Geopolytikal battle for the Caspian sea: who gets the "Golden pond"?
Material posted: Pankratenko Igor N.Publication date: 14-08-2018
The results of the meeting of heads of Caspian countries, the signing of the new Convention on the Caspian legal status is commented on in an interview Yenicag.RuRussian politician, Deputy of the Center for strategic estimates and forecasts, researcher of China's foreign policy in the middle East and Central Asia, historian Igor Pankratenko.

– Let's go back a little... After the visit of Nazarbayev to the USA, it became known that Washington is interested in establishing a naval base in the Caspian sea, that even has agreed in Astana. And watching the summit in Aktau, we saw quite the opposite. In your opinion, the message of Nazarbayev's consent to provide Americans Kazakh ports was fake, or any such Astana could not resist strong pressure from Moscow and changed his mind, denying the United States the provision of points of support for the establishment of military bases?

– In the form, as this story was filed in the official Russian media is, of course, was a fake, and a very rough quick and dirty. The agreement between Kazakhstan and the U.S. commercial transit of military cargo for the operation in Afghanistan, train and by air – valid from 2010. From 2013, the year between Astana and Washington began talks on the possibility of using the Caspian Aktau port as a transit point of cargo movement, which, with varying degrees of intensity were carried out for several years. And they ended on 21 September 2017, the year with the signing in new York of the Protocol to amend the existing between Kazakhstan and the United States "the transit Agreement", which is in the heart of D.C. this new route is called a "modified version of the Northern distribution network."

For anyone happening it was not a secret, and neither Moscow nor Pro-Kremlin media negative assessments of the events were not given. For obvious reason – they start to resent, Kazakhstan is reasonable to remind them that Russia itself had previously concluded a similar agreement with the United States and actively participated in supplying special NATO cargo to Afghanistan. About how then Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin, mastering today space, lobbied for the creation of a transit NATO base in Ulyanovsk. Or about how on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan under operation enduring freedom, Moscow has made every effort to ensure that Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have agreed to the deployment on its territory of airfields for the U.S. air force and members of the coalition and ISAF.

That is, until a certain point Moscow, realizing the piquancy of the situation, kept his emotions silent. But then that's what happened – 14 APR Kazakhstan did not support the draft resolution of Russia with a demand to condemn and stop the aggression against Syria, and abstained from voting in the UN Security Council. And since two weeks later the upper house of the Parliament of Kazakhstan ratified a Protocol that allows you to use the ports Kuryk and Aktau on the Caspian sea to transport American military cargo to Afghanistan, a Pro-Kremlin propagandists received a command to start a "horror stories" about the fact that Astana, allegedly, agreed to the establishment of American military bases in the Caspian sea. Lied with abandon, with enthusiasm, but exactly to the moment until the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Russia has acted with the special statement. Which rather hinted: "Want a scandal between us? Well, then we will remember and manifest everything we know about how such a anti-American Kremlin promoted the interests of the United States and NATO in Central Asia, and even make money on it". Then the enthusiasm of the Russian plaintiffs Kazakhstan treachery was blown away like a punctured balloon. But, as in the famous joke, "the precipitate remained" fake and running the Ghost continues to roam the expanses of the Internet, digging up corrupted propaganda minds. Here's a story...

– Now Russia and Iran are no more apprehensions on account of the fact that the Caspian sea does not appear NATO forces. And what was the benefit for the rest of the country? After all, the rules of use of the surface and the bottom of the pool the same as previously used, and will continue to use on...

– You know, in my opinion rumors about the current increased attention of the US and NATO, and China to the Caspian sea, the desire of foreign players to ensure their military presence there – a strong exaggeration. Yes, indeed, there was a time when the region stared very intently. But now interest in it, for a variety of reasons, much less. Perhaps with time things will change, the region will once again be seen as a strategic field for the party, but now some "special attention on the part of external players" exist mostly in the imagination of some experts. The idea may sound seditious, but fully confirmed by a number of objective indicators-indicators.

As for the rules, which are reflected in the adopted 12 August in Aktau Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea... you Know, if you call a spade a spade, the mountain gave birth to mouse. A quarter of a century diplomats at the expense of taxpayers sculpted, sculpted, and gave a rather weak document. Which does not answer the main causing the maximum stress in the region. First, on the delimitation of the seabed and subsoil of the Caspian sea, and, secondly, on the General "rules of the game" in relation to the operation of oil and gas reserves and the construction of transit pipelines (in particular, the route Turkmenistan-Azerbaijan-Turkey-Europe, TANAP/TAP/ "southern gas corridor"). Moreover, these key problems were simply removed from the agenda of the "Caspian five" and dropped to a lower level – "by agreement of the adjacent and opposite States, given the universally recognized principles and norms of international law". That is how anyone will agree. In General, the Convention has worked on the principle, if not achieved the desired, then pretend it was meant to.

– Who will benefit more from the adoption of such a Convention and how it react to US?

– In the US, as well, and the rest of the world, to the adoption of the Convention reacted neutrally. In addition to her one of the signatories of this landmark event is not considered. As for the "losers" – it is obvious that the adopted document is not satisfied with Tehran.

However, here too there are some nuances. The principle of military-political presence in the Caspian sea of some other, external players of Iran are quite satisfied. As for the fact that the Convention as a whole and does not remove the existing Tehran claims against "Caspian policy" Baku and Ashgabat, however, it provides Tehran more room for diplomatic maneuver and achieve bilateral agreements. So, definitely talk about the losers or gainers from its adoption would be premature. As I said, the Convention does not answer the key questions around them now and twists the basic plot.

– China – as one of the major powers interested in the Caspian region, aspiring to their capital – as they perceived the new status of the Caspian sea? The Convention jeopardizes the interests of Beijing in the region or on the contrary – quite suits him?

– Completely satisfied. You know, the Caspian sea – one of the sections of one of the routes of the "Belt and Road". And when this plot formed a certain order and the Concept, for all its shortcomings, however, regulates a number of aspects – it is in Beijing perceived to be extremely positive.

Well, some roughness, if any, in the future, China will be traditionally addressed in bilateral negotiations with each member of the "Caspian five".

– If the Caspian countries in this important step, blocking the way West to our region, we can expect the US and its satellites attempts to penetrate “the other way” in the Caspian basin? For example, I think that Afghanistan could explode – and then you know. How real is this threat?

– You know, I absolutely do not believe that the Convention someone out there is "blocked." If anyone really believes that the Americans and their allies here are just obsessed with the desire to build around the Caspian sea, their bases and even to drive there a couple of cruisers – Yes, signed in Aktau document eliminates this possibility. But who said that the penetration into the region, if necessary, will be exclusively military and political methods? There are very effective set of tools to expand its presence investing to sanctions. Which, moreover, is already being implemented.
The question is that the Caspian sea today is still the geopolitical periphery, at least in the perception of serious players. And changing this status to the more prestigious, as is already happening – the question of a distant perspective, while serious preconditions for this do not exist, there is at serious players realistic "in the Caspian case".

As for Afghanistan... despite the complexity of the local situation, about what does not cease to repeat, scale, stress, scale, threat from there for the neighbors there's only one, drug – trafficking. Discussing scenarios "expansion of the Taliban" or "attack of the local branch ISIS" – mostly you need to spend section of the military-political science fiction. Swipe coming from Afghanistan not drug-related threats refers to the sphere in which intelligence agencies, police, border security – not more.

Talked Caucasus Lobster


Tags: Russia , Azerbaijan , Iraq , Caspian Sea