Sunday, November 24, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #30

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Negotiations between Washington and Kabul about the presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan after 2014 dragged on for quite some time with immunity for the Americans being the most contentious issue. This week, the corrupt Karzai government gave in and agreed that U.S. forces will be under the jursidiction of the United States and not subject to Afghan courts. As seen in Iraq, denial of immunity is the only way to get the Americans to leave. Since this obstacle has been removed, Afghanistan will be occupied for several years to come:
US troops could stay in Afghanistan until 2024 - security pact

The US and Afghanistan have reportedly agreed on the draft of a mutual security pact indicating that US troops could remain in the country until 2024, according to Afghanistan. However, the US insists that some final details still need to be clarified.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #29

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

After Ilham Aliyev won the heavily rigged presidential election in Azerbaijan and consolidated his power, the Azerbaijani leader decided to visit close ally Turkey on his first trip abroad. Baku and Ankara maintain very good relations and plan to increase cooperation in various areas. With the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway near completion, the Azerbaijani and Turkish governments are focusing on the next major project, the construction of the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP), which is set to begin in early 2014:
Turkey and Azerbaijan cement bilateral ties

“We are taking steps on the area of energy which has strategic importance,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, speaking at a press conference with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Turkey and Azerbaijan would work to bilaterally boost trade up from the current level of $4.2 billion per annum to $15 billion by 2020, Erdoğan noted.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #28

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

After the Aliyev regime had already made a mockery of democracy in the Azerbaijani presidential election a few weeks ago, it was now the turn of Tajikistan's President Emomalii Rahmon to get the election in his country over and done with. Rahmon did not have a hard time staying in power since the Tajik people as well as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were not impressed with his "opponents" in the presidential poll:
OSCE slams lack of choice in Tajikistan poll

In power for more than 20 years, Rakhmon won over 83 percent of the vote according to official figures. He faced five little-known, mainly loyal challengers. His only serious rival was barred from running.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #27

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Last Monday, China's famous Tiananmen Square became quite unexpectedly the scene of another tragic event. Three individuals drove an SUV with a Xinjiang license plate through a crowd of people. The horror ended when the car crashed and burst into flames. Two innocent bystanders were killed along with the three occupants of the vehicle and 40 people were injured. Chinese police later identified the SUV driver as Usmen Hasan and his two passengers as his mother Kuwanhan Reyim and his wife Gulkiz Gini. Doubts about the nature of this incident were quickly dispelled when police searched the SUV and rounded up several suspects in connection with the attack:
Police identify Tiananmen car crash as terrorist attack

Chinese police have identified Monday's deadly crash at downtown Beijing's Tiananman Square as a terrorist attack and five suspects have been detained.


Police found gasoline, equipment full of gasoline, two knives and steel sticks as well as a flag with extremist religious content in the jeep.
© Photo BBC