Author: Kseniia Pashaieva
E-mail: kseniya.p.2014@gmail.com
Institution: Odessa I. I. Mechnikov National University,
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002- 2576-6403
Year of publication: 2020
Source: Show
Pages: 13-29
DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/rop2020101
PDF: rop/11/rop1101.pdf

This article reviews the academic literature on the regional security complex of the South Caucasus, which has been drawing the attention of the academic community for a long time. The paper aims to examine the security dynamics in the South Caucasus with a focus on Azerbaijan and a way in which domestic security is interconnected and linked to the region`s neighborhood and global arena. The conceptual framework for the paper is the regional security complex theory, elaborated by Barry Buzan and Ole Wæver. South Caucasus is an unstable region with several secessionist conflicts and interstate wars, exposed to the influence of its neighbors, which shape the regional security environment. Besides, the region is riven by geopolitical fractures as regional states have various foreign policy orientations, which hampers the resolution of regional conflicts and complicates cooperation. The research is carried at three levels of analysis - the domestic level, reviewing internal vulnerabilities and state to state relations, interregional level, examining dynamics between regional and neighboring states, and the last level - global, considering the interplay between regional and the world-leading powers. Correspondingly, sections of the paper study internal challenges and threats of the regional states, examine relations between Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and their neighborhood - Turkey, Iran, Russia, as well as global powers - the EU and the US to analyze similar and conflicting interests and patterns of influence. The article concludes that the South Caucasus security environment is unstable, hampered by the failure of democratic transformation and unresolved conflicts, namely Nagorno-Karabakh, which Russia uses as a tool to keep Caucasian states in a sphere of its influence. It is evident that Azerbaijan plays a vital role in the production and transit of hydrocarbons from the Caspian region to Europe. Therefore, it is crucial to eliminate threats coming from the region and to ensure the security of energy infrastructure, carrying energy resources westwards.

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