Azerbaijan Lobbying Efforts in US Ineffective

The Livingston Group is one of the firms hired by Azerbaijan

Eurasianet.org on February 10 published a report by Joshua Kucera who says that while Georgia leads all countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia in the money spent on lobbying in DC, Azerbaijan’s efforts have, thus far, been ineffective.

“Azerbaijan, after spending most of 2009 and 2010 without a lobbyist, signed a contract in December 2010 with Patton Boggs. The contract filed with the Justice Department gives little indication of what specific issues Baku is interested in, only that the company’s activities ‘will include counseling and assisting [Azerbaijan] with regard to US-Azerbaijan bilateral relations,’” reported Kucera.

“Under previous lobbying contracts, however, Azerbaijan appeared especially interested in its image in the United States. In 2007, lobbyists with the Livingston Group had 91 contacts with US congressional officials on a resolution that called on Azerbaijan to ‘immediately release’ Farhad Aliyev and Rafiq Aliyev, who were imprisoned after allegedly plotting a coup, but whose case attracted the attention of international human rights groups. (The legislation was never voted on),” added Eurasianet.org.

“Lobbyists for Azerbaijan also worked in early 2009 to get members of Congress to commemorate the 1992 Khojaly massacre during the Nagorno-Karabakh war. The effort appeared to have some small effect: at least one member of Congress, Ed Whitfield, a Republican from Kentucky, formally recognized the anniversary of the Khojaly events in the Congressional record three days after meeting with a lobbyist from the Livingston Group on the subject,” added Kucera.

Read Joshua Kucera’s entire piece here.

Authors

Discussion Policy

Comments are welcomed and encouraged. Though you are fully responsible for the content you post, comments that include profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material will not be permitted. Asbarez reserves the right to block users who violate any of our posting standards and policies.

14 Comments

  1. Azerbaijan4ever said:

    For those who believe that Aliyev is serious about attacking Karabagh. There won’t be a war untill 2025-2030. Why? Here are some reasons:

    1) Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline is a property of British Petroleum untill 2026. Azerbaijan has an international obligation to provide the security of that pipeline untill that time. BP was not stupid when it decided to invest in this project if Azerbaijan couldn’t guarantee it’s security in the first place. Remember, in some areas the pipeline is located within 40 km of Armenian border. Coincidence? Not really. US and EU insisted it to be that way. Whereas it could have been as far as 120 km away from the border. So that puts additional pressure on Azerbaijan not to resume armed hostilities.

    2) Next major project. Nabucco (natural gas). Pipeline worth 8 billion USD. Expected to be completed by 2014. There won’t be any war untill Nabucco is built. Right now, the main issue for European Union is the attraction of investors for this project. All political issues have been settled, and Azerbaijan has signed an agreement with the EU to construct this pipeline despite heavy political pressure from Russia on both Azerbaijani and the European sides. Again, stability is needed for foreign investment, so that means no war. By 2020 Azerbaijan’s annual gas exports will reach it’s peak (54 billion cubic metres of gas production annually). Currently, (2010) this number is 27 billion cubic metres. After 2020, a decline in the gas production in Azerbaijan is forecasted. Only then, Azerbaijan might consider attacking Karabagh exclave.

    This is not all. There are many reasons that can be mentioned why a war is unlikely right now. But the major thing is, untill Azerbaijan’s weight as a major energy supplier for Europe doesn’t start to decrease, it would be naive to think that a war is about to start. By the way, I also expect a western funded revolution in Azerbaijan somewhere between 2025-2030. Untill then, US will help Aliyev to stay in power.

  2. Avetis said:

    @Azerbaijan4ever

    You made some interesting observations regarding Azerbaijan and the region’s energy politics. Can you please tell us more about yourself?

  3. Hye-phenated said:

    Thank you Azerbaijan4ever. This is what we knew from the beginning – Sultan Ilham Aliyev is a bluff and a BP puppet.

    Two questions:

    1. Why do American taxpayers have to pay for Pentagon mercenaries to train Azeri snipers who then kill Armenian soldiers in Artsakh?

    2. Since Nakhijevan is not in the way of the oil and gas pipelines, should we take it back now or wait till the big crash of the Azeri empire in 2025?

    • Azerbaijan4ever said:

      I did not say Azerbaijan will collapse in 2025. I just said that current Azerbaijani administration might be replaced by that time. Nakchivan is a part of Azerbaijan. Please don’t write such comments.

      • Hye-phenated said:

        Azerbaijan4ever,

        Please don’t tell me which comments to write and which not – this is not Ilham Aliyev’s Sultanate.

        Nakhijevan suffered ethnic cleansing and completely lost its native Armenian population due to the Azeri-Turk occupation. It is now subjected to cultural genocide by the current Baku dictatorship where Armenian historical presence is being destroyed.

        Armenia has every right to free this land from the nomadic Azeri-Turk occupiers.

      • Azerbaijan4ever said:

        Armenia did try to “free” this land in 1992. We all know what the result was. How about liberating Irevan from Armenian occupation? Ever considered that? Well we do. The person you call Sultan has certainly mentioned it in his speeches several times. But you don’t see my commenting on that, do you?

    • Azerbaijan4ever said:

      Regarding your question about Pentagon and Azerbaijani snipers. Here’s a clue. We all know Russia’s interest in Caucasus and especially in the Caspian sea. It’s not a secret to anyone. And we also know that Russia is a major oil producer. In fact, Russia is the biggest oil producer world wide. But did you know that if Caspian oil fields fell in Moscow’s hand, that would mean that Russians own 36% of world’s oil resources? Did you know that US with it’s consumption of more than 20,680,000 bbl/day is the worlds largest oil consumer? Did you know that China is the worlds second largest energy consumer, and with Russians being world’s dominant top energy producer that would make the Chinese more dependent on Russians and therefore turn them into russian puppets just like during the Soviet time? Lets be realistic. With a gigactic russian base in Gyumri, Pentagon trained snipers are the least they could do. Russia and Armenia are members of Collective Security Treaty Organisation. But Russia keeps selling weapons to Azerbaijan knowing that we don’t even have a peace treaty signed with Armenians. All of this shows that this issue is not about Karabagh, Armenia or Azerbaijan. It’s about the region.

      • Azerbaijan4ever said:

        Here’s a case in point:
        The activities of countries and companies, aimed at the development of the Southern Gas Corridor project, will serve the convergence and strengthening of relations with Europe, as well as play a role in the diversification of routes of gas supplies (Russia vs Azerbaijan), the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza said Thursday.
        The South Corridor is a priority EU energy project diversifying energy supply routes and sources and increasing EU energy security. The South Corridor includes the Nabucco gas pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, White Stream, and ITGI.

  4. Avetis said:

    @Azerbaijan4ever

    Do you think Moscow will allow the Nabucco line to function in full capacity?

    Do you think Baku and Tbilisi will renter Moscow’s orbit in the foreseeable future?

    Who do you think is truly behind the anti-Russian Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus?

    Do you see the Azeri people, not official Baku, ever accepting the reality that they have lost Nagorno Karabakh?

    Where do you live, what is your ethic/religious background?

    • Azerbaijan4ever said:

      The only way for Moscow to stop Nabucco from reaching it’s full export capacity can be done by putting additional pressure on Turkmenistan. Azerbaijan and the EU already signed a joint declaration on Nabucco in which Azerbaijan commits to supply Europe with substantial volume of gas. The only problem is that the pipeline is expected to have an annual capacity of 31 billion cubic meters. Azerbaijan would be able to ship a maximum of about 10 billion cubic meters of gas to Europe annually which is less than a third of Nabucco’s full capacity. And as you know, there’s the unresolved status of Caspian Sea. Which in it’s turn makes it almost impossible to build an underwater pipeline from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan without the agreement of all the Caspian states (Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan). Although Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan would be more than happy to achieve this, Russia and Iran will be against it. Russia has it’s own obvious reasons for this (The Southstream).
      There are some discussions about Iraq as a supplier, but these seem more a sign of desperation than a realistic option in the foreseeable future considering the country’s political instability. Iran’s participation is still blocked by sanctions which will not be lifted in the foreseeable future either.
      The good thing about this is that none of the above mentioned is Azerbaijan’s problem. We’ll sell the gas we got and that’s it. Wether the pipeline functions in full capacity or not doesn’t matter that much to us.
      _______________________________________________________________________________

      I can not tell who’s behind the anti-Russian Islamic insurgency in the North Caucasus, but I do believe that it has anything to do with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan faces a similar threat from within. Turning Azerbaijan into an Islamic state is the biggest dream of Ali Khamenei since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Approximately 97% of the population of Azerbaijan is Shia. Gaining Azerbaijan and thereby cutting all her ties with West would be a great counter for Iran against all the sanctions the West has imposed upon her. Over the past 15 years, 85 billion USD has been invested in Azerbaijan’s economy from abroad.
      Besides that, Azerbaijan’s support for anti-Russian Islamic insurgency within Russia or anything of this sort would entirely spoil the Russian Azerbaijani relations and give the Russians addiotional reason to solve the Nagorno Karabakh issue in favor of Armenia. Perhaps even lead to a Russian funded popular uprising inside Azerbaijan which in it’s turn could eventualy develope into a civil war. Some regions of Azerbaijan, like those among the Russian border are extremely sensitive to political games. Moscow proved it recently with it’s tricks in Khrakh-Uba village (Northern part of Azerbaijan).
      So I highly doubt that Azerbaijan has anything to do with the anti-Russian Islamic insurgency in North Caucasus.
      _______________________________________________________________________________

      I can not speak on behalf of all Azerbaijani people. But I do know that the longer this conflict remains unresolved, the more dangerous it will become for both Armenians and Azerbaijanis. This is not 1993. Things can get ugly incredibly fast. Both countries possess highly destructive offensive weapons which we did not have back then. Within a blink of an eye, something unplanned, a small incident, can escallate into something much bigger, and before the world even tries to condemn the it, we could end up with thousends dead on both sides.
      _______________________________________________________________________________

      I’m was born in Baku. I live in Belgium.
      _______________________________________________________________________________

  5. Avetis said:

    @Azerbaijan4ever

    Thank you for your thoughts. They are realistic and interesting, in my opinion. Please don’t take this as an insult, but I have never had an intelligent conversation with a Turk/Azeri before.

    How do you personally think the conflict in question should be resolved?

    How do you think official Baku wants the confliict revolved in reality and not based on their public statements?

    Based on what you know about your people’s current moood, how do you think the Azeri poulation wants the conflict revolved?

    Do you think Russia wants anything other than the current status-quo in the region which benefits Moscow and Yerevan?

    If Baku decides to carryout a full-scale military attack against Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), how do you think Moscow and Yerevan will react?

    Doesn’t Baku have much more to lose than to gain, if hostilities resume?

    • Azerbaijan4ever said:

      It really doesn’t matter what I personally or anyone else for that matter from Armenia or Azerbaijan thinks about how this conflict should be resolved. It’s extremely hard to manoeuvre in a region where so many interests of different super powers intersect. I personally never look at Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia and the conflicts in these countries individually. Too many events throughout the history, be it over the past couple of decades or the past couple of centuries, have proven that it’s the region that the world is interested in. It’s not a secret to anyone that Russia needs the Karabagh conflict in order to maintain it’s influence in South Caucasus. Therefore, they are satisfied with the current status quo, yes. But this is not to be confused with the Russian 102’nd military base in Gyumri. The reason why Russian troops are in Gyumri today, has very little to do with the possibility of those troops being immediately sent to Karabagh frontline should the hostilities there resume. Simply because Karabagh falls outside the territory of the state of Armenia. As members of Collective security treaty organisation, Russia can and will protect the borders of Armenia and only Armenia against any outside attack. And this is where the question comes. What will Yerevan do if Azerbaijan resumes hostilities in Karabagh? Well, Sarkisian has mentioned that Armenia will have no other choice but to recognize de jure the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh and provide for the safety of its population through all means. One might ask himself, what do the words “through all means” mean here? There are Armenian troops stationed in Karabagh already. If that’s the case, which it obviously is, what else is left to do to provide the security of it’s population other than calling for UN peace keepers which Sarkisian will never do because it’s against the desires of Kremlin?

      From what I understand, the words “through all means” means that Yerevan might even consider to offer some form of autonomy to Karabagh within Armenia after recognizing it’s independence. If you consider the fact that current population of Karabagh is almost 99% Armenian, 2 single referendums (in Armenia and Karabagh) would take care of the unification issue to some degree. Now, in this case, you may ask how effective would the referendums really be if Armenia becomes the only state that recognizes Karabagh or you may even ask how
      far would the international community let Yerevan act if Yerevan acts unilaterally on this recognition and unification issue. Short answer to this long question is, it really doesn’t matter what the world would think. Because by the time the world would start reacting to this, a new page in this conflict would be opened. It’s not even necessary for Russia to recognize Karabagh in order to be able to intervene directly this time (Collective security treaty organisation obligation). Once Karabagh and Armenia unite under the same flag (even illegitimately and under the condemnation of international community), Russia will use this as an excuse to deploy troops to Karabagh-Azerbaijan border as peacekeepers now that Karabagh officially becomes territory of Armenia. What will happen from that point is obvious. This is the new page I was talking about. It’s called “negotiations for eternity”. We must not forget that 7 districts surrounding Karabagh are not a part of Karabagh. But they are still under Armenian occupation. There are several UN resolutions about this issue as well. Yerevan calls these 7 regions the “buffer zone”. Anyway, this would be a great achievement for Moscow. Why? At least 3 reasons:
      – Russian military presence in the region remains unchanged.
      – Russian troops now even more closer to Baku and have more control of the conflict.
      – There is always the risk of UN/NATO peacekeepers coming to the conflict zone. With this move, that risk would be eliminated.

      Another possibility is that Karabagh fails to hold a referendum and unite with Armenia for some reasons, but Armenia still succeeds to recognize it’s independence. In this case, Russia will not be able to intervene directly, but it will illegally send ammunition from Gyumri to Karabagh to support the Armenian troops. The possibility of Russia recognizing Karabagh is really small. There’s always the risk that if Russia recognizes Karabagh, Turkey will start supporting Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia conflicts and encourage the Chechen separatist forces inside
      Russia to the highest levels possible through various methods. If Azerbaijan has so far failed to draw the attention of NATO to the region, Turkey will certainly succeed on this matter very quickly too, be it in Georgia or Azerbaijan. All this could lead to disorder of power balance in the region. Therefore, I doubt that Russia will make a move towards recognizing Karabagh in the foreseeable future. Depending on the circumstances however, Russia will do whatever is needed to fulfill it’s own interest which is to maintain it’s dominance in the region. Be it directly or indirectly.

    • Azerbaijan4ever said:

      Azerbaijani people are certainly not willing to accept Karabagh as an independent state. That I can tell you for sure. This mood is not going to change soon either. Although Armenian mass media blames Aliyev for this, I don’t agree.

*

Top