June 14, 2007 Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior
As NATO has moved from being a primarily military alliance to seeking more political roles, it has become pertinent to consider its impact on democratisation. At first glance, it might seem incongruent even to deliberate on the democracy promotion relevance of an essentially military organisation. But, NATO's successive enlargements have often hinged on the
fulfilment of democratic preconditions in aspirant members, while technical assistance provided under the Partnership for Peace (PfP) and other programmes has increasingly focused on the reform of civil-military relations. Assessment is consequently warranted of whether NATO has come to play any positive role in
encouraging democratisation across different regions, or whether its impact on political liberalisation has been either marginal or even negative. This paper argues that support for democracy has increasingly infused NATO policies, but that the organisation's role in democracy promotion is circumscribed by strategic considerations; most often an indirect side effect of
other aims; and most relevant to the niche area of defence reform....
August 12, 2005 Global Research in International Affairs
Shared water resources have caused serious disputes and tensions in Central Asia since the USSR's collapse. Management of these resources has been highly politicized. This article explores the nature of disputes and methods to solve them relating to the joint use of water resources in Central Asia for Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. While Turkmenistan also has some involvement in these issues they are of lesser importance for that country, which is focused on developing its gas sector and reducing its own high water use caused by dependence on cotton production.
During the war on terrorism, George W. Bush has shown a split personality on the promotion of democracy abroad. Bush the realist seeks warm ties with dictators who may help in the fight against al Qaeda, while Bush the neo-Reaganite proclaims that democracy is the only true solution to terror. How the administration resolves this tension will define the future of U.S. foreign policy.
July 7, 2005 Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies
Using survey data from a comparative study of five Muslim societies, this paper examines the level of trust in relgious insitutions in these differentiated social formations and unidifferentiated social formations. The evidence reveals that leels of trust in religious institutions tends to be significantly higher in differentiated Muslim social formations. The paper discusses possible sociological implications of this finding for Muslim socieites and proposes an explanatory model to account for the finding. The empirical evidence also suggests that the trust in religious institutions in Muslim socieites is positively associated with trust inkey institutions of the state. ...
April 12, 2005 Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies // Nanyang Technological University
In an effort to make European troops more employable in out-of-area operations, the United States has urged NATO to set goals of having each member nation able to deploy 40 percent of its forces abroad with at least 8 percent of each nation's military actually deployed at any given time. The motivation behind this idea would be to help sustain the ongoing shift from reliance on territorial defenses during the Cold War to expeditionary forces in the post-September 11 era. Even so, this objective may be exceedingly difficult for new NATO members to achieve, given the competing budgetary and political pressures to which they are subjected....
In the five years since the Sept. 11 attacks, the Bush administration has solidified a trend of supplying high technology weapons and millions of dollars in military assistance to allies in the "war on terror." Support for the United States - either in its quest to stamp out international terrorist networks, or for its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan - seems to take precedence over other criteria usually taken into account when the United States considers an arms transfer. According to standing tenets of U.S. arms export policy, arms transfers should not undermine long-term security and stability, weaken democratic movements, support military coups, escalate arms races, exacerbate ongoing conflicts, cause arms build-ups in unstable regions, or be used to commit human rights abuses. However, in the last five years, the Bush administration has demonstrated a willingness to provide weapons and military training to weak and failing states and countries that have been repeatedly criticized by the U.S. State Department for human rights violations, lack of democracy, and even support of terrorism. To thoroughly evaluate and analyze this trend of increased military assistance, the Challenging Conventional Threats project at CDI has, since 2001, profiled countries that have a unique role in the "war on terror," through the strategic services they have provided to the United States as it conducts anti-terror operations across the globe. The series features analysis of the current political situations in the profiled countries, taking into account other indicators of the relative stability and openness of the country, such as military expenditures, total number of armed forces, and the human rights situation as assessed by the U.S. State Department, alongside an evaluation of U.S. military assistance to these countries over the past 17 years - the post-Cold War years....
Poppy plant is beautiful with fresh green leaves and delicate petals in pink, red and purple hues. It is a marvelous addition as if God had leisure as well as pleasure to clip such an ornament to our beautiful planet. The landscape laden with breezy poppy crop rustling in the bright dewy morning struck human heart as any xe2x80x98wild beauty' would, in some otherwise desolate and deserted regions when a tinkering cold blue water stream meandered nearby. A shepherd sat on the top of a boulder and inspired to sing while peace and tranquility prevailed. He thus created a melody that was conjoined by an orchestra laid by the nature. His xe2x80x98sandarra' surprisingly added to the depth of nature's frivolity in enticing human soul. That was the romantic scene of yesteryears which, driven by greed and grandeur seeking ventures, particularly after the second half of the 20th Century degenerated into an instrument of social destability, crime and violence that threaten the societies as well as the sovereign states....
Experts on Central Asia predict incumbent president, the sixty-five year old President Nursultan Nazarbayev, to win easily a third seven-year term as leader of the former Soviet republic in the December 4 election. Among the country's 15 million people, Nazarbayev enjoys approval ratings well above 70 percent for several reasons. First, Kazakhstanxe2x80x94whose landmass is larger than Western Europe's and blessed with gas, oil, and mineralsxe2x80x94has experienced annual economic growth of 10 percent since 2001. Second, the largely secular country has avoided the ethnic conflicts, instability, and top-down authoritarianism common among neighbors like Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Third, the opposition to date has been fractured, disorganized, and unable to garner much support outside of Almaty, the country's former capital....
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan became a major transit
country for illicit drug trafficking originating from Afghanistan heading to Russian and
European consumption markets. In addition to this role, the country has also become
a growing consumer of heroin, as well as a significant source of cannabis cultivation
for CIS markets. According to UNODC, in 1998 an estimated minimum of 1,517 tons
of cannabis was harvested. Judging from the seizures of opiates in Kazakhstan,
heroin trafficking is on the rise. The number of drug users is also on an upward trend.
Despite the government's efforts against drug trafficking, widespread corruption
continues to be a major obstacle to effective counter-narcotics activities....
The former Soviet Republic became independent in 1991. Since then, president Nursultan Nazarbayevxe2x80x94who first gained prominence as the area's first secretary of the Communist Partyxe2x80x94has dominated Kazakhstan's political life.
National, bilateral and multilateral conflicts overlap in Central Asia. Moscow's influence has waned, especially in Afghanistan, where the Taliban came to power with the support of Washington. In the east and south, the various border disputes between India, China and Pakistan make the region eve#n more dangerous, because of the presence of nuclear weapons.
Sources : The Military Balance 1999-2000, IISS, Brassey's, London, 1999; The World Bank Atlas 1999-2000, World Bank, Washington, 1999.
Signaling a sense of strategic urgency to counter recent Taliban gains, the Northern Distribution Network is being adapted to handle the transit of weaponry and hardware destined for US and NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan. The Northern Distribution Network (NDN) started out as a conduit for non-military supplies, including humanitarian assistance and reconstruction materials. But with the strategic situation for US and NATO troops in Afghanistan becoming more challenging, the scope of NDN’s operations is expanding. The United States has secured "lethal transit" deals with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, Tom Tanner, the US embassy spokesman in Astana told EurasiaNet on October 13. Both the Kyrgyz Ministry of Defense and the US Embassy in Bishkek confirmed earlier that the Manas Transit Center is facilitating the shipment of military freight going to Afghanistan. Permission to use Manas in this way was granted under the terms of the new agreement struck between Washington and Bishkek on June 23, and did not need to be negotiated separately, the US embassy revealed....
The South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) was launched on 08 May 2002 in Belgrade. SEESAC is a component of the Regional Implementation Plan on Combating the Proliferations of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) formulated and adopted by the Stability Pact in November 2001(Revised in 2006), with the aims of stopping the flow and availability of SALW in the region, consolidating achievements so far and supporting the socio-economic conditions for peace and development in South Eastern and Eastern Europe. The uncontrolled proliferation and illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons (SALW) is a serious problem in South Eastern and Eastern Europe. SALW proliferation has fuelled crime and insecurity, exacerbating conflict in the region and undermining post conflict peace-building. Problems related to SALW are likely to pose a serious constraint to economic and social development in South Eastern and Eastern Europe. Established in co-operation with the UNDP and housed in their offices in Belgrade, SEESAC worked to support the Stability Pact Regional Implementation Plan for an initial period of three years; the impact of the project has led to a further four-year extension until December 2008. Political and strategic guidance and indigenous support for SEESAC is provided by a Regional Steering Group (RSG), which is composed of representatives of the governments of the states concerned, the Stability Pact, UNDP and observers from institutions such as the European Union (EU), North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and civil society. The RSG meets twice yearly and has approved the 2006 SEESAC Strategy and a revision of the SEESAC mandate. SEESAC capability is now available to all stakeholders within the CIS and Caucasus region. SEESAC is now also available to provide technical advice and project development assistance for the disposal of heavy weapons (within available resources). SEESAC operates under the guidance of The Regional Steering Group for Small Arms and Light Weapons and the UN Resident Co-ordinator in Belgrade. SEESAC liaises directly with governments and civil society, providing technical input, information exchange, co-ordination and overview of current and future efforts and fund-raising assistance for specific SALW projects. SEESAC's small team is in constant communication with all the governments involved and with the relevant international organisations, non-governmental organisations and bi-lateral donors. SEESAC's regional activities include sensitising governments and civil society on small arms issues, formulating national strategies for SALW control and incorporating small arms issues into UNDP development planning....
December 19, 2006 Central Eurasia Project // Open Society Institute
EurasiaNet provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia. The web site also offers additional features, including newsmaker interviews a#nd book reviews. Based in New York, EurasiaNet advocates open and informed discussion of issues that concern countries in the region. The web site presents a variety of perspectives on contemporary developments, utilizing a network of correspondents based both in the West and in the region. The aim of EurasiaNet is to promote informed decision making among policy makers, as well as broadening interest in the region among the general public. EurasiaNet is operated by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute. EurasiaNet offers daily news under Today's Wires which consolidates of news and information from outside sources, including the British Broadcasting System, Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty and Interfax. Every day, reports from these and other news services are also posted on the Resource Pages of all the countries in the region; Regional Datebook keeps you ahead of the curve on upcoming events throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia. EurasiaNet has seven different departments that feature original content on political, economic, social, cultural and environmental developments through an extensive network of contributors providing material that keeps readers on top of regional developments. The departments include: Eurasia Insight: Analytical articles on current events that place emphasis on anticipating future developments; Business and Economics: Articles geared towards closely examining deals and trends and their possible impact on economic development; Q&A; & Recaps : Interviews with news makers and opinion shapers on regional issues; Civil Society: Covering environment, human rights and culture thoroughout the region; Resource Pages provide comprehensive data and links to other news sources on the web. EurasiaNet also features a variety of other resources as well. Indeed, EurasiaNet is perhaps the most comprehensive source for news and information about the countries of the Caucasus and Central Asia found anywhere on the World Wide Web.
Four challengers launched bids to unseat Kazakhstan's well-entrenched incumbent in the presidential election on 4 December, arguably the result of strictures on the political scene rather than a sign of a robust and unfettered political process.
Today, the United States is engaged in a war against radical Islam. A key part of this conflict is the "war of ideas." The "war of ideas" will largely be won or lost depending on how moderate Islam succeeds against radical Islam. Established in 2006, the American Foreign Policy Council's Central Asia Counterterrorism Project is designed to provide American politicians and journalists with new sources of information from Central Asia about ways to effectively wage this war.
Last month, Kazakhstan’s Parliament approved the sending of troops to Afghanistan. The Taliban immediately issued a threat, warning Kazakhstan that its willingness to participate in the war on terrorism would make the country a target for violence. Days later, Kazakh security services’ headquarters in the northwestern city of Aktobe and the capital city of Astana were attacked by suicide bombers.
These incidents are new to Kazakhstan, a country that prides itself on a peaceful society enriched by ethnic diversity. While terrorist threats are typically associated with other Central Asian countries, these recent events in Kazakhstan are cause for concern. Further attacks could jeopardize vital transit facilities and massive energy projects.
As the United States and NATO battle al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, radical Islamic organizations are expanding north through the porous borders of Central Asia. The U.S. and NATO must pay closer attention to the spread of international terrorism and the negative implications for U.S. and Central Asian security.
April 20, 2011 Strategic Studies Institute // United States Army War College
The war in Afghanistan has added considerably to the strategic significance of Central Asia due to its proximity to the conflict. Moreover, the continuation of the war increasingly involves the vital interests of many other actors other than the U.S. and NATO forces currently there. This monograph, taken from SSI's conference with European and Russian scholars in 2010, provides a comprehensive analysis of the means and objectives of Russia's involvement in Central Asia. It also provides Russian perspectives concerning the other actors in Central Asia and how Moscow views the policy significance of those efforts....
This publication, based on three previous Kazakhstan at a Crossroads reports, gives an overview of
Kazakhstan’s political situation, economic development and international relations. It highlights
restrictions on political activity that have helped lead to a one party parliament, restrictions on media
freedom that overtly and covertly shut out dissenting voices, the presence of significant corruption
amongst sections of the political elite which is being responded to in a way that suggests motives that
may be politicised.
Kazakhstan at a Crossroads makes the case that despite Kazakhstan’s economic progress and relative
stability there remain serious human rights and governance problems that should give the international
community pause before granting it any further opportunities for international leadership. Any future
deeper economic or political engagement with Kazakhstan needs to be conditional on clear
improvements in human rights and non-compliance should lead to real penalties, rather than have
transgressions brushed under the carpet as they were with the OSCE Chairmanship....
October 28, 2010 Central Eurasia Project // Open Society Foundations // Soros Foundation Network
This briefing paper tracks the evolution of, and trends in, U.S. military and police aid to
Central Asian countries pre- and post-9/11. In particular, it seeks to identify assistance
associated with agreements with countries in the region to provide base and transit access
to United States and allied militaries for the war in Afghanistan. While the United States
does not pay “rent” for military bases, this report includes a primer on the relevant U.S.
military aid programs (both traditional and new) that are used as compensation for basing
and other access rights, including for Central Asian participation in the recently launched
Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a land-based supply route for U.S. and allied forces
that runs through Central Asia to Afghanistan. The U.S. government has no comprehensive budget for the assistance it provides
to the police, militaries, and other Central Asian security forces; however,
in the fullest accounting available to date, this report documents that the United States provided at least $145 million in military aid through 19 different budgets
and programs in one year (fiscal year 2007). This amount is nearly half of the total
of $329 million that the U.S. government gave to Central Asian governments in
2007, and it is six times the amount the U.S. government spent to promote rule of
law, democratic governance, and respect for fundamental human rights in that same year....
Afghanistan’s neighbors that garner the most attention in policy debates about resolving its conflicts are Iran and Pakistan. The five post-Soviet states to Afghanistan’s north—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—also will have a hand in determining Afghanistan’s future, though their relevance is often discounted and there is little understanding of exactly what their role might be. Joshua Foust’s paper explains how and why these bordering countries do not view the war in Afghanistan in the same terms as do the United States, Russia, Europe, or the Security Council collectively. In some cases, the interests of these Central Asian neighbors run counter to those of the more global players seeking to determine Afghanistan’s future. In this paper he explores:
* Transnational Threats. The Central Asian states face two major threats to the stability of their brittle regimes, which are exacerbated by uncertainty in Afghanistan: criminal networks (especially human and narcotics trafficking) and Islamic extremism.
* Regional Economic Development. The potential for economic gain, whether through cooperative resource extraction, international trade, or energy production, could be a vehicle for realizing broader engagement with Afghanistan by Central Asia’s countries.
* Contributions to a Regional Solution in Afghanistan. While they are currently preoccupied with internal issues, Foust sees considerable opportunity for increasing cooperation among countries in the region in an effort to aid the international community’s efforts in Afghanistan....