Calling time on the South Stream pipeline project, Putin announced a new Black Sea pipeline to Turkey instead. The new project could be a competitor to Azerbaijan gas ambitions, but, at the same time, it may require more collaboration in the future.
Turkey sees the acute energy market competition as an opportunity to establish itself both as an influential energy state and as a central Eurasian power. In this regard, choosing Turkmenistan as the site of one of the first state visits by the new Turkish president was not accidental.
In isolation, Turkey’s actions in Iraq and Syria appear strategically myopic and potentially self-defeating, but they do accept that even an assured victory against ISIS irregulars could end up empowering the same regime Ankara has pledged to remove from power.
If common sense prevails and the West resumes its cooperation with Russia, the consolidated response to security threats in Afghanistan will be far more effective than the current disjointed efforts by various countries.
The Ukraine crisis has betrayed fissures in the Russo-Kazakh relationship. It is difficult to predict a post-Nazarbayev Kazakh policy toward Russia, but developments in Ukraine suggest that future Kazakh leaders will have to deal with a new source of friction with the Kremlin.
The radical jihadi group known as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) emerged after the collapse of the Soviet Union. A little bit more than twenty years after it first appeared, this on-going transformation has made it less connected to Uzbekistan, and more to a global jihad.