Global Insider: Iran-Azerbaijan Relations

Earlier this month, a clash between Iranian soldiers and Azerbaijani border guards left one Azerbaijani guard dead. In an email interview, Brenda Shaffer, a senior lecturer at the University of Haifa and a visiting professor at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy, discussed Iran-Azerbaijan relations. WPR: What has been the trajectory of Iran-Azerbaijan relations over the past 10 years? Brenda Shaffer: Iran’s policy toward Azerbaijan is one of the best illustrations of the gap between Tehran’s ideological declarations and its actual realpolitik-guided policies. Despite sharing a common Shiite identity with Azerbaijan, Tehran has worked to undermine Azerbaijan’s security since the latter’s independence. […]

Ever since the 2003 Rose Revolution, Georgia has painstakingly cultivated its image as an emerging-market investor’s dream and a lonely bastion of Western-style modernity in the South Caucasus. But that image faces a credibility problem in light of Tbilisi’s continuing lack of political progress toward a truly liberal democracy. By allowing Georgia’s democratic development to remain at a standstill, President Mikheil Saakashvili risks damaging the country’s legitimacy, both domestically and with its partners in the West. When Georgian opposition leader and former Saakashvili ally Nino Burjanadze and her supporters took to Tbilisi’s streets in May, the protestors’ rhetoric was rife […]

Despite an agreement among the U.S., Russian and French presidents at the G-8 summit in Deauville, France, that it is time for a peaceful settlement to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev failed to make much progress when they met in Kazan, Russia, last week. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the meeting “disappointing,” though she added, the parties “had improved their understanding on a number of issues.” The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh has its roots in Soviet-era boundaries that located the Armenian-populated enclave as an autonomous region within Soviet Azerbaijan in 1921. […]