WASHINGTON -- Azerbaijan has long lauded its relations with pro-Israeli groups that advocate on its behalf in Washington, a bond rooted in Tel Aviv’s rapport with the former Soviet republic that touts itself as a haven for the Jewish people in the Muslim world.
When it comes to authoritarian Uzbekistan’s dismal human rights record, the Obama administration says “strategic patience” should characterize its relationship with Tashkent. But the premise of strategic patience in Uzbekistan’s case is flawed because Tashkent plays by a different set of rules.
Kazakhstan is scrambling to keep its diplomatic options open amid rapidly rising Western-Russian tension. Not wanting to get dragged down by Western sanctions imposed on Russia, Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s administration is ramping up an international charm offensive.
President Vladimir Putin accused the West of trying to destroy Russia, drawing a parallel with Hitler's invasion, and said Moscow will never bend to the will of foreigners, talking tough in an annual address after a year of conflict and crisis that has severely strained ties with the United States and Europe.
When Azerbaijan served as chair of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers, it scoffed at the spirit and purpose of the organization and moved vigorously to squash all forms of free speech at home. Now that Baku no longer holds the top spot, civil society activists are worrying about what Azerbaijani authorities will do next.
The government crisis that erupted in Georgia earlier in November was originally cast as a struggle over the country’s geopolitical orientation. But as time passes, it seems the real fulcrum of contention is connected with checks and balances on authority, and the potential influence of unaccountable public figures.
For weeks, idle Turkish tanks have been watching from the hills in southeastern Turkey as Islamic State forces pound the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, just a few hundred meters across the border. That lassitude has prompted many Westerners to voice doubts about Turkey’s commitment to eradicating the Islamic State.
WASHINGTON -- U.S. asylum applications from Russian nationals have jumped 15 percent for the second straight year, a rise that asylum seekers and attorneys attribute to Russians fleeing their homeland due to fears of persecution and antigay violence.