By Robert M. Cutler
May 23, 2023
In mid-April, days before Azerbaijan opened its embassy in Tel Aviv, Israeli foreign minister Eli Cohen visited Baku to discuss regional security and Israeli diplomacy in Central Asia with President Ilham Aliyev and other senior officials. Israel’s deepening relations with Azerbaijan and the Central Asian countries—and the significant assistance that it can provide to these countries’ domestic economies as well as their security—contributes to the stability and security of the broader region in the face of Iranian bellicosity. They also give the Central Asian countries another “vector” for escaping the visegrip of Russian and Chinese influence.
By Tomáš Baranec
May 12, 2023
On March 6, 2023, the de facto General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO) of Abkhazia confirmed violations of local legislation in the interstate agreement on the lease of land in Pitsunda (Bichvinta in Georgian) to Russia. This factual rejection of the agreement in its current form seemingly closed a controversial topic that has been affecting Abkhazia for several months. However, it merely closes one chapter of the dispute, which has launched processes that are beginning to push the Russia-supported de facto President Aslan Bzhania into an increasingly open conflict not only with local society but also with the originally pro-presidential parliamentary majority.
By Brenda Shaffer
May 8, 2023
From day one of the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Iran has been hostile toward Baku and consistently acted to undermine its security and independence. However, over the last year the ties between the two bordering countries have deteriorated to an unprecedented level, with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev describing relations between Azerbaijan and Iran as “at the lowest level ever.” President Aliyev in a recent meeting with researchers laid out the factors that have led to this downturn. President Aliyev stated that in Iran, “terror is organized on a governmental level.”
By Alexander Yeo and Emil A. Souleimanov
May 8, 2023
On January 27, a gunman entered Azerbaijan’s embassy in the Iranian capital, killing a security officer. This violent incident appears to have taken place following numerous requests made by Azerbaijani diplomats to their Iranian colleagues to strengthen the security measures around the South Caucasian country’s embassy in Tehran. This is an unprecedented act of violence, comparable only to the incident in the summer of 2001 when an Iranian warship and fighter aircraft threatened a British Petroleum-navigated Azerbaijani vessel exploring the oil reserves of an area in the south-western Caspian contested by Iran. The event is regarded by some observers as a turning point in Azerbaijani–Iranian relations, and has been followed by a diplomatic spat between the two countries.
The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst is a biweekly publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, a Joint Transatlantic Research and Policy Center affiliated with the American Foreign Policy Council, Washington DC., and the Institute for Security and Development Policy, Stockholm. For 15 years, the Analyst has brought cutting edge analysis of the region geared toward a practitioner audience.