Despite the end of communism, the Central Asian republics are still controlled by family-based oligarchtes that continue to rule with an iron-fist. Dissent is ruthlessly suppressed.
Three countries in South Asia—Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan—have between them enormous mineral and energy resources. This makes them the special target of predatory powers.2
The presidents of the five Caspian Sea littoral countries ended a two-day summit in Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, on April 24 without reaching any agreement on how to share the Caspian and its rich hydrocarbon reserves.