Skip to comments.Is the United States Losing Azerbaijan?
Posted on 04/24/2010 1:57:24 AM PDT by bruinbirdman
Azerbaijans long-standing alignment with the United States is rapidly unraveling in the wake of Washingtons recent policy initiatives. As perceived from Baku, those US initiatives fly in the face of Azerbaijans staunch support over the years to US strategic interests and policies in the South Caucasus-Caspian region.
Current US policies, however, are seen to favor Armenia in the Karabakh conflict resolution negotiations, curry favor with Armenian advocacy groups in domestic US politics, split Turkey and Azerbaijan from one another over the Karabakh issue, isolate Azerbaijan in the region, and pressure Baku into silent acquiescence with these policies.
Key actors in the region tend to share Azerbaijans perceptions in this regard. During last weeks nuclear safety summit in Washington, Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, and Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, spoke frankly in this regard. They told US interlocutors at every step that the refusal to invite Azerbaijans President, Ilham Aliyev, to the summit was a mistake, counterproductive to US interests in the region, and confirming perceptions that Washington was attempting to isolate Baku.
US President, Barack Obamas, meeting with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan during the Washington summit (while failing to invite the Azerbaijani president) confirmed perceptions that Armenian issues in US domestic politics distort Washingtons policy on the Karabakh conflict and toward Azerbaijan.
Azeri presidential administrations political department
chief Ali Hasanov
Ankara had cautioned Washington against such moves ever since Erdogans December 2009 visit to the US. At least from that point onward, Turkey has closed ranks with Azerbaijan, instead of distancing from it and opening the Turkish-Armenian border promptly and unconditionally at the Obama administrations urging. The administration insists on de-linking the border opening from the continuing Armenian military occupation of seven districts beyond Karabakh, deep inside Azerbaijan. The administration had, instead, hoped to link the border opening with the April 24 US anniversary of the 1915-1918 Armenian events in Ottoman Turkey.
Washingtons summit miscalculation is the latest in a year-long series of blows to US-Azeri relations. This trend continues amid an apparent US strategic disengagement from the wider region (rationalized as a strategic pause to assuage pro-US governments there). In Azerbaijans case, Washington seems unable even to fill the long-vacant post of US ambassador in Baku. The vacancy deprives the United States of steady high-level access to Azerbaijans leaders (which had never been a problem previously), while making it more difficult for Washington to grasp the crisis in US-Azerbaijan relations and its region-wide implications.
Addressing an April 14 cabinet meeting in front of TV cameras, President Aliyev criticized the US policy of pushing Turkey to open the border with Armenia, despite the latters occupation of seven Azeri districts beyond Karabakh. This move pulls the rug from under Azerbaijans carefully constructed negotiating position for a stage-by-stage peaceful solution to the conflict. It also seems designed to separate Turkey from Azerbaijan. Accordingly, Aliyev complained about certain countries that believe that they can meddle in everything by exerting pressure and blackmailing. This is how we see it. This policy clearly runs against Azerbaijans interests, and the Azeri state is taking appropriate steps. Aliyev strongly objected to the US de-coupling the Armenian border opening issue from that of troop withdrawal from the seven Azerbaijani districts. De-coupling the two issues would enable Yerevan to renounce negotiations on troop withdrawal altogether, he observed: This is a completely wrong and incorrect position and contrary to Azerbaijans national interests. Aliyev also urged the certain country carefully to consider regional processes, history, historical relations. What do those who are unaware of regional processes want to achieve? (Az TV, April 14; Khalk Gazeti, April 15).
Baku and Ankara have now reached the common view that the border opening and normalization of Turkish-Armenian relations is a bilateral matter between Ankara and Yerevan, rather than an issue for Washington to push from outside onto the regional agenda (Trend, Anatolia News Agency, April 16, 17).
Azerbaijan considers that Washington is moving from equidistance to partisanship as a co-chair of the Minsk Group of mediators in the Karabakh conflict resolution negotiations. Those negotiations are premised on a first-stage Armenian troop withdrawal from those districts. However, Washingtons push from outside the Minsk Group to open the Turkey-Armenia border unconditionally would remove Armenias incentive to withdraw those troops.
In a lengthy statement to the media on this issue, the Azeri presidential administrations political department chief, Ali Hasanov, criticized Washingtons loss of neutrality on Karabakh conflict resolution as, incompatible with the US role in the Minsk Group. Evidently reflecting his presidents position, Hasanov hailed the Turkish leaders response to their US and Armenian counterparts during the Washington summit. There, Erdogan and Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, again declined to break ranks with Azerbaijan. We maintain unique ties with Turkey on the principle of one nation, two states and we are not going to spoil them under anyones dictation. This is what Turkey thinks too, Hasanov noted.
On a cautionary note for Washington, Hasanov remarked that relations between Azerbaijan and Russia have intensified significantly in the last few years
Russia views Azerbaijan as an equal partner, and Azerbaijan considers Russia a major factor in the region, a friend and partner and attaches special importance to relations with it (ANS TV, Turan, APA, April 15). As a rule, public statements by Azerbaijani presidential team members reflect a prior consensus reached within it.
Russia > Georgia > Azerbaijan > Iran.......
Just think of what Russia could ship there. Any recent news come to mind?
Russia is working hard in the Caucasus and Central Asia to rein in the old SSR empire and the people and governments in those countries know that America is not on their side any more and will do nothing to defend them, will perhaps nudge them toward the New SSR and they know that survival for a little longer depends on getting friendlier with the Russians and eventually to just be absorbed. The pro-Western leaders likely figure they will not personally survive however it falls out unless they can take advantage of last minute opportunities and get out.Those that have been less corrupt will be more judicious knowing that fat foreign discrete bank accounts are a must now.
We have no leaders of character. The future will be left to the women of this nation to save it.
Add the Ukraine to that. They just renewed the Black Sea port of Sevastopol to the Rooskies for another 25 years in exchange for a discount on NatGas. Ukraine constitution prohibits foreign military bases after 2017. Big protests in Kiev.
Pro Rooskie Yanukovych elected president.
Then there is Kyrgystan.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.