In recent weeks (especially since the downing of Malaysian Flight 17 over Donetsk, Ukraine), observers, policy professionals, and analysts have begun taking notice of a rising tide of instability and conflict throughout the area of Eastern Ukraine southward to Moldova, and into the Caucasus. Among the more important of these conflicts are regions with sizable ethnic Russian populations, making for an interesting dynamic between Moscow and the developing and emerging democracies of the former Soviet Union and its near abroad.
In the earnest effort to identify both the catalysts of the conflicts and in order to provide understanding for how they may intensify and evolve into open warfare, I have developed a series for SOFREP (with follow-ups at Foreign Intrigue) on the conflicts now bubbling to the surface in Eastern Europe.
The featured photo (above) is a map of Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (photo courtesy of Al Jazeera, changes are my own). There are currently five areas of significant concern for observers of international conflict in the aforementioned regions:
- Transnistria (Moldova)
- Crimea (Ukraine/Russia)
- Abkhazia (Georgia- breakaway region)
- South Ossetia (Georgia- breakaway region)
- Nagorno-Karabakh (Armenia/Azerbaijan)
Each of these areas represents a ‘fracture point’. Loosely defined, fracture points are geographical areas and regions that occupy space along important lines of demarcation or fissure points between the two belligerents and represent geostrategically important terrain straddling the two competing sides of the conflict.
Each one of these fracture points represents an area where powers competing for control could potentially ignite open warfare. Each of these areas has been marked by recent events, government chan, or unrest which reflects a nascent instability
Watch for the first in a series on these conflicts at SOFREP.com this week. First up: South Ossetia.
For more information, you can find the areas referenced in several pieces I have done for Foreign Intrigue and SOFREP.com. The links are here:
- Dagestan and Sochi (December 3, 2013)
- Blue, Yellow, and Orange (December 9, 2013)
- Resurgent Russia Part I (December 12, 2013)
- Resurgent Russia Part II (December 13, 2013)
- Resurgent Russia Part III (December 16, 2013)
- Resurgent Russia Part IV (December 19, 2013)
- North Caucasus and Russia (January 2, 2014)
- Daily Intrigue, May 27, 2014
- Daily Intrigue, May 29, 2014
- Ukraine, Russia, and the West: Ahead and Beyond (July 23, 2014)
- Russia and The West: NATO (Birth, Adulthood, and Evolution) (July 31, 2014)
More articles in this series will be appearing at both Foreign Intrigue and SOFREP starting this week.
(Featured photo: map background courtesy of Al Jazeera. Area markers and defined points are my own.)
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