Is Azerbaijan Changing Its Border Tactics? Velvet Revolution in Baku

    • Comments - 08 August 2017, 23:09
The Armenian Ministry of Defense warned Azerbaijan that its adventures will receive a tough answer. This warning was followed by Azerbaijani press reports on striking peaceful areas, and an injured 13-year-old. The Armenian MoD has announced that the pictures published by the Azerbaijani press show the wounds of the child are not fresh so they could not have been caused by the alleged artillery fire by the Armenian side on August 7.

The Armenian ministry of defense answered Baku for the second time that the Armenian forces did not target and did not strike peaceful areas, did not breach the ceasefire at all.

A few weeks ago Baku’s foreign ministry and defense ministry made a joint statement on ceasefire of breaches and targeting peaceful settlements by the Armenian side along the entire length of the border.

Has Azerbaijan adopted a new tactics of propaganda when it states regularly that the Armenian side breaches the ceasefire and strikes populated areas? What is the cause of change of Baku’s behavior? Is this intended for preparing aggression or offensive?

Of course, questions occur? What is Baku going to achieve if the accusations against the Armenian forces are intended for a bigger public? The OSCE Minsk Group countries have their own strategy and sources of information and know who breaches the ceasefire, who answers, how and so on. So Baku would hardly succeed in persuading the co-chairs.

On the contrary, there may be an expression of Azerbaijan’s “inability”, the “inability” to push forward the military diplomacy after the April war. The causes are many and are anchored in the strong resistance of the Armenian armed forces which technically changed the political and military situation and restored the political-military balance in the region.

In the new setting, Baku needs to push forward the military diplomacy in real politics. Baku is warned by not only Armenia but also Iran at the level of its president and minister of defense.

At the same time, there seems to be ambiguity inside Azerbaijan’s government. The external possibilities will affect the domestic situation, particularly between different wings of government.

The internecine developments started a long time ago. Spies were disclosed, Mehriban Aliyeva’s political status was raised, coupled with statements on a moderate and tolerant policy, unacceptance of hate speech against Armenians, commitment to preventing anti-Armenian sentiments.

The policy of the Azerbaijani foreign minister Mammedyarov is within this pitch as opposed to belligerent statements by the Azerbaijani defense minister Hasanov made on Russian platforms.

The “military diplomacy” sooner or later makes a velvet revolution in Baku inevitable, and Aliyev is definitely facing the need to manage this process.

Aliyev’s administration has not given up on its “military diplomacy”, looking for new “holes” at the line of contact and at the co-chairmanship. At the same time, one can notice that Aliyev is looking for an alternative, the path to retreat, because if the military diplomacy’s standoff lasts longer, the futile efforts to look for a way out will lead to another blast within the public and political life in Azerbaijan or its government.

The “demonization” of the Armenian side may be part of the search for a way to retreat. And the situation and geopolitical setting develops along a path when Aliyev may increasingly need this retreat to start a new diplomatic and political process of settlement of the Karabakh conflict which is on the agenda of the Minsk Group and is considered within the search for a new model of long-term management of the situation and the status quo.

And the key factor for the depth of the standstill of Aliyev’s “military diplomacy” and the need for a way to retreat will be the alertness of the Armenian armed forces and how well it is equipped, as well as strengthening of governance. Armenia has no alternative either.