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Video Event | The War in the Caucasus: What Does it Mean for America?

Video Event | The War in the Caucasus: What Does it Mean for America?

Please be advised: This event will premiere LIVE on this page at 9:00 a.m. EDT, Thursday, December 17.

Azerbaijan’s victory in the recent war with Armenia has created a new balance of power in the Caspian region. The military capabilities Azerbaijan revealed announced the arrival of a new, dynamic force in the region. The other big winner in the war is Turkey, which, for the first time in 100 years, compelled Russia to share power with it in the South Caucasus. Although Russia had no choice in the matter, it is not an unambiguous loser. It still remains the most influential actor in region, and it even gained a new military foothold inside Azerbaijan.

The biggest loser was, of course, Armenia. Its military suffered a humiliating route on the battlefield, forcing it to retreat from Azerbaijani territories it had occupied for the last twenty-seven years. But Armenia’s collapse also severely diminished the influence of Iran, which lost direct access to Karabakh—a position it had exploited, in alignment with Moscow and Yerevan, to keep Azerbaijan on its back heels.

What are the strategic implications of these complex changes for the United States?

To answer this question, Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Michael Doran will host a conversation with three distinguished experts: Matthew Bryza, the former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan and former US mediator of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict; Ahmad Obali, the CEO of GunazTV; and Brenda Shaffer, a Senior Advisor for Energy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an expert on the South Caucasus.

Full participant bios:

Ambassador (ret.) Matthew Bryza currently resides in Istanbul, where he runs a Turkish-Finnish environmental solutions joint venture, serves on the Boards of energy companies based in Turkey and the UK, and is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council and Board Member of the Jamestown Foundation. He is a former U.S. Co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Director for Europe and Eurasia on the National Security Council Staff at the White House, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, and Ambassador to Azerbaijan.

Ahmad Obali is the founder and Managing Director of Gunaz TV, a broadcasting company based in Chicago that reaches millions of people in Iran, promoting human rights, ethnic rights, and freedom of information. The TV station operates in the Azerbaijani and Persian languages. Ahmad escaped from Iran in 1982 and immigrated to the United States in 1985. He has worked with various human rights organizations

Prof. Brenda Shaffer is an international energy and foreign policy specialist, focusing on Caspian and Eastern Mediterranean regions. A faculty member of the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, she is also Senior Advisor for Energy at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. The author of several books, including Energy Politics (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) and Borders and Brethren: Iran and the Challenge of Azerbaijani Identity (MIT Press, 2002), Shaffer has advised international institutions, governments, and financial and energy companies, including SOCAR, the national oil company of Azerbaijan. She is a regular commentator on Bloomberg TV and a contributor to major news and opinion outlets worldwide.


Matthew Bryza

Former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan

Ahmad Obali

Founder and Managing Director, Gunaz TV

Brenda Shaffer

Senior Advisor for Energy, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and an expert on the Caucasus

Michael Doran

Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute

Hudson Experts

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