[The following article gives a detailed analysis of the forces in and around the Caspian, each of them actively defending their own piece of turf. It also spells-out the growing US presence within these national forces, as well as the problems the Imperial presence is causing. Russia has a slight window of opportunity to checkmate the US expansion plans for the Caspian itself, by virtue of the vastly superior Russian naval, ground and air forces already deployed there. Just as the US grand scheme has been to open-up a multitude of small confrontations between the US forces and Russian allies throughout the Asian theater, Russia has the opportunity to reverse the process in several of these small conflicts at once (Syria, Caspian, Caucasus), so as to overcome US forces there, while simultaneously bolstering allies.
We are living in the most troubled time in all human history, how we resolve those troubles will determine the future of our single race. Russia is the only power on earth separating civilization from a new barbarism (which paradoxically and hypocritically masquerades as "humanitarianism"). Does the human race live on, to grow and to prosper as a single tribe or family, or will our race be relegated to the dustbin of history, to be replaced by another new, more savage neanderthal race? Like this supposition, or not, but it sure looks as though Vladimir Putin gets to decide the future of the human race.]
The ever-increasing excitement about the energy resources of the Caspian Sea has given impetus to the formation of political-military knot of contradictions.
The ever-increasing excitement about the energy resources of the Caspian Sea has given impetus to the formation of political-military knot of contradictions in the region, creating one of the most dangerous conflict zones in contemporary world politics, which has already received a “code” international title – the southern arc of instability.
In addition, as expected in zones of instability, the Caspian states are constantly arming, increase its naval presence. And leadership in this process in some areas seems to have been transferred from Russia to Azerbaijan, which should not be overlooked Russian political and military leadership.
The geopolitical situation in the region
After the Soviet collapse interstate differences came to the fore in the geopolitical situation in the Caspian region.
Five Caspian littoral states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Russia and Kazakhstan) have long been vainly trying to reach an agreement on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. But she had a problem Caspian slowly becoming an increasingly volatile and unpredictable.
The ratio of the Navy in the past have had a significant impact on the region, but it is at present the military factor is strongly associated with the foreign policy aspirations of the Caspian states to protect and promote their interests at the regional level through military force, or at least acts of intimidation.
For Russia, the Caspian Sea region is not so much a resource positions, but as the area of geostrategic importance in terms of national security in the south.
Feature of the region in the Russian Federation is that almost all of the factors that influence the course of events, working against Russia. This requires that the Russian foreign policy to prevent the impending demolition of the safety line to the south.
There are many variants of division of the Caspian Sea. For example, Russia and Kazakhstan propose to divide the seabed and its resources between all coastal states to determine quotas of these countries in the fishing industry, but to leave the waters of the sea in common use.
Azerbaijan calls allocate all resources on the basis of the international law of the sea, that is split at the bottom, and the clear waters of the sea borders between the states.
In an embodiment of Turkmenistan proposed to allocate the share of each country in the region in the production of energy and fisheries resources, but to leave shared by the central sector of the Caspian Sea.
In this issue is the most rigid position of Iran – Allocate to each country to 20 percent of the area and the bottom of which is opposed by, inter alia, Azerbaijan. However, this option also remains unresolved the question of determining the coordinates of the median line of the sea, which will be determined by the boundary of the national sectors in the Caspian region of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
Alternatively Iranian waters remain in common use, but for each country should be fixed equal share in the development of oil and gas and fisheries resources.
Interference of third countries
Despite the high level of interest of many international organizations in matters of cooperation with the countries of the region, development of the overall situation of concern.
In 2004, the U.S. administration has launched an initiative “Caspian Guard» (Caspian Guard) to assist a number of Caspian CIS countries to establish systems of control of the Caspian Sea as well as the formation of the special forces to protect the export pipelines.
The program of “Caspian Guard” with the following main objectives: to build a system for monitoring air and sea space, the creation of rapid reaction forces and border control, training of troops participating countries and the provision of economic and political support to partners. U.S. plans to help Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to develop naval forces.
Russia expressed its dissatisfaction with the U.S. initiatives, and in turn create an initiative in the Caspian collective rapid reaction forces generated from the military only littoral states. Iran supported Russia.
Contributes to the militarization of the Caspian Sea and Europe – the EU proposed the idea of a stabilization plan for the Caspian region and the joint forces under the aegis of the OSCE. Russia’s position is unequivocal and unambiguous. ”Since the Caspian Sea is an inland sea coastal countries, the protection of maritime borders – the prerogative of these states themselves, which are services of third countries do not need,” – said the representative of the Russian Embassy in Azerbaijan.
Increased military presence
After the collapse of the USSR Soviet Caspian Flotilla was divided between the newly independent states of the Caspian Sea, and the command of the naval forces of the United Forces of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan originally performed exclusively by Russia.Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in the voluntary-involuntary abandoned its interest in the section of the flotilla.
The composition of Azerbaijan includes Navy surface ships crew, consisting of patrol division, battalion landing ships, minesweepers Division, Division of SAR vessels and training division of vessels and ships brigade of water region. Almost all ships and boats are based in Baku. Also included in the structure of the Navy Marine battalion (2,000), reconnaissance and sabotage center of the special-purpose coastal units and divisions, military Shipyard (formerly the 23rd Military Plant Soviet Navy).
In total, the Azerbaijani Navy has 14 warships and boats, 23 auxiliary vessels. Auxiliary fleet is represented by more than two dozen different courts. Total strength of the VMC Azerbaijan for 2008 – 3500. The reserve is in the Coast Guard crews patrol ships.
Baku intends to combat international terrorism, placed along the Caspian coast seven radar. With Pentagon Azerbaijan established a unit of naval special forces.
Air support for Navy and Coast Guard can provide the Air Force of Azerbaijan, on the Caspian coast only they have three air bases, “pumping”, “Lankaran” and “Kala”. The air force has a frontline bombers Su-24, MiG-29, MiG-25, MiG-21, Su-25, helicopters for various purposes, military transport aircraft.
Iran now – the second naval power in the Caspian Sea after Russia. National Navy in this region are represented by two different commands security forces: Navy Army and Navy IRGC. Their battle of the Coast Guard has units and lungs (katernye) division. In service with the army and the IRGC Navy Iran on the Caspian Sea are from 50 to 90 combat and support units of the ships, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and naval aviation – only up to 3000.
At present, Iran is able in a short time and a half times increase the grouping of their ships in the Caspian Sea by boat transfer from the Persian Gulf.
Until 2003, Kazakhstan has the Caspian Border only boats and one patrol boat. The main strength of his fleet now consists of 16 patrol and patrol boats, two offshore trawlers, two hydrographic boats, personnel – 3000. In Aktau and Atyrau – airbases naval aviation: six Mi-8 and six Mi-6. In addition, in Aktau brigade deployed base of coastal defense, in Atyrau deployed Marine battalion.
For the defense of the naval forces at sea, conduct maritime reconnaissance and attacks on surface targets Kazakhstan could use its air force aircraft (Air Defense Forces). Only at the air base “Aktau”, located in the immediate vicinity of the Caspian Sea, has 14 Su-25s, two Su-25UB, 16 Su-27P, two Su-27UB.
The naval forces of Kazakhstan strengthen coastal defenses in the Caspian Sea with a new antiship missile system Exocet MM40 Block 3, the letter of intent was signed by the Navy of Kazakhstan, JSC “NC” Kazakhstan Engineering », MBDA and INDRA Sistemas in the international exhibition of military equipment KADEX -2012 in Astana. Coastal defense system based Exocet can take control of a greater volume of the Caspian Sea and also able to withstand a serious threat.
Turkmenistan has also continued to build up its military presence in the Caspian, and the Navy plans to buy for the most advanced military boats and weapons.
All patrol boats brought to the brigade of water region patrol ships. Most modern ships: two boats “Sable” Project 12200 missile boats and two Project 12418 of the “Lightning”. In the Navy a battalion of a brigade of marines, it actually tasked with coastal defense. The number of personnel in the fleet, along with the coastal services – about 2000.
Air Forces of Turkmenistan are up to 250 helicopters and aircraft, including the MiG-29, MiG-25, MiG-23/MiG-23U, MiG-21 and Su-25.
Air Force used in Turkmenistan including the patrolling of the Caspian Sea, thereby compensating the lack of power of the fleet. At the same time, it can be employed to combat missions in the area.
Changing the priority of Russia in the Caspian Sea was in 2000, this was due to increased military and political presence in the coastal areas of the Caucasus and Central Asia in the early 2000s. In this regard, Russia has gone on increasing its military forces in the Caspian Sea region, can ensure security of energy fields, protect the economic interests of Russian and objectives for the protection of the southern borders of the state.
At present the Russian Caspian fleet consists of 14 combat ships and boats, including two frigates project 11661K “Tatarstan” and “Dagestan”, two small artillery ships Project 21630 “Astrakhan” and “Volgodonsk.”
The composition of the fleet includes 847-th separate coast missile battalion (Astrakhan), 77th Separate Guards brigade of marines (Kaspiysk), a division of supply vessels and the Division of rescue vessels and a helicopter squadron.
Recently coastal units Flotilla latest missile system “Ball.” In addition, for it is already enshrined four small rocket ship of project 21631 of the “Hail Sviyazhsk.”
The Coast Guard also has the Russian border guards modern ships, for example, in the Caspian Sea are the boat project 14310 “Mirage” and Project 12150 “Mongoose”, soon to join the PSKR “Brilliant” (plant number 502) of the project 22460.
Today the situation in the Caspian region escalates amid stalled negotiations, that the hand of external actors, especially the U.S. and, according to some international experts, China. But who will lose – this is Europe, drawing attention to the Caspian oil into the war against Libya and pinned high hopes on the region.
Many analysts are afraid of Russia, the development of naval forces of Azerbaijan. While they do not cause much concern major naval rivals in the Caspian Sea – the Russian Navy and the Iranian navy, especially since there is no part of their naval aviation and ship structure has mostly obsolete ships. In the medium term, things can change very serious in this country partners: U.S., Israel and Turkey.