Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The pipeline route passes through or near seven different war-zones
The BTC pipeline passes just 10 miles from Nagorno-Karabakh, the area of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia, where a bloody conflict killed at least 25,000 people and created at least a million refugees.
It passes through Georgia, which remains unstable, with separatist movements in Abkhazia and South Ossetia – movements which the Georgian government tried to violently suppress during the 1990s.
Just across the border into Russia, and still only 70 miles from the BTC pipeline route, the horrific conflict in Chechnya continues. The region also saw related conflict in neighbouring Dagestan in 1999, and fighting between the Russian republics of North Ossetia and Ingushetia in 1992.
In Turkey, the BTC route passes through the edge of the area of the conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK-see 2nd map), now known as Kongra-Gel, where recently a fragile ceasefire was broken off.
[more info on these conflicts]
Due to the unresolved conflict with Armenia, Azerbaijan still keeps strong armed forces, consuming an important share of its budget. Chinese and Russian support of Armenia has led Azerbaijan to seek military co-operation with the West and Islamic countries.
Georgia’s security is threatened by its location just south of the strife-torn Russian republics, including Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia, and also from within by an conflict with the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
In Turkey, the PKK (Kurdistan-see 2nd map) has had a history of targeting oil installations. During the height of their armed conflict with Turkish security forces in the 1990s, the PKK identified Turkish pipelines and oil refineries in the Kurdish regions as legitimate military targets.
Meanwhile, there are clear indications of the host states’ plans to militarise the region of the pipelines system, which would carry grave risks for stability in the region and for human rights.
Posted by Jesus Reyes at 12:54 PM