China in Central Asia
China in Central Asia
War & Peace: Deconstructing Islamic State’s Appeal in Central Asia
War & Peace: Deconstructing Islamic State’s Appeal in Central Asia
China in Central Asia Interactive

China in Central Asia

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, China and the countries of Central Asia have strengthened ties, initially in the field of economic interchange but increasingly in the political and security spheres.

Energy, precious metals, and other natural resources flow into China from the region. Investment flows the other way, and China is building pipelines, power lines and transport networks linking Central Asia to its north-western province of Xinjiang.

This map highlights examples of China's close relationship with its Central Asian neighbours.

View interactive map

War & Peace: Deconstructing Islamic State’s Appeal in Central Asia

This week on War & Peace, Olga Oliker and Hugh Pope are joined by Central Asia expert Noah Tucker to discuss how the region became a source of so many fighters for ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Season 1 Episode 14: Deconstructing Islamic State’s Appeal in Central Asia

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq drew between 12,000 and 15,000 fighters from Central Asia. Noah Tucker, expert on Central Asian issues and our guest on War & Peace this week, helps us understand why. 

No overwhelming single factor accounts for such a huge number of people going to fight with the Islamic State. “For every 10 people who join, there are 10 different life stories, and often 10 different reasons”, Noah explains.

But the deep inequalities found in Central Asian countries can help explain. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Central Asia underwent rapid modernisation and radical economic changes. While not unique to the region, the additional challenge of constructing a political system from scratch produced clear winners and losers while whole sections of society were left behind with no mechanism for changing the balance. The Islamic State offered a different path to addressing these injustices, an alternative theory on how to construct a government and distribute resources more fairly.

Noah, Olga and Hugh go on to examine the gendered element, the role of ethno-nationalism as state ideology and much more on this week’s episode. Tune in now! 

Click here to listen on Apple PodcastsSpotify or Europod.

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