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Saakashvili and the united Caucasus

By Messenger Staff
Monday, August 15
On August 9, President Saakashvili of Georgia once again proclaimed the idea of a united Caucasus. Talking about the unity of a region which is embroiled by conflicts sounds weird. There is frozen conflict in the North Caucasus inside the Russian federation. There is a tense situation in the Karabakh region between Armenian and Azeri forces. Georgia has two breakaway regions being occupied by Russia. Against this background, some of the analysts think that Saakashvili is echoing the thoughts of certain western circles who want to solve the territorial integrity problems in the Caucasus through some kind of confederation.

Saakashvili acknowledged the issue of conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan but expressed his hope that this would be settled in the near future. These problems are our problems as well, stated the Georgian president. However optimistic the Georgian president might sound, the Karabakh conflict is a major obstacle for promoting any possibility of creating Caucasus unity. The resolution of this conflict cannot be achieved soon and therefore Caucasus unity cannot be achieved soon either. President Saakashvili thinks that under the idea of a united Caucasus eventually Tbilisi will become the capital, although some analysts object and say that currently Baku has become a more important city than Tbilisi. This opinion is based on the energy resources possessed by Azerbaijan and the inability of Georgia to avoid military conflict in 2008 and the subsequent occupation of its territories.

Some analysts suggest that the borders of the Caucasus countries might also be revised. So far, Russia has strongly opposed this idea of Caucasus unity. One thing that should be noted about a united Caucasus is that Georgia and Azerbaijan would have to cope with territorial losses. This idea has advantages and disadvantages as well. Georgia and Azerbaijan will definitely lose their control over the territories of Karabakh, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region but eventually if unity happens they would be returned to their initial de jure status. Of course this idea has opponents among the nationalist oriented circles of all the countries. However it will be interesting if this idea starts to gather popular support.

So the question is this: is this idea just an attractively cloaked disintegration of historic states or is there a genuine hope for unity in the region through a confederation?