CENTRAL ASIA AT A CROSSROADS: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

OVERWATCH: FOREIGN INTRIGUE PODCAST

The Foreign Intrigue Podcast is the product of an effort to expand the analytical content of Foreign Intrigue writers into commentary. At its nexus, ‘Overwatch’ has as its mission the highlighting of the more opinion-based internet offerings.

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CENTRAL ASIA AT A CROSSROADS: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

CENTRAL ASIA AT A CROSSROADS: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW

Central Asia is once again emerging as an important crossroads in a geopolitical competition between great and rising powers, notably China, Russia and the United States. In the years following the US military invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the states of Central Asia have moved from being tangential and ancillary pieces in US national security strategy as it prosecuted its so-called war on terror to being important partners for several great and rising powers.

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TRANSFORMERS: MOTORCYCLE GANGS AND EXTREMISM

TRANSFORMERS: MOTORCYCLE GANGS AND EXTREMISM

We here at Foreign Intrigue are very pleased to present an exceptional article by Alexandra Jones on extremism and motorcycle gangs. Alexandra has been a strategic crime analyst with the police in The Hague, The Netherlands for the past eight years. Her main interest is in criminal street gangs, network analysis, and threat assessments. She has worked organized crime, homicide, and political extremism.

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Members of the Kyrgyz military discuss training techniques during a joint military training exchange, Nov. 19, 2013, at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan. EOD members are trained to handle live explosives every day, as well as detect, identify, render safe, recover and dispose of explosives and ordnance to include conventional military munitions and terrorist homemade items. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman George Goslin) November 19, 2013.

Kyrgyz Security Forces Conduct Raids Targeting Islamist Militants, Bishkek Protests U.S. Human Rights Award for Dissident

On July 16, the government of Kyrgyzstan reported that security forces had killed several militants in two separate raids conducted in Bishkek and a town just outside of the capital called Lebedinovka. According to Bruce Pannier of RFE/RL, when raided by forces under the command of Kyrgyzstan’s State Committee for National Security (UKMK), the militants […]

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Afghan National Army Command Sgt. Maj. Safi Kefayatullah, center, the senior enlisted adviser to the commander of the 205th Corps, looks through a sight on a D-30 122 mm towed howitzer while visiting with soldiers before a live field artillery demonstration at Forward Operating Base Wolverine in Zabul province, Afghanistan, April 6, 2013. Photo courtesy of  the United States Department of Defense.

Northern Afghanistan: An Insurgency Grows

As the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies pursue a timeline for withdrawal for their forces in Afghanistan, fighting in the northern provinces has increased exponentially throughout the first half of 2015. In particular, fighting has been especially fierce in Badghis, Faryab, Balkh, Kunduz, and Badakhshan. These provinces all share borders with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, three […]

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Conversation With Voice of America: Intensifying Conflict in Northern Afghanistan, the Rise of ISIS, and Consequences for Central Asia

On July 7, 2015 I was asked to participate in a lengthy discussion with Voice of America journalist Odil Ruzaliyev regarding the escalating violence in Northern Afghanistan, potential spillover into Central Asia, and the impact of the rise of ISIS on regional security. The interview was posted to Voice of America’s Uzbek Service (in Uzbek) and was […]

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A Chechen fighter runs past a burnt Russian armoured personnel vehicle (BMP-2) during the battle for Grozny during the first Chechen war in 1995. Photo courtesy of Mikhail Evstafiev.

From Nationalism to Islamism: Separatism in Post-Soviet Chechnya (Complete Series)

“From Nationalism to Islamism: Separatism in Post-Soviet Chechnya”, my three-part series, has been condensed to a single article and is available below. Thank you for reading. Eric Jones Foreign Intrigue   Preview: Through multiple periods of war, Chechnya’s modern history is riddled with the violence that has accompanied nationalist and Islamist based separatism since the region first pursued […]

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Photo courtesy of Rob Sinclair and Wikimedia Commons.

Is War Coming to the Caucasus?

On April 28, 2015 I examined the intensifying geopolitical rivalries converging in the Caucasus for an article at SOFREP. Specifically, I explored recent signs of escalating tensions in the South Caucasus. Several indicators appear to point to a possible military confrontation in Georgia. That article is below. Earlier this year, NATO announced plans to establish […]

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Featured photo courtesy of Yana Amelina and Wikimedia Commons.

Russia Signs Integration Treaty With South Ossetia

On April 3, my article on Russia and South Ossetia’s integration treaty was posted at Sofrep. You can find the article below. The original is available here. Thank you for reading. Eric Jones Foreign Intrigue On March 18, 2015, tensions between Russia and the South Caucasian country of Georgia were ratcheted upward with the signing […]

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Gagauzia: Strategic Point of Pressure

Gagauzia is a largely unknown autonomous region in Moldova. While its population is small, Gagauzia is potentially an important geostrategic piece in the ongoing conflict between Russia and the West. On March 26, 2015 the article below was posted at Sofrep.com.  On December 23, 1994, Gagauzia achieved status as a national territorial autonomous unit within Moldova. […]

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Courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

Georgian Government: Instability in Tbilisi?

In the article below, published at Sofrep on December 6, I explore recent resignations and instability in Georgia’s national government amid growing concerns that the government in Tbilisi is increasingly unstable and susceptible to Russian aggression. In the article, I examine the recent instability wracking the government of Georgia and look ahead to possible outcomes for […]

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Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Moldova and Transnistria

On November 30, I wrote my first article on Moldova, titled Fracture Points: Moldova (Transnistria). In the article, I outlined recent parliamentary elections in Moldova, separatism in Transnistria, and the impact of both issues on on the security and political environment of Europe. On December 4, the companion piece to that first article was published at Sofrep. […]

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Photo courtesy of Kober and Wikimedia Commons.

Georgia: Another War on the Horizon?

On February 3, I wrote an article that addressed several recent issues and events related to Georgia. Specifically, I outlined Russia’s ongoing effort to exacerbate the rift between the Georgian government in Tbilisi and Georgia’s breakaway territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The article, posted at Sofrep.com, is below. In the context of the escalating war in Ukraine and […]

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Abkhazia Signs Treaty With Russia

On December 1, I wrote an article titled Abkhazia Integrates Military With Russia for Sofrep.com. Since the publishing of the piece, the Kremlin has continued its pursuit of integrating both Abkhazia and its fellow Georgian breakaway territory South Ossetia into its strategic effort to ensure and increase its influence over the governments of its near abroad. As […]

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Lukashenko and Putin observe military exercises. (Photo courtesy of www.kremlin.ru)

Belarus: Looking Westward?

On January 28th, my article examining recent events involving Belarus and the administration of President Alexander Lukashenko was published at Sofrep.com. I examined policy changes in both Russia and Belarus to determine whether recent events, combined with statements by Lukashenko, signaled a potential adjustment to the security dynamic of Eastern Europe. In analyzing the effects of sanctions on Russia, […]

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Photo by Jonathan Alpeyrie. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 Licence: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

South Ossetia: Following Abkhazia Towards Russia?

As part of the fracture points series, I submitted articles over the past year on several strategic points of contention between a resurgent Russia and the West (the United States, its allies, and the European community). The article below was posted at Sofrep.com. (You can find the original article at Sofrep.com, here, posted December 30, 2014) As the situation […]

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Russia and the West: Fracture Points (South Ossetia)

As part of the fracture points series, I submitted articles over the past year on several strategic points of contention between a resurgent Russia and the West (the United States, its allies, and the European community). The article below was posted at Sofrep.com. (You can find the original article here) As the situation in the Caucasus has intensified […]

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Fracture Points: Moldova (Transnistria)

In an effort to re-assert influence over the post-Soviet space and its near abroad, Russia has escalated tensions in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, implementing policies that intervene through clandestine means. Russian interference strategy has included introducing effective intelligence support, military personnel and materiel, and reinforcement for insurgent political structures and opposition regimes […]

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Russia and the West: Fracture Points (Abkhazia)

In previous articles, I examined a series of points of strategic concern to policymakers both in Russia and in the West. As part of an ongoing effort to identify especially important geopolitical points of interest for Russian policymakers and strategists, I will be posting a series of articles with in-depth analysis on each location. In our first article, […]

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The Kingpin Fallacy: Targeting Criminal Street Gangs

Organized crime, particularly criminal street gangs, remains a persistent and deadly problem that plagues many cities in the United States. In a 21Apr14 article in the Atlantic Cities City Lab author Richard Florida uses recent data from the US Census Bureau to map population migration patterns into and out of America’s ten largest cities. The maps elucidate […]

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Undergoverned Spaces: Strong States, Poor Control

Foreign Intrigue is pleased to announce that we have added a new member to our writing team. John Bertetto, previously a guest contributor to Fi, is coming aboard as a permanent writer. John specializes in criminal street gangs, social network analysis, and asymmetric threat mitigation. He writes on counterinsurgency applications in local law enforcement and […]

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Flag map photo courtesy of Merasoe and Wikimedia Commons.

Overwatch: the Foreign Intrigue Podcast, Episode 2 (United States Presidential Candidates and Foreign Policy)

Episode 2: United States Presidential Candidates and Foreign Policy In the follow-up episode to Episode One of the Overwatch Podcast, guest contributor Chris Masiello once again joins Foreign Intrigue Managing Editor and Senior Writer Eric Jones for an in-depth discussion on the foreign policy visions of the major candidates running for their respective party’s nomination […]

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Map courtesy of Cacahuate and Wikimedia Commons.

Central Asia at a Crossroads: Introduction and Overview

Central Asia is once again emerging as an important crossroads in a geopolitical competition between great and rising powers, notably China, Russia and the United States. In the years following the US military invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, the states of Central Asia have moved from being tangential and ancillary pieces in US national […]

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Commentary (Guest Submission): Pump the Brakes on United States Intervention in the Middle East

Today Foreign Intrigue is pleased to present an opinion piece by a guest contributor. Chris Masiello has submitted an article on the role of the United States in the dynamic geopolitical conflict currently engulfing large portions of the Middle East. Chris spent four years as an enlisted soldier in the United States Army, deploying to Iraq for 15 months in 2008-09 as an […]

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