Sunday, September 28, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #68

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.

Since the start of China's year-long anti-terror campaign in May of this year, every week new measures are being introduced to contain the terror threat. Of course, the focus is on China's far-west province of Xinjiang, which has seen the most violence. Earlier this month, Chinese prosecutors, especially those in Xinjiang, were asked to fast-track cases involving terrorists, religious extremists and manufacturers of firearms and explosives. Considering that the rewards for people who tip off local authorities about "suspicious activity related to terrorism and religious extremism" are being increased every other day, this anti-terror measure will most likely land a few innocent citizens in jail. But the Chinese authorities are determined to curb the violence in Xinjiang at all costs and they do not want to take chances given the growing influence of extremists among the Muslim population:
China says 'rescues' more children from Xinjiang religious schools

A sweep on illegal religious activity in the capital of China's unruly far western region of Xinjiang has resulted in 190 children being "rescued", along with the detention of dozens of people, a state newspaper said on Monday.

Last month the government said it had "rescued" 82 children in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi from religious schools known as madrassas, and that campaign appears to be continuing.

Children in Xinjiang are prohibited by the government from attending madrassas, prompting many parents who wish to provide a religious education to use underground schools.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Porkins Great Game: Episode #1 - ISIS is everywhere in Central Asia

The wait is finally over: The new podcast series produced by Pearse Redmond and me, Porkins Great Game, is now up and running! This new podcast will deal exclusively with Central Asia and the Caucasus region, and will explore the various geopolitical machinations that compose the “New Great Game.” Porkins Great Game will be a monthly podcast and we really encourage you to be a part of this endeavor. So please follow us on Twitter, @PorkinsPolicy & @NewGreatGame, and feel free to email us with topic suggestions and news stories that pertain to the New Great Game. You can contact me through the contact form on my blog and you can contact Pearse at porkinspolicy@gmail.com.


"The Lone Gladio" reveals Washington's strategy for winning the New Great Game

Sibel Edmonds‘ new novel The Lone Gladio takes the reader on an exciting journey across the globe from Northern Cyprus and Azerbaijan to Southeast Asia and the belly of the beast in the United States. As seemingly disconnected plot strands are brilliantly woven together, we get to see how one of the most important clandestine operations of our time works and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #67

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 September 20, 1994, Azerbaijan's President Heydar Aliyev and nine foreign oil companies signed the "Contract of the Century" for the exploration and exploitation of three offshore oil fields in the Caspian Sea. This is hailed as the "beginning of independent Azerbaijan's policy of energy diversification" by the United States and other Western powers. A few days ago, Azerbaijan's embassy in the U.S., state-owned oil and natural gas corporation SOCAR, supermajor BP and the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce (USACC), which boasts advisors such as James Baker III, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft, celebrated the 20th anniversary of the "Contract of the Century" in Washington. The key role of Azerbaijan in the Southern Gas Corridor was one of the major topics during the celebrations and the Aliyev regime is doing its best to satisfy the expectations:
Turkey, Azerbaijan break ground for Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline

Turkey's energy minister has declared a gas pipeline a "peace corridor" linking the Caucasus with the Balkans.

"We open the project as a peace corridor that is the result of 15 years hard work by Turkey and Azerbaijan. Through the South Caucasus pipeline and its backbone, the Trans-Anatolia pipeline, we connect the Caucasus with the Balkans. I wish every country could understand the true value of these projects and contribute with us," Taner Yıldız said while speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony of the South Caucasus pipeline in Baku on Sept. 20.
© Photo Daily Sabah

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #66

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.

When the heads of state and the heads of government of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization gathered in Wales last week for the 2014 NATO summit, Western media made a big fuss about the underwhelming meeting hailing it as "one of the most important summits in NATO's history" but when the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held a historic summit in Tajikistan one week later, it did not even make the news in the West. Although the heads of state of the SCO are not exactly on the same page when it comes to Ukraine, they found common ground and they also agreed on a number of other issues. In a swipe at Washington, the SCO leaders condemned any unilateral buildup of missile defense systems and, most importantly, they finally approved the documents for the admission of new members:
SCO approves new procedure for joining organization

The leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have approved a new procedure for joining the organization, RIA Novosti reported. 
Memorandum on the obligations of a State wishing to join the SCO was signed after the meeting of the Council of the Heads of the Member States of the SCO in Dushanbe Sept. 12. 
New admission rules will allow including India and Pakistan into the SCO at the next summit in 2015. India and Pakistan have already applied for full membership in the organization.
© Photo RIA Novosti