Sunday, June 05, 2005

Is Azerbaijan a democratic ambush?

The always-attentive and prolific Gateway Pundit has written a noteworthy post on the pro-democracy protests in Azerbaijan. As someone who remembers the origins of the 1998 African embassy bombings, I initially regarded the Azerbaijan pro-democracy movement with a little skepticism. Sort of the way I feel about feminists in headscarves. But I have to put my money where my mouth is, so let's have a look at the parties rallying for change, just to make sure we don't catch a note of Wahhabi in the noble noise of freedom and self-determination. After all, Islamists in other places have made clear the utility of democratic elections (combined with systematic voter intimidation) as a means of gaining power ... and then using the power to ban elections as un-Islamic. This strategy of "One Man, One Vote, One Time" was made infamous by Ali Belhadj, the leader of Algeria's Islamic Salvation Front (FIS): "When we are in power, there will be no more elections because God will be ruling." (Other FIS leaders claim he was misquoted, and there is no link available to substantiate the statement. Belhadj was so quoted by Said Sadi in an article in the French weekly Le Point on August 6, 1994.) So how do we know that's not the plan in Azerbaijan?

I think we can say there is good news and bad news. Bad new first: I don't see a single woman in any of the photos of the protests--not a good sign.

The protest in Azerbaijan

Remember the Cedar Revolution?

The protest in Lebanon

Not all democratic movements are created equal. (Thanks to LGF and Gateway Pundit for the photos.)

So what's up with the all-boys march? Could it be ... Allah? Well here's the good news. The political parties that called the march appear to have no connections whatsoever to the Islamist movements that do exist in Azerbaijan. Asbed Kotchikian writes in The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor that while there has been an upswing in radical Islamist activity in Azerbaijan recently, "historically speaking, Azerbaijan has had a nationalist orientation rather than a religious one." Maybe the women of Baku will get involved in protest marches when they have something to vote about. The three parties that called the protest--the People’s Front of Azerbaijan, the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan and the Musavat party--have no connections to Islamists that I can find. Eurasianet provides brief histories of each of the parties involved.

So thanks again to Gateway Pundit for calling attention to what the mainstream media finds less than newsworthy. The Swiss vote half-heartedly to join the withering EU (at least in regard to border checks) and it makes the Associated Press top stories list. Pro-democracy protesters in a Muslim nation march with pictures of George W. Bush (without swastikas added and not in flames), and it's just not news. Bush's democracy-domino-theory is looking more credible with each passing month, but the biased media in America can't bring themselves to admit it.


Anonymous Darth Medicus said...

A man who thinks alot like me. I think manstream media has a lot to be desired. From local to CNN. They all SUCK. I get sick and tired about hearing about a run away bride. WHO CARES!

10:58 AM  
Blogger tompain said...


In the somber aftermath of the September 11th attacks, I thought that perhaps we might find some small comfort in being forever spared the parade of clowns the media use to keep our eye off the hand reaching for our wallet. Boy was I wrong; the clowns have returned in force, from the runaway bride to Michael Jackson to Michael Jackson's little sister's right breast. I'm hopeful, however, that a change is coming. I know that I'm relying less on the usual MSM suspects and more on blogs and the smaller news sources to which the blogs lead. I believe others are doing the same. Keep the faith.


11:34 AM  

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