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Caspian arms race aimed at establishing control over oil deposits
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posted June 03, 2001 12:17
BBC Monitoring Service
Jun 2, 2001
Samir Mehtiyev, Ilqar Mikayiloqlu, ANS.
[Presenter] The fact that the Caspian states are strengthening their naval forces shows that they are intensifying their struggle for control over oil deposits. Unlike Azerbaijan, the countries which are providing their naval forces with up-to-date speedboats are planning to divide the Caspian into their interest zones.
[Correspondent over video showing the Caspian Sea, Turkmen President Saparmyrat Niyazov - Turkmenbashi] Like Russia, Turkmenistan is strengthening its naval forces. Even though the Turkmen leader, Turkmenbashi, declared while inspecting the naval forces that his country would maintain its neutrality, it is known that Turkmenistan is going to buy 20 speedboats from Ukraine. All these naval vessels are presented as patrol boats. However, 10 of these are vessels of 40 tonnes of displacement provided with large-calibre machine-guns, while the others are eight-tonne speedboats. [passage omitted: more about Turkmenbashi's speech on neutrality]
The Caspian will soon become a militarized zone. Russia has strengthened its naval forces in the Caspian. Iran has a powerful navy in the southern Caspian and if necessary it could bring its naval vessels deployed in the Persian Gulf to the Caspian by railway. In a situation where Russia, Iran and Turkmenistan have powerful naval forces, Azerbaijan cannot be satisfied with its two vessels. [passage omitted: background details]
Russia is describing its naval exercises in the Caspian as anti-terrorist and preventive measures. Turkmenistan could also use such a front. One can expect such steps from Kazakhstan and Iran too. However, this military escalation in the Caspian clearly points to one thing - control over oil deposits.
All times are PT (US)
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