Vol. 2, No. 16 (August 15, 2009)

Azerbaijan’s armed forces: A key player in Baku’s foreign policy

As in almost all countries, the military in Azerbaijan plays a key role as a symbol of the state, as an integrative institution tying the citizenry to the government, and as an expression of the ultimate basis of national power.  But in Azerbaijan, the armed forces perform an even more important role not only because of the difficulties of the transition Soviet times but also because 20 percent of the country is under foreign occupation and a tense ceasefire line snakes across the map and must be guarded. Most of the time, few foreign leaders focus on this institution not only becau...
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Toward a Union of the Silk Road

Historically, the South Caucasus has long been a battlefield of the Great Game, with centuries’ long fights for influence among outside empires turning the peoples of the region into victims.  In most cases, it was a zero-sum game.  And because geography did not change, the struggle repeated itself with the same result.  But at the end of the 20th century, because of changes in the broader world and the appearance of independent states in Transcaucasia, the situation has begun to change. These countries began to work together in a cooperative fashion, and they attracted ...
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Looking beyond the Golan Heights: Baku as a possible mediator in the Middle East

Syrian President Bashar Asad’s visit to Baku, which took place immediately after Israeli President Shimon Peres visited Azerbaijan and which Asad said bore a strategic character, points to a possible mediating role for Azerbaijan in negotiations between Syria and Israel.  That is all the more the case because over the last several years, both Israel and the United States have pushed for the strengthening of the position of Azerbaijan in the Middle East in order to have another partner there alongside Turkey. Indeed, now a suitable time has arisen as a result of that effort, and co...
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