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

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 794

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

views: 787

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...

A Life On the Edge: Syrian IDPs; Zümrüt Sönmez

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 777

Sep 30, 2015 - 2:32 PM

This article examines the challenges faced by internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Syria, based on facts and personal observations, and provides recommendations for the international community. IDPs are one of the most vulnerable groups of people in the current global context. Escaping from armed conflicts, generalized violence or human rights violations, IDPs leave their demolished houses or besieged towns, only to find themselves trapped within the borders of their home countries, unlike refugees who manage to cross an international border in order to take shelter in another country. Some Syrian IDPs have eventually settled in makeshift camps in the border areas after fleeing civil war. There are reportedly hundreds of thousands people living alongside the Turkish-Syrian border under very harsh conditions. Underlying these conditions and their continuing deterioration, this article attempts to demonstrate the importance of the role of international NGOs in improving the situation for IDPs. Read more...

CAUCASUS UNDER REVIEW - RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOKS

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 757

Jan 18, 2016 - 12:09 PM

While the Caucasus is a region of enormous diversity and potential, it is also a region about which relatively little is known. However, during the last decade, numerous publications on the region have expanded both regional and international understanding of this diversity and potential. This overview of recent publications provides an up-to-date reading list for anyone interested in the region. Read more...

NATO-Russia Cooperation and its Soft Security Limits

By ilgar Gurbanov

views: 751

Jan 14, 2015 - 3:24 PM

Since the early years of the post-Cold War era until the recent Ukrainian crisis, NATO has sought to build cooperation with Russia on a wide range of security issues, including soft security threats. Under the NATO – Russia Council framework, numerous initiatives have been successfully implemented to the benefit of both parties. However, based on an examination of NATO-Russia collaboration on soft security, this article argues that this cooperation has been conducted on a fairly limited and temporary basis. According to the author, one reason for this is the divergent perceptions on soft security and its relationship to political and economic systems. Another reason is Russia’s weakness and vulnerability in the soft security domain, which it does not want to expose. Furthermore, cooperation on soft security has been largely contingent on relations between the parties - though to a lesser extent than hard security issues have been. The Ukrainian crisis underlined the primacy of hard security issues and indicates that cooperation on soft security issues will remain a variable of global political developments. Read more...

Caucaus International Vol. 5 • No: 3 • Winter 2015

By Editor CI

views: 751

Jul 25, 2016 - 2:01 PM

Georgia’s Future: From Regional and Global Cooperation to Conflict Resolution Read more...

The Trans-Caspian Corridor: Geopolitics of Transportation in Central Eurasia; Azad Garibov

By Editor CI

views: 742

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:39 PM

Having reliable and effective transportation networks for easy access to global markets is vital for modern economic development and security, particularly for landlocked states with disadvantageous geographical locations. Thus, the creation of efficient transportation corridors is very important for Azerbaijan and its Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in terms of obtaining secure and cost effective access to the major export and import markets, and in order to overcome the trade bottlenecks created by the geography. Consequently, ensuring the reliable export of hydrocarbon resources to world markets and establishing cargo transport corridors have been a shared goal for Azerbaijan and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia since the restoration of independence in 1991. Currently, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, together with Azerbaijani railways, serve as an important export route for Central Asian oil to international markets. The Trans-Caspian partnership for the delivery of Central Asian energy resources to world markets is not limited to oil. There are also ongoing talks about the possibility of transporting Turkmen gas via Azerbaijan as part of the Southern Gas Corridor project. The other priority in regard to the creation of the geopolitically and geo-economically strategic Trans-Caspian corridor is the establishment of a South Caucasus-Central Asia cargo transit route between Asia and Europe. Attracting part of multi-billion EU-China trade to transit through Central Asia and South Caucasus offers a significant revenue source for all of the regional countries, as well as promises to create an effective corridor for their own trade relations with Asian and European countries. Read more...

'Global Energy Interdependence: Strategizing for a Secure Future' by Sreemati Ganguli

By Editor CI

views: 737

Jan 13, 2017 - 2:31 PM

Energy has acquired a strategic dimension in the contemporary global context by virtue of its vital significance for the future of human civilization. For this reason, energy as a commodity is often associated with multi-faceted geopolitical rivalries and geo-economic calculations. With the definitions of security undergoing a fundamental change, concepts of non-traditional as well as human security have become the new paradigms of the global security framework. Energy security forms a fundamental component of these changing approaches to global security, as we grapple with complex environmental challenges such as balancing economic development with environmental sustainability and the changing nature of the global energy mix with a larger share for renewable energy resources. These are crucial problems that require collaborative approaches in order to find fundamental solutions, as reiterated by the recent Paris Climate Change Convention. This article focuses on this parallel approach to global security concerns through mechanisms of clean energy interdependence on a global scale. It discusses a number of on-going projects promoting energy cooperation among allies and competitors alike, and suggests that the concept of global energy interdependence should evolve as a strategic platform for identifying viable solutions for global security in a much more comprehensive manner. Read more...

Transport Potential of the Caspian Sea: Prospects and Limitations; Stanislav Pritchin

By Editor CI

views: 736

Jul 25, 2016 - 3:35 PM

This article addresses the Caspian Sea and its transport potential. Located at the junction of important geo-strategic regions in the center of Eurasia, the Caspian is an important component of the area’s transport system. Moreover, geopolitical struggles over transport potential are no less intense than competition for its energy resources. Two major strategic transport routes have been delineated: the East- West route (or TRACECA); and the North-South route. Competition between routes actually has a positive effect on the development of transport infrastructure in the region. All project participants are striving to create the optimal conditions for transit and to increase the efficiency of infrastructure. As the result, the general appeal of the Caspian Sea as transport route has increased. At the same time, the transport sector offers an important economic opportunity for a number of countries in the context of the financial crisis and decline of oil prices. Read more...

Caucaus International Vol. 6 • No: 1 • Summer 2016

By Editor CI

views: 731

Jan 9, 2017 - 11:57 PM

Trans-Eurasian Transportation Networks, Transportation Politics and Economics in Eurasia Read more...
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