Faultlines of Conflict in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

Faultlines of Conflict in Central Asia and the South Caucasus: Implications for the U.S. Army

Olga Oliker
Thomas S. Szayna
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 408
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/mr1598a
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  • Book Info
    Faultlines of Conflict in Central Asia and the South Caucasus
    Book Description:

    In the region of Central Asia and South Caucasus, what is the potential for armed conflict, and how might such outbreaks escalate to a level that could involve U.S. forces? The authors evaluate the key political, economic, and societal faultlines underlying the likelihood of conflict in the region, assessing their implications for regional stability and for U.S. interests and potential involvement over the next 10 to 15 years.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-4834-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iii)
  2. [Illustrations]
    (pp. iv-vi)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xiv)
  5. FIGURES
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  6. TABLES
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  7. SUMMARY
    (pp. xix-xxvi)
  8. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xxvii-xxviii)
  9. Chapter One INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-6)
    Thomas S. Szayna and Olga Oliker

    The breakup of the Soviet Union led to the emergence of eight new states in the strategically important crossroads located north of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region, west of China, and south of Russia. Three of them (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) are situated in the European periphery—the mountainous area between the Greater Caucasus mountain range (defined by geographers as the boundary of Europe) and Turkey and Iran. In the Soviet lexicon, based on a Russo-centric viewpoint, this area was referred to as the Trans-Caucasus. A name for this subregion that is more neutral in connotation—and...

  10. Chapter Two THE POLITICAL EVOLUTION OF CENTRAL ASIA AND SOUTH CAUCASUS: IMPLICATIONS FOR REGIONAL SECURITY
    (pp. 7-40)
    Tanya Charlick-Paley, Phil Williams and Olga Oliker

    Ten years after independence, transitions from Soviet authoritarianism and planned economies to democracy and market economies have not been successfully completed in any of the states of Central Asia and South Caucasus (henceforth CASC). Although there are variations among them, each of the eight states in question faces serious challenges to peace and growth. The lack of real economic reform or sustainable development, the persistent centralized controls built on the foundation of Soviet bureaucracy, and the growing problems of corruption and public cynicism all constrain efforts to build effective and popular governance. The capacity of state structures and police and...

  11. Chapter Three SOME ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS OF SECURITY IN CENTRAL ASIA AND SOUTH CAUCASUS
    (pp. 41-70)
    Abraham S. Becker

    What are the economic dimensions of destabilization of a society? Under what economic conditions is the political and social order likely to be subjected to radical change, widespread internal disorder or major external violence? Regrettably, neither the general question nor its application to Central Asia and South Caucasus can be answered with confidence. The links between the economic and the political-social orders are too complex—both the direction of causation and the forms of the functional relations are often ambiguous—for prediction without extensive qualification.¹ This seems particularly true in what may be the early stages in the development of...

  12. Chapter Four CRIMINALIZATION AND STABILITY IN CENTRAL ASIA AND SOUTH CAUCASUS
    (pp. 71-108)
    Phil Williams

    In assessing the prospects for stability in Central Asia and South Caucasus, it is essential to consider the impact of crime and corruption. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union there has been a process of criminalization in both subregions that make up CASC, involving drug trafficking, organized crime, shadow economies, and corruption and rent seeking. Once on the margins—or more accurately in the shadows—of the Communist systems, in the post-Soviet world these phenomena have moved to the center of political and economic life. They play a critical role in the success or failure of transitional measures toward...

  13. Chapter Five NATURAL RESOURCES AND POTENTIAL CONFLICT IN THE CASPIAN SEA REGION
    (pp. 109-144)
    Sergej Mahnovski

    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the petroleum-endowed states of Central Asia and South Caucasus have sought, with varying degrees of success, to attract foreign direct investment in their respective energy sectors, with the hope of securing a steady stream of revenues and bolstering their political legitimacy. Hamstrung by their landlocked geographic position, decaying infrastructure, and non-cash-paying neighbors, the Caspian Sea littoral states have struggled with the issue of how to profit from their remote fossil fuel reserves in a practical and timely manner. As petroleum revenues increase in the next 10–20 years, each of these states will...

  14. Chapter Six POTENTIAL FOR ETHNIC CONFLICT IN THE CASPIAN REGION
    (pp. 145-184)
    Thomas S. Szayna

    A number of incidents of communal violence have taken place in the Central Asia and South Caucasus region in the late Soviet period (late 1980s) and the initial decade of independence (1990s). In Central Asia, the incidents include riots in Kazakhstan and periodic flare-ups of violence in the Ferghana Valley (Uzbekistan). In South Caucasus, the incidents include flare-ups of violence (Azerbaijan, Georgia), and outright secessionist wars with outside intervention (Azerbaijan, Georgia). The incidents of strife differ greatly in terms of intensity, length, and immediate causes, but the warring parties in all the incidents have been differentiated largely along ethnic lines,...

  15. Chapter Seven CONFLICT IN CENTRAL ASIA AND SOUTH CAUCASUS: IMPLICATIONS OF FOREIGN INTERESTS AND INVOLVEMENT
    (pp. 185-240)
    Olga Oliker

    Geography has made the Central Asian and South Caucasus states a historical nexus for trade, competition, and sometimes conflict. Traditionally, foreign powers have seen the region as an economic and strategic gateway to other parts of the world. Somewhat more recently, since the states of the region gained independence from the Soviet Union a decade ago, the region’s potential for energy production created new, additional areas of foreign interest. Today, it is increasingly clear that foreign competition over energy is only one component of a complex balance of the economic and strategic short- and long-term goals of a number of...

  16. Chapter Eight CENTRAL ASIA AND SOUTH CAUCASUS AS AN AREA OF OPERATIONS: CHALLENGES AND CONSTRAINTS
    (pp. 241-306)
    William D. O’Malley

    There is no question that the United States can get forces into the South Caucasus or Central Asia, as it has in support of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, known as Operation Enduring Freedom. To date, these operations have been limited to a few airfields in Central Asia from which military and humanitarian support operations have been conducted over Afghanistan. This operational experience has highlighted for U.S. military planners many of the difficulties inherent in deploying forces to and sustaining them in Central Asia, as well as the necessary tradeoffs between speed, cost, combat capability, and effectiveness.

    U.S. relations with and...

  17. Chapter Nine SOURCES OF CONFLICT AND PATHS TO U.S. INVOLVEMENT
    (pp. 307-358)
    Olga Oliker and Thomas S. Szayna

    The preceding chapters have outlined numerous causes of and potential pathways to conflict in the Central Asia and South Caucasus region. Most of these causes are deeply entrenched and are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future. Moreover, none of them operates in a vacuum: economic and political grievances, for example, reinforce each other and, combined in environments of political weakness, create far more risk of conflict than either would alone.

    This chapter seeks to identify the key sources of conflict for each of the states and subregions in question, as well as to note which states within...

  18. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 359-380)