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This Note examines the economic, religious, and ethnic connections between Transcaucasian and Central Asian Countries (CACs) and Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. The study finds that there is a growing interdependency between Azerbaijan and the CACs and Turkey, Iran, and Saudi Arabia; that Russia is becoming increasingly estranged from Azerbaijan and the CACs in terms of economic relations and the perception of a religious threat to Russian security; that Turkish, Saudi, and Iranian involvement is weakening Azeri and CAC central authority; and that Iran is the focal point in the region. The study recommends that the United States encourage stability and the kinds of relationships (e.g., emerging international economic organizations) that will limit outbreaks of violence; that it not ignore other emerging states of the former Soviet Union in its focus on Russia; and that it recognize the risks of isolating Iran or siding with Turkey or Saudi Arabia against Iran in the battle over influence.

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