4.02.2009

Odd

Something's up in Azerbaijan:
Within the last few months, intelligence agencies of Azerbaijan have revealed and neutralized nine terrorist and extremist groups, connected with Al Qaeda, according to National Security Minister of Azerbaijan Eldar Makhmudov, Moscow daily Nezavisimaya gazeta reports.

You may remember an attempted attack some time ago.

I'm not sure what to make of this -- it certainly seems to go beyond breaking up newspapers. The original Axis article probably has the best take:
The paper interviewed also a known regional expert Arif Yunusov who told the Nezavisimaya gazeta that Azerbaijan “follows the example of Uzbekistan”. He marks that after opposition was crushed in Uzbekistan, the political Islam became more active there and the same one can notice in Azerbaijan. According to Yunusov’s data, now there are about 40-50,000 Wahhabites in Azerbaijan; 5-7,000 out of them are very active; “they are those who can be named fanatics”. Yunusov considers that this figure will increase because of heavy social problems, stratification of the society, etc. The expert adds that connection of the arrested extremists with Al Qaeda or Al Jihad has not been proved.

Indeed, inflation is taking a heavy toll right now Azerbaijan, so I suppose it's entirely possible that it could drive usually secular Azeris toward radicalism. But given how much I was hassled on the subway in Baku for wearing a beard, I'm left wondering.