The headliner for this round up is obvious – Georgia’s election. The tide is going to turn pretty quick on this one I suspect, with observers finding themselves glad for the opposition to have a voice, concerned with the turnout of the election.
The New Titan Of Tbilisi – Shaun Walker, Foreign Policy: Like many, I was excited to read about a seemingly smooth transition and gracious admission of loss from President Mikheil Saakashvili in the Georgia elections. But about mid-day my Twitter feed turned to concern, and when I got home, this article was waiting for me. The guy’s absolutely eccentric, there’s no doubt of that, but there does seem to be reason for concern. Particularly, how he expects journalists to portray him favorably and flew off the handle at one who asked him a ‘more difficult’ question (but that should be standard for a leader).
This isn’t relevant, but his son is an albino rapper, and the family owns an large menagerie, including penguins they keep refrigerated in the summer.
Alexander Cooley: ‘Great Games’ Undermine Human Rights In Central Asia – RFE/RL: This article is getting a lot of attention (due to the anticipation of Cooley’s new book) so I wanted to highlight it to our casual CA watchers, particularly the value it may have in helping to make sense of the moving parts and various actors in the region, especially for those still unfamiliar with the region.
In the interest of balance, I also want to point out this post on Registan by @joshuafoust, criticizing Cooley’s research. He makes some good points, and was nice enough to chat with me via Twitter and suggested that the book is basic but not necessarily more insightful. He recommended a one-volume intro by Dilip Hiro, a prolific CA watcher and analyst – and author of over 30 books, so I’m going to assume it’s his most recent that is recommended, titled Inside Central Asia.
Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, Uzbeks unable to agree on CA power grid – Central Asia Online: This extremely short news blurb serves to highlight the issues of sharing resources in CA. “Kazakhstan has previously threatened to depart the grid, citing excessive power consumption by Uzbekistan. A Kazakhstani withdrawal would leave northern Kyrgyzstan with a nearly 40% power shortage”