Due to our need for allies in the middle east in our wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, we can’t push Azerbaijan to reform
The rush to move assets overseas, often with scant regard for returns, is a common feature of many oil-producing nations, where corrupt elites seek to ensure that their wealth is safe just in case political winds at home change. The phenomenon is part of the “resource curse,” an ailment that has deformed the economies and politics of corruption-addled, oil-producing nations from Nigeria to Venezuela.
Kerimli said Washington paid too much attention to security and energy issues and thus “sent a signal to our country that democratic reform is not important.” When Richard B. Cheney visited Baku as vice president in 2008, he not only held talks with President Aliyev focused on energy but also met with executives of BP and the U.S. oil company Chevron, both of which have operations in Azerbaijan, as do Exxon and other foreign oil companies. Azerbaijan and the United States, Cheney said, “have many interests in common.”
The Obama administration has also focused on strategic issues in its relations with Azerbaijan. On a visit to Baku two weeks ago, William J. Burns, undersecretary of state for political affairs, praised Azerbaijan for supporting the United States in Afghanistan and trumpeted the role of a U.S.-backed oil pipeline from Baku to Turkey that broke Russia’s stranglehold on energy exports from the Caspian Sea.
In a speech, Burns avoided direct criticism of Azerbaijan, noting only: “We also believe that the strengthening of democratic institutions, rule of law and respect for human rights will have a positive effect on the future of this country.”
And in part because Turkey is a key ally in our middle east wars our government can’t call the almost century old mass murder of over one million Armenians genocide.
WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted narrowly on Thursday to condemn as genocide the mass killings of Armenians early in the last century, defying a last-minute plea from the Obama administration to forgo a vote that seemed sure to offend Turkey and jeopardize delicate efforts at Turkish-Armenian reconciliation.
The vote on the nonbinding resolution, a perennial point of friction addressing a dark, century-old chapter of Turkish history, was 23 to 22. A similar resolution passed by a slightly wider margin in 2007, but the Bush administration, fearful of losing Turkish cooperation over Iraq, lobbied forcefully to keep it from reaching the House floor. Whether this resolution will reach a floor vote remains unclear.
In Ankara, the capital, the office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan immediately issued a sharp rebuke. “We condemn this bill that denounces the Turkish nation of a crime that it has not committed,” the statement said. Ambassador Namik Tan, who had only weeks ago taken up his post in Washington, has been recalled to Ankara for consultations, according to the statement.
Historians say that as many as 1.5 million Armenians died amid the chaos and unrest surrounding World War I and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey denies, however, that this was a planned genocide, and had mounted a vigorous lobbying campaign against the resolution.
A White House spokesman, Mike Hammer, said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had told Representative Howard L. Berman of California, the committee chairman, late on Wednesday that a vote would be harmful, jeopardizing Turkish-Armenian reconciliation efforts that last year yielded two protocols aimed at a thawing of relations.