An exiled Azerbaijani dissident has embarked on a battle with President Ilham Aliyev’s government from the safety of his US residence. Perhaps realizing that posting angry posts on his blog is not enough to shake the unshakeable Iliyev’s government, ex-Parliamentary Speaker Rasul Guliyev, who had a headline-grabbing walk-on role during Azerbaijan's 2005 parliamentary elections, launched a resistance movement in the US. He even YouTubed an appeal that calls on fellow Azerbaijanis to join him in his plans for a revolution à la tunisienne.
He named the 2013 presidential elections as the key battle in this war; a vote which most likely will keep Aliyev in power, unless the moon crashes into the earth in the meantime.
In a standard tactic for Caucasian opposition causes, Guliyev wants to launch a television and radio station to provide an outlet for anti-Aliyev voices. He quite optimistically is trying to convince the US Congress to help start a broadcasting operation for the expatriate Azerbaijanis.
Some assessments have compared Guliyev’s demarche with Georgia’s tycoon-turned-opposition-leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. But in terms of pocket depth, Guliyev does not compare to billionaire Ivanishvili, and Azerbaijan is far more tightly controlled than neighboring Georgia.
His call to defiance also has drawn much less of an official, or semi-official, smack-back.
Aliyev and Co. so far have not bothered to respond to Guliyev 's efforts to raise an army of the discontented. So, let’s wait and see if his campaign becomes anything beyond, well, interesting.