Elkhan Alasgarov’s blog News — 26 October 2015

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 11

By Seba Aghayeva – Trend:

Azerbaijan has a balanced position on the Syrian crisis, which will not allow to be involved into this process, Elkhan Alasgarov, the head of the Baku Network expert council, Ph.D., told Trend.

He said that Azerbaijan has borders with Russia, Iran and Turkey, which are involved in the Syrian conflict.

“In this situation, the position of Azerbaijan is of great importance for these countries,” he said. “In this issue, Azerbaijan adheres to the balanced position which does not allow the country to be involved into this process.”

“We have something to compare with the world events,” he said. “We have our own bitter experience of fighting against the international terrorism. The entire initial period of forming independent Azerbaijan and Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh were accompanied by the Armenian terrorism and genocide against Azerbaijanis.”

“But the most interesting thing is that most of terrorists, committing their bloody acts against Azerbaijani civilians, were not only Armenians from Armenia,” he said. “Among them there were many Armenian terrorists. They were the natives of the countries, positioning themselves now as active participants of the anti-terrorist coalition, and even the citizens of Syria. Although terrorists failed to break Azerbaijan, but we remember that the international community left the issue of Armenian terrorism unnoticed.”

“Of course, we consider any issue related to Azerbaijan’s position on this or that problem, including the Syrian crisis, through the prism of solving its strategic political tasks aimed at returning the occupied territories,” he said.

Alasgarov said that currently, Azerbaijan has no political, economic or military incentives for active participation in any anti-terrorist coalition in Syria.

“The world leading countries represented by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries actually protract the settlement of the Karabakh problem,” he said. “The UN Security Council’s resolutions, calling for an immediate withdrawal of Armenian occupying forces from the Azerbaijani territories, sank into oblivion.”

“Azerbaijan is an active member of the anti-terrorist coalition in Afghanistan,” the expert said. “However, today the dynamics of terrorism development in Syria is different. In this situation, Azerbaijan is unlikely to participate in the anti-terrorist offensive operation against the Islamic State.”

“As the Azerbaijani citizens, having rather close relations with many countries represented in these coalitions and participating in the anti-terror war in Syria, we have many questions,” he said. “It seems that we will get the answers in the near future.”

The expert said that today Azerbaijan is in conflict with Armenia.

“The leading countries of the coalition, resolving the Syrian conflict, namely, France, the US and Russia are the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairing countries charged with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement,” he said. “In this respect, being in Baku it is interesting to observe these three countries’ actions of resolving the Syrian conflict. This will be a test of their ability to jointly resolve the conflicts, particularly the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”

“The situation around Syria created the preconditions for the formation of the two anti-terrorist coalitions,” he said. “The leaders of the countries, belonging to these coalitions, have significant differences – political and the approaches to the events in Syria. It is becoming obvious that instead of cooperating and working out a common position on the joint fight against terrorism, more countries are trying to implement their own interests in Syria and the whole region.”

The expert said that the military component in the settlement of the Syrian crisis is of great concern as the mechanisms for coordinating the military operations, in particular between the Air Forces of Russia and Turkey have not been created.

“Azerbaijan, having close relations with both Moscow and Ankara, is interested in a high level of the relations between the two countries,” he said. “Although the economic component of the Russian-Turkish relations is quite high, Baku can mediate to normalize the relations in case of further deterioration of the political aspects.”

“The recent Russian Air Force strikes to Syria by cruise missiles from the Caspian Sea can not be considered unambiguously,” he said. “It is good that Russia is fighting against terrorism, but it is desirable for it to use its forces and means outside the Caspian Sea, near Syria. Today, there are the naval forces of all Caspian littoral countries on the Caspian Sea, including Azerbaijan. But they are designed to fight against terrorism in the Caspian Sea. But using the Caspian Sea by the Russian Navy to launch cruise missiles in the direction of Syria has a political aspect besides advertising the Caliber tactical and technical features.”

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