Rising tensions between Azerbaijan and West

The recent escalation of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan, has exposed the growing rift between Azerbaijan and the West, especially the European Union and the United States. While Azerbaijan has long sought to balance its relations with Russia and the West, the latest crisis has forced it to lean more towards Moscow, which brokered a ceasefire deal that favored Baku’s interests. The West, on the other hand, has been largely sidelined and criticized by Azerbaijan for its perceived lack of support and engagement.

Azerbaijan’s foreign policy dilemma

Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, has been pursuing a pragmatic and multi-vector foreign policy since its independence in 1991. It has tried to maintain good relations with both Russia and the West, while avoiding full-fledged integration with either side. It has also sought to diversify its energy exports and reduce its dependence on Russia, which still exerts significant influence in the region. Azerbaijan has cooperated with the West on energy, security and democratic reforms, but has also resisted pressure to improve its human rights record and political freedoms.

Azerbaijan also feared about inside possible uprising that has been engineered by West due to increasing human rights violations and massively attacks on press freedom.

The main driver of Azerbaijan’s foreign policy has been the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave populated by ethnic Armenians but internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The conflict erupted in the late 1980s and resulted in a war that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than a million. A ceasefire was signed in 1994, but sporadic clashes have continued ever since. The conflict has been mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, France and the US, but no lasting political solution has been reached.

Azerbaijan has accused the Minsk Group of being biased in favor of Armenia and failing to pressure Yerevan to withdraw its forces from the occupied territories. It has also blamed the West for not providing enough political and military support to Baku, especially after the 2020 war, when Turkey, a NATO ally, was the only country that openly backed Azerbaijan’s offensive. Azerbaijan has also resented the Western criticism of its human rights violations and crackdown on dissent, which it sees as interference in its internal affairs.

Russia’s role and interests

Russia, on the other hand, has played a more active and decisive role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, despite being formally neutral and having close ties with both Armenia and Azerbaijan. Russia has a military base in Armenia and is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional security alliance that includes Armenia. However, Russia has also developed a strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, which is a major buyer of Russian arms and a key transit country for Russian gas exports to Turkey and Europe.

Russia has used its leverage over both sides to broker several ceasefire agreements, most notably the one signed in November 2020, which ended the 44-day war and resulted in Azerbaijan regaining control over most of the territories it had lost in the 1990s. The deal also stipulated the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh and the opening of transport corridors between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Nakhchivan, an Azerbaijani exclave bordering Turkey and Iran. The deal was seen as a diplomatic victory for Russia, which enhanced its role as the main power broker and security provider in the region while marginalizing the role of the Minsk Group and the West.

Russia’s interests in the region are not only geopolitical but also economic and cultural. Russia seeks to maintain its influence and presence in the South Caucasus, which it considers as part of its “near abroad” and a buffer zone against NATO expansion. Russia also wants to protect its energy interests and transit routes, as well as its large diaspora and Orthodox Christian community in the region. Russia has also been accused of using the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as a tool to manipulate and pressure both Armenia and Azerbaijan and to prevent them from moving closer to the West.

The West’s response and challenges

The West, particularly the EU and the US, has been largely absent and ineffective in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, despite having significant interests and stakes in the region. The West has supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan but has also called for a peaceful and negotiated settlement of the conflict, based on the principles of the Minsk Group. The West has also provided humanitarian and development aid to both sides, as well as promoting democracy, human rights and civil society in the region.

However, the West has failed to match its rhetoric with action and engagement, especially in the aftermath of the 2020 war. The West has been criticized by Azerbaijan for not condemning Armenia’s aggression and occupation, and for not recognizing Azerbaijan’s right to self-defense and territorial restoration. The West has also been accused by Azerbaijan of being indifferent and passive in the face of the humanitarian crisis and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas. The West has also been challenged by Turkey, which has asserted its role as a regional power and a protector of Azerbaijan’s interests, while clashing with the West on various issues, such as Syria, Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The West faces several challenges and dilemmas in dealing with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its implications. On the one hand, the West wants to maintain its strategic partnership with Azerbaijan, which is a key energy supplier and a potential partner in countering Iran’s influence and extremism in the region. On the other hand, the West is concerned about Azerbaijan’s authoritarian tendencies and human rights abuses, which undermine the prospects of democratic reforms and civil society development in the country. The West also wants to preserve its cooperation with Armenia, which is undergoing a political transition and a democratic awakening, while facing economic and security challenges. The West also wants to avoid a confrontation with Russia, which has a dominant role and a vested interest in the region, while seeking to uphold the principles of international law and human rights.

Conclusion

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has exposed the growing tensions and divergences between Azerbaijan and the West, as well as the limitations and weaknesses of Western engagement and influence in the region. Azerbaijan has become more dependent and aligned with Russia, which has emerged as the main arbiter and guarantor of the status quo, while the West has been marginalized and criticized by Baku for its perceived lack of support and involvement. The West faces the difficult task of balancing its interests and values, as well as its relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan while avoiding a clash with Russia and Turkey. The West needs to adopt a more proactive and coherent strategy towards the region, based on dialogue, diplomacy and development, as well as support the efforts of the Minsk Group and the OSCE to find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the conflict.

 

Lachin Corridor Blocked: Azerbaijan Blames Russian Peacekeepers

The latest incident in the ever-tense relations between neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan occurred on Monday, December12, when groups of Azerbaijanis blocked the Lachin Road that links the recently liberated Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia to protest against what they term environmental degradation in the region. A day earlier, Azerbaijan had issued a diplomatic note to Russia, whose peacekeeping forces have been patrolling the corridor since late 2020, expressing concern over the rampant exploitation of its natural resources right under the nose of Russian forces.

Even though Nagorno-Karabakh has been effectively under Azerbaijani control since 2020, the region still hosts a sizable Armenian population with connections in the neighboring country. The delicate balance has been maintained by Russian peacekeeping forces that have been stationed across this 5-km wide road since a peace deal was hammered out after months of conflict 2020.

Angered at the blockade, Armenia has blamed Azerbaijani military forces of staging the blockade, disrupting civilian traffic between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia for hours, especially during the winter season. The Azerbaijani government has rejected the accusation and has clarified that the blockade is being carried out by civilians, many of whom are Azerbaijani environmentalists, over concerns that illegal gold and copper mining is being carried out in Nagorno-Karabakh and the resources are being smuggled to Armenia through the Lachin Corridor. Additionally, Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of supplying arms to Armenian groups in Nagorno-Karabakh through this corridor.

A particular target of Azerbaijani accusations is Ruben Vardanyan, a former Russian oligarch of Armenian ethnicity who adopted Armenian citizenship in 2021, gave up Russian citizenship the following year, and was appointed state minister of Artsakh—a self-proclaimed sovereign state in the Nagorno-Karabakh region that is recognized by neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities blame Vardanyan of enabling the illegal smuggling of valuable mineral resources between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia.  Azerbaijani officials have stated their resolve not to allow Vardanyan to succeed in his schemes to promote smuggling and environmental damage in the region.

While both sides have a history of trading accusations and holding each other responsible for disrupting peace in the region, Azerbaijan has raised the stakes by dragging Russia into the picture. Under the peacekeeping deal signed with Russian mediation in 2020, Russian forces are responsible for maintaining peace along the corridor. However, Azerbaijan has accused Russian forces of being complicit with the Armenians and turning a blind eye to their activities in the region.

Russia’s foreign ministry has rejected the Azerbaijani accusations terming them unfortunate and counterproductive, while clearly asking for the blockade to be removed at the earliest. Russia is the chief guarantor of peace between the two nations, but it seems that this recent accusation by Azerbaijan will test Russian resolve to maintain neutrality between the two nations. While Armenia and Russia are strong allies in several regional alliances, Azerbaijan has enjoyed close relations with Russia’s Black Sea rival Turkey. Hence, this move would further strain relations between Azerbaijan and Russia at a time when Azerbaijan needs as much diplomatic support as it can get.

On the part of Russia, the challenge is nothing that it has not seen before. Owing to Soviet legacy, the country has peacekeeping forces stationed in several neighboring countries, including Moldova, Georgia, and more recently Armenia and Azerbaijan. It is confident about its ability to navigate easily through the current crisis and is likely to be unsympathetic to Azerbaijan’s concerns. In fact, the recent accusations appear to be a sign of frustration over Azerbaijan’s inability to exercise absolute sovereignty over the region that it had liberated after more than two decades of Armenian opposition. Anxiety is also rising about the intentions of the Russian forces given the close relation between Russia and Armenia.

Armenia and Iran Amplify Diplomatic and Military Relations Against Common Threats

On October 21, the Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan welcomed his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at the Foreign Ministry and was apparently pleased with the Iranian Foreign Minister’s acknowledgment of Armenia’s security interests at the same level as Iran’s own and his clear assertion that Iran would not tolerate any tampering with the current Armenia-Iran border.

Not only that, on the same day he inaugurated a new Iranian consulate in Kapan, which lies in the Syunik province lying along the Armenia-Iran border and which links Azerbaijan with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.

Both Azerbaijan and Turkey have been pressing Armenia to allow them land transit access along Syunik, which Armenia has not accepted. Within this context, the Iranian Foreign Minister’s statement was heard clearly across Armenia’s borders in Baku, Ankara, and Moscow, as was intended.

Decoding the Armenia-Iran-Azerbaijan Triangle

Despite being an Islamic republic, having strong ethnic Armenian and Azeri communities within Iran, and having borders with both Armenia and Azerbaijan, Iran has traditionally enjoyed warmer relations with Armenia, for a variety of reasons. It alleges that Azerbaijan has irredentist aspirations towards Iran’s Azeri provinces, supports secessionist forces, and refers to the provinces as Southern Azerbaijan in the local media. Azerbaijan’s close relations with Israel and Turkey also make Iran anxious about its intentions in the region.

Azerbaijan harbors similar suspicions and complaints against Iran for running anti-Azerbaijani propaganda, sponsoring Hezbollah activities in Azerbaijan, and conducting covert operations to weaken the Azerbaijani state.

Iran has always viewed Armenia as a more reliable partner in the Caucuses and it is its only gateway into the region. Due to this, Iran is against any moves by Azerbaijan and Turkey to acquire a land corridor through Armenia that would disconnect the two allies. While it accepted Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh in 2020, it is wary of Azerbaijan’s expansionist plans.

Armenia Seeks Iranian Drones to Maintain Military Parity with Azerbaijan

According to some media reports, a senior Iranian military official, Major General Yahia Rahim Safavi, has revealed that Armenia is interested in purchasing Iran’s military drones to bridge the military imbalance with Azerbaijan. Naturally, Iran would be glad to help its ally boost up its defense capabilities against an unfriendly neighbor.

Iran has supplied Russia with at least three types of drones—the Mohajer-6 which has a 200-km range, the Shahed-129 which travels up to 450 km, and the Shahed-191, which goes up to 2000 km. Despite no official word from the two countries, Ukraine claims to have shot down and captured several Mohajer-6 drones coming in from Russia to drop payloads over Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities.

Can Iranian Drones Match Up to Azerbaijan’s Turkish Drones?

Both Ukraine and Azerbaijan are among the biggest buyers of Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 military drones. These drones have been credited for playing an instrumental role in Azerbaijan’s decisive victory over Armenia in the 2020 conflict and helping Ukraine resist the Russian invasion in 2022. In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Azerbaijan’s fleet of TB2 drones was responsible for destroying nearly 40 percent of Armenia’s inventory of military equipment. The Ukrainian Air Force has officially confirmed only two successful attacks on Russian targets using the TB2 drones.

Given these facts, it is unlikely that the addition of Iranian drones to Armenia’s arsenal will put Azerbaijan on the back foot.

Russia will also be watching the developments closely as they affect key allies Iran and Armenia and involve Turkey—its key rival in the Black Sea—as well. Moscow is the primary guarantor of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan and has become alerted to European efforts to increase diplomatic influence in the Caucuses and tap into its vast gas reserves.

The Caucasus Center call for Submissions

 

The Caucasus Center for Strategic and International Studies (CCSIS) is a leading think-tank that focuses on the Caucasus, CIS, Central Asia, and Eurasia region. We have a global audience and outreach.

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You can write on any issue, subject, or matter that is worth to be addressed in a scholarly approach, analytical way, or critical approach.

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Can Timely Diplomacy Avert a Second Armenia-Azerbaijan Conflict?

Azerbaijan and Armenia entered into a fresh round of violence soon after midnight on Tuesday, 13 September, each accusing the other of undue provocation and claiming to have responded ‘proportionately’.

Based on the information currently available, Azerbaijan is said to have fired mortar shells at Armenian troops stationed along the border. Azerbaijan defends this move by claiming that Armenian forces were amassing ammunition and setting up landmines along the border, and had even fired at Azerbaijani posts, bringing the Azerbaijani border districts under threat. These districts include Lachin which had until recently been under the control of Russian peacekeeping troops under the terms of the 2020 ceasefire agreement, and had been handed over to the Azerbaijani forces last month.

Losses on Both Sides

The attacks took place near three important cities on the Armenian side, Jermuk, Goris and Sotk, according to a statement issued by the Armenian Defense Ministry, resulting in a loss of 49 Armenian soldiers. Armenia’s defense ministry claims that attacks were also made against civilian infrastructure and struck near several villages and towns near the border with Azerbaijan. The losses on the Azerbaijani side have not been reported or confirmed although the Defense Ministry has acknowledged damage to its military installations.

Western Interests and Positions on the Clashes

This latest flare-up between two important countries of the South Caucuses has regional as well as international implications. At a time when the neighborhood is suffering from the fallout of the Russia-Ukraine war and tense negotiations between the US and Iran, another conflict in the region could spell disaster for peace. It is not surprising then that major world powers have been spurred to action to quell the rising tension between the two nations.

Responding to the Armenian outreach, US Secretary of State has called for both sides to end hostilities immediately, while sending a warning out to Russia to avoid any misadventures that could exacerbate the situation.

French President Macron has also requested both sides to abide by the 2020 ceasefire agreement and has stated that it will submit the matter to the UN Security Council.

The EU has recently been making diplomatic overtures towards both countries in order to replace Russia as the primary mediator in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflicts, and even offered a new peace treaty to both countries. Josep Borrell Fontelles, the EU’s foreign policy chief has called upon both countries to cease hostilities immediately and go back to negotiations. Additionally, the President of the European Council Charles Michel has stated the EU’s readiness to take steps for preventing further escalation and restore peace in the region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come out in full support of ally Azerbaijan by demanding that Armenia desist all provocative actions against it.

Russia Scrambles to Mediate

As expected, Moscow has taken serious note of these developments as it cannot afford another conflict in its backyard that would distract it from the ongoing Ukraine operation, where it has suffered some setbacks recently, especially territorial losses in the Kharkiv region, when key towns in the area were retaken by Ukrainian forces.

Nonetheless, responding to Armenia’s request to intervene under the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) of which Russia and Armenia are members, but Azerbaijan is not, Moscow has stepped in to bring both the parties to the negotiation table and restore the ceasefire. According to Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson of the Kremlin, President Putin is actively engaging leaders on both sides to resolve the tension at the earliest.

Implications for Russia’s Regional Involvement

If the two sides continue to escalate the violence despite regional and international efforts, the implications for Russia’s role in the region could be significant. Long regarded as the mediator of first instance in all disputes in the Caucuses, Russian supremacy both in Central Asia and the Caucuses may be challenged by Turkey, which allies itself strongly with Azerbaijan, as well as China. Not to mention the role of the EU, which has launched an aggressive charm offensive to wean away the two countries from Russian influence.

More important is the question of how long Russian can invest its energies in the Ukraine conflict at the cost of peace along the rest of its 20,241-kilometre border. For western powers desiring to divert Russia’s focus from its actions in Ukraine and ultimately bring the country down to its knees, such regional tensions could be very beneficial.

Simmering Tensions in the Aegean Sea Call for Sagacious Diplomacy

 

Turkiye and Greece, two of the strongest countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region find themselves trading accusations once again as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan warned Greece of retaliation for what it sees as ‘unlawful’ actions by the Greek military against Turkish aircraft patrolling within Turkish airspace.

A Century of Greek-Turkish Rivalry

President Erdogan also claims that Greece is militarizing the hitherto non-militarized islands that were handed over by Turkiye to Greece under the terms of treaties signed in 1923 and 1947. The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has even gone as far as to suggest that his country might reconsider Greece’s sovereignty over the islands. On 3 September, while addressing a rally in Samsun province, Erdogan upped the ante by stating ‘We will do what is necessary’.

Greek-Turkish maritime disputes are nothing new. As recently as last year, the two countries became embroiled in yet another dispute when Turkey signed an agreement with the UN-recognized government of Libya to demarcate their maritime boundaries and an Exclusive Economic Zone to allow Libyan oil exports to Turkiye, conflicting not only with Greece’s EEZ around the island of Crete, but also posing a challenge to a gas pipeline being planned by Greece, Cyprus and Israel. Moreover, Turkiye has invested heavily in supporting Libya’s GNA government to secure its oil needs, and is not likely to tolerate any challenge.

The Greek Response

The government of Greece is consciously trying to downplay these aggressive statements. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has outright dismissed these accusations as ‘absurd’ and ‘outrageous’, while at the same time reminding his audience that the country remains ever-prepared to defend its sovereignty against all kinds of adventurism. Furthermore, the Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias has responded to Erdogan by arguing that due to the proximity of the Greek islands Kos and Rhodes to the Turkish coast and heavy Turkish military deployment, Greek concerns about the security of the islands are valid. Moreover, Greece accused Turkey of invading Greek airspace and maritime space thousands of times in 2022 alone.

Electoral Pandering?

While these statements are a cause for concern, there is also reason to suggest that there is little threat of actual violence between the two NATO members. The two countries have been trading similar accusations for decades but have been at peace since 1922 after the Greco-Turkish War. The Turkish people are headed to the polls in 2023 to select their next President, which suggests that these statements are meant mainly for public consumption and to serve as a rallying cry for his supporters. 2023 is also the year when the Treaty of Lausanne expires, raising Erdogan’s aspirations for regaining Turkish pride by reclaiming sovereignty over the Turkish straits connecting sea traffic between the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Nobody is likely to take any such claims seriously, if they are ever made.

Regional Intervention and the Role of Allies

Many regional powers are heavily invested in peace in the Eastern Mediterranean and have frequently intervened to restore calm between the two neighbors. NATO has been the traditional arbitrator of peace between Greece and Turkiye and has intervened on several occasions. In 2020, both nations accepted a NATO-brokered deal after disagreements following Turkish hydrocarbon exploration in what Greece later claimed to be its continental shelf.

Additionally, Russia enjoys cordial relations with Greece and has recently warmed up with the government in Turkiye. Hence, it would not want to open up another conflict zone in the region given its current engagement in Ukraine. During the 2021 dispute, France openly allied with Greece which ultimately helped to bring down the temperature a few notches down. The Turkish government has already begun internationalizing the issue by sending letters to all EU members, the NATO Secretary General, and the UN Secretary-General.

The Economic Cost

Both countries cannot truly afford any kind of military escalation. The Greek economy has just nearly stabilized after years of negative growth whereas Turkiye’s economic growth is also uncertain. Neither country would want to jeopardize their growth when the entire global economy is experiencing massive inflation and shortages. Thus, while similarly bombastic statements might be made by both sides in the coming days, they are likely to peter down once the relevant powers step in to restore sanity.

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The European Political Community: Another New Front Against Russia?

With Liz Truss all but set to become the next Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the guest list to the Prague Summit scheduled for 6 October is nearly complete. Aimed at building a new, more flexible coalition of like-minded European democracies, including not just EU members and aspirants, but also former Soviet states Armenia and Azerbaijan, the move is clearly aimed at enhancing European security against what is perceived as the threat of Russian military aggression. But the key question is, does Russia have an answer to these new developments?

UK’s Role in the New Coalition

Even though the UK is no longer part of the European Union after Brexit, it is still a key player in the European security paradigm, a member of NATO, and at the forefront of calling out the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Therefore, Charles Michel, the President of the European Council, is leaving no stone unturned to ensure the soon-to-be UK Prime Minister’s attendance at the gathering next month, going as far as to downplay differences between the EU and UK over the Northern Ireland protocol, and the recent jibe of Ms Truss against French President Emmanuel Macron by giving an ambiguous response to a question about whether or not Macron was a friend of the UK.

Despite these awkward positions, if Mr Michel’s active diplomacy succeeds, the October 6 summit in Prague will feature an assembly of 27 EU states, 9 EU aspirants, including Turkey (provided that Greece and Cyprus can be brought on board), Norway, Switzerland, Armenia and Azerbaijan. A veritable coalition stretching from the Atlantic to the Caucuses to encircle Russia on multiple fronts.

Eurasian Diplomacy Wooing Russian Neighbors

Even though Russia has not made a formal statement on these developments, it is likely that the Kremlin is calculating its next move already. In July this year, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen visited Azerbaijan to explore energy deals to replace Russian gas. On August 31, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia met Michel in Brussels to negotiate a new peace deal that would effectively undermine the Russian-brokered 2020 peace deal after the Nagorno-Karabakh War. And if all goes as planned, these two leaders will be meeting the likes of Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz, Tayyip Erdogan, and Liz Truss, all desperate to increase their influence in Russia’s backyard.

Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine is slowly reaching a stalemate as neither side has been able to make significant advancements since the fall of Mariupol to the Russian forces in April 2022. The European states have responded by sanctioning Russia, suspending Russian gas imports, and sending arms to Ukraine. None of these have succeeded in deterring Russia as it has shown its capacity to stay for the long haul in Ukraine and continue to inch further. In this context, reaching out to Armenia and Azerbaijan may be a desperate and ill-thought move on the part of the European states.

The Russian Role in the Caucuses

Russia is still the primary broker of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It successfully mediated peace between the two countries and got them to sign a ceasefire agreement. And until 26 August, it was patrolling the Lachin strip, which connects Armenia with Stepanakert, the capital of Nagonro-Karabakh, before the Azerbaijan forces took over from them. This move might seem to have emboldened Azerbaijan to enter into strategic relations with Europe; however, Russia would still hold the key to the fragile peace between these two important countries in its neighborhood.

The Prague Protests—A Spoiler or Moscow’s Good Fortune?

A surprising development that might also play in Russia’s favor is the unexpected sparking of protests in Prague. On 4 September, an estimated 70,000 angry protestors poured into the streets of Prague against their government’s siding with the EU and NATO over the Ukraine War and demanding a resumption of Russian gas supply. Persistent inflation could lead to more people joining the protestors, raising serious concerns for the weak coalition government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala.

For Moscow, these protests could not have come at a better time, weeks before the show of European strength and unity against it. How these protests pan out will determine the discourse that takes place at the European Political Community summit and the message that it will send to Russia, if it happens at all.

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Why the US Wants an Unstable and Volatile Afghanistan?

 

The hasty withdrawal failed to push Afghanistan into the next US-planned proxy battlefield for the accomplishment of the US regional interests. But still, the US gesturing and alarming the emergence of serious security threats like the so-called ISIS-K.

The US wants an unstable and weak Afghanistan where America can easily play its proxy games and future role. To create proxies and then to trigger massive unrest is a vital part of US foreign policy. The world had seen the role of these proxies in the Middle East and the Arab Spring. This creation of proxies had changed the whole world order and almost the entire map of the Middle East. How the US self-created dictatorships fall one after another. The world has been witnessed all these horrendous memories of Arab uprisings.

To get a hold on the nerves and minds of a war-torn country is easy and the US had vast experience in exploiting such kinds of countries’ resources and internal affairs.

The United States of America (USA) is responsible for all kinds of the current situation of Afghanistan and the miseries of Afghan people. The people of Afghanistan need justice and it could only be possible when the US should be accountable to pay the damages of this havoc.

In the recent Afghanistan talk hosted by Russia, the US absence is an attempt to flee from the scene. The US intended to get face-saving on this massive destruction and war crimes that they committed in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is facing the worst humanitarian crisis of its history. The root cause of this humanitarian crisis is the US proxies war doctrine. In the name of strengthening so-called democracy and coming to help the depressed communities, the US left a more dilapidated Afghanistan with more depressions and woes than before.

It’s time that the multipolar world should build pressure on the United States (US) and its allies that the destruction they were responsible for two decades, its time now to pay these damages and massacres at least to compensate for a little remedy to these people.

 

 

South Caucasus: Tension Rising between Azerbaijan and Iran borders

Iran and Azerbaijan border conflict getting international attention after the news of both countries’ military drills activities near their borders. Iran is concerned with the Azerbaijan regional emergence as a tiny oil-rich state that is heavily equipped with Israeli sophisticated weapons and Turkish drones.

Initially, Azerbaijan started its military drills with its Turkish and Pakistani counterparts. Azerbaijan also detained two Iranian drivers and blocks Trucks’ entry towards Armenia. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian on Thursday expressed disappointment over the inappropriate treatment toward Iranian truck drivers and the arrest of two of them by Azerbaijani border guards.

However more recently Azerbaijani national protest outside Iranian Embassy in Baku sparked serious concerns in Tehran.  Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Abbas Mousavi on Friday strongly condemned the provocative acts by some Azerbaijani nationals against the Iranian Embassy in Baku on Thursday night.

In recent weeks series of meeting from the Ambassador level to the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan and Iran took place to resolve their difference. Both the countries are trying to downplay their internal rifts.

In South Caucasus two leading power players are Russia and Iran. Azerbaijan is a former Soviet state always been under the heavy influence of Moscow. But more recently after the Nagorno-Karabakh War-II, Baku confidence surprised regional and international players. It seems that a policy shift has been deliberately trying to implement by regional players in the South-Caucasus region.

Turkish footprints in South Caucasus are not acceptable either for Russia or Iran. So, Turkey is continuously involved in Azerbaijan and emerged as a major leading supporter and arms supplier to Baku in the Nagorno-Karabakh war-II.

Turkish direct intervention in the South Caucasus region is a serious risk and posing a threat to the other countries. It’s triggering a race of arms and ammunition competition in the region. Turkey’s intentions are clear to make a Turkish-speaking countries bloc that is not acceptable to any of the neighbors near Iran and Russia.

It’s a reality that Iran is one of the leading powers in the South Caucasus. Iran has no military comparison with Azerbaijan because Iran’s combat capacity is much more than Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan is a leading buyer of Israeli weapons. For Iran to accept a country that has been heavily equipped with Israeli weapons next to its border is a major concern.

Iran sending a message to Azerbaijan through these military drills that they would not accept an “Azerbaijan” that can pose a challenge to its neighbors in near future.

Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said at a meeting with Azerbaijan’s new ambassador “We do not tolerate the presence and activity against our national security of the Zionist regime next to our borders and will take any necessary action in this regard,”.

To win a war from Armenia does not mean Azerbaijan becomes a regional player. Though Azerbaijan comes in limelight after the Nagorno-Karabakh war if there is a sense of overconfidence that means it led Baku to some very unexpected and awkward situations.

So, to become a proxy of Israel and the United States (US) in the South Caucasus would not be a wise enough move for Azerbaijan.

For Azerbaijan, any miscalculation of strength about Iran’s power could cause serious repercussions.

 

 

 

Russian led trilateral drills imply a show of power

Trilateral Russian, Tajik and Uzbek military exercises to commence along the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border gestures a powerful message against any kind of intervention in the CIS countries amid Russia boots the arms supply to the Central Asian countries.

With the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the neighboring countries beef up their security to control any kind of hostile situation as the result of the Taliban’s possible intervention. The Tajikistan government is alarmed about the increasing tension in Afghanistan.

The US and NATO forces’ exit create a huge security vacuum that led to massive unrest and insurgency in Afghanistan. The country leading towards a worst every anarchy and civil war. Afghanistan’s military strength is much more powerful than the Taliban’s and the Taliban’s narrative of overtaking the control of Afghanistan is still a dream.

Taliban are facing massive resistance both from the Afghan National Army and the people of Afghanistan. Things are pretty much different as compared to the 1990s.

Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan kicked off their largest-ever military drill Border-2021 that shows that the country is fully capable to meet any kind of challenging situation.

After the capturing of the key border crossings Uzbek- and Tajik-Afghan, the trilateral military and air drills are a powerful message to the Taliban’s who are posing a serious threat to the neighboring countries.

Russian is working on two simultaneous strategies, one by beefing up the security of the CIS countries and the other hand engaging in the political dialogue with the Taliban.

More recently Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu discussed measures to counter the emerging Taliban’s threat to his Tajik counterpart according to the TASS News agency.

Tajikistan is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in which Russia has a huge obligation to defend the member of this treaty.