Introduction to Central Asia

(Part 3 – Country Profiles and Literature)

Rob Kevlihan
Presented at the Centre for International Studies, Dublin City University, April 2006

Oil rich state Large Russian minority Combination of civic and ethnonationalist state building project Government dominated by President and surrounding cliques Geographically vulnerable but plays cards well

Largest population but only third largest state, and large Uzbek minorities in other states Some natural resources – mostly gas ‘Bully boy’ of the region Human rights and the threat of Islamic extremism Geo-strategic games – US versus Russia

Extensive natural resources – especially gas Small population, tribally based ‘Turkmenbashi’ – cult of personality and arbitrary rule Neutral international posture Human Rights concerns

Mountainous, resource poor state Acts as major water shed for Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan Had been one of the better governed Recent political instability – legacy of the Tulip ‘revolution’ Regional tensions – north versus south

Poorest state in the region – extremely mountainous, and most underdeveloped Large scale economic migration of Tajiks to other states, including Russia Legacy of civil war – weak state structures, poor infrastructure On-going regional tensions despite control of state by Kulyabi elite Something of a client state to Russia

International Relations and Central Asian Themes
Mineral wealth – oil and gas and pipeline politics Russian ‘Near Abroad’, US influence and role of China Human rights and democratization Water management – decline of the Aral Sea Economic reform War on Terror and threat of Islamic extremism

Ireland and Central Asia
Region largely ignored by Irish policy makers – excluded from Asia strategy and very low aid priority Relations managed from Irish embassy in Moscow Broadly support democratization, economic transition and stability OSCE major vehicle for engagement Some Irish business interests in Turkmenistan

Ireland and Central Asia
Small signs of increased Irish interest
Irish election monitors in Kazakhstan in 2005 election EU sanctions imposed against Uzbekistan for human rights violations Irish Aid commitment to review geographical funding priorities of Balkans and CIS Funding scheme

International Crisis Group Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty Frontline Defenders SOAS Library in London

Selected Authors
Pauline Jones Luong, Dawaisha and Parrott (Central Asia in general / transitions in region) Martha Brill Olcott, Bhana Dave, Edward Schatz, Pauline Jones Luong, Sally Cummings (Kazakhstan) Shirin Akiner, Muriel Atkin (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)

Selected Authors
Edward Allworth, Resul Yalsin (Uzbekistan) Adrienne Lynn Edgar (Turkmenistan) Good general reads
The Great Game, Peter Hopkirk The Land Beyond the River, Monica

Note: Sources
Maps presented in this presentation were accessed on line from the following sites: Political Map: lth/caucasus_cntrl_asia_pol_2003.jpg Population density and Population groups: Others are accessible at

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful