The Caspian Sea has been a strategic backwater with little relevance to the rest of the world for most of its history. But recent discoveries of large oil and natural gas reserves in the Caspian Sea has set the stage for a Caspian arms race. Russia, the most powerful player in the Caspian region, has announced a plan to add 16 new ships to its navy. Iran is strengthening its second largest naval force in the Caspian region. The country's secretive posture on the Caspian sea intimidates its neighbors Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan who are building their own naval forces from scratch with modest assistance from the U.S. Mistrust lingers over the Caspian "Sea of Peace" as each country views the others' navies as a security threat and invest a lot of money to boost its own military.
This report is part of Pulitzer Center-sponsored project "Militarizing the Caspian" (http://bit.ly/JD6v3X).