June 2011

SCO Fails to Turn Into an “Eastern NATO”

By Pavel Felgenhauer

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) comprising China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan was officially created on June 15, 2001. At the time the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, while the secular dictators of the impoverished, weak and corrupt former Soviet Central Asian “Stan” states were panicking. A radical Islamist insurgency, supported by the Talibs and (or) Osama bin Laden then resident in Kabul, could engulf one or several “Stan” states, eventually destabilizing the entire region. The SCO was formed to promote security and economic cooperation to fight the terrorist threat and poverty in the “Stan” states and make them less susceptible to Islamist Salafi agitation.

Kazakhstan Pushes For Integration With the Global Economy

By Roman Muzalevsky

For Kazakhstan May was full of economically and geopolitically significant developments worth exploring in the national, regional, and global contexts. The country hosted the 4th Economic Forum in Astana on May 3 – 4, designed to assess economic challenges facing the world economy and explore ways of shaping global economic development. It also held the forum of the Council of Foreign Investors, chaired by the Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and the annual conference of the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) during May 18 – 21. It further launched an investment forum in Astana.

South Stream’s Credibility Problems Deepen After Brussels Promotional Event

By Vladimir Socor

Russian Energy Minister, Sergei Shmatko, and Gazprom’s top hierarchy, along with their West-European business allies, advertised the South Stream project at a promotional event on May 25 in Brussels (Interfax, Euractiv, May 25, 26). The European Commission had agreed to be represented at this event, at Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s insistence, during the EU-Russia energy summit in February. The Russian side used the intervening months to prepare elaborate presentations of the project and deploy an unprecedented mass of lobbying power. It hoped through this all-out effort to demonstrate South Stream’s viability, neutralize legal objections to it within the European Union, and obtain EU financial backing for the South Stream project. Meanwhile, Putin and Shmatko had cast fresh doubts on this project by proposing a switch in the transportation mode, from pipeline to LNG, across the Black Sea.

A Marshall Plan for the Arab World

By Franco Frattini

US President Barack Obama’s major speech on the consequences of the Arab Spring is also a challenge for Europe. Only if the trans-Atlantic partnership proves effective, as it did to meet the demands of the Cold War and the end of Europe’s division, can the West contribute to realizing the hopes engendered by the Arab uprisings.

Ariel Cohen: Moscow is willing to use energy as foreign policy tool

Despite its vast resource base and its formal assurances of its reliability as a partner, Moscow has already proved that it is willing to hike up oil and gas prices to match the general trend of higher energy prices, engage in anti-free market practices, especially at home and in Europe, and use energy as a foreign policy tool, Ariel Cohen , a leading expert of the Heritage Foundation for Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy, said in his speech at U.S. Congress on June 2.

Nabucco Signs Pipeline Accords

By Marc Champion

The Nabucco consortium signed agreements Wednesday with transit countries for a pipeline it is building to bring natural gas to Europe via Turkey, in what it called a breakthrough for the troubled project. The group predicted that the first supply contracts would be sealed by the end of the year.