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"Nuclear Security of the South Caucasus" by Ravan Mehdiyeva Nadir

By Editor CI

views: 245

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:56 PM

Nuclear security is a concern that no country can handle alone. This is what moti-vated the South Caucasian states to join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to ratify relevant international conventions, and to join various IAEA documents on nuclear security. While all three South Caucasus states have had nuclear interests since the Soviet Union, today only Armenia has nuclear facilities – the Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) – and since the Metamor NPP is technically outdated and located in a seismic zone, the focus has for some time been on nuclear security. The concern is well founded; Metsamor NPP is located in an area only 12 km from the Azerbaijani-Georgian border, 60 km from the Iranian border and 16 km from Turkey. All of these countries are at risk of radioactive contamination in the event of an accident in any category in the Metsamor NPP. This article analyzes the risk factors driving the region’s concerns about Metsamor, examines the possible effects of an accident through comparison with Chernobyl (which had the same type of reactor as Metsamor), and finally evaluates the measures taken to ensure the nuclear security of the South Caucasus. Read more...

"The Ban on Nuclear Weapons, Negative Security Assurances, and NATO States" by Heinz Gärtner

By Editor CI

views: 230

Jul 7, 2018 - 1:42 PM

At a United Nations Conference on 7 July, 2017, 122 state parties voted in favor of a treaty that that would prohibit nuclear weapons. None of the nucleararmed states, or their allies, participated in the vote (with the exception of the Netherlands, which voted against the treaty). The treaty expresses concern about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons, and calls for their complete elimination. The Treaty calls for the full implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), including the disarmament obligations of the nuclear-armed states. The treaty should close the gap between nuclear and nonnuclear-armed states. It is very unlikely that the nuclear states will give up their nuclear weapons anytime soon. This paper looks for alternative proposals by the nuclear-armed states which could satisfy the non-nuclear weapon states, at least for the time being. If nuclear-armed states are unwilling or unable to sign the ban treaty, they could offer non-nuclear-armed states Negative Security Assurances (NSAs). This is a commitment not to attack or threaten to attack those states with nuclear weapons. These NSAs must be based on international law, however. This means that they have to sign and ratify the existing and future NWFZs. A nuclear weapon free belt could be created from Mongolia to Africa (for the time being, excluding Israel). NSAs would have to be extended to states that are in a military alliance with another, nuclear-armed state. Extended deterrence should be amended via extended NSAs. Read more...

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

By Editor CI

views: 216

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: 204

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: 111

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...

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

By Editor CI

views: 80

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...

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

By Editor CI

views: 75

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...

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

By Editor CI

views: 67

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...

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

By Editor CI

views: 60

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...

BOOK REVIEW: “Eurasia’s Shifting Geopolitical Tectonic Plates: Global Perspective, Local Theaters” Alexandros Petersen

By Editor CI

views: 54

Jul 3, 2018 - 12:09 PM

This anthology features articles, short studies, and interviews written by Alexandros Petersen (1984–2014) over the span of ten years starting in 2004, and insightfully addresses the implications of the West withdrawing from its engagement with the Caucasus and Central Asia, the expansion of Chinese influence, and Russia’s strategic interests. Read more...
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