A diplomatic cable dispatched by the US Embassy in Azerbaijan, part of the cache of documents obtained by the WikiLeaks website, compares Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to two iconic mafia dons from “The Godfather” movie trilogy -- impulsive Sonny Corleone and his brother, the coldly calculating Michael. The cable goes on to suggest that the dual-nature of the Azerbaijani leader often places “US interests” in opposition to “US values.”
It would seem that few heads of state would welcome a public comparison to criminals, whether real or imagined. But so far, the US cable -- purportedly written in September 2009 by Washington’s then senior diplomat in Baku, former deputy chief of mission Donald Lu -- has largely passed unnoticed. The document, classified as secret, was posted on WikiLeaks’ Cable Viewer site on December 1.
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance correspondent based in Baku. He is also a board member of the Open Society Foundation-Azerbaijan.