A LOOK AT European energy politics.
UPDATE: Further thoughts from T.M. Lutas, who looks at the Caspian route:
Russia has an interest in making the safest, most moral route for that energy westward to be through Russia’s pipeline network. Russia has an interest in instability and odious governments arising in Georgia (or separatist region’s thereof) and Azerbaijan. It has an interest in Turkey’s romance with the EU ending in failure. Most intriguing of all, it has an interest in keeping the mullah regime staggering along in Iran.
It’s the southern route that is most threatening to Russia because unlike the Caucuses, Iran is not historically “bandit country” where grievances are relatively easy to stir up and profound instability is just a few strategic tribal/clan murders away. Iran is historically its own creature, a regional and sometimes world class power that is difficult to disrupt. It’s also the swiftest route for Caspian energy to hit the sea at which point it can go all over the world, including the EU. Russia’s strategy of political impunity through energy dominance of Europe is history if a stable post-mullah regime emerges in Iran.
Read the whole thing.