Pipeline Politics and Caspian Conflict
“It’s possible that after ten years we will have a very big war, because in Central Asia we see a lot of contradictions, there is Europe, [the] United States, China, Russia, Muslim terrorists, so it’s [a] dangerous combination of different interests.”
– Konstantin Simonov, Director of the National Energy Security Fund in Moscow
But there’s one interest everyone shares: black gold. Since the Soviet Union flamed out, independent-minded, oil-rich Caspian states have been courting, and courted by, those thirsty for their Texas Tea. The Chinese have Caspian Crude on their menu. Europe and America have a burning desire to kick their Middle East addiction, but petrol-powered Putin has the West over a barrel. The only pipeline that doesn't feed Russia's coffers snakes through Georgia, and recently, Russian bombs came close to cutting that vein.
Ray Suarez takes us to Azerbaijan to see how a major Caspian player balances its ties to Moscow and its partnership with the West.
Deborah Amos takes a look at the history of Caspian region geopolitics since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Ray Suarez looks back at how and why US, Georgian, Turkish and Azeri officials pushed for a pipeline that would transport Caspian oil westwards, bypassing Russia.
Elizabeth Arnold travels to Moscow and Kazakhstan’s capital city of Astana to explore the ties that bind the oil-rich former Soviet state to Russia.