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

By Editor CI

views: 321

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...

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

By Editor CI

views: 248

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...

Caucasus Under Review - Recently Published Books

By Editor CI

views: 244

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...

Commentary: "Armenia’s “Velvet Revolution”: The Next Chapter" by Amanda Paul

By Editor CI

views: 204

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:30 PM

Armenia’s “Velvet revolution” has opened a new page in the country’s history. Fed up with corrupt governance and dire socio-economic conditions, Armenians took to the streets. Their steely determination led to the resignation of veteran leader Serzh Sargsyan. Nikol Pashinyan was elected Prime Minister. The biggest challenge that Pashinyan faces is meeting the huge expectations of society. His ability to deliver remains constrained by a need to secure a popular mandate through the ballot box, and by Armenia’s complicated military and strategic relationship with its neighbours. While Pashinyan has opted to maintain continuity on foreign and security related issues, his domestic agenda is very ambitious. However, with the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) continuing to have strong influence over the key branches of power, bringing real change will not be easy. Furthermore, the network of Armenia’s corrupt elites and oligarchs that have plundered the state since independence will not give up without a fight. Hence to what extent Pashinyan will be able to succeed, remains to be seen. Read more...

"Nuclear Deal and Iran-Azerbaijan Economic Ties" by Hamed Kazemzadeh

By Editor CI

views: 151

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:51 PM

Since 1991, there has been great potential for economic cooperation between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and following the nuclear deal and the lifting of international sanctions, this has become even more apparent. The collapse of the Soviet Union had a significant effect on the geopolitics of Iran, especially on its northern borders with the Caucasus. However, international sanctions against Iran had been a barrier to expanded economic and political cooperation between Iran and the Caucasus, specifically Azerbaijan. Therefore, it seems likely that the post-sanctions era will see economic and trade cooperation between Iran and Azerbaijan develop rapidly. This article provides an overview of economic relation between these two neighboring states following the Nuclear Deal and discusses the prospects for high-level cooperation. Read more...

"Relations between Iran and the EU in the Post-JCPOA Era" by Hassan Beheshtipour

By Editor CI

views: 148

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:40 PM

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was reached in Vienna on July 14 2015, between Iran, the P5+1, and the European Union (EU), and was formally put into action on January 16 2016. This accord is considered to be one of the most important international agreements since World War II. JCPOA has a key role in shaping the future prospects of Iran-EU relations. As such, this article will examine the foundation for collaboration between the two parties in the post-JCPOA era. In this context, the paper assesses the positive outcomes of the accord on economic cooperation, along with the potential challenges in Iran-EU relations at the aftermath of the US’s withdrawal [from the agreement] in the post-JCPOA era.** The main hypothesis of this paper is that it is in the best interests of both Iran and the EU to directly and fully implement JCPOA. Equally important, both parties will benefit from limiting the influence of external parties, in particular the United States. Under these conditions, we can expect that both parties will seek to expand economic, political, and cultural relations during the coming years. Read more...

"The US’s Post-9/11 Nuclear Strategy and its Security Implication for Russia" by Azad Garibov

By Editor CI

views: 143

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:50 PM

The 9/11 terrorist attacks revealed the vulnerabilities of the US vis-à-vis terrorists and so-called “rogue states”, and built strong consensus among policy makers about the country’s new security environment. Therefore, shortly after 9/11, in order to meet the challenges of a new security environment, new strategies, including a New Nuclear Strategy, were adopted. The New Nuclear Strategy was markedly different from the Cold War strategy. Although key components of the strategy (for example, New Triad and Ballistic Missile Defense) had an inherent defensive nature, they had dangerous implications for Russia, intended or unintended. The Strategy rendered Moscow insecure vis-à-vis the US because of Washington’s increased defense and offence capabilities. Despite being declaratively directed against rogue states and terrorist organizations, the new capabilities were actually highly suitable for achieving nuclear superiority over the US’ main contender in the field, Russia, and threatened to push Moscow into a costly arms-race that it could ill afford. This article aims to outline the changes that were introduced in the US nuclear strategy by the Bush Administration after 9/11, explaining why and how they were perceived as security threats by Russia. Read more...

"The EU’s Ambiguous Stance on Separatism: Lessons from Catalonia, Kosovo, and Nagorno-Karabakh" by Ayaz Rzayev

By Editor CI

views: 141

Jul 3, 2018 - 12:11 PM

In October 2017, the Catalonian government held a referendum on Catalan independence which was subsequently declared illegal by Spain on the grounds that it violated the Spanish Constitution. The vote triggered the invocation of Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allowed the central government in Madridto suspend Catalonia’s self-rule. The situation has forced Catalonia into the international spotlight as a potential precursor of other breakaway regions in the EU. Since these separatist movements pose a threat to global and regional stability, their potential spread throughout Europe brings to the fore a pressing challenge that the EU urgently needs to address. The events in Catalonia are the result not only of the complexity of internal Spanish politics, but also reflect a more fundamental issue of how European institutions decide to handle matters of territorial integrity and self-determination in general while continuing to test the adequacy of the EU’s response to these issues in the changing context of international politics. Therefore, this new political context represents a good opportunity to assess whether the EU’s stance on these issues has been consistent so far and whether the EU has, perhaps unintentionally, enabled separatist movements. Read more...

Commentary: "Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev Addresses New Messages Through His New Cabinet" by Farhad Mammadov

By Editor CI

views: 136

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:35 PM

The March 11th, 2018 presidential elections in Azerbaijan confirmed the political weight and the overwhelming popular support for President Ilham Aliyev. Nevertheless, the elections’ strategic aftermath has yielded remarkable changes with implications for the future prospects of the country – the appointment of a new cabinet being the most notable of these changes. The restructuration of the cabinet of ministers hails new prospects for multiple economic reforms and structural-institutional changes, with the overall aim of promoting a more attractive domestic business environment and ensuring the sustainable development of the country in the years ahead. Read more...
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