Sunday, September 29, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #22

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.

As anticipated last week, the CSTO leaders agreed on Monday during the Collective Security Council meeting in Sochi to provide Tajikistan with joint assistance in order to reinforce the Tajik-Afghan border. Tajikistan's President Emomalii Rahmon gave further details of the projects which will be supported by the Collective Security Treaty Organization [emphasis mine]:
CSTO to help Tajikistan strengthen control of its common border with Afghanistan

“The government of republic and its relevant bodies will solve a number of tasks related to strengthening the Tajik-Afghan border. Among these tasks are constructing new buildings of frontier posts, restoring warning and signaling systems and providing border troops with means of air patrol and surveillance as well as radar aids,” Rahmon said.
© Photo Presidential Press & Information Office, Russia

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #21

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.

At the beginning of this week, a series of terror attacks shook Russia's North Caucasus and proved that President Vladimir Putin's concerns about security in this region are definitely justified:
3 police dead, 6 wounded in suicide bombing, attempted attacks in Russia’s south
A suicide attacker set off a powerful bomb near a police station in Russia’s Chechen Republic, killing three officers. His possible accomplice injured two policemen in neighboring Ingushetia while a third one wearing a suicide vest was detained.
© Photo AP Photo/Musa Sadulayev
Local law enforcement officials suspected that the attacks in Chechnya and Ingushetia were organized by the same militant group. The men of Beslan Makhauri's gang, who operate from mountainous forests at the Chechen-Ingush border, were identified as the likely perpetrators. Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) confirmed this and accused NATO's favorite Chechen freedom fighter, Doku Umarov, of ordering the terror campaign:
Russia's FSB Says Umarov Loyalist Behind Attacks
The head of Chechnya's FSB branch, Andrei Seryozhnikov, accused Umarov of ordering the attacks but said the commander of the Sunzha wing of the North Caucasus insurgency, Beslan Makhauri -- who was reportedly killed three years ago -- actually organized the bombings.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #20

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.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan's threat, to unleash the Chechen terrorists under his command during the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year, is taken seriously in Moscow. So Russian President Vladimir Putin was particularly enraged by accusations of "so-called widespread abuse of citizens’ rights in the North Caucasus" voiced in the Western media and by human rights organizations. Putin blasted the biased coverage and highlighted Russia's struggle against foreign-funded terrorists:
Russia Must Respond to ‘Baseless’ Reports on Caucasus – Putin
“We also face destructive anti-Russian activities by certain foreign countries and non-governmental and international organizations under their control that still see the North Caucasus as a foothold for their attempts to destabilize all of Russia, to damage our economy, to undermine Russia’s influence and to limit our activities on the international arena,” Putin told Russia’s Security Council.
"Certain foreign countries" translates obviously into the United States and its allies. President Putin emphasized that attempts aimed at destabilizing Russia should be crushed. While there have been some positive changes according to the Russian leader, the situation in the North Caucasus has to be further improved ahead of the Olympic Games: 
Putin Says Security Not Improving Fast Enough in North Caucasus 
President Vladimir Putin ordered intelligence agencies Monday to step up efforts to secure a volatile region near next year's Winter Olympics, saying the situation was not improving fast enough.
© Photo AFP/Sergei Karpukhin

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #19

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.

This week, China's President Xi Jinping started his Central Asia tour in Turkmenistan where he met with Turkmen leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, to cement ties between the two countries. Xi and Berdymukhamedov attended the opening ceremony for the Galkynysh gas field, the second-largest natural gas deposit in the world:  
Turkmenistan Opens Huge Gas Field to Supply China – Reports
Chinese President Xi Jingping and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguli Berdymukhammedov opened a giant natural gas field in Turkmenistan that will vastly increase the ex-Soviet nation’s energy supplies to Beijing, Turkmenistan media reported Wednesday.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #18

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.
   
While U.S. President Barack Obama is waiting for Congress approval and pondering if he could win another Nobel Peace Prize by killing more people with Tomahawk cruise missiles instead of drones (maybe that is the promised change), it is important to highlight the close connection between the conflict in Syria and developments in the Caucasus region.
Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, travelled recently to Moscow where he met among others Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Saudi spymaster wanted to persuade the Kremlin with favorable oil and arms deals as well as other "incentives" to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [emphasis mine]:
Russian President, Saudi Spy Chief Discussed Syria, Egypt
Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values ​​and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. ... As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”
© Photo RIA Novosti/Alexey Druzhinin