Sunday, November 13, 2022

Tehran Behind Small but Growing Armed Underground in Azerbaijan, Moscow Security Analyst Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 11 – Tensions between Baku and Tehran are on the rise, with both governments organizing military exercises along the border and arresting opposition groups at home; and some observers are now even predicting that a war between the two countries could break out (, and

            A full-scale between the two countries still appears unlikely given the certainty that Turkey would intervene to support Azerbaijan and the unlikelihood that anyone, including the Russian Federation, would intervene on the side of Iran, Moscow security analyst Aleksandr Grigoryev says (

            But provocations by Iran in Azerbaijan have a long history, which Grigoryev surveys in his new article, and they have been on the rise in recent months because of Tehran’s unhappiness with the new geopolitical situation in the Caucasus after the 44-day war, its anger at Baku for expanded ties with Israel, and its talk about Southern Azerbaijan.

            At the same time, Grigoryev argues, Baku’s continuing effort to suppress dissidents of all kinds and religious dissidents in particular has “radicalized” some of the opposition to the Aliyev regime and made it more receptive to the idea of cooperating with Iran. This trend has been greatest not in Baku but in the southern portions of Azerbaijan.

            It isn’t likely that this anti-Baku movement in the south will acquire the strength of Hizballah in the Lebanon or the Husites in Yemen, Grigoryev says. But Tehran’s anger at Baku is such that is seems certain to try to respond with to what Baku is doing by seeking to destabilize the southern portion of Azerbaijan.  

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