Caucasus - Central Asia

Why It’s So Hard to Leave Afghanistan

By A. Trevor Thrall
Washington cannot seem to find the exit.
The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan is a complete failure. So why are we still there? Last fall President Obama announced that he would keep 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan into 2017, exceeding the original deadline for withdrawal.

Is Washington re-engaging Baku?


Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Stephen Blank
Throughout its tenure, the Obama Administration has minimized U.S. involvement with and engagement in both the Caucasus and Central Asia. However, a change in this policy may now be visible. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent, and first, visit to Central Asia suggests a new interest in an expanded and hopefully regular mutual dialogue with the region.

The Russia-Turkey crisis: What impact on Central Asia?

Amanda Paul
Russian President Vladimir Putin is well-known for being a man who does not do things by half measures.The anti-Turkish campaign launched by the Kremlin is proof of this. Ever since Turkey shot down a Russian jet over the Turkey-Syria border on Nov. 24, Moscow has been looking for ways to avenge Ankara economically and politically, including by taking measures to undermine its role in its neighborhood, including Central Asia.

First the Middle East, now Central Asia slipping away from Turkey

Author Zülfikar Doğan
Turkey — which with its deterioration in relations with Syria, Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Israel lost its economic, political and diplomatic influence in the Middle East — is now on the verge of losing Central Asia because of Ankara's crisis with Russia stemming from events in Syria.

Azerbaijan, islamism, and unrest in Nardaran


Central Asia and Caucasus Analyst, Emil Aslan Souleimanov
On November 25-26, Azerbaijani law enforcement carried out a special operation in Nardaran, a township on the northern edge of the Absheron peninsula located 25 kilometers northeast of the capital’s center. The purpose of the special operation was to break the backbone of the Muslim Unity group, a purportedly militant Shiite organization. The context and implications of the Nardaran events have received little attention in Western media, despite the concerns raised both within and outside the region about Azerbaijan finding itself on the brink of religiously inspired civil unrest.

ISIS warns Georgia


Central Asia Caucasus Analyst, Eka Janashia
On November 23, a group supportive of the terrorist organization calling itself the Islamic State (ISIS) released aVIDEO via social media calling on Georgian Muslims to join the “Islamic caliphate” and admonishing that the time of beheading “infidels” would soon come.

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