Will Senate Call Bryza to Task for Running Woman Down?

Matthew Bryza

On Thursday, Matthew Bryza will face a Senate panel to begin the confirmation process for his nomination as US Ambassador to Azerbaijan. Will senators question Bryza for his role in a 1997 car accident, which left a woman in a coma? Or, will Bryza avoid responsibility?

The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and other press sources at the time reported that on August 18, 1997, Bryza hit a woman, who was taken to the hospital with serious head injuries. The US response to this incident was to recall Bryza back to the States and express “regret” for the victim.

James Rubin, the official spokesman for the State Department at the time said that the decision to recall Bryza from Moscow was made in connection with the fact that the diplomat “is no longer able to work efficiently in Moscow because of this incident.”

At the time of the incident, none other than Richard Hoagland, a press spokesman for the US Embassy in Moscow at the time had this to say about Bryza: “I also want to say something about Matt Bryza who comes across in the press reports about this incident as all but a monster. Matt was one of the brightest, most polite, most promising young diplomats at the American Embassy in Moscow. While we have to have compassion for the woman who was injured in this accident, I think it’s important we have compassion for Matt, too, who has suffered the double trauma of having been involved in a traffic accident and of having had his diplomatic career in Moscow abruptly yanked out from under him.”

Hoagland was President George W. Bush’s nominee for the US ambassadorial post in Armenia. His nomination was blocked by Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, due to Hoagland’s continued insistence to deny the Armenian Genocide. Bush subsequently pulled Hoagland’s nomination.

Bryza was then appointed to be the US co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group and developed close ties with Azeri elite in Baku. News of a high-ranking Azeri minister allegedly paying for Bryza’s wedding to Turkish scholar Zeyno Baran was reported by the Azeri press, after which the editor and reporter of the newspaper were jailed and attacked.

The US Senate should be vigilant about these incidents and when considering Bryza’s nomination should objectively weigh whether he is the right person to represent US interests in Azerbaijan.

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8 Comments

  1. Minas said:

    I think that Mr. Bryza also suffered in the 1997 traffic accident and appears to have been in a coma himself since then.

  2. masis said:

    I searched the internet and can’t get any info on the accident. We ought to print more info on the issue, such as how extensive her injuries were, was alcohol or drugs involved, did the woman live or die, did he stay to help the woman or run away.

    This guy has gotten in bed (literally) with Azerbaijan and will do his utmost to hurt us. As with all Turkophiles, he seems to have a shady character. Would it be worthwhile to put an ad in the NY Times against him?

    The only good thing about this guy is that he is stupid and thus will likely not be able to do anything big, good or bad.

  3. sebouh from australia said:

    Obama is the same as all of them or he would step in and stop corrupt people like this having diplomatic posts

  4. Krikor said:

    Is his wife Chinese, NO ,Turkish. What do you expect. Impartiality. He will definetely support his masters who paid fo his wedding

  5. Azada said:

    Krikor: Are you saying, Bryza did not have enough money to pay for his own wedding?:)

    • O'dodd said:

      It’s not just about the payment of his wedding. One of his actual groomsmen was the Azerbaijan Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov. This site is in Turkish but it lists his groomsmen – does anyone in our government sense that their is a genuine conflict here?

      http://www.zaman.com.tr/haber.do?haberno=579663

  6. George Apelian said:

    Sorry to say that Turks & Azeris are lucky, so lucky. Having a son in law ( PESA) at their service is a heaven sent thing for them. God save the USA!!!

  7. O'dodd said:

    look to the chicago tribune 1997, the los angeles times 1997 and the russian news agency. In your “google” search use “1997 recalled diplomat matthew bryza moscow driving accident” — all the articles will appear.

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