By Mamuka Tsereteli (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
On October 9, 2013, Azerbaijan held presidential elections and incumbent president Ilham Aliyev was re-elected for another five year term. The OSCE ODIHR observer mission, as well as the U.S. government, issued critical statements about the conduct of elections by Azerbaijani authorities that created tensions in Azerbaijan’s relationships with Western allies. Issues of concern need to be addressed, but they should not disrupt Western engagement and critical support for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty against the backdrop of assertive Russian policies to limit the Western presence in the broader Eastern European and Central Eurasian Space.
By Mina Muradova (the 27/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
The appointment of a new Minister of Defense in Azerbaijan is considered to be a surprising decision of newly re-elected President Ilham Aliyev, causing speculations over his reasons for changing one of the veteran ministers in the cabinet. It has been suggested that the decision to replace Safar Abiyev with Zakir Hasanov, Deputy Interior Minister and Commander of Internal Troops for the last ten years, could signal that Baku is getting ready to move from military rhetoric to action in retaking the territories occupied during the conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Senior Azerbaijani officials have warned repeatedly that unless a political settlement is reached regarding Karabakh, a “military solution” is the only alternative.
By Armen Grigoryan (the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Russia continues to limit Armenia’s capability to make independent political decisions and is planning to increase its military presence in Armenia. Shortly, Azerbaijan and Georgia will face stronger pressure and Russia’s efforts to create a new union of the former Soviet republics will intensify. As Russia is unable to advance its goals through “soft power,” offering no attractive model of governance, democratic political culture, or serious economic benefits, it will increasingly rely on “hard power.” Regional policies devised by the U.S. and EU are becoming insufficient as regional dynamics change and new threats emerge.
By Mina Muradova (the 13/11/2013 issue of the CACI Analyst)
Azerbaijan is moving from words to action in delivering gas resources from the Caspian Sea to European markets. President Ilham Aliyev has taken the development of the Southern Gas Corridor under his own supervision. A State Commission chaired by First Vice-Premier Eyub Yagubov has been established by a presidential decree and will be responsible for coordinating all issues related to the Shah Deniz project on a government level, as well as the implementation of the South Caucasus Pipeline Expansion Project, the Trans-Anatolian gas pipeline (TANAP) and the Trans Adriatic pipeline (TAP).
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.