgment about Akhalaia’s performance, “the early signs are all positive,” according to several confidential U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks. READ MORE

Cornered by Russia, Ukraine eyes Turkmen gas

Ukraine, embittered by Russia's unwillingness to cut prices for its gas, said on Monday, Sept. 12 it would try to resume imports of the fuel from Turkmenistan.    READ MORE

Accepting Reality: Living With a Nuclear North Korea


By Ted Galen Carpenter

Hopes are rising once more that the moribund six-party talks will resume and that negotiations will eventually produce an agreement whereby North Korea abandons its nuclear program. The latest cause for optimism came when North Korean leader Kim Jong-il called for a moratorium on the building or testing of nuclear weapons during his summit meeting with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. Hopes increased further when Kim repeated that proposal during his state visit to China a few days later, and added that his government was prepared to return to the six-party talks “without precondition.” READ MORE

Moscow 'regrets' EU decision on trans-Caspian gas pipeline

The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Moscow regrets the EU's decision on Monday to open talks with Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan aimed at agreeing shipment of Turkmen natural gas across the Caspian Sea to Europe. READ MORE

Calling for ban on developing nuclear weapons, nuclear powers should become example of reduction and renunciation of nuclear arsenal - K.Saudabayev


By Dimash Syzdykov

20 years ago Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the world's fourth largest nuclear arsenal, closing the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. READ MORE

OSCE hosts meeting of Moldovan and Transdniestrian leaders

The Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audrionus Ažubalis, opened a bilateral meeting between the leaders of the sides in the Transdniestrian conflict - Prime Minister Vlad Filat of Moldova and Transdniestrian leader Igor Smirnov – in the German town of Bad Reichenhall today. READ MORE

If WW III breaks out tomorrow/or what happens if China decides to get hold of Russian Siberia and Far East?

By Vadim Volovoj, expert of the Centre for Geopolitical Studies

Today military actions between Russia and China hardly seem possible, but this doesn’t mean that future events might not take the opposite direction. Several questions arise in this context: does China consider the neighboring Russian lands as own territory and is going to occupy them? What could make China take this step? And what consequences could result from this? READ MORE

“Kazakhstan’s way” of development

By Marijus Radvilas

2011 is a landmark year for Kazakhstan. Twenty years ago, December 16, 1991 President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed RK Constitutional Law “On State Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan”. READ MORE

Germany's top court throws out anti-euro bailout lawsuit


By Matt Zuvela, Nicole Goebel

Germany's constitutional court has ruled that the country's contribution to the eurozone bailout fund was legal, but said parliament must have greater say in similar decisions in the future. Markets were up on the news. READ MORE

ISAF Commander sets his priorities for successful Transition in Afghanistan


General John Allen is six weeks into his command of ISAF and US troops in Afghanistan: “We will prevail in this campaign because the forces are well entrained and [we have] the right combination to do that.” READ MORE

Improve CSTO? Kick Out Uzbekistan, Says Medvedev's Think Tank

By Hugh Raiser

A think tank chaired by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has come up with an interesting idea for getting the largely ineffective Collective Security Treaty Organization off the ground: Kick out Uzbekistan. READ MORE

Nuclear Politics

By Manpreet Sethi

Last December, the United States and Belarus entered into an agreement that was hailed as a non-proliferation success. Under the deal, Belarus agreed to hand over several hundred kilograms of highly enriched uranium in its possession to Russia for downblending. But on August 19, Belarus announced that it was suspending the agreement in response to economic sanctions imposed by Washington over its crackdown on the opposition. READ MORE

Bulgaria, Russia go to court over Belene nuclear project


By Branimir Kondov

A tug of war between Sofia and Moscow over Russia's controversial Belene nuclear power plant project in Bulgaria intensified in August with both sides bracing for a protracted legal battle. READ MORE

Libya war is Nato conquest of oil-rich south, Russian diplomat says


By Andrew Rettman

The Libya conflict signals the end of Nato's eastward expansion and the beginning of a new campaign to conquer the oil-rich Muslim south, Russia's envoy to the military alliance has said. READ MORE

America’s Secret Libya War


By John Barry

The U.S. military has spent about $1 billion on Libya’s revolution, and secretly helped NATO with everything from munitions to surveillance aircraft. John Barry provides an exclusive look at Obama’s emerging 'covert intervention' strategy. READ MORE

Don't Sweat the Russia 'Reset'

By Daragh McDowell

In recent weeks, pundits, diplomats and assorted foreign policy wonks have started raising the alarm on U.S.-Russia relations, with the Obama administration's much-trumpeted "reset" seeming to be increasingly under threat. A recent travel ban by the U.S. State Department on certain Russian officials believed to be involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky elicited an angry response from Moscow threatening cooperation in areas ranging from Afghanistan to North Korea. Russia's ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, has started grousing about U.S. missile defense plans again. And all of this comes against a backdrop of increasing criticism from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his factional supporters in the Russian government about U.S. policy in Libya and Syria. Predictably, this has resulted in a stream of op-eds in the Western press raising the specter of a "new Cold War." READ MORE

How Turkey wants to reshape NATO

By Sinan Ülgen

Turkey joined NATO at the beginning of the Cold War for U.S. protection in case of Soviet attack. At that time Turkey was clearly on the frontline, but today all that lies in the past and Turkey is pursuing its own assertive and independent foreign and security policy. Ankara’s new-found confidence naturally has consequences vis-à-vis NATO, for this growing assertiveness is testing the alliance’s cohesion, as is illustrated by a number of lingering issues and high-profile disputes. READ MORE

As Central Asia Dries Up, States Spar Over Shrinking Resources

By Muhammad Tahir

Qubay Ortiqov is a farmer from Karakalpakstan, a remote region in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan. READ MORE

Presidential Campaign In Kyrgyzstan Focuses On US Transit Center


By Erica Marat

On August 15, Kyrgyz Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev promised he will end the contract with Washington on the US Transit Center in Bishkek in 2014, when the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) plans to withdraw from Afghanistan. “The contract for the Transit Center will expire in 2014. Our position is the following: we will notify in six months the US side of the termination of the contract in full compliance with assumed obligations and from 2014 there will be the first major civilian international transport junction,” the prime minister said . READ MORE