Table of Contents
De Waal – Chapter 1, 3. In the first chapter, the author introduces a brief overview of Caucasian culture, their habits, ethnicity, and traditions. He also provides explanations for the origins, history, and the connection of Caucasian culture to the European one. What is more important is that the chapter deliberates on three countries – Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan – the triangle that shapes the South Caucasus. Mountains are the geographical definition of the region. Armenia and Azerbaijan have a mountainous landscape. Over ten nationalities live in the southern part, such as Ossetians, Lezgins, Talysh, Yezidi Kurds, Muslim Kurds, and Abkhaz, and most of them speak mixed languages. The linguistic diversity is also represented within one nationality. For instance, the Karabakh Armenians speak a dialect that the residents of Yerevan may not understand. While reflecting on the belonging of the region, it is under question whether it has either Asian or European status because it is located right in the middle of the two major territories. Some scholars believe that the Caucasus is an Asian region that is situated right at the European border while others believe that the region itself is the border between Asia and Europe.
In Chapter Three, the attention is given to the Soviet times of the region, reflecting on the reign of Stalin when the region was under the control of the Bolsheviks. This period is also called Great Power Russian chauvinism. In 1922, under the Soviet control, the Transcaucasian Federation was established since the Georgian Bolsheviks were resentful of the overwhelming desire of the Soviet Union to establish its legislature. The history of the period has a potent influence on the formation of the political and cultural situation that is present nowadays.
Mesbahi – Islam and Security Narrative in Eurasia. In the article, the author focuses on the Iranian Revolution in 1979, re-emergence of Islam, and 9/11 crisis. All these remarkable events have changed the world’s perception of Islam and security issues. Eurasian Islam has a rich heritage, but it has been changed tremendously after the terrorist attacks. The article also relies on the analysis of Russia’s attempt at differentiation, as well as the utilization of narrative in the Central Asian region and its impact on authoritarianism.
Mankoff and Kuchins – The Big Caucasus. The authors focus on the war between Russia and Georgia, which changed the attitudes and perceptions of the Caucasians with respect to economic and political landscape and relationships of the country. It also had negative consequences because it ignited the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. As a result, challenges and risks emerged concerning the establishment of a favorable relationship with the Bush administration and Europe. In the report, the authors strive to analyze the complex situation and the factors which drove the region to reconsider its territorial integrity. As a result of these disagreements, Georgia and other countries of the region have become the major ground for American-Russian conflict.
Bishku – The South Caucasus Republics – Relations with the US and the EU. The professor discusses the history of the Cold War and the emergence of three independent countries as the result of this. In fact, the republics had long depended for their economic and political security on balancing the relations with major powers and regional neighbors. The article also examines the perspective relation of the South Caucasus republics with the European Union and the United States. Being the members of the Council of Europe, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia have received the observer status. Each country invented its approach to the West and vision of the European policy. For instance, Georgia preferred establishing a close relationship with the United States for the purpose of entering the NATO. On the other hand, Armenia was more concerned with favoring the relationship with the United States and the EU. However, it also strived to remain in close touch with Russia. Finally, Azerbaijan has been promoted in terms of independence and has decided to establish its organization that included the countries of the Islamic region.
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LookingEast. – Silk Road IV 1/5 “South Caucasus – The Flame and the Cross”. The video is a documentary that focuses on the traditions, history, politics, and nature of the South Caucasus. It starts with presenting Georgia, its residents, previous events, habits, and rituals. The author focuses on the wine production, which is an ancient tradition. Next, the author shifts to showing Armenia, its nature, geographical position, and history. The video retells the ancient times of the country when it was presented as the Kingdom of Armenia. The final destination is Azerbaijan. The film also deliberates about the underpinnings of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Beyond the history of the region, the video explains the value and geographical position of the Silk Road, the trade path which started in China and led to Europe through the Caucasian mountains.
De Waal – Chapter 4. Chapter Four of the book discusses the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and touches upon the problems, underpinnings, and reasons for the conflict based on the debates regarding the possession of the Karabakh region. In the course of fifteen years, the conflict has been unresolved. Karabakh region has been under the control of Armenia, although its possession has only been recognized by Armenia. Armenian military forces also controlled some districts belonging to Azerbaijan. As a result of these conflicts, there was no agreement regarding the border because the district has its economic, political, and strategic importance. In fact, the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments prefer keeping control of the conflict without any involvement of the third party. The long-lasting confrontation is predetermined by the previous frictions.
Galstyan – The Main Dimensions of Armenians Foreign and Security Policy. The report centers on the surveys, objectives, and core principles of Armenia’s foreign policy, which is affected by the conflict with Azerbaijan and Turkey. The latter strived to isolate Armenia and establish fruitful, constructive relationships with it. In turn, Armenia’s dependence on transit routes in Georgia and Russia also has a negative influence, including the development of an alliance with Russian authorities. The conflict has lasted for many years and will last longer unless these confrontations are solved in a constructive way.
Theophanous – Blurred Borders – Armenia vs. Azerbaijan. Due to the everlasting confrontation between Armenia and Azerbaijan, one could not clearly define the borders between those two countries since each government is insisting on the possession of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Since 2002 when both countries held speeches to the United Union in an attempt to prove their right to possess the territory, little progress has been made. However, as the history shows, the right of possession is too sophisticated to decide because of many conflicting historic facts. A holistic and rational approach should be introduced due to the mixed cultural assimilation.
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World Bank IDA – Armenia. Apparently, the main reason for the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the long-lasting influence of the Soviet Union. However, the collapse of the Soviet power led to the profound economic development of the Armenian region. It has become more open and friendly to foreign investments and global trade. Its international partners are still in question, but the country is moving in the right direction, establishing the firm ground for the economic recovery and introducing new sustainability levels. The report discusses the Armenian reform period and restoration after severe economic limitations during the time of the Soviet Union rule and control. Due to the Iron Curtain period and the Cold War, Armenia was in the shadow. However, when the curtain fell, new opportunities for economic and political development paved the way to the Armenian-US collaboration.
Zarifian – Christian Armenia Islamic Iran – Two Not So Strange Companions. It is obvious that the religion of Armenia is more reminiscent of the European one because of the Orthodox traditions. Therefore, this country tremendously differs from the Asian Islamic countries. In the context of the Iranian war and the confrontation with the United States, Armenia has still experienced significant problems because of the good relationship with Iran, although no specific evidence supports this fact. The development of numerous dimensions of Armenian reforms provides a new vision for its future policy.
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Lasockin – Armenia and Turkey – Political Football. The political, geographic, and economic relationships have recently started after the football match of the Armenian team in Turkey. However, there had been no relationship between these two countries for about sixteen years. Therefore, the first steps are important to enter a new international arena and establish a new level of economic development and integration. Besides, Turkey realized the senseless and aggravating effect of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In order to settle the issue, it decided to conduct independent agreements and negotiations with the leaders of other countries who express their concern about the future of the Southern Caucasian region. In general, these agreements and establishments of new alliances and ties are remarkable opportunities to deal with the conflict and take another look at the debate.