The South Caucasus
Throughout history the South Caucasus has been a fault zone between East and West. It includes majority Christian Armenia and Georgia as well as majority Muslim Azerbaijan. These states themselves contain diverse populations, reflecting the Caucasus’ history as a frontier between Europe, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, all of which remain important actors in the region. The South Caucasus itself is also deeply fragmented and dotted with “frozen conflicts.” Armenia and Azerbaijan remain locked in struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh, while Georgia is faced with two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, that are supported by Russia. This fragmentation has prevented the region from maximizing its potential as a transit corridor, despite the proliferation of energy pipelines, railways, and other infrastructure connecting it to neighbors to the East and West across the Caspian Sea and eastern Anatolia. The states of the South Caucasus would all like to deepen their engagement with multiple outside partners to bolster their security and prosperity, but face serious challenges closer to home. The CSIS Russia and Eurasia Program tracks developments in this complex and strategically important region to produce analysis that informs the global debate.