Will Hague prioritize "gas grabbing" over human rights in Azerbaijan visit?

Will Hague prioritize “gas grabbing” over human rights in Azerbaijan visit?

Today Foreign Secretary William Hague will be one of the first European politicians to visit Azerbaijan after Ilham Aliyev’s internationally condemned re-election as President.  Hague will be there to attend the ceremony for the signing of a pipeline agreement that will see two trillion cubic meters of gas pumped from Azerbaijan to Europe. Hague will...
The Oil Road in Washington - Constructing Caspian Pipelines on Capitol Hill

The Oil Road in Washington – Constructing Caspian Pipelines on Capitol Hill

Mika Minio-Paluello, Anna Galkina and James Marriott travelled in North America as part of a tour over September and October to promote The Oil Road – Journeys from the Caspian to the City of London. The fifth of a series of blogs on the journey is adapted from a talk that James Marriott gave at...
Fraud, Freedom and Fossil Fuels: Azerbaijan’s Elections

Fraud, Freedom and Fossil Fuels: Azerbaijan’s Elections

The fittings of Committee Room 6 at the House of Commons – thick carpet, green leather chairs, portrait of 18th century Prime Minister William Pitt and view over the Thames – suggest a solemn and sedate atmosphere. But last Thursday the debate raged furiously, back and forth. Mainly between Murad Gussanly, UK representative of the...
PACE’s failure to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its Council of Europe obligations leads to sharp increase in political arrests

PACE’s failure to hold Azerbaijan accountable for its Council of Europe obligations leads to sharp increase in political arrests

This morning, I knelt handcuffed and gagged outside the European Court of Human Rights, alongside a picture of Rashadat Akhundov, a 29 year-old Azerbaijani activist with the N!DA civic movement who has been detained since March. Akhundov was initially arrested on politically motivated charges of weapon possession, but now faces more serious charges of inciting...
Signing of TAP agreement delayed as Aliyev tries to silence EU critics

Signing of TAP agreement delayed as Aliyev tries to silence EU critics

This morning’s planned announcement that the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline has been chosen as the final part of the mega gas pipeline that would run from the Caspian Sea to Italy1 has been overshadowed by controversy over when the agreement will be signed. The official announcement and a statement by the EU Commission are both expected today...
Even oil dictators need a social license to operate - Aliyev's cultural spending spree

Even oil dictators need a social license to operate – Aliyev’s cultural spending spree

Whether it’s BP’s sponsorship of the Tate galleries, Shell’s funding for the Southbank Centre or Tullow Oil’s controversial deals with Sunderland football club oil company sponsorship of the arts is a familiar phenomenon. But what about oil dictators? Do they also need a social license to operate? What kinds of institutions would they throw money...