In recent years turbulent regional and global developments and crises have presented the international community with major military, political and economic challenges. This brief overview will present the key security and geopolitical issues in the Caspian region – especially southern Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus – which is increasingly becoming a significant area in world affairs, not only for its proximity to the wider Middle East, but especially for its geo-strategic value and energy resources.
For instance, a high oil price around the globe has enabled Russia to accumulate over $16.7 billion in its energy-stabilisation fund. Asia Times, 27 January 2005.
While relatively unknown in Soviet times, the large oil and natural gas reserves in newly independent Central Asian countries, for instance, have attracted considerable international attention.
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