Search

You searched for: Political Geography Central Asia Remove constraint Political Geography: Central Asia
Number of results to display per page

Search Results

  • Author: Soomin Jun
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Since 2005, Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia, has become infamous for being one of the most polluted cities in the world. In response to growing public concerns over air pollution, on May 15, 2019, the Government of Mongolia (GoM) implemented a ban on raw coal – a type of fuel that poor citizens in the city use to survive harsh winters in the world’s coldest capital – and introduced “refined coal briquettes” at a subsidized price close to the price of raw coal. Since the COVID-19 outbreak and the country-wide economic shutdown, lower-income families are struggling to afford food, let alone refined coal briquettes; as a result, they are resorting to burning cheap, dirty fuel, including trash to keep themselves warm. Despite GoM’s efforts to reduce air pollution, in October 2020, Ulaanbaatar’s air quality, again, ranked the worst in the world, ahead of Lahore, Pakistan; Delhi, India; Chengdu, China, and other cities infamous for hazardous levels of air quality. While reducing raw coal consumption is critical to improving air quality, the raw coal ban is not a panacea to solving Mongolia’s air pollution. Poverty is the true culprit behind Ulaanbaatar’s subpar air quality. If Mongolia is to sustainably reduce air pollution, the raw coal ban must be accompanied by social and economic policies that aim to lift people out of poverty.
  • Topic: Governance, International Development, Pollution, COVID-19, Air Pollution
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Eurasia, Mongolia, Asia-Pacific
  • Author: Sergey Sukhankin
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Following the 2013 announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at a speech given by People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping during visit to Kazakhstan, Central Asia has been a key regional priority and an indispensable element for the success of the BRI as a whole (PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 7, 2013). Over the years, the BRI—nebulously defined from the start—has come to be associated with a variety of policy and investment programs. A previous series of articles has covered security-related developments associated with the BRI aimed at maintaining stability and protecting economic investments across the region (China Brief July 15; October 19; August 12).China has also begun to expand its export of digital infrastructure and surveillance technology under the umbrella of the BRI. The digitalization strategy—ostensibly aimed at promoting the international integration of technology with infrastructure and finance as well as spreading digital innovation abroad—is often referred to as the Digital Silk Road (DSR, 数字丝绸之路, shuzi sichou zhi lu). The high-level emphasis on promoting the DSR has only grown under the COVID-19 pandemic (CGTN, June 10, 2020). Across Central Asia, the DSR has been primarily represented by efforts to export China’s Smart/Safe City programs, which allow governments to collect, store, process and analyze vast amounts of personal information. The promotion of the so-called “informatization” of society (信息化, xinxi hua) and data commodification are yet more driving forces behind China’s DSR ambitions in Central Asia.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Surveillance, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Digital Policy
  • Political Geography: China, Central Asia, Asia, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: In most parts of the world, the lines on maps separating countries are true borders. That is, they are controlled by the governments on one or both sides. But in some places, they remain the quasi-open frontiers they were in the past or have reemerged as such because of recent political changes; those borders are highly porous zones, where people and goods can move more or less freely in one or both directions without much regard to the powers that be. Such situations invite outside involvement that can ramp up quickly and disturb preexisting international arrangements. One poignant example is the adjoining border area shared by Tajikistan and Afghanistan. In recent years, that frontier has attracted attention because of the danger that Islamist militants from Afghanistan could cross it to move north into Tajikistan and beyond. But another danger is emerging: China is establishing increasing control over Tajikistan and, thus, is putting itself in a position to project power southward from Tajikistan into Afghanistan. If Beijing does so, that could fundamentally change the security situation and geopolitical balance in Central and South Asia as a whole.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Borders
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, China, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Karabakh War (September 29–November 9) has had a transformative effect on the country. It not only changed the attitudes of its population, whose members now feel themselves to be heroes rather than victims (see EDM, January 21), but also bolstered the diplomatic weight and possibilities of the Azerbaijani government in its dealings with other regional states. In prosecuting a triumphant war against Yerevan, Baku demonstrated its own ability to act. But just as importantly, Azerbaijan has shown to peoples and governments in the Caucasus and Central Asia that it is a force to be reckoned with, in part thanks to its growing links with Turkey. Moreover, that alliance makes possible an appealing path to the outside world for all who join it. That reality is causing countries east of the Caspian to look westward to and through Azerbaijan in their economic planning and political calculations. At the same time, however, these developments are generating concerns in Moscow and Tehran, which oppose east-west trade routes that bypass their countries’ territories and instead favor north-south corridors linking Russia and Iran together. As a result, Azerbaijan’s recent successes in expanding links with Central Asia set the stage for new conflicts between Azerbaijan and its Turkic partners, on the one hand, and Russia and Iran, which have far more significant naval assets in the Caspian, on the other (see EDM, November 27, 2018 and February 20, 2020; Casp-geo.ru, December 24, 2019; Chinalogist.ru, November 21, 2019).
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Territorial Disputes, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Iran, Central Asia, Middle East, Azerbaijan
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Sadyr Japarov, the leader of the autumn protests that led to the removal from power of the previous president, Soronbai Jeenbekov, won the early presidential elections in Kyrgyzstan on 10 January. In a parallel consultative referendum, voters supported the change of the state system to the presidential system proposed by Japarov, which includes the liquidation of parliament. One consequence may be the evolution of the political system of Kyrgyzstan towards an authoritarian model similar to those in other Central Asian countries. That would have a negative impact on relations with the EU, which supports democratic reforms in Kyrgyzstan.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Authoritarianism, Reform, Democracy, Domestic politics, Referendum
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan
  • Author: Emma Lamberton
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Public and International Affairs (JPIA)
  • Institution: School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University
  • Abstract: Ukrainian surrogacy companies now hold over a quarter of the global surrogacy market since a series of human rights violations caused India, Thailand, and Nepal to close their borders. Similar violations are occurring in Ukraine, including the abandonment and trafficking of children and the abuse of surrogates. The Ukrainian government is not taking action, despite concerns expressed by both lawmakers and surrogates that the industry engages in unethical practices. This paper proposes that the Hague Conference’s Experts’ Group on the Parentage/Surrogacy Project spearhead international ratification of a holistic series of policies focused on protecting women and children from exploitation.
  • Topic: International Relations, Children, Women, International Development, Human Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Eurasia, Ukraine
  • Author: Huma Saeed
  • Publication Date: 02-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s presidential election took place on September 28, 2019, with less than 2 million people participating out of 9.7 million registered voters. Taking into consideration Afghanistan’s total population of 35 million, the turnout was a historic low—a problem further amplified by the fact that the government poured a huge amount of financial and human resources into election preparation. The main explanation for such low turnout is twofold. On the one hand, security threats such as suicide attacks or gun violence—which reached their peak during the presidential election campaigns—deterred many people from going to polling stations. On the other hand, Afghans have become wary about determining their own political fate because, for decades, regional and international powers have steered the political wheel in Afghanistan, rather the people. After four months, election results have still not been announced, leading to further speculation and anxiety among a population which has already been the victim of four decades of violent conflict in the country. This anxiety is further exacerbated by the ongoing “peace” negotiations with the Taliban. Afghan people have learned from experience that, even in the best-case scenario of the election results or peace negotiations, they cannot hope for new justice measures to heal their wounds. As demonstrated by the experience of Afghanistan and other countries, peace and security will not last without addressing the people’s demands for justice.
  • Topic: Development, Human Rights, Politics, Elections, Taliban, Justice
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Middle East
  • Author: Richard L. Morningstar
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: On November 18, the Georgetown School of Foreign Service welcomed former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Richard Morningstar for a conversation on energy security in the Caspian region. Prior to the event, GJIA sat down with Ambassador Morningstar to discuss the intersection of energy and geopolitics, legacies from the Soviet Union, and energy security challenges facing Central Asian states.
  • Topic: Security, Energy Policy, Geopolitics, Interview
  • Political Geography: Europe, Central Asia, Soviet Union, Caspian Sea, United States of America
  • Author: Wilder Alejandro Sanchez
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since achieving its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has maintained warm relations with the United States. The country regards the United States both as a potential source for trade and investment and as a partner to balance the influence of Russia and China in Central Asia, a perspective which underlines the importance of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s February visit to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. During the visit, Pompeo was generous in his praise for Kazakhstan and highlighted the importance of bilateral ties, while criticizing China’s detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs, Kyrgyz, and ethnic Kazakhs in so-called “re-education” camps.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, War, Bilateral Relations, Conflict, Trade
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Magdalena Stawkowski
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Around the world, hundreds of thousands of people live in and around former nuclear test sites. Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan provides both a home and a livelihood for an estimated 50,000 people, but security measures are not yet sufficient to protect them from radioactive waste from the past. RECOMMENDATIONS ■ Establish local education programs to prevent unintentional exposure to residual radioactivity ■ Encourage local authorities to promote radiation-safety programs ■ Cordon off and secure unmarked radioactive areas on nuclear test sites ■ Carry out regular radiation monitoring in villages close to nuclear test sites, as well as of livestock
  • Topic: Health, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Kristiina Silvan
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: In March 2019, Kazakhstan’s authoritarian leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, stepped down after three decades of rule and yielded power to his nominated successor, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev. However, Nazarbayev has paradoxically remained the most powerful political actor in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s model of gradual leadership succession could serve as an example to authoritarian states around the world, but it is particularly significant in the post-Soviet context. Institutional and constitutional changes that took place in the 1990s were aimed at concentrating power in the presidency. However, modifications initiated by Nazarbayev in the 2000s and 2010s sought to weaken the Kazakh presidency while strengthening power vested in himself personally, in order to ensure the continuation of a political status quo and his family’s well-being after the transfer of power. Despite the careful preparation and Tokayev’s relatively smooth ascension to power, it is still too early to evaluate the success of the transfer due to the vast powers retained by Nazarbayev. The transition of power in Kazakhstan remains an ongoing process and, as such, unpredictable.
  • Topic: Power Politics, Authoritarianism, Leadership, Transition
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Author: Kristiina Silvan
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Under the leadership of President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan has embarked on a moderate reform programme that aims to achieve socio-economic growth without undoing the country’s authoritarian political system. The programme has implications beyond Uzbekistan’s borders because it has changed the way Uzbekistani foreign policy is formulated and implemented. Uzbekistan’s former isolationist stance has shifted to a foreign policy opening, which is most noticeable in the improvement of its relations with its neighbours. This Working Paper analyzes “good neighbourliness”, the key concept of Uzbekistan’s new Central Asia policy. It details the amendment of Uzbekistan’s bilateral relations with its neighbours and points to the positive reception of Uzbekistan’s new regional policy in Russia, China, and the West. The paper argues that while “good neighbourliness” is a pragmatic strategy rooted in economic rationality, the policy’s regional implications are substantial. It is laying the necessary foundation for sustainable Central Asian co-operation from within in a way that is acceptable to the Central Asian states and big non-regional actors alike.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Bilateral Relations, Authoritarianism, Reform, Leadership
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Europe, Central Asia, Asia, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Sadaf Lakhani, Rahmatullah Amiri
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Forced displacement affects over 70 million people worldwide and is among the most pressing humanitarian and development challenges today. This report attempts to ascertain whether a relationship exists between displacement in Afghanistan and vulnerability to recruitment to violence by militant organizations. The report leverages an understanding of this relationship to provide recommendations to government, international donors, and others working with Afghanistan’s displaced populations to formulate more effective policies and programs.
  • Topic: Development, Taliban, Violent Extremism, Radicalization, Displacement, Violence, Mobility
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Gavin Helf
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: This report offers a road map for understanding the most likely sources of violent conflict in the post-Soviet nations of Central Asia—ethno-nationalism and nativism, Islam and secularism, water resources and climate change, and labor migration and economic conflict. The analysis draws from emerging trends in the region and identifies the ways in which Central Asia’s geography and cultural place in the world interact with those trends. It suggests that the policy goals of the United States, Russia, and China in the region may be more compatible than is often assumed.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Climate Change, Migration, Economy, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Ong Keng Yong, Noorita Mohd Noor, Iftekharul Bashar, Muhammad Saiful Alam Shah Bin Sudiman, Nodirbek Soliev, Remy Mahzam, Amalina Abdul Nasir
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The January issue provides an overview of terrorist and violent extremist threats in key countries and conflict zones in the Asia-Pacific throughout 2019. Regional specific threats and responses covering Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East are assessed. In addition, themes such as the online narratives propagated by global threat groups and counter-ideological dimensions of terrorism and violent extremism are analysed. Globally, despite suffering severe territorial, leadership and organisational losses in 2019, Islamist terror groups Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda (AQ) continued to pose the most potent terrorist threat. Early in the year, IS’ territorial reign was ended by American-backed coalition forces, following which its networks became scattered and, in a bid to overcome its physical decimation, more decentralised across the globe. The death of IS’ “Caliph”, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, in October 2019, raised further questions about the group’s continued resiliency. Yet, IS has proved persistent and adaptive. The group’s violent ideology continues to bind its myriad followers across regions. In the aftermath of its territorial and leadership losses, IS’ terror attacks and online offensives have been sustained. The global security landscape was further complicated by the emergence of Right Wing Extremist groups as violent actors on the world stage in 2019. Mass political protests around the world further underscored growing dissatisfaction with the present status quo, amid perceptions that some states are unable to articulate masses’ aspirations and meet their demands. The threat of Islamist terrorism will persist into 2020, especially with escalating geo-political tensions in the Middle East. Overcoming the physical and ideological threat by global militant groups, including far-right extremist groups, will remain very much a work in progress in the year ahead.
  • Topic: Security, Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Protests, Violence
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Paul A. Goble
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Turkmenistan, far and away the most closed country in the former Soviet space, seldom receives much attention except as the butt of dismissive jokes or, more recently, when its leaders tried to deny that COVID-19 is present in their country even as they took measures intended to hinder its spread (see EDM, July 21). But multiple reports over the last few days suggest Turkmenistan is fast descending into an economic crisis that makes its continued socio-political stability ever less likely. Moreover, this Central Asian country now has an opposition based abroad that is increasingly capable of providing leadership to local Turkmenistanis infuriated by the domestic situation they find themselves in as a result of the authorities’ oppressive policies.
  • Topic: Government, Crisis Management, Domestic Policy
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Liselotte Odgaard, Sune Lund
  • Publication Date: 09-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: This report first analyzes the use of CUES in the South China Sea, which is the region they initially were designed for as an instrument to prevent unwanted escalation. In what sense have CUES in the South China Sea set a precedent for reassurance measures in other regions? Second, we discuss whether CUES could be useful to lower tension levels between Russia and NATO in their ongoing conflicts over spheres of interest, strategic space, and appropriate deterrence measures in maritime Europe. The analysis draws on the first-hand experiences of personnel engaged in implementing the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). This allows us to go beyond rhetorical announcements of intention and understand how de-escalation instruments are used at the level of implementation and whether they have any effect. Third, we conclude by discussing the caveats to and advantages of adopting CUES in the Euro-Atlantic area and how they should be designed to take the specific strategic context of this area into account.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, International Relations, Defense Policy, NATO, Deterrence
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, United States of America
  • Author: Richard Weitz, Aurimas Lukas Pieciukaitis
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: Russian media outlets have waged a comprehensive disinformation campaign throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) and the EU External Action Service (EEAS) have identified numerous stories in Kremlinlinked accounts that have sought to discredit the policies and performance of Western democracies, while conversely painting Russian actions in a most positive light. According to the GEC, throughout the pandemic, “the full Russian ecosystem of official state media, proxy news sites, and social media personas have been pushing multiple disinformation narratives.”
  • Topic: Health Care Policy, Media, Repression, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Lithuania
  • Author: Mubinzhon Abduvaliev, Ricardo Bustillo
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI)
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: The aim of this paper is to assess the effect of official development assistance on economic growth and poverty reduction in Tajikistan, as well as to examine the recent role of South-South Cooperation. We used a panel data set on economic growth and poverty estimates in Tajikistan, and found that a 1% increase of official development assistance provoked a 1.6% rise in per capita GDP and a 0.48% decrease in poverty levels in Tajikistan. Despite the increased relevance of South-South Cooperation in Tajikistan, the current bilateral cooperation pattern does not allow us to think South–South aid will create employment and growth opportunities.
  • Topic: Poverty, Economic Growth, Development Aid
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Tajikistan
  • Author: Zaki Shaikh
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: The first meeting of the Senate of Uzbekistan’s Oliy Majlis took place in Tashkent January 22, 2020 to carry out its functions for the new term until 21 December 2024. In his keynote speech, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev congratulated the senators on this high status, while the new council includes representatives from diverse professional fields. He also argued it was “imperative to strengthen the role of the Upper House of Oliy Majlis in delivering an atmosphere of the irreconcilable fight against corruption and crime in general in society, as well as boost control over the activities of government bodies aimed at enhancing the role of women in society.” In Uzbekistan, political parties are traditionally seen to serve a symbolic function with their main mission being to mobilize and maintain support for a strong presidential system. Harnessing popular support for the poll could be seen as a crucial step in Mirziyoyev’s strategy of building support in the run up to the next presidential elections, which will be due in Uzbekistan in 2021. This aim will remain a higher priority compared to the pursuit of political transformation, which could allow the new parliament evolve as an autonomous institution and the democracy to mature. This first part of this paper explains the significance of the parliamentary elections held in Uzbekistan on 22 December 2019. The second part brings to the readers’ attention a range of reactions and responses on how the campaign, polling and outcome was seen by voters, party representatives and election observers. The third and final part of the report will conclude with the findings and recommendations of the observers in addition to some projections of how the conduct and outcome of the election may affect the future course of the country’s politics.
  • Topic: Corruption, Government, Reform, Elections
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Yessengali Oskenbayev
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP)
  • Abstract: This article investigates the potential direction of the Kazakh-Korean economic relationship. The two countries have become major partners in their economic relationship. It is important for Kazakhstan to establish economic relations with South Korea, to diversify its economy. Kazakhstan’s economy is strongly dominated by mineral resources extractive sectors, and the country’s rapid economic growth during the period from 2000 to 2007, and afterward due to oil price increases, was not well translated into substantial growth of non-extractive sectors. Kazakhstan could employ strategies applied by Korean policymakers to sustain business and entrepreneurship development.
  • Topic: Development, Bilateral Relations, Economic Growth, Economic Policy, Diversification, Trade, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia, South Korea
  • Author: Saltanat Kuzembayeva
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Nowa Polityka Wschodnia
  • Institution: Faculty of Political Science and International Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń
  • Abstract: The article is devoted to the geoeconomic goals and prospects of implementing the Chinese initiative „One Belt, One Road”. The author explores the benefits, problems and future opportunities that open up to the Republic of Kazakhstan as a participant in this initiative. The analysis carried out in the article showed that there are still many problems in the implementation of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) project taking into account the state program of Kazakhstan “Nurly Zhol”, and difficulties arise in the practical implementation of various cooperation areas. At the same time, Kazakhstan should be guided exclusively by its national interests in cooperation with China in the framework of the “One Belt, One Way” initiative.
  • Topic: Economics, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Central Asia, Eurasia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Jussi Lassila
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The accelerated brain drain from Russia concretizes the failures of the Kremlinʼs authoritarian modernization and deepens the country’s longer-term problems. At the same time, the brain drain is reducing the regimeʼs political pressures to make the country more attractive to educated and internationally oriented citizens.
  • Topic: Education, Globalization, Authoritarianism, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Central Asia, Asia
  • Author: Humayan Hamidzada, Richard Ponzio
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: In its 2017 strategy for South Asia, the Trump administration called on Pakistan to reduce support for the Taliban and encourage them to enter into peace negotiations. Yet as crucial as Pakistan will be to peace in Afghanistan, a similarly persuasive argument can be made for Afghanistan’s northern neighbors—the Central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. In this Special Report, Humayun Hamidzada and Richard Ponzio examine the vital economic and political roles these countries can play to support a just and lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region.
  • Topic: Regional Cooperation, Taliban, Negotiation, Peace
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
  • Author: Scott Smith, Staffan Darnolf
  • Publication Date: 08-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Afghanistan’s presidential election is scheduled to take place on September 28. In planning the election, the Independent Election Commission (IEC) must overcome a number of practical challenges to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 2018 parliamentary elections—elections that undermined the legitimacy of the state and reduced Afghans’ confidence in democracy as a means for selecting their leaders. Based on a careful analysis of the IEC’s performance during the 2018 elections, this report offers recommendations for creating more resilient electoral institutions in Afghanistan and other postconflict countries.
  • Topic: Politics, Reform, Elections, Democracy, Conflict, Institutions, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Scott Smith
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Many times over the past century, Afghan political elites have utilized a loya jirga, or grand national assembly, when they have needed to demonstrate national consensus. Based on traditional village jirgas convened to resolve local disputes, loya jirgas have been used to debate and ratify constitutions, endorse the country's position and alliances in times of war, and discuss how and when to engage the Taliban in peace talks. In light of the growing political uncertainty in Afghanistan, this report examines the strengths and weaknesses of the loya jirga as an institution for resolving national crises.
  • Topic: Politics, Governance, Taliban, Democracy, Crisis Management, Peace, Jirga
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Ashley Jackson, Rahmatullah Amiri
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The system of shadow Taliban governance and the experiences of civilians subject to it are well documented. The policies that guide this governance and the factors that contribute to them, however, are not. This report examines how the Taliban make and implement policy. Based on more than a hundred interviews and previously unreleased Taliban documents, this report offers rare insight into Taliban decision-making processes and the factors that influence them.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Governance, Taliban, Bureaucracy
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Deedee Derksen
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: A central issue for Afghanistan in achieving stability is making long-lasting peace with the Taliban. The success of any such agreement will depend in large part on whether Taliban commanders and fighters can assume new roles in Afghan politics, the security forces, or civilian life. This report explores that question, drawing on lessons from how similar situations unfolded in Burundi, Tajikistan, and Nepal.
  • Topic: Taliban, Violent Extremism, Conflict, Peace
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Tajikistan, Nepal, Burundi
  • Author: Ashley Jackson
  • Publication Date: 05-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: Notably absent from the debate around peace in Afghanistan are the voices of those living in parts of the country that have borne the brunt of the fighting since 2001—particularly those living in areas under Taliban control or influence. This report provides insight into how Afghan men and women in Taliban-influenced areas view the prospects for peace, what requirements would have to be met for local Taliban fighters to lay down their arms, and how views on a political settlement and a future government differ between Taliban fighters and civilians.
  • Topic: Treaties and Agreements, Taliban, Conflict, Peace, Reconciliation
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia
  • Author: Daniel R. Russel, Blake Berger
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society
  • Abstract: Launched in 2013, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a highly ambitious development effort that would sew together infrastructure projects across more than 70 countries. Estimated to comprise of more than USD $1 trillion in Chinese investment, the BRI is arguably China's broadest economic engagement effort with the rest of the world — enhancing its connectivity through Southeast, South, Central, and West Asia; Africa; Europe; and South America. The Asia Society Policy Institute project – Navigating the Belt and Road Initiative – examines BRI with the aim of setting forth actionable recommendations for how China and partner countries can help ensure that BRI projects yield beneficial and sustainable developmental, economic, environmental, civic, and social outcomes. The project includes a report by the same name, which is available for download below, as well as an interactive visualization of 12 recommended practices and their specific implementation steps, intended outcomes, and relevant Chinese and international precedents. (For interactive content see: https://asiasociety.org/policy-institute/belt-and-road-initiative)
  • Topic: Development, Diplomacy, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Investment, Economic Diplomacy
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, South America, Southeast Asia, West Asia
  • Author: Frank Umbach
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is officially neither a Chinese “Marshall Plan” nor a geopolitical master strategy. At present, it involves 84 countries, rising from 65 countries in 2015, and 15 Chinese provinces. Over the last year, the number of countries being concerned or ambivalent about China’s motivations and strategic objectives behind the BRI have increased. Despite officially supporting China’s BRI, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also warned last April, that China is supporting unneeded and unsustainable projects in many countries, leading to heavy and unpayable debt burdens. In ASEAN, Chinese investments are welcomed but there are also misgivings about the BRI’s strategic objectives which may constrain ASEAN’s policy options. As China is presently and will remain the single most influential country in global energy markets in the next decades, it is not surprising that its infrastructure plans of building railways, highways and ports are often interlinked with China’s energy and raw materials projects abroad and its domestic energy policies. This paper analyses the energy dimensions of the BRI and its strategic implications for its wider economic, foreign and security policies in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
  • Topic: Security, Foreign Policy, Energy Policy, Military Strategy, ASEAN, IMF
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, Asia, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Rohan Gunaratna, Mahfuh Bin Haji Halimi, Muhammad Saiful Alam Shah Bin Sudiman, Nur Aziemah Azman, Mohammed Sinan Siyech
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The January issue focuses on an overview of the terrorist and violent extremist threats in key countries and conflict zones in the Asia-Pacific throughout 2018. The articles discuss the regional terrorism threat and responses in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, China and the Middle East. Thematically, the articles also analyse online extremism and the counter-ideology dimensions of terrorism and violent extremism in 2019. The lead article argues that global terrorist and extremist threat is likely to persist in 2019 as the Islamic State (IS) is going through a phase of readaptation and decentralisation. The group has established clandestine and underground structures to survive in Iraq and Syria. Its ideology is still intact and continues to be propagated in the cyber space. In the provinces, groups, networks and cells which have pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi are radicalising Muslims and conducting attacks. Harnessing both the physical and virtual space, IS continues to present an enduring threat worldwide. Although the apex of IS leadership and many of the directing figures are on the run and might be eliminated in 2019, the penultimate leadership enabling the fight and supporting the infrastructure will continue to operate in the shadows as they become agile and more cunning. The IS and Al-Qaeda (AQ)-centric threats are likely to remain given the lack of an effective global counter terrorism plan and strategy, the continuation of superpower and geopolitical rivalry, and the failure to resolve the underlying causes of extremism and terrorism.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Iraq, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa, Syria, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Stephanie Savell
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: This new map shows for the first time that the United States is now combating terrorism in 40 percent of the world’s nations.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Counter-terrorism, War on Terror
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Timur Dadabaev
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: East-West Center
  • Abstract: China, Japan, and South Korea have regarded Central Asia as a new Asian frontier in their foreign policies since the collapse of the Soviet Union. With time, their policies evolved into regionbuilding initiatives exemplified by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Belt and Road Initiative, Central Asia plus Japan Dialogue Forum, and Korea-Central Asia Cooperation Forum. This paper raises the following research questions: What are the areas of interest for China, Japan, and Korea in their relations with Central Asian states and Uzbekistan in particular? What are the patterns of agenda setting in establishing intergovernmental cooperation? What are the particular projects that these states initiate? What are the objectives of projects initiated within these areas of interest? How competitive or complementary are these projects of China, Japan, and Korea? Throughout, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean “Silk Road” roadmaps with Uzbekistan are discussed to highlight their similarities and differences.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economy, Economic Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Japan, China, Central Asia, Asia, South Korea, Uzbekistan
  • Author: Chuck Thiessen
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: In response to the threat of violent extremism, the UN has adopted a comprehensive approach that involves both aligning ongoing interventions with the goals of preventing violent extremism (PVE) and implementing PVE-specific programming. These initiatives aspire to use human rights-based approaches as opposed to hard-security counterterrorism responses. To date, however, there has been inadequate research on how the UN and other international organizations can promote human rights as part of their PVE programming. This issue brief introduces findings on the strategic shift of UN peacebuilding interventions toward PVE and the barriers these interventions face to protecting human rights, drawing on research conducted in Kyrgyzstan. It concludes that PVE approaches to peacebuilding are fundamentally ambiguous, which may be hindering promotion of human rights. These ambiguities lie both in the terminology and strategies of intervention and in the drivers of radicalization and violent extremism. By clarifying its approach to PVE, the UN can dilute the inherent contradiction in its dual role as a critic and supporter of host states and reduce the odds that its interventions legitimize human rights violations.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, United Nations, Violent Extremism
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Global Focus
  • Author: Leo Lin
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on September 10-12 was not merely a state visit, but also signaled a new era in bilateral relations between Kazakhstan and China. During his visit, Tokayev met top officials of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), including CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Li Zhanshu, the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Tokayev also stopped in Hangzhou, where he visited the headquarters of the Alibaba Group and spoke with founder Jack Ma, as well as the new chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang (Sina Tech, September 12). The September visit has symbolic meaning for both Xi and Tokayev as they prepare for a new stage of their partnership—in the same year as the 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, and the 30th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.
  • Topic: Security, International Trade and Finance, Science and Technology, Treaties and Agreements, Bilateral Relations
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: This report presents findings from a TechWomen program evaluation conducted in 2018 by IIE’s Research, Evaluation, and Learning team. The evaluation assessed change in participants’ professional skills and capacities. The evaluation team utilized Social Network Analysis methodology to measure development of the participants’ professional networks with each other and with STEM professionals in the U.S. The report also outlines how the program impacted participants’ and mentors’ cross-cultural understanding and exchange of professional best practices. Finally, the report highlights program’s impact on participants’ and mentors’ communities and specifically on women and girls. TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs implemented by IIE. Launched in 2011, the program supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential. TechWomen empowers, connects and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Science and Technology, Culture, Women, Higher Education
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Arkadiusz Legieć
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: As a result of the change of power in Armenia in 2018, the Armenian-Azerbaijani talks on the territorial and ethnic conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh have intensified. However, they have not yielded results because the authorities of both countries are under strong internal public pressure, limiting the possibility of compromise. Russia is using the conflict as an instrument of political influence towards both countries. Strengthening the involvement of French and U.S. diplomacy in the work of the Minsk Group and increasing its importance would limit Russia’s role as the main mediator in the conflict.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Ethnic Conflict, Territorial Disputes, Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, United States of America
  • Author: Muhammad Nasrullah Mirza, Yasir Malik
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: Over the years, the Taliban have overwhelmingly grown in influence and their stature is being well recognized; exerting more pressure on Washington’s future orientation in Afghanistan. Amidst the backdrop of transitions taking place in Afghanistan’s political landscape, the foreseeable future has, ostensibly, rekindled the prospects of peace. Although peace process is gradually moving further, yet both sides are reluctant to compromise on each others’ terms. Since the assumption of power, President Trump’s approach to Afghanistan has been oscillating in consulting varying options to bring the Taliban to their terms rather to indulge, in true spirits, in a widely acknowledged political framework for peace. These chosen policy actions posit more challenges and less opportunities for peace in war-ridden Afghanistan. The emergent scenario requires a comprehensive, well-crafted and compromising structure to be devised, featured with inclusiveness of all stakes and issues involved in this prolonged conflict. Evaluating and analyzing President Trump’s strategic policy toward Afghanistan, this paper aims to explore the manifesting failures and grey areas of Trump’s Afghan strategy and also attempts to provide strategic foresight while considering the framework of endgame in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Taliban, Trump, Negotiation, Exit Strategy
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia, North America, United States of America
  • Author: Dayyab Gillani
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The following paper attempts to analyze the ongoing insurgency in Afghanistan by critically evaluating the insurgent ideology, its past, current and future relevance. The paper draws on lessons from the recent Afghanistan history and discusses the irrelevance for the future of Afghanistan. It traces the success of Taliban insurgency by highlighting the role of „mullahs‟ and „madrasas‟ in the Afghan society. It argues that the US policy in Afghanistan thus far has failed to isolate the public from the insurgents, which poses serious present and future challenges. By drawing parallels between the sudden Soviet withdrawal in the early 1990s and a potential US withdrawal in the near future. It also points out that an untimely US withdrawal from Afghanistan may entail an end of US engagement but it will not be an end of war for Afghanistan itself. The essay stresses the importance of a consistent long-term US policy aimed at addressing the very root causes of insurgency in the region.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, War, Military Strategy, Insurgency, Taliban, Islamism
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab, United States of America
  • Author: Samantha Custer, Tanya Sethi, Jonathan A. Solis, Joyce Lin, Siddharta Ghose, Anubhav Gupta, Rodney Knight, Austin Baehr
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Asia Society Policy Institute
  • Abstract: Many countries engage in public diplomacy—diplomatic instruments used to influence the perceptions, preferences, and actions of citizens and leaders in another country—as a means to win over foreign publics and advance national interests. In a new study and report published by AidData, in collaboration with the Asia Society Policy Institute, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the authors look at the past two decades of China’s relationship cultivation—including efforts to balance negative perceptions of its growing military and economic strength—within its greater periphery, specifically the 13 countries of South and Central Asia. This study collected an unprecedented amount of qualitative and quantitative data on Beijing’s public diplomacy in the South and Central Asian region from 2000 through 2018. In the report Silk Road Diplomacy, the authors analyze this data to illuminate which tools Beijing deploys, with whom, and to what effects within this subregion.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Regional Cooperation, Military Affairs, Economy
  • Political Geography: China, South Asia, Central Asia, Asia
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The Kazakhstan-based Institute of World Economy and Politics (IWEP) interviews former British Secretary of Defense, Desmond Henry Brown, about nuclear weapons and international relations.
  • Topic: International Relations, Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Power, Geopolitics, Disarmament
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Central Asia, Kazakhstan
  • Publication Date: 01-2019
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Institute of World Economics and Politics
  • Abstract: The man who dreams of making his country a world power, Ahmet Davutoglu, the former Prime Minister of Turkey, gave an exclusive interview to the experts of the Institute of World Economics and Politics. The popular politician shared his thoughts on cooperation between Kazakhstan and Turkey, the Turkic world in general, and also assessed his participation in #AstanaClub. In the interview, we also touched upon the topics such as the crisis in #Myanmar, the foreign policy of the current US President, as well as the popularity of Turkish culture around the world. (Kazakh, Russian and English subtitles are available).
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Culture
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Eurasia, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Myanmar
  • Author: Sebastian Engles
  • Publication Date: 03-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The U.S. should remain committed to Central Asian security cooperation, but must carefully evaluate each program for merit and value added to U.S. security goals in the region. Military professionalization of the Kazakh armed forces will have the most significant impact towards accomplishing these goals and help Kazakhstan attain a more capable military. U.S. security cooperation efforts in assisting Kazakhstan to improve non-commissioned officer development serve as an excellent example of effective professionalization and a way to further our strategic relationships with non-NATO countries. Training programs that professionalize the Kazakh military can offer a cost-effective way for the United States to further a lasting partnership with Central Asia’s most stable country.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Imperialism, Military Strategy
  • Political Geography: United States, Central Asia, Kazakhstan, Asia
  • Author: Rohan Gunaratna, Iftekharul Bashar, Syed Huzaifah Bin Othman Alkaff, Remy Mahzam, Nodirbek Soliev
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Counter Terrorist Trends and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
  • Abstract: The global terrorism threat has become decentralised, unpredictable, hard-to-detect and resilient with regenerative capacities. The global jihadist movements, principally the so-called Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda, have glocalised to exploit indigenous grievances, recruit aspiring jihadists and fight for local and global causes. Overall, both IS and Al-Qaeda have become underground terror networks which will allow them to sustain themselves for longer and perpetrate more violent attacks. With a radical Islamist jihadist ideology, multiple wilayat (provinces), sleeper cells, lone-wolves, online radicalisation and skilful exploitation of modern technologies, the terrorism threat remains challenging despite the successful expulsion of IS from its heartlands in Iraq and Syria in 2017. Moving forward, in 2018, the terrorist threat will be characterised by attacks mounted by politico-religious, ethnic-political and left/right wing groups. The major risk to the West, the Middle East, Africa and Asia will come from Islamist extremist groups with radicalised segments of migrant and diaspora communities perpetrating attacks in North America, Europe and Australia. Notwithstanding the operational and military setbacks IS and Al-Qaeda have suffered over the years, their affiliates in the global south will continue to mount attacks against military, diplomatic, political and economic targets. Despite security measures, threat groups will seek to hit aviation, maritime and land transportation targets. In addition, self-radicalised and directed attacks will focus on populated locations for large-scale impact, with suicide attacks as the preferred tactic. The favoured modus operandi of IS-inspired and directed jihadists in the West will be low-end terrorism relying on vehicle-ramming and stabbing as witnessed throughout 2017. Broadly, the world has witnessed the rise of three generations of global terrorist movements. ‘Global Jihad 1.0’ emerged after Al-Qaeda attacked the US in September 2001 and captured the imagination of multiple militant groups in Asia, Africa, Middle East and the Caucasus. The second generation, ‘Global Jihad 2.0’, emerged after al-Baghdadi declared a ‘caliphate’ and announced the formation of the ‘Islamic State’ (IS) on 29 June 2014. The third generation, ‘Global Jihad 3.0’, represents the global expansion of IS outside Iraq and Syria. IS now relies on its wilayat as its operational bases in the Middle East, Africa, Caucasus and Asia. IS and its affiliates control territorial space in varying degrees in countries with active conflict zones, and maintain a presence in cyber space. The group’s strength also lies in affiliated and linked groups, networks, cells and dedicated jihadists who are willing to fight and die for IS.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Al Qaeda, Islamic State, Homeland Security, Political stability, Conflict
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Middle East, North Africa, Singapore, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Neta C. Crawford
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University
  • Abstract: All told, between 480,000 and 507,000 people have been killed in the United States’ post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. This tally of the counts and estimates of direct deaths caused by war violence does not include the more than 500,000 deaths from the war in Syria, raging since 2011, which the US joined in August 2014.
  • Topic: War, Conflict, 9/11, War on Terror, Statistics, Transparency, Iraq War
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Ralph Mamiya
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Engaging non-state armed groups (NSAGs) is an essential tool for the protection of civilians (POC), a priority mandate and core objective for peace operations. Beyond the use of force to prevent or stop armed groups from threatening local populations, multidimensional missions can use a wide range of unarmed strategies, such as dialogue and engagement, to counter hostilities from non-state actors. This paper looks at how, when, and why UN missions engage with NSAGs. It gives an overview of current practice, drawing on the experiences of the missions in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali. It then examines the risks of engaging NSAGs and how POC mandates can help missions navigate these risks. Finally, it looks at peace operations’ unique capacities to engage with NSAGs and how best to leverage them. Civilian protection is ever more urgent, and engaging NSAGs is crucial to this work. A pragmatic approach, anchored in POC considerations, can help guide missions through potentially polarizing debates and safeguard UN principles while simultaneously allowing them to adapt more effectively to the challenges they face.
  • Topic: United Nations, Non State Actors, Peacekeeping, Armed Forces, Civilians
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Central Asia, Mali, Central African Republic, Congo
  • Author: Danny Anderson
  • Publication Date: 08-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: China Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: China’s “New Silk Road” or “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) has reached Central Asia in resounding fashion. As a result, the republics of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have seen large increases in Chinese presence and investment. Although both countries have overlapping needs, the degree and character of PRC involvement in each has differed. PRC investment in Tajikistan is characterized by expensive loans on infrastructure investment and energy projects that the country may be unable to repay (Avesta.tj, December 25, 2017). Kyrgyzstan, while having hosted similar projects, is also attempting to move the country into the twenty-first century by improving its transportation and digital infrastructure (Tazakoom.kg). Development experts classify both countries as “high-risk” for debt distress given public debt projections (Cgdev.org). However, despite the risk of such an outcome, both countries appear inclined to welcome PRC investment with open arms, as a way of funding needed investment like power generation and logistical links with the outside world.
  • Topic: Development, Infrastructure, Economic Growth, Soft Power
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
  • Author: Bruce Jackson
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Hudson Institute
  • Abstract: U.S.-Russian relations, though currently intractable, are nevertheless the most discussed subject in American foreign policy today. In fact, our impressions of how relations with Russia are going are central to how we demarcate our own history. “After the wall fell” and “post-Soviet” are ways of telling historical time. And it is also how the current generation refers to the beginning of modern times, in much the same way as an earlier generation used “post-war” as shorthand for when normal life resumed after the war. The ability to make sense of the recent past should help us understand where we are and where we are going. The meaning of “post-war” seems clear to us today: It connotes the aftermath of sacrifice, accomplishment, and a certainty about the historical role and significance of the World War II generation. “Post-Soviet” does not have the same historical clarity. The words that evoke our present circumstances convey a sense of uncertainty, persistent conflict, political stasis, and historical confusion. The significance of the present remains elusive for those of us living in the first decades of the 21st century. America has spent slightly more than a century worrying about Russia without great success. Relations today between the U.S. and Russia are still as bad as they have ever been. If we look closely at the period 1989 to 2019, what significance do we find in our recent past and what does this tell us about the meaning of the present? Do we find a common history that puts the challenges of the present in the proper perspective? Or does where we come from make where we are now even more baffling? Strictly speaking, U.S.-Russian relations are a cluster of epistemological problems. What do we think we know about the events that occurred between 1989 and 2019? How much confidence should we place in our interpretation? What are the implications of how we see our recent past for how we judge our present circumstances? Why do we currently find our conjectures so unsatisfactory at the personal level and from a policy perspective? Is there another way to look at the last thirty years that connects the events from the pre-history of modern times more closely with what we see in the present? For example, why does post-Soviet Russia look so much like Soviet Russia in 1989 when Western Europe today looks so unlike the confident and self-assured Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall?
  • Topic: International Relations, History, Soviet Union
  • Political Geography: Russia, Central Asia, Eurasia, United States of America
  • Author: Satnam Singh Deol, Amandeep Kaur Sandhu
  • Publication Date: 01-2018
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: South Asian Studies
  • Institution: Department of Political Science, University of the Punjab
  • Abstract: The constant presence of undemocratic regimes, insurgencies and political instability in Afghanistan has continuously resulted into the miserable status of civil and political human rights. Furthermore, the heterogeneous nature of Afghan society and economic under development have deprived the people of social, cultural and economic rights. In 2004, democratic government had been established in Afghanistan under the presidentship of Hamid Karzai. Very obviously, the people at domestic level as well as the international community expected from the democratically elected regime to take concrete initiatives for the promotion and protection of human rights. The study observes that the pioneer democratically elected government of Afghanistan had taken all constitutional measures and legal provisions for the promotion and protection of human rights in Afghanistan which can be expected from a democratic nation. But several political, socio-ethnic and socio-economic circumstances such as frequent violence due to insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, dearth of popular legitimacy to the regime, challenges to political instability along with the orthodox and heterogeneous society, facing acute economic underdevelopment have hampered the actual process of the promotion and protection of human rights in Afghanistan.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Insurgency, Counterinsurgency, Taliban, Military Intervention, Conflict, Violence
  • Political Geography: Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Asia, Central Asia, Punjab