October 2013 Newsletter

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October 2013
The Jamestown Foundation Leadership: Glen E. Howard, President
At a Glance

Recent Events

Save the Date!

Key Themes and Trends in October

Featured Publications

Media Apperances

Support Jamestown

Jamestown Staff & Fellows
Editor, China Brief
Program Associate
Program Associate/Events Coordinator
Senior Editor of Global Terrorism Analysis Program
Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus & Central Asia
Senior Fellow – China Program
Senior Fellow – Eurasia Program
Senior Fellow
Senior Fellow – Eurasia Program
Senior Fellow
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Recent Events
U.S. Relations with Central Asia after 2014 and the New Silk Road: Regional Integration, Trade and Economic Prospects

On Friday, October 25, The Jamestown Foundation held a conference at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace entitled, U.S. Relations with Central Asia after 2014 and the New Silk Road: Regional Integration, Trade and Economic Prospects. The event highlighted the challenges to Central Asia, U.S. strategic interests in the region, the prospects of the New Silk Road, the role of international actors and the need for continuing U.S. engagement in the region. The all-day conference took place two years following former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement of the United States’ New Silk Road vision for Central Asia and Afghanistan, which aimed to integrate the region and boost its potential as a transit area between Europe and East Asia.

Jamestown’s conference opened with keynote remarks from Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to the United States Kairat Umarov, who spoke about the region’s continuing importance to U.S. and Western interests, as well as Dr. S. Frederick Starr of the Central Asia–Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program at Johns Hopkins–SAIS. Dr. Starr provided a critical evaluation Washington’s decreasing profile in Central Asia. The first morning panel of the conference focused on economic, trade and energy issues, and included remarks from, among others, Jamestown Senior Fellow Vladimir Socor and Asian Development Bank representative Craig Steffensen. The second panel shifted the discussion to the role of international actors and institutions in Central Asia. Dr. Stephen Blank of the American Foreign Policy Council focused on the geopolitical triangle of Moscow, Washington and Beijing and their diverging policies in the region. While analyst Alexandros Petersen spoke on China’s regional economic and financial policies in these countries. 

Ms. Lynne M. Tracy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, provided the luncheon keynote address. She spoke about the U.S. administration’s continuing interests in the region, and argued against the notion that Washington was becoming less relevant in Central Asia. The final panel examined regional security after NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. Panelists included, among others, David Sedney, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia; Lieutenant Colonel Robert Schaefer, U.S. Army Special Forces, and Chief of the Central and South Asia Branch at Army Central Command; Jamestown analyst Jacob Zenn; as well as Robert C. Masters of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. The panelists detailed the breadth of U.S. and Western cooperation with Central Asia on counter-terrorism, anti-drug trafficking, and military-to-military ties. The successful conference attracted a wide-ranging audience of more than 100 participants from the U.S. government, military, policymaking community and academia.

*To watch the full event video online, download select PowerPoint presentations from the conference, as well as read the speaker biographies, please click here. 


Engaging Belarus: A Fresh Persective

On Monday, October 28, The Jamestown Foundation hosted a round-table luncheon discussion entitled, “Engaging Belarus: A Fresh Perspective.” The panelists explored the political, security and economic issues affecting Belarus. They also examined whether there needs to be a fresh approach to engaging Belarus and how its relations with the West are evolving.

Jamestown Senior Fellow Vladimir Socor opened up the discussion by delving into issues related to Belarusian sovereignty. Socor noted that President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government has domestic legitimacy based on an economic social contract between it and the population, even if it lacks legitimacy by the standards of Western parliamentary democracy. He argued against policies aimed at isolating the Belarusian government because, as he reasoned, sanctions do not isolate Belarus, they only isolate Belarus from the West. Instead, he suggested that Western policymakers decouple efforts at democracy promotion from policies of regime change. He also spoke of the need to help Belarus consolidate its state structures and develop its economy in the face of an aggressive Russia intent on integrating its smaller neighbor. As he noted, an Eastern European country that is not secure from Russia will never be a democracy, so ensuring Belarusian independence and sovereignty must take precedence over democratization efforts there. Grigory Ioffe, Jamestown analyst and academic at Radford University, spoke next about the ongoing process of forming Belarusian identity. He dispelled the notion that Belarusian nationalism was necessarily pro-Western or anti-Russian and argued that only a civic-based—rather than ethnic- or language-based—nationalism had a chance to succeed in Belarus. 

Andris Razans, the Latvian ambassador to the United States, provided the view from the European neighborhood. He underscored Europe’s strategic interest in seeing Belarus develop economically and democratically. But he asserted that it is time for Minsk to take concrete steps toward releasing its political prisoners and abolishing the death sentence to boost relations with Europe. Congressional Research Service analyst Steven Woehrel noted that the Obama administration is unlikely to radically alter its restrained policy toward Belarus in the near future, and Washington has largely given the EU (and Germany, in particular) policy precedence over the region. U.S. sanctions on Belarus, he argued, are unlikely to be loosened or strengthened in the next year or so.

Representing private sector interests in Belarus, Shaun Khubchandani and David Baron concluded the discussion by noting the little-known positive trends in the Belarusian business environment and especially its highly developed IT sector. The event attracted around 50 participants—ranging from policymakers, to business representatives, foreign embassy officials and human rights groups—and inspired a spirited debate among the panelists and the audience. 

To read a compendium of Jamestown analysis on Belarus, click here to download our report, Straddling Russia and Europe

Click here to read the most recent Jamestown analysis on Belarus

Save the Date!
The Jamestown Foundation’s Seventh Annual Terrorism Conference
The Jamestown Foundation will hold its Seventh Annual Terrorism Conference at the Cargegie Endowment for International Peace on Thursday, December 12, 2013. Speakers at the conference will focus their discussion on al-Qaeda and its offshoots in North Africa and the Middle East. See below for a preliminary agenda: 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

8:30 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue NW
The Root Room
Washington, DC

Click here to see the agenda and to register for the conference



Kenote Speaker: General James N. Mattis (Retired)

Former Commander, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM)

Also featuring

General Michael V. Hayden (Retired), Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Board Member, The Jamestown Foundation

Bruce Hoffman, Director, Center for Security Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University & Board Member, The Jamestown Foundation

Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow, The Saban Center for Middle East Policy, Brookings Institution & Board Member, Jamestown Foundation

David Kilcullen, President, Caerus and Associates, Former Counter-Terrorism Coordinator at U.S. State Department

Key Themes and Trends in October

China Focuses on Regional Trade in “Good Neighbor” Push

Fall is summit season in Asia, and China’s leaders have seized on a trio of major regional meetings to push trade deals with their neighbors, proposing a “Silk Road Economic Belt” stretching across Central Asia, while a “maritime Silk Road” reaches into the Southeast Asian ASEAN nations. In a September 7 speech in Astana, President Xi Jinping introduced the Silk Road economic belt concept, going on in the following week to ink energy deals with Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan, while celebrating advances in existing deals with Turkmenistan and Tajikistan.

At the APEC and ASEAN summits in October, Xi and Premier Li Keqiang proposed the maritime silk road, pushing for an upgrade to existing regional free trade agreements and proposing to invest in a new regional infrastructure bank to improve transport ties. Read Jamestown’s incisive analysis for more on the details and strategic implications of this rapidly-advancing “good neighbor” push. Jacob Zenn covers China’s advancing trade and influence in Central Asia in an article on Xi’s trip to the region, China and the SCO: Dead Wood but a Good Platformwhile Prashanth Parameswaran writes about ASEAN’s mixed response to China’s Southeast Asia push in Beijing Unveils New Strategy ASEAN-China RelationsThe editor’s column, meanwhile, places these developments in a broader strategic context (see: China Pushes “Silk Road” Regional Trade on Two Frontsand covers recent deals with the UK and India (see: Chinese Trade-Charm Push Reaches UK and India).


Russia Engages in Trade Wars with Europe

Over the past several months, Russia has been engaging in forceful and unfounded trade practices against several of its western neighbors in an effort to pressure or punish countries that Moscow perceived were engaging in anti-Russian policies. By October, Russia was embroiled in trade wars with, in particular, Ukraine, Moldova and European Union members Lithuania and the Netherlands. In the case of Ukraine, Moscow placed trade sanctions on several large Ukrainian manufacturers under the fabricated argument of inadequate sanitary practices. These sanctions were clearly politically motivated to punish Ukraine for its pro-European orientation; Moscow hoped, instead, to pressure Kyiv into eschewing signing an Association Agreement with the EU during the Vilnius summit this November, and have Ukraine join the Russia-led Customs Union instead.

Similarly, Russia used spurious health claims to ban Moldovan wine in order to try to reverse Chisinau’s pro-Western orientation. Russia’s consumer protection and sanitary inspectorate, Rospotrebnadzor, has also introduced systemic overzealous customs testing on Lithuanian dairy, meat and fish products. Lithuania currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council of Ministers and has been pushing hard for closer integration between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries including Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia. Finally, in response to a series of diplomatic rows with the Netherlands, Russia has responded by threatening to ban imports of Dutch dairy and flower products, again citing groundless health claims. 

The brazen and transparently politically motivated nature of these numerous Russian trade sanctions against EU member states has set Moscow on a direct collision course with Brussels, which has pledged to challenge Russia’s trade practices in the WTO. Moreover, the EU may further retaliate against Gazprom and again postpone a Russia-EU visa-free travel agreement. 

For more in-depth Jamestown analysis of Russia’s trade wars with Europe, please see: 

Featured Publications
Lifting the Veil on China’s “Carrier Killer” – A Review by The Diplomat
On October 23, The Diplomat published a review of the Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Development (ASBM) report by Andrew Erickson. The review provides a concise synopsis of the report as well as some analysis from Erickson of the anti-ship ballistic missile’s (DF-21D) capability as a follow-up to the report. Reporter Harry Kazianas describes author Andrew Erickson as “the world’s leading expert on the subject.” The review described the report, a definitive account of the origins, military doctine and strategic implications of the much-discussed “carrier killer,” as a “must read for China hands.” 
Members of the press interested in reviewing copies may request them by writing to pubs@jamestown.org.

Militant Leadership Monitor – October Issue


The October Issue of Militant Leadership Monitor features two briefs by Nicholas A. Heras. The first focuses on Ugandan militant Salafist leader Jamil Mukuli who has been accused of complicity in the attack on Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The second brief concerns Shaykh Muhammad Zahran Alloush who was recently declared the General Commander of Liwa al-Islam (the Islamic Brigades). Dominic Kalms provides the first profile of General Ali Habib, the highest ranking official to defect from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. This is followed by a sketch of Lebanese Salafist leader Shaykh Bilal al-Masri, written by by Nicholas A. Heras. Next, Ludovico Carlino takes an in-depth look at Amir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham and his relationship with al-Zawahiri. The concluding profile by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is of al-Qaeda’s influential online strategist Abu Sa’d al-Amili.

Media Appearances
Jamestown analyst Andrew McGregor and Jamestown Board Member Bruce Hoffman were interviewed by NPR in a segment titled “Al-Shabab Shifts Focus From Territory to Terrorism.”
Andrew Erickson’s report, Chinese Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile Development was featured in an article by Want China Times.
Jamestown Foundation analyst Wladimir van Wilgenburg was quoted by NOW in an article about an offensive recently launched by the YPG in direct retaliation to a joint ISIS-Jabhat al-Nusra suicide attack in al-Qahtaniyah, in Syria’s Hasakah province on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Jamestown Senior Editor Andrew McGregor was quoted by The Globe and Mail in an article titled “Why the Canadian pipeline to al-Shabab has dried up.”
Jamestown Senior Editor Andrew McGregor was quoted by The Globe and Mail in an article titled “In Somalia, al-Shabab gathers strength in the shadows.”
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