The trans-Caspian gas pipeline would allow European countries to cut their dependence on Russian gas, but with the legal status of the Caspian sea still unresolved the chances of it ever being built are very slim.
Islam Karimov’s successor seemed to hardly pause for breath in his first year as Uzbekistan’s president, delivering effective economic reforms and swiftly purging officials who might stand in his way.
The stakes are high for both sides in the long and dirty battle between fugitive banker Mukhtar Ablyazov and his former cohorts within the Kazakh elite.
Post-nuclear sanctions Iran and post-Karimov Uzbekistan may have a strong mutual interest in building a substantial trade relationship. For Tehran, the move might open the way to repairing relations with Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
As the first train embarks on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, the economic and geopolitical factors pushing Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey to cooperate are as strong as ever.