Latest Articles about Central Asia

Iran Expanding Its Naval Presence in the Caspian

Western analysts tend to focus on the Iranian navy almost exclusively in terms of its ability to harass or block oil tankers coming through the Strait of Hormuz, an understandable perspective given the danger that Iran could disorder world oil markets if it was successful... MORE

The Increasing Role of Azerbaijan as a Regional Digital Hub

On April 10, the Azerbaijani parliament ratified and President Ilham Aliyev approved a law for laying a trans-Caspian fiber-optic cable across the bottom of the Caspian Sea between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan (, April 10). The initial interstate agreement—“On the Organization of Activities by Communications Operators... MORE

Food Shortages in Turkmenistan Lead to Rationing in State Stores

Isolationist Turkmenistan, which proudly claims to be COVID-19-free, has nonetheless been affected by the pandemic (Izvestia, May 10). A recent closure of its borders due to pandemic concerns has halted imports, reportedly leading to food shortages. The provincial situation became so dire before the borders... MORE

Covid-19 Shines New Light on Kazakhstani-Chinese Tensions

Kazakhstan was the first country in Central Asia to enact a state of emergency, effective March 16, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was followed, on March 25, by Kyrgyzstan; while the other three regional states—Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan—have yet to move in the... MORE

Russia Now Losing Out to China on Iranian Rail Route

The Russian government long assumed that Western sanctions on Iran would allow it to steal a march on the world by expanding its railroad connections to the south via the Islamic Republic while simultaneously ensuring that the South Caucasus remains a Moscow-dominated hub for both... MORE

Tajikistan Struggles to Integrate Ismaili Pamiris Living Along Afghan Border

Eastern Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region—comprising more than half of the historical mountainous region of Badakhshan, which it shares with northern Afghanistan—is one of the most isolated, impoverished and unsettled places in Central Asia. Gorno-Badakhshan was a center of resistance to Dushanbe during the civil war... MORE

COVID-19 Increases Importance of Middle Corridor

Following the large coronavirus outbreak in Iran, neighboring countries quickly closed their borders with the Islamic Republic. More than a thousand Turkish trucks carrying goods to Central Asia found themselves stuck at checkpoints due to the closure of the Iran-Turkey and Iran-Turkmenistan borders (Daily Sabah,... MORE