Great Game Maybe it’s the

by Nathan Hamm on 12/4/2003

Great Game
Maybe it’s the optimist in me, but with news like this,
we might actually be winning the current Great Game. Georgia,
Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, a dash of Kyrgyzstan, and now Tajikistan!
That’s not bad at all.

Tajik leaders, recognizing the potential economic and
political benefits of cooperation with Washington, have taken steps
designed to facilitate the growth of US assistances….
Tajikistan’s recent ratification of an agreement that grants US
soldiers immunity from prosecution at the International Criminal Court
could further damage the country’s relationship with Russia, experts
say. The agreement paves the way for a potential expansion of the US
strategic presence in Tajikistan…
By comparison, economic aid is leading the growth of US-Tajik ties. In
2002, the United States gave Tajikistan $140.5 million in assistance
for various humanitarian, border security and reform initiatives a
considerable sum for a country whose annual GDP of $8 billion ranks as
Central Asia’s lowest. Still greater benefits could be in the offing.
At a November 13 meeting in Dushanbe with President Rahmonov, US
Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia Elizabeth Jones
emphasized Washington’s support for a Tajik bid for membership in the
World Trade Organization, ITAR-TASS reported.

As is probably clear from my feelings about US
involvement in Uzbekistan, I feel that this is ultimately good for
Tajikistan. Maybe it’ll result in a reduction of drug transit if the Russian border guards/drug mules end up leaving the border with Afghanistan.

I wonder how Russia’s foreign legion
will end up working out. Pravda says that the financial incentives will
draw a lot of people from the southern CIS states, but their
governments would have to give them exit visas. I’m not so sure that
Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, or Georgia would be willing to
let its young men enlist. They also mention that most CIS states
prohibit this kind of thing, requiring those who enlist to have to stay
in Russia until they get a passport. Also from Pravda is an article on
the treatment of “people of non-standard sexual orientation.”

Eurasianet comments on India’s interests in Central Asia and Georgia’s Ajaria problem.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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