"Five Central Asian states emerged out of the Soviet Union's Central Asian republics in 1991. Although U.S. policymakers presumed that Iran would inevitably sweep them into its sphere of influence, this has not happened. Nor is it likely to occur. Instead there has developed a multi-state competition for influence and even control of these new states. This competition involves Russia as the leading force in the area and Moscow's main rivals are Turkey, Iran, Pakistan (and India), China, and the United States. This rivalry is particularly strong in the struggle among these states to gain positions of leverage over the energy economy, i.e. production, pipelines, and refining in Central Asia because this region is blessed with enormous energy deposits. These deposits are crucial to Central Asia's integration with the world economy and economic progress. Indeed, energy exports may be the only way these governments can hope for any economic stability and progress in the future."
Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC): http://www.dtic.mil/