January 2015

The problem of the construction of the largest hydroelectric power plant in Central Asia

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By Daniel Rozanov

The independence and the transition to a market economy led to new for Central Asian water and energy problems. A key element in this regard are the projects for the construction of the Rogun HPP in Tajikistan and Kambarata-1 in the Kyrgyz Republic. Both republics are mountain, river and have great hydropower potential. One of the problems is its use in the transit of these rivers: Uzbekistan, located in the lower reaches, is categorically opposed to the two major construction projects. Uzbek political establishment more than a year trying to block the implementation as Rogun and Kambarata projects through various international forums such as the World Water Forum isammity UN. The main arguments are the concerns as seismic destruction of dams and flood Uzbek farmland and towns, as well as the selection and lack of water during the filling of reservoirs, as well as an active winter discharge, which can lead to years of lack of water for irrigation in Uzbekistan. But, apparently, Uzbek diplomacy still not be able to keep the construction of hydropower facilities.

EU Delegation to Georgia: Diversify export markets and improve productivity

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By Mary Papidze

This is a good moment for Georgia to diversify its export markets and improve productivity,” said Antonio Lo Parco, Trade Affairs Attaché at the EU Delegation to Georgia. “There are very good conditions created by the Association Agreement (AA) to do that. In this direction the best thing that the Georgian government can do is to create the conditions for producers to put in place innovative business ideas. The government should first be committed to establishing perfect conditions in the market, which means implementing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) part of the AA and ensuring fair market competition. All the producers should really have the same conditions. Everyone should have the same rights and the same possibilities. Once all the conditions are in place, new ideas and new partnerships could start in Georgia,” he added.

US Reliability Depends on Europe's Contribution to NATO

By Elisabeth Braw

“The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the US Congress—and in the American body politic writ large—to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.” That’s Secretary of Defense Bob Gates on his way out of office, back in 2011. Secretary of State John Kerry, too, has called on America’s NATO allies to increase their defense spending to the agreed 2 percent of GDP. Here’s the grim picture: apart from the United States, at 4.4 percent, only Britain (2.4 percent), Greece (2.3 percent), and faithful Estonia (2 percent) meet this target. Needless to say, the European NATO members also remain far from “serious and capable partners in their own defense.”

Red Alert Update: At the Heart of the Mariupol Crisis

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As the situation on the ground quiets down in the wake of the Jan. 24 barrage by Russian-allied forces near the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, Stratfor is continuing the watch initiated by our Red Alert. We believe, at the very least, that Russia is keeping its option to mount an offensive open, and at most, is preparing to launch an offensive to secure its hold on the Crimean Peninsula.