Regions / Russia & FSU

Soft Security Perceptions in the Former Soviet Republics: Following, Engaging or Ignoring NATO? Jason E. Strakes

By ilgar Gurbanov

Dec 23, 2014 - 11:24 AM

The recognition of “soft” or non-traditional threats in the national security concepts of the former Soviet republics has become increasingly common during the past decade. Yet, this has also occurred in parallel with the gradual evolution of NATO strategic doctrine from its classical purpose of maintaining an effective counterbalance to Russia in continental Europe, to the vision of a transnational security community that protects member states from both military and non-military challenges that affect societies as a whole. This article examines the linkage between soft security perceptions in the post-Soviet states and their relationship with NATO since independence. The analysis compares bilateral relations with NATO and the recognition of soft threats as indicated by their inclusion in the official national security documents of the Baltic States, East Europe/the Slavic Republics, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia since independence. The chronology of NATO policies and the identification of soft threat types are examined to determine to what extent they represent direct alignment with NATO soft security initiatives, indirect influence of security assistance policies, or the pursuit of more independent definitions of national or Eurasian security as an alternative to renewed opposition between Europe and Russia alleged by advocates of further NATO enlargement. Read more...

NATO’s Possible Role in the Protection of Critical Energy Infrastructure in Azerbaijan; Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli

By ilgar Gurbanov

Dec 23, 2014 - 11:20 AM

After regaining its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan started to implement an independent oil and gas strategy in the 1990s, which led to significant volumes of international investment flowing into the oil and gas sector. As a result of those investments along with close cooperation with international oil companies, Azerbaijan managed to build up substantial state energy infrastructure. In parallel, significant oil and gas transit infrastructure has been developed in neighboring Georgia. The Azerbaijan-Georgia energy corridor is critical not only for Baku and Tbilisi and the South Caucasus and Caspian regions, but also for Europe, which is host to the majority of the final consumers of Azerbaijan’s energy resources. Therefore, assuring the security of that energy infrastructure becomes even more important. Clearly, the protection of critical energy infrastructure is the responsibility of host countries; in line with this duty, Azerbaijan is doing its best to neutralize current security threats. In this vein, raising security relations with NATO to a higher level can improve the security of critical energy infrastructure in the South Caucasus. Based on an agreement between NATO and partner countries in the South Caucasus (i.e. Azerbaijan and Georgia), the proposed “Article 4.5” format can enable higher-level security relations. This article analyzes the possible positive mplications of that new format for the protection of existing energy infrastructure in zerbaijan, which is critical for European energy security. Read more...

NATO and South Caucasus’ post-Cold War Riddle; Reshad A. Karimov

By ilgar Gurbanov

Dec 23, 2014 - 11:10 AM

This article provides a brief analysis of NATO’s post-Cold War cooperation with the South Caucasus countries, arguing that when it comes to the South Caucasus, NATO has been pursuing a limited role, mainly confined to the goals defined in the Individual Partnership Action Plans (IPAPs) and the involvement of the South Caucasus countries in related activities. According to the author, NATO’s strategy in the South Caucasus has its roots not only in the political and security dynamics of the regional states, but also in Russia’s substantial role in the region, and the ways in which NATO-Russian relations have been shaped and enacted as a result. At the same time, the crises in the Middle East and the role of Western countries there together with the withdrawal of NATO and the U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, require major revisions of NATO’s approaches. The current global security complex calls for the organization to step up its foreign policy efforts. In conclusion, the author emphasizes that as NATO continues to face a range of global challenges it cannot tackle alone, its relations with the states of the South Caucasus should serve as a reminder that its choice of partners in the currently fluid situation may determine the future of the region. Read more...
Copyright © 2011-2018 by Caucasus International All rights reserved.