Armenian-Azerbaijani Standoff In Nagorno-Karabakh

South Front

Armenia releases new video of captured Syrian mercenary

By News Desk -2020-11-01

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – On Sunday, the Armenian Ministry of Defense published a video clip documenting the interrogation of a person who was said to be a Syrian militant who was captured in the Karabakh region after he participated in the hostilities on the side of Azerbaijan.

The captured man who appears in the tape said that he is called, Yousef Al-Abed Al-Hajji, who is from the village of Al-Ziyadiyah, located in the countryside of Jisr Al-Shughour of the Idlib Governorate, adding that he was born in 1988 and married with five children.

The man stated that he had arrived in Karabakh to fight the “infidels”. He was supposed to receive a salary of $2,000 month, in addition to a reward of $100 for the beheading of an “infidel.”

The Armenian Ministry of Defense previously published recorded confessions of another person who also claimed to be a Syrian militant who had been recruited to take part in the fighting on the side of Azerbaijan.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani sides have previously exchanged accusations of using foreign militants in Karabakh during the current round of military escalation in the disputed Karabakh region.

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الصراع بين موسكو وأنقرة يشتدّ.. ماذا بقي من تفاهمات؟

المصدر: الميادين

31 تشرين اول 23:07

بوتين لا يمكنه المضي بمسارات في القوقاز شبيهة بسوريا ونفذ صبره من ممارسات تركيا

تبدو العلاقة الروسية التركية وكأنها تتجه إلى التوتر في ظل صراع يشتد حول الأزمات المختلف عليها، بما في ذلك الأزمتان السورية والليبية. فهل ستطغى الخلافات على التفاهمات، وتتعمق الفجوة بين الجانبين؟

لروسيا وتركيا مصلحة في إقامة علاقة جيدة بينهما، وفي تجنب صدامٍ مباشر. لكنّ المصالح تتقاطع، فكلٌ يسعى إلى مزيد من النفوذ إقليمياً، وللدولتين موطئ قدم في سوريا وليبيا، أبرز بؤر التوتر، حيث الخلاف بينهما حول الأزمتين منذ سنوات.

في الأولى، يبدو الخلاف في تصاعد، حيث أن موسكو تضرب “فيلق الشام” المدعوم من أنقرة، فترسل بذلك رسالة مفادها أن الروس مستاؤون من تحركات تركيا إقليمياً. كأنما تريد روسيا بذلك أن تقول: “إن نقل المسلحين إلى القوقاز خط أحمر”. وفي ذلك أيضاً، تكثيف للضغوط على تركيا، لتقوم بسحب ثلاث نقاط مراقبة في جوار إدلب.

تركيا من جهتها، تعرب عن سخطها العميق، من تلك الغارة الروسية في إدلب، ورئيسها رجب طيب إردوغان يتهم موسكو في خطاب له، “بعدم الرغبة في السعي لتحقيق السلام في سوريا”.

الرئيس التركي من جهته لا يُبدي استعداداً لانسحاب قواته من إدلب وشمال سوريا، إلا بعد حلّ نهائي للأزمة. وثمّة شرط آخر هو طلب الشعب السوري ذلك، على حد تعبيره. فهل يتجه البلدان إلى وضع متأزم بينهما، كذاك الذي شهداه بعد إسقاط الأتراك مقاتلة روسية، أو ربما حتى أكثر تأزماً؟

قد يكون لنفاد صبر بوتين واندفاع إردوغان، ما يدفع في هذا الاتجاه. وللرئيس التركي ورقةٌ أخرى، هي النفوذ في ليبيا التي تمثل وجهاً آخر للصراع.

وفي سياق توتر العلاقات الروسية التركية، يأتي تراجع رئيس حكومة الوفاق الوطني الليبية فايز السراج عن استقالته من رئاسة الحكومة، ما قد يعيد الأزمة الليبية إلى الوراء، ويهدد بنسف جهود إيجاد حل سياسي.

كذلك، تتسع الفجوة بين الروس والأتراك، رغم حاجة الواحد منهما إلى الآخر، فكلاهما يبحث عن مكاسب تعزز مصالحه، وكلاهما يخشى على نفسه من تقزيم نفوذه.

محلي للميادين: صبر بوتين نفذ من ممارسات تركيا في سوريا

وعن توتر العلاقة الروسية التركية، رأى الخبير في الشؤون التركية حسني محلي في حديث للميادين، أن الرئيس الروسي لا يمكنه المضي بمسارات في القوقاز شبيهة بسوريا. ولفت إلى أن هناك قلق روسي جدي من الدور التركي المحتمل في القوقاز.

وفيما أشار إلى أن صبر بوتين نفد من ممارسات تركيا، إلا أن محلي أعرب عن اعتقاده بأن إردوغان لن يتراجع في سوريا، على الرغم من التفاهمات التي عقدها مع بوتين.

كذلك تساءل محلي: “ماذا فعلت موسكو أمام سيطرة أذربيجان على مساحات مهمة في ناغورنو كاراباخ بدعم تركي؟”. 

واعتبر أنه لا يمكن لتركيا أن تتخلى عن الولايات المتحدة خصوصاً في ظل الأزمة الاقتصادية التي تمر بها.

كما أشار محلي إلى أن واشنطن وبرلين ساهمتا في نجاح التفاهمات الليبية-الليبية.

أوغلو للميادين: القوقاز جبهة صراع بين موسكو وأنقرة

بدوره، رأى الكاتب والباحث في الشؤون السياسية التركية فراس أوغلو، في حديث للميادين أن هناك فرق واضح في القدرات العسكرية والاستراتيجية بين روسيا وتركيا.

وقال أوغلو، إن القوقاز هي جبهة صراع واضحة بين روسيا وتركيا لاعتبارات عديدة. واعتبر أنه بإمكان تركيا المناورة بين الجانبين الأميركي والروسي “وتبقى فائزة”، على حدّ تعبيره.

كما تناول أوغلو ما يجري بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان، ورأى أن الجو الاستراتيجي الآن يناسب أذربيجان لاستعادة أراضيها.

كما رأى أن أرمينيا تتحول إلى نقطة متقدمة لفرنسا وأميركا، “وهذا الأمر ترفضه روسيا وتركيا”، وفق أوغلو.

Russia and Turkey, Has Putin Lost Patience?

October 31, 2020 Arabi Souri

Putin and Erdogan: Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Ukraine, Crimea

Putin and Assad have lost patience with Erdogan and the Turkish position in Syria that “was and is still the cause of all of Syria’s problems.”

The following is the English translation from Arabic of the latest article by Turkish career journalist Husni Mahali he published in the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen news site Al-Mayadeen Net:

The American campaigns and harassment targeting Russia through Belarus and Kyrgyzstan and the war in Nagorno-Karabakh continue, which has a negative impact on Moscow’s internal security and its national economy. In this context, Vladimir Putin found himself compelled to be more firm and decisive in his dialogue with “friend and ally” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which was evident in the contents of the phone call between them last Tuesday evening, as Putin expressed “his grave concern about the continued increasing involvement of terrorists” from the Middle East in the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, “according to the Kremlin statement.

And the ‘Middle East’ here is a comprehensive term that Putin may have intended without specifically talking about Syria, after the information that began to talk about the transfer of Syrian and non-Syrian mercenaries from Libya and other places to Azerbaijan, which Tehran also expressed its concern about, with the talk of some Turkish national officials circles said that the Azeris should be incited inside Iran, on the pretext that they are of Turkish origin.

Putin’s warnings related to Syria’s developments acquire additional importance, given their timeliness, which came after a series of Turkish positions that bothered Moscow recently, as the information talked about pressure from President Erdogan on Fayez al-Sarraj and the armed factions that support him, to reject the US-German initiatives to stop the fighting and reach final reconciliation, which will mean the removal of the Turkish forces, experts and Syrian mercenaries loyal to Ankara from Libya.

This information also talked about Turkish pressure on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev not to accept any truce brokered by Russia, America, or Iran, unless Armenia and these countries agree to Turkey’s participation in the future course of the Karabakh crisis, as is the case in Syria and Libya.

Media circles in Moscow view Putin’s style as indicating “important indicators that prove his impatience, after he was finally convinced that Erdogan will not abide by any of his promises and pledges to him in Sochi on September 17, 2018, and in the Moscow agreement on March 5 about Idlib, “the latter has over the past period confronted all Russian pressure, strengthened his military presence in Idlib, prevented the Syrian army from approaching it, and increased his massive military aid to all armed factions in the region.

He also exploited his military presence, supported by tens of thousands of Syrian and foreign militants in Idlib and the western Euphrates in general, and he succeeded in convincing Putin to allow him to enter the east of the Euphrates as well. In more than one speech, Erdogan stressed that he would not withdraw from Idlib, and from northern Syria in general, except after the final solution to the Syrian crisis, on condition that the Syrian people ask him to do so.

In his speech to members of the parliamentary bloc of his party (Wednesday), Erdogan did not forget to condemn the Russian raids that targeted the training center of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham), saying, “Russia’s attack on a training center for the Syrian National Army in the Idlib region is a clear indication that it does not want lasting peace and stability in Syria.”

According to the preliminary data, the next few days suggest exciting developments in Russian-Turkish relations, which seem to have entered a new path after the air operation that targeted a training center for the militants of the Levant Legion (Faylaq Sham) loyal to Erdogan near the borders with Turkey, which adopts this faction and all the factions in the region. Turkey has mobilized additional forces with all heavy weapons to meet all possibilities, while Russian pressure continues to withdraw three Turkish observation points besieged by the Syrian army in the vicinity of Idlib “as soon as possible.”

180 Faylaq Al-Sham Terrorists Killed and Injured by a Russian Airstrike in Idlib

https://www.syrianews.cc/180-faylaq-al-sham-terrorists-killed-and-injured-by-a-russian-airstrike-in-idlib/embed/#?secret=3y0nAKnx57

It seems clear that Erdogan rejects such pressure after he was subjected to violent criticism from some armed factions, who accused him of “betrayal and abandoning their cause” after the withdrawal from Morek, which led to the fighting between the pro-Turkish factions.

He will also not accept such a situation, which some will consider the beginning of his defeat in Syria, with continued Russian pressure on him to resolve the Idlib issue and ensure the future of Russian-Turkish relations with all its important elements, which began with Erdogan’s apology from Putin on 27 June 2016 regarding the shooting down of the Russian plane on November 24, 2015, two months after the entry of Russian forces into Syria.

Some military circles do not hide the possibility of a new heated confrontation between the two parties in Syria after it has become clear that Putin will not rest anymore with Erdogan’s policies in the Caucasus, which are much more dangerous for Russia, which borders the Islamic autonomous republics and which borders Azerbaijan. And Putin said in his recent phone call about this region, “Turkey is transferring militants from the Middle East to it,” they may include Chechens and Uighurs, and they are many in Syria.

Here, the bet begins on President Putin’s practical possible position in the event that Erdogan continues in his current position rejecting his demands in Libya and Syria, and most importantly in the Caucasus, with the approaching date of the American elections with all the surprises awaiting the Turkish president, who will then think about a new formula in his regional and international moves, to help him in facing Russian and European pressures, after his crisis with President Macron, supported by European countries, especially Germany, which does not hide its annoyance over Erdogan’s efforts to obstruct its initiative with Washington and the United Nations in Libya, which may require the latter to return to the American embrace, to confront all these harassments, which he seems indifferent to because he believes that he has more bargaining chips in his challenges with everyone, especially Russia, the historical and traditional enemy of the Ottoman and the Republic Turkey, a day after speaking to Putin, he affirmed his country’s determination to move forward with steady steps according to its own vision and agenda, regardless of what the other parties say and do.

This explains the pro-Erdogan media attack on Russia and Iran together, accusing them of supporting the Armenians against Turkey and Azerbaijan, which is what Erdogan talks about from time to time, in a traditional attempt to provoke the Turkish nationalism, Ottoman and religious feelings of the Turkish people.

He also seeks to mobilize the solidarity of all Islamists in the world with him, after he took a violent stand against the French President Macron regarding his hostility to Islam and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Erdogan achieved such solidarity in the early years of the “Arab Spring”, as he declared himself the defender of Muslims against “Shiite” Iran and “infidel” Russia, and the Christian West, which was with him at that time and is now a sworn enemy of him.

Erdogan and Macron, Wait for more Escalation and Surprises

https://www.syrianews.cc/erdogan-and-macron-wait-for-more-escalation-and-surprises/embed/#?secret=joFH9NK4LM

European circles do not hide now their concern about Erdogan’s approach, and they see it as incitement to all Islamists, especially the extremists who live in Europe, which affects all Islamists in the world, including Russia, which has about 25 million Muslims of Turkish origin. They enjoy Ankara’s attention, covertly and overtly, as is the case with Erdogan’s support for the Muslim minority in the Crimean peninsula that was retaken by Russia, his repeated rejection of this, and his efforts to develop strategic military relations with Ukraine.

There is no doubt that this position disturbs Moscow, which has become clear that it is preparing for a new phase in its relations with Ankara, in the event that it continues its tactics that have become embarrassing to Putin in his relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has also lost his patience with the Turkish position that “was and is still the cause of all of Syria’s problems.”

Circles close to the Kremlin expect that Putin will wait for the appropriate opportunity to do an “important practical something” against all Turkish moves, interests, and calculations in Syria, as it is the arena of Russian-Turkish convergence since 2016, which President Erdogan has exploited so that this square will be a starting point for all his political, historical, strategical, and ideological projects, which had it not been for President Putin and the green light granted by him, he would not have been lucky in achieving any of his goals.

The bet remains on the red light that Putin may illuminate at any moment for Erdogan after his last yellow light (80 members of the Levant Legion were killed). And it has become clear that it will repeat itself more than once during the coming period, before Putin’s patience is completely exhausted, and he is convinced that Erdogan is in a position that does not help him with more maneuvers to obstruct the final solution to the Syrian crisis, a possibility that many are betting on as the Turkish president continues to challenge all of them, as long as he believes that he is stronger than everyone else, otherwise, he would not have ruled Turkey for 18 years, despite all his enemies abroad, as he got rid of all his enemies at home, after he succeeded in changing the political system (after the failed coup attempt in July 2016), he controlled all state facilities and apparatus and became the absolute ruler of the country, and his media says that the world fears him!

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Azerbaijani Troops Are At Gates Of Capital Of Nagorno-Karabakh Republic

South Front

The Nagorno-Karabakh war has apparently been developing in the favor of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc. On the evening of October 29, the Armenian side confirmed that Azerbaijani troops have almost reached the second largest town in Nagorno-Karabakh – Shusha, which is located just a few km from the capital of the self-proclaimed republic – Stepanakert. Arayik Harutyunyan, the president of the republic, called on Armenians to take arms to defend their homeland.

“Shusha is not just a town, it is the symbol of the determination of the Armenian people to live in their own cradle, a symbol of the victories of the Armenian people. Shusha is the beating heart of all Armenians. As the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of Artsakh, I once again call on each and every one of you to unite and defend our Shusha, our Artsakh, our national dignity,” he said.

Azerbaijani infantry reportedly outflanked defense positions of the Armenians near Hadrut and deployed about 5km from Shusha. The presence of forward units of Azerbaijani forces in such an area is another signal of the hard situation on the frontline for Armenian forces. While the Armenians have likely been able to repel the first Azerbaijani push towards the Lachin corridor, near the border with Armenia, the advancing Azerbaijani troops are still a major problem for the defenders of Karabakh on other parts of the frontline.

The Defense Ministry of the Republic of Artsakh confirmed clashes south of Shusha saying that Armenian units have been working to eliminate enemy sabotage groups. This official version of events sounds at least concerning for the defenders of the city. Independent Armenian sources report intense fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces south of the town. If the Armenians lose Shusha, this will mean that Azerbaijani forces are at the gates of the Nagorno-Karabakh capital.

Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry released its own map of the situation on the frontline. According to it, the Azerbaijani military is still far away from Shusha. Furthermore, it shows that Hadrut still mysteriously remains in the hands of Armenians forces. At the same time, the Armenian conter-attack on Qubdali that forced the Azerbaijani military to withdraw from the town turning it into a gray zone was underreported. The Armenians also denied the shooting down of two of its Su-25 warplanes claimed by the Azerbaijani military. According to Azerbaijan these warplanes “attempted to inflict airstrikes on the positions of the Azerbaijani Army in the Qubadli direction of the front” and were shot down. No visual evidence to confirm the shooting down of the Su-25s has been provided so far.

On the other hand, the Azerbaijani side released a series of videos showing successful strikes on Armenian forces in the contested region. The strikes seen in the videos targeted more than 27 posts and gatherings of Armenian troops as well as the following equipment: 5 D-20 howitzers, a D-30 howitzer, 2 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers, a BM-21 multiple rocket launcher, 2 trucks, a SUV, a P-18 Radar and a Communication center. Most of the strikes seen in the videos were carried out with Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drones. The rest were apparently carried out with precision-guided rockets, like the Israeli-made ACCULAR and EXTRA, which are known to be in service with the Azerbaijani military.

By the end of October, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc has surely seized the strategic initiative in the conflict and overcome Armenian attempts to recapture it. Now, Baku with help from its Turkish allies are planning to deliver the devastating blow to the Armenian defenders of Karabakh. At the same time, the leadership of Armenia is still playing diplomatic games and not hurrying up to send its regular troops to assist the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Related Vdeos

Azerbaijani forces use white phosphorus over Karabakh: video
Azerbaijani forces destroy Russian-made missile system in Karabakh: video
Moment Armenian troops ambush Azerbaijani special forces: video

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NEO-OTTOMAN NIGHTS OF ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI WAR

South Front

Turkish Sultan-in-Chief Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come up with a justification for the deployment of Syrian militants to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone to support the war against Armenia. According to him, at least 2,000 fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are supporting Armenian forces there.

During the meeting with the ruling Justice and Development Party parliamentary group, Erdogan claimed that during the phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin he allegedly told him that Turkish authorities “have identified, through intelligence sources, that there are some 2,000 PKK terrorists fighting for Armenia at the moment for $600. Mr. President said he was not aware of that.” “I have told Putin that if our red lines are crossed, we would not hesitate to take action,” he added. Apparently, these non-existent PKK and YPG members in Karabakh are to justify direct Turkish involvement in the conflict on the side of Azerbaijan and somehow neutralize the mounting evidence showing Turkish-backed al-Qaeda-linked militants moving to Karabakh.

Meanwhile, the Armenian side revealed radar data confirming the involvement of the Turkish Air Force in the Armenian-Azerbaijani war. The released tracks show that Turkish warplanes deployed in Azerbaijan provide air cover for Bayraktar TB2 drones striking Armenian positions, while the Turkish aerial command post circulating in Turkish airspace, near the conflict zone, coordinates the entire aerial operation. The entire operation, according to Armenia, was planned and carried out with the deep involvement of Turkish military specialists.

Under the pressure of evidence, the Azerbaijani side has already admitted the presence of Turkish specialists and military equipment on its territory. The last step towards reality would be to confirm that they are involved in combat.

On October 28 and 29, forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc were conducting intensive strikes on Shushi and Stepanakert, the largest towns in Nagorno-Karabakh. Several airstrikes even hit the maternity section of the hospital in Stepanakert. Some sources even speculated that these strikes were delivered by F-16 warplanes. On the other hand, the Armenian side demonstrated that it is not much better and shelled the Azerbaijani town of Barda killing at least 21 people and wounding 70 others. The Turkish-Azerbaijani shelling of settlements and towns in Nagorno-Karabakh is a logical result of its attempt to remove Armenians from the region. Therefore, their strikes are aimed not only at military targets, but also at civilian ones in order to displace the local population. Meanwhile, the Armenian retaliation in a similar manner rarely has real military goals, rather it helps Ankara and Baku to gain some ‘evidence’ to confirm its propaganda narrative about ‘Armenian terrorism’. Moreover, these actions of the sides contribute to the further escalation of the conflict and undermine any weak hopes for escalation via diplomatic channels.

On October 29, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported that it continues combat operations in the Khojavend, Fizuli, and Gubadli directions of the front calling its offensive ‘retaliatory measures’ to contain Armenian ceasefire violations. According to Baku, the Armenians lost two T-72 tanks, two BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 14 different types of howitzers, and 6 auto vehicles in recent clashes. Earlier, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces had captured 13 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli, Jabrayil and Gubadli.

In their turn, the Armenian military claimed that it has repelled an Azerbaijani attack in the direction of the towns of Kapan and Meghri in southern Armenia inflicting numerous casualties on the ‘enemy’. Armenian forces are also counter-attacking in the district of the Gubadli, aiming to retake the district center. However, this attack reportedly was repelled. As of October 29, Armenian forces have contained Azerbaijani attempts to reach and fully cut off the Lachin corridor linking Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Nonetheless, the situation in the area remains instable and the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still continues its offensive operations in this direction.

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ARMENIAN-AZERBAIJANI WAR – ONE MONTH AFTER

South Front

Video: Armenian-Azerbaijani War - One Month After - Global Research
Video Here

After a month of war, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc continues to keep the initiative in the conflict, exploiting its advantage in air power, artillery, military equipment and manpower. The coming days are likely to show whether Ankara and Baku are able to deliver a devastating blow to Armenian forces in Karabakh in the nearest future or not. If Armenian forces repel the attack on Lachin, a vital supply route from Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, they will win the opportunity to survive till the moment when the ‘international community’ finally takes some real steps to pressure Turkey and Azerbaijan enough to force them to stop the ongoing advance. If this does not happen, the outcome of the war seems to be predetermined.

Meanwhile, Azerbaijani forces continue their advance in the region amid the failed US-sponsored ceasefire regime. Their main goal is Lachin. In fact, they have been already shelling the supply route with rocket launchers and artillery. The distance of 12-14km at which they were located a few days ago already allowed this. Now, reports appear that various Azerbaijani units are at a distance of about 5-8 km from the corridor. Armenian forces are trying to push Azerbaijani troops back, but with little success so far.

The advance is accompanied by numerous Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces are regularly shelling civilian targets and that the ongoing advance is the way to deter them. Baku reported on the evening of October 27 that at least four civilians had been killed and 10 wounded in Armenian strikes on Goranboy, Tartar and Barda. On the morning of October 28, the Armenians allegedly shelled civilian targets in Tovuz, Gadabay, Dashkesan, and Gubadl.

On the morning of October 28, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that in response to these Armenian violations its forces had eliminated a large number of enemy forces, an “OSA” air-defense system, 3 BM-21 «Grad» rocket launchers, 6 D-30, 5 D-20, and 1 D-44 howitzers, 2 2A36 «Giatsint-B» artillery guns, a 120 mm mortar, a “Konkurs” anti-tank missile and 6 auto vehicles.

On October 27, Azerbaijani sources also released a video allegedly showing the assassination of Lieutenant General Jalal Harutyunyan by a drone strike. Azerbaijani sources claim that he was killed. These reports were denied by the Armenian side, which insisted that the prominent commander was only injured. Nonetheless, the Karabakh leadership appointed Mikael Arzumanyan as the new defense minister of the self-proclaimed republic.

On the evening of October 27 , the Armenian Defense Ministry released a map showing their version of the situation in the contested region. Even according to this map, Armenian forces have lost almost the entire south of Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces are close to the Lachin corridor. An interesting fact is that the Armenians still claim that the town of Hadrut is in their hands. According to them, small ‘enemy units’ reach the town, take photos and then run away.

Al-Hadath TV also released a video showing Turkish-backed Syrian militants captured during the clashes. Now, there is not only visual evidence confirming the presence of members of Turkish-backed militant groups in the conflict zone, but also actual Syrian militants in the hands of Armenian forces.

Experts who monitor the internal political situation in Armenia say that in recent days the Soros-grown team of Pashinyan has changed its rhetoric towards a pro-Russian agenda. Many prominent members of the current Pashinyan government and the Prime Minister himself spent the last 10 years pushing a pro-Western agenda. After seizing power as a result of the coup in 2018, they then put much effort into damaging relations with Russia and turned Armenia into a de-facto anti-Russian state. This undermined Armenian regional security and created the conditions needed for an Azerbaijani-Turkish advance in Karabakh. Now, the Pashinyan government tries to rescue itself by employing some ‘pro-Russian rhetoric’. It even reportedly asked second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan to participate in negotiations with Russia as a member of the Armenian delegation. It should be noted that the persecution of Kocharyan that led to his arrest in June 2019 was among the first steps taken by Pashinyan after he seized power. Kocharyan was only released from prison in late June 2020. Despite these moves in the face of a full military defeat in Karabakh, the core ideology of the Pashinyan government remains the same (anti-Russian, pro-Western and NATO-oriented). Therefore, even if Moscow rescues Armenia in Karabkah, the current Armenian leadership will continue supporting the same anti-Russian policy.

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AZERBAIJAN IS IN ANGER. ARMENIANS OPEN FIRE AT ITS TROOPS PEACEFULLY ADVANCING IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH

South Front

Azerbaijan Is In Anger. Armenians Open Fire At Its Troops Peacefully  Advancing In Nagorno-Karabakh: izwest — LiveJournal
Video Here

The US-brokered humanitarian ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh collapsed immediately after its start on the morning of October 26. Clashes between the sides did not stop even for a minute and Yerevan and Baku immediately accused each other of sabotaging the peace efforts.

As of the evening of October 26, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan officially stated that the US-brokered ceasefire failed, while Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that “the mediators must either achieve the withdrawal of occupying forces, or move away from the path of Baku”. It seems that the estimation of the Karabakh conflict as an ‘easy case’ by US President Donald Trump did not stand the test of reality.

In a separate statement, the Azerbaijani President said that Turkish F-16 jets, which are deployed in Azerbaijan (just a few days ago the top leadership of Turkey and Azerbaijan was denying this) will be employed to protect his country in response to any act of ‘foreign aggression’. It is interesting to look how the official narrative of Azerbaijan and Turkey has been shifting from claims about Turkish non-involvement in the war to admitting the direct military participation of Ankara in the military escalation. The town of Qubadli and nearby villages were also captured by Azerbaijan as its media and diplomats were blaming Armenians for ceasefire violations.

Apparently, the coward Armenian forces violate the ceasefire regime by attacking the peacefully advancing Azerbaijani troops. The setbacks in the south of Karabakh was confirmed by the Armenian Defense Ministry, but insisted that the situation is still under full control. If this is under full control, it’s hard to imagine how the Armenian side sees the variant of the situation when all is not under control.

During the past days, the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc continued its advance towards the Lachin corridor, a strategic area where the shortest route between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is located. According to reports, after the recent gains Azerbaijani troops are now about 10-12km from the area. Azerbaijani forces are now working to secure their recent gains and establish strong points there. After this, they will likely establish fire control over the route thus undermining the Armenian ability to send supplies to Karabakh. Then, the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc will likely push towards Stepanakert.

Armenian sources ease the retreats with regular statements about the losses of Azerbaijan accompanied by videos and photos from the ground. For example, on October 26, the Armenian Defense Ministry released a new report claiming that Azerbaijan lost 6,674 troops, 600 armoured vehicles, 6 rocket launchers, 24 planes, 16 helicopters and 220 UAVs since the start of the conflict. While the numbers provided by both sides are expectedly overestimated, the evidence demonstrates that Azerbaijani forces in fact suffered notable casualties in their advance on Karabakh. The problem for Yerevan is that Armenian forces experienced losses of similar or even higher scale.

Members of Turkish-backed militant groups that remain in Syria and are yet to move to some conflict zone to die for Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman dream also suffer hard times. At least 78 Turkish-backed militants were killed and over 100 others were injured in a recent series of Russian airstrikes on their training camps and HQs in the Syrian region of Idlib. The main strikes targeted a former air defense base of the Syrian Army near Al-Duvayla. This area is controlled by Turkish-backed militants and the former military base itself is currently a training camp for members of Faylaq ash-Sham. Syrian sources link the increased number of Russian strikes on Turkish proxies in Syria with their deployment to the Nagorno-Karabakh combat zone to support Azerbaijan.

Russia sees the increase of the presence of radical militant groups there as an unacceptable scenario. It is likely that this lies behind the recent decrease of reports and evidence on the deployment of Turkish proxies from Syria to Karabakh. The Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc estimate the risks and prefers to avoid the situation of the involvement of some third power in the conflict on the side of the Armenians.

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قراءة في الموقف الروسي: مقابلة سيرغي لافروف

زياد حافظ

إذا كان قرار الصين على لسان رئيسها بأنّ الصين ستردّ على الاستفزازات الأميركية قراراً لافتاً للنظر وخارجاً عن مألوف الدبلوماسية الصينية التقليدية الهادئة، فإنّ أهمية التصريح لا تكمن فقط في أنه صادر عن قوّة عظمى وعظيمة في آن واحد، بل لأنه يعبّر عن موقف لمحور أصبح يملأ الفراغ الدولي الذي يسبّبه التراجع الاستراتيجي للغرب، بشكل عام، وللولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص. والأهمّ من كلّ ذلك هو سقوط نظرية ملكية الولايات المتحدة لأوراق اللعبة بنسبة 99 في المئة. وما يعزّز ذلك التحوّل هو ما أتى به وزير خارجية الاتحاد الروسي سيرغي لافروف في مقابلة طويلة ومثيرة لراديو «سبوتنيك» منذ بضعة أيام شرح فيها بصراحة موقف روسيا من كافة القضايا الساخنة في العالم.

من يطلّع على نصّ المقابلة يشعر بأنّ العالم في موقع جديد وأنّ «الفعل» أصبح خارج إطار التحكّم للغرب وللولايات المتحدة حيث أصبحوا في موقع «ردّ الفعل». وما يميّز المقابلة تواضع اللهجة في إبراز عمق الرؤية الروسية للعالم ومرتكزاتها. فهناك مزيج من المرتكزات المبدئية والواقعية الذرائعية، أيّ البراغماتية، في المقاربة الروسية للعالم. فهي تعلن بوضوح أنّ روسيا مهتمّة بالعالم، بمقدار ما يحفظ ذلك الاهتمام مصالح روسيا ومكانتها. وحرص الوزير الروسي على التأكيد أنّ الأولوية هي حماية النفوذ الروسي في دول جوارها. هذا يستدعي مقاربة للمواقف الغربية بشكل عام والولايات المتحدة بشكل خاص. قد يكون الأمر بديهياً لولا التركيز على مبادئ في أسس التعاطي الروسي في مختلف الملفّات كالقانون الدولي، ما يدلّ على أنّ مصالحها ليست بالضرورة متناقضة مع مصالح العالم. ففي رأينا لا تعتمد روسيا، ومعها الصين، قاعدة اللعبة الصفرية حيث ربح فريق هو خسارة للفريق الآخر، بينما الولايات المتحدة والغرب عموماً لا يستطيعان التعاطي إلاّ على القاعدة الصفرية، فطبيعة الغرب طبيعة عدوانية بامتياز ولم يبنِ رخاءه إلاّ عبر العدوان والتوسّع واستعباد الشعوب، لكنّ تاريخهما الاستعماري والهيمنة الشمولية وضعتهما في حالة إنكار للتحوّلات في العالم. فبدلاً من الإقرار بتلك التحوّلات، يعمد الغرب والولايات المتحدة إلى الهروب إلى الأمام والإمعان في المغامرات غير المحسوبة. لذلك فإنّ الغرب بقيادة الولايات يعتبر أنّ مصالحه هي أولاً وأخيراً الهيمنة، بينما الرؤية الروسية هي التعاون عبر الندّية والاحترام المتبادل. لذلك تخلّلت المقابلة مع الوزير الروسي عبارات كالاحترام المتبادل والكرامة والإقرار بمصالح الآخرين ومفاهيم غير مألوفة في التعاطي الغربي الذي لا يتورّع عن إعلان استعلائه وعنجهيته و«تفوّق قيمه». والرؤية الروسية تعطي أولوية للقانون الدولي ومؤسساته التنفيذية كقرارات مجلس الأمن، بينما الولايات المتحدة والاتحاد الأوروبي يختبئان وراء عنوان فضفاض كـ»المجتمع الدولي» أو التحالفات المتعدّدة الأطراف في المغامرات العسكرية دون الارتكاز إلى القانون الدولي.

ففي العديد من الملفّات التي طرحها الصحافيون حول ما يمكن أن يكون الردّ الروسي في عدد من الملفّات كملف سيل الشمال 1 و2 الذي يوصل الغاز الروسي إلى دول الاتحاد الأوروبي والابتزاز الذي تقوم به بعض الدول تجاه روسيا. من ضمن الإجابات كان ردّه أنه آن الأوان أن لا تهتمّ روسيا بما في أحكام الغرب على سلوكها. بمعنى آخر، لم تعد روسيا ساعية إلى الحصول على «رضى» الغرب كما كان في السابق! هذا الموقف يتكامل مع الموقف الصيني الذي أشرنا إليه في مقدمّة هذه المقاربة أيّ أنّ الصين لن تقف مكتوفة الأيدي أمام الاستفزازات الأميركية، ما يدلّ على أنّ المحور دخل في فرض الندّية بالتعامل مع الغرب.

قد يكون من المفيد الاطّلاع على الرؤية الروسية لعدد من الملفّات الساخنة، وإن تباينت درجات السخونة فيها. بالنسبة إلى روسيا، كما جاء في الحوار، فإنّ العلاقات مع أوروبا والولايات المتحدة أخذت حيّزاً كبيراً، سواء بسبب عدد الأسئلة الموجّهة في هذا الموضوع أو في إسهاب الوزير الروسي في الردّ عليها. هذا يدلّ على أنّ الغرب ما زال يشكّل موضع اهتمام رئيسي للقيادة الروسية وإن كان أسلوب التعاطي الروسي مختلفاً كلّياً عن الأسلوب الأوروبي أو الأميركي. لكنّ هناك منعطفاً في التعاطي، حيث التساهل لم يعد قائماً، وفقاً للموقف المستجّد عند القيادة الروسية.

لم تكن العلاقة مع الولايات المتحدة مدخل الحديث مع وزير الخارجية بل الوضع في ناغورنو كاراباخ، حيث شرح الوزير الروسي دور الرئيس بوتين في المفاوضات ودور وزير الدفاع شويغو. لم يُبدِ أيّ قلق حيال التوتر في ما يمكن اعتباره الحديقة الجنوبية لروسيا ودور الأميركيين فيه، حيث اعتبر أنّ الأميركيين قد يساهمون في الحلّ عبر انسحابهم من المنطقة! شرح كيف تمّ الوصول إلى وقف إطلاق النار والآليات لتثبيته. كما أكّد أنّ احتمالات الحلّ السياسي موجودة وأنه في آخر المطاف لا بديل عن ذلك. الدبلوماسية الروسية معطوفة على موقف عسكري واضح وحازم ساهم في إجبار الطرفين، الأذري والأرمني على وقف إطلاق النار، ما يعزّز الدور الإقليمي لروسيا رغم الانتكاسات بسبب التدخّلات الأميركية والتركية.

وبالتالي يعرض لافروف رؤيته للعلاقة مع تركيا، فهذه العلاقة لا يصفها بالتحالف الاستراتيجي بل بالشراكة الاستراتيجية في عدد من القطاعات فقط. وهذا التوصيف الدقيق للعلاقة يكشف وجود تباينات عميقة في عدد من الملفّات الاستراتيجية كموضوع ناغورنو كاراباخ، وسورية وقبرص حيث اعتبر الدور التركي دوراً سلبياً زاد من تعقيدات الموقف المعقّد أصلاً.

في المقابل، يقرّ لافروف بأنّ لتركيا مصالح متعدّدة ومشروعة، بينما لا يقرّ بمصالح دول على بعد ألوف الكيلومترات كالولايات المتحدة، وفي ذلك إشارة إلى اهتمام تركيا بليبيا والخليج والبحر الأحمر. كما يقرّ بحق تركيا في موضوع جامع آيا صوفيا. لكن رغم كل ذلك، شدّد على أنّ تجنُّب الحرب أولوية في السياسة الخارجية الروسية وعدم اللجوء إليها إلاّ في حال العدوان، أي كدفاع عن النفس إلاّ أنه لفت الانتباه إلى أنّ الدبلوماسية الروسية تستند أيضاً إلى «رأي» وزير الدفاع شويغو لمن لا يفهم مغزى الموقف الروسي بالالتزام بالاتفاقات والقانون الدولي. هنا تتميّز روسيا عن السياسة الأميركية التي لجأت إلى سياسة الحرب الاستباقية لدرء أيّ تهديد على زعامتها في العالم وذلك منذ 2002، وفقاً للسياسة «الدفاعية» الشهيرة في أيلول/ سبتمبر من ذلك العام.

قراءتنا للموقف الروسي تجاه تركيا لم تتغير بعد الاطّلاع على مقابلة لافروف. فروسيا حريصة، في الحدّ الأدنى، على تحييد تركيا من دورها في الحلف الأطلسي وفي الحدّ الأقصى على إخراجها من ذلك الحلف. من هنا نفهم الإصرار على تفاهمات سوتشي وأستانا، رغم مناورات الرئيس التركي. فسياسة النفس الطويل والتقدّم تدريجياً هي التي تحرّك روسيا تجاه تركيا، ويساعدها في تلك الاستراتيجية سياسة الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران في ضرورة احتواء تركيا وتحييدها عن الحلف الأطلسي. هذا يعني في كثير من الأحيان غضّ النظر عن تخلّف تركيا في تنفيذ التزاماتها وتطعيم ذلك ببعض الإنذارات والإجراءات التي تعيد الرئيس التركي إلى السّير ضمن الخطوط المرسومة من قبل الحليفين الروسي والإيراني. هذا ما يحصل في الملف السوري وما يحصل في الملف الليبي ومؤخّراً في ملف ناغورنو كراباخ.

تطرّق الوزير الروسي إلى الدور الأميركي في عدد من القضايا، بدءاً من سورية، إلى ليبيا، إلى أوكرانيا، إلى «النزاع الإسرائيلي الفلسطيني». فبالنسبة إلى سورية يرى لافروف أنّ الأساس في التحرّك الأميركي هو زعزعة قرار مجلس الأمن رقم 2254 الذي أكّد على وحدة الأراضي السورية، والأميركيون نشطوا على خلق دولة على الأراضي السورية عبر دعمهم للوحدات الكردية. ويعتبر الوزير الروسي أنّ التدخّل التركي في شمال سورية «أكثر مشروعية» من التدخّل الأميركي. فتركيا لها مخاوف واضحة على أمنها الحدودي. في المقابل ليس للوجود الأميركي في شرق الفرات ما يبرّر ذلك إلاّ البعد النفطي وضرورة «إضعاف تركيا ومن بعدها روسيا». كذلك هو الأمر في ليبيا حيث زعزعة مكانة تركيا تصيب مكانة روسيا، على حدّ قوله، مستنداً إلى التصريحات العلنية للمسؤولين الأميركيين. فبالنسبة إلى تركيا والولايات المتحدة هناك عامل النفط الذي يلعب دوراً كبيراً في الصراع القائم كما لتركيا وجهة نظر في الصراع العربي الصهيوني، خاصة في ما يتعلّق بمستقبل مدينة القدس. ويعتقد الوزير الروسي أنّ الموقف التركي من قضية القدس جزء من الصراع حول زعامة العالم الإسلامي. فتركيا تتنافس مع بلاد الحرمين وإندونيسيا التي هي أكبر الدول الإسلامية في عدد السكّان على تلك الزعامة. التنافس داخل العالم الإسلامي يأخذ طابع الحدّية رغم محاولات بعض الزعماء، مشيراً إلى مبادرة الملك عبد الله الثاني وإعلان عمان سنة 2004 حول وحدة المسلمين. فهذه الوحدة غير موجودة والتفاهم غير موجود داخل العالم الإسلامي.

أما في ما يتعلّق بالملفّ الفلسطيني، فموقف روسيا واضح ولم يتغيّر وهو يدعم حلّ الدولتين. وأثنى الوزير الروسي على جهود الكيان (المصطلح من عندنا!) لـ «تحسين العلاقة» مع دول الجوار، ولكن ليس على حساب حقوق الشعب الفلسطيني التي تؤكدها قرارات الأمم المتحدة 181. هذا الموقف يستدعي بعض الملاحظات. الملاحظة الأولى أنّ الموقف الروسي يتنافى مع موقف محور المقاومة. الملاحظة الثانية هي أنّ الحرب الكونية التي شُنّت على سورية سببها الرئيس دعم المقاومة التي تشّكل خطراً وجودياً على الكيان المحتلّ. الملاحظة الثالثة هي أنّ الحلّ السياسي في سورية لا يمكن أن ينفصل عن حلّ القضية الفلسطينية، وبما أنه لا أفق جاداً لذلك الحلّ غير ما تعمل عليه المقاومة في فلسطين ولبنان، فهناك معضلة روسية لا نرى كيف يمكن تجاوزها بالنسبة إلى الحلّ السياسي المقترح روسياً لسورية. لا نملك الإجابة على ذلك ولكن نعتقد أنّ هذا الموضوع يستوجب البحث في العمق من قبل قيادات محور المقاومة. أما على الصعيد الداخلي السوري، فلا نستطيع أن نتكلّم نيابة عن الشعب السوري وقيادته في ما يتعلّق بالمقترحات الروسية. لكنّ كل ذلك لا ينفي طبيعة العلاقة الاستراتيجية بين سورية وروسيا التي تستطيع أن تتجاوز المعضلات، وإن كان بعضها أقرب للاستعصاء، كالموقف من الحل للقضية الفلسطينية. ففلسطين قضية داخلية في كلّ الأقطار العربية وفي طليعتها سورية وحتى في دول الخليج التي يحاول بعض قادتها تغيير الأولويات. فلا أحد يستطيع أن يقفز فوقها كما أنّ مقترح «حلّ الدولتين» أصبح في خبر كان بسبب تعنُّت قيادات وقاعدة الكيان الصهيوني المحتلّ. لكن ماذا سيكون الموقف إذا ما تدهور الوضع الداخلي في الكيان الصهيوني؟ عندئذ سيكون في رأينا لكلّ حادث حديث!

تناولت المقابلة مواضيع عدة كمفهوم الإمبراطورية والعلاقات الثنائية مع عدد من الدول. فهذه العلاقات يحكمها احترام المصالح والندّية والابتعاد عن قاعدة اللعبة الصفرية. كما أكّد الوزير الروسي أكثر من مرّة في المقابلة على تمسّك روسيا بالقانون الدولي. ففي ردّ على سؤال صريح حول جدوى ذلك التمسّك بالقانون الدولي الذي لا تحترمه الولايات المتحدة، أجاب أنّ الفوضى والدمار يصبحان سيّدي الموقف. كما تناول قضية إعادة كتابة التاريخ، خاصة تاريخ الحرب العالمية الثانية التي يعمل عليها قادة الدول الغربية، بدءاً من الولايات المتحدة مروراً بفرنسا (عدم دعوة الرئيس الروسي إلى احتفالات الإنزال للقوى الحليفة 2019 دليل مثال على ذلك) وكأنّ المنتصرة في الحرب في المسرح الأوروبي كانت الولايات المتحدة وبريطانيا وفرنسا فقط، بينما الذي دفع الثمن الأكبر في الأرواح وتحمّل عبء المعارك العسكرية الطاحنة كان الاتحاد السوفياتي. هذه مسألة في غاية الحساسية عند الرئيس الروسي الذي تكلّم في مواقع كثيرة عن التزوير القائم في إعادة كتابة تاريخ الحرب العالمية الثانية. والمقابلة مع الوزير الروسي لم تخلُ من مقاربة ذلك الموضوع.

في الجزء الأخير من المقابلة، تناول الوزير الروسي العلاقات مع الولايات المتحدة. فقال إنّ العلاقة ستزداد سوءاً بغضّ النظر عمن سيربح الانتخابات الرئاسية الأميركية. واستشهد بمقال كتبه المخرج السينمائي سميون سليباكوف حيث اعتبر أنّ «أميركا لا تحبّنا». وندّد بالتدخّل الأميركي والغربي بشكل عام في الشؤون الداخلية الروسية عندما يلتقون ويشجّعون المعارضة الداخلية. لذلك قرّرت روسيا اللقاء مع المعارضة لكافة دول الغرب التي تتدخّل في الشأن الروسي كلقاء مع مارين لوبان المعارضة للرئيس الفرنسي ماكرون. كما اعتبر أنّ الخلاف الصيني الأميركي ليس فرصة للتقرّب من الولايات المتحدة كما يعتقد البعض، بل العكس فإنّ أيّ ابتعاد لن يكون لمصلحة روسيا. المسألة التي تهمّ روسيا في العلاقة مع الولايات المتحدة في المرحلة الراهنة هي الوصول إلى اتفاق حول الأسلحة الاستراتيجية. يعتبر الوزير الروسي أنّ الالتزام الأميركي بالحدّ من إنتاج أسلحة استراتيجية قد انتهى عملياً. الأميركيون يريدون فقط الحدّ من وسائل إيصال الأسلحة النووية إلى أهدافها أي الصواريخ والغوّاصات والطائرات إلخ. ويضيف أنّ الأميركيين يريدون فقط تعداد الترسانة وليس الحدّ منها كما أنّ المطلب الروسي هو سحب السلاح التكتيكي النووي من دول الجوار. واتهم الولايات المتحدة بخرق الاتفاقات عبر توريط دول الحلف الأطلسي في مناورات عسكرية نووية خلافاً للمعاهدات المعقودة. ويضيف أنّ الأميركيين يريدون العودة إلى آليات التحقّق التي وُضعت في مطلع التسعينات والتي اعتبرها مذلّة وخلص إلى أنّ الشروط الأميركية لن يوافقوا عليها مطلقاً.

وأخيراً، في ما يتعلّق بالصين، أكّد الوزير الروسي مواقف سابقة وهي أنّ الصين لها أهداف اقتصادية تسعى إلى تحقيقها على صعيد القارة الآسيوية، وهي أهداف مشروعة وأنّ روسيا تشاركها في النهضة الاقتصادية التي تقوم بها الصين. لم يعتبر أنّ هناك طموحات هيمنة بل تعاون مع كلّ المشتركين.

في الخلاصة، عرض الوزير الروسي أسس العلاقات الدولية كما يجب أن تكون والتي ذكرناها في مطلع المقاربة. كما أكّد على ضرورة تجنّب الحرب مهما كلّف الأمر إلاّ في حال العدوان. فالسياسية الروسية العسكرية هي سياسة دفاعية عن الأرض الروسية، أوّلاً وأخيراً، وأيّ اعتداء أو محاولة اعتداء سيواجه بالحزم المطلوب. ذاكرة الحرب العالمية والكلفة الباهظة الذي تحمّلها الاتحاد السوفياتي تحكم سلوك القيادة الروسية وذلك يفسّر الحساسية الكبيرة لمحاولات الدول الغربية إعادة كتابة لتاريخ والتقليل من دور روسيا. كلام الوزير الروسي نابع من ثقة بالنفس وثقة بدور روسيا ولم يُبد قلقاً من المحاولات الأميركية لزعزعة الوضع في دول الجوار سواء في أوكرانيا أو في منطقة القوقاز. كما أبدى امتلاك سياسة النفس الطويل الذي يقارب الأمور بهدوء ويأخذ بعين الاعتبار مصالح الصديق والخصم، في آن واحد، وبالتالي يتجنّب ارتكاب أخطاء سوء التقدير.

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كاتب وباحث اقتصادي سياسي والأمين العام السابق للمؤتمر القومي العربي

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إردوغان بين بايدن وترامب.. أحلاهما مرّ

ترامب وإردوغان في البيت الأبيض - 13 نوفمبر 2019 (أ.ف.ب)
حسني محلي

حسني محلي 

المصدر: الميادين نت

22 تشرين اول 16:58

لا تخفي أنقرة قلقها من احتمالات فوز جو بايدن المعروف بمواقفه السلبية تجاه تركيا، وخصوصاً في خلافاتها مع اليونان وقبرص، على الرغم من تضامنه مع إسلاميي “الربيع العربي” عندما كان نائباً لأوباما.

بعد أن هدّد ترامب وتوعَّد بإعلان الإخوان المسلمين تنظيماً إرهابياً خلال حملته الانتخابية السابقة، وهو ما تراجع عنه لاحقاً بسبب السياسات الأميركية التقليدية، استمرت واشنطن في علاقاتها “المميزة” مع أنقرة، على الرغم من سياسات المد والجزر بين الطرفين، أي ترامب و”الإسلامي” إردوغان.

وعلى الرغم من اتهامات الرئيس إردوغان لواشنطن بتقديم كلّ أنواع الدعم لوحدات حماية الشعب الكردية في سوريا، فقد تهرّبت أنقرة من توتير العلاقة مع حليفتها الاستراتيجية الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، رغم تغريدات الرئيس ترامب على موقع تويتر، والتي هدّد من خلالها إردوغان وتوعّده في حال اعتدى على كرد سوريا، ثم الرسالة التي أرسلها، وفيها الكثير من الإهانات الشَّخصية له.

في المقابل، لم تمنع هذه التهديدات والإهانات إردوغان من الاستمرار في علاقاته مع بوتين، والتي شهدت بدورها الكثير من حالات المد والجزر التي استفاد منها ترامب، إذ عمل على ترسيخ الوجود العسكري الأميركي شرق الفرات، بعد أن أضاء الضوء الأخضر لإردوغان كي تسيطر قواته على المنطقة الممتدة بين تل أبيض ورأس العين بعرض 110 كم من الحدود السورية مع تركيا شرق الفرات، وهو ما تحقَّق للأخير بفضل الضوء الأخضر الروسي، فلولاه منذ البداية (آب/أغسطس 2016)، لما كان الحديث الآن عن خلافات روسية – تركية في إدلب أو ليبيا، وأخيراً القوقاز حيث الحرب الأذربيجانية الأرمينية.

ولم تمنع هذه الخلافات الطرفين من الاستمرار في التعاون الواسع في العديد من المجالات، ومنها الغاز الطبيعي وبناء المفاعل النووي جنوب تركيا، وأخيراً موضوع صواريخ “أس 400″، التي كانت، وما زالت، الموضوع الأهم في الفتور والتوتر بين واشنطن وأنقرة، من دون أن يتحول هذا التوتر إلى مواجهة ساخنة بين الطرفين، على الرغم من تهديدات ترامب والمسؤولين الأميركيين المستمرة لإردوغان، وكأنّ الجميع يمثل، ليس فقط في هذا الموضوع، بل في كل الأمور التي تحولت إلى قاسم مشترك في علاقات تركيا مع كل من روسيا وأميركا.

يأتي ذلك في الوقت الذي يراهن الكثيرون على المواقف المحتملة للرئيس إردوغان خلال المرحلة القريبة القادمة، أي بعد الانتخابات الأميركية التي ستنعكس بنتائجها على سياسات تركيا الداخلية والخارجية، وبشكل خاص تحركات إردوغان الإقليمية، أي في الساحات التي لها علاقة مباشرة وغير مباشرة بالتنسيق والتعاون أو الخلافات التركية – الروسية، فأنقرة لا تخفي قلقها من احتمالات فوز جو بايدن المعروف بمواقفه السلبية تجاه تركيا، وخصوصاً في خلافاتها مع اليونان وقبرص، على الرغم من تضامنه مع إسلاميي “الربيع العربي” عندما كان نائباً للرئيس أوباما.

ولم تهمل أنقرة حسابات التأقلم سريعاً مع تبعات هذا الاحتمال الذي تتوقعه استطلاعات الرأي الأميركية. في المقابل، تتخذ أنقرة كل التدابير لمواجهة مفاجآت المرحلة القادمة في حال بقاء الرئيس ترامب في البيت الأبيض، لأنه سيستمر في سياساته الحالية التي يريد لها أن تحقق انتصاراً حاسماً ومطلقاً لتل أبيب، وهو ما قد يحرج إردوغان، بعد المعلومات التي تتوقع لقطر أن تلحق بركب التطبيع، مع الحديث عن احتمالات المصالحة السعودية – القطرية قبل المصالحة السعودية مع “إسرائيل” أو بعدها. وقد تسبقها مصالحة أو استسلام سوداني وعماني ومغربي وجيبوتي لـ”إسرائيل”، إن صحَّ التعبير، في حال فوز ترامب. وسيدفع كل ذلك ترامب إلى الاستعجال في حسم مساوماته السياسية وحربه النفسية مع إردوغان، ليقول له: “اختر لنفسك موقعاً ما في مخطَّطاتي العاجلة، وأثبت لي ولنا جميعاً أنك حليف صادق وموثوق به دائماً”.

وقد يدفع ذلك إردوغان إلى التفكير في تقرير مصير علاقاته مع الرئيس بوتين بعد وعود واضحة من الرئيس ترامب بتقديم كل أنواع الدعم السياسي والمالي والاستراتيجيّ، ليساعده ذلك على تحديد إطار ومضمون الدور التركي في سوريا وليبيا والعراق والقوقاز، بل والعديد من دول البلقان والدول الأفريقية، وأهمها الصومال.

وفي هذه الحالة، هل سيستمرّ إردوغان في تحالفاته التقليديّة مع الإسلاميين في المنطقة، في حال رضوخ حليفه الأكبر الشيخ تميم لمطالب وشروط المصالحة الخليجية التي ستعني في الوقت نفسه المصالحة مع “إسرائيل”، وهي جميعاً ضدّ المزاج الشخصي للرئيس إردوغان، الذي لا يخفي عبر مقولاته في الداخل والخارج الحديث عن مشاريعه العقائدية على طريق إقامة الدولة الإسلامية بنكهتها العثمانية التركية التي تشجَّع لها إسلاميو المنطقة، وبايعوه ضد العدو التقليدي آل سعود وأميرهم الشاب محمد المتهم بجريمة جمال خاشقجي الشنيعة؟! وكيف سيحصل ذلك؟

وتتحدَّث المعلومات هنا، ولو كانت شحيحة، عن احتمالات الانفراج في العلاقات التركية مع مصر، لسدّ الطريق على التحركات السعودية والإماراتية، وهو ما قد يعني تجميداً مرحلياً في الدعم التركي للإخوان المسلمين. ولا يخفي السوريون تخوّفهم من مثل هذا الاحتمال، وخصوصاً بعد الانسحاب من نقاط المراقبة التركية في جوار إدلب، في الوقت الذي تراقب أنقرة، عن كثب، ما كشف عنه الإعلام الأميركي، وبشكل مقصود، عن خفايا زيارة مسؤولين من البيت الأبيض إلى دمشق، وصادف ذلك عودة الرحلات الجوية بين دمشق وكل من قطر والإمارات، فالأولى حليفة إردوغان، والثانية من ألد أعدائه.

وبات واضحاً أن إردوغان سيجد نفسه في وضع لا يحسد عليه، أياً كانت صحة الاحتمالات والتوقعات، أي بفوز ترامب أو هزيمته أمام الديموقراطي جو بايدن، الذي لا شك في أنه سيتحرك وفق توصيات هيلاري كلينتون، صديقة أحمد داوود أوغلو، وهو الآن من ألدّ أعداء إردوغان. كما سيضع بايدن توصيات نائبه كامالا هاريس وزوجها اليهودي بعين الاعتبار خلال تعامله مع كل الملفات ذات العلاقة المباشرة وغير المباشرة بسياسات إردوغان الخارجيّة، وهي لها أيضاً علاقة مباشرة بمجمل الحسابات الإسرائيلية.

وحينها، سيجد الرئيس إردوغان نفسه أمام خيارات صعبة ومعقَّدة جداً، ما سيضطره إلى وضع النقاط على الحروف في مجمل سياساته الخارجية بانعكاساتها المحتملة على سياساته الداخلية، بعد أن اعترف الأسبوع الماضي بفشله في تطبيق مشروعه الفكري العقائدي، أي أسلمة الأمة والدولة التركية.

ولا شكَّ في أنّ كلّ هذه التناقضات ستضعه أمام امتحان صعب جداً، سيدفعه إلى تحديد المسارات الجديدة لسياساته الخارجية التي ستتطلَّب منه تقرير مصير علاقاته مع الرئيس بوتين في سوريا في الدرجة الأولى، لينتقل منها إلى ملفات أبسط بكثير في ليبيا والقوقاز، فالجميع يعرف أن سوريا كانت بوابة الانفتاح والتدخل التركي باتجاه العالم العربي، حيث أصبحت تركيا طرفاً مباشراً وأساسياً في جميع ملفاته، بما في ذلك مساوماته مع الرئيس بوتين حول كل العناوين الرئيسية، ليس في سوريا فقط، بل لاحقاً في ليبيا، والآن في القوقاز، في الوقت الَّذي لم يهمل إردوغان تحدياته للدول الأوروبية بسبب دعمها لقبرص واليونان، وهو بحاجة إلى التوتر معها لتحريك المشاعر القومية والدينية “ضد أعداء الأمة والدولة التركية”!.

هذا بالطبع إن لم تكن كلّ هذه المعطيات الحالية جزءاً من سيناريوهات متفق عليها مسبقاً بين بوتين وإردوغان، وهو احتمال ضعيف، إن لم نقل مستحيلاً، إلا في حالة واحدة، وهي المعجزة، لأنها ستعني في هذه الحالة انتقال تركيا من خانة التحالف الاستراتيجي مع الغرب منذ العام 1946 إلى الخندق المعادي، وهو أيضاً مستحيل بسبب الكثير من المعطيات التاريخية والسياسية التي ستعرقل مثل هذا الاحتمال. وآخر مثال على ذلك حرص أنقرة على التحالف السياسي والعسكري والاستراتيجي مع الرئيس الأوكراني “اليهودي” زالانسكي، العدو الأكبر لموسكو، والمدعوم من واشنطن ومعظم عواصم الاتحاد الأوروبي.

وقد أثبتت معظمها، رغم خلافاتها مع إردوغان، أنها ما زالت في عقلية الحرب الباردة ضد روسيا بعد 30 سنة من تمزق الاتحاد السوفياتي الذي كان العدو الأخطر بالنسبة إلى تركيا بسبب العداءات التاريخية والخطر الشيوعي. وبسقوطه، تنفَّست تركيا الصعداء، ولم تخفِ فرحتها لاستقلال الجمهوريات الإسلامية في القوقاز وآسيا الوسطى، وهي ذات أصل تركي، حالها حال جمهوريات الحكم الذاتي داخل حدود روسيا الحالية، وكانت جميعاً جزءاً من نظرية الحزام الأخضر للثنائي الأميركي اليهودي كيسنجر وبريجنسكي.

وفي جميع الحالات، وأياً كانت حسابات كل الأطراف في ما يتعلق بالمنطقة، فقد بات واضحاً أن الأيام القليلة القادمة، سواء مع ترامب أو بايدن، ستحمل في طياتها الكثير من المفاجآت المثيرة بالنسبة إلى المنطقة عموماً، كما ستضع إردوغان وجهاً لوجه أمام اختباره الأكبر في سياساته الخارجية، وسنرى معاً وقريباً مؤشراتها الجديدة في سوريا، لأنها قفل المرحلة القادمة ومفتاحه بالنسبة إلى الجميع!

فهل دمشق مستعدة وقادرة مع حليفاتها على مواجهة مفاجآت هذه المرحلة بكل معطياتها الصعبة والمعقدة؟ وهل استخلصت الدروس الكافية والضرورية من جميع محنها وأخطائها، حتى يتسنى لها الانتصار على جميع أعدائها أم أنها ستبقى ورقة في مهب الرياح الإقليمية والدولية، كما هي عليه منذ 9 سنوات، والسبب في ذلك هو حسابات إردوغان في سوريا؟

إقرأ للكاتب

Turkey to Send Troops to Combat Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh?

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 23, 2020

Like the US, Turkey’s Erdogan pursues interests at the expense of peace and stability.

He favors war for extending Turkey’s borders to further his neo-Ottoman aims.

He, his family members and regime profited earlier from stolen Syrian oil.

He gave ISIS and other terrorists safe haven in Turkish territory, providing them with weapons, other material support, and a launching pad for attacks on Syrian soldiers and civilians.

Turkey under Erdogan is a fascist police state — speech, media and academic freedoms they way they should be banned.

So is dissent. Anyone publicly criticizing or insulting him risks prosecution for terrorism, espionage or treason, including children.

As long as he doesn’t act against US interests, as a NATO member and in other ways, his tyrannical rule and regional destabilizing actions are tolerated — if only barely.

On Wednesday, his Vice President Fuat Oktay said Ankara is ready to send troops to back Azerbaijan’s war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below).

In response to Turkey’s deployment of armed and directed jihadists to combat Armenian forces in NK, the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on regional countries to unite against them and their Turkish paymaster.

“Regretably (they) have not responded to this reality seriously enough yet,” Pashinyan added.

“It is beyond doubt that the presence of foreign terrorists will pose a threat to the region in the future.”

“The region’s countries must deal with this issue more seriously.”

The Erdogan regime is also involved militarily in NK by providing Baku with command and control services, training of its military forces, and heavy weapons for warmaking.

He and hardliners surrounding him support war, not resolution in NK.

Pashinyan stressed it, saying “the Karabakh question…cannot have a diplomatic solution.”

“Everything that is diplomatically acceptable to the Armenian side…is not acceptable to Azerbaijan…”

Baku’s ruling authorities intend endless war until Armenian forces are driven from NK — no matter the human toll, according to comments from its leadership.Turkey’s Involvement in Nagorno-Karabakh

As Azeri forces advance, civilians in harm’s way are caught in the crossfire.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that they’ve taken control of areas bordering Iran and Armenia’s international border — increasing the risk of conflict spilling into both countries.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Artsrun Hovhannisyan accused Azerbaijan of sending “small…subversive groups…into villages and towns, film(ing) themselves there, spread(ing) those images…to feed their society. But, unfortunately, this also affects us.”

While conflict continues, foreign ministers of both warring sides will meet with Trump regime’s Pompeo for talks in Washington on Friday.

Yet on Tuesday, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said the following:

“We are fighting on our own land, giving martyrs and restoring our territorial integrity. These steps will continue to be taken.”

“Armenia must declare before it is too late that it is withdrawing from the occupied territories. After that the fighting may stop.”

From the above remarks and two failed Russian/Minsk Group arranged ceasefire, Aliyev is unwilling to compromise on his aims in NK.

With support from Turkey, including Erdogan’s willingness to send troops if asked, Aliyev rejects diplomacy while sending his foreign minister to discuss ceasefire with his Russian, French and US counterparts.

According to the Asia Times, Erdogan’s support for Azerbaijan is driven by energy interests in competition with Russia.

An unnamed Erdogan advisor said “Russia is neither an ally, nor an enemy, but we can’t negotiate if we are too dependent on them, especially when it comes to energy.”

“We have vital interests to protect,” including two pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe, one for oil, the other for gas.

One runs close to NK, the other near northern Armenia, the unnamed advisor close to Erdogan adding:

“We can’t afford losing our sight on what’s going on around our pipelines in the Caucasus, especially in the Tavush region, where there have been several clashes (with Armenia) over the last years.”

The so-called BTC oil pipeline is owned by Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Britain’s BP.

The South Caucasus Pipeline runs from Azerbaijan’s Caspian Sea field to Turkey, and Georgia — soon as well to Italy, Greece and Bulgaria.

Earlier in October, Erdogan accused Armenia of endangering supplies of energy to Turkey and other European countries.

Oil and gas pipelines from Azerbaijan to Europe are only endangered by its preemptive war on Armenia in NK.

No danger would exist if conflict resolution ended weeks of fighting.

Russia also supplies gas to Turkey through Turkstream 1.

Turkstream 2 is under construction, completion expected around yearend.

Azerbaijan will compete with Russia for the European natural gas market.

Moscow prioritizes cooperation with other nations, confrontation with none.

Turkey’s Erdogan prioritizes the advancement of his neo-Ottoman interests.

*

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Azerbaijani-Armenian War: Counter-Offensive In The South And Iranian Factor

South Front

On the evening of October 20, the Armenian Defense Ministry declared that they had launched a large-scale counter-offensive against the advancing Azerbaijani forces in the Khudaferin Reservoir area, in the southern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Armenian sources claimed that the attack had caused heavy losses for the ‘enemy’ and had pushed Azerbaijani troops into retreat. Pro-Armenian sources also said that the town of Zangilan had become a ‘trap’ for Azerbaijani troops and that a large group of the ‘enemy forces’ was now being eliminated there.

On October 20, the Armenian Defense Ministry also released photos of a Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 combat drone downed in the Nagorno-Karabakh combat zone. This is the second time, that the Armenian side appeared to be able to confirm that the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc had lost a Bayraktar TB2. On October 19, Armenian sources showed a part of a Bayraktar TB2 optic system claiming that a drone had been downed. These drones are allegedly operated by the Azerbaijani military, but military sources say that drone operations are run with direct help from Turkish specialists.

The claims of Armenian successes in the south were immediately denied by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry. As of October 21, the situation on the ground demonstrates that the Armenian side has not yet been able to really retake initiative in the area.

Just before the Armenian counter-attack, Azerbaijani forces captured the town of Zangilan, and 25 villages in the districts of Zangilan, Jabrayil, and Fuzuli. The total number of various settlements captured by Azerbaijan since the start of the war on September 27 has reached 75.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev also made an address to the nation de-facto claiming that the Armenian military had been devastated and that his country was on the brink of a military victory in Karabakh. According to him, Azerbaijani forces destroyed 241 battle tanks, 50 armoured vehicles, 215 pieces of artillery, 74 multiple launch rocket systems, 58 mortars, 53 anti-tank weapons, 12 air defense systems, including 4 S-300s and 3 TORs, 8 electronic warfare systems, 3 tactical ballistic missiles and 198 trucks, as well as capturing numerous weapons and equipment from the Armenian side.

Indeed, if Armenian forces prove to be unable to organize an active defense, Azerbaijan has every chance of retaking the entire southern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region and even reaching the Armenian border there in the nearest future.

An Israeli-made IAI Harop combat drone belonging to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces was shot down near the city of Parsabad in northern Iran on October 20. The Azerbaijani military uses IAI Harops to target the positions and the equipment of Armenian forces. This is not the first cross-border incident with Iran caused by the ongoing military hostilities in Karabakh. Earlier, Iranian forces already shot down several Azerbaijani drones and reported shells falling inside Iranian territory.

On October 21, the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) launched large-scale air defense drills, codenamed Modafe’an-e Aseman-e Velayat 99 (Guardians of Velayat Sky 99). The drills involve the Iranian Army’s air defense units and the Air Force along with the IRGC’s Aerospace Force. Just a few days earlier, the Iranian military deployed additional artillery pieces near to the border with Azerbaijan.

Taking into account that the main direction of the current Azerbaijani advance in Karabakh is along the border with Iran, even a limited Iranian military response to regular ‘accidental’ attacks on its territory and violations of its airspace could create difficulties for Azerbaijani forces. For example, the Iranian decision to shoot down combat drones operating too close to the border could undermine Azerbaijani air dominance in this particular chunk of the frontline.

Related News

AZERBAIJANI FORCES RUSH TO CAPTURE LACHIN CORORIDOR FROM RETREATING ARMENIANS

South Front

The Armenian defense in the southern part of the Nagorno-Karabakh region seems to be collapsing as the advancing Azerbaijani forces are about to reach the strategic Lachin corridor.

On October 23, Azerbaijani troops were filmed near the village of Muradxanlı, which is located in about 15 km from this strategic area. Even if this Azerbaijani unit was just a field recognizance patrol and the main forces of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc still have to overcome Armenian resistance to reach the area, the fact of the Azerbaijani presence there marks the hard situation on the frontline for the Armenians.

The Lachin corridor is a mountain pass within the de jure borders of Azerbaijan, forming the shortest route between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Republic of Artsakh). The cutting off of Lachin will destroy the remaining hopes of the Armenian side to achieve a military victory in the ongoing war. Meanwhile, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces took full control of the Azerbaijani-Iranian border after capturing the village of Aghband. The Azerbaijani leader also declared that the Armenians lost 21 more settlements in the districts of Zangilan, Fuzuli and Jabrayil.

The Armenian military denies the collapse of its defense lines in the south and claims that Azerbaijani units appearing on video are just sabotage parties. According to the Armenian side, various Azerbaijan troops tried to advance in the western, northern and northwestern directions, but all of these offensive attempts were repelled. The Azerbaijani military allegedly suffered heavy losses.

The Armenian side insists that the towns of Hadrut and Fuzuli are in fact not in the hands of Azerbaijan. It insists that various units of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan penetrate into different settlements in the front-line zone trying to create panic and make selfies there. These groups, according to Armenian media, are very small and often run away from Armenian troops. The optimism of Armenian officials is at least surprising.

According to reports, Armenian troops left the town of Aghband with almost no resistance to the Azerbaijani Armed Forces supported by Turkish specialists and Syrian militants. This move was likely a result of the need to save personnel and keep at least some reserves needed on other parts of the frontline. The defending of the almost surrounded town makes no sense. Nonetheless, videos and photos appearing online indicate that Armenian sabotage groups are also active in the rear of the advancing Azerbaijani forces. In that area, if they have enough supplies and weapons, they would be able to deliver painful blows to the logistical convoys of the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc. It is likely that his activity is a formal pretext behind the statements of the Armenian Ministry of Defense that Azerbaijan has not gained full control of the border with Iran.

Forces of Azerbaijan continue to take control of settlements and villages in the south of Karabakh. Most of them are empty as the locals (ethnic Armenians) know well what fate they could face. It seems that the south of Karabakh is already lost for Armenia.

The Azerbaijani advance along the border with Iran through the relatively flat ground (if one compares it with the rest of Karabakh) appears to be a success. Now the Azerbaijani military and its allies are working to fully secure the border with Iran and set conditions for an operation to capture the Lachin corridor. The ability or inability of Azerbaijan to capture Lachin could become another turning point in the war.

Under the current conditions, it seems that a relatively positive outcome of the conflict for Karabakh forces would be possible in the event of the involvement some third power that would provide them with direct military assistance. Nonetheless, this scenario remains unlikely as long as even Armenia, which for years has been using Karabakh as its own protectorate, is not hurrying up to do so. Some Armenian sources even claim that the Pashinyan government oriented towards the West and NATO has just opted to sell the contested region to Azerbaijan under some formal pretext to remove the unresolved territorial disputes factor and open a way towards the further ‘democratic’ transformation of Armenia that it desires so much.

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Armenian Forces Use Their Last Chance To Turn Tide Of War With Azerbaijan

South Front

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces have been developing their advance on Armenian positions in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region. On October 19, they captured 13 more villages in the Jabrayil district. The capturing of Soltanli, Amirvarli, Mashanli, Hasanli, Alikeykhanli, Gumlag, Hajili, Goyarchinveysalli, Niyazgullar, Kechal Mammadli, Shahvalli, Haji Ismayilli and Isagli was personally announced by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Early on October 20, Azerbaijani forces also reached the town of Tumas and engaged Armenian units deployed there. Pro-Azerbaijani sources insist that the town already fell into the hands of Baku.

The country’s defense ministry claims that in the recent clashes Azerbaijani forces destroyed a number of enemy troops, at least 2 T-72 tanks, 2 BM-21 “Grad” MLRS, 1 D-30, 1 D-20 gun-howitzers, and 11 auto vehicles.

On October 19, pro-Armenian sources for the first time provided video evidence that they had shot down at least one of the Bayraktar TB2 combat drones operated by the Azerbaijani military and Turkish specialists.  Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry claimed that 5 unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down during the evening of that day only.

According to the Armenian side, the total number of Azerbaijani casualties in the war reached 6,259. 195 UAVs, 16 helicopters, 22 military planes, 566 armoured vehicles and 4 multiple rocket launchers of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan were allegedly destroyed. Yerevan claims that the Armenian forces have repelled two powerful attacks in the northern part of Karabakh, while intense fighting has been ongoing in the south. Nonetheless, Armenian military officials avoid confirming the recent Azerbaijani advances and insist that the recent developments are just a part of modern maneuver warfare. By these claims, the political leadership of Armenia tries to hide that the Azerbaijani advance along the Iranian border faced little resistance.

The Azerbaijani progress was mostly complicated by a limited number of mobile Armenian units, which were avoiding a direct confrontation and focusing on ambushes and mine warfare. According to reports, the Armenian side is now reinforcing its positions in the area of the Akari River seeking to prevent the further Azerbaijani advance towards the Armenian state border and the Lachin corridor.

On the other hand, the goal of the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc is to overcome this resistance and to develop the current momentum to reach the Lachin mountain pass thus threatening to cut off the shortest route between Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. In the event of success, this would predetermine the Azerbaijani victory in the war. Military hostilities are ongoing amid another round of international diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the situation and return the sides to the negotiating table.President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that they are ready to meet in Moscow. The Azerbaijani leader even said that his country is ready to halt the operation if Armenia demonstrates a constructive approach. Nonetheless, the ‘constructive approach of Armenia’ in the view of Azerbaijan is the full and public surrender of Karabakh. Such an agreement will mark the collapse of the current political leadership of Armenia and is unlikely to be accepted.Therefore, the war will likely continue until the military victory of one of the sides and that side would likely be Azerbaijan.

Baku has already achieved an impressive breakthrough on the frontline if one compares the current situation with local military escalations in the previous years. As to Armenia, it will not likely be able to turn the tide of the conflict if it continues limiting its response to indirect support of forces of the Republic of Artsakh instead of a direct military action to repel the Azerbaijani-Turkish bloc. Clashes of the previous weeks already demonstrated that Baku has an upper hand in the current format of the military standoff in Karabakh. Therefore, if Yerevan really wants to change something, it should change the rules of the game even if this would create additional risks for Armenia itself.

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Intermediate Results And Prospects Of Armenian-Azerbaijani War

South Front

The Armenian-Azerbaijani war, which started on September 27, continues in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region despite international diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the conflict. Offensive operations of Azerbaijani forces continue at the same time as the Azerbaijani government claims that it is committed to the ceasefire regime. The first humanitarian ceasefire entered force in Karabakh on October 10 and collapsed on the next day, while the second one started on October 18 with the same result. The Armenian side also insists that it is committed to the ceasefire while simultaneously conducting counter-attacks against the advancing Azerbaijani forces.

For the Armenian side, the situation is further complicated by the fact that the current Armenian leadership is not ready to (or does not want to) employ all of its means and forces to fight back the Azerbaijani advance. Instead of this, Armenian forces involved in the conflict are limited to those of the Nagorno-Karakbah Republic.

The government of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has so far limited its support to Karabakh to supplying weapons, sending volunteers (instead of regular forces), complaining in the media and calling on other countries to recognize the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic as an independent state, while Armenia itself has made no steps in this direction.

As of October 19, the situation on the frontline demonstrates that the Azerbaijani-Turkish side has been slowly but steadily taking an upper hand in the war. Azerbaijani forces have achieved a series of tactical successes in the northern and southern part of the region, capturing two dozen small towns and villages. The most important of them are Fuzuli, Jabrayl, Hadrut, Madaghis and Talish. Azerbaijani forces also advanced in the direction of the Khudaferin Reservoir.

Over the past few days, especially heavy clashes were taking place near the town of Hadrut, from which Armenian forces withdrew after Azerbaijan took control of the surrounding heights. Fuzuli experienced a similar fate as the Hadrut heights in fact overlook its countryside as well. The Azerbaijani military extensively uses its advantage in air, artillery and manpower. The advance is also supported by militant groups deployed by Turkey from the northwest of Syria, Turkish special forces and specialists (especially in the field of EW operations, intelligence and air domain warfare).

These factors, especially the air dominance, allowed Azerbaijan to deliver notable damage to Armenian forces destroying multiple pieces of their military equipment, destroying fortified positions and manpower. The outdated air defense forces of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic appeared to be unable to deal with the threat from Azerbaijani military aircraft, while Armenia also seems to be unable to or has no political to will to employ its air defense. Just recently, on October 17, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry released a video of strikes on a S-300 system in Armenia.

At the same time, the Azerbaijani military conducts intense strikes on civilian infrastructure in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Despite the public claims of the Azerbaijani leadership that the conflict has no ethnic grounds and that there is no threat to the Armenian population, in fact, Baku seeks to not only dismantle the self-proclaimed Armenian state, but also to remove Armenians from this territory. The Armenian side responds in a similar manner regularly shelling settlements and towns in Azerbaijan. While some of these strikes may be considered as accidental, as Armenian sources claim, the recent strikes on the Azerbaijani city of Ganja with ballistic missiles are for sure not an accident. According to Azerbaijani authorities, 13 civilians were killed and more than 40 others were injured in the attack on the city. The strike was likely conducted with the Soviet R-17 Elbrus tactical ballistic missile complex, which is in service with Karabakh forces.

It is likely that the Turkish-Azerbaijani bloc will develop its advance further along the Iranian border aiming for the towns of Qobadli and Zengilan. For Azerbaijan, it will be profitable to extend the frontline because it will allow it to use its advantage in air power and manpower. Meanwhile, the terrain in this part of the region is less complex than that in the center or the north. In the event of success, such an advance will allow Azerbaijan to undermine the entire southern flank of Armenian forces deployed in Stepankert and Shusha. This will also create a threat of cutting off the so-called Lachin corridor, a mountain pass within the de jure borders of Azerbaijan, forming the shortest route between Armenia and the Republic of Artsakh. Another direction of the possible advance is Martakert and Agdam. Nonetheless, in this case, even if Azerbaijani forces achieve a success there, a further advance will be more complicated due to the more complex terrain.

The humanitarian ceasefire announced on October 17 seems like another attempt of the Minsk group, led by France, Russia and the United States, to de-escalate the conflict. Nonetheless, the position of the current Armenian government, which was for years undermining its relations with Russia, and the hardcore posture of Azerbaijan and Turkey that have already felt the flavour of potential military victory will likely not allow the parties involved to find a ‘constructive’ solution of the situation. Thus, Ankara and Baku will continue demanding a full surrender of Armenia over the Karabakh question, which the Armenian government (even if it wants to do so) cannot accept because this will lead to the immediate collapse of the Pashinyan regime and instability inside Armenia itself.

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تركيا «وحيدةً» في حرب قره باغ

الأخبار

السبت 17 تشرين الأول 2020

تركيا «وحيدةً» في حرب قره باغ

توازياً مع استمرار المعارك بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان، بعد فشل الهدنة في وضع حدٍّ للاقتتال الدائر حول إقليم ناغورنو قره باغ الانفصالي، تبدو تركيا ميّالة إلى التصعيد ضدّ روسيا. وإن كانت الأخيرة لا تزال، منذ انطلاق جولة الاقتتال هذه، تحافظ على مسافة أمان مِن طرفَي الأزمة، فهيَ دشّنت، يوم أمس، مناورات عسكرية في بحر قزوين شمال باكو، تصرّ على أنها ليست موجّهة ضدّ أيّ طرفمنذ انطلاق جولة الاقتتال الأخيرة بين أرمينيا وأذربيجان في السابع والعشرين من الشهر الماضي، سعّرت أنقرة، باصطفافها إلى جانب باكو، الحرب الدائرة بين الجارتَين للسيطرة على إقليم ناغورنو قره باغ، في ظلّ مواقف دولية جديدة بدأت تتكشّف، وتشير إلى تصعيد تركي – روسي متضادّ، لاقته الولايات المتحدة على الطرف الآخر، حين انتقدت دور حليفتها الأطلسية في هذا الصراع، آملةً أن تتمكّن أرمينيا من «الدفاع عن نفسها» في وجه جارتها الأذربيجانية.

ومع استمرار المعارك بين القوات الأرمينية والأذربيجانية، بعد أسبوع مِن توقيع وزيرَي خارجية البلدين اتفاق هدنة برعايةٍ روسية، عَدّته الأخيرة مقدّمة لإطلاق محادثات «سلام» ترغب تركيا في أن تمثِّل «حلّاً نهائياً» لهذا الملفّ المتفجّر. غير أن المصالح المتضاربة حالت دون تطبيق بند وقف إطلاق النار، ما دفع روسيا إلى بدء تدريبات عسكرية في بحر قزوين، تصرّ على أنها ليست موجّهة ضدّ أيٍّ من دول الجوار. وتَجري المناورات العسكرية شمال شبه جزيرة أبشرون الأذربيجانية حيث تقع باكو، وتشمل إطلاق صواريخ ونيران مدفعية، ومشاركة ستّ سفن وسبع طائرات وأكثر من 400 جندي، بحسب بيان لوزارة الدفاع الروسية، أكد أن «الأنشطة… لا تشكل أيّ تهديد ولا تفرض قيوداً على الأنشطة الاقتصادية للدول المطلّة على قزوين».

إعلانٌ ما لبث أن ردّ عليه الرئيس التركي، رجب طيب إردوغان، إذ سعى إلى شرح موقفه «المبدئي» من الصراع حول قره باغ، بالقول إن بلاده لم ولن تعترف بضمّ روسيا غير المشروع لشبه جزيرة القرم الأوكرانية إلى أراضيها، مؤكداً في مؤتمر صحافي مشترك عقده، أمس، مع نظيره الأوكراني فولوديمير زيلينسكي، في إسطنبول، أن بلاده تعتبر أوكرانيا دولة محوريّة لضمان الاستقرار والأمن والسلام والازدهار في المنطقة. كذلك، أكد إردوغان أن أنقرة ستواصل دعم سيادة أوكرانيا ووحدة أراضيها، بما فيها القرم.

يبدو أن واشنطن بدأت تصطفّ بوضوح إلى جانب يريفان


في هذا الوقت، يبدو أن واشنطن التي شدّدت، منذ انطلاق المعارك، على ضرورة إيجاد «حلّ دبلوماسي» يجنّب أرمينيا وأذربيجان حرباً طاحنة، بدأت تصطفّ إلى جانب يريفان. ذلك ما بيّنته تصريحات وزير الخارجية الأميركي، مايك بومبيو، الذي أعرب عن أمله في أن تتمكّن أرمينيا من «الدفاع عن نفسها» في وجه أذربيجان، في ما بدا أنه مساندة لأحد قطبَي النزاع الدائر في منطقة ناغورنو قره باغ. وقال بومبيو في حديث إلى إذاعة محلية في ولاية جورجيا الأميركية: «نأمل أن يتمكّن الأرمينيّون من أن يدافعوا عن أنفسهم في وجه ما يقوم به الأذربيجانيون»، مجدّداً الدعوة إلى احترام وقف إطلاق النار و«المباحثات السلمية» لوضع حدّ للصراع. تصريحاتٌ جاءت بعدما أعرب الدبلوماسي الأميركي عن أسفه إزاء شروع تركيا في «دعم أذربيجان»، ودعا الأفرقاء الدوليين إلى عدم التدخل في المنطقة وتجنّب «تأجيج الاضطرابات» في «برميل بارود». وهو ما تساوق أيضاً مع إعلان وزارة الخارجية الأميركية أن الولايات المتحدة عبّرت لمستويات رفيعة في الحكومة التركية عن عدم قبولها حيازة أنقرة أنظمة أسلحة روسية مثل «إس-400»، وحذّرت من «عواقب وخيمة محتملة» لعلاقتها الأمنية مع تركيا في حال إقدامها على تفعيل النظام المذكور. وقالت الناطقة باسم الوزارة، مورغان أورتاغوس، في بيان: «إذا تأكَّد ذلك… سندين بأشدّ العبارات اختبار إطلاق صاروخ من منظومة إس-400 باعتباره لا يتّسق مع مسؤوليات تركيا كعضو في حلف شمال الأطلسي وكشريك استراتيجي للولايات المتحدة».

War In Karabakh: Turkish Proxies Are Allegedly Too Scared To Fight Armenians

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October 15, 2020

About 1,000 members of Syrian militant groups deployed by Turkey to support the Azerbaijani advance in the Nagorno-Karabakh region have laid down their arms and refused to participate in hostilities, Armenian media outlets and military-affiliated sources claimed. They insist that Syrian militants were just used as cannon fodder and did not receive their promised money. According to sources loyal to the Syrian opposition, the number of Turkish proxies that died in the war with Armenia has exceeded 110.

Earlier, reports appeared from Syrian sources, claiming that about 400 members of Turkish-backed militant groups deployed in Syria’s northwest had refused to go to Azerbaijan. At least 16 of them were arrested by the so-called Hamza Division for complaining too much and for leaking information to the public.

Meanwhile, the Armenian Defense Ministry released an updated claim on alleged Azerbaijani casualties since the start of the war on September 27. According to this, Azerbaijani forces have lost 5,489 personnel, 541 armoured vehicles, 4 TOS multiple rocket launchers, 19 military planes, 16 helicopters and 176 UAVs. During the last few days, the Armenian military specified, Azerbaijan has lost 3 UAVs, 20 armored vehicles, a plane and has suffered 350 casualties.

Nonetheless, the aforementioned claims did not allow the Armenian military to regain the initiative from the advancing Azerbaijani forces and even the country’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, in his recent national address, admitted that the situation on the frontline is complicated and that the Armenians had retreated from positions in the south and north.

“For 18 days of the war, our heroic troops retreated to the south and north,” Pashinyan said. According to him, Azerbaijani troops also changed their tactics “trying to create confusion in the rear with sabotage groups.” Pashinyan also claimed that “A number of countries with the possibility of strategic deterrence did not properly assess the danger, continuing to consider the issue in the context of the Karabakh conflict and believing that territories in exchange for peace is a solution that can save the situation.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that in 2018, Azerbaijan had in the course of negotiations demanded that Armenia give up the seven regions of Nagorno-Karabakh in exchange for peace. According to him, Baku refused to consider the issue of the status of Nagorno-Karabakh as not being part of Azerbaijan.

“In the negotiation process, Azerbaijan has reached the point when it has put a demand for the Armenian people to give up their rights, return five of the seven regions, present specific deadlines for the surrender of the remaining two regions, any status of Nagorno-Karabakh must be determined within Azerbaijan. In addition, the clarification of the status should not have been linked to the process of handing over the territories. The territories were to be surrendered in exchange for peace,” Pashinyan said.

In their turn, the Azerbaijani side remains determined that all of the contested region should be immediately returned to its control and the Armenian Republic of Arstakh there dismantled de-facto employing a military option to achieve this goal.

As of October 15, the Azerbaijani military continued delivering intense artillery and air strikes on Armenian positions across the entire contact line and advancing in the areas of Hadrat and Fuzuli. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev announced that his forces had captured the villages of Garadaghli, Khatunbulag, Garakollu in the Fuzuli district, and Bulutan, Melikjanli, Kemertuk, Teke and Tagaser in the Khojavend district.

Azerbaijani forces have also been trying to fully isolate the town of Hadrut in order to finally turn into reality their earlier claim that it’s under their full control. They also tried to advance on the town of Fuzuli and even reached it, but the attack was repelled by the Armenians. On the other hand, Baku regularly accuses Armenia of ceasefire violations and claims that all its actions are just a response to Armenian aggression.

The humanitarian ceasefire reached by the sides earlier in October helped to stop offensive operations only on distinct parts of the frontline and the war is raging at almost full force in the northern part of Karabakh.

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War in Nagorno-Karabakh Is a Gamechanger in Russian-Turkish Relations

By Paul Antonopoulos

Global Research, October 17, 2020

After Turkey downed a Russian jet operating in Syria in late 2015, there was a major risk that the Syrian War could explode into a greater conflict between the two Eurasian countries. The Turkish attack resulted in the death of two Russian servicemen and relations between Moscow and Ankara were again tested in December 2016 when Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated by off-duty police officer Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş. Although Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted the explanation from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that the assassination was not ordered by the state, Nordic Monitor has published compelling evidence that Altıntaş had strong connections to the so-called Turkish deep state. Despite these major setbacks in Russian-Turkish relations, by the end of 2017 the two countries signed a $2.5 billion agreement for Turkey to acquire the Russian-made S-400 air defence system, considered the most sophisticated of its kind in the world.

As is well-known, this deal resulted in tense relations between Turkey and its NATO allies, and many speculated that with Russian encouragement Ankara would eventually leave the Atlantic Alliance. It is highly unlikely that Turkey will ever leave NATO willingly or be ejected from the organization. Turkey, as a key country connecting East and West and controlling Straits linking the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, knows that it is one of the most important geostrategic countries in the world and can afford to leverage both NATO and Russia to advance its own ambitions.

The Russian-Turkish partnership has seen Ankara acquire the S-400 system, Russia has a critical part in the construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear Power Plant, and cooperation on significantly reducing conflict in Syria. However, it now appears that Moscow is becoming increasingly frustrated and antagonized by Ankara’s constant escalation of hostilities across Russia’s southern flank and/or areas of interest. Despite Russia and Turkey cooperating in Syria, they support opposing sides in Libya, but this is not considered a major issue between them, or at least not enough to change the course of their bilateral relations. However, the war in Artsakh, or more commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, has exposed the fragility of relations between Moscow and Ankara.

Artsakh, despite being an integral part of the Armenian homeland for over 2,500 years and always maintaining an overwhelmingly Armenian majority population, was assigned to the Azerbaijani Soviet Socialist Republic in the early 1920’s. However, in 1989 Armenians in Artsakh demanded unification with the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic. This demand was ultimately rejected by Moscow. However, the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 sparked a war in Artsakh. The Armenians achieved a decisive victory in 1994 and the Republic of Artsakh emerged, although it is still internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan.Turkey and Syria Are at War Without a Declaration of War

The OSCE Minsk Group, comprising of France, Russia and the U.S., is the foremost international body attempting to end the decades-long conflict between the de facto independent Republic of Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although minor wars and skirmishes have been commonplace since 1994, the current war is the most serious escalation, especially when considering the internationalization of the conflict because of Turkey’s transfer of special forces, military advisers, and more importantly, Syrian jihadist mercenaries.

Many within the Syrian government and military have expressed frustration that Russia effectively prevented a Syrian Army offensive at the beginning of the year to liberate more areas of Idlib from Turkish-backed jihadist rule. It is likely that Moscow’s push for a ceasefire in Idlib was to appease Turkey in the hope that it would slowly de-escalate and eventually withdraw from Syria. However, Erdoğan used the lull in the fighting in Idlib to transfer Syrian jihadist mercenaries to fight in Libya. These militants fight on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords based in Tripoli. They are in opposition to the Libyan National Army, which is based in Tobruk and has ties to Russia.

The transfer of Syrian militants to Libya certainly concerned Moscow, but Libya is not as geopolitically crucial for Russia. However, the transfer of Syrian militants to Azerbaijan brings various terrorists and mujahideen forces right to the very doorstep of Russia in the South Caucasus. Whereas Syrian militants in Idlib and Libya were no real threat to Russia directly, bringing such forces can now easily put them in direct contact with Islamist terrorists based in Dagestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia in Russia’s Caucasus region.

This will likely be a gamechanger in Russian-Turkish relations.

Moscow’s reaction to Turkey transferring Syrian terrorists to Azerbaijan is beginning to reveal itself. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that Moscow “has never considered Turkey as a strategic ally” and emphasized that Russian military observers should be placed on the line of contact between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Although Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly calls for Turkey to be involved in the Minsk Group or in negotiations, Russia has continually blocked Ankara from being involved in any negotiations.

Russia’s frustration with Turkey can even be felt in the East Mediterranean now. As recently as September 5, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova angered many Greeks when she urged states to be “guided by common sense and take into consideration the geographical peculiarities of a region” when discussing Turkey’s illegal claims against Greece in the East Mediterranean. Zakharova effectively adopted Turkey’s arguments that if Athens enacts its international legal right to extend its territorial waters from six nautical miles to 12, then the Aegean will effectively become a “Greek lake,” and therefore the Turks believe “common sense” has to prevail over this “geographical peculiarity.”

However, only yesterday, it appeared that Moscow now indirectly supports Greece’s position in the East Mediterranean, with the Russian Embassy in Athens tweeting that “Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN Security Council is the starting point. We consider the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea the ‘cornerstone’ of international maritime agreements. The Convention explicitly provides for the sovereign right of all States to have territorial waters up to 12 nautical miles and sets out the principles and methods for delimiting the [Exclusive Economic Zone]. This also applies to the Mediterranean.”

It was also announced yesterday that Lavrov will be making a working visit to Greece on October 28. Russia’s repositioning on the East Mediterranean issue by firmly supporting a states’ right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles as permitted by international law, something that Turkey has said would be a “reason for war” if Greece enacts its legal right, is likely part of its retaliation against Erdoğan’s transfer of Syrian terrorists to the doorstep of Dagestan. Although Moscow tolerated Erdoğan’s aggression in Syria, Iraq and Libya, by threatening war on Armenia, a Collective Security Treaty Organization member state, and transferring militants to the border of Dagestan, Turkey has overstepped Russia’s patience and this can be considered a gamechanger in their bilateral relations.

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Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

Turkey Allied with Azerbaijan Against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 15, 2020

Months of planning preceed preemptive wars.

Since July, Turkish and Azeri troops participated in joint air and ground military exercise.

Most often these type drills are defensive. They’re conducted to prepare for possible attacks on the territory of participating nations.

Azeris launched war on Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below), its campaign for control of the enclave backed and likely encouraged by Ankara.

The same likely holds for the US and UK, supporting the agenda of one country over another and their own interests.

Most often when conflicts erupt, their fingerprints are all over them, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Why would the US and Britain support Turkey over Armenia? One reason could be to draw Moscow into the conflict.

Along with Russia and four other regional countries, Armenia is a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) state.

If the territory of any CSTO member state is attacked by a foreign power, other alliance members are obligated to provide military support.

NK is not Armenian territory, so conflict there doesn’t require other CSTO countries to aid Yerevan militarily.

Turkey is a NATO member.

Despite uneasy relations between Ankara and the West, notably the US and UK, alliance Article 4 calls for members to “consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any” is threatened.

Article 5 considers an armed attack (real or otherwise) against one or more members, an attack against all. Collective self-defense is called for.

Based on what’s now known, Turkey helped Azerbaijan prepare for preemptive war on Armenia in NK.

Preparation included training, supplying Baku with heavy weapons, providing command and control involvement, along with deploying jihadist fighters to aid Azeri troops.

If Turkish commanders are harmed by ongoing fighting, accidentally or otherwise, Ankara could retaliate against Armenia militarily.

Azerbaijan borders Russia. Iran borders Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The US and maybe Britain would very much like to draw Iran into the NK conflict.

If fighting spills into its territory, its forces might respond in self-defense, giving the US and UK a pretext to terror-bomb Iranian targets.

On Wednesday, Armenia’s Defense Ministry accused Azerbaijan of striking military equipment in its territory.

Saying Armenian forces reserve the right to respond in kind against an Azeri military facility risks expanding conflict to the territory of both countries.

Under this scenario, Russia could get involved to defend its CSTO partnered state — potentially drawing the US, UK, and other NATO countries into the conflict, Turkey as well more directly.

The above is a nightmarish scenario Moscow and Tehran very much want avoided.

During a Wednesday interview on the NK conflict, I was asked what more can Russia do resolve it.

Major differences between Armenia and Azerbaijan on the one hand, Yerevan and Ankara on the other, are longstanding.

Resolving them to halt fighting might be beyond the diplomatic skills of any negotiator.

I responded to the question, saying Sergey Lavrov’s strategy may be to keep talking to his counterparts and leadership of both warring sides — in person as much as possible, otherwise by phone, urging a halt in fighting.

Protracted conflict in NK assures losers, not winners, he understands.

With Turkish help, Azeri forces could gain an advantage over Armenia’s military.

Baku perhaps could drive Yerevan out of NK partially or entirely.

If fighting continues for weeks or months, mass slaughter and destruction in the enclave will leave no prize for either side to claim.

The prevailing side, if things turn out this way, will have countless numbers of corpses to bury and likely billions of dollars needed for reconstruction.

On Wednesday, Lavrov proposed deploying Russian peacekeepers to monitor things along the line of control in NK.

He clarified his proposal, saying “not even peacekeepers (should participate in the verification mechanism), but military observers that would be sufficient.”

“We believe that it would be perfectly correct if these were our military observers, but the final word should be with the sides (of the conflict).”

“Of course, we proceed from the fact that both Yerevan and Baku will take into account our amicable relations, relations of strategic partnership.”

Stressing his country’s close ties to Turkey, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said Baku, Yerevan, and Ankara would have to agree on Russia’s involvement this way.

On October 14, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Azerbaijan wants total control of NK, calling the situation on the ground “very difficult.”

He claimed Baku and Ankara do not want “to stop their aggression.”

NK defense forces accused Azerbaijan of “violat(ing) the humanitarian truce, targeting peaceful settlements,” adding:

“In addition to shelling the city of Martakert, the enemy (Baku) also employed air force (warplanes) in the northeastern direction.”

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry accused Armenia of shelling the town of Tartar, causing at least seven casualties.

It’s unclear if they’e civilians or military personnel.

Lavrov criticized Turkey’s involvement in the fighting.

Calling a military solution unacceptable, he said “(w)e do not agree with the position voiced by Turkey, that was also expressed several times by (Azeri) President Aliyev,” adding:

“It is not a secret that we cannot agree with a statement that a military solution to the conflict is permissible.”

International Committee of the Red Cross director for Eurasia Martin Scheupp called on both sides to halt fighting.

“We project that at least tens of thousands of people across the region will need support over the next few months,” he stressed, adding:

“Civilians are dying or suffering life-changing injuries.”

“Homes, businesses and once-busy streets are being reduced to rubble.”

“The elderly and babies are among those forced to spend hours in unheated basements or to leave their homes for safety.”

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu spoke to his Armenian and Azeri counterparts, urging them to observe ceasefire.

Conflict is in its third week with no signs of either side backing down.

Russia continues trying to get them to halt fighting and discuss differences diplomatically.

Ceasefire agreed to by their foreign ministers in Moscow didn’t take hold.

On Tuesday, Armenia’s Defense Ministry said Azeri forces launched attacks in “three to four directions, and battles continued throughout the day.”

“Particularly intense fighting occurred in the northern sector.”

“It was probably among the most difficult battles in this war.”

Fighting could continue for weeks if Russia’s best efforts fail to get both sides to observe ceasefire agreed to last Friday.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

AZERBAIJANI MILITARY DESTROYS ARMENIAN S-300S AS HUMANITARIAN CEASEFIRE NEARS ITS COLLAPSE

The Armenian-Azerbaijani war in the Nagorno-Karabakh region does not show signs of nearing its end despite the humanitarian ceasefire launched in the region. The ceasefire started in the Nagorno-Karabakh region at 12:00 local time on October 10. The ceasefire deal was reached by the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides following long talks in Moscow a day ago. Russia played a key role in forcing the sides to make steps towards the de-escalation.

Azerbaijan and Armenia also formally agreed to begin substantive negotiations of a peaceful settlement of a military conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh that erupted on September 27. These talks will be mediated by the Organization for Security and co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group of international negotiators. Following the ceasefire agreement, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that the first phase of the military operation in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is completed. The Russian diplomatic intervention allowed to put an end to the hottest phase of the military confrontation and force the sides to halt active offensive operations on the ground.

Despite this, the situation on the ground remained very tense. Almost immediately after the start of the ceasefire regime, the sides simultaneously accused each other of violating the ceasefire and of shelling civilian and military targets, and repeated these claims on October 11 and October 12.

Meanwhile, Armenia and Azerbaijan released a new batch of fresh and few days old footage showcasing casualties of each other and making loud statements. In particular, pro-Azerbaijani sources claimed that at least two more S-300 systems of Armenia were destroyed in Karabakh. The released videos accompanying these claims include the moments of the alleged destruction of 35D6 (ST-68U) radars and a S-300 missile launcher of the Armenian military with Israeli IAI Harop loitering munitions near the village of Khojaly in the Khojaly District and the village of Qubadlı in the Kashatagh District.

The 35D6 is a vehicle-carried three-dimensional air surveillance radar system. The range of the radar’s primary functions includes the detection of low-flying targets protected with active and or passive jamming screens, and also the performance of air traffic control. It can be operated as a separate installation as well as a part of the S-300 air-defense system. Nonetheless, if it was the S-300 batteries, as Azerbaijani sources insist, it still remains unclear what these long-range air defense systems were doing so close to the frontline.

Meanwhile, the Armenian military reported that its forces repelled large Azerbaijani attacks in the northeastern and southern parts of the region. The hottest area of the frontline is the town of Hardut. Azerbaijani President Aliyev officially announced that his forces captured it a few days ago. Nonetheless, videos from the ground show that in fact most of the town remained in the hands of the Armenians. Another part of it is now a gray zone, which is not controlled by any side. According to Armenian sources, Azerbaijani troops, supported by Turkish special forces and Syrian militants, tried to capture the town just a few hours before the start of the ceasefire. After this failed attack, Azerbaijani combat drones and artillery units delivered powerful strikes on Hardut and nearby villages, but were not able to force Armenian troops to retreat.

The Armenian Defense Ministry insists that the Turkish Air Force is leading the aerial operations of Azerbaijan. “Turkish aerial command centers, flying within the Turkish airspace, are commanding the Turkish UAV’s operating in the Azerbaijani air force. UAVs, accompanied by six F-16 units, are directly attacking the peaceful population and civilian infrastructure of Artsakh,” the defense ministry spokesman said.

In its own turn, the Azerbaijani side says that it’s just taking the necessary steps to respond to Armenian violations of the ceasefire and strikes on Azerbaijani settlements. The most widely covered incident of this kind took place on October 11, when an alleged Armenian ballistic missile hit Ganja city.

The active offensive phase of the Armenian-Azerbaijani war was put on pause, but the conflict itself does not seem to be nearing its end. Without the real political will of the Azerbaijani and Armenian leadership to reach a ceasefire, the de-escalation of the conflict, without direct intervention of some third party, remains unlikely. Instead, the war has chances to resume with new power in the coming days.

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