On December 21, 2006, President Sapirmurat Niyazov, Turkmenistan's all-powerful leader suddenly died. His death led to a succession that was evidently dominated by the secret police whose nominee, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, has established himself as president. Because Central Asia is a cockpit of great power rivalry and a potential theater in the Global War on Terrorism, no sooner had Niyazov died than the great powers were seeking to influence Turkmenistan's future policies away from the neutrality that had been Niyazov's policy. Turkmenistan's importance lies almost exclusively in its large natural gas holdings and proximity to the Caspian Sea and Iran. Because energy is regarded as a strategic asset, Russia, Iran, China, and the United States have been visibly engaged in competition for influence. The outcome of this competition and of the domestic struggle for power will have repercussions throughout Central Asia. In this monograph, Dr. Stephen Blank shows the linkage between energy and security...