- The Washington Times - Friday, August 27, 2010

Recent pieces in The Washington Times regarding Matthew J. Bryza’s nomination to the position of U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan lend credence to a manufactured controversy related to Mr. Bryza’s confirmation to a strategically important post for the United States (“Emissary entanglements,” Opinion, Aug. 12).

These pieces fail to cover several germane and important questions. Why would the U.S. Senate grill and overtly attempt to discredit an ambassadorial nominee who was nominated by the president, a member of the Democrats’ own party, no less? Why would the Senate do this, given the fact that Mr. Bryza is obviously eminently qualified for the job and was vetted by the White House and the U.S. Department of State? Is this an attempt by senators in close re-election races to placate one constituency and give it a free sounding board?

It is also inexplicable why a France-based organization committed to journalistic freedom and professionalism would repeat patently false claims about the funding of Mr. Bryza’s wedding and then, again inexplicably, extrapolate that a suit filed by a former Azerbaijani minister against the Azerbaijani journalists who made those false claims somehow reflects the nominee’s lack of commitment to journalistic freedom.

It is important to note that recently, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights David J. Kramer attested to Mr. Bryza’s commitment to media freedom and human rights and said the latter should be confirmed immediately.


Reporters Without Borders has inserted itself into a wholly American concern. Yes, Mr. Bryza has close relationships with the leadership of the nations in the region, particularly Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and he is respected by them all. Indeed, his relations with Armenia’s top leaders, which are as close as the ones he enjoys with the leaders of Azerbaijan, have uniquely positioned him to help bring both countries closer to a Nagorno-Karabakh settlement than ever before.

It is expressly for this reason that he is so perfect for the job. He has the gravitas and knowledge to move the agendas of the United States forward.

In his recent confirmation hearings, Mr. Bryza noted that only way to have any success pursuing U.S. interests is to remain objective and fair to both parties. Let’s hope Mr. Bryza gets a fair confirmation process rather than election-year rancor. Isn’t it time to stop sullying the reputation of a dedicated career diplomat? Confirm him now.

ARASH HAKAKZADEH

Los Angeles