An invasion of Azerbaijan is unlikely in the near future. Each day that Iranian rhetoric passes without a Western response, the likelihood grows.
As long as Russia backs Yerevan in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict — with troops, wealth, and diplomatic efforts — the pressure in the region will continue to rise. For the sake of the millions all around, Russia’s role must cease.
In this world, Azerbaijan would benefit from improved relations with the West. That is most likely to come in response to domestic liberalization.
To allow Armenia to establish purportedly legitimate symbols of sovereignty on soil the world recognizes as Azerbaijani is to take the already-fragile peace process in which the two countries have been engaged and ceremoniously set it ablaze.
Azerbaijan has great potential for growth and has set its sights on attracting foreign investment from Europe and the broader Western world. Before Baku can realize these goals, it must demonstrate the confidence and political maturity to allow a vibrant opposition to flourish.
While noting that Baku still has some distance to go, Stanley Weiss points out that while Azerbaijan’s strategic importance is unquestionable, the Obama Administration is nevertheless allowing the relationship to deteriorate.
Drawing the authoritarian Central Asian states westward is not easy, but engagement is a better tactic than isolation. Especially when the nations indicate that they want to be part of the West.
“Seven decades of religious repression under Soviet rule actually achieved the opposite of what was intended, galvanizing interfaith cooperation. The country is now poised to use its historical position as a tolerant and multi-faith nation to promote religious tolerance throughout Asia and beyond.”
Although the Eurovision contest helped raise Azerbaijan’s profile in Europe, the country remains largely unknown in America. However, its growing role as the anti-Iran is likely to bring more public attention. Positive attention.
Safarov’s pardon and victory celebration were frankly unbecoming a modern nation, but the ridiculous European Parliament resolution is yet another reminder of the deep scars borne by Azerbaijan as a result of the Armenian occupation.