Thursday, February 14

This is what you get for a pat on a shoulder

Novruz Mammadov is the chief of the department of foreign affairs of the Presidential Administration. Stefan Fule is the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy. Azerbaijan became a member of the Council of Europe in 1999. You are probably thinking what these three have in common. Not a lot, especially if you read one of the most recent statements made by Mr. Mammadov in response to Commissioner Fule's statement regarding the arrests of two opposition voices- Ilgar Mammadov and Tofig Yaqublu. Very openly and quite boldly, Mr. Mammadov threatened EU officials warning them to stay out of Azerbaijan's internal political business and instead deal with its own crisis. 

Frankly, I wasn't surprised to hear such words of deeply nourished wisdom, coming from someone like Mammadov. But the tone is astonishing. Don't mess with us or you will make the lives of those arrested in Azerbaijani much worse than it already is.

This boldness so to speak didn't come from nowhere. For years, Azerbaijan was treated gently or "hugged and held" at a safe distance for Europe's own interests. But its not just Europe. US too, taking into account Azerbaijan's strategic significance been "soft" when it came to hold Azerbaijan's corrupted leaders accountable unlike say in Ukraine or Belarus where pressure has been much higher and more visible. And so, the spoiled child of Europe and the US, Azerbaijan, grew into a spoiled adult, rarely listening anymore. Today, Azerbaijani officials fear no one. They arrest, beat, torture, because they are certain their brutality will go unnoticed (except from "very concerned" statements). Their message is simple- we don't have to listen to you!

And so, Mammadov's statements come as no surprise, after all he is not the first, and he certainly wont be the last. If you remember just few weeks ago Ali Hasanov, head of the Social and Political Department under the Presidential Administration advised Christopher Strasser to retire all together.

The importance of stability in the region, and in the country is costing Azerbaijanis a lot, which surely interests the West to a lesser extent. And while Azerbaijan receives a gentle pat on a shoulder with somewhat parenting look to be kinder, no lessons are learned- the spoiled child returns home to play with its toys, and break or throw away the ones it no longer has interest in. 

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