Thought Archive

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friends and Foes of Azerbaijan

Now look who's talking at the UN. To get a break from Israeli-Palestine confict dignitaries decided to spend some time pondering heavy thoughts about forgotten war in the Caucasus. Our Shia co-believers in Iran have abstained as was expected, whilst majority of other Muslim countries have voted in favor. Algeria abstained for an unknown reason (Question for Riri - are there Armenians out there or what?) Arbiters of fairness from United States have voted against the resolution for quite understandable reasons, and here they are at one with Mother Russia. What I do not comprehend is India's voting patterns, which are consistenly anti-Azeri (from previous UN resolutions) even though our relationhsip is generally cordial. I wonder if there some kind of Aryan solidarity amongst "Ancient Civilizations" in play.

Whilst we can not and should not act against USA due to our dependent position, some political action should be taken against France and French business interests in Azerbaijan, even if largely symbolic for her unquestionable support of Armenia through the years. Turkey whose EU membership is on the line was not afraid to stand firm against France in the genocide raw last year. Azerbaijan has much less to lose.

General Assembly of UN adopts resolution reaffirming territorial integrity of Azerbaijan, demanding withdrawal of all Armenian forces. Text of declaration can be read at Today.Az

"Seriously concerned that the armed conflict in and around the Nagorny Karabakh region of Azerbaijan continued to endanger international peace and security", the General Assembly on Friday reaffirmed Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, expressing support for that country’s internationally recognized borders and demanding the immediate withdrawal of all Armenian forces from all occupied territories there. B y a recorded vote of 39 in favour to 7 against , with 100 abstentions, the Assembly also reaffirmed the inalienable right of the Azerbaijani population to return to their homes, and reaffirmed that no State should recognize as lawful the situation resulting from the occupation of Azerbaijan’s territories, or render assistance in maintaining that situation. (See below for voting details.)

Vote on Occupied Territories of AzerbaijanThe draft resolution on the situation in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan (document A/62/L.42) was adopted by a recorded vote of 39 in favour to 7 against, with 100 abstentions, as follows:

In favour: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Colombia, Comoros, Djibouti, Gambia, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Turkey, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Against: Angola, Armenia, France, India, Russian Federation, United States, Vanuatu.


Riri said...

Not that I know of, Algerians are a pure race and rare breed of mixed up genes. Am surprised actually, Algeria usually sides with people who have been denied their rightful land in light of our own revolution against the French and they have not shyed away in the past from openly supporting people's right to resist and fight for their independence and freedom. But it's good to see they're realising they actually have 3 options: Yes, No, Abstain.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Well they better do it in country elections, for UN resolution there should be only one vote: Yes. Unless it is Iranian sanctions :)

Phil Marx said...

I will begin by pleading my own ignorance on this matter. I try to keep informed of world affairs, but it's a very large world to keep track of - and it keeps changing! So please enlighten me a bit. I'll begin by telling you what I know, or rather what I think I know. Please correct me where I am wrong.

Azerbaijan is predominantly Muslim, so I would presume that the United States' apparant decision to not support your territorial integrity stems from this. I presume that we see the Azerbaijanis as having some connection to those we label as Muslim extremists.

But what I can't figure out is how we could support any international position that Russia does also. It seems to me that one of my country's main foreign policy aims is to convince Russia that we are their enemy.

Chechen rebels blew up an apartment complex in Moscow a few years back, and we protested about Russia's retaliation. This was totally inconsistent with our government's own logic at the time. This was an attack on civilians, and it was perpetrated by Muslims.

My comments here do not address whether I think the Chechens had just cause. They only speak to the fact that President Bush had been telling the whole world that "You're either with us or you're against us," then Russia attackd a group who had connections to those we declare to be our most serious enemy. And apparantly Bush's desire to rebuke Russia was stronger than his desire to welcome an attack against someone who is supportive of his own enemies.

I'm not saying here what position my country should hold towards either Chechnya or Azerbaijan. I am simply saying that for a long time it seems that one of our highest priorities has been to oppose Russia on just about every international issue. This vote contradicts that pattern.

I would really like to understand this issue better because, based on past behavior, I would have assumed my country would have simply voted against whatever Russia felt was in it's own interest.

Phil Marx
Fort Wayne, Indiana, U.S.A.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Phil, the politics is never straightforward black and white - it is always complicated. Politics is a pursuit of self-interest by different states, and just like in life in some cases these interests clash and in others they collude. US is quite engaged in the region not just for issues of Terrorism but because of energy security where Russia opposes US interests everywhere it can. Russia will continue to be an adversary to US, except in perceived Islamic terrorism where they cooperate, and only in specific areas. It will be very stupid for US to fight and oppose states just because they are Muslim. US is against only those Muslim states who oppose its interests in the region - like Iran for example. Azerbaijan - being a faithful ally and oil exporter - is one of the friends. However, wishes of voters can not be denied too and because of Christian affinities and strong Armenian lobby in US, it can not act on the side of Azerbaijan in this question, even though we think this completely unfair. American voter will not understand abandonment of a Christian nation. Thus Armenia became an ally of Russia, Iran and US at the same time due to its unique position in the region. The only solution to this conflict is for Armenia to leave the occupied territories with the amicable solution for Karabakh- the protraction of this conflict is not good for both sides and US too, to which it complicates the strategy vis-a-vis Iran.

Phil Marx said...

I agree with your assessment about the intricacies of politics. What is a fair solution and would be good for the general population is not necessarily good for all individuals, and they will naturally resist it. This is true for all levels of politics and those naive enough to ignore it do so at their peril. Our President Woodrow Wilson sought what he considered to be a fair peace for the end of WWI. But while he was fighting with his European counterparts to get his way he failed to realize that his own Congress had no plans of supporting his policies.

I find it interesting that while I portray the situation as the US opposing Russia, you see it as the opposite. I also find it interesting that you seem to find more logic to my country’s foreign policy than I myself do. I guess this should be seen as a welcome departure from what is far too often the typical exchange of the American shouting “We are the best country in the world!,” while the other shouts “Death to America!,” and neither side really says anything of substance.

I will be quite honest with you and say that I am certain that the average American does not know Armenia from Azerbaijan or Albania. If you picked a group of people at random and asked them to locate these countries on a world map, I would say most would not even have a clue what region to look at. Believe me, the average American does not know about the Armenian genocide or what religion either of your countries ascribes to. This is not to say that you are insignificant. It just says for a group of people who hold so much power over the rest of the world, we really are dangerously ignorant.

What you said about lobbying is correct though, and the next time I speak with my Congressman I will make him aware of the Azerbaijani’s views. Seriously though, politicians here don’t listen to their constituents any more than they probably do in your own country - unless you have lots of money! I don’t, so I am basically disenfranchised.

I have a general understanding of your region of the world, but I also have a few questions. From your perspective, how engaged does my country seem to be in trying to help find a true solution to the Karabakh situation? If our politicians are sympathetic to the Christian Armenians, yet also see Azerbaijan as a faithful ally, shouldn’t they be at the forefront of finding a peaceful solution to this conflict? I am truly speaking from ignorance here as I expect you have more knowledge about this than I do.

How closely is your country aligned with Iran? Does my country see stabilizing this region as potentially aiding Iran in some way? If Iran has resources engaged in the area on your behalf, then making peace would free these resources to be used by them somewhere else. In other words, if there are Iranian soldiers and equipment being locked up in Karabakh, then they can’t be deployed in Iraq. Perhaps the reason for our unwillingness to help find peace is because we are willing to sacrifice a small ally (Azerbaijan) in order to frustrate a larger enemy (Iran.) As terrible as that may sound, we both now that is often how politics really works.

I appreciate your previous response, and I would be interested to hear more from you on this subject. I’ve just recently come across your blog but it looks very interesting (both the posts and the comments,) so I’m sure you’ll be hearing more from me in the future.

By the way, during the past few days I have had three hits on my own blog from people in Azerbaijan. I assume this came as a result of my comment on your blog. My own blog is a bit strange and very difficult to summarize in a concise manner. I have added a recent post addressed to persons outside of the United States that might help to put the matter in focus.

Hazar Nesimi said...

Well these are all complex questions hard to answer right away. I lived and studied in US for some years in 90s so I know that average American is very ignorant of geography and our countries especially. This maybe worrying for those who are subjects of those policies, who but this ignorance generally stems from Americans'(US) dual position of global dominance and isolation. World politics is decided inside the DC Beltway and but not by masses of people who are not interested in this. Other countries, still live in very US-centric world, be they ntagonistic to US or not. So they have to form their opinions of America and the West. This balance though is about to change and there will come a time when Americans will be much more aware of the outside world. Unfortunately this awareness - which has drastically increasd since 9/11 centers on real or imagined fears.
So to speak every Albanian or Azeri knows about America, watches american movies and dreams of getting an american car. Whilst an American could not care less about our countries.

Phil Marx said...


My city has quite a strong international presence. We have several Universities in the region which draw students and instructors from around the world. In addition, our State Department has deemed this as a favorable relocation site for political refugees. We have over a thousand people from both Bosnia and Burma living here. Over the years, I have met people here from about thirty-six different nations.

I am the type of person who wants to have my ideas challenged and to be given new thoughts to consider, rather than just wanting someone to agree with me, and I have certainly found it here. The personal conversations that I have engaged in with my international friends and acquaintances has broadened my mind in a way that no book could ever do.

One of my college professors was from Iran, but we never talked much about politics. I also had a friend from Georgia, but our political discussions largely focused upon Russia. I really don’t know much about your country other than what I read in books or news stories. I look forward to following your blog and learning more about your area of the world. Perhaps you can serve as an unofficial Ambassador by educating Americans. Of course, we still will not know anything about Albania or Armenia, but at least we will be able to locate Azerbaijan on a map.

I have a geography quiz now for you or your readers. There are five nations (that I know of) that are composed of two separate land masses which are separated from each other by another nation, rather than just by water. I believe the geographic term for this is an "exclave." I am not including Palestine in this list since it is not recognized by most nations as an independent country, and I am not including Argentina because Tierra del Fuego is entirely separated from the mainland by water.

Of course, I am not counting foreign embassies or other such ceremonial land areas (cemeteries, etc.) either, even though legally they may be considered a sovereign part of the home country.

Of course,your nation is one such example of a true exclave where you can travel through either Armenia of Iran to reach the Nakhchivan province. Can you name the other four nations?