Amid ongoing protests in Egypt, a US State Department warning about a terrorist threat “against American interests” in Azerbaijan has placed the government in Baku in an awkward situation. Senior members of the governing Yeni Azerbaijan Party have criticized the US action, while law enforcement agencies have questioned the basis for the alert.
The January 29 alert, distributed by the US Embassy in Baku, said there was a “potential for attacks in Azerbaijan, including against American interests,” and urged American citizens “to be vigilant … in public places associated with the Western community.” Without elaborating, the embassy alert stated that the warning was “based on terrorist threat information.”
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Shahin Abbasov is a freelance reporter based in Baku and a board member of the Open Society Assistance Foundation – Azerbaijan.