Thursday, March 19, 2009

Aliyev President For Life in Azerbaijan?

Ilham Aliyev continues the Aliyev family domination of Azerbaijan almost as long as the Daley Family has had an ascendancy in Chicago politics, and using some of the same means. I had the privilege of escorting the then-30 year-old Ilham around Chicago in 1994-5 and he was kind enough to give me his tickets to a Bulls game, then a scarce or expensive commodity. His father Geidar was once an outside contender to succeed Brezhnev as head of the USSR, but it would have been difficult to see a Muslim, let alone another Caucasus native---like the Georgian Stalin---in the Kremlin calling the shots. I met the father Geidar in the Waldorf Astoria and he seemed younger than his ancient age, so my guess is that Ilham will be atop Azeri politics, barring assassination, for a long time to come.

It is important to remember that the Azeris are at war with Armenia, which has close ties with both Russia and Iran. The Azeris and their pipeline west through Georgia are an independent energy outlet to the West, outside the control of Vlad The Empoisoner Putin, who reportedly has Stalin's personal library lining the walls of his Kremlin office and frequently shows visitors the annotations Uncle Joe made in many books dealing with foreign policy.

Just in case you were wondering about lil Vlad's long-term foreign policy strategy.

UPDATE Here is a photo of said Putin purportedly posing as a tourist in Kremlin Square while Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev go out for a photo-op in the late '80s. One Russian "expert" says that Putin was busy in Dresden ruling the captive East Germans at the time, and the fellow in the photo looks suspiciously tall for the tiny 5'5" Ueberdwarf Vlad.

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