Russia Gets Way In Caspian Meet

The recent meeting of the five littoral caspian sea states has proven a win-win situation for Russia. Putin was able to get important agreements based more on security then energy.

In going to Iran, Putin became the first Russian president to visit Tehran since the Second World War. The five littoral states are made up of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water by area on Earth. The Caspian is rich with energy sources including oil and natural gas. It is estimated that the oil reserves in the Caspian basin are worth in excess of USD $12 trillion.

From Tehran`s point of view, the Caspian Meet can be seen as a logical step towrds full membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This suits Russia`s long term aims. But what was most interesting about the meet were two agreements reached that in effect had not much to do with energy. The first was an agreement that prohibits other countries from using the littoral states to launch attack on another littoral state under any circumstance. The second agreement stops any ship not flying the national flag of a littoral state on Caspian waters.

Both these agreements have an international agenda and one that is firmly aimed at the United States and Nato. It prevents the United States or Nato from using a Littoral State to launch an attack on another Littoral State. But it also is indicative of a much broader foreign policy by Russia that is aimed at trying to neutrilize American military influence in the area. It remains to be seen if Russia is able to push this style of agreement on other countries in the area.

Brief on Russian Defence, Trade, Security and Energy