Scenario for Azerbaijan
On September 17th a body calling itself the ‘National Council’ (NC)held a rally authorized by the executive power of the city from 15:00 to 17:00 at the Mehsul stadium in Baku. According to the Central Police Department of Baku, the event was attended by about 800 members and supporters of the parties comprising the NC, and a number of opposition non-governmental organizations.
Such a modest result of the meeting was not accidental. As a rule, rallies of the opposition, which first called itself national-democratic and now prefers to be liberal-democratic, were attended mostly by former members of the opposition movement. Now part of this layer is physically unable, and the others do not wish to serve as extras, being sure that these rallies are absolutely of another kind. It was decided to provide a platform for Ibrahim Ibrahimli, who quitted the PFPA as a gesture of protest against the attempts by Ali Kerimli to seize control of the former People's Front, to attract exactly this group. However, those who were once called the ‘Black Hundred’’ by Karimli’s supporters, discern that though the voice is the same, the breath has changed. The slogans and appeals at the rally indicate that the organizers placed emphasis on the ‘socially disgruntled’ mass. But the hopes that this layer will be a new driving force of the rally burst like a soap bubble. Users of social networks protested against the fact that the representatives of this layer do not have an opportunity to voice their opinions. Someone called Merdan Huseynli wrote: "Why are they not given the opportunity to speak, but Gultekin Hajibeyli, who praised the authorities previously, is given one?" "Having not found answers to the relevant questions, they refused to serve as a driving force."
But there will always be someone to fill a vacancy. Being unable to find the country's social malcontents, the opposition, at the behest of their foreign backers, tried to fill this vacuum with radical believers.
West’s new scenario
The events of 2005 have not been forgotten yet, when the miserable US plan to bring the resources of the ruling team against itself, using the figure of Farhad Aliyev, failed. Despite all the efforts, Ambassador Reno Harnish failed to implement in Azerbaijan the experience gained in Serbia and to carry out the scenario tested in Georgia and Ukraine. Later in 2012, attempts at local destabilization were made in Ismayilli and Guba. During this period, the’ fifth column’ controlled by Washington made great efforts for the mass protests to spread throughout Azerbaijan.
However, the events never became a process. The problem was neutralized with the exposure of the background of the travels to Ismayilli by the Real movement’s chairman Ilgar Mamedov and the PPFA functionary Tofig Yagublu. In 2013, under guidance and with financial support, youth convinced by the radical opposition made an attempt to play on people's feelings on the basis of the army issue, but this attempt failed. In a short time all the connections and patrons were exposed, Alex Grigorevs was forced to leave Baku. The heads of a gang armed with ‘Molotov cocktails’ went to explore the ‘Manifesto of Liberty’ in a more suitable place.
Today, the United States and some Western circles are trying to implement the same scenario in Azerbaijan, which has previously been tested in the Arab countries with well-known results. It is supposedly adapted to the local conditions, but in reality this is only a copy. The formula of the ‘radical pro-Western opposition - dissatisfied social stratum - radical believers’ is a new script written for Azerbaijan by the US – the Gülen group and Radical Shiite groups led by the South.
Lets consider the sequence of events.
1. After the military coup in Turkey on July 15th the PPFA ’s links to the Gülen organization were exposed.
2. In August, the leaders of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party, ‘Musavat’, Real and other political organizations were invited to the embassies of the US, the UK and France, where considerable debate took place.
3. On August 31st the National Council decided to hold a rally on September 11th.
4. At the beginning of September, the chairman of the Islamic Unity Movement, Taleh Bagirzade, and the chairman of the Islamic Party, Movsum Samedov, issued a statement supporting the rally, calling on their supporters to take part in it.
At the rallies of the National Council on September 11th and 17th and at the rally of the party ‘Musavat’ on September 18th we see the leaders’ gestures in the direction of the believing layer, including an invitation from the Islamic Party functionary Rovshan Ahmadov to a rally of the National Council and the announcement of T.Bagirzade’s pamphlet calling for disobedience. All this is a serious manifestation of rapprochement between the ‘fifth column’ and radical Shiite factions. Moreover, even with a cursory glance at the NC’s protesters, we can see a noticeably large number of radical believers. This gives grounds for concluding that the radical opposition, rejected by the ‘socially discontented’, is trying on behalf of the US Embassy to fill the void with these kinds of halfwits. In addition, according to information from the reliable sources, some of the 130 thousand dollars, which, according to statements, was provided by the US Embassy to the National Council, was redirected to the PPFA by the Gülen organization.
Despite all the attempts to disguise the relationship of the radical opposition with the Islamists, correspondence on social networks allows the fog of secrecy over the matter to be dispelled. For example, a young man’s comment ‘’the protest is good, but the regime cannot be changed by peaceful means’’ was followed by a comment, obviously from the ‘mentors’: "Do not hurry, let’s not openly discuss this topic yet. Be careful, we still need to support the actions of the Westerners." As we can see, the radical believers pursue their own goals, and we can assume that an even more radical version of the Nardaran events is being prepared. A very remarkable thing was present in T.Bagirzade’s pamphlet, read at the rally of the National Council: "Why do believers observe? An atheist, opposing oppression, is better than a believer, praying at the door of the oppressor. The National Council represents the people, and I want to break the wall between believers and democrats.’’
Apparently, the radical Shiite groups came under the control of Ali Kerimli, who praises the Islamic believers in Baku, and meanwhile his son in Washington praises the West. It is not difficult to notice this duplicity of the PFPA leader. But the reality is that these groups are neither believers nor democrats, but the servants of external circles – one of the West, the other of the South. Therefore, the West and the South have reached an agreement regarding Azerbaijan. But what power did they offer?
The way of the pseudo-democrats
Recently the electorate of the radical opposition has declined and almost faded away. It consists of a scant number of the old movements’ members, regular viewers of Karimli’s performances on social networks and those who have not adapted to the realities of the post-Soviet era. The majority of slogans at the rallies are aimed at the latter. It is interesting that the protesters who are not responsive to the social slogans appear as if they are awaking from lethargy when they hear the names of Taleh Bagirzade, Abgyul Suleymanov, Abbas Huseynov and Movsum Samedov and begin to chant Shiite slogans. This clearly shows that the rally has taken on a different hue than before.
Does this mean that the religious radicals accuse the atheist leaders of pure pragmatism? Given the policy principle of ‘all against all’ inherent to Karimli, it is possible to answer this question positively. But the PPFA leader, with a reputation as an unreliable partner, seems to be seriously adopting the ideology of ‘Hezbullah’. He ordered the newspaper ‘Azadlig’ to criticize and mock the idea of a united Azerbaijan, put forward by Abulfaz Elchibey. Over the years, these materials were approved by the neighboring country's embassy. An alternative organization to the Union of Unified Azerbaijan was created at the initiative of Karimly. Today pan-Azerbaijanism as an idea has in fact come from a turn of the opposition circles. And what in return? At a certain period Karimli made the newspaper ‘Azadlig’ a platform for the representatives of radical Shi'ism, including Ali Shariati, who adapted to the needs of the latter the formula of ‘permanent revolution’ of Trotsky and Che Guevara.
Who then ordered Jamil Hasanli and Ali Kerimli to start working with T. Bagirzade for no reason? Arab and Turkish media report about the presence of a specific plan, which is expected to be carried out jointly with Iran's clerical circles to neutralize the growing role of Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the Muslim world. In this regard, it is about a 'Shiite crescent', which includes Azerbaijan. It is noteworthy that this plan is not operating in Azerbaijan, due to the cohesion of the people, rejecting religious radicalism with the government as well as the traditional atmosphere of tolerance.
The rapprochement between Iran and the United States, the consequences of the premature onset of the post-oil era, with its specific implications, instilled the authors of this plan with hope. A key role should be given to the Westerners to implement this plan in Azerbaijan not through the clerics’ scenario. These are the roots, perhaps, of the cautions on social networks on the need to take time, to be careful and not to trust the Westerners at all. The role of the Azerbaijani Ahmet Celebi is assigned to Ali Kerimli. T. Bagirzade and his followers, the Azerbaijani Muqtada al-Sadr and Sistani, are behind him.
Alternative to Ahmet Celebi
Unlike the original Iraqi Celebi, his Azerbaijani version has an alternative. The readers of resources and social pages close to the Friday Imam from Ardabil, Gasan Amuli, who volunteered (or was instructed) to return the Azerbaijanis of the world to the path of service to God, are aware of the reinforced gestures in the direction of the REAL movement. These resources are full of pictures of Ilgar Mamedov and statements of his or claiming to be his.
Incidentally, many of the Muslim Unity Movement’s activists entered the political arena as members of the REAL movement. At the height of tensions in Nardaran, the leader of REAL, Erkin Gadirli, wrote that believers may establish democracy in the country and that a clerical state in principle does not contradict democracy. But E. Gadirli was not allowed to the latest hearings in Washington – as it turns out, as a result of a denunciation by the PFPA. It is noteworthy that the same newspaper ‘Azadlig’ prefers to keep silent about the imprisoned members of REAL. This can be interpreted as a manifestation of competition caused by the status of ‘Celebi’. But I wonder whether this status of Ali Kerimly is permanent or temporary?