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  • Author: Emil Souleimanov, Maya Ehrmann
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: In the Lopota Valley, a picturesque spot situated near Georgia's mountainous northeast border with Russia's Dagestani autonomous region, a series of skirmishes took place on the 28thand 29thof August 2012 that cost the lives of two troops from elite units of the Georgian Ministry of the Interior, a military doctor, and eleven gunmen identified as North Caucasus Islamist insurgents, leaving a few Georgian military personnel injured and one insurgent, a Russian citizen, captured by Georgian special forces. While the circumstances of what happened in the vicinity of the north Kakhetian village of Lapankuri have not yet been sufficiently revealed, the event might have considerable implications for the security situation in the entire region of the North and South Caucasus. The purpose of this article is to analyze various perspectives and issues related to this incident and to prove that the hostage crisis in the Lopota Valley indicates the existence of and the foreshadowing of much greater regional instability. The article shall outline the general course of events and those responsible for the incident. It will then introduce various perspectives on the incident from Georgian, Russian, and Dagestani authorities and sources, and analyze the short-term and long-term implications of the incident.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, Caucasus, Georgia
  • Author: Richard Giragosian, Sergey Minasyan
  • Publication Date: 01-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: After twenty years of independence, the three counties of the South Caucasus-Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia-continue to struggle with a daunting set of challenges. In light of several unresolved conflicts and profound deficiencies in efforts directed at democratic and economic reform, the South Caucasus continues to be a "region at risk." As if this rather bleak landscape was not enough, three more recent trends have emerged to further threaten the region's security and stability. The first trend, and one that is likely to have the most profound effects over the long term, is evident in a subtle shift in the already delicate balance of power in the region, driven largely by a steady surge in Azerbaijani defense spending and exacerbated by a lack of progress in the mediation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Since the 1994 ceasefire that resulted in the suspension of hostilities over Nagorno-Karabakh (but that did not definitively end them), this unresolved or "frozen" conflict has been subject to an international mediation effort conducted by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) so-called Minsk Group. This tripartite body co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States seeks to engage and prod the parties to the conflict toward a negotiated resolution of the conflict.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Caucasus, France, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia
  • Author: Graeme P. Herd, Daniel A. Flesch
  • Publication Date: 03-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: On 7 August 2008, Georgia attacked Tskhinvali, the capital city of South Ossetia, with heavy artillery, rocket launchers, and ground troops in an attempt to take control of the breakaway republic, which contained bases of both Russian and OSCE peacekeepers. Russia, claiming to be acting under the mandate of peace enforcement, pushed Georgia out of both South Ossetia and another breakaway Georgian republic, Abkhazia, and deep into Georgian territory. This created the potential for regime change, as the Russian Army appeared to be moving on Tbilisi with the intent of overthrowing Georgia's democratically elected government. On 8 August 2008, Russian military forces crossed the Georgian border into South Ossetia and Abkhazia in a successful effort to repulse Georgian troops. The immediate casus belli for Russia was genocide, with claims that “over two thousand” South Ossetians had been killed by Georgian troops, along with the shooting of ten Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia, which necessitated a humanitarian and peace enforcement operation. The Russian advance included ground troops, tanks and armored personnel carriers, and air and sea operations, combined with coordinated kinetic and cyber attacks. Russian forces also crossed into Abkhazia in defense of their compatriots – 70 percent of the Abkhaz population of 220,000 are Russian passport holders, and 90 percent of the South Ossetian population of 70,000 are also Russian citizens.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, International Affairs, Population
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Georgia, South Ossetia
  • Author: Zurab Khamashuridze
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Connections
  • Institution: Partnership for Peace Consortium of Defense Academies and Security Studies Institutes
  • Abstract: This paper is meant to address issues related to energy security in the twenty-first century, and to identify areas where NATO could add value to the world's overall energy security environment, and in particular how it can improve the security of critical energy infrastructures. Increased demand on energy resources, driven mainly by economic growth and demographic developments in Asian countries, particularly China and India, has removed spare capacity from the energy market, which has translated into price hikes for energy resources, thus causing immense economic damage to nations that are heavily dependent on energy imports.
  • Topic: Security, NATO
  • Political Geography: Russia, China, North Atlantic, India, Istanbul