The Caspian Region - Vol. 2

The Caspian Region - Vol. 2

The Caspian Region - Vol. 2

The Caspian Region - Vol. 2


This collection of articles draws attention to issues previously neglected by both academic and popular publications, including the water problem in Central Asia, the potential for conflict in Southern Azerbaijan, Ajaria and Javakheti, the ethnic problems of Dagestan and attempts at unity in the Northern Caucasus.


The importance of the Caucasus lies in its being a crossroads between two seas and two continents. Furthermore, all the main present and planned pipelines for the transfer of Caspian oil and gas pass through this area or near it. However, the area has also been known for its instability, coups and violent wars such as those in Chechnya, Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia and between the Ingush and the Ossets. All these have received a great deal of publicity and are therefore deliberately omitted from this book. Rather, the intent is to bring to the reader's attention other potential conflicts and those that have not been solved.

The Caucasus is now divided between the Russian Federation north of the main range and three independent states - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia - south of it. Nevertheless, such a division is not easy to apply in analysis, since in reality the political borders do not correspond to geographical, economic and ethnic ones. a great many issues and relationships spill over beyond political borders and conflicts are in some cases interconnected. the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, for example, are strongly connected to the Northern (Russian) Caucasus, while the war in Chechnya has affected both Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Chapter 1 deals with a conflict that seems to have been solved, and analyses the solution. At the same time it suggests a novel way of understanding some relationships between majority and minority groups. Chapter 2 discusses a potential conflict that, if neglected or mishandled, might deteriorate into a second Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Northern Caucasus is ethnically one of the most diverse areas in the world. Nevertheless, all its aboriginal ethnic groups share a sense of affinity and cultural unity as 'mountaineers'. Thus attempts at political unity are intertwined with disputes and conflicts. Part II discusses two such attempts at unity. Chapter 3 analyses an attempt

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