Capital In The Caspian

Dear Readers,

Welcome to Caspian Affairs!

We at the Caspian Policy Center hope that this publication will help acquaint you with the political, security, infrastructure, economic, and trade and commerce issues and opportunities of the countries of the Caspian Sea region – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. These eight independent countries, once the center of the Silk Road immortalized by Marco Polo and others, are the land bridge between China and Europe and today are prime real estate for Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative. At the same time, Russia considers them as part of its “privileged sphere of influence,” and Iran hovers directly to the south. Despite the major international competition in the region, each of these former Soviet republics, independent now for only 27 years, seeks to balance its relations with Moscow, Beijing, Washington, and Brussels.

This is a region on the move and poised for greater success, in large part because of the worldclass oil and natural-gas deposits in a number of the countries and, especially, in the Caspian Sea itself. It has the potential to supply significant amounts of hydrocarbons directly to Europe, as has already been proven by the successful Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan natural-gas pipeline. But the Caspian Sea region is not just about natural resources; even more, it’s about human resources, boasting a highly-educated population and skilled work force. The Muslim countries in the region are moderate, secular, and forward looking. Especially promising is that these countries are beginning to explore forming their own regional organization to gain greater prominence on the world stage.

We at Caspian Affairs would value your feedback. Please contact us at ca@caspianpolicy.org. To learn
more about the region and to see weekly news updates, please visit www.caspianpolicy.org.

Ambassador (ret.) Richard E. Hoagland
Editor-in-Chief
Caspian Affairs Magazine

The eight countries of the Caspian region–Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan—are diverse in history, culture, religion, resource endowments, and levels of development. All but Georgia are landlocked. Several have rich deposits of oil and natu …

Contract of the Century Turns 25: What Is New About Investing in Azerbaijan?

September 20 this year celebrates the quarter-cen- tury anniversary of the historic “Contract of the Cen- tury.” Signed in Baku between the Azerbaijani government and the consortium of 11 leading international oil com- panies from six nations under the umbrella of the Azerbaijan International Operating …

The place to do business in the Caspian

The Caspian’s re-birth as one of the world’s great oil and gas industry hubs started from just one contract that was signed in 1994 when Azerbaijan had been an in- dependent state for just three years.This year marks the 25th anniversary of that contract …

Sanctioning Caspian Cooperation

Over the past two years, sanctions have proven to be among the Trump administration’s most frequently utilized foreign political tools. The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has enacted several rounds of sanctions against Russia and Iran, perhaps most notably the Countering America’s …

Women in Politics and Security in the Caspian Region

The Greater Caspian Region is home to many remarkable women blazing trails in politics, business, innovation, and secu- rity. In recognition of the unique contributions these women make to their countries, the following brief offers an over- view of women working in these fields in the Greater Caspian Reg …

The Afghan Peace Process

A BRIEF HISTORY FROM AMBASSADOR (RET.) RICHARD E. HOAGLAND

I joined the United States diplomatic service in June 1985. The Personnel Director of the U.S. Information Agency, where I started my diplomatic career and that was eventually folded into the State Department in …

The Great Silk Road Cities of Uzbekistan

There is no city in Uzbeki- stan more central to Silk Road history than the ancient capital of the Temurid Empire, Samarkand. This city, located southwest of the modern capital of Tashkent, boasts some of Uzbekistan’s finest cultural monuments from medieval times and earlier. Mosques, madrassahs …