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VOL. 2 (4) - AUTUMN 2008



Note from the Editor-in-Chief (p. 178)
 

Research Papers

The Russian Invasion of Georgia –its Impact on Israel and the Middle East (pp. 179-186)
by Robert O. Freedman

The 1992-93 Georgia-Abkhazia War: A Forgotten Conflict (pp. 187-199)
by Alexandros Petersen

Inspired from Abroad: The External Sources of Separatism in Azerbaijan (pp. 200-211)
by Fareed Shafee

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railroad and its Geopolitical Implications for the South Caucasus (pp. 212-224)
by Samuel Lussac

The EU’s Neighborhood Policy and the South Caucasus: Unfolding New Patterns of Cooperation (pp. 225-239)
by Licínia Simão and Maria Raquel Freire

Normative Suasion and Political Change in Central Asia (pp. 240-249)
by Alexander Warkotsch
 

Interviews

“Georgia could become a NATO member, only if it accepted Russia's takeover of Abkhazia and South Ossetia” (pp. 250-252)
Interview with Cory Welt, Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

 The Caucasus needs a rest after the war (pp. 253-256)
Interview with Alexander Rahr, German Council on Foreign Relations, Berlin
 

Book Reviews

“The Ghost of Freedom - A History of the Caucasus”, Charles King (pp. 257-259)
by Jan Künzl

The Peasant Venture: Tradition Migration, and Change among Georgian Peasants in Turkey”, Paul J. Magnarella (pp. 260-261)
by Aaron Elrich

 
 

Note from the Editor-in-Chief (p. 178)

It is with great pleasure that I present the Autumn 2008 issue of the Caucasian Review of International Affairs (CRIA). Since the publication of our Summer 2008 issue, the Caucasus has recaptured the consciousness of the international community, most vividly through the Russian invasion of Georgia in August and the subsequent illegal recognition of the so-called independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia by Russia. As a result, the United States and the European Union are reformulating their policies in and commitment to the region, to say nothing of Russia’s new regional policies. Additionally, there have been increased efforts to improve the erstwhile difficult relations between Turkey and Armenia, which could possibly have a lasting impact on the ongoing crisis in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan…read more
 

The Russian Invasion of Georgia –its Impact on Israel and the Middle East (pp. 179-186)
by Robert O. Freedman

The heavy-handed policy demonstrated by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in his invasion of Georgia in August 2008 should have come as no surprise to anyone following Putin's foreign policy in the Middle East in the 2005-2008 period,  which has clearly displayed the aggressiveness and anti-Americanism so evident in the invasion of Georgia. Putin's cultivation of the anti-American terrorist organizations Hamas and Hizbollah, and his military and diplomatic support for anti-American "Rogue States" like Syria and Iran, indeed set the stage for the invasion of Georgia as Putin sought to spread Russian influence throughout the South Caucasus as well as the Middle East…read more
 

The 1992-93 Georgia-Abkhazia War: A Forgotten Conflict (pp. 187-199)
by Alexandros Petersen

The 1992-93 Georgia-Abkhazia War, in which ethnic Abkhazians effectively extracted northwestern Georgia from Tbilisi’s control, is a conflict largely forgotten in the West, despite its high profile re-ignition in August 2008.  Historical arguments can be made both for Abkhazia’s unity and autonomy from Georgia, but the conflict cannot be solely blamed on Soviet ‘ethno-federalism’. It must, however, be understood within the context of Georgian independence.  Ethnic tension between Abkhazians and Georgians was a necessary but not sufficient cause for the conflict…read more

 

Inspired from Abroad: The External Sources of Separatism in Azerbaijan (pp. 200-211)
by Fareed Shafee

This article examines the external sources of separatism in Azerbaijan. The author claims that in the case of Azerbaijan many separatist movements are fed by outside powers rather than caused by inside sources. This article does not intend to review the situation with regard to the political, economic and cultural rights of ethnic minorities. Azerbaijan, like many other post-Soviet republics, went through a transition period characterized by sharp economic decline, dissolution of social institutions, change of values, etc. Quite rightfully, some claims of leaders of ethnic minorities about discrimination might be reasonable and justifiable. In the circumstances of post-Soviet transition, no country escaped from injustices, disorders and social turbulences. However, in many cases separatist movements were used by regional powers and countries concerned, particularly so-called kin-states to advance their political agenda…read more
 

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railroad and Its Geopolitical Implications for the South Caucasus (pp. 212-224)
by Samuel Lussac

This article aims at evaluating the geopolitical impact of the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railroad in the South Caucasus. Indeed, after the implementation of the East-West energy corridor, it will contribute to further regional cooperation between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. On this matter, it reflects the very specificity of this regionalization that is essentially based on economic issues and develops despite opportunistic interests. Furthermore, the BTK railroad will constitute a new stage in the further marginalization of Armenia within the South Caucasus. Not only it will bypass this country but it will also undermine its ethno-political leverages, notably in Georgia. Finally, in spite of the recent political events in the South Caucasus, the BTK railroad could be a new step in the incoming showdown between, on the one hand Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey and, on the other hand, Armenia, Iran and Russia…read more
 

The EU’s Neighborhood Policy and the South Caucasus: Unfolding New Patterns of Cooperation (pp. 225-239)
by Licínia Simão and Maria Raquel Freire

This paper looks at the European Union (EU) process of engagement in the South Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) in the context of its Neighborhood Policy. It looks at how divergent perceptions of the region, both inwards and outwards-driven, impact on regional policy choices, with an emphasis on regional cooperation. Though these states remark on the outlived usefulness of artificial framings, and regional cooperation among the three is virtually non-existent, when engaged in larger and wide-ranging formats, cooperation might not only be possible, but fruitful. It is therefore argued that regional cooperation should overcome the artificially constructed “South Caucasus” regional label and unfold along different patterns and variable compositions. The paper advances the proposal for a Eurasian/Black Sea security complex…read more
 

Normative Suasion and Political Change in Central Asia (pp. 240-249)
by Alexander Warkotsch

This article examines the adequacy of the EU’s tool-kit and overall strategy for socializing Central Asia into human rights and democracy. First, the analysis will show that several interrelated conditions, above all cultural idiosyncrasies, properties of interaction between socializees and socializing agents, as well as the nature of the political system, are not sufficiently allowed for by the EU’s policy approach. This renders the prospects for moving the region towards a democratic trajectory bleak. Second, building on identified problems in the EU’s socialization efforts, the paper presents policy recommendations, above all a concentration on certain aspects of human rights and government accountability that should help to improve the EU’s democratizing impact…read more
 

Interviews

“Georgia could become a NATO member, only if it accepted Russia's takeover of Abkhazia and South Ossetia” (pp. 250-252)
Interview with Cory Welt, Georgetown University, Washington DC

Question: Will Russia ever be able to live next door to a Saakashvili-run government in Georgia or one that is equally western-oriented?

Welt: Well, the way things have been going, it looks like it will have to. The question is whether Georgia is fated to be Russia's Cuba, and unfortunately the signs point in that direction. Prior to the war, it looked like there might be a chance to put their relations on a new footing, but that has again been spoiled…read more
 

The Caucasus needs a rest after the war (pp. 253-256)
Interview with Alexander Rahr, German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Berlin

Question: Six weeks ago, the war between Russia and Georgia over the secessionist Georgian provinces Abkhazia and South Ossetia ended. What is the current situation, especially concerning the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Georgian territory?

Rahr: The current situation is quite different from the status quo which existed in the region between 1992 and 2008. The Russian troops will be withdrawn from the Georgian mainland, but they will stay in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. These secessionist regions have been recognized as independent states by Russia. I think that Abkhazia and South Ossetia will join the collective security pact of the CIS countries in the next months…read more

 

 

Book Reviews

 

“The Ghost of Freedom - A History of the Caucasus”, Charles King (pp. 257-259)

by Jan Kuenzl

The Caucasus, an impressive mountain range of about 1100km length, stuck between the Black - and Caspian Seas, has always been home to an astonishing variety of different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups. At all times, the interests of the neighbouring great powers clashed in the Caucasus. For a long time the Russian, Ottoman and Persian Empires struggled for influence and hegemony in the region.  Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, a clash of interests between a resurrecting Russia and NATO seems to emerge…read more

 

The Peasant Venture: Tradition Migration, and Change among Georgian Peasants in Turkey”, Paul J. Magnarella (pp. 260-261)

by Aaron Elrich

Often researchers and reviewers, in the search for new materials and books, neglect older works that are vitally important to our understanding the present. One of these books is Paul Magnarella’s The Peasant Venture: Tradition, Migration and Change among Georgian Peasants in Turkey, published in 1979 by Schenkman Publishing. Magnarella, an anthropologist by training, lived in the Georgian village of Hayriye in Turkey at a pivotal historical moment – a moment where the more salient signifiers of ethnic Georgianness in a village far away from its ethnic-kin state were being lost…read more

       
 
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