In July 29, 2018, four Western cyclists were killed in Tajikistan's Danghara district by a group of five men who hit them with a car before stabbing them to death. In a video released after the attack, the five men appear to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, while sitting under a tree in front of the Islamic State flag.
The European Council is currently working on a revised EU strategy for Central Asia - which should be launched by 2019 - redefining its policy towards the region following the developments that changed its geopolitical landscape in the last decade.
Since the late 1990s, Russia began to challenge the legitimacy of the new US-centric international order, together with its unipolar perspective, undisputed at the time. However, it was only after Putin’s rise to power in 2000 that Moscow started to effectively pursue this narrative and to demand that the West, and Washington in particular, acknowledged its own strategic interests.
The Caucasus has been defined as a “broken region” by both practitioners and scholars. Although the regional “protracted” conflicts clearly represent a stumbling block to the development of inclusive cooperation schemes, nevertheless the “broken region” interpretation seems to hide a Western prejudice – i.e. a tendency to label as inefficient or ruinous any political relations regulated by values and interests different from the Western ones.
Stuck in the middle of different as well as relevant regional complexes, the Caspian Sea basin represents a critical geopolitical hub in the heart of Eurasia landmass.
Political, economic as well as strategic considerations contribute to determine the systemic relevance of the Caspian Sea, whose reputation in the West is mainly linked to the vast availability of largely untapped oil and gas resources. However, behind the fierce competition aimed at the exploitation and transportation of the basin's hydrocarbons lies a much more complex picture, consisting of interlinked legal, military and soft power issues and threats.
Aim of the volume – result of a joint research project conducted by the Center for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan (SAM, Baku) and the Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI, Milan) – is to address the relevance of the Caspian Sea in the post-bipolar international system, analyzing both soft and had security threats emerging form the basin, as well as the policies of littoral and extra-regional actors.
President Obama has recently announced his long-awaited decision about the American military presence in Afghanistan after the end of ISAF. 9.800 American soldiers will remain in the country in 2015 and a few thousands troops from other NATO members will be part of the new NATO mission (Resolute Support). In 2016 the American troops will be reduced by a half and the following year the U.S. will withdraw the remaining soldiers. European countries will apparently do nearly the same. In the meantime the new afghan president, elected in June, is expected to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) with the U.S. and then the Status of Force Agreement (SOFA) with NATO. Both will allow an international military presence in Afghanistan after ISAF’s departure. It is hard to predict if this light military commitment will be suitable to preserve the current situation in Afghanistan and hold back the Taliban insurgency. The process of Transition began in 2010, aimed at training and preparing the Afghan National
Security Forces (ANSF) to lead military operations in all the provinces by the end of 2014, although in part successful, cannot ensure a good security environment. Thus, the future of Afghanistan in the coming years is still uncertain. This ISPI study tries to shed some light on this uncertainty. The overall aim of the project is to offer an assessment of the current situation in Afghanistan and to consider the possible scenarios after the end of ISAF mission, focusing on some relevant aspects. First of all, starting from the essential challenge to the stability in Afghanistan, it offers an assessment of the
Taliban insurgency. Second, it deals with the major consequences for NATO of the end of ISAF and a failing Afghanistan. Third, it looks at the Security Sector Reform carried out in Afghanistan and the concerns about the ANSF’s ability to cope with security in the light of the international military disengagement. Fourth, it explores the effects of withdrawal on humanitarian and development assistance in Afghanistan. And finally, it looks at the regional context assessing the impact of NATO’s departure on Central Asia security architecture in general and on Uzbekistan in particular.
Over the last decade Turkey has emerged as a prominent regional player. Leadership aspirations as well as strategic, economic and energy security interests have projected Turkish foreign policy toward its surrounding regions from the Middle East to the Caspian basin and Central Asia. In the latter case the cultural dimension has also played a significant role. The development of an export-oriented economic model has been a key aspect of Turkey's more assertive role in the neighbouring countries and in diversification of partners...
In the first fifteen years following the USSR dissolution, the process of hegemonic transition in post-Soviet Central Asia was defined by a deep dichotomy between opening efforts to cooperation with the West and Russia’s constant interference in the economic, strategic and cultural affairs of the region.
In this context, the People’s Republic of China progressive penetration in Central Asia, which originated in the mid-2000s, has radically changed the dynamics of regional cooperation.