Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, granted the United States new over-flight rights for the resupply of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan, but his April 11 meeting with US President Barack Obama did not yield a clear commitment from Washington concerning the convening of an OSCE summit.
US President Barack Obama has agreed to meet with his Kazakhstani counterpart, Nursultan Nazarbayev, on the sidelines of a nuclear summit in mid-April. The meeting could have its tense moments, as Obama is expected to press Nazarbayev on the treatment of a Kazakhstani human rights activist.
Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan have gone on a weapons spending spree over the past decade, collectively increasing their defense spending five-fold, according to a report recently released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The Georgian government has developed a new strategy for re-engaging with -- and ultimately re-incorporating -- the separatist territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and is working to gain international support and funding for its plan.
The plan, officially named the "State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement through Cooperation," was developed by Georgia's Ministry of Rei
The Obama administration opposes a Congressional resolution that would officially acknowledge the Armenian genocide, and it is not using the issue as a means to prompt Turkey to move forward with a reconciliation initiative with Armenia, a top US State Department official said on March 17.
On March 4, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs passed a resolution that would recognize th
The US State Department noted some modest improvements in human rights conditions in Central Asia in its annual Human Rights Report, although, overall, the region remained one of the worst in the world in terms of respecting basic freedoms.
A US congressional committee narrowly passed a resolution on March 4 officially to term Ottoman Turkey's 1915 massacre of ethnic Armenians as genocide. The move is likely to complicate relations between the United States and Turkey, and could bring the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation process to a halt.
For those inclined to believe the worst about Russia's military intentions, there have been two recent developments that have aroused pundit ire: the possible sale of advanced French Mistral-class ships to Russia, along with the statement of Russia's top naval official that "a ship like this would have allowed the Black Sea fleet to accomplish its mission [invading Georgia] in 40 minutes and not 26 hours," and the new Russian military doctrine and its explicit designation of NATO as a threat.
The volume on the Mistral sale is bound to increase over the next few days, as France and Russia formally began talks today to buy not just one Mistral but up to four.
But RFE/RL has a perceptive analysis that suggests that the alleged aggressiveness of the doctrine is overblown, and that those two developments, in a way, blunt each other, that the Mistral sale in fact suggests a softer attitude toward NATO than Kremlin rhetoric can suggest:
The 600-pound gorilla hiding in the verbiage of the new doctrine is the question of how to arm the military with the high-tech weapons listed in the document. The Russian defense industry suffers from outdated plants, an aging work force, and the incompatibility of a system built by Josef Stalin with the realities of a market economy.
The new doctrine suggests that Russia somehow invigorate investment into innovative technologies and keep its independence as an arms manufacturer. While debating the best way to direct the Russian economy toward technological innovation, Russia's leaders appear to be moving away from defense industry autarky. During a meeting with Western experts on Russia last September, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reportedly said Russia wanted to cooperate with Western nations in weapons manufacturing.
So, who was the "high-profile" American that Abdulmalak Rigi, the leader of the Sunni Muslim militant group Jundullah, was on his way to meet in Kyrgyzstan? None other than Richard Holbrooke, says official Iranian media.
Except, Rigi was arrested en route to Kyrgyzstan on Tuesday, when Holbrooke was long gone from Kyrgyzstan, in Berlin, already having stopped in Tbilisi.
And anyway, as plausible as it may be that the U.S. is supporting Jundullah, would it really be Holbrooke who is behind it? Unlikely.