Azerbaijan has 7 billion barrels in proven pot of oil and produces usually over one million barrels per day. (Liana Jervalidze, a investigate associate during a International School of Caucasus Studies, Ilia State University, and a former central with a Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, pronounced Azerbaijani geologists trust a tangible bulk of pot could be many higher.)
The State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan (SOFAZ), a supervision entity that manages oil and gas revenues, now has a value chest of $30 billion, a figure that is approaching to grow to $34 billion by a finish of 2012 and soar to $50 billion over subsequent 5 years. In 1999, SOFAZ’s resources totaled reduction than $300 million.
Azerbaijan is also aggressively investing in a appetite zone to keep it pumping. Since 1995, Baku has poured in $120 billion to ascent infrastructure. And operative with Western partners like BP plc, Total S.A. and Exxon-Mobil Corp., Azerbaijan is constructing vast pipelines to ride healthy gas from a Caspian Sea, by Turkey, towards markets in Europe (thereby incompatible Russia and Iran from a equation entirely).
Indeed, it’s these relations and a support that these alliances have from Western democracies that are lifting eyebrows. For all of Azerbaijan’s geopolitical and vital importance, a nation is a repressive, hurtful state with a bad human rights record, precisely a form of supervision that Western powers conflict as deceptive when it is in, say, Syria.
Listen to a approach Matt Bryza, an central with a U.S. State Department, tiptoes around a excesses of Azerbaijan’s boss Ilyam Aliyev, who took appetite in 2003 after a tampered election: “We don’t see Ilham Aliyev as a dictator. We see him as a personality of a nation with an rising democracy that has a prolonged approach to go to turn a healthy democracy.”
Among The Most Corrupt
Of course, oil creates bizarre bedfellows and there are other odious autocracies that a West is accessible with usually since of their appetite reserves; Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Qatar immediately come to mind. But nothing of them are as hurtful or odious as Azerbaijan.
Aliyev became President on a genocide of his father Haidar Aliyev, who had been named to a tip post during a troops manoeuvre dual years after autonomy from a Soviet Union in 1991. In a 2003 election, Ilham garnered scarcely 77 percent of a renouned vote, even as activists staged shrill and extravagantly renouned demonstrations opposite what they noticed as a sinister election. International monitors by and vast agreed, eventually condemning Aliyev’s cronies for a accumulation of violations, including voter danger and irregularities in opinion counting.
In partial since of this and what has followed, Azerbaijan is deliberate one of a many hurtful countries in a world, according to Transparency International, a anti-corruption watchdog. Out of a margin of 183 countries, Azerbaijan was ranked a 40th many corrupt; a usually European nations above it on a list were Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.
Among other infractions, Transparency International cited a disaster of Azerbaijani oil and gas companies to yield corporate disclosure; payments demanded in sell for state medical services on entrance into universities; a widespread temptation of open officials, etiquette officers and military officers, as good as kickbacks paid to politicians.
Opposition army and general observers have also criticized parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. During a 2010 parliamentary contests, European choosing watchers charged Azerbaijani authorities with list stuffing and abrasive gainsay by clamping down on media freedoms and preventing many antithesis possibilities from voting. Tellingly, not a singular antithesis claimant won a seat.