By Natalia Konarzewska
February 3, 2020, the CACI Analyst
The end of 2019 saw increasing diplomatic activity between Azerbaijan and Russia, at a time when Russia wants to strengthen its profile in Azerbaijan and bring the country closer to Moscow-promoted multilateral initiatives. This is partly due to Azerbaijan’s increasing geopolitical importance to the West and China, being a key participant in the Southern Gas Corridor and a prospectively important one in the Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Russia also wants Azerbaijan to counterbalance its traditional South Caucasus ally Armenia, whereas Azerbaijan expects Russia’s assistance in resolving the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which is nevertheless unlikely to materialize.
By Svante E. Cornell
July 30, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Azerbaijan and Georgia have enjoyed almost three decades of a strategic partnership that has shaped the geopolitical landscape of the whole greater Eurasia. Yet Azerbaijani-Georgian relations `have recently witnessed an unparalleled level of tensions. Ostensibly about a border demarcation issue, the slump in the relationship nevertheless derives in part from the effort of foreign powers to separate the two partners from each – willfully in the case of Russia, and inadvertently in the case of the West. It is time for both countries and their partners to pay attention to this crucial relationship.
By Stephen Blank
July 8, 2019, the CACI Analyst
In late 2018, National Security Council Director John Bolton signaled a revived U.S. interest in the South Caucasus by visiting all three states of the region. While the outcome remains unclear, the visit itself clearly signaled a U.S. interest in reviving a robust presence in the Caucasus. Indeed, U.S. interest should not only stem from the Caucasus’ proximity to Iran and Russia, or considerations relating to energy flows to Europe. The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has seen repeated recent outbreaks of violence and the issues and alignments growing out of this conflict spill over into all the other issues pertaining to the Caucasus that justify a renewed U.S. presence. Regenerated U.S. action to help terminate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully is necessary because of the visibly mounting frustration and despair in the war zone.
By Ilgar Gurbanov
June 27, 2019, the CACI Analyst
The regime change in Armenia revived hopes in Azerbaijan that the new Armenian government would take a more proactive approach to the frozen settlement process of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The latest meeting of Azerbaijan’s and Armenia’s leaders in Vienna promised humanitarian cooperation, yet the short-term silence on the frontline was soon broken by new ceasefire violations and counter-productive statements from the Armenian government. From Azerbaijan’s perspective, the building of trust required for a reinvigoration of the peace process requires steps such as the withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from Azerbaijan’s territories, with a subsequent return of IDPs. Armenia’s overreliance on the status-quo creates systemic problems for the negotiations.
By Tamerlan Vahabov
May 7, 2019, the CACI Analyst
Azerbaijan’s centralized Ministry of Defense Industry (set up in 2005) has for now been dismantled and replaced by the Azersilah Corporation. For now, because the former ministry is “terra incognita” when it comes to its assets and liabilities. Depending on its indebtedness and liabilities, its corporate form may switch back to become a government agency. Yet regardless of its legal form, President Ilham Aliyev’s decree envisions corporatization, corporate management and sustainability of the defense industry product output. The twokey questions are how Azersilah will manage its relationship with newly emergent local companies in Azerbaijan’s defense industry market to attain financial stability, and how the new legal entity will contribute to a better alignment of its portfolio development with thearmy’s operational needs in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.