SUBJECT: Assessment of the Caucasus Region
ISSUE: Provide USEUCOM Commander an Overview of Azerbaijan’s approach to the situation in the Caucasus Region.
FACTS: The Republic of Azerbaijan gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. This country has a republic government with a president, prime minister, and unicameral parliament. However, the presidential system dominates a historically weak parliament. Azerbaijan has strong ties with Turkey. Turkey supports Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute. Unrest in the region stems from ongoing conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia. Azerbaijan’s key exports remain oil, gas, textiles, and agricultural products of cotton, grain, and rice. Azerbaijan is located amid European to Central Asian trade routes on the Caspian Sea.
Primary National Interest:
Protection of independence and territorial integrity, as well as ensuring the safety of the internationally-recognized borders of Azerbaijan remains the primary interest. Azerbaijan has had ongoing regional conflicts with Armenia regarding the Nagorno-Karabakh area for over 15 years.
Objectives in pursuit of primary national interest:
(1) A confirmed framework for resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. (2) Maintain strong economic and financial ties to Turkey.
(3) Foster confidence with bordering countries by decreasing excessive weaponry in conjunction with the ratified Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.
Azerbaijan’s likely actions:
(1) Diplomatic: Azerbaijan will conduct resolution talks with Armenia to have occupied territories around Nagorno-Karabakh returned to Azerbaijan control. (2) Informational: Promoting positive media to Nagornoa-Karabakh. (3) Military: Military action by Azerbaijan is doubtful. Any type of military action would jeopardize inroads made over past several years and result in loss of economic and humanitarian assistance. (4) Economic: Azerbaijan could use oil and gas...
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