Aaron in Azerbaijan

Just another blog about Azerbaijan.

Amidst a Restless Middle East, a Terror Threat in Azerbaijan

with 6 comments

Azerbaijan is not known for terrorism, religious fanaticism, or even violence.  A day in Azerbaijan is highlighted by car accidents, oil agreements, and the occasional journalist imprisonment.  So when I received an email from the Baku Consular section out of the US Embassy here yesterday, it was a bit of a surprise to see that I was being warned of potential terrorist attacks:

The State Department, based on terrorist threat information, alerts U.S. citizens of the potential for attacks in Azerbaijan, including against American interests.  U.S.  citizens in Azerbaijan should remain vigilant, particularly in public places associated with the Western community. In addition, U.S. citizens should remain aware of their surroundings, be vigilant about their personal security, maintain an unpredictable daily schedule, and vary the routes used to travel to and from their places of work and residence.

The USA Today appears to have gotten a hold of the story, as well.There are really very few things here that lead me to think there might be an imminent terrorist attack. The first is that we share a border with Iran.  Any religiously-inspired attack might come from those neighbors to the south.  The second cause might be an act perpetrated by frustrated Azerbaijani citizens, expressing their distaste for their current situation by targeting the Azerbaijani government’s most valued international friends.  It’s not hard to see that the government works very hard on its international relations, but much less so on domestic issues, and a frustrated Azeri populace isn’t unrealistic.

Last, I suppose this threat is coming against a backdrop of unrest in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Jordan (and who else will we add to this list?)  While I hope things go well for people of those countries, and that they try to remain as peaceful as possible in their protests, I’m sure that there are a few ties between people of those countries and the people of Azerbaijan.  The government situation here is slightly different, and the lives of the people here are generally not pushed towards violence or rioting, but at this point, who knows?

Mom: Don’t worry.  I feel very safe right now, and am fairly certain that attacks, if any, would take place in Baku, not Lənkəran.

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Written by Aaron

January 30, 2011 at 6:55 am

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. I lived in Egypt before moving to Azerbaijan and the situation is very different here. I see very little popular support for regime change at this moment, as the recent elections demonstrated. Opposition parties are fragmented and Islam [a very powerful force in Egypt] is weak here. While there is discontent here, it bares no comparison with that in Egypt where people are much poorer, have even fewer opportunites and are less well educated than in Azerbaijan.

    stevehollier

    January 31, 2011 at 4:58 am

    • I’m sort of fascinated by the different political and religious renditions we see across countries. Thanks for pointing those out. Next time I’m in Baku, I’d be glad to pick your brain on it, if you’re willing!

      Aaron

      January 31, 2011 at 7:13 am

  2. More than happy, Aaron…
    have you seen my posts on my blog site, by the way

    stevehollier

    January 31, 2011 at 7:21 am

  3. Here is a link you might not have come across:
    http://www.silkroadstudies.org/new/docs/Silkroadpapers/0610Azer.pdf

    Very interesting…

    stevehollier

    January 31, 2011 at 9:56 am

  4. […] regardless of the top leadership.  I don’t question Zohrab Ismayil’s sincerity, but as Steve says here, Azerbaijan just isn’t in the same place right now that Egypt is, itching for a cause to blow […]

  5. I am in Baku now, and it is just as peaceful today as every other day. People are friendly and helpful. I’d much rather walk through Baku than many neighborhoods back home in the US. Hope this alert is just a case of the Embassy erring on the side of caution. I don’t plan to change my schedule in response.

    Baku is quiet

    February 2, 2011 at 3:28 pm


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