Conflict and Fragility

Policy briefs

How Syria, Ukraine and Gaza are transforming power dynamics in the Caucasus

19 Feb 2024 - 17:00
Bron: ©Shutterstock

In 2017, Iran, Turkey and Russia met in Astana in a bid to determine the future of the Syrian Arab Republic without Western participation. As a byproduct of this episode, they started to develop a strategic policy understanding between themselves regarding the Levant: especially Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Since then, the war in Ukraine has broadened Iranian, Russian and Turkish cooperation to include the Caucasus. No longer able to ensure regional security but in need of effective sanction bypasses, Russia’s diminished profile created scope for a tighter web of economic partnerships between itself, Iran and Turkey. Using their 2017 Astana collaborative playbook, these three countries have now embarked on a process of creating new value chains, infrastructures, transport routes and regulatory arrangements in the Caucasus, which are no longer grafted onto the global liberal market economy but intend to form a subsystem of their own. The aim is to turn the Caucasus into an economic hub that ties the three partners together. This requires the establishment of stable security relations. The unresolved issue of control over southern Armenia’s Syunik region, a tense relationship between Iran and Azerbaijan and the war in Gaza are important tests for the nascent economic arrangements between Russia, Turkey and Iran. The brief intends to help Western policymakers understand the impact of sanctions on Russia/Iran, and of their support for the Israeli destruction of Gaza, on the prospects for stability and growth in the Caucasus.

Read Policy Brief