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Legal Case of the Caspian Sea - Research Paper Example

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Introduction The Caspian Sea has been problematic ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 to 1992. Before the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea was owned, by treaty, by the Soviet Union and Iran. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea was abutted by five different countries – Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan…
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Download file to see previous pages Iran and Russia, especially Iran, favor splitting the sea equally among the countries, with each country owning the sea with joint sovereignty. The other countries, however, favor partitioning – they get certain parts of the sea to control for their countries, and the other countries get their own slice of the pie. This describes the conflict in a nutshell. However, the conflict is more complex because other, more powerful countries, like China and the United States, have taken sides. This paper will describe the conflict, along with describing other water based conflicts, in recommending the best course of action for the five countries in dispute over the Caspian Sea. Discussion The dispute over the Caspian Sea has as its genesis the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991-1992. According to Mirfendereski (2001), prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea was the province of only two countries – the Soviet Union and Iran. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, however, the Caspian Sea was abutted by Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Further, Mirfedereski (2001) stated that, soon after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea became a matter of international business, as, in addition to the countries abutting the Sea, other countries, such as the United States and China, developed a strategic interest in the region, because of the Sea’s rich and oil and gas reserves. As Zeinolabedin et al. (2011) states, the Caspian Sea and how it is divided up between the countries is important to the countries, and to the world, because of the Caspian Sea’s resources, particularly in the area of oil and gas. Roberts (2001) states that the issue of the Caspian Sea energy development is dominated by four factors – uncertain oil prices; the geology and geography of the area; the pipeline issue; and the ability of the Turkish government to develop a coherent energy import policy. Before the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea was divided according to agreements made between Iran and the Soviet Union in 1921 and 1940 (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2009). However, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, this agreement became problematic, although Russia initially proposed, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, that the countries share the Caspian Sea, with the exception of ten miles (Laruelle & Peyrouse, 2009). The other countries, however, did not agree with this plan. This means that, for the new countries which abutted the Caspian Sea, there was not specific guidance on how the Sea should be partitioned. However, Mirfendereski (2001) states that at this time there was, when the Soviet Union was intact, delineations that the Soviet Union had made for the Caspian republics. There was also a division between the Soviet Union and Iran, called the Astara-Hassanqoli line. However, as these delineations meant that Russia had to concede a large portion of the Sea, Russian disputed the Soviet Union delineations, according to Mirfendereski (2001). What Russia was seeking, according to Mirfedereski (2001), was an equal but undivided share of the Sea as a whole, as opposed to partitioning. Iran, whose ostensible partition of the Caspian Sea, per the Astara-Hassanqoli line, deprived it of offshore petroleum deposits, went along with the Russian plan to ignore the Astara-Hassanqoli line and divide the Sea up so that each country had an equal but undi ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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