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Georgia slowly moving to jury trials

According to the Global Post and other sources, Georgia has finally adopted jury trials, at least for cases of aggravated murder – and for now, only in Tbilisi. This is reportedly part of a larger program to introduce …

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Georgia loses four servicemen in Helmand Province

My apologies for being away from the blog for so long, but I was in Afghanistan for three weeks and just returned. I had been working as an observer during the recent parliamentary elections, and was sent by Democracy International, an NGO based in Bethesda, Maryland.
While Afghanistan is …

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Nagorno-Karabakh timeline: 2009-2010

Radio Free Europe reports that the Iranian ambassador to Armenia has warned publicly against the insertion of US peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh in the event of a comprehensive settlement of the 1992-94 war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  In a Yerevan news conference on June 23, Seyed Ali Saghaeyan claimed that the …

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More trouble in Baku, local press reports on "magic tree"

More trouble in Baku, local press reports on "magic tree"

News out of Baku is that the “Azadliq” (freedom) opposition bloc staged a rally on Saturday (19 June) during which as many as 82 protesters were arrested. The rally, which had not been authorized by the Baku city authorities, was organized to protest alleged curbs on freedom of expression, and …

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Robert Gates goes to Baku, portent of things to come?

On Sunday, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Baku, a long-overdue trip by a senior administration official. The reportage from American journalists adhered to the same moltif: that the Aliyev administration feels “neglected” and that they are “peeved.”
For instance,

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Georgia: Russians build radar station, ruling party wins big in elections

Georgia: Russians build radar station, ruling party wins big in elections

As expected, President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) won nation-wide in Georgia’s recent municipal elections, with Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava winning re-election with a vote of over 55% in the Tbilisi race, competing against eight other candidates. UNM got a stunning 66% of the popular vote across the country, a …

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Georgia gears up for municipal elections

Georgia is gearing up for nation-wide municipal elections on 30 May, with the most closely-watched contest in Tbilisi, the capital. Incumbent Gigi Ugulava, a close associate of President Saakashvili, will run against a large slate of opposition candidates, including the charismatic Irakli Alasania, who was once ambassador to the UN …

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Donkey bloggers and press freedom in Azerbaijan

Donkey bloggers and press freedom in Azerbaijan

Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) released their 2010 “Predators of Press Freedom” list on May 3. The list consists of the top forty “politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an …

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Arrests at State Oil Academy Commemoration

Arrests at State Oil Academy Commemoration

Police broke up a commemoration in Baku last Friday of the murders of twelve people—most of them students—at the State Oil Academy on 30 April 2009.
The perpetrator of last year’s massacre, Farda Gadirov, was a Georgian of Azeri descent who shot students and staff indiscriminately once he gained entry into …

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US-Azerbaijani relations on the mend (maybe), and other news

The chill in US-Azerbaijani relations may be thawing soon. After months of perceived snubs from Washington and acrimony out of Baku, which included a recent announcement by Azerbaijan that they have pulled out of a scheduled …

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About the Author

Karl Rahder
Karl Rahder

Karl Rahder has written on the South Caucasus for ISN Security Watch and ISN Insights (http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/ISN-Insights), news and global affairs sites run by the Swiss government. Karl splits his time between the US and the former USSR - mostly the Caucasus and Ukraine, sometimes teaching international relations at universities (in Chicago, Baku, Tbilisi) or working on stories for ISN and other publications. Karl received his MA from the University of Chicago, and first came to the Caucasus in 2004 while on a CEP Visiting Faculty Fellowship. He's reported from the Caucasus on topics such as attempted coups, sedition trials, freedom of the press, and the frozen Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. For many years, Karl has also served as an on-call election observer for the OSCE, and in 2010, he worked as a long-term observer in Afghanistan for Democracy International.

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