Foreign Policy Blogs

Central Asia

No Policy Not an Option in Central Asia

No Policy Not an Option in Central Asia

Why should Central Asia even be on the US’ radar?

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Preparing to Leave

Preparing to Leave

After more than a decade of conflict, America is reducing its footprint in Afghanistan. Although it seems likely that America and Afghanistan will come to terms on a security agreement to ensure a residual force of 8,000 to 12,000 soldiers remains in country to carryout counter-terrorism missions and training for …

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As NATO Draws Down, Feuding Neighbors’ Elections May Heat Up

As NATO Draws Down, Feuding Neighbors’ Elections May Heat Up

 
As NATO troops leave, Afghanistan and two of its northern neighbors will undergo national elections. Should we be worried?
While some observers expect an uptick in Afghan border infiltration after the upcoming NATO drawdown, others feel that instability in neighboring states Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have long been homegrown. These countries are …

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Silk Roads (plural!)

Silk Roads (plural!)

I wish I had uploaded this back in mid-November, but here it is. S. Frederick Starr, Chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University, presented his advice for American leadership in Central Asia.His presentation is a overview of US strategy and possibilities in a time of constrained resources …

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Kyrgyz Jet Crash – a Miracle in Osh

Kyrgyz Jet Crash – a Miracle in Osh

It was a rough but lucky landing (both “rough and “lucky” are strong understatements here) when a Soviet-built Tupolev (Tu-134) crash landed in dense fog in the city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. According to The Washington Post 82 passengers and 6 crew members were evacuated, 31 of them were …

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Kazakhstan’s Clashes: Most Violent and Deadly Since the Country’s Independence

Kazakhstan’s Clashes: Most Violent and Deadly Since the Country’s Independence

Recent riots in Zhanaozen and Shetpe in the Mangystau province in western Kazakhstan have resulted in at least 16 deaths and over 100 injured. This information is according to the Kazakh authorities although unverified eye witness accounts and human rights groups put the death toll at more than 50. …

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Central Asia in Review, 2011

Central Asia in Review, 2011

Another year is coming to a close. It’s time to look back, recap and rewind 2011 in Central Asia. Let’s start with elections: two Central Asian states, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, held elections this year.
Kazakhstan’s presidential election took place on April 3, 2011.
Guess who won? Not surprising to anybody who follows …

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Blood Cotton From Uzbekistan

Blood Cotton From Uzbekistan

As I’ve written on the subject before, Uzbekistan is one of the worst human rights offenders out there. Recent news of child labor during this fall’s cotton harvesting season once again put the country into the international spotlight drawing sharp criticism by human rights activists. Meanwhile, in the …

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Foreign News Ban at the Start of the Presidential Election Campaign in Kyrgyzstan

Foreign News Ban at the Start of the Presidential Election Campaign in Kyrgyzstan

Starting Sunday, September 25, the Kyrgyz government introduced a ban on all foreign news broadcasting for the duration of the presidential campaign – until election day on October 30, 2011. During the five week moratorium, Kyrgyzstan’s television stations and cable operators are barred from rebroadcasting foreign news bulletins, reports

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Central Asia Hit By A Powerful Earthquake

Central Asia Hit By A Powerful Earthquake

At least 13 people have been killed and 86 injured in a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in the Fergana Valley region on the Uzbek-Kyrgyz border.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake struck at 1:35 am (1935 GMT Tuesday) with the epicenter just inside Kyrgyzstan, but 42 km (25 miles) southwest …

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The President Of Turkmenistan Celebrates His Birthday, Niyazov Style.

The President Of Turkmenistan Celebrates His Birthday, Niyazov Style.

One way to spot a dictatorship is by its leader’s personality cult. Central Asia is a region of more than 4 million square kilometers and a population of 62 million inhabitants rife with authoritarianism, despotism, and the cult of personality reminiscent of the Soviet times. Not too long ago,

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Kyrgyzstan Shores Up Its Southern Border

Kyrgyzstan Shores Up Its Southern Border


Kyrgyz Border Guard troops march in Osh June 15. They are part of the 500 reinforcements Kyrgyzstan moved to guard its southern border as the country tries to keep out drugs and terrorists. Bakyt Ibraimov

Recently, the number of deadly cross border shootings has escalated on the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border.

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The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Astana

Last week the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional security body with a total population of 1.5 billion people, held a 10th anniversary summit in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. The original “Shanghai Five” was formed in 1996 comprised of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. In 2001 when …

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The Dictators Of Central Asia On The Global Radar

The Dictators Of Central Asia On The Global Radar

Since the Arab Spring the global media seems to have found a new obsession – a preoccupation with the remaining ruling dictators, their powers, legitimacy, impending revolutions, and the viability of totalitarian regimes in general.
By the “global media” here I mean the news media (TV, radio, newspapers) and the Internet …

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TAPI Continues To Face Challenges

TAPI Continues To Face Challenges

I have recently written about TAPI, the 1,680 km (1,000 mile) $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India proposed pipeline scheduled for completion in 2016 with a capacity to transfer 90 million cubic meters of gas per day to energy starved South Asia. According to the TAPI agreement, Turkmenistan will supply 38 mmcmd …

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