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Authored by Dr. Svante E. Cornell.
The attacks on New York and Washington on September 11, 2001, enhanced the importance of both the Transcaucasus and Central Asia to American security. Overflight rights through the Caucasus to Central Asia and Afghanistan are vital components of the ongoing military effort there by both U.S. and NATO forces. But this region has multiple conflicts and fault-lines. As multiple recent crises show, Russo-Georgian tensions connected with South Ossetia and Abkhazia could erupt into open violence at any time. The author outlines the possibilities for conflict in this region and the qualities that make it strategically important, not only for Washington and Moscow, but also increasingly for Europe.