With the 2014 deadline fast approaching for the withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan, American and European politicians and analysts are busy trying to resolve pressing state-building issues. When it comes to ensuring security, policymakers should not forget about higher education in Afghanistan.
Later this May, European Union officials will meet a delegation from Turkmenistan during annual human rights consultations. President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov’s authoritarian regime in Ashgabat is one of the most repressive in the world, yet the meeting poses perhaps the biggest test for the EU side.
An authoritative Central Asia-focused news website has defeated attempts to silence it in Kyrgyzstan: authorities have unblocked it. Yet under the prevailing interpretation of a parliamentary resolution, the website, Fergana News, still appears to be banned in the Central Asian nation.
When the topics of conversation turn to Turkey and Islam, tempers can sometimes flare in the South Caucasus country of Georgia. Even so, a movement founded by the charismatic Turkish theologian Fetullah Gϋlen has found a welcoming community in this emphatically Christian country.
If a post-Communist record-book were kept of political protests in formerly Soviet states, Armenia could easily rank near the top. But, after years of demonstrations under various politicians, how long will Armenians keep rallying without results?
In the foothills of the Tien Shan mountains in southeastern Kazakhstan, a falcon perches in a tree. Its eyes dart to and fro, all senses on alert. Suddenly it swoops, snapping up some prey and soars off.
Azerbaijan in late April crossed a self-imposed “red line” in its relations with southern neighbor Iran by dispatching Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov on a visit to Israel, Tehran’s arch-foe. Reasons for the timing of the move are not clear, but, so far, Tehran appears to be biding its time with a response.
Russian politicians and state-controlled media outlets have been taking lots of potshots at Tajikistan lately. Some observers believe the barrage of verbal darts may be a precursor to retaliatory measures by the Kremlin for Dushanbe’s delay in ratifying a military basing agreement.