Energy & Geopolitics in the Black Sea and South Caucasus: The Current State of Play

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

10:00 A.M.–3:30 P.M.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Second Floor, Root Room

1779 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20036

 *Watch the video of this conference by clicking here.



9:30 A.M. to 10:00 A.M.


* * *


Opening Remarks

10:00 A.M.


Glen E. Howard

President, The Jamestown Foundation


* * *


Introductory Keynote

10:00 A.M. to 10:45 A.M.

“Black Sea and South Caucasus Security Cooperation”
Michael Carpenter
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia

 DASD Carpenter’s remarks are off the record.

* * *


Panel One

The Strategic Picture

10:45 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.


“Russia’s Shadow Over the South Caucasus”

Stephen Blank

Senior Fellow, American Foreign Policy Council


Can the U.S. Revert Back to a More Assertive Role in the South Caucasus?”

Ambassador Matthew Bryza

Former U.S. Co-chairman of the Minsk Group, and

former U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan


“Azerbaijan’s New Military Strategy in Karabakh:

Out With Deterrence, in With Attrition?”

Zaur Shiriyev

Academy Associate, Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), and

Senior Research Fellow, ADA University, Baku



Glen Howard

President, The Jamestown Foundation


Q & A


* * *



12:00 P.M. to 12:45 P.M.


* * *


Panel Two

Conflicts in the Region: Conserved and Simmering

12:45 P.M. to 2:00 P.M.


“Nagorno-Karabakh: A Conflict of Entrapment”

Janusz Bugajski

Senior Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis


“The Frozen Conflicts in Georgia: Abkhazia and South Ossetia”

Temuri Yakobashvili

President, New Leadership Institute


Conserved Conflict: Russia’s Pattern and Innovations in Ukraine’s East”

Vladimir Socor

Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation



S. Enders Wimbush

Distinguished Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation


Q & A


* * *


Coffee Break

2:00 P.M. to 2:15 P.M.


* * *

Panel Three

Looking Westward: Energy & Transportation Corridors

2:15 P.M. to 3:30 P.M.


“Azerbaijan and the New Energy Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe:

A Book Launch”

Margarita Assenova

Director of Programs for the Balkans, Caucasus & Central Asia,

The Jamestown Foundation


“Shah Deniz and the Southern Corridor: A Project Update”

Greg Saunders

Senior Director, International Affairs, BP


“Azerbaijani Gas Supplies to Europe: Shah Deniz and Beyond”

Gulmira Rzayeva

Principal Research Fellow, Center for Strategic Studies

under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan


“The Baku–Tbilisi–Kars Railway”

Alexander Melikishvili

Senior Analyst, IHS Country Risk Analysis


Q & A


* * *



3:30 P.M.

Participant Biographies

Margarita Assenova

Margarita Assenova is Director of Programs for the Balkans, the Caucasus and Central Asia at The Jamestown Foundation. She is a regular contributor to the Jamestown publication Eurasia Daily Monitor on political and energy security developments in the Balkans. Ms. Assenova is a professional journalist with over 25 years of experience in print and broadcast media. She is a prominent expert on Central Asia and Kazakhstan and has spoken at numerous events on Central Asian integration. After working as a reporter and editor in Bulgaria from 1987 to 1997, she was awarded a John Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University for her reporting on nationalism in the Balkans. Her articles appeared in U.S. and European newspapers, magazines, and online publications, including RFE/RL Newsline and Balkan Report, The Washington Times, The Moscow Times, The World and I, Transitions Online, Balkan Times, The Capital Weekly and Reason Magazine (Bulgaria), Internationale Politik (Germany), Essays in Arts &Sciences, World Finance Review Magazine (UK), and Future Prospects (UAE). Assenova authored book chapters on security, energy, and democracy published by CSIS Press, Brassey’s, Freedom House, and Bertelsmann Foundation Publishers. She has delivered presentations and papers to conferences and panels in the U.S., U.K., Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Albania, Israel, Germany, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan.

Stephen Blank

Stephen Blank is a Senior Fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington. From 1989–2013 he was a Professor of Russian National Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania. Dr. Blank has been Professor of National Security Affairs at the Strategic Studies Institute since 1989. In 1998–2001 he was Douglas MacArthur Professor of Research at the War College.

He has published over 900 articles and monographs on Soviet/Russian, U.S., Asian, and European military and foreign policies, testified frequently before Congress on Russia, China, and Central Asia, consulted for the CIA, major think tanks and foundations, chaired major international conferences in the USA and abroad In Florence, Prague, and London, and has been a commentator on foreign affairs in the media in the United States and abroad. He has also advised major corporations on investing in Russia and is a consultant for the Gerson Lehrmann Group.

He has published or edited 15 books focusing on Russian foreign, energy, and military policies and on International Security in Eurasia. His most recent book is Russo-Chinese Energy Relations: Politics in Command, London: Global Markets Briefing, 2006. He has also published Natural Allies? Regional Security in Asia and Prospects for Indo-American Strategic Cooperation, Carlisle Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, 2005.

Dr. Blank is also the author of a study of the Soviet Commissariat of Nationalities, The Sorcerer as Apprentice: Stalin’s Commissariat of Nationalities, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1994 and the co-editor of The Soviet Military and the Future, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1992.

Prior to this appointment Dr. Blank was Associate Professor for Soviet Studies at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine, Research, and Education of Air University at Maxwell AFB. He also held the position of 1980–86: Assistant Professor of Russian History, University of Texas, San Antonio, 1980–86, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Russian history, University of California, Riverside, 1979–80.

Dr. Blank’s M.A. and Ph.D. are in Russian History from the University of Chicago. His B.A is in History from the University of Pennsylvania.

Ambassador Matthew Bryza

Matthew Bryza is a member of the Board of Directors of The Jamestown Foundation. He is also a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States. He resides in Istanbul, Turkey, where he heads Lamor Turkey, an environmental solutions company and joint venture with Lamor, a leading Finnish “green tech” company. Bryza is also a board member of several private companies focused on energy and the environment and headquartered in Finland, the UK, and Turkey.

Bryza served 23 years as a U.S. diplomat, over half of which he spent at the center of policy-making and international negotiations on major energy infrastructure projects and regional conflicts in Eurasia. His most recent assignment was as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan from February 2011 to January 2012.

During 2005 to 2009, Ambassador Bryza served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, with responsibility for Eurasian Energy, the South Caucasus, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus. Ambassador Bryza simultaneously served as the U.S. Co-Chair of the OSCE’s Minsk Group mediating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and as U.S. mediator of the Cyprus, South Ossetia and Abkhazia conflicts.

During 2001 to 2005, Ambassador Bryza served in the White House as Director for European and European Affairs on the National Security Council Staff. His responsibilities included Eurasian energy, the South Caucasus, Central Asia, and political Islam in Eurasia.

Previous assignments include Deputy to the Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Energy, Advisor on Economic Reform in the South Caucasus and Central Asia and Russia Desk Officer at the State Department; and Political Officer at the U.S. Missions to Russia (1995–97) and Poland (1989–91).

Janusz Bugajski

Janusz Bugajski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington, DC, and host of several television shows broadcast in the Balkans. Bugajski has authored 19 books on Europe, Russia and trans-Atlantic relations. His recent books include Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared (2014), Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement (2013), Georgian Lessons: Conflicting Russian and Western Interests in the Wider Europe (2010), Dismantling the West: Russia’s Atlantic Agenda (2009), America’s New European Allies (2009); and Expanding Eurasia: Russia’s European Ambitions (2008).

Michael Carpenter

Dr. Michael Carpenter is Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. He also has responsibility for the Western Balkans and Conventional Arms Control.

Prior to joining the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Carpenter served in the White House as the Special Advisor to the Vice President for Europe and Eurasia. Previously, he served as Director for Russia at the White House National Security Council.

During a 12-year career with the State Department, Dr. Carpenter served in various positions, including Deputy Director of the Office of Russian Affairs, Speechwriter for the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, NATO-Russia officer in the Office of Regional Political-Military Affairs, and Advisor on the South Caucasus. He has served overseas at the U.S. Embassies in Slovenia and Barbados.

While at the State Department, Dr. Carpenter received four Superior Honor Awards and three Meritorious Honor Awards.

He holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in International Relations from Stanford University. Dr. Carpenter was a Fulbright Scholar at the Polish Academy of Sciences and has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, MacArthur Foundation, and IREX Foundation for his academic research.

Alex Melikishvili

Alex Melikishvili is a Senior Analyst with IHS Country Risk Analysis and Forecasting’s Europe and Commonwealth of Independent States team. His current country remit includes Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Mr. Melikishvili specializes in analyzing risk environment in the Caucasus and Central Asia, terrorism in the North Caucasus, energy geopolitics, ethnic conflicts in post-Soviet states, elite competition and succession scenario modeling in Central Asian states, including influence mapping. He co-authored Islam in Russia: Politics of Identity and Security, which was published in 2004. Mr. Melikishvili’s analytical commentary and research articles appear in Jane’s Intelligence Review, The Guardian, EurasiaNet, National Public Radio, Al Arabiya News, and others. Alex received an M.A. in International Affairs with the concentration in Security Studies from the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He speaks Georgian and Russian.

Gulmira Rzayeva

Ms. Gulmira Rzayeva is a senior research fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies (SAM) under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Research Associate at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies (OIES). She is currently a contributing analyst to The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor. Her area of expertise includes energy security covering issues such as the energy policy of Azerbaijan and Black Sea/Caspian region energy security, Turkish domestic natural gas market, European gas market. As part of her engagements in this field, she has worked at the Moscow Carnegie Center as a visiting research fellow and Finish Aleksanteri Institute of the Helsinki University. Ms. Rzayeva is recognized worldwide for her reports and seminal articles about energy focusing on the region, as well as, as an invited speaker in some of the most prestigious universities, think tanks and prestigious international conferences world-wide. Having a B.A. in international relations from the Baku Slavic University and an M.A. in Global Affairs from the University of Buckingham, UK, Ms. Rzayeva has published several scholarly publications focusing on her area of expertise. She is an another of “Turkish Natural Gas Market: Policies and Challenges” and “The Outlook for Azerbaijani Gas Supplies to Europe” published at the OIES.

Greg Saunders

Greg Saunders is the Senior Director, International Affairs, responsible for U.S. political and government relations in support of BP’s global portfolio of commercial operations. He joined BP’s Washington office in 2004.

Mr. Saunders was previously posted to BP’s corporate headquarters in London and then to Algeria. Resident in Algiers, he served as the Director for Communications and External Affairs and was responsible for corporate responsibility, reputation/branding and relationship management programs for BP’s extensive oil and gas operations in Algeria as well as its entry strategy in Libya.

Prior to joining BP, he culminated a career with the US government with assignments in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Mr. Saunders graduated from West Point with a Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering. He has an MBA from George Washington University and an M.A. in International Relations from the Naval Postgraduate School. He is also a graduate of the French Ecole de Guerre in Paris. He speaks French and Portuguese.

Zaur Shiriyev

Zaur Shiriyev is an Academy Associate at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) in London. He is a senior research fellow at ADA University, Baku, where he has worked since May 2014. Prior to joining ADA he worked as leading research fellow at the Center for Strategic Studies (2009–14), the Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies, Istanbul and the International Strategic Research Organization, Ankara. He is currently a contributing analyst for the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor and has previous editorial and journalistic experience in Azerbaijan and Turkey. Zaur has published numerous articles and commentaries and co-edited The Geopolitical Scene of the Caucasus: A Decade of Perspectives (Istanbul; 2013) and Azerbaijan and the New Energy Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe (Washington, DC; 2015).

Vladimir Socor

Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to present), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies there, focusing on energy policies, regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs.

Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions. He is a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program (Kennedy School of Government). He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Mr. Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983–1994). He is a Romanian-born citizen of the United States based in Munich, Germany.

S. Enders Wimbush

S. Enders Wimbush is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation and a Senior Partner of StrateVarious, LLC (Washington, Virginia) and a Public Policy Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars (Washington, DC). He has been Senior Director of Foreign Policy of the German Marshall Fund of the United States; and Senior Fellow and Senior Vice President for International Programs and Policy at the Hudson Institute. From 2010 to 2012, Mr. Wimbush served on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the oversight and strategy institution for all U.S. international broadcasting. Earlier, from 1987 to 1993, he served as the Director of Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany. He is the author, with Elizabeth Portale, of the recently released study “Reassessing U.S. International Broadcasting.”

Wimbush spent many years in the consulting world with Booz Allen Hamilton, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Hicks & Associates, Inc. From 1980–1986, Mr. Wimbush founded and directed the Society for Central Asian Studies in Oxford, England, where he created international journal Central Asian Survey. From 1977 to 1980, he worked as a senior analyst for the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California.

Wimbush is the author, co-author or editor of seven books and numerous articles in professional and popular media, as well as dozens of policy studies. His ideas on strategy and international and public policy have appeared frequently in professional, policy and popular media, including The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Journal of Commerce, National Interest, Survival, Global Affairs, The Weekly Standard and others.

Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili

Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili is the founder and president of the New International Leadership Institute. Up to fall of 2014, he held position of the Senior Transatlantic Fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the US. From early February 2011 to March 2013 he served as an Ambassador of Georgia to the United States. Prior to his posting, he was a Deputy Prime Minister and State Minister for Reintegration in the Government of Georgia.

Ambassador Yakobashvili is a career diplomat who joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia in 1991 and held various positions, including that of a Director of the Department for USA, Canada and Latin America. He holds a diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary granted by the President of Georgia.

Amb. Yakobashvili is a graduate of the Department Physics from the Tbilisi State University. In 1998 he was trained on Mid-career Diplomatic Courses at the Center of Political and Diplomatic Studies at Oxford University. He is a Yale World Fellow (2002) and in 2004 participated in the Executive Security Program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. 2006 he was visiting researcher at the Silk Road Study Center of Uppsala University, Sweden.

Ambassador Yakobashvili is co founder and has served as an Executive Vice-President of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), leading think tank in the Caucasus region. Now he chairs the Governing Board of the GFSIS. Amb. Yakobashvili is co founder of the Atlantic Council of Georgia, as well as of the Council of Foreign Relations of Georgia. He is a member of the Governing Board of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA) and the Europe House of Georgia.

Ambassador Yakobashvili frequently contributes to Georgian and international media on issues of regional security and transformation. On February, 2012 Amb. Yakobashvili was decorated with the Presidential Medal of Excellence. He is married to Ms. Yana Fremer; they have two children, George and Miriam. He speaks Georgian, English, Russian and Hebrew.