June 2011

Astana – Vienna: Hard Talk

By Felix Zutner

The Head of the state Nursultan Nazarbayev has authorized the security officials to adopt all measures for the extradition of Rakhat Aliyev: “Austria is our partner, with which we have great economic relations. Now Austrian government has no arguments not to deliver these criminals, for the justice to triumph. Rakhat Aliyev is in fear, that is why he initiates in order to distract the attention of public from this fact of murder of young men, which is irrefutably proven, and wants to purge himself from suspicion. And despite all these we should finish the case”.

Inflaming Iran

By Doug Bandow

Defense Secretary Robert Gates must want Iran to build nuclear weapons. He didn’t say that directly. But how else should one interpret his latest threat against the embattled Persian Gulf state?

Key Link for East and West Approach

By Donald Moon

In a wide range of foreign policy interests of Kazakhstan and assurance of its national interests, special place is taken by the cooperation of the country with Muslim world. This June Kazakhstan takes up the post of the Chairman of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), uniting 57 states of Islamic world being the second biggest Organization after the UNO considering the number of participants.

Europe Shall Not Allow New “Gas Wars”

By Oleg Gorbunov

Long-standing “gas” talks between Moscow and Kiev, another round of which shall be held in Ukrainian capital on June 29th is the most significant issue in the agenda of bilateral relations. Ukrainian Government faces a sad prospect – to cover multiple holes in the budget is only possible by reducing gas price, as neither Europe, nor the USA, IMF, World Bank wish to credit Ukraine ”just as  that“. Partners demand a real respond and progress at least in reduction of budget deficit. And this again is not possible without re-conclusion of gas contracts. As in January of 2012 the “blue fuel” price has chances to grow up to $400 or even $500 per thousand cubic meters.

Turkey's Elections and Strained U.S. Relations

By George Friedman

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won Parliamentary elections June 12, which means it will remain in power for a third term. The popular vote, divided among a number of parties, made the AKP the most popular party by far, although nearly half of the electorate voted for other parties, mainly the opposition and largely secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP). More important, the AKP failed to win a super-majority, which would have given it the power to unilaterally alter Turkey’s constitution. This was one of the major issues in the election, with the AKP hoping for the super-majority and others trying to block it. The failure of the AKP to achieve the super-majority leaves the status quo largely intact. While the AKP remains the most powerful party in Turkey, able to form governments without coalition partners, it cannot rewrite the constitution without accommodating its rivals.

Putin to give up South Stream ...Not!

By Kostis Geropoulos

As Russian and EU leaders met on 9-10 June in Nizhny Novgorod for the twice-yearly summit, avoiding the risk for another winter gas dispute with Ukraine was likely to be discussed between Brussels and Moscow. It’s no secret that Kiev wants to re-negotiate the terms of the gas formula agreed by Ukraine’s previous administration. However, earlier last week, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that Moscow will not change the gas agreement it has with Kiev. The problem for Ukraine is that the deal linked the gas price to the oil market and, based on the current oil price trend, it’s facing a possible price of $500 per 1,000 cubic meters in the fourth quarter, said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Moscow’s Uralsib bank. The first quarter average price was $264.30.