Sadri, Houman A.: Global Security Watch--The Caucasus States.

Author:Bishku, Michael B.
Position:Book review

Sadri, Houman A. Global Security Watch--The Caucasus States. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger (an imprint of ABC CLIO), 2010. 270 pp.

This book is the eighth in a series that includes four countries in the Middle East (Iran, Egypt Turkey and Lebanon)--to which the South Caucasus has been connected throughout history--as well as Russia. (1) It is composed of five chapters: The first is a brief overview of the geography, history and current international relations of the three South Caucasus republics (Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia); the next three are reviews and analyses of those individual countries' respective security concerns; and the last is a brief summary of the preceding chapters' themes. In addition, there are seven appendices presenting brief biographies of key political leaders since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, chronologies of political and military security events (with major emphasis on the period of independence), and reproductions of the three states' respective constitutions as well as a few other important documents. (All of those documents are available in English on the Internet, but is convenient to have them in one place.) Houman Sadri concludes that the "Clash of Civilizations" theory of the late Harvard University political scientist Samuel Huntington (2) failed for the most part "to predict state relationships in the region" and that the "most prudent explanation of the causes or sources of security threat ... [are] separatism, internal instability, and international rivalry." (p. 146) For example, "Orthodox Christian" Georgia is allied with "Islamic" Turkey and Azerbaijan and went to war with "Orthodox Christian" Russia in 2008, while "Orthodox, or more precisely, Apostolic Christian" Armenia has very good relations with "Islamic" Iran.

Indeed, Russia's war with Georgia was over mostly Christian-populated South Ossetia's right to secede; Georgia's other separatist region supported by Russia is majority-Christian Abkhazia. The third ongoing conflict in the South Caucasus region, however, is over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave located within Azerbaijan. These conflicts obviously...

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