Sunday, December 22, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #34

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 discussed two weeks ago, Russia reacts to NATO's relentless expansion and Cold War-style military exercises by deploying more missile systems near its threatened borders. This week, the first division of Iskander-M missiles was delivered to Russia's Southern Military District but the reported deployment of the same ballistic missile system in another part of Russia made the headlines and caused concern in several countries:
Russia missile deployment causes concern abroad
The United States, Poland and three Baltic states have all voiced concern at reported missile deployment by Russia in its exclave of Kaliningrad. Washington urged Moscow not to increase political tensions in the region. 
On Saturday, the German mass-circulation Bild newspaper reported that secret satellite imagery showed Iskander-M missiles stationed near the Polish border.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #33

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 several members of a Central Asian criminal group supposedly financing Hizb ut-Tahrir were recently arrested in Russia, the Russian authorities stepped up their activities against the terrorist organization. In the Republic of Dagestan, Russia's epicenter of Islamist insurgency, a large special operation was carried out. Police conducted raids on 47 apartments of suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir members and detained dozens of people:
Police Arrest Dozens in Operation Against Banned Group in Dagestan

Three leaders of the local Hizb-ut-Tahrir al-Islami (Party of Islamic Liberation) movement were among 52 people detained in the special operation, the ministry said in a statement. The international Islamist group was banned as a “terrorist organization” by Russia’s Supreme Court in 2003.

Among those detained was Kazimzhan Sheraliyev, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan who is alleged to be an international representative of the organization. Others were being investigated for possible involvement in crimes in the North Caucasus, the ministry said.
© Photo ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #32

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.

Ukraine, the largest country in the post-Soviet space, aroused Brussels' and Washington's anger by refusing to sign the European Union Association Agreement. Instead Kiev gave in to pressure from Russia and preferred to renew talks on joining the Moscow-led Customs Union. However, because the country is eyed not only as a future EU member but more importantly as a significant addition to Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Ukrainian government has now to deal with Orange Revolution 2.0. So another Russian neighbor of great interest to the EU and NATO, Georgia, assured its friends in the west that they will not have to worry about similar developments in the South Caucasus:
Georgian president says Russia cannot stop moves towards EU

The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia has no means of influence that could divert Georgia from its course toward integration with Europe and interrupt the signing of the Association Agreement next year.
© Photo EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The New Great Game Round-Up #31

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 the Tiananmen Square attack is still a main topic of conversation in China and the Chinese government is mullling new measures for its war on terror, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) deemed it necessary to remind everyone of its successful strike in the center of Beijing by releasing a new video. As usual, U.S.-based Israeli disinformation website SITE discovered the video, in which the ETIM, also known as Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), claimed responsibility for the deadly crash, describing it as a "jihadi operation by holy warriors", and threatened more attacks:
TIP jihadi video ‘proves group’s terrorist nature’

The eight-minute video is in the Uyghur language and includes a speech by the TIP leader Abdullah Mansour, according to a Reuters report. In the video, Mansour said such operations were "only the beginning of attacks on Chinese authorities."

Mansour said that future targets would include the Great Hall of the People, where legislative meetings and ceremonial activities are usually held in China, according to SITE.
© Photo SITE Intelligence Group