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Center for National and International Studies
The events around killing of the Iranian general Souleymani in Iraq by the US strikes and reaction to it in Azerbaijani society and worldwide, detention of the opposition activist in Polish Gdansk airport Dashgin Aghalarly, health of human rights defender hit by the car Ogtay Gulaliyev, election campaign, murder of the 10 year old girl in Tovuz region, crash of the Ukrainian airlines flight in Iran, as well as consequences of the Australian bushfires continue to dominate discussions on FB.
One posting has a collage of two photos: one of the widely respected hero of Azebaijan of the Jewish origin Agarunov, who died in the battles for Karabagh on Azerbaijani side, and the other photo- that of general Souleymani. The comment said : “I prefer the Jewish, who fought in Karabagh defending our borders to the Muslim who was helping the enemy”. ( the author refers to the widely shared information that Souleymani helped Armenian troops to occupy Azerbaijani territories-L.A.)
The FB space is filled by competition of the true and fake news representing both sides- in the US- Iran conflict regarding the death of Souleymani. Some of the photos and postings present Souleymani allegedly supporting Armenian army, passing on military secrets to Armenia, there was even the fake photo of Souleymani with “ the Armenian terrorist Monte Melkonian”.The others represent attempts to portray Souleymani as the leader of all shia. Some complain that those who express sympathies to the general, are reported on to the National Intelligence Agency as spies. They refer to 80 believers currently political prisoners, and ask whether these people want much more of them behind bars? People also widely shared an information about stampede during the mourning of the Iranian general, which resulted in 27 deaths., mainly with ironic statements.
Journalist Ruzgar Movsum makes parallel between the Soviet past and current political system in Azerbaijan: “82 years ago, in 1938 the poet Mikail Mushfig was executed by the Soviet power. It was 82 years ago, but little has changed since that time. Like then, today the country’s masters are our enemies, like then, our resources are stolen, like then, our intelligentsia and youth are being exterminated. At the times, among our people there was no deficit of those who justified Bolsheviks, I am afraid soon we will have those, who will start justify and praise Bolsheviks and that Soviet past too” .
Gubad Ibadoglu of ADR reports about the outcome of elections in Croatia: “Ex-leftist MP Zoran Milanovic wins elections in Croatia. He, representing Social-Democrats defeated the incumbent center-right president Kolinda Grabar- Kitarovic with 52,7% votes in the tight race”.
Ibadoglu also reports on the meeting of the ADR board. The ADR deputy chair Adil Geybulla presented a report about political situation in the country.He focused on the diverging opinions and reactions in the Azerbaijani society to the death of Iranian general Souleymani, the reasons of which he considers the political -ideological gap in the society and Aliyev’s policy of non-integration in the EU. They also created an organization committee to prepare for commemoration of the 20th January ( the date, when Moscow sent tanks to Baku in 1990).
Journalist Seymur Hezi urges to keep in mind, that prominent activists and journalists such as Babek Hasanli, Agil Maharramli, Fuad Ahmadli, Orxan Bakhisli, Afghan Mukhtarli are still in prison.. He also announces the book published by the ex-editor of the newspaper Azaglig, now running in exile an e- TV programme Azerbaijan saati Ganimed Zahid.
Ulvi Hasanli of NIDA reports continuation of collecting signatures for his candidacy in the Babek prospect area. He speaks about deep division and social contrasts in his electoral district, when on the one side of the former Karl Marx bridge there is an area called Khutor, while on the other — villas of MPs-oligarchs. He stresses, that neither European games, no Formula One races will help it. People need improvement of their living conditions. There are hundreds families with the property registration problems. They do not even know their MP.
Konul Ali of Musavat, who is running as a candidate for the parliamentary elections made a few postings reflecting her sense of shock by the scale of the sympathies to the general Souleymani among her constituency, and she quotes some of the families she visited, while collecting the signatures.. “ We do not know the Constitution,we live by the sharia law”.
Ilkin Rustamzade, along with many other FB users, reports about the detention of Dashgin Aghalarli of Musavat, formerly part of the Popular Front Government in 1992-1993, in the airport of the polish city Gdansk by Interpol. He was told that he would be deported back to Azerbaijan, despite his official refugee status in Norway.The information was lately updated that he was visited by the legal defender and recently was released on probation without right to leave the territory of Poland.
Natig Jafarli of REAL gives analysis of the results of the US-Iran relations aggravation, tying it to the price of oil. He stresses, that Trump lost, as decision to withdraw US forces from Iraq was adopted by the Iraqi Parliament and he threatened by sanctions, so it makes him look not serious. Moreover, it makes Russia and Iran benefit from withdrawal. The killing of the Iranian general contrary to international law caused the wave of anti-American mood among public in Iran and pushed the social problems to the backstage, again- Iran benefitted. This tension pushed up the oil price- to 70 dollars, which is beneficial to Russia, Saudi Arabia etc. The losers are the US producers who will pay more for gasoline.This decreases chances of Trump to be re-elected. The tensions increased anti-American mood all over the Middle East. Russia benefited from the interruption of the nuclear agreement , and the US will have to withdraw from Syria too, as becomes too vulnerable to hybrid threats.He considers, that taking in account all this, there are interest groups, who are well aware that he will not be re-elected and just hurry to make him fulfill some objectives, which the others will never do…
Tofig Yagublu of Musavat speaks about democracy as the highest system, providing people for freedoms and rights. He suggests to imagine and compare the reflection of the US-Iran escalation in both conflicting countries. “ Any US citizen can come to the White House with the posters:” Death to the killers of general Souleymani!”, “ Down with Trump!”, “ Long live Iran” and nobody will do anything to them. Can you imagine a similar situation in Iran?”
Ali Kerimli of Popular Front Party ironically calls Ilham Aliyev’s reforms as the replacemnt of the corrupt bureaucrats who are “full” already by those who are “ hungry” . He also reports about improvements in health of the human rights defender Ogtay Gulaliyev, who started to open his eyes and move fingers.
Many share and comment with horror an information about murder of the girl in Tovuz region.Leading personalities make statements regarding delayed actions of the police and investigation, some even suggest that the murder was committed with professionalism, which may betray the criminal’s belonging ( former or current) to the law enforcement bodies. Many comment, that how come the police who to disperse opposition rallies manages to mobilize and organize hundreds of police force could not arrange them to search for the girl, who stayed in the village for two months alive before she was killed and burnt. The journalist Ruzgar Movsum writes: “ The year started awfully. The death of the 10 year old is not just a horrible crime, it is an act of terror..There is a true terror against children and women in the country, but people simply keep silence or even if speak — not enough…Can you imagine such thing happens in Georgia or Armenia? People would come out to the streets press the government against the wall and demand — you either quickly find the criminals and punish them, or if you can- just resign!” We instead are involved in argument about killed Iranian general, with part of us restoring Soviet times, part- Iran, the others- Turan. Azerbaijan in turn is left alone under everybody’s feet. This probably came out as an emotional posting, but 10 year old …it is too hard…”