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The Caucasus as a Security Complex

Bruno Coppieters

  1. Introduction
  2. The contributions to this book address the ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus at the level of individual states. Civil wars, territorial disputes and foreign involvement in ethnic strife are analysed from the perspectives of state stability and interstate conflicts. Analysis at the regional level is not overlooked, however. The authors demonstrate that all the political players involved in these various conflicts see their activities in a regional context, and that the various concepts of the environment in which they intend to carry out their policies differ widely. Indeed, the relations between states are not only characterized by conflicting interests and security perceptions, but also by opposite visions of the basic characteristics of their region. The following chapter analyses the effects of the Russian view of a near abroad area, the Iranian view of a New Middle East and the Turkish view of a Turkic community on the policies of these states in the Caucasus. It highlights the significance of the incompatibility of these various concepts of a Caucasian regional identity for the dynamics of ethnic conflict. It draws largely on Barry Buzan's analysis of regional security as well as on the preceding contributions which analyse the security interests and perceptions of the states of the Transcaucasus, Russia, Iran and Turkey.(1)

    In his analysis of regional security problems, Barry Buzan (2) describes the regional level of analysis as an intermediary level between the state and the international system as a whole. In the anarchic international system, a regional system mediates between global and local security dynamics. A region should be considered not as an arbitrarily-defined set of countries, but as a distinct system of states closely united by geographical vicinity, and whose security relations are so significant as to establish the location of boundaries with other regional formations. In order to find an analytical device for identifying and delineating regional formations, Buzan introduces the term "security complex", defined as "a group of states whose primary security concerns link together sufficiently closely that their national securities cannot realistically be considered apart from one another".(3) The effects of geography on relations between states, their power relations, the interdependence of state rivalries and interests, as well as more or less durable amity/enmity patterns - and including more or less lasting relationships of friendship, protection, support, suspicion and fear - all have to be taken into account in distinguishing and analysing security complexes.

    Buzan's analysis of regional security was first published in 1991. The subtitle of the book in which it appeared reads: 'An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era'. The following contribution does not discuss the methodological framework of his conceptualization of the region, but aims rather to apply his concepts (based on developments in the cold war era) to developments in the post-cold war period.

    One of the main results of the ending of the cold war was the emergence of new regions and security complexes in the former Soviet Union. Unlike the decolonization of Latin America, where it took more than half a century for a security complex to take shape, the Caucasus complex re-emerged after seventy years of Soviet rule. The absence of any "working out" period in the Caucasus can be paralelled to Buzan's description of South Asia, where a security complex "sprang into existence almost fully formed in 1947".(4)

    Buzan says that a security complex can exist and function regardless of whether it is recognized by the players involved.(5) These are aware to a greater or lesser extent of the military and political threats in their surroundings, without necessarily having a full appreciation of the security pattern involved. The existence, location and boundaries of security complexes may also be analysed differently by political scientists. Buzan regards disagreements between experts on objectively ambiguous security relations as a possible source of scientific progress.(6) The following contribution does not focus on differences in scientific perceptions of a security system, but on the way in which the political players involved in the Caucasus conflicts subjectively perceived their region during the first few years after the demise of the Soviet Union, and how these perceptions have shaped the emergence of objective and lasting security patterns in the Caucasus.

  3. The Unity of the Caucasus Region
  4. The security concerns of all the republics of the Transcaucasus are sufficiently linked to the neighbouring countries for it to be possible to regard them - together with the North Caucasus - as forming a region in its own right. Their security relations, rivalries, interests and patterns of amity/enmity are interdependent and significant enough to be distinguished from other security complexes. For Russia, Iran and Turkey, the Caucasus represents a relatively autonomous part of their environment.

    In ancient times, the Caucasus formed a barrier between the Eurasian steppes and the civilizations of Mesopotamia.(7) For thousands of years, the region constituted either a buffer zone between competing empires or an integral part of them. Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Ottoman Turks, Persians and Russians have expanded into the region.(8) The distinction between North Caucasus and Transcaucasus, and the term "Transcaucasus" itself, are products of centuries of Russian rule.(9)

    Both the Transcaucasus and the North Caucasus regions may be thought of as parts of a larger security complex, comprising Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and part of Russia. The North Caucasus continues to play a decisive role in the future of the Transcaucasus and the Caucasian security complex as a whole.(10) The viability of independent states in the Transcaucasus is inconceivable without minimal political stability in the North Caucasus. The Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus, for instance, was created in Sukhumi in 1989 in opposition to Georgia. The Abkhazian nationalist leaders, who at the time were most active in uniting all the political forces in the North Caucasus, were seeking support in their dispute with Tbilisi. The help of the Confederation was decisive in bringing about the military defeat of the Georgian government in Abkhazia. Russian intervention against the secession of Chechnya has likewise far-reaching consequences for the political future of all the Transcaucasian states.

  5. Conflicting Regional Perceptions: Russia, Iran, Turkey and the West
  6. No country bordering the Caucasus considers itself - or can be considered - as a non-regional state. The North Caucasus is an integral part of the Russian Federation. Russia regards the newly independent states of the Transcaucasus as belonging to its near abroad, although it should be added that the foreign policy concept of a near abroad does not imply that Russia disregards the specificity of the Transcaucasus as a region in its own right (Trenin). Russia‰s chief claim is that it has specific interests to defend in this part of its southern flank, but it failed to find full acceptance for its view of the Caucasus among the international organizations and Western governments.

    In his contribution on Iran, Abdollah Ramezanzadeh analyses the Iranian perspective on the geographical location of the Caucasus. After the breakdown of the Soviet Union, Iranian political circles discussed the possibility of the emergence of a new region. The New Middle East or North-West Asia, as the new region has alternatively been called by scholars, would comprise Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyztan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Turkey. Iran would have a central position in a region with very heterogenous religious, linguistic and other cultural traditions. This perception of the region was even less welcome to the international community than the Russian one.

    Besides the Russo- and Iranocentric perceptions, a Turkocentric view of the Caucasus also has to be reckoned with. According to this regional perspective, the large Turkic community of "Turan" in the Caucasus and Central Asia should be united under the leadership of Turkey. This nationalist plan to acquire a dominant position in the Caucasus has had limited success. Turkey has strengthened its cultural, economic and military links with Azerbaijan. It has won an "alphabet war" with Iran over the reform of the script in Azerbaijan, and was particulary active in the process of settling the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia has great difficulty in defending its own interests in the conflict with Turkey regarding the routing of oil from the Caspian See. Despite these achievements, Turkey's hopes of reviving to become a great power with a leading position in the region have not been fulfilled (De Pauw).

    Until the demise of the Soviet Union in December 1991, Western governments refrained from giving any open support to the independence movements in the Transcaucasus and from any involvement in its ethnic conflicts. Only after Armenia and Azerbaijan had been accepted into the CSCE in January 1992, and Georgia in March 1992, did this organization take any initiative in those countries. In the early years of the post-cold war period, Western governments failed to develop a clear regional concept of the Caucasus within the framework of their European security policies. Their interest in the region remained marginal. Their Caucasian policies were subordinated to their relations with Turkey and, especially, Russia. France and the US gave Armenia humanitarian aid. Germany and the US backed Shevardnadze's government - without, however, involving themselves in the ethnic conflicts in South Ossetia or Abkhazia. Where Armenia and Georgia were concerned, in 1993 the Western governments de facto accepted Russia's military dominance in the Transcaucasus, even if they never formally confirmed the Russian concept of a near abroad. Azerbaijan seemed to be more appealing to Western interests. After acquiring substantial interests in the oil exploitation of the Caspian Sea in September 1994, Western countries like the US and Britain reconsidered their former reluctance to send peacekeepers to the region within the framework of the CSCE (OSCE) (Zverev).

    Russia, Iran and Turkey have all succeeded to great empires. Their individual claims to constitute a dominant power, or even to be the centre of a new regional configuration, are based on historical traditions. This is the case not only with Russia and Turkey: eight out of the fifteen former Union republics - including all the ones in the Transcaucasus - have a political or cultural history in common with Iran (Ramezanzadeh). The Minsk group of the CSCE not only included the main regional powers - except Iran - but also some which have a historical tradition in the region, such as France and Germany (Paye and Remacle). France's opposition to the condemnation of the Armenian occupation of Azeri territory by the CSCE may be explained by its desire to re-establish historic links in the region (Paye and Remacle). The German government's active support for Shevardnadze is reminiscent of Germany's involvement in Georgia during the brief period of its independence, in 1918-1921. The participation of British oil firms and the policies of the British government in Azerbaijan are in line with their activities in the Transcaucasus before the October Revolution.

    The regional concepts of Russia, Iran and Turkey encompass either the whole or only some parts of the Caucasus. For Russian foreign policy, part of the Caucasus is on Russian territory and part constitutes its near abroad, so that Iran and Turkey need to be sidelined as far as possible. In the concept of a New Middle East, Armenia and Turkey are included in the region, while the North Caucasus is excluded. The community of Turan does not include the Christian civilizations of Georgia and Armenia, and it also excludes Russia and Iran from its particular regional perspective.

    The regional concepts of Russia, Iran and Turkey are also based on different criteria. Geographical proximity, military security, economic links and a common Soviet past, for example, all feature in the concept of a near abroad. The notion of a New Middle East (or a North-West Asia) contains geographical, historic and economic factors. The vision of a Turkic community stresses first and foremost the cultural affinity between Turkey and the peoples of the Caucasus and Central Asia. In all three concepts, historical tradition and economic opportunities play an important role. The cultural component is dominant in the notion of Turan, but of only secondary importance in the idea of a near abroad or a New Middle East.

    These regional concepts of Russia, Iran and Turkey were formulated at a time when they had to work out the basic principles underpinning a foreign policy concept for the post-Soviet world. During the first few years since the independence of the Transcaucasian states, these concepts have undergone considerable changes. In the case of Iran, for instance, Georgia has taken on much greater significance - as a state linking Iran to Europe in a Caucasian corridor - than it had had at first, in the concept of a New Middle East. Turkey found it had to take the dominant position of Russia into account when formulating practical policy goals in the Transcaucasus. Such modifications were relatively significant but did not supersede the incompatibility between the basic interests and regional concepts of these three states.

  7. Regional Concepts in the Transcaucasus
  8. The incompatibility between the regional definitions of the Caucasus is apparent not only among the heirs to the empires, who have for centuries considered the region to be a place for playing out their international rivalry, but also among political groups and parties in the different Transcaucasian republics. In the three republics, the lack of a basic national consensus on the definition of nationhood and the functioning of political institutions has led to the oppression of political opposition movements and parties or even - in the case of Azerbaijan and Georgia - to civil wars. The question of regional alliances is also fiercely debated between political groups and parties in all the independent republics of the Transcaucasus. In Azerbaijan, the economic question of how to exploit the oil wealth of the Caspian Sea and the military question of how to avoid a humiliating defeat in the war over Nagorno-Karabakh are directly linked to political discussions on the future of the region. The political fate of CP general secretaries and presidents of the republic depended on their views on regional alliances. Abulfaz Elcibey's electoral victory in June 1992 led to a strengthening of relations between Azerbaijan and Turkey to the detriment of Iran and Russia. Elcibey did not rule out the possibility of unification with Iranian Azerbaijan, and refused to join the CIS (Zverev). Russia helped to oust Elcibey and to install the Aliyev government, but failed to enforce a policy in line with its military and economic interests. The multipolar penetration of Azerbaijan (a consequence of its long-term economic prospects) gave Geidar Aliyev greater opportunities for keeping a balance between Russian, Turkish and Western interests. At the February 1995 CIS summit for heads of state in Alma Ata, Azerbaijan refused to have Russian troops stationed along its border with Iran or to participate in a unified CIS air defence system.(11)

    The Georgian national movement of the end of the 1980s hoped to forge close links with Western countries so as to gain more latitude towards the Soviet Union. The Western governments preferred to back Gorbachev's attempts to democratize Soviet federalism than to support Georgian independence. After the demise of the Soviet Union, Western governments - confronted with ethnic conflicts and political turmoil in Georgia - even refused to recognize the independence of Georgia and to establish normal diplomatic relations with the government of Zviad Gamsakhurdia. The coup against the Georgian president and the return of the former communist leader, Eduard Shevardnadze, was supported by both Russia and the West. Shevardnadze's popularity among Western leaders - and above all in government circles in Germany and the United States - raised hopes among the Georgian public that the country would acquire a greater freedom in its relations with Russia. Russian support for Abkhaz secessionists, the resounding Georgian military defeat in Abkhazia and the Western lack of intervention led in October 1993 to a radical revision of the Georgian foreign policy concept. Georgia was forced to imagine a future in a region dominated by Russian interests. It was inconceivable that the secession of Abkhazia and South Ossetia could be prevented without Russian acquiescence. Georgia joined the CIS and accepted Russian military bases on its territory. Later on, Russian intervention in Chechnya was actively supported by Eduard Shevardnadze. He warned Western governments that secessionist movements in the North Caucasus could have a destabilizing effect on the whole region.

    Some regional perspectives on the Caucasus were politically less successful than others. In particular, Elchibey's and Gamsakhurdia's inability to stabilize their power bases are linked to their common failure to develop an adequate concept of the regional environment in which they had to conduct their policies.

  9. The Caucasus Region as a Civilizational Area
  10. The ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus cannot be viewed as a consequence of religious differences. As groups engaged in violent struggle tend to reinforce their cohesion, they may see their religious or other ideological differences as the root of the conflict in which they are engaged. In this sense, religious factors may be an important contributing factor in ethnic strife, but they come second to the general patterns of security perception.(12) The Soviet leadership, for instance, portrayed its military intervention in Baku in January 1990 as a legitimate reaction to the danger of destabilization by Islamic fundamentalism, but active involvement by the Islamic Republic of Iran or other fundamentalist forces was never proven (Zverev). Nor can a clash between Islamic and Christian civilizations be demonstated in the case of Iran's relations with Armenia. Iran tries to preserve a peaceful coexistence with Armenia, despite the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and the Armenian occupation of a large part of Azeri territory. Azerbaijan's religious affinity with Iran (both countries have a Shiite majority) did not lead to close co-operation between the two states. Western governments demonstrate a far greater interest in Azerbaijan than in Georgia or Armenia, despite the fact that both of them have a Christian tradition. The Armenian president, Levon Ter-Petrosian, rightly rejected the idea of a religious origin to the conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh.(13)

  11. Ethnic Relations and Political Stability in Russia, Iran and Turkey
  12. The contributions to this volume situate the primary interests of Russia, Iran and Turkey in the Caucasus region in the spheres of military and economic security. All three countries have converging interests relating to the possible effects of a further destabilization of the region on their domestic policies. Russia, Iran and Turkey are all multicultural societies in which ethnic conflicts can pose a threat to social cohesion and political stability. At the end of 1994, both the Russian and Turkish armies were heavily engaged in fierce battles against ethnic minorities - Russia fighting General Dzhokhar Dudayev's Chechens, Turkey the PKK Kurds. Iran, claiming that the Islamic religion stands above ethnic differences, thus far managed to prevent the emergence of a secessionist movement among its Azeri community. As the Azeris represent the second largest community in Iran, political developments in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan will, however, continue to have far-reaching consequences for domestic policies in Iran.

    Conflicting parties in the Transcaucasus invoke either the principle of the territorial integrity of states or the right to self-determination. It is in the interests of all the neighbouring countries to defend the primacy of the first principle over the second, as they need to prevent secessionist movements from emerging inside their own borders. The Iranian and Turkish governments consequently defended the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan in the conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. And even if influential political forces in Russia did support secessionist movements in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, long-term Russian interests clearly reside in its defence of the principle of the territorial integrity of states.

  13. Exclusive Interests
  14. The contributions to this volume demonstrate that one of the main aims of the security policies of all the foreign powers involved in the Transcaucasus conflicts is to restrict the influence of other powers in the region. After the demise of the Soviet Union, the Russian government did not defend any coherent foreign policy line in the Transcaucasus. Its inability to assert its authority over the warring parties and even to supervise the activities of its own armed forces in the region in the first year of independence can be described as the result of a laissez-faire attitude (Trenin) or a temporary collapse of imperial ideology (Zverev). Such an attitude does not mean that Russia willingly refrained from any form of intervention: it made it clear from the start that its own inability to halt the ethnic conflicts in the Caucasus did not give other powers a free hand to intervene. In response to a threat from Turkey to Armenia over Nakhichevan in May 1992, Russian-Armenian talks were held on the implementation of the Tashkent Treaty on collective security, which was signed the same month. In September 1993, when Iranian troops crossed the border to Nakhichevan(14) , Russia made it unequivocally clear that it could not tolerate such actions in its near abroad (Zverev and Ramezanzadeh).

    The policy of a near abroad, publicly endorsed by Yeltsin in early 1993, linked Russia's specific interests in the Transcaucasus with an acceptance of the CSCE as a legitimizing instrument for Russia's involvement in the region. Russia's appeal to the CSCE did not mean that it would unconditionally accept the active military participation of other CSCE members in peacekeeping activities there. By the end of 1993, Russia had succeeded in preventing outside involvement by restoring its influence throughout the region, forcing Georgia to join the CIS, ensuring that Russian military bases remain on Georgian territory and exercising a monopoly on peacekeeping operations in South Ossetia (since 1992) and Abkhazia (since 1993). The Russian intervention in secessionist Chechnya in December 1994, generally regarded as its first military defeat, led to the Russian military presence in the region being increased even further. The decision of the CSCE (at its Budapest meeting in December 1994) to prepare a multilateral peacekeeping force for Nagorno-Karabakh theoretically ended Russia's monopoly of peacekeeping forces, but it did not reduce its predominance in the settlement of ethnic conflicts in the Transcaucasus.

    Turkey's attempts to restrict the penetration of other neigbouring countries into the Caucasus have met with limited success. One of its main aims has been to prevent both Iran and Russia from reinforcing their military and diplomatic positions in the Transcaucasus (De Pauw). In 1993, Turkey was forced to recognize the military presence of Russia in both Armenia and Georgia and its dominant role in all efforts to settle ethnic conflicts in the region - without, however, agreeing to a Russian-led peacekeeping force for Nagorno-Karabakh or even a mixed Russian-Turkish one (Paye and Remacle). In 1994, Turkey successfully opposed Russia's demands for substantial amendments to be made to the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) convention on the use of heavy weaponry in the Caucasus.

    Some Western governments may trace their present policy of restraining Russia's influence in this region back to their experiences as imperial powers. In previous centuries, pressure from Britain, France, Germany, Turkey and the United States were influential in limiting Russian advances towards the warm seas and the Muslim world.(15) The Western approach - in the UN and CSCE - to Russian policies in the Transcaucasus in recent years has had a similar aim, even if this desire to restrain the Russian presence in the Caucasus takes second place to the aim of marginalizing the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran. By February 1992, US Secretary of State James Baker was already expressing his government's support for an active CSCE policy, in the hope of preventing unilateral action by Iran or Russia (Paye and Remacle).

    Some of the contributions to this book describe the Russian policy towards the warring parties in the Caucasus as one of "divide et impera" (Alexei Zverev, Ghia Nodia). This policy,(16) which has its roots in former Russian and Soviet imperial policies, does not mean that modern Russia has the same leverage as the former Soviet state. Unlike the Soviet power, Russia is not capable of eliminating violent ethnic conflicts in the Transcaucasus or on its own territory in the North Caucasus. The policy of "divide et impera" can be explained as a consequence of the inability of external players to change the pattern of local hostilities. They only may influence the distribution of power between conflicting parties.(17) In its efforts to mediate between the conflicting parties and manipulate them, Russia simply accepts the existing arrangement of local groupings, making no attempt to alter it. This acquiescence in existing conflicts facilitates its penetratation into the security complex.

    Buzan has observed that local and external patterns tend to reinforce each other's rivalries through the addition of resources and allies.(18) The fact that mediation and the aggravation of conflicts are contradictory aspects of the same reality can be observed in the Caucasus. In his contribution, Dmitri Danilov quotes an Armenian diplomat who observes that it is "easier to bring the positions of Baku and Yerevan closer to each other than to reach an agreement between the mediators - Russia and the Minsk Group of the CSCE".

  15. Higher and Lower Level Security Complexes
  16. Soviet power suppressed violent ethnic conflicts throughout the whole of the Caucasus. Overlay (19) made the operation of independent security dynamics in the region impossible. Traditional patterns of hostility re-emerged together with the struggle for independence of the Transcaucasian states. Security questions here have a significance for higher security dynamics which goes beyond the borders of the Caucasus. Strategic positions have been used by both sides as a bargaining chip in global security negotiations. Russia's deployment of military forces in Georgia in 1993 and 1994 aroused some suspicion but no overt opposition from Western governments. In 1994, the United States, in turn, were able to intervene in Haiti with the tacit consent of Russian diplomacy. It was said that both countries had given each other a free hand to intervene in what each considered to be its own back garden.

    Where discussions on new delimiting spheres in Europe are concerned, security questions in the Caucasus are linked to the broader issue of European security. Russia used its intervention in Chechnya at the end of 1994 as an argument to demonstrate that it needed substantial amendments to the CFE Treaty in order to solve ethnic conflicts at its southern flank. In the discussion on the eastward expansion of NATO, the possibility of revising certain provisions of the CFE Treaty as a concession to the Russian military was raised.(20)

    The linkage between security issues in the Caucasus and global security dynamics is not confined to military questions. In its policies in this region, Russia sees economic matters from a geopolitical perspective. A routing which would bypass Russia in transporting Caspian Sea oil to the world markets, for instance, is unacceptable to Moscow, as it might largely free not only Azerbaijan, but also the oil-producing republics of Central Asia and even some regions in the Russian Federation itself, from their dependence on Russia (Zverev).

  17. The Specificity of the Caucasus
  18. Security analysts of the post-cold war era are confronted not only with the challenge of thoroughly understanding new patterns of instability and ethnic conflict, but also with the emergence of new security complexes on the territory of the former Soviet Union. As the home of several dozen distinct ethnic groups, the Caucasus is often described as an area of incomparable ethnic diversity. Despite the region's unique features, however, it is still possible to analyse its particular security patterns using the same concepts as those found in literature analysing other regions of the world. As has been indicated in the present conclusions to this book, it is possible, for instance, to draw on the concepts used by Buzan in his analysis of regional security (even if this theoretical framework is largely based on the cold war experience and does not draw at all on the Caucasian example) in order to have a better grasp of the post-cold war regional security patterns in the Caucasus. At the same time, the subjective regional concepts of all the players involved must be taken into account if the specificity of the Caucasus is to be understood.


  1. I wish to thank Tamara Dragadze, Dmitri Trenin, Eric Remacle and Abdollah Ramezanzadeh for their comments on the first draft of this text.
  2. On the following, see: Barry Buzan, People, States and Fear. An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post-Cold War Era, New York - London, 1991, pp. 186-229.
  3. Ibid., p. 190.
  4. Ibid., p. 205.
  5. Ibid., p. 192.
  6. Ibid., p. 200.
  7. Suzanne Goldenberg, Pride of Small Nations, London and New Jersey, p. 10.
  8. Ibid., p. 4.
  9. Ibid., p. 2.
  10. On the delimitation of the North Caucasus region, see Helen Krag and Lars Funch, The North Caucasus: Minorities at a Crossroads, A Minority Rights Groups International Report 94/95, London, 1994, p. 9.
  11. Elizabeth Fuller, 'The 'Near Abroad': Influence and Oil in Russian Diplomacy', Transition, Vol. 1, No. 6, 28 April 1995, p. 34.
  12. See Buzan, op. cit., p. 197.
  13. Goldenberg, op. cit., p. 156.
  14. According to the Iranian paper Keyhan Havaii (15 September 1993), Iranian troops crossed the border to secure jointly managed dams over the Aras river and to set up refugee camps (Ramezanzadeh).
  15. See Marie Bennigsen Broxup, 'Introduction. Russia and the North Caucasus', in: The North Caucasus Barrier. The Russian Advance towards the Muslim World, London, 1992, p. 1.
  16. On Russia's arms supplies to the Transcaucasus, see Tamara Dragadze, 'Conflict in the Transcaucasus and the Value of Inventory Control', Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 6, No 2, February 1994, pp. 71-73.
  17. See Buzan, op. cit., p. 214.
  18. Ibid., p. 222.
  19. Overlay occurs when the presence of an external player in a region suppresses the normal operation of security dynamics among the local states. According to Buzan, it "normally involves extensive stationing of armed forces in the overlain area by the intervening great power(s), and is quite distinct from the normal process of intervention by great powers into the affairs of local security complexes. Intervention usually reinforces the local security dynamics: overlay subordinates them to the larger pattern of major power rivalries, and may even obliterate them. The best examples of it are the period of European colonialism in what is now the Third World, and the submergence of European security dynamics by superpower rivalry after the Second World War." (Ibid., p. 198).
  20. See: Jane M.O.Sharp, 'Let's Make a Deal: NATO and CFE', The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 51, No 2, March/April 1995, pp. 19-21.

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Contested Borders in the Caucasus, by Bruno Coppieters (ed.)
© 1996, VUB University Press