Foreign Policy Blogs

Caucasus

Caucasus year in review, part 2

Armenia I’ve already written at length on the wreckage of the Armenian-Turkish reconciliation process, surely the biggest story of 2010 for Armenia and perhaps the entire Caucasus. So let’s turn to a few less-reported issues from Armenia, including the prosecution of journalists and activists. On 28 December, Davit Kiramijian, 19, and Sargis Gevorgian, 18, received […]

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Caucasus year in review, part 1

This just in: Matt Bryza was confirmed today (December 29) as the new US ambassador to Azerbaijan. About time. This was a “recess appointment” by the White House, necessitated by a “hold” placed on Bryza by California Senator Barbara Boxer and Robert Menendez of New Jersey, both Democrats responding to strenuous criticism of Bryza from […]

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Wikileaks reveal President Aliyev's views on Iran, Turkey, and regional security

Sunday’s Wikileaks release containing some 250,000 diplomatic cables included headline-creating news regarding Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. One of the cables, marked as “confidential” (not a terribly high level of secrecy) was “classified” and perhaps written by Donald Lu, who at the time was the US Chargé d’Affaires in Baku. The cable summarizes in great detail […]

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Second donkey blogger released by Azerbaijani court

Second donkey blogger released by Azerbaijani court

In a stunning development, Emin Milli, the second so-called “donkey blogger,” was granted a release from prison today by an Azerbaijani court.  Details are still sketchy, and Radio Free Europe does not appear to have confirmation yet that Milli is actually out as of press time.  One of my sources claims that Milli has been released, […]

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Update on Adnan Hajizade

This blog may have been the first news source anywhere (or at least the first non-Azeri source) to confirm that Adnan Hajizade was actually released from prison – although RFE/RL was apparently first to report the court’s decision to release him.  See attached two superb pictures taken by freelance journalist Turkhan Karimov. Karimov emailed me, saying […]

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Donkey blogger released from prison

In a surprise move, jailed “donkey blogger” Adnan Hajizade was released from prison in the last two hours. He had been serving a two-year sentence on charges of “hooliganism” after being mauled by thugs in a Baku cafe in 2009. Coincidentally, the charges and the assault took place not long after Hajizade produced (and starred […]

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Another spy scandal in Georgia

Another spy scandal in Georgia

Big news out of Georgia (which is where I am until 17 November), where thirteen men were arrested on charges of spying for Russia, Georgia’s nemesis. Most of the men were arrested in October, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs made the announcement on 5 November, perhaps due to Reuters breaking the story a week […]

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Strasbourg Court rules against Azerbaijan. Again.

Once again, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled against Azerbaijan. RFE/RL reports that the Court (commonly referred to as “the Strasbourg Court”) has ruled that the Azerbaijani government illegally annulled the election victory of pop singer Flora Karimova after the 2005 parliamentary elections. The court ruling (which is available here) addressed decisions of […]

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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 jury trials more broadly, weaken the role of judges in Georgian trials, where they are more like […]

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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 somewhat outside my normal baliwick, I […]

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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 United States is eager to […]

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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 to underscore concerns that the […]

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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, this Washington Post article by Craig Whitlock informs the reader that Gates carried a […]

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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 convincing mandate, although a little […]

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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 before he turned against President […]

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