Regions / Asia

Azerbaijan in the Silk Road Economic Belt: A Chinese Perspective; Bai Lianlei

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:42 PM

The Silk Road Economic Belt is one manifestation of China’s opening-up policy, and implies the evolution of this policy from seaward to both seaward and landward. The core ideas of the Belt are primarily based on the experiences of China’s economic success. Azerbaijan is an ideal partner for construction of the Belt for three reasons: the Azerbaijan-located Caspian rim area is becoming a new joint zone of East Asian, European and Russian economic interest; Azerbaijan is the forerunner in the rejuvenation of the ancient Silk Road in terms of re-development multiple large-scale transnational transport systems; and Azerbaijan bears similarities with China which contribute to mutually beneficial cooperation. The Belt brings valuable opportunities to Azerbaijan, particularly in terms of the transit fees and industrial cooperation opportunities. What Azerbaijan and China can do is first to clarify China’s thinking on the Belt, and second, to identify areas for specific cooperation. Read more...

Linking the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Eurasian Economic Union: Mission Impossible?; Alexander Libman

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:41 PM

The goal of the paper is to examine the prospects for cooperation between two ambitious regional integration projects in Eurasia – the Chinese Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) and the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Both Chinese and Russian leadership proclaim their goal of linking these two initiatives; however, the actual potential for cooperation is disputed by observers. This paper argues that the EEU and the SREB are strikingly different in terms of their design and goals – however, it is precisely these differences that create the possibility of the projects’ co-existence in the Eurasian space, creating positive spillovers, as well as a limited agenda for more explicit cooperation. However, there are also important obstacles to cooperation: namely the growing protectionism in Russia; the danger of redistributional conflicts between the states of Eurasia; as well as broader geopolitical concerns. Read more...

Trans-Eurasian Transportation Networks and the Opportunities and Challenges of Economic Integration within Wider Eurasia: Role of Kazakhstan; Richard Weitz

By Editor CI

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:37 PM

One of Kazakhstan’s primary goals has been to promote deeper economic, diplomatic, and social ties in Central Asia. Kazakh officials and analysts believe that regional economic integration will help Kazakhstan and its neighbors diversify their economies, enhance their competitiveness, and achieve deeper integration into the world economy. With its strong economic development and commitment to regional economic integration, Kazakh leaders seek to drive integration of regional transportation networks among Eurasian states. In turn, they anticipate that greater transport integration will enhance regional trade, investment, and prosperity. Access to multiple viable transportation routes would provide strategic benefits not only for Kazakhstan, enhancing its national autonomy, but also for other countries, by promoting geopolitical pluralism in the former Soviet space. However, transportation development in Eurasia has been impeded by unresolved disputes over borders, trade, visas, illegal migration, and natural resources such as water and gas, exacerbated by the current economic slowdown and proliferation of sanctions. In order for Kazakhstan to realize its goal, it must work with regional and global partners – especially those in Central Asia and the South Caucasus – to accelerate progress on critical transportation projects. Read more...

Security Challenges for Afghanistan: Is the International Security Governance Failing or Succeeding in Afghanistan? Salih Doğan

By ilgar Gurbanov

Sep 30, 2015 - 3:32 PM

The end of 2014 marked the conclusion of the United States’ longest war, at least in the sense of its role as a direct combatant. The military intervention in 2001, continued as a NATO mission, sought to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat terrorist and insurgent groups in Afghanistan. The international community withdrew most of their troops and left only 13,500 non-combatant soldiers under the new NATO mission. Named the Resolute Support Mission, the mission is designed to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Security Forces. However, the number of troops and their non-combatant role could pose difficulties in terms of Afghanistan’s security. An increase in the number of troops and a shift back into a combatant role might be needed in the near future. Obviously, it would be very optimistic to assume that the Afghan National Security Forces could overcome the terrorist threat on their own, given that this was impossible even with almost 150,000 NATO troops present in the country. With the Afghan forces fully responsible for security issues, 2014 became the bloodiest year since 2001. Moreover, the Islamic State (in Iraq and the Levant) moved beyond the Middle East and became active and operational in Afghan soil during this time. They began to carry out attacks in the country, which led the Islamic State and the Taliban to declare jihad against one another. Afghanistan’s current security situation has implications beyond its national borders; it is a trans-boundary security threat affecting Central Asian, South Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The situation now requires a common strategy from the international coalitions constituted to counter the Taliban and Islamic State, in order to fight these groups in the wider region. Read more...
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