CONTENTS:- I. Overview: 1. The search for stability in Central Asia/Boris Rumer.
II. Security: 2. The conflict in Afghanistan: conditions, problems, and prospects/Sultan Akimbekov. 3. Regional security in Central Asia: military aspects/Rustam Burnashev.
III. Foreign policy framework: 4. Central Asia between the gravitational poles of Russia and China/Konstantin Syroezhkin. 5. Central Asia and the European Union/Murat Laumulin.
IV. Islam and politics: 6. The Central Asian nexus: Islam and politics/Evgeniy Abdullaev. 7. Islam in Uzbekistan: from the struggle for "Religious purity" to political activism/Bokhtiar Babadzhanov.
V. Economics: 8. Central Asia: development under conditions of globalization/Stanislav Zhukov. 9. Challenges to economic policy in Central Asia: is a miracle possible?/Eshref Trushin and Eskender Trushin.
The societies of Central Asia are besieged from within and without. The political elites--virtually unchanged despite the transition to independent statehood--battle radical Islamic movements and other oppositional threats that are continuously fueled by economic instability, corruption, environmental deterioration, and the collapse of social services. The heightened U.S. presence in the area, in connection with the military action in Afghanistan, is likely to unsettle the situation further. This survey of political, economic and social developments in Central Asia offers geopolitical context, unparalleled coverage, and analytical depth to our understanding of a region that appears to be rapidly spiraling into crisis.