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Bomb Iran? Maybe not a good idea

Dimitris Giannakopoulos



Welcome to the Caspian Daily, where you will find the 10 most important things you need to know on Caspian Sea Region. We appreciate ideas, reports, news and interesting articles. Send along to Caspian[at] or on Twitter: @DGiannakopoulos

1As the critical vote on the Iranian nuclear deal nears, politicians of all ilk keep calling for military action against Iran as the alternative. The necessity appears to be more driven by the need to curry favor with Israel, than any other reason. John McCain thought it was cute when he publicly used a parody of a 1965 Beach Boys release of Barbara Ann and sang “Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran.” John B. Alexander, Ph.D. for The Huffington Post.

2Six NATO hubs being established along the alliance’s eastern flank went into operation on September 1, the alliance said, in a move responding to a perceived new security threat from Russia. The six NATO centers — in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania — are to help on the ground with exercises and planning activities. Each should be staffed with around 40 people by the end of the year.”They have begun work, but are not yet operating at full capacity,” a NATO spokesman said.

3The development of economic partnership, implementation of joint projects in the gas sector were discussed during Turkmen-Japanese talks in Ashgabat.The talks were held among Turkmengas State Concern and representatives of Japanese corporations such as Mitsubishi, Chiyoda, Sojits, Itochu and JGC.The matter rested in the upcoming work as part of the third phase of developing Galkynysh super-giant field. The upcoming work is directly related to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) main pipeline.

4An Azerbaijani court has sentenced investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova to 7 1/2 years in prison after convicting her on charges that rights groups have called retribution for her reports on corruption involving senior government officials. The verdict drew swift condemnation from colleagues, human rights groups, and media freedom organizations, while Western governments and officials said they were “deeply troubled” by the outcome of the case. Ismayilova, who has reported extensively on the financial dealings of long-ruling President Ilham Aliyev and members of his family, has strongly denied the charges and called the trial a “scam” meant to silence her work.[RFE/RL]

5Kazakhstan and China signed 25 agreements worth $23 billion, aiming to move cooperation dominated by raw materials to products with greater added value, the Kazakh president’s office said on September 1. China has invested billions in mineral-rich Kazakhstan, mainly in oil and gas, and in infrastructure projects serving the industry.”I think this visit is a turning point in the Kazakh-Chinese relationship,” Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev was reported as saying during a meeting with Chinese businessmen in Beijing, including the chairman of Huawei Corporation and heads of several Chinese development banks.”For over 20 years we have actively cooperated with China, mainly in the energy and resource-extraction industries. At the new stage, we are beginning to intensify our interaction in the processing sectors of the economy, including mechanical engineering and resource processing,” he said.

6Can Kazakhstan Learn to Fight Corruption from China? The Chinese government has spent the last three years in a deliberate fight against corruption–arresting big-name “tigers” and squashing countless “flies.” The debate continues to rage among China watchers about the intentions and ultimate impact of the country’s anti-corruption campaign, but the Kazakh president, for one, sees China as an example to be emulated. [The Diplomat]

7Kazakhstan’s Capital Serves as Inspiration for Growth. Following a tumultuous period following independence, and with the introduction of a new currency (the tenge), the city has emerge – and continues to evolve – into an important cultural and financial center. Unlike its counterpart, former capital Almaty, there is room for growth and the government has tapped into the city’s vast potential and has, thus far, created a space that has captured the interest of regional and world leaders. [JakartaGlobe]

8Will Russia, China Beat U.S. In The Arctic? President Barack Obama should be applauded for gathering world leaders in Anchorage, Alaska, this week for a U.S.-led conference on “Global Leadership in the Arctic.” Yet the summit’s limited focus on climate change, though undoubtedly important, belies the significance of the broader U.S. interests and responsibilities in the Arctic.As ice turns to navigable ocean, the Arctic is becoming the U.S.’s third great ocean border, creating vexing strategic challenges and unprecedented opportunities. These include not only climate change, but threats to national sovereignty and security, revolutions in international commerce and a Klondike-like rush to control vast undersea resources. James M. Loy for Hartford Courant.

9Azerbaijani and Turkish air forces’ joint tactical drills, entitled ‘TurAz Qartali 2015’, continue, Azerbaijan’s defense ministry reported on September 1.The exercises involved the combat helicopters Mi-35, Mi-17, transport and combat helicopters Sikorsky UH-60, as well as search-and-rescue helicopters Cougar AS532.The exercises, which are held as part of a joint annual military plan will last until September 18.Baku and Ankara enjoy strategic relations in many fields, including the military.

10Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov will soon pay a visit to Azerbaijan.Oxu.Az reports citing the Foreign Ministry of Russia that the statement came from Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during his meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.”Everything proceeds on rise in our economic relations. Despite the international conjuncture, the intergovernmental commission functions and Minister of Industry and Trade of Russia D.V.Manturov is expected to visit Azerbaijan.

Journalist, specialized in Middle East, Russia & FSU, Terrorism and Security issues. Founder and Editor-in-chief of the Modern Diplomacy magazine. follow @DGiannakopoulos

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9th International Black Sea Symposium: Blue Growth as a driver for regional development




The International Centre for Black Sea Studies (ICBSS) organized successfully the 9th International Black Sea Symposium on Blue Growth as a driver for regional development, in Athens, on 20-21 March 2018.

In its ninth year, the International Black Sea Symposium (IBSS) built on the success and positive impact of its previous eight editions to bring together the next generation of stakeholders with an interest in the Black Sea area, focusing on blue growth, a long term strategy for sustainable development in the marine and maritime sectors.

Opening the Symposium, ICBSS Director General Mr. Georgios Mitrakos, highlighted the importance of coordinated action among all involved stakeholders that will allow for a result-oriented strategy and inclusive blue growth. To this end, as he noted, the aim of the 9th IBSS was to enable constructive dialogue and generate future synergies.

Keynote speech was delivered by the Secretary General of the BSEC Organisation, H.E. Ambassador Michael B. Christides. Opening his speech, Amb. Christides underlined “Growth was, is and will remain the objective of humans”. He continued stressing that, our adaptation to the continuously growing technological impact and innovation demands for joint cooperation and coordination. As he noted,“the BSEC Organisation has invested a lot of efforts in new realities” and will continue to support initiatives that aim to motivate the youth and “bring forward a new generation of stakeholders”.

The Symposium was developed in four targeted sessions, focusing on i) interregional cooperation and governance, ii) entrepreneurship and competitiveness, iii) investment in people, skills and services, and iv) knowledge and mitigation measures.

Within two days of interactive discussions, seventy participants, speakers and observers had the opportunity to network, to exchange knowledge and to form ideas for new joint projects related to sustainable blue growth in the wider Black Sea region.

Among the distinguished participants of the 9th IBSS were the Vice-Mayor of the Municipality of Piraeus, Mr. Petros Kokkalis, the Deputy Secretary General of PABSEC, Mr. Miltiadis Makrygiannis, the Honorary Consul of Italy in Piraeus, Capt. Mauro Renaldi, the first Secretary of the Embassy of Italy, Mr. Enrico Barbato, Senior Officials from the Embassies of the BSEC Member States in Athens and the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Romanian Diplomatic Academy and Chairman of the ICBSS Board, Mr. Dan Petre, Mr. Leornardo Manzari, Director of the European Institute of EurAsian Dialogue in Italy, as well as policy-makers, academics, journalists, entrepreneurs, civil society representatives and researchers primarily from the countries of the wider Black Sea area and the EU member states.

The results of the 9th IBSS will be published in a collective edition of the ICBSS Xenophon Paper Series, which will include the contributions of speakers and participants to the event.

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Poland must make urgent legislative reforms to combat foreign bribery

MD Staff



Poland must make urgent progress on carrying out key recommendations of the OECD Working Group on Bribery that remain unimplemented, more than four years after its Phase 3 evaluation in June 2013.

Poland still needs to take urgent steps to ensure companies can be held responsible for foreign bribery, even if the persons who perpetrated the offence are not convicted. In addition, Poland must increase the fines for companies in order to ensure foreign bribery is punishable by effective, proportionate, and dissuasive sanctions.

The Working Group is disappointed by Poland’s failure to take measures to ensure that the “impunity” provision in the Penal Code that applies to foreign and domestic bribery cannot be applied to the bribery of foreign public officials. This provision allows perpetrators of bribery to automatically escape punishment by notifying the law enforcement authorities of the offence before the authorities learn about it from other sources.

In the context of ongoing reforms, Poland should also ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect from retaliatory or disciplinary action private and public sector employees who report suspected acts of foreign bribery in good faith and on reasonable grounds.

The Working Group reviewed a report submitted by Poland on its progress in implementing these outstanding recommendations at its plenary meeting on 13-15 March 2018. The Working Group requested that Poland provide a written report on further progress in addressing these concerns in December 2018, at which time the Group will consider additional measures in the absence of significant progress.

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Solving the e-waste problem in Latin America




The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador (MAE) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF), have officially presented a project which will provide policy advice to 13 Latin American countries to help them solve the e-waste problem in the region.

The initiative addresses the proper disposal and recycling of electrical and electronic waste by adopting a circular economy approach  in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The inauguration was attended by Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, Tarsicio Granizo,  UNIDO’s Director of Environment, Stephan Sicars,   representatives of national authorities, and ambassadors and representatives of the 13 countries participating in the project.

Sicars pointed out that there are still many challenges that remain for e-waste recycling. “The policies have to be, not only suitable for each individual country, but also sufficiently harmonious to prevent unnecessary, as well as ensuring protection of human health in recycling activities and safeguarding the environment from toxic releases

Meanwhile Granizo emphasized the need to reduce the production of waste and added that “it is necessary to promote national and regional policies that allow community work to be able to deal with the adequate management of electrical and electronic waste, which present a challenge that cannot be addressed only from the national level”.

This initiative will start on 5 June 2018 and will last for five years. During its execution, US$$ 9.5m will be invested, assisting the 13 participating countries both technically and financially, and providing advice on policies, business, legislation, technology and awareness-raising.

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