wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07BAKU1497 2007-12-17 13:41:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Baku
Cable title:  

AZERBAIJAN: 2007 COUNTRY REPORT ON TERRORISM

Tags:   ASEC EFIN KCRM KPAO PTER KHLS AEMR AJ KAPO 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKB #1497/01 3511341
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171341Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BAKU
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4468
					  UNCLAS BAKU 001497 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC EFIN KCRM KPAO PTER KHLS AEMR AJ KAPO
SUBJECT: AZERBAIJAN: 2007 COUNTRY REPORT ON TERRORISM

REF: STATE 175925



1. Summary: Cooperation between Azerbaijan and the United
States on counterterrorism predates the September 11, 2001
attacks and the first waiver of Section 907 of the FREEDOM
Support Act in January 2002. Over the past five years, the
GOAJ has continued to step up its efforts to combat terrorist
financing, and has aggressively apprehended and tried members
of suspected terrorist groups. It has rendered numerous
terrorists and persons suspected of having ties to
terrorists. It has also closed organizations operating in
Azerbaijan, which were suspected of supporting terrorist
groups. In 2007, Azerbaijan arrested three separate
terrorist-associated groups, at least 39 persons total, on
terrorism-related charges. The U.S. Embassy in Baku operated
at limited staffing for two days in late October 2007 as a
result of a terrorist threat from the Kamran Asadov group
(detailed below). End Summary.



2. Proposed report for Azerbaijan in 2007 Patterns of Global
Terrorism Report to Congress.

Azerbaijan and the United States have a very good record of
cooperation on counterterrorism issues that predates the
September 11, 2001 attacks. Azerbaijan assisted in the
investigation of the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings and
has cooperated with the U.S. Embassy in Baku to counter
terrorist threats against the mission. After the September
11 attacks, the Government of Azerbaijan expressed
unqualified support for the United States and offered
"whatever means necessary" to the U.S.-led counterterrorism
coalition. Azerbaijan has granted blanket overflight
clearance, engaged in information sharing and law-enforcement
cooperation, and has approved numerous landings and refueling
operations at its civilian airport in support of U.S.
military operations in Afghanistan. Azerbaijan has supported
peacekeeping operations in Iraq since August 2003 with an
infantry company of approximately 150 soldiers stationed at
the Haditha dam. A platoon of Azerbaijani soldiers has been
working with the Turkish peacekeeping contingent in
Afghanistan since November 2002, and President Aliyev
announced plans to double this number to between 40 and 44
soldiers. Another platoon has been working with the Turkish
peacekeeping contingent in Kosovo since 1999.

Azerbaijan has also provided strong political support to the
United States in the Global War on Terrorism. With the 2005
ratification of the International Convention for the
Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, Azerbaijan has
acceded to all 13 United Nations Conventions on Terrorism.
It has also joined 11 European conventions on combating
terrorism. In 2003, the GOAJ implemented UN Security Council
resolutions 1368, 1373 and 1377. In May 2005, the GOAJ
joined the Convention of the Council of Europe on terrorism
prevention. The government also approved changes to the
criminal code that increased the maximum penalty for acts of
terrorism from 15 years to life imprisonment and added a
provision making the financing of terrorist activities a
crime under Azerbaijani law.

While Azerbaijan has served as a route for international
mujahedin with ties to terrorist organizations seeking to
move people, money, and material through the Caucasus,
Azerbaijan has stepped up its efforts and has had some
success in reducing their presence and hampering their
activities. Azerbaijan has taken steps to combat terrorist
financing and identify possible terrorist-related funding by
distributing lists of suspected terrorist groups and
individuals to local banks. In May 2003, the GOAJ
established an inter-ministerial experts group responsible
for drafting anti-money laundering and counterterrorist
finance legislation. In December 2006, the experts group,
through the President's office, provided its most recent
draft to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Council of
Europe; the Department of Justice provided comments on the
law and discussed it with GOAJ officials. The Government of
Azerbaijan has not yet presented the draft law to parliament,
nor has it taken steps to create a Financial Intelligence
Unit. In anticipation of future adoption of this law, the
U.S. Government has continued to train prosecutors,
investigators and judges on implementing anti-money
laundering and anti-terrorist financing law enforcement
techniques.

In February 2007, Azerbaijani authorities arrested a group of
15 Azerbaijani citizens in Baku who called themselves the
"Northern Mahdi Army." The group was charged with having
ties to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
The group went to closed trial in October on charges of
cooperation with a foreign intelligence service, high
treason, possession of illegal weapons and robbery.
According to the Azerbaijani Ministry of National Security
(MNS), the group was organized to establish a state ruled by
Shari'a (Islamic) law. According to published reports, the
MNS said that one of the group members had met an IRGC
officer in Qom, Iran, and was offered money to fight against
the United States, Israel and other Western countries.
According to published reports, the group received training
in Iran and Azerbaijan.

During security sweeps in late October and early November a
group of twelve Azerbaijanis, who were reportedly led by an
ethnic Arab named Abu Jafar were arrested in Sumgayit,
Azerbaijan, on terrorism-related charges. The MNS publicly
said that members of the group came to Azerbaijan from
various conflict zones and grouped around Abu Jafar. In the
security operations, a large quantity of arms and ammunition,
a map of Sumgayit, and other equipment was confiscated from
members of the group. Criminal cases are pending.

Separately, in November 2007, 11 Azerbaijani citizens were
arrested over a number of days throughout Azerbaijan in
connection with a late October 2007 threat against the U.S.
Embassy in Baku which resulted in the embassy working at
limited staffing for two days. The group consisted of
Azerbaijani citizens led by a renegade radicalized
Azerbaijani army officer, Kamran Asadov, who went AWOL from
his unit with four assault rifles, a machine gun, 20 grenades
and a large amount of cartridges on 24 October. The group
carried out an attack on a LUKoil gas station in Baku on
October 30, likely to fund their operations. According to
press reports, members of the groups told the MNS that they
planned to attack the U.S. embassy. All the weapons and at
large members of the group have been seized and criminal
charges are pending.

There is no evidence in 2007 that terrorists find safe haven
in Azerbaijan or that there is any terrorist group operating
in Azerbaijan which meets the guidelines as defined for this
report.

EMBASSY POINT OF CONTACT:

EMAIL: LEWISMW@STATE.GOV
INTERNATIONAL LINE: 994124980335
TIE LINE: 841-0000
INTERNATIONAL FAX: 994124656671
TIE LINE FAX: 841-4289

ADDITIONAL POC

EMAIL: BENNETTJA@STATE.GOV
DERSE