"No great genius has ever existed without some touch of madness." Aristotle

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Azerbaijan: The New Solution?

When I read the headlines about Putin's suggestion, I scrambled to find out what information I could on this Unknown country. For those of you who haven't read the news yet today, Putin has proposed a new missile site. He told Bush he would not seek to retarget Russian missiles on Europe if the United States agreed to put the system in the central Asian nation of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic. The Russian leader said the proposed relocation would alleviate Russia's concerns about a missile shield based in Europe. Moreover, he said an Azerbaijan-based system would cover all of Europe rather than part it.
What have I found out so far? (thanks to wikipedia & BBC, links to full new story on yahoo at the bottom of the page)


Full name: Republic of Azerbaijan
Population: 8.4 million (via UN, 2006)
Capital: Baku
Area: 86,600 sq km (33,400 sq miles)
Major language: Azeri, Russian
Major religion: Islam
Life expectancy: 63 years (men), 70 years (women) (UN)
Monetary unit: 1 manat = 100 qapik
Main exports: Oil, oil products
GNI per capita: US $1,240 (World Bank, 2006)
Internet domain: .az
International dialling code: +994

President: Ilham Aliyev, which his rise to power was steeped in controversy.

Azerbaijan is an active member of international coalition fighting international terrorism. The country is contributing to peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Azerbaijan is an active member of NATO “Partnership for Peace” program.

Azerbaijani land borders is 2,648 km, of which Armenia constitutes 1007, Iran 756, Georgia 480, Russia - 390 and Turkey - 15.

2/3 of Azerbaijan is rich in oil and natural gas .

Azerbaijan is also an important economic hub in terms of the raw materials transportation. 2 pipelines run through the country, transporting crude oil. ON top of that they have a natural gas field that supplies gas to the European market.

The main religions there are: Muslim (Shia & Sunni), Christianity, Judaism, Animism

The questions that are swirling around in my mind, are these:

If, the US complies, how is Iran going to react having it built in a country that borders them?

What will their backlash be?

If they are truly just developing "energy" then they have NO need to be concerned. But, in retrospect, it is still a smear upon them. An insult, if you will. It will be interesting to see what is going to happen with this new proposal and the reaction of the international community as a whole. I still stick to my stance yesterday. I think it's ridiculous that we are going to be spending an exuberant amount of money on this. If we do decide to do this, our country better not be the only one that finances this project, especially if the whole of Europe will be "protected" as claimed.



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