The policy of mutual support of Azerbaijan and international terrorism
The successful development of the restored independent Karabakh state is one of the system-forming factors of regional and global security. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh) in the process of repelling the terrorist aggression of Azerbaijan in the years of 1991-1994 and in April of 2016, twice conducted a peace enforcement operation in relation to Azerbaijan. For many years the NKR Defense Army has been carrying out a peacekeeping function. Nowadays, Nagorno-Karabakh defends not only itself but also the security system in the world, the civilizational values. The significance and role of the NKR in the principled dispute of civilization with the new barbarism of international terrorism are one of the most important and decisive in the region of the Eastern Mediterranean. The UN Charter and norms of international law imperatively dictate to the international community the need for the final recognition of the independence of the long-established Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh). This recognition will be a preventive measure against a new aggression of Azerbaijan and give dynamism to the negotiation process.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Armenian genocide in Turkey and Western Armenia, the disintegration of Armenia, an occupation of 9/10 of Armenian territory by Turkey and Azerbaijan, including Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) were the biggest civilizational and geopolitical disaster in the history of mankind. If Armenia had been united in its natural multi-thousand-year historical borders and the Armenian-Mediterranean world had developed, the course of world history would have gone more constructively, and the likelihood of the formation of various terrorist organizations in the Middle East, including the "Islamic State," would have been minimized.
At a press conference on January 26, 2015, Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian was asked about the fact that Azerbaijan periodically declares its contribution to the international fight against terrorism, simultaneously accusing Armenia. E. Nalbandyan, recalling the long-standing ties of the Azerbaijani side with international terrorist structures, warned the Azerbaijani authorities: "In the fight against international terrorism, unity is necessary. Terrorism is a threat to everyone, and those, who directly and indirectly support terrorism, should comprehend that there is a boomerang effect and they themselves can become victims of terrorism” (http://russia-armenia.info/node/14075). On November 18, 2014, the Armenian Deputy Minister of International Affairs Shavarsh Kocharyan stated: “Dealing with Azerbaijan, we are dealing with the terrorist state” (http://analitikaua.net/2014/shavarsh-kocharyan-simvolom-azerbaydzhana-ya...).
International organizations clearly indicate that the territory of Azerbaijan is freely used by various terrorist and radical religious groups that consider this country a comfortable and safe territory for their activities. The close connection of the Azerbaijani authorities with the terrorist groups associated with Al-Qaeda, which carried out terrorist intervention against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh), Russia in the North Caucasus and the USA, is well documented. The authorities of Azerbaijan used 1,500 Afghan mujahideen, as well as a detachment of mercenaries under the leadership of Shamil Basayev, for the war against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.
After the defeat of the Afghan Mujahideen by the NKR Defense Army in 1993, their documents, letters, and photographs were found. According to the US news agency Associated Press on November 14, 1999, one of Osama bin Laden's accomplices claimed that Osama bin Laden himself managed the Mujahideen in at least two battles against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. In September 2009, former US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interpreter Sibel Edmonds stated that "bin Laden's fighters from East Turkistan were transferred to Kyrgyzstan, then to Azerbaijan, and from Azerbaijan to Chechnya, some to Bosnia. On this route, people and weapons were sent to one side, and money and drugs were sent back" (http://www.analitika.at.ua/news/sibel_ehdmonds_ben_ladeny_sotrudnichajut...).
In 2001, the US Congressional Research Service published a report, indicating that Al-Qaeda has established its base in Azerbaijan within the framework of the terrorist network. It is obvious that under the total control of the Baku authorities over Azerbaijan, the activities of Al-Qaeda and subsequently the "Islamic state" in the country could not develop without their sanction. Ibrahim Aydarous, who was arrested by the FBI for the bombings of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, headed the Azerbaijani branch of Al-Qaeda in the period from 1995 to 1997. Another terrorist, Radi El Hajj, who was accused by the New York court of committing terrorist acts – explosions in American embassies, admitted that he had previously settled in Baku, where the organization was registered, through whose accounts money for terrorist actions was transferred. The US intelligence agencies managed to intercept phone calls of Al-Qaeda representatives from Baku to Kenya and Tanzania in the period of preparation and carrying out terrorist acts. A fax with an order to blow up the US embassy in Kenya was sent from Al-Qaeda representatives in Baku.
According to Russian intelligence agencies, terrorists led by M. Baraev, who captured the theater center on Dubrovka in Moscow on October 25, 2002, and held more than 900 people hostage, repeatedly contacted the instructors located on the territory of Azerbaijan via satellite communication and received from them instructions on further actions (The TV program "The Man and the Law", Moscow, 25.10.03).
In April 2002, Congressman Erik Kantor, speaking at a meeting of the sub-committee of the House of Representatives of the US Congress, stated that during the storming of caves in Tora Bora in Afghanistan by the anti-Talib coalition, the Azerbaijani government invited "the terrorist number one", Osama bin Laden, and his associates to their country. Under US pressure in 2009, Azerbaijan demonstratively liquidated 9 terrorist organizations associated with Al-Qaeda, but this is only a small part of the branched and influential terrorist network in Azerbaijan.
In May 2012, ex-adviser to Azerbaijani President Vafa Guluzade in an interview with modern.az, speaking about Azerbaijan's ability to conquer Nagorno-Karabakh, admitted that for Baku "the last hope will probably be cooperation with Al-Qaeda."
On May 11, 2012, the Armenian Ambassador to the United Nations, Karen Nazaryan, reasonably accused Azerbaijan of links with international terrorist groups.
According to Russian, Azerbaijani and American media, the «Islamic State» (IS) is actively recruiting militants in Azerbaijan. In Syria and Iraq over the past three years, hundreds of Azerbaijani terrorists have died, including their commanders in the leadership of the "IS". According to various sources, including Azerbaijani sources, up to 2000 citizens of the republic are fighting in the ranks of the "Islamic state" in Syria and Iraq. Camps for training terrorists from the post-Soviet countries in Syria are headed by the personal bodyguard of the Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (http://haqqin.az/news/9359). On January 30, 2014, the international “Institute for War & Peace Reporting” published a special report on the Azerbaijanis fighting in Syria, which refers to the commander of the Azerbaijani fighters, who served under the pseudonym of Abu Yahya al-Azeri. About a dozen Azerbaijani detachments are fighting in Syria. The oldest and largest of Azerbaijani military units is called "Sumgait Jamaat" and operates under the command of a native of Sumgait Abu Yusif. Another large Azerbaijani detachment is called "Jamaat Ansar". On September 28, 2015, the Russian aerospace forces destroyed the camp of the "Azerbaijani battalion" as part of the "Islamic state".
On July 14, 2014, Russian service of the BBC reported that Azerbaijani fighters in Syria are based in the area of the city of Raqqa, and their leader Muhammad Azeri posted on YouTube a statement that "we continue our jihad." It is noteworthy that "in a conversation with the BBC, the imam of the Salafi mosque in Baku refused to comment on the activities of the IS, saying that he knew too little about them. But then he added: "May Allah help them!" (http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/international/2014/07/140714_azerbaijan_isi...).
On October 17, 2014, an Azerbaijani suicide bomber named "Abu Abdullah al-Azerbijiani" committed a terrorist attack in the Iraqi province of Salahaddin. As the Azerbaijani news agency Vesti.az reported, on October 23, 2014, as a result of the bombardment of the positions of the "Islamic state" by the coalition forces in Kobani, one of the commanders of the Islamic State group, an Azerbaijani by nationality Rovshan Badalov, was killed.
The extreme aggressiveness and cruel treatment of prisoners is a distinctive feature of the "Islamic state". It should be emphasized that the Baku militarists, as well as the radical Islamists, have defiantly abandoned the value of the human personality and life, which distinguishes civilization from its absence and opposes civilization to new barbarism. In April 2016, Azerbaijan unleashed another large-scale terrorist aggression against the NKR. The tripartite terrorist union of Turkey, the "Islamic state", and Azerbaijan was defeated in the Syrian Palmyra and made an attempt to take revenge on Nagorno-Karabakh. The administration in Baku committed crimes against peace and humanity, such as planning, preparation, unleashing and conducting the aggressive war, killings and extermination of civil society, killings and ill-treatment to prisoners of war, deliberate destruction of cities and villages. The photos of the tortured elderly residents of the Karabakh village Talish, Valery and Razmeli Khalapyan and 92-year-old Marousya Khalapyan, caused all normal people to shudder. The war crime in the village of Talish is comparable to the war crimes of the Azerbaijani militarists in another Karabakh village of Maragha. During the large-scale aggression of Azerbaijan against the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in 1991-1994, 81 people were brutally killed, 67 people were held hostage (the fate of many of them is still not known) in the occupied by the Azerbaijani army for a few hours on April 10, 1992, the Karabakh village of Maraga. People who did not manage to leave the village were dismembered by axes or poured gasoline and burned alive.
On April 10, 2016, during the exchange of bodies, the Karabakh side received the bodies of 18 servicemen of the NKR Defense Army that were killed on the front line as a result of the large-scale terrorist aggression carried out by Azerbaijan on April 2-5, 2016. The NKR State Commission on Prisoners of War, Hostages and Missing Persons, in the presence of the staff of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has recorded that the bodies transferred from the Azerbaijani side were subjected to torture and mockery.
On April 11, 2016, the President of the Yezidi National Union "Sinjar" Boris Murazi stated that "Azerbaijan is no different from terrorist groups. The President of this country, Ilham Aliyev, personally awarded the Azerbaijani serviceman that beheaded a soldier of the NKR Defense Army, a Yazid by nationality Karam Sloyan" (http://www.ng.ru/problems/2016-05-18/4_karabah.html).
The barbaric acts committed by the Azerbaijani military in Nagorno-Karabakh, including the cutting off of the head and mockery of the bodies of civilians, are typical manifestations of the handwriting of the "Islamic State". The world community is obliged to legally condemn all these crimes of Azerbaijan against humanity.
As in the years of the Azerbaijani-Karabakh war in 1991-1994, Azerbaijan continues to violate UN Security Council resolutions No. 822, 853, 874, 884, which is expressed in the continuation of hostilities in the form of escalation of terrorist attacks on the NKR and Armenia, threats to resort again to military force, refusal to stop hostile acts in terms of economic, transport and energy blockade of the RA and NKR, refusal from direct negotiations with the NKR.
Azerbaijan threatens with nuclear terrorism. On May 9, 2016, the former presidential candidate of Azerbaijan, leader of the New Musavat Party Hafiz Hajiyev, during a televised debate on the Azerbaijani TV channel ANS-TV, called to blow up the nuclear power plant in Armenia and cut out all Armenians (http://www.panorama.am/ru/news/2016/05/09/Бывший-кандидат-в-президенты-Азербайджана-АЭС-Армения-армяне-резня/157661). On March 28, 2013, the website of Publika.az reported that the director of the Institute of Radiation Problems of the National Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan Adil Garibov made a proposal to cause an earthquake in the region of Armenian nuclear power plant. On November 21, 2012, the Director of the Azerbaijani Center for Political Innovation and Technology Mubariz Ahmedoglu said that he considered the bombing of the Armenian Metsamor NPP by the Azerbaijani side as a very real act of the Karabakh war (http://www.zerkalo.az/2012/dobitsya-tseli/).
The official Baku threatens to shoot down civilian aircraft flying to the NKR capital, Stepanakert. All these terrorist appeals are a challenge not only to the NKR but also to the world community.
The President of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh) Bako Sahakyan stated in an interview with "Ekho Moskvy" on May 22, 2011: "We believe that a new form of terrorism appears in the political leadership of Azerbaijan, and it does not concern only Karabakh and the Karabakh and Armenian people. This threat equally deals with the world community and the whole civilization" (http://echo.msk.ru/programs/beseda/777384-echo.phtml).
According to the Iranian agency "Arannews", in August 2012, the Turkish authorities persuaded Azerbaijan to support the Islamists in Syria. Azerbaijan agreed to support terrorist groups, provided that this fact will remain a secret. The first batch of aid in the amount of 500 thousand dollars was transferred through Turkey.
On March 14, 2016, Russian military expert Alexander Sobyanin noted that the militants of the "Islamic state" receive weapons from Azerbaijan. He stressed: "We are talking about the supply of small arms, which the militants of IS get through the territory of Turkey. Azerbaijan buys weapons from Russia, and there is a ban on the resale of only heavy weapons in contracts, and there are no prohibitions on the release of light weapons. Therefore, there is a high probability that the militants of IS buy small arms from Baku" (http://rusarminfo.ru/aleksandr-sobyanin-postavlyaya-oruzhie-boevikam-igi...).
On August 18, 2014, the municipal council of the Kurdish-populated Turkish province of Hakari, accused the Azerbaijani authorities of supporting the Islamic Caliphate militants and supplying them with weapons through the territory of Turkey. At the same time, the persecution of the head of the "Azersun Holding", a Kurd by nationality Abdulbari Gesal, who provided humanitarian assistance to the Iraqi Yezidis, began. He was called an enemy, and his initiative was described as directed against Azerbaijan.
About the intentions and plans of the "Islamic state" says published in the jihadist network map. It shows the peculiar "growth" of the "Islamic state" in the next five years. The new "Caliphate" includes all Muslim countries, including Azerbaijan, and lands of the European countries: Austria, Spain, Portugal, Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia, Georgia, all the Balkan countries, significant regions of Russia, France, and Italy.
Azerbaijan and the Islamic State are both allies and rivals. "The Islamic state" can get out of control of Azerbaijan and its other sponsors and pose a threat to Azerbaijan itself, which is a weak link for expansion. IS’s metastases are already spreading through the creation of networked territorial enclaves in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, in Africa (Libya, Algeria, Nigeria), Afghanistan, Pakistan and other places. There, the Islamist groups claim to be subordinated to the "Islamic state". According to the forecasts of experts, the "IS" units will appear in Azerbaijan and Central Asia in the near future. Moreover, Azerbaijan as an oil producing country is of special interest to the "IS", which has a huge income from the smuggling of captured Syrian and Iraqi oil.
Azerbaijan is a weak link for the expansion of the "Islamic state" due to a number of factors. The long-term systematic misanthropic racist anti-Armenian propaganda of the Baku administration and the policy of state terrorism are an excellent breeding ground for the ideas of Islamist terrorists. A deliberate and systematic work is carried out in Azerbaijan to remove moral norms and prohibitions and introduce radically immoral values. "Aesthetics of terror and hatred" is promoted by all means. Ilgar Ibrahimoglu, the head of the Azerbaijani Center for the Protection of Freedom of Conscience and Belief, testifies: "There is a complete degradation of society before our eyes, anti-values are now turning into values." I. Ibrahimoglu summarizes: "It is obvious that the mechanism of self-regulation of the society in our country failed. [...] And if we do not analyze the created social crisis and find a way out of it, then the future of the country is seen in very gloomy colors. While there is oil, it is not so noticeable. And the more painful will be the delayed way out of the crisis. Time is working against us" (http://www.regnum.ru/news/1493419.html).
The serious problem of Azerbaijan is the strong deficit of identity. The Baku administration formed an ideology of armenophobia as the basis of identity but did not offer the Azerbaijani people a serious project of state building. In such a model of the construction of the Azerbaijani state, the enemy is not the real enemy, but the one who is artificially declared. On the confrontation with this officially declared fictitious enemy a new identity is being built. This path blocks the need for self-understanding, self-analysis, and, therefore, development. In these conditions, the propaganda of the "Islamic state" in Azerbaijan brings its destructive results.
The shortcomings of the legitimacy of the life-long dynastic Baku administration in the eyes of Azerbaijani citizens, social unsettledness, and the lack of development of civil society will contribute to the IS's activities. The professor of history at the University of Amherst, Massachusetts, an employee of the Woodrow Wilson International Center, Audrey Altstadt in his article, published in The National Interest in October 2014, states that Azerbaijan is a vulnerable state for Islamic radicalism. According to the author, this is due to the corrupt regime, deep economic, social and political inequality. The author emphasizes: "Radical leaders can take advantage of such climate, and the ruling groups of Azerbaijan do not have enough opportunities to solve these problems."
According to the well-known Azerbaijani psychologist Dayanat Rzayev, the crisis in the psychological state of the population lies at the base of such widespread phenomena in Azerbaijan as murders, suicide, violence, and divorce. The scientist states that 60% of his patients want to leave Azerbaijan (http://www.panorama.am/ru/society/2010/04/21/az-psychologist/&usg=AFQjCN...). The director of the Azerbaijan Institute of Peace and Democracy Leyla Yunus notes: "Literally, all human rights and democratic freedoms are violated in Azerbaijan" (www.regnum.ru/news/1205850.html).
The salary of an ordinary militant of the "IS" is 500 dollars, and when they take part in hostilities, their salary increases several times, which is attractive for the unemployed inhabitants of the region.
On February 7, 2014, in the Azerbaijani newspaper Zerkalo, political scientist Rauf Mirkadyrov asked a rhetorical question - why are there so many Azerbaijanis among the militants of the "IS"? He writes: "Almost every day we hear about the death of our fellow citizens in Syria, who fought on the side of the extremely radical terrorist groups." R. Mirkadyrov emphasizes that many people could not even imagine that there are so many people who can ruthlessly and cruelly destroy others. The author admits: "It is impossible to deny that religious radicals have serious positions in Azerbaijan. [...] The number of Azerbaijanis who found themselves in the detachments of radicals in Syria shows that we are dealing with an organization that has a branched structure and social base in Azerbaijan" (http://www.zerkalo.az/2014/ni-peregovoryi-ni-olimpiada-voyne-ne-pomeha/).
The Azerbaijani portal haqqin.az asserts that the number of followers of Salafism in Azerbaijan reaches already 40 thousand people. On October 31, 2014, an article by Azerbaijani political scientist Alkhaz Ismayilov entitled "40 thousand Azerbaijanis were put under the gun of the Islamic caliphate (incredible, but obvious)" was published. A. Ismayilov notes: "More and more young people are under the influence of Wahhabism; the number of followers of this radical Islamic trend in Azerbaijan reaches, according to the latest data, already 40 thousand people. [...] The worst thing is that, in the recent months, more and more Azerbaijani citizens join the ranks of the Islamic State (IS) fighters." The author states that "endless you can hear about someone's relatives or neighbors who went there with the whole family" (http://haqqin.az/news/32925).
On March 13, 2014, Azerbaijani expert Aydin Alizade noted that the number of Wahhabis in Azerbaijan reached 70 thousand people. According to him, the total amount of money spent by the Salafis in Azerbaijan to propagate and bribe officials is $5 million per year (http://haqqin.az/news/18556).
On June 13, 2014, the "Islamic State" issued an appeal for the establishment of the "Caliphate" on the territory of Azerbaijan, and the state flags and maps of Azerbaijan with the symbols of the "IS" were posted on the websites of the "IS". During the protest of the Azerbaijani opposition on October 12, 2014, numerous flags of the "Islamic State" were raised in Baku.
On August 17, 2015, the cousin of the chairman of the Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP) Ali Kerimli, Ingilab Kerimov, openly supported the "Islamic State" group and invited terrorists to Azerbaijan. According to the Facebook post on the page of Kerimov, "IS calls itself religious, cuts off the head of those who are engaged in witchcraft. And I think that they are doing the right thing ... If this is so, then welcome to Azerbaijan, IS" (http://minval.az/news/123473063).
In January 2015, one of the leaders of the "Islamic State" Abdul Vahid Khudayar Ahmad held a meeting with the Azerbaijani mercenaries of the "Caliphate", where he ordered them to start a fight with the Baku government, pointing out the need of seizure of the oil fields of Azerbaijan by the "IS" (http://vesti.az/news/232729).
On December 13, 2014, the Azerbaijani information portal "Minval.az" stated: "We should not forget that since the foundation of the IS our country has entered the sphere of its activity". (http://minval.az/news/70564/). According to Azerbaijani media, radical religious groups in Azerbaijan are buying weapons; their supporters began to be organized in Sumgait, where symbols of the "IS" appeared in the form of black stickers resembling the colors of its flags on the windows of cars. On November 12, 2014, in Sumgait, the leader of the Salafis Zohrab Shikhaliyev was arrested. On September 25, 2014, in Baku, the Ministry of National Security (MNS) of Azerbaijan arrested 26 extremists who took part in the battles on the side of the terrorist group "IS."
The Baku administration, making territorial claims to all its neighbors, got carried away by the senseless struggle against imaginary opponents of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the Republic of Armenia and has not yet realized the real imminent threat of the "Islamic State" and other terrorist Islamist groups.
In Azerbaijan, it should be finally comprehended that the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is a neighbor for Azerbaijan, not an enemy and that the Karabakh people equip their home of Nagorno-Karabakh for a decent and free life, not for the detriment of anyone. The Baku administration should recognize the concept of peaceful coexistence and co-prosperity on the basis of mutual recognition of the NKR and Azerbaijan.
The inevitable recognition by Azerbaijan of the independence of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh), which fully meets the imperative requirements of the UN Charter and international law, will create conditions for Azerbaijan's movement towards freedom, democracy, prosperity, and security. In the conditions of escalation of global competition and regional threats, only the pro-Karabakh Azerbaijan can take a worthy place in the world. The one, who is late, is punished by history.
Ruben Zargarian, Candidate of Science (History) Degree, Advisor of the 1st class of the NKR MFA.