In a monumental move, Russia just sealed a deal with its Caspian neighbors to delineate the disputed maritime borders between them.
This move carries with it enormous geopolitical meaning, and in no particular order, here are some of the most significant results:
- Russian Leadership: Russia has demonstrated that it is capable of leading a regional and diverse group of actors to an understanding that even the UN and its Convention on the Law of the Sea couldn’t achieve after over two decades (and to which Azerbaijan and Iran almost went to war over in 2001).
- Russian Inclusion: This agreement shatters the narrative that the West has ‘isolated’ Russia, as it is clearly the hegemon in the Caspian, and accordingly, has strong influence over what has been previously forecasted as one of the largest untapped energy regions in the world.
- Iranian Opening: All of the cooperative countries in the Caspian are showing that they will cooperate and interact with Iran in this regard, not only opening the avenue for future cooperation in other spheres, but clearly showing that Iran, too, is not isolated.
- Tehran Backup Plan: If the November nuclear talks fail and Western sanctions are re-imposed, Iran now has other options with who it can deal with, namely the Eurasian Union (Russia & Kazakhstan) and the other Caspian littoral states.
- Boo-hoo to the EU!: The long-discussed idea of a Turkmen-Azeri gas pipeline under the Caspian has now been scuttled, as the inland sea past each state’s maritime borders will be developed jointly. This means that Turkmen gas (among the top 5 reserves in the world) will never reach the European market without Russia and Iran’s acquiescence, which is extremely unlikely.
The most surprising fact is that all of this seemingly came out of nowhere for the West.
It shows that Russia is capable of planning and executing major geopolitical achievements worthy of a major global player, despite being denied this recognition by its Western ‘partners’.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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