6.27.2009

Tweaking

The rules get changed in Azerbaijan:
Last week, while I was in Baku, the most shocking (though I shouldn't be, as by now I shouldn't get surprised when these things happen) news broke out- the government of Azerbaijan was changing legislation on NGOs. And these were not some minor changes, these were changes that might end existence of NGOs in Azerbaijan, well, apart from those that are in "partnership" with the government (the devil himself).


It's easy to get worked up over what's going on in Iran right now -- and at such a historic moment for that country, the emotion can hardly be criticized. But it's often the small, almost unnoticed tweaks in off-the-radar consequences that have the really nasty consequences. This is, after all, the country that may well become the first in its region to join NATO. It's a country that has a tremendous amount of control over gas and oil worldwide. It's on the border of another country whose "pro-democracy" riots could have great repercussions worldwide after a war last year.

But Azerbaijan has never been a sexy foreign-policy place, and so it gets shunted aside and forgotten until Russia decides to turn off Ukraine's gas again.