Our Analytics 5 september — 14:12

They want to set up Baku in Moscow (View from Russia)



The publication of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, where, at the suggestion of interested persons, Baku is accused of transferring extremists from Syria to Azerbaijan to conduct operations in Karabakh, can be described not only as an element of a propaganda campaign, but also as a potential scenario for the development of a conflict configuration with the participation of PMCs (private military companies), which can be prompted by both the modern agenda and external forces.

Does Azerbaijan need this, what are the advantages and limitations of such a scenario?

It is noteworthy that informational planting in the Russian media appeared on the eve of the summit of defence ministers

The first thing you need to pay attention to is the timing of the information planting: on the eve of the summit of the heads of the CIS, SCO and CSTO defence ministries in Moscow.

The first salvo were the reports on July 5, about alleged strikes against Iran from the airspace of Azerbaijan. The message indicated that the Russian radar Container allegedly found unknown aircraft. The Azerbaijani Defence Ministry even came up with an official refutation.

If this were the case, this factor would not only cause friction between the heads of the defence departments of Azerbaijan and Russia, but also affect the relations at the top. However, it was clearly open misinformation, for military interaction and information exchange between Baku and Moscow takes place regularly and at the highest level.

The stories of the propaganda campaigns are creative enough, but they are not at all varied. In particular, according to the last episode, one may ask a question: why would Baku transfer militants from Syria, who are wanted by the special services of the whole world, if Ilham Aliyev could simply ask Bashar al-Assad for the help of the Syrian special forces. Given the position of Azerbaijan in the Syrian conflict, indicated in the unconditional recognition of the legitimacy of the current government and the territorial integrity of this country, the Syrian government would certainly provide fraternal assistance to the Muslim Azerbaijani state. But the authors of the fictional plot did not have enough imagination.

Finally, one may ask a question: why does Baku need such a quantity of low-skilled and poorly controlled force with vague moral and combat qualities?

It's another matter if PMCs are involved in the episodes of hostilities. This is a widespread practice around the world. The role of private units in American operations in Afghanistan, in Russian operations in Syria and other parts of the world is known.

Why would Azerbaijan need Syrian militants in Karabakh?

In general, this has its own logic. Especially given the commercial terms that increase accountability and performance. It is another matter that the possibility of using private companies is limited by political frameworks and rather more peripherally than the main front of events.

It is unlikely that Baku has a desire to burden itself with the management and costs of new military entities.

But from the point of view of Armenia, such a scenario looks quite realistic, which is supported by the statement of Deputy Defence Minister Gabriel Balayan on the mobilisation of volunteers and the formation of a militia from a group of local and foreign fighters. 'Syrian militants' in Azerbaijan are just forming a causal link for such a decision for the observing public.

In principle, the internationalisation of the Karabakh conflict has been going on for a long time. The combat participation of foreign combatants and militants has been known since the turn of the 1990s: according to the testimony of Soviet security officials, Armenian militants, in particular, the ASALA military organisation operating in the Middle East, were involved in hostilities on the side of Soviet Armenia.

The internationalisation of the Karabakh conflict began with the involvement of the terrorist ASALA

As a result of the first Karabakh war, it can be stated with confidence that Baku is least of all interested in the emergence of uncontrolled formations and even organised foreign mercenaries, given that the management of such brigades will complicate the negotiation process. After all, initially Azerbaijan cherished the hope for the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group. And the second factor: after returning to power, Heydar Aliyev significantly narrowed the possibilities for the 'Islamisation' of the inter-ethnic conflict. In this aspect, H. Aliyev treated the scenarios of the conflict development very responsibly, carefully analysing each of them for the stability of the military-political situation in the country.

But the leaders of Armenia and the Armenian separatists in Karabakh, who managed to seize Azerbaijani territories, strove for a military superiority at any cost. And in many respects, this military superiority was strengthened by the Armenian national democrats, who managed to win the sympathy of Russian liberal circles. During the first Karabakh war, Russian liberals, who were sympathetic to the Armenian national democrats, resorted to biased coverage of the Karabakh conflict. It seems that the same propaganda methods have been adopted today. Otherwise, how can we explain the replication of fiction on the pages of Nezavisimaya Gazeta?!

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