Bryza’s Response to Confirmation Inquiries Again Mislead Senators

BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN

In response to questions raised during his Senate confirmation process about the potential conflict of interest between his professional work and the Caucasus-related advocacy of his wife, Caspian energy expert Zeyno Baran, Matthew Bryza, the U.S. Ambassador-designate to Azerbaijan, asserted that: “Since January 2009, she has conducted no conferences, briefings, studies or other official work related to the South Caucasus.” Furthermore, Mr. Bryza stated: “She has received no salary from the Hudson Institute since May 2009 and was officially placed on leave without pay, June 2009.”

The record clearly shows otherwise.

The following publicly available citations point to instances in which Ms. Baran has, since January of 2009, undertaken work on behalf of the Hudson Institute regarding the South Caucasus. The Hudson Institute, for its part, receives funding from the energy industry, including from firms doing business in Azerbaijan, and has cosponsored programs with Azerbaijani and Turkish business interests.

January 2009 – Quoted in an article: “Pipeline Talks put Turkey at Center Stage
Relevant excerpt: “The fact that Turkey’s demands have not been resolved prior to the summit has left a question mark in people’s minds,” said Zeyno Baran, Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy, who will be attending the summit. “Turkey has always been seen as the alternative, safe, reliable transit route to Europe and we are all just hoping this is only a hiccup and not more difficult to resolve.”

February 2009 – Conference: “Energy Security Challenges to Europe and Eurasia Conference
Moderated Panel Three: Turkmen & Kazakh Gas and Oil Exports: Key Factor in Western Energy Security (sponsored by Chevron)
Relevant excerpt: “Zeyno Baran: Director, Center for Eurasian Policy, Hudson Institute”

Each of the following instance occurred after the date that Mr. Bryza asserted that Ms. Baran went on leave without pay from the Hudson Insitute:

July 2009 – Conference: “2nd International Black Sea Symposium: The Black Sea Region: the State of Play and the Way Forward
Relevant excerpts: “4) Zeyno Baran, Hudson Institute, Washington, D.C.” and “6) Matthew J. Bryza, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.”

August 2009 – Quoted in article: “Turkey woos Russia as EU hopes dim
Relevant excerpt: “‘Europeans need to really understand what’s going on in Turkey, how close it has gotten to Russia as opposed to Europe and the US,’ Zeyno Baran, an energy expert at the US-based Hudson Institute, told EUobserver.com, an online publication dealing with EU affairs.”

August 2009 – Quoted in article: “Russia, Turkey sign major gas deal to rival EU gas project
Relevant excerpt: “Experts, however, warn that in case the South Stream will be built the EU will be forced to buy Caspian gas at a much higher price. ‘If South Stream is built, Nabucco will not be, for all that Caspian gas is going to pour into the South Stream,’ Zeyno Baran, a Turkish-American energy expert with the Washington-based Hudson Institute stated.”

August 2009 – “Turkey plays double game on EU Energy Security
Relevant excerpt: “I argue that if South Stream is built, Nabucco will not be, at least not for Caspian gas,” Zeyno Baran, a Turkish-American energy expert with the Washington-based Hudson Institute, told Euobserver.” She added: “If South Stream is built, all that Caspian gas is going to pour into it. Nabucco is important not only for diversifying Europe’s needs, but it’s also freeing the Central Asian countries and the Caucasian countries from the hold of Russia. Now with this, Turkey sent a signal, whether it to wanted or not, that it doesn’t really care about those countries, it just cares about becoming a gas hub.”

August 2009 – Quoted in an article: “The USA Wants NABUCCO to Go Round Russia
Relevant excerpt: “The USA have no economic interests in the Nabucco gas pipeline project, as well as there was no economic interest in the oil pipeline Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan. This was stated by Zeyno Baran, the Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute. According to Zeyno Baran, who is also a wife of the US State Secretary Deputy Assistant Matthew Bryza, Washington has a pure political interest in these projects.”

November 2009 – Quoted in an article “Schroeder & Fischer continue rivalry with opposing pipeline deals
Relevant excerpt: “Without Schroeder, the project would never have got off the ground,” says Zeyno Baran, a Eurasian energy expert at the Hudson Institute in New York. The Nord Stream pipeline has had to collect permits from Baltic state nations who fear that the pipeline will seriously upset the ecology of the sea. Denmark, Finland and Sweden have now all agreed. Only Germany and Russia have yet to give the formal nod – and there cannot be much doubt that they will do so.”

May 2010 – Citation in report: “White Stream: A Priority Project of the EU & Integral Component of the Southern Gas Corridor” by the OSCE, Ashgabat
Relevent excerpt: “There were numerous suggestions for White Stream to use LNG option for sea crossing, e.g. Hudson Center article AZERBAIJANI – REALIZING THE VISION, Zeyno Baran, January 2009, published in ‘Azerbaijan Focus.’

June 15, 2010 – Speaker at the NCSJ Board of Governors Meeting “Turkey’s Expanding Influence in the Causcasus and Central Asia” in Washington, D.C.
Relevant excerpt: “Zeyno Baran, Senior Fellow and Director of Center for Eurasian Policy, Hudson Institute”

July 2010 – Quoted in article (in Turkish) as a Hudson Institute energy expert
http://www.haberte.com/news_print.php?id=68866
http://translate.google.com/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.haberte.com%2Fnews_print.php%3Fid%3D68866&sl=tr&tl=en (Google English translation)

2010 – Cited as member of editorial board of Azerbaijan Focus: Journal of International Affairs
Relevant excerpt: “Editorial board. . . Elmar Mammadyarov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan. . . Zeyno Baran, Director, Center for Eurasian Policy, Hudson Institute.”

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2 Comments

  1. manooshag said:

    Hye, Bryza and Zeyno, with backgrounds such as these – both are wrong people in the wrong places at the wrong times in the history and the Congress of the United States of America… They belong in a Turkey/Azerbaijan where they will be greatly appreciated for their questionable stances – obviously!
    Manooshag

  2. O'dodd said:

    fyi – this article does not appear in a “Google” search under “Matthew Bryza’s” name. It only appears if you are searching under “Zeyno Baran.” Great piece – wish more people could see it though.

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