Sunday, February 23, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #41

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.

Although Washington is currently busy installing a new puppet regime in Ukraine and simultaneously trying to topple governments in Syria, Venezuela and elsewhere, President Obama still found time this week to meet with the Dalai Lama at the White House. Warnings from China that this meeting could "seriously damage" Washington's ties with Beijing were ignored as usual. The Chinese government does not tolerate any separatist activities, regardless of whether it concerns Tibet, Inner Mongolia or East Turkestan and Beijing hopes to change Western opinion in this regard:
China says it will win West over to its view on Tibet, Xinjiang

China has "time on its side" to win over Western opinion to its point of view on the restive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang, a senior official wrote on Wednesday, vowing with unusually strong language to ignore foreign pressure on human rights.

Zhu Weiqun, chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the top advisory body to parliament, acknowledged this would be a difficult task but said dissenting voices were beginning to be heard in the West.

Zhu said the West would finally "see the real face of the Dalai clique and 'East Turkestan'," referring to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the militant forces China says operate in Xinjiang.
© Photo AP/Charles Dharapak

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #40

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.

Considering all the terrorism fear-mongering in the run-up to the Sochi Olympics, the last few days in Russia's North Caucasus have been remarkably uneventful. Besides the usual anti-terror operation in Dagestan, resulting in three dead insurgents, and Tengiz Guketlov, terrorist leader from Kabardino-Balkaria, claiming responsibility for the six killings in the Stavropol region last month, there is not much to report. Terror mastermind Prince Bandar bin Sultan is apparently not going to act on his threats because he is busy supplying the al-Qaeda mercenaries in Syria with more anti-aircraft missiles and his go-to guy in the North Caucasus, Doku Umarov, appears to be dead. Moreover, Russia's "ring of steel" is quite effective. But not everybody is happy with the Russian security operation:
U.S. feeling shut out of Russian security operation at Sochi

U.S. intelligence officials are frustrated that the Russian government is withholding information about threats to Olympic venues coming from inside Russia, several lawmakers said during talk shows Sunday.

"We aren't getting the kind of cooperation that we'd like from the Russians in terms of their internal threats," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday."
© Photo Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #39

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.

On Friday, a lavish opening ceremony kicked off the 22nd Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. This year's Winter Olympics are not only the most expensive Games in history but also one of the most politicized sports events ever. Western media used the Games to ramp up the ongoing smear campaign against the Russian government and Western politicians proved that they are only interested in one form of sport: boycotting the Sochi Olympics. But Russia is not on its own in the intensifying Cold War against the United States and its allies. Beijing strongly supports Moscow and China's President Xi Jinping demonstrated this by travelling to the Black Sea resort, the first trip of a Chinese leader to major sports event overseas. The Chinese government criticized the West for constantly attacking Russia and drew a lesson from this:
Sochi Games consolidate Sino-Russian ties

The first warning Sochi 2014 has rendered China is that implementation of "Western-style democracy" will not help reach a mood of détente with Western nations, which adopt attitudes toward big powers like China and Russia in line with their geopolitical interests.

Xi's attendance at the Games in no way implies that China is in confrontation with the West. In actuality, the aggregate power of both Beijing and Moscow is still far less than that of the Western world.

Nevertheless, bilateral cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is highly resilient. Political dynamics determines that the two global strategic powers are unlikely to be isolated, so it is doomed to fail when the West attempts to separate China from Russia.
© Photo RIA Novosti/Alexey Nikolsky