CI Magazine / New issue

"The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict in the Context of Muslim-Christian Relations" by Galina M. Yemelianova

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:31 PM

The Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict over the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke out in 1987, has been one of the most enduring ethno-territorial conflicts in the former Soviet space. In 1988, the conflict escalated into a fully-fledged war, involving Armenians and Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan. In 1994, international mediation de-escalated the war into a fragile status quo. Since then, it has been largely neglected by Western policy-makers, media, and the wider international public. Meanwhile, the conflict remains a key threat to stability stretching from the Caspian to the Black Sea. Historically, its myriad causes included the geopolitical rivalry in the Caucasus between the Christian Orthodox Russian Empire, Muslim Persia and the Ottoman Empire; the development of Armenian and Azerbaijani nationalist movements; the initial temporary rapprochement between Bolshevik atheistic Russia and Ataturk’s secularist Turkey; Stalin’s nationality policy; the break-up of the USSR; and the resurgence of Armenian and Azerbaijani ethno-religious nationalism. The article provides a historical account of the role of religion in the geopolitics of the Caucasus with particular focus on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It argues that throughout history, the religious factor has played an indirect role in first fomenting and later perpetuating the conflict. Read more...

"Central Asia and Azerbaijan Does Islamic solidarity matter?" by Narmina Mamishova

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:29 PM

This article looks at whether the foreign policies of post-Soviet Central Asian republics encompass the idea of Islamic solidarity. Specifically, it analyzes their relations with Muslim-majority Azerbaijan, which is concerned with gaining political and diplomatic support in the international arena in order to secure the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and accordingly, the restoration of its territorial integrity. The findings of the article evidence that the official agendas of the countries concerned towards Muslim nations and Azerbaijan particularly are rather opportunistic and do not follow any definite path. Instead, the article explains the actual origins of interstate solidarity which is scarcely determined by a religious factor. Read more...

"Overcoming the Curse of Landlockedness: Strategic Importance of BTK in Connecting Central Asia to the World" by Javid Aliskenderli

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:28 PM

This article is an analysis of the opportunities presented by the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project to landlocked Central Asia and Azerbaijan. The creation of efficient transportation corridors is important for landlocked states in terms of obtaining secure and cost effective access to major export and import markets, and in order to overcome the trade bottlenecks created by geography. In this regard, the importance of the “New Silk Road” project is comprehensively assessed, with particular focus on the opportunities presented by the newly launched Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway route. It is argued that these projects constitute major breakthroughs for Central Asia and Azerbaijan, not only helping them to overcome the economic development limitations entailed by lack of maritime access, but also providing easy access to global markets and significantly increasing their role as transit countries connecting East and West. Read more...

"One Belt One Road Strategy: the Views from Kazakhstan" by Rafis Abazov

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:25 PM

Policy makers in Kazakhstan were among the first in Central Asia to support the China-led “Silk Road Economic Belt” (SREB) initiative. However, recently they have begun to re-conceptualize their policies in the region pursuant to the region’s shifting geo-economics and geopolitics. Three fundamental shifts have influenced the emergence of the new Silk Road paradigm in the international relations in the greater Central Asia region. The first is the shift in international trade, investments and economic relations in the Eurasian region, as the decline in global oil prices negatively impacted the economic growth both in Kazakhstan and in neighboring countries. The second is the growth of land-based transportation and communication infrastructure networks, which could potentially open the door for greater regional trade. The third is the formation (albeit in the early stages) of a new regional trade bloc via attempts to unify tariffs, trade regimes, and regulations in order to develop even closer economic relations in the region. Read more...

Book Review: “Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World” by Alexander Betts & Paul Collier

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:23 PM

The book Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World is written by Alexander Betts. Betts is the Leopold W. Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs at the University of Oxford, where he is also director of the Refugee Studies Centre and Paul Collier is professor of economics at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. The book opens with an explanation of how one economist and political scientist decided to collaborate on refugees in the Middle East. This initiative emerged after the Jordanian think tank, WANA, invited both academics to come to Jordan and brainstorm with government on the issue. Subsequently, the authors broadened the scope beyond Jordan, aiming to develop a framework of ideas for rethinking a failing refugee system. Read more...

Caucasus Under Review - Recently Published Books

By Editor CI

Jan 13, 2018 - 3:19 PM

While the Caucasus is a region of enormous diversity and potential, it is also a region about which relatively little is known. However, during the last decade, numerous publications on the region have expanded both regional and international understanding of this diversity and potential. This overview of recent publications provides an up-to-date reading list for anyone interested in the region. Read more...
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