In the war on terrorism the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or Shanghai-6 has been AWOL. Its failure to act effectively in this war not only highlights its failure to be a meaningful regional provider of security in Central Asia, it also reflects the erosion of Sino-Russian cooperation and the continuing failure of Central Asian states to devise a viable regional security mechanism. Thus it is not surprising that the Central Asian states have invited America into the region or that this presence alarms both China and Russian opponents of President Putin\'s current support for it. But it remains an open question as to whether external providers will continue to be necessary for the long-term provision of security against the multiple challenges to Central Asian governments and societies.
In the tribal Afghan society, the most successful leaders have been traditional leaders, but for the past twenty years, governments - be they Communist, Mujahideen or Taliban - have attempted to employ nontraditional policies, and have failed. The current crisis will not be rectified until a new political strategy is adopted that is closely related to traditional institutions and has a large amount of tribal involvement. To convene a Loya Jirga is the only possible solution to create a legitimate government because it stays close to tradition and allows all tribes to voice their opinions.
According to two agreements signed by President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan and Chairman Jiang Zemin of China in 1996 and 1999, Kyrgyzstan cedes about 125,000 hectares of land to China. The opposition accused the President of signing these agreements without consulting Parliament, violating the constitution. After six demonstrators were killed and 29 by police in the Jalal-Abad region in March, tensions increased between all involved groups, together with and under-the-rug struggle for power in the capital. Thorny border issues could be fueled by mass discontent in the economic and social spheres. Disastrous living standards, pandemic unemployment, increasing electricity fees, combined with poor governance and corruption, could push demonstrators to spontaneous and impulsive actions. unless a dialogue between the government and its opponents can be found.
The fragile balance in the southern, predominantly Pashtun areas of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban has recently been rocked by conflicts of authority between regional warlords and the interim government in Kabul. The main problem so far has centered on the three province of Paktia, Paktika and Khost, which form the historic greater Paktia province. As has been widely reported in the press, local strongman Bacha Khan Zardan refused to accept the authority of a governor appointed by the interim government and has clashed with the governor\'s forces. What is less well understood is the roots and the depth of resentment in the Pashtun areas of Southern Afghanistan and Northwestern Pakistan, and the dire implications of this problem if left unchecked.
In the midst of the centralizing tendencies of the Putin administration in Russia, the ethnic republics are clinging to their constitutional autonomy and trying to preserve their sovereignty. Adygeya, where only 27% of the population are ethnic Adygey, has been the scene of a rising Russian nationalism that seeks to dismantle the republican status of the territory. Some observers have rather alarmingly called Adygeya a ‘second Chechnya in the making’, but the region has so far remained calm. If Moscow continues to lend support to the Russian nationalists in Adygeya, however, the situation may deteriorate.
General Tuncer Kilinc, Secretary-General of Turkey\'s National Security Council, recently shocked observers by stating that Turkey needed alternatives to the European Union, proposing that Turkey should seek, with support of USA, new allies in the East, namely Russia and Iran. The General argued that the EU held negative views on Turkey, has never assisted it, and agreed that ‘the EU is a Christian Club, a neo-colonialist force, and is determined to divide Turkey\'. General Kilinc’s views, though identified as personal, disclosed a severe conflict among Turkish elites on the country’s strategic choices. Kilinc\'s views reflect those of a strong ‘Eurasianist’ school of thought within the Turkish state.
Bloody turf wars emerged in Afghanistan in late April. In the north, Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum\'s and Tajik warlord Atta Mohammed\'s forces clashed over two towns near Mazar-e-Sharif. In the east, two Pashtun warlords, Bacha Khan Zardan and Taj Mohammed Wardak, fought over the city of Gardez. This recent increase in fighting hints at the persistence of a suitable ground for international drug-trafficking in Afghanistan. The operation of this destructive \"industry\" will not only have security implications for Afghanistan and its neighbouring states, but also have a negative impact on ethnic and tribal relations and on the consolidation of the government and the reconstruction of the country
Political tensions in Kazakhstan have been escalating since last November when several senior officials were sacked for joining a new political movement, the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DCK). The DCK originally founded as a reform party to represent the interests of the country’s entrepreneurial class, has become increasingly radicalized, a process culminating in the arrest of one party co-founder and the placement of another under the house arrest. In the midst of these political tensions the government issued a response to allegations of President Nazarbayev’s embezzlement of government funds to his and his family accounts.
The last month’s sad Aksy events in Kyrgyzstan came as a culmination of a continued series of popular protests against government persecution of political opposition and critics. Since the lethal incident, the police shootings and the killing of protesters have tended to be overshadowed by a preoccupation to come up with various explanations of the protest, such as the miseries of life and the north-south divisions. The long protests of political persecutions culminating in Aksy – the root cause of the events – thus have appeared gradually to be fading into obscurity. Will this grievance remain overlooked and muted even after Aksy, or will this be a turning point?
Georgia has been so anxiously awaiting the arrival of US troops as if they are a miraculous solution to all the country’s problems. Russia, after a hysterical initial reaction, now tries to present this deployment as a part of cooperation with the US in the global war against terrorism and as a direct support from the US to its war against Chechnya. Washington, apparently, assumes that this small-scale ‘train-and-equip’ operation could positively contribute to the larger goal of stabilizing the Caucasus. The risks, however, might turn out to be way beyond local disturbances.