An SCO scuffle with US in Central Asia

President Putin with then Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev during inauguration ceremony at Russian airbase at Kant, Oct. 23, 2003 It may seem unbelievable today when the Russian President Vladimir Putin is insistently holding back on congratulating Joe Biden on his magnificent victory even twenty-five days after the November 3 presidential election, that he was the …

Biden casts a spell on Arabia’s shifting sands

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (L), called Turkish President Recep Erdoğan (R) on Nov. 20, 2020 to discuss reset of relations. The controversial meeting between Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (commonly known as MbS) in Neom, the mega-city under development on the Red Sea coast, on November 22 drew world …

Russia, China reinvent their moorings in Central Asia

Soldiers from US Army’s 82nd Airborne Division line up in a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III to parachute into a drop zone in Central Asia in a spectacular display of the longest distance airborne operation in military history, Chimkent, Kazakhstan, Sept. 15, 1997. The United States, which was de facto assuming the historical role …

Return of Great Game in Post-Soviet Central Asia

The Wakhan Corridor: A narrow strip of land in Eastern Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province, 295 km long and 15 to 57 km wide, connecting Afghanistan with China and passing through the territory of Tajikistan, historically a buffer between Russian Central Asia and British India.  The recent Issue Brief by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission …

France challenges Russian peacekeeping in Caucasus

A Russian peacekeeper patrols at checkpoint outside Askeran, Nagorno-Karabakh, November 19, 2020. (AFP Photo) The trilateral agreement on November 10 between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia over Nagorno-Karabakh is leading to a geopolitical struggle in the Caucasus. So long as Armenia and Azerbaijan were ferociously fighting, the great game lurked in the shade.  But no sooner …

Historical undercurrents in Nagorno-Karabakh

Armenian cemetery (1579) in Surat, India. 16th century onwards, Armenians from Iran formed an important trading community in Surat port city which had sea borne trade with Bandar Abbas. The analysts focusing on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis through the prism of regional politics fail to factor in that the Caucasus comprises ancient peoples. The Russian President Vladimir Putin …

Trump’s Afghan drawdown doesn’t mean war is ending

Then Vice-President Joe Biden (L) talks with Gen. David Petraeus (R), then Commander of the ISAF and US Forces in Afghanistan, aboard a Chinook helicopter over Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 11, 2011 As the US President Donald Trump chalks up his measly legacy in the White House, he is bound to scrap the bottom of the barrel. …

Biden’s “normalcy” means return of “ancien régime”

There has been a spate of reports in the American media that the US president-elect Joe Biden is assembling his cabinet of ministers. Most reports mention that Biden’s secretary of state will be Susan Rice, former US ambassador to the United Nations and National Security Advisor in the Barack Obama administration. Reportedly, Biden’s choice for …