Maybe this is why oil is above $107 today…
Hajiaga Nuri, an elder in an impoverished village north of Azerbaijan‘s capital of Baku, is part of the region’s first Islamic push against a pro-Western leader after similar regimes were ousted in the Middle East.
Nuri, 59, plans to join a march against the government next month led by a banned Islamic party that Azeri authorities say has Iranian links. The party’s stated goal: to fight against the regime of President Ilham Aliyev, a U.S. ally they accuse of suppressing Muslims. In Tunisia and Egypt, by contrast, demonstrators mostly called for secular democracy.
David Goldman sees huge implications for oil, and also for further destabilization:
As I wrote last year, “Iran’s main strategic objectives are the Iraqi, the Azerbaijani, and eventually the Saudi oilfields, but its preferred and most successful methods are infiltration and subversion through the Shi’ite majorities who inhabit oil-rich regions on its borders.” The strategic problem lies in demographic and geological fundamentals: “Iran stands at the precipice of a demographic and economic tailspin. At current depletion rates Iran no longer will export oil a generation hence, and its subsidy-heavy economy will fail just as an entire generation of Iranians retires. By mid-century Iran’s demographic profile will resemble the inverted pyramid of the ageing Western countries. For this reason, I have argued before, Iran has embarked upon imperial expansion (Demographics and Iran’s imperial design, September 13, 2005).”
Iran’s salient into the Gulf lies through Bahrein–hence the vigorous Saudi response to suppress the demonstrations there. A sudden chill has developed in Turkish-Iranian relations, as M.K. Bhadrakumar notes today in a rambling Asia Times Online dispatch which, however, fails to mention the central issue, namely Azerbaijan. The Azeris are Turks, and speak a Turkish very close to the Anatolian variety. A quarter of Iran’s people are Azeri. Turkey has a profound interest in the Turkic peoples of central Asia; the region is Turkey’s natural hinterland and market for expansion. Most of the 11 million foreign workers in Russia are Turks or Turkic peoples, many recruited by Turkish construction companies. There are more than 120 million Turkic peoples outside Turkey, more, that is, than Turkey’s own population of 80 million.
Turkey cannot watch Iran’s encroachments on Azerbaijan with equanimity.
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