Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia: Security Issues and Implications for U.S. Interests [March 11, 2010] [open pdf - 634KB]
"The South Caucasus region has been the most unstable in the former Soviet Union in terms of the number, intensity, and length of ethnic and civil conflicts. Other emerging or full-blown security problems include crime, corruption, terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and narcotics trafficking. The regional governments have worked to bolster their security by combating terrorism, limiting political dissent they view as threatening, revamping their armed forces, and seeking outside assistance and allies. The roles of neighbors Iran, Russia, and Turkey have been of deep security concern to one or more of the states of the region. These and other major powers, primarily the United States and European Union (EU) members, have pursued differing interests and policies toward the three states. Some officials in Russia view the region as a traditional sphere of influence, while Turkish officials tend to stress common ethnic ties with Azerbaijan and most of Central Asia. EU members are increasingly addressing instability in what they view as a far corner of Europe. Armenia has pursued close ties with Russia and Iran in part to counter Azerbaijan's ties with Turkey, and Georgia and Azerbaijan have stressed ties with the United States in part to bolster their independence vis-a-vis Russia. The United States has supported democratization, the creation of free markets, conflict resolution, regional cooperation, and the integration of the South Caucasian states into the larger world community."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30679
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Center: http://www.fpc.state.gov/