Study: Azeri Military Transparency Needed

BAKU (UPI)–A lack of political will and inefficient management has left military reforms in Azerbaijan effectively stalled, an analysis released on Wednesday said.

A report by the International Crisis Group says the government of Azerbaijan is unwilling to make necessary decisions regarding recommendations from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization leading to continued corruption and disorganization within the country’s military forces.

The increased oil wealth pouring into the country should correspond with military reform in the areas of transparency and accountability, the report says. But so far, Azeri lawmakers lack even basic oversight on military activity.

Some analysts expressed concern such inadequacies may encourage Azeri President Ilham Aliyev to use military force to settle a dispute with Armenia over the disputed de facto republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Sabine Freizer, the program director for European studies at ICG, said transparency regarding defense spending "makes sense" for Azerbaijan as it emerges as a regional power due to its natural resources.

"However, the fundamental need is for all who profess an interest in stability in these areas to give more priority to ensuring that it is diplomacy," she said, "not war, that provides the answer to the still dangerous Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."

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