Monday, October 14, 2019

A Disturbing Analogy: Baku Analyst Sees ‘Foretaste of Civil War’ in Occupied Territories

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 10 – In recent weeks, many commentators have talked about the dangers of a new war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Karabakh and the other Armenian-occupied territories of Azerbaijan; but they have generally focused on what forces each side could deploy and how Russia would react.

            But now an Azerbaijani analyst has drawn an analogy which suggests that a new outbreak of war may be closer than even the pessimists had thought. Nurani, the political commentator for the Minval news agency, says that he sense “a foretaste of civil war” in the occupied territories (

            What makes this so disturbing is that many countries before launching an attack suggest that they are simply engaging in an emerging or pre-existing civil war. That is what Russia implicitly did in the case of Ukraine’s Donbass; and Nurani’s argument makes explicit the same kind of calculation on the Azerbaijani side. 

            That is the case even if the conflict Nurani focuses on is between two Armenians, in this case, Vitaly Balasanyan, the former secretary of the Karabakh Security Council and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, a conflict in which the former directly threatened the latter in ways that the Azerbaijani analyst finds credible given past Karabakh actions.

                Balasanyan’s interview, the Baku commentator says, “is a clear sign that the situation in occupied Azerbaijani lands is sliding toward a full-scale civil war, one in which both sides” – in this case, both Armenian -- appear to be placing their bets on the use of force. One can come up with all kinds of scenarios as a result.

            But however things develop, Nurani says, “there is no doubt” that such a clash in the occupied territories “gives our country an indisputable occasion for its own operation to restore order,” that is, to re-establish Baku’s control over Azerbaijani territory as “recognized by the entire world community.”

            “What is most important,” he says, is that Baku be ready to “act quickly” so that it and not some outside force will be the deciding factor in the outcome.  “And that means,” he continues, Baku must “already today consider the various possibilities and prepare plans accordingly.”

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