Vol. 6, No. 14 (July 15, 2013)

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Minsk Group: Towards a more productive engagement?

Almost from the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, outside or third parties have sought to mediate the conflict, but the conflict remains unresolved.  And that, in turn, has sparked a debate, sometimes intense and sometimes less so, as to whether such media contributes to conflict resolution or in fact keeps the conflict alive. From the outset, the conflict was perceived as important both by regional powers and international organizations.  From 1992 to 1994, when the former Soviet republics joined the CSCE and a ceasefire was signed, the CSCE  intervened as a third p...
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Baku, Tehran seek new balance in relationship

Two recent visits by Baku officials to Tehran, Ramiz Mehdiyev, the head of the Presidential Administration, and Allahshukur Pashazade, sheikh-ul-Islam and head of the Administration of Muslims of the Caucasus, have attracted attention not only because they follow on the heels of Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov’s visit to Israel, but because they represent an effort to rebalance the relationship between Azerbaijan and Iran in both the political and religious spheres. None of these visits was the result of a last minute decision: all are likely to have been planned for months; and con...
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Naval competition on the Caspian heating up

The first-ever joint Russian-Iranian naval exercises on the Caspian Sea, exercises that are taking place even though there has been no agreement on the delimitation of the seabed, suggest that there may be a serious naval competition on the Caspian for the first time in nearly a century between Russia and Iran, on the one hand, and other countries in the region, including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, which have developed closer ties with NATO and the West, on the other.  Indeed, one Moscow newspaper earlier this month characterized the Russian-Iranian naval maneuvers as ...
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