Once the landlocked backwater between Iran and the Soviet Union, the Caspian has in the last ten years emerged as the epicentre of vast conflicting interests in a region where massive geopolitical issues converge with enormous energy resources and dramatic latent instability. Russia's conflict in Chechnya is a direct by-product of the strategic importance of the Caspian region. _Troubled Waters_ presents a comprehensive analysis of the political and economic dynamics of the Caspian basin. It examines the area's historical evolution and the diverse issues and players in what has become a modern variant of the Great Game' of the nineteenth century. Following a historical overview of the region and its oil industries, the book analyses the domestic politics and the foreign policies of the five states bordering the Caspian- Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. It further identifies all the external interests involved in the Caspian's political rivalries and control over its resources and territory, including the US, the major European powers, various nationalist movements, Islamic militants, multi-national corporations, NGOs and international financial institutions. These features, coupled with the political and economic risk assessment of the Caspian basin which this book provides, makes this a unique contribution to our understanding of a region which is strategically positioned at the territorial juncture of Russia, China, East Asia and the Middle East.