Foreign Policy Blogs

Caucasus

Georgia headed for violent confrontation as protests continue

Georgia headed for violent confrontation as protests continue

Protest rallies in Georgia, begun over the weekend in Tbilisi and Batumi, seem to be headed for violent confrontation today (Wednesday afternoon in the US, early Thursday morning in Tbilisi) after apparently failing to achieve the goals of their organizers or to attract widespread public support. It’s not that the latest opposition movement (called the […]

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Azeri youth activist sentenced to prison for "drug possession"

Azeri youth activist Jabbar Savalan was convicted last week (4 May) on charges of marijuana possession and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.  As readers of this blog may recall, Jabbar was arrested in February after calling for protest actions on Facebook and attending a youth conference in the city of Sumgayit.  […]

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US Ambassador denied entry to Armenian cemetery in Azerbaijan

US Ambassador denied entry to Armenian cemetery in Azerbaijan

US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza has been denied permission to visit the Armenian cemetery in the Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan.  Bryza had promised to go to the (former) cemetery, located in the village of Djulfa, during his confirmation hearings before the US Senate last year after he had been criticized for what was perceived […]

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Azerbaijan: arrests, criminal charges follow weekend rally

Azerbaijan: arrests, criminal charges follow weekend rally

Azerbaijan experienced the latest in a series of rallies on Saturday, with several hundred (or perhaps several thousand, depending on the source) people attempting to demonstrate against the government of President Ilham Aliyev in central Baku. Police arrested as many as two hundred protesters during what was billed as a “Day of Rage” or “Day of […]

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Azerbaijan: arrests and anti-Kerimli campaign prior to opposition protest

Azerbaijan: arrests and anti-Kerimli campaign prior to opposition protest

Police in Azerbaijan have arrested “several youth and opposition activists” ahead of a protest rally scheduled for 2 April in Baku, RFE/RL reports.  Three of those arrested have been released, but at least three others have apparently been given “administrative sentences” of between five and ten days. However, an Azeri source tells me that more […]

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Armenia's opposition: "last warning" to president, but more rallies to come

Armenia's opposition: "last warning" to president, but more rallies to come

The latest opposition rally in Yerevan was held last Thursday, led by the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and its chief Levon Ter-Petrossian, Armenia’s first president.  The latest in a series of demonstrations, this one was notable for the protesters reaching Freedom Square, a symbolic victory.  The turnout may have been as large as the previous […]

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Azerbaijan's vague "threat" to shoot down Armenian airliners

A number of news organizations reported today that Azerbaijan is threatening to shoot down civilian airliners if they use the new airport in the Nagorno-Karabakh capital city of Stepanakert. The re-opening of the airport, closed in the early stages of armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the fate of Karabakh in 1991, was announced […]

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Azerbaijan: deconstructing the "closure" of NGOs and social unrest

Azerbaijan: deconstructing the "closure" of NGOs and social unrest

I’d like to start with an addendum to the story alleging that the Azerbaijani government has ordered the closure of the local NDI (National Democratic Institute) office.  As reported on this site yesterday, NDI had issued a denial that they had been told to cease operations. I didn’t weigh in on the matter, and will […]

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Azerbaijan: Great People's Day marked by small turnout, arrests

Azerbaijan: Great People's Day marked by small turnout, arrests

The Great People’s Day, conceived by a handful of Azerbaijani opposition figures as a country-wide day of symbolic protests and local rallies, was held as scheduled on 11 March, and was for the most part a non-event.  Arrests took place as soon as protesters assembled in various locations, although reportedly one group managed to march […]

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Azerbaijan's March 11 "Great People's Day" approaching

Azerbaijan's March 11 "Great People's Day" approaching

Tension is rising in Azerbaijan in the run-up to the 11 March “Great People’s Day.” The event was launched on facebook and has spread to other media, although specifics are somewhat vague, which seems to be a deliberate tactic.  People are being urged to stage symbolic or actual protests “in a civil way without provocations” […]

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Iranian narcotics and Levon Ter-Petrossian: what the Wikileaks cable actually said

Iranian narcotics and Levon Ter-Petrossian: what the Wikileaks cable actually said

Has former Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrossian been personally profiting from the Iranian narcotics trade?  This is the conclusion that some people are drawing from a Wikileaks release on the Norwegian news site Aftenposten. The cable can be viewed here, and the story has gotten circulation on Armenian web sites, including PanArmenian.net, whose editors wrote the […]

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Terror threat in Baku, and new Wikileaks on the Israel-Azerbaijan relationship

Terror threat in Baku, and new Wikileaks on the Israel-Azerbaijan relationship

Speculation in Baku was rife last week over the temporary closing on Monday of the Israeli embassy.  Many news sources such as the opposition newspaper Yeni Musavat theorized that the reason for the closing of the embassy was security-related.  In any case, the embassy was apparently closed for “technical reasons” and re-opened. The Israeli Foreign […]

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Azerbaijan: prominent lawyer disbarred, youth activist arrested

Azerbaijan: prominent lawyer disbarred, youth activist arrested

Disturbing news out of Azerbaijan today, where a prominent defense attorney has been effectively disbarred and a young political activist was arrested on drug charges. Osman Kazimov, a well-known defense lawyer who has defended, among others, Said Nuri, was reportedly kicked out of Azerbaijan’s Collegium, a body that functions like an über bar association.  By that […]

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Chances of Egypt-style revolution in Azerbaijan? Slim to none.

Events in Tunisia and Egypt are being closely monitored and discussed by pro- and anti-government forces in Baku these days, with postings on web forums, Twitter, facebook, and blogs – not to mention established web sites and newspapers.  Even in Egypt, the well-known “sandmonkey” blogger has tweeted about Azerbaijan, expressing thanks for support the protesters […]

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Anti-American diatribe appears in official Azerbaijani journal

A few days ago, an ad hominem attack on the US appeared in the pages (or on the web site) of “Azerbaijan,” the official journal of Azerbaijan’s parliament, the Milli Majlis.  The article delved into real and imagined hypocritical facets of US foreign policy since the end of the Second World War, and despite its […]

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