Azerbaijan wants to create a strong army to regain Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts, either by improving its negotiating leverage with Armenia or going back to war. It has exponentially increased its military budget, though it has not so far gained clear superiority over Armenian forces. If the new military is to be not only stronger but also better governed, however, it needs deep reforms to make it less corrupt and personality driven, more transparent and better directed.
Claims that major terrorist acts were foiled in Azerbaijan at the end of 2007 have prompted discussion about the extent to which Islamic extremism is a genuine threat in the oil-rich land.
Originally published in Vremya Novostei
Azerbaijan's elections, in which pro-government parties won an overwhelming majority, once again failed to meet international standards. The opposition cried foul, organising peaceful street demonstrations and filing court complaints. Though President Ilham Aliyev has pledged reforms, his actions remain tentative.
Originally published in openDemocracy
Originally published in The Daily Star
Originally published in Politico
Oil-rich Azerbaijan, which borders Iran, Turkey and Russia and is still scarred from its defeat by Armenia ten years ago, gives cause for both hope and concern.