By Stephen Blank
February 7, 2023
At the end of 2022 Armen Grigoryan, Secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, announced on television that Armenia is under strong pressure, presumably from Moscow, to join the union state of Russia and Belarus and open an “extraterritorial (trade) corridor” to Azerbaijan’s Nakhichevan province through its own Syunik province. While Armenia’s acute security predicament provides an opportunity for this Russian move, the question is why Moscow has chosen this particular timing and what it portends for the future of the Caucasus.
By Anar Valiyev and Inara Yagubova
August 30, 2022
For the last 30 years Azerbaijan has aimed to restore its territorial integrity and political independence through its multi vector foreign policy, avoiding joining any military blocks or unions. In line with its multi-vector foreign policy, amid geopolitical changes in the region, Azerbaijan’s foreign policy is based on a “strategic patience” approach which enables it to delicately balance between the collective West and Russia. Meanwhile, with the geopolitical tectonic changes due to Ukrainian crisis, Baku is utilizing its energy resources and transit potential to secure itself against regional powers.
By Brenda Shaffer
August 17, 2022
Much of the analysis on Iranian foreign policy focuses on both Iran’s positonality in relation to the Middle East, and its claim to the mantle of Shia Islamic leadership. However, a more detailed examination shows that Iran’s foreign policy is also focused toward its neighbors to the north in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Tehran’s policies toward these states reveals the realpolitik core of Iranian foreign policy, especially in relation to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. Iran’s foreign policy toward the Caucasus and Central Asia is intertwined with its domestic security, as several of Iran’s major ethnic groups share ties with co-ethnics in these states. Iran and its neighbors in Central Asia and the Caucasus use a high degree of policy compartmentalization in order to simultaneously derive benefit and prevent open conflict.
By Robert M. Cutler
May 9, 2022
Constructive developments in negotiations for peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, particularly those mediated by the European Union, have produced a further radicalization of the opponents of such a peace. Russia is unhappy with EU and Western attempts to take the initiative for the peaceful normalization of relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Russia is seeking to use the Karabakh Armenians to maintain its geopolitical position in the South Caucasus. Threats have been voiced, in both Moscow and Khankendi [Stepanakert], of the intention to seek an annexation to Russia of areas in Nagorno-Karabakh where Russian troops are located.
By Fuad Shahbazov
January 26, 2022, the CACI Analyst
On October 6, 2021, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov met his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian in Moscow to discuss regional security and economic cooperation, and to address important concerns regarding the crisis in the South Caucasus. During the joint press conference, Lavrov repeatedly highlighted the idea of a “3+3 cooperation format” including the three South Caucasus states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia – plus their three large neighbors, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, to focus on unlocking economic and transport communications in the region. The first meeting within the format took place in Moscow on December 2021; however, Georgia refused to take part. Moreover, recent tensions in the region between Armenia and Azerbaijan as well as Azerbaijan and Iran suggest that the proposed format will not generate visible positive outcomes.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.