CENTRAL ASIAN SURVEY, 2022 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)
With the demise of the Soviet Union, the South Caucasus has turned into a powder keg for Eurasia with rising nationalism and erupting ethnic conflicts. This study explores the complex factors shaping political and military alliance formation by focusing on the South Caucasus. The article argues that the strategic alliances of regional and external powers mainly target to balance threats. The study demonstrates that each country in the region seeks to counterbalance its rival's ambitions and to secure its existence by allying with strong regional or external powers. It argues, however, that there are also cases of strategic compartmentalization, particularly due to extensive energy ties, which cuts across traditional alliance patterns. In this context, the paper also analyses the implications of the Second Karabakh War.