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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Azerbaijan: sucking up to the U.S.
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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Azerbaijan: sucking up to the U.S.

oh, yes... the message is clear... if you're a country that has oil and are willing and ready to sell it, the u.s. wants to talk to you... if you're ok with u.s. military on your soil, that's a big plus... never mind what kind of repressive government you may have...
The last election in the former Soviet republic, in 2003, elected President Ilham Aliyev but was marred by blatant fraud and post-election violence. Since then Mr. Aliyev, who succeeded his father in power, has forged a close relationship with the Bush administration, based on his country's location between Russia, Iran and Central Asia and his willingness to cooperate closely with the U.S. military, which overflies Azerbaijan on the way to Iraq and Afghanistan. The United States backed the construction of a pipeline from Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, on the Caspian Sea, to Turkey that will soon allow the export of at least 1 million barrels of oil a day to Western markets, making Azerbaijan rich.

These strategic facts and Mr. Aliyev's generally pro-Western outlook prompted the administration to overlook the 2003 fraud and, at first, the repression that followed. This year, Mr. Bush and the State Department have pressed their ally to hold a fair vote, arguing that it will stabilize his regime and allow a new "strategic partnership" with the United States.

but, despite some measures of reform...
Human Rights Watch concluded before the election that the possibility of a free vote had been "extinguished."

it's kind of like the sign at the used car dealer...


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