The traditionally Sufi-oriented former Soviet republics have been swept by Wahhabi zealots with disastrous consequences for the people.
The US uses a number of tools in its arsenal to advance its agenda in the Middle East. Soft power is one of them.
The US and its allies do not care for the people of Ukraine; their interest lies in destabilizing Russia that is becoming increasingly assertive.
Bandar bin Sultan, the most venal character of the House of Saud, was in Moscow early last month but his offer to buy $15 billion worth of Russian arms to get Vladimir Putin to change his policy on Syria was rebuffed.
People in Central Asia are beginning to see through Turkey’s plans to promote Pan-Turkism in the region because Ankara is viewed as advancing Washington’s agenda.
The US is not as helpless in Central Asia as thought of, nor is Russia as powerful and liked as is generally believed. Each views the other as a threat to its interests.
Russia is determined to assert itself in Central Asia and the Caucasus by using its former puppets to advance its agenda. Some republics offer better prospects than others.
While Ilham Aliyev appears to have been rattled by rumours of Russia’s plan to replace him, most observers believe it is just that: rumours.