VIDEO: The Gulf States and Central Asia: Converging Foreign Policies?

VIDEO: The Gulf States and Central Asia: Converging Foreign Policies?

Gulf state activity in Central Asia has steadily increased in recent years.


The growing ties come due to shared religion and culture, alongside burgeoning trade, investment, and development initiatives from the Gulf region. This turn of events comes as a very welcome development for Central Asian states, offering them another direction for their various multi-vector foreign policies and, in particular, for mitigating the leverage that Russia and China wield in the region.

On April 25, the Center for the National Interest hosted the third in a monthly series of expert discussions organized by the Center’s Central Asia Connectivity Project. Speakers include the three following experts.


—Greg Priddy is a Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the Center for the National Interest. He also consults for corporate and financial clients on political risk in the region and global energy markets. From 2006 to 2018, Mr. Priddy was the Director of Global Oil at Eurasia Group. In that capacity, he traveled frequently to the Middle East and was deeply involved in the firm’s coverage of security issues in the region, as well as research projects for government clients, including the National Intelligence Council (NIC). Prior to that, from 1999 to 2006, Mr. Priddy worked as a contractor for the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) at the U.S. Department of Energy. Earlier, he also worked for the Department of the Navy. Mr. Priddy’s writing has been published in The New York Times, The National Interest, Barron’s, and the Nikkei Asian Review, among others. He has appeared on NewsHour on PBS, CNBC, CNN, NPR, the BBC, and Al-Jazeera.

—Bruce Pannier is the host of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s weekly Majlis podcast and author of RFE/RL’s weekly newsletter "Central Asia in Focus." Prior to joining RFE/RL in 1997, Pannier worked at the Open Media Research Institute in Prague. In 1992, he led a sociological project in Central Asia sponsored by the University of Manchester and the Soros Cultural Initiative Foundation. During that time, he lived in villages in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Pannier has also written for The Economist, Janes Intelligence, Oxford Analytica, Freedom House, The Cairo Review, the FSU Oil & Gas Monitor, and Energo Weekly. He is also a Central Asia Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a member of the advisory board at the Caspian Policy Center, and a member of the External Advisory Board at the European Neighbourhood Council.

—Ted Karasik is a Senior Advisor to Gulf State Analytics, a geo-strategic consultancy based in Washington, DC. He was previously an adjunct lecturer at the Dubai School of Government and a senior political scientist in the International Policy and Security Group at RAND Corporation. From 2002-2003, Dr. Karasik served as director of research for the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy. He is a specialist in geopolitics and geoeconomics for the MENA and Eurasia regions and frequently conducts studies and assessments of future trajectories. Dr. Karasik received his Ph.D in history from the University of California, Los Angeles, in four fields: Russia, the Middle East, Caucasus, and an outside field in cultural anthropology focusing on Central Asia.

Andrew Kuchins, Senior Fellow at the Center for the National Interest, will moderate.