Another Clinton rebuff

After famously running heated negotiations from a cell phone in the back of a car last week, it seemed Hillary Clinton had achieved a tremendously important, if unfortunately obscure, breakthrough by bringing Turkey and Armenia together in an agreement to open their borders.

How quickly it's all undone, by a cheap thug in tacky suits. There were some early indicators that the Nagorno-Karabagh question would still be a thorn in the deal, but Azeri president Ilham Aliyev is going the extra mile to make sure it doesn't happen by playing the Russian card -- making oil-related threats to your neighbors:
Aliyev said at a cabinet meeting in Baku on October 16 that Turkey is paying Azerbaijan only one-third of world-market prices and demands high transit fees. The meeting was shown on national television.

Aliyev said such a practice is "illogical" and "no country in the world would accept these terms."


Aliyev also alluded to the Western-backed Nabucco pipeline project to bring natural gas from the Caspian Sea to Austria via Turkey, saying: "unresolved transit fees and unacceptable demands in reality can result in the disruption of a project of world importance."
If Azerbaijan won't ship its oil and gas through Turkey, that puts a major damper on the Turkish-Armenian deal -- the pipeline business is far more lucrative, especially short-term, than the trade benefits of opening the Armenian border, and the political calculus gets thrown way off too. This also means that Aliyev gets the West's attention, as Nabucco is in large part the answer to the South Stream and Nord Stream pipelines being built by Russia right now to get oil and natural gas to Europe while bypassing Ukraine; the threat is even more pointed with the deal inked today with Gazprom, the Russian giant.

Coming as it does on the heels of the Russian turnabout, this is a major setback for Clinton -- although it wasn't entirely unexpected (the Azeris have been raising Cain since the deal was first brought up), Hillary was really tied to the border opening, and this weakens her substantially.