Russia is upping the ante in the Caspian Sea with talk of bolstering its naval forces. The move reflects Moscow’s frustration over the inability of the five Caspian littoral states to define the sea’s boundaries.
Since the Soviet collapse in 1991, the littoral states – Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan – have been unable to agree on a Caspian pact that would delimit the sea and prevent its militarization. Not surprisingly, continuing disagreement on the territorial issue is now encouraging the countries involved to prepare themselves militarily to defend their claims.
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Stephen Blank is a professor at the US Army War College. The views expressed this article do not in any way represent the views of the US Army, Defense Department or the US Government.