Excerpts from an article in the Azerbaijani press follow comments.
Matthew Bryza’s career in Eurasia has an illustrative trajectory. He served in the U.S. diplomatic corps in Poland in 1989-1991 during the final years of the Solidarność movement and the nation’s departure from the Warsaw Pact and gravitation toward NATO. He is currently a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center and Eurasia Center and with the Atlantic Council in Turkey.
From 1991-1995 he worked at the European and Russian Affairs bureau at the State Department, then from 1995-1997 he worked as a special assistant to American ambassador to Russia Thomas Pickering (now at the Brookings Institution) and later as political officer covering the Russian Duma, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and Dagestan in the Russian Caucasus.
From 1997-1998 he was an advisor to Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Assistance to the New Independent States of the Former Soviet Union Richard Morningstar (a former ambassador to Azerbaijan, in which post he replaced Bryza, and now also at the Atlantic Council), coordinating U.S. programs in the Caucasus and Central Asia. In mid-1998 he served as the Deputy Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State on Caspian Basin Energy Diplomacy, also under Morningstar, coordinating U.S. efforts to establish a network of oil and gas pipelines in and from the Caspian region.
2001, Bryza joined the U.S. National Security Council as Director for Europe and Eurasia, with emphasis on U.S. relations with Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, the Caucasus and Central Asia and on Caspian Sea energy strategy.
In 2005, he became Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the State Department, overseeing the Caucasus and Southern Europe. He was in charge of U.S. efforts to settle “frozen conflicts” in Nagorno-Karabakh, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. He also coordinated U.S. energy policy in the Black and Caspian Seas regions.
After the five-day war between Georgia and Russia in 2008 it was Bryza (still at the State Department) who announced a framework agreement on a U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership.
“The East-West Corridor we had been building from Turkey and the Black Sea through Georgia and Azerbaijan and across the Caspian became the strategic air corridor, and the lifeline, into Afghanistan allowing the United States and our coalition partners to conduct Operation Enduring Freedom.”
“Our goal is to develop a ‘Southern Corridor’ of energy infrastructure to transport Caspian and Iraqi oil and gas to Turkey and Europe. The Turkey-Greece-Italy (TGI) and Nabucco natural gas pipelines are key elements of the Southern Corridor.”
“Potential gas supplies in Turkmenistan and Iraq can provide the crucial additional volumes beyond those in Azerbaijan to realize the Southern Corridor. Washington and [Turkey] are working together with Baghdad to help Iraq develop its own large natural gas reserves for both domestic consumption and for export to Turkey and the EU.”
Bryza was also U.S. Co-Chair to the OSCE Minsk Group charged with working for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. In that and other capacities he was notoriously pro-Azerbaijani and anti-Armenian.
Nevertheless, he was appointed U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan in 2010.
In 2012 he was appointed a board member of a company affiliated with the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic.
He is married to Zeyno Baran, former Director of the Center for Eurasian Policy, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, Director of International Security and Energy Programs for the Nixon Center and Director of the Caucasus Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. They live in Turkey.
He and his former colleague Morningstar were the main architects of the U.S.’s post-Cold War Caspian Sea oil and gas transit strategy, one aimed to penetrate former Soviet republics in the Caspian Sea Basin, the Caucasus and the Black Sea region and to drive Russia and Iran out of the European energy market.
Azerbaijani soldiers showed great bravery, amazing skill and commitment during the second Karabakh war, especially when they liberated Shusha, former US Ambassador to Azerbaijan Matthew Bryza….
He pointed out that technologically, during that war, extremely innovated Turkish technologies, drones and tactics along with Israeli drone technologies were integrated with full-scale combined operations and with devastating impact.
“At the same time, these new weapons really call into question the whole collection of Soviet era and Russian weapons that were easily defeated by these innovative tactics and technologies. So, this suggests that wars are entering a new phase when static defenses and even tanks lose much of their value. It is possible to develop electronic warfare capabilities that allow to defend and camouflage troops and equipment,” added Bryza.