Friday, July 10, 2009

GEOPOLITIC: The Forgotten South Caucasus: Where Oil and Water Mix (

A "New Great Game" of Geopolitical Control Surfaces in Russia’s Old Backyard

by Nadya Ivanova

Maps by Hannah Nester and Eric DaighCircle of Blue

Almost 20 years after Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan bounced back to full national sovereignty following decades of Soviet control, the winds of change in the South Caucasus have largely faded, leaving behind a region whose geopolitical identity and long-term stability remain uncertain. Once off the radar of Soviet geopolitical analyses, water management problems are now emerging as a cross-cutting issue critical to the stability of volatile regional relations and delicate geopolitical dynamics in the area.
It is often assumed that competition for water will trigger conflict. But in the South Caucasus — a globally strategic corner of the world where Russia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia converge — a proposal to clean up and share management of the region’s largest river basin could well serve as a new route to political stability. And the consequences, diplomats and scientists say, could have strategic importance far beyond – to Europe, Russia, and the United States.

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